Reading & Leeds Festival 2014: Seven Acts You Must Watch
This week Dolphin Music will bring you some news stories about Britain's foremost alternative music festival. We'll start with the Top 7 attractions you can't miss this weekend, and a take look at what gear they use (after all, "gear-spotting" is one of our past-times!)
1) QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
Josh Homme's band still sound colossal after all this time - 14 years since their album Rated R landed to show the world they were one of the most powerful rock acts around! The wild, talented bassist Nick Oliveri has long left the band, bust despite this loss, QOTSA have remained one of the best live acts around. And purveyors of some of the best, most satisfying guitar noises right now! We had a good look at the Queens of the Stone Age Gear a while ago, and it's safe to say that whatever gear they bring onstage this weekend, they'll sound great. Josh Home, in particular, has never been a muso and time and time again he proves that you can sound great with cheap, affordable guitars, such as his Epiphone Dot. When it comes to FX pedals and amps he can get a little more esoteric, but he still seems to use quite a few well known pedals such as the Digitech Whammy and the Boss RE-20 Space Echo. He seems to favour Ampeg amps, and it'll see interesting what he'll be using this weekend. Many heavy-rock musicians will be taking notes!
The LA girls (main picture, above) may not be as well-known or as heavy as some of the most popular acts who have graced the main stage over the years, but their star is rising, and they make some of the most interesting guitar sounds right now. They love Fender Jaguars and Fender Mustangs, and their eerie sound is full of reverbs and delays. Both guitarists (Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman) got interesting pedalboards full of great pedals, quite a few of them delays: Electro-Harmonix Cathedral reverb, Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy, Line 6 DL-4 delay modeler, DigiTech Hardwire DL8 Delay/Looper, Boss RC-3 Loop Station, besides Electro-Harmonix Small Clone Chorus and even the very rare Boss VB-2 Vibrato pedal.
They use Fender amps for that super clean, crispy tone.
3) ARCTIC MONKEYS
Well, how could we NOT mention them? By now they are veterans of the festival circuit and half of Britain has probably already seen them live, but they still deliver the goods! Their last album, AM, was considered by many their best, and since QOTSA took the helms of the production duties for their albums, these guys have gone from strength to strength, besides creating many memorable guitar sounds. Have a look at our Arctic Monkeys Gear Guide.
4) THE HORRORS
With their second album, Primary Colours, The Horrors have suddenly become one of the best and most critically acclaimed guitar bands in the UK. They've released their fourth album earlier this year, and now have firmly established themselves not only on the higher echelons of the charts, but also on the bills of every other major festival in the world! They have updated the shoegaze sound pioneered by bands such as My Bloody Valentine, and create many fascinating sounds with their tons of FX pedals and customized gear. It should be very interesting to find out how they'll sound and what gear they'll use at Reading & Leeds in 2014. Check our The Horrors Gear Guide.
5) BLOOD RED SHOES
This boy and girl duo bring back the raw energy we miss from the White Stripes, but their sound is punkier, rather than bluesy. At first glance they may seem like an odd addition to the Main Stage, but don't be mistaken - they pack a great punch, and sound very powerful live. The drummer used to set his kit on fire! Guitarist Laura-Mary Carter is very fond of Fender Telecasters and Marshall amps for a basic, loud rock'n'roll sound. Some of the pedals she uses include the Marshall G'Vnor GV-2 Plus, Boss DD-6 Delay and Electro-Harmony PolyChorus.
6) BLINK 182
The Californian punk rockers are one of the world's most popular bands, and guitarist Tom DeLonge has inspired many kids to pick up a guitar, due to his simple and direct style. He still plays his Gibson signature ES-335-style guitar, and at recent gigs he's been spotted using a Fender Twin Reverb, a Vox AC30 and pedals such as the Boss DD-7, the MXR EVH117 Flanger and the MXR Distortion + pedal.
By far, the odd ones out on our list. They seem far removed from the typical Reading Festival band, being a synth-pop band. But they have attitude and great songs, which could help them to win over the crowds. They were hyped by BBC on the Sound of 2013 list and their popularity has been growing ever since. Their setup is heavy on great quality, analog instruments. Band member Iain Cook explains their live sound:
"At the moment we have three analogue synths on the stage: Moog Voyager, DSI Prophet 08 and a Juno 106. They are all set up in one bank which I play but there's a midi controller keyboard across the other side of the stage that Martin and Lauren plays. We use Ableton Live to control our in-ear monitor mixes, for routing midi and processing synth effects. Martin also plays a Native Instruments Maschine for triggering vocal and drum samples. I also play a bit of bass guitar and guitar which all go through Ableton Live."