After Goldheart Assembly, The King Blues and HEALTH kick off the final day, an early afternoon storm brings the worst weather since the festival began. After two days of mostly sunshine everyone has been lulled in to a false sense of security and been largely caught unawares; many punters have left their wellies back at the campsites. The rain eases up and the 80,000+ throb in and out of their refuges to find more acts scattered around the tents and stages.
Kele, dressed like a Formula 1 chequered flag, comes across a winner as he races through a good swathe of his solo debut The Boxer and throws in a few Bloc Party tracks for good measure. Back on the main stage and a step through the time tunnel, Limp Bizkit still know how to stir up a reluctant frenzy of moshing sweat merchants. Fred Durst, a guitarist lost in a horror movie, and those somewhat attitudinally apocryphal rap/rock belters end up dragging the main arena out of a Sunday slump. Sunday might seem like a day for oddities though, as another outfit seemingly lost in time, Cypress Hill, come forth to play seminal weed rap tunes like Hits From The Bong. Unlike the band they follow on stage, at least these guys have been consistently putting out music for 20 years and have a new album to promote.
Similarly Weezer have been around for a couple of decades now, but their large catalogue of college rock hits seems a lot more at home at the traditionally rock-y Reading & Leeds double header. Rivers Cuomo has made the transition from navel gazing singer/songwriter to dynamic frontman in the last few years and his hyperactive energy, coupled with the band’s chugging riff-heavy barrage of pop tracks mixed with not-quite-ironic covers of Teenage Dirtbag and MGMT‘s Time To Pretend, turns the late afternoon slot in to one of this year’s greatest moments.
We Are Scientists are playing at the NME/Radio 1 stage and lay out the soundtrack for one of the most physically draining mosh crushes all weekend. The intensity of the band and the dawning realisation of all involved that the event is coming to a close seems to intensify the flailing and bouncing. There is barely enough energy left in the reservoir to decide which of the closers to make the final effort to see: Blink 182 or Klaxons.
Blink 182 kick off as the moon sets behind the stage. Their tight but unremarkable set is still solid and no-one can argue the crowd-pleasing potential of closing the festival with All The Small Things. Disappointingly the Mark Tom and Travis show are lacking energy, especially with the bigger hits the fans and casual observers are all waiting for. At the end of a three-day rock festival that might not be so surprising, but we should and do expect more from a headlining band in the midst of a reunion tour. It may have been a wiser choice to see Klaxons, but the hand wringing ‘what if’ choices we all make at these behemoth summer festivals are a huge part of why we bother turning up in the first place.