As the best day of the Reading music calendar approaches, Tyler Hallows takes a look through the brilliant lineup at this year’s Are You Listening Festival to recommend his favourite musicians on the bill. If you’re looking for a new band to see, the local acts to follow, or you’re wanting to fill in the gaps of your timetable, discover the ten acts you should make sure to see at Are You Listening Festival 2018. If you’re still considering buying a ticket, you can get them here.
Opening the festival in style, Reading act Twin Sun’s summery blend of dance, funk and electronic music is the perfect way to get you ready for the day ahead. They are sure to get everyone moving to songs like ‘Jump Back’, and ‘Lilac Light’, the latter featuring Jen of Saltwater Sun on vocals.
Speaking of Saltwater Sun, they are back, after a years absence, to kick down the door. Backed with their latest single ‘The Wire’, this is sure to be a show on many punters’ lists. Expect infectious melodies, rip-roaring guitars, and a rhythm section that’ll blow you away. Read our interview with Saltwater Sun.
The past year has seen Reading’s very own Valeras supporting Demob Happy, The Wombats, and pretty much every other live act out there. Along the way, they’ve built their live show into the remarkable force it is today. Their latest single ‘Louder’ was released this month, and showcases a band who are really hitting their stride. It won’t be long before Valeras will be headlining venues across the country.
Woozy, wonky surf rock is the main features of Her’s music. The duo are set to take to the stage at Sub89, having received high praise from fans and critics across the country. Songs like ‘Speed Racer’ and ‘I’ll Try’ will have you humming along hours after their anticipated set.
South Street Arts Centre, 6.45pm
Slug are hard to pin down, with their fantastic take on alt-rock seemingly taking inspiration from a huge range of influences. But this all works in their favour. Brilliantly unique, their latest album ‘Higgledypiggledy’ features the engaging single ‘Dolly Dimple’.
The Lovely Eggs
Indie rock legends, The Lovely Eggs are guaranteed to pull in a big crowd, and deservedly so. They’re armed with punk rock-inspired songs like ‘Fuck It’, as well as recent material from ‘This is Eggland’, that sees the band moving into a new territory. This will easily be one of the most exhilarating shows of the day!
Oakford Social Club, 7.45pm
Leeds’ act Mush last played Reading as support for the Wytches to a huge response. They gained a ton of fans that night and they are sure to do the same this time around. Inspired by bands such as The Fall, and Parquet Courts, their music sees almost spoken word commentary set over repeating angular guitars. It’s perhaps best displayed on their single ‘Comment Section Creeps’.
South Street Arts Centre, 8.45pm
Reading legend Ben Marwood returned last year with ‘Get Found’, his first album in four years. Songs like ‘Question Marks’ and ‘We Are No Longer Twety Five’ cement Ben as one of the best British contemporary folk artists around. His show at South Street this year is sure to be a special one.
If there is one band that it seems everyone is talking about this festival, it’s Idles. Furious punk rock, with intelligent lyrics and a blistering soundtrack, they are one of the most exciting bands in the UK right now. Songs like ‘Well Done’, and ‘Divide & Conquer’ are sure to send Sub89 into a sweaty mess. Their live shows are know for their chaos, passion and intense crowd activity. This is a set that cannot be missed!
St. Lawrence Church, 11pm
Closing the festival at St. Lawrence Church are Field Music. Critically acclaimed and Mercury Prize-nominated, their music sees them delving into every sound possible from guitars, to electronics, to mesmerising percussion. It’s best showcased on their recent single ‘Count It Up’. This show, in such a beautiful venue, couldn’t be a better way to end the day
Are You Listening Festival takes place on Saturday 28 April, across multiple venues. Tickets are available here.
I love to write about the bands I'm listening to, and the gigs that I'm attending in Reading. I'm a proud champion of the local Reading music scene, and am always looking for new acts to see live. Aside from writing about local music, I am also the co-founder of Reading based record label, Porterbrook Records.