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Reading & Leeds 2011: Rocklouder’s ten bands to catch

Heading out on the annual rock pilgrimage? Here's some bands you really should put in your diary.

Posted 24th August 2011 in Features, Jimmy Eat World
Jimmy Eat World

The likes of Download and Sonisphere have brought British rock fans some of the finest lineups in the world in recent years, but neither have the stature or history of the giant: Reading & Leeds. This weekend sees the 2011 edition of the festival, and, despite rumours of sluggish ticket sales, there's still an absolute welly-load of amazing bands to watch. As usual, the lineup's a mixture of smaller buzz bands (for that smug "I saw them before they were famous" feeling) and serious rock heavyweights for you to lose your voice to. We've picked out ten of our top recommendations for you to slug it across the festival site to watch.

DEFTONES (Main Stage - Reading Friday, Leeds Saturday)
The last time you'll be able to catch Chino and 'the lads' before they head into the studio later in the year to work on their next record. 'Diamond Eyes' was named our record of the year 2010, so expect a set packed with fan favourites, classics and their awesome newer material. One of the best live bands in the world, and a perfect late afternoon festival booking.

WE ARE THE OCEAN (Main Stage - Reading Sunday, Leeds Friday)
Their new, popper album threw fans a curveball this year, but saw WATO showcase their talent for writing a hell of a catchy melody. Opening the main stage for the first time, the slot will see the boys finally - and deservedly - take things to the next level.

MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE (Main Stage - Reading Friday, Leeds Saturday)
This year, with the launch of latest album 'Danger Days', they've proved the critics wrong. Written off as overblown emo bores, 'Danger Days' was fearless, fun, and colourful. Some say they're not quite big enough to headline, but they're amassing an impressive back catalogue now, with a raft of brilliant singalong hits under their belt. Even if you're not a MCR fan, anything's better than dullard Liam Gallagher's new band (playing at the same time on the NME/Radio 1 stage), right?

JIMMY EAT WORLD (Main Stage - Reading Saturday, Leeds Sunday)
They've had something of a resurgence this year - with a series of well-received tours under their belt - and the post-hardcore quartet, fresh from supporting Foo Fighters at their massive Milton Keynes Bowl gigs this summer, are on a victory lap. Catch them in a bizarre lineup sandwich between ska kings Madness and miserable indie types The National.

FUCKED UP (NME/Radio 1 Stage - Reading Sunday, Leeds Friday)
You probably all know them by now, but this Canadian gang are quite simply amazing. Creative, thrilling and intense, their progressive take on hardcore and DIY-or-die attitude means they're probably the most important punk band in the world right now. Expect tracks from their brilliant 'David Comes To Life' album and a sweaty, shirtless man-bear of a frontman. We wouldn't have it any other way.

CEREBRAL BALLZY (Festival Republic - Reading Friday, Leeds Saturday)
Thrashy, dumb, and hella cool, Cerebral Ballzy might just win Best Band Name Of The Festival (though it's a close call with Dananananaykroyd). LOL-tastic name aside, the US punks bring material from their freshly released debut album - they're spunky, noisy and quite possibly the most fun you'll have all weekend.

HOT WATER MUSIC (Lock Up Stage - Reading Sunday, Leeds Friday)
If you're not familiar with this legendary post-hardcore band, delve into their discography immediately. One of the finest bands of the late 90s/early 00s punk scene, the reformed Hot Water Music boast an arsenal of gruff, moving, melodic punk and an equally impressive fanbase. They're set to bring the Lock Up Stage to a fist-pumping, sweaty delirium: don't miss out.

HENRY ROLLINS (Alternative Stage - Reading Friday, Leeds Saturday)
Not quite a band, but the former Black Flag singer's new career as lecturer/storyteller/comedian/one-man-show is worth a look if you need a break from the music. Funny, acerbic and inspiring, this grizzly punk legend's tales and opinions will be just as heavy as any of the bands on offer this weekend.

AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR (Festival Republic - Reading Saturday, Leeds Sunday)
An absolutely unmissable live band, this Northern Irish instrumental quartet do throbbing, awesome mathy fuzz-rock. One of the most unique acts touring at the moment, their intense live shows have won them a rabid set of fans. Go and see why.

SPYCATCHER (Lock Up Stage - Reading Sunday, Leeds Friday)
One of the best new(ish) British bands, Spycatcher's take on pop-punk feels fresh and exciting. They throw in piano and Hot Water Music/Small Brown Bike-esque melodic heaviness to the usual recipe - catch the Twin Atlantic tour buddies on the smaller stage this weekend before they rocket up the lineup in future years.