It never gets any easier to choose which bands to see at Are You Listening? Festival. Reading’s excellent one-day charity music fest is back for 2019 with a line up of nearly 70 bands playing music at venues across town in aid of Mencap on Saturday 28 April.
To help you narrow down your choice of bands to see, Explore Reading’s editors and music writers share their choice of the acts to watch at Are You Listening Festival 2019. Find out which ten bands, local acts or performers the Explore Reading team will be heading to this Saturday and make your pick of the gigs to check out. If you haven’t got a ticket yet, you can buy an Are You Listening Festival wristband here. Find out more about the festival and see the full line up in our guide to Are You Listening Festival 2019.
Music writer Tyler Hallows picks:
South Street Arts Centre Theatre, 8.45pm
Playing off the back of her incredible new album ‘What a Boost’, Rozi Plain’s set at South Street is sure to be a special one. Wonderful instrumentation and melodies will wrap around your mind and instantly make you fall in love with Plain’s world.
The Keep Cats
Having played in Reading countless times The Keep Cats have built up a loyal following due to their incredibly energetic live show. However, this is the first time they grace the stage at Sub89. Perfect way to get you in the mood for the rest of the day!
St Laurence Church, 9.45pm
TVAM’s wall of sound will fit perfectly into its surroundings as the electronic, alt rock artist plays the AYL fan favourite venue, St Laurence. His debut album ‘Psychic Data’ was met with an enthusiastic response, and seeing the songs performed live is sure to be one of the highlights of the festival.
Music writer Matt Dyson picks:
South Street Arts Centre Studio, 4.30pm
As an ex-member of Pete and The Pirates, Shed cafe owner Pete has an understated genius for picking out hooks from the mundane – and over the years his songs have continued to be the embodiment of fragile, lo-fi brilliance.
South Street Arts Centre Theatre, 5.45pm
Like test tube babies for couples who met in a late ‘80s indie disco and have now bred their perfect group from the sweat and tears of The La’s and early ‘Roses. Expect to see the Reading band shake up a youthful storm of longing and jangly defiance, on demand.
Matt Dyson is also in Reading post punk garage band Kill Committee, who are playing at Purple Turtle at 8.15pm.
Music writer Steve Reynolds picks:
St Laurence Church, 9.45pm
This is a one man band but without the bad knee cymbals and harmonica. He specialises in a mix of noise, fuzz and shoe-gazing riffs. He’s accompanied only by an old fashioned TV and a host of horrifying health and safety videos. Do I need to sell this any further?
Workin’ Man Noise Unit
Reading’s only crackpot guitar outfit. If you like your music extra heavy, shouty and leaning towards the alt rock sounds of Husker Du & Fugazi then these fitties are gonna be right up your street.
South Street Arts Centre, 9.15pm
Two men play guitar ably assisted by drum machine Dr Rhythm. They aim to unsettle your thought processes with songs about Friar Street and grilled cheese. Think Big Black and Sonic Youth – but from Caversham.
Editor Claire Slobodian picks:
Bad Sounds’ upbeat debut album ‘Get Better’ could be the soundtrack to an LA roadtrip movie. They’ll fill Sub89 with a dreamy ‘70s California vibe and soulful synth. Think early Beck with added funk.
Purple Turtle, 7.30pm
Sets from this Chester trio are enormous, jump-around fun. After supporting Cribs on tour, they bring their jangly, fuzz-filled indie pop back to Reading following an energetic set at Beat Connection back in November. Listen out for recent single release ‘Breakfast’ which is about Brexit, or as Peaness describe it: “like Fyre Festival but on a political scale.”
Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra
St Laurence Church, 5.30pm
Proof that AYL isn’t all noisy guitar bands, Reading’s volunteer-led orchestra play a special folk-inspired programme in the early evening. With upwards of 100 musicians (they won’t all be performing on Saturday), the APO perform uplifting classical concerts with high quality musical standards. I can’t wait to hear their wall of strings echo off the stone walls of St Laurence.