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Kitten Goes To Reading & Gets Her Paws MMMuddy-Ugh! 26th Aug 2000

Ok, so what gives? Sunshinin’ bright all week and on my fave day of the year, the annual knees up at Reading Fest. It goes all grey and, worse, wet. And we all know cool cats hate the wet. This is the reason why you’ll never EVER find Kitten camping (in a tent I mean). I’ve seen the campsite; I know what I’m talking about here. Indeed, as we pussyfoot our way up to the campsite entrance, we find total human gridlock as a big bunch of people try to negotiate an especially large muddy puddle (or possibly Reading has a new lake). Taking a leafy detour, we manage to avoid standing up to our delicate white ankles in sludge for the next hour and make it onto the site proper ensconcing ourselves in front of the main stage in time for…

Gorkys Zygotic Mynci: The rain is blasted into submission as Euros Childs strides onto the stage yelling, ‘Reading I wanna see you ROCK!’ Oh, no, it merely maintains a misty drizzle as there is an immediate extended technical hitch (something about distortion pedals) before nary a note is played.

Euros fidgets a bit embarrassedly and so do we until they manage to cast off onto a lulling sea of loveliness. Sounds soothing through the raindrops. Gorkys are the perfect outdoor band, a bit of pastoral melancholia on a grey day with ‘Faraway Eyes’. They can get away with playing a song called ‘Christmas Eve’ at a summer (?) festival and the sunbaked sounds of ‘Spanish Dance Troupe’ even coax out glimmers of sunshine. There's ‘Poodle Rockin’ and a fantastic ‘Sweet Johnny’ complete with perfect wig out mental scrawley middle, a couple of new ones which already sound brilliant and er, some other bits. In between songs we can here blasts of sound from elsewhere, ‘Keep it down at the back, we’re trying to play a fucking gig here!’, Euros‘ charm is so winning that I won’t even mention that irritating comedy northener type bloke and his unfunny quips who seems to be playing with them.

Right, extricate ourselves from the onslaught of kids that begins as Gorky’s final notes fade (they’re en route to THE FRONT for Idlewild), and march briskly, if slideily, to the Evening Sesh tent chanting ‘TRAILOFDEAD TRAILOFDEAD TRAILOFDEAD’ to find…

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead playing ‘Mark David Chapman’ Kitten’s toppermost of the poppermost Trailies song, even if it does always sound like its going to become ‘Teenage Riot’. Can’t see much, but the sound is a wet sheep of muzz, boo! Hang on, I can see now. Hey like todally cool black clad modhair guys walking it like they talk it with cool jumps and mucho instrument swapping. Everyone’s ready to go for it in a noisefest freakout stylee, but the sound just isn’t getting there. Its too muted, nothing sounds nailed down and claustrophobic enough for a proper explosion of sound to happen. Trail of Dead do their best to give it some welly (appropriate given the conditions really) ending with the finale of ‘fuckyou! fuckyou! fuckyou! fuckyou! fuckyou!’ on ‘A Perfect Teenhood’ amid splintering guitars. Cool, but not skyscraping.

Stumbling out into the grey daylight we pass…

Idlewild throwing their argumentative shapes, our review goes thus:

‘Sounds pretty cool, a bit Seafoody.’

‘Sounds like Big Country to me.'

'Nice stripey jumper.'

wrist band
A splashy downpour begins. Back to the sesh tent. Sitting on a sheet of newspaper (style at all times, darlings), we crack a new bottle of Vod and contemplate the mystery that is…

Terris. We conclude: Toolouddrumsploddingordinaryrock Birdland (eek!) with lead in their boots, pass the bottle. Then, somehow…

Darkstar happen and I don’t remember, though later I find my scrawled notes which read, ‘(something something), lots of fat blokes and fat girls.’ The definitive Darkstar review, I think you’ll agree.

The first time I saw …

Queens of the Stone Age they were being overly loud supporting Hole. That’s not music its just a noise! This time its pretty darn heavy music. That bloke looks like a turnip. Why do blokes do that with bald heads and chin beards? They do ‘Feel Good Hit of The Summer’ the title unfortunately usurps the song. We walk away to catch the end of…

Elastica and they’re playing their usual stuff. Doesn’t work in broad daylight. Justine’s bright pink visor doesn’t work anywhere. Ever. At the end as the crowd exchanges personnel, we take up our positions for…

Super Furry Animals and the SUN SHINES. Its sunny AND Super Furries are here. Have I entered another realm where all is well in the world and Gomez aren’t really on next? For a while I have. Gruff could come on and stand there naked for fifty minutes (hey how ‘bout it?) and I would still be thrilled, but actually, there’s ‘Do or Die’, there’s ‘Northern Lites’, there’s ‘Turning Tide’ there are lovely mwngsongs, theres a riot in the pit for ‘Calimero’, we laugh when we get facefuls of water. (One of the things about Reading is the democratic way everyone ends up getting soaked, if you manage to avoid the rain, then howsabout a refreshing pint of water, hurled with great force? It means you can get wet even when you’re inside. Cheers!) theres ‘Demons’ and ‘Night Vision’, I find 50p in the mud!

We concentrate hard on Gruff’s splendid Gruffosity. He has a slightly odd haircut, a fantastic grin, is wearing enormo buggin’ wraparound shades and a red shirt which bears a remarkable resemblance to that blue shirt he wore at the Scala and that orange shirt he wore somewhere else. For completists, he also has grey trousers and a yellow watch, couldn’t see the shoes. He comes on doing directing-the-suns-rays-onto-ones-head arm movements and tells us we should keep doing that if we want the sun to stay shining. We don’t do it, but it shines on anyway because the Super Furries are wizards and true stars. ‘The Man Don’t Give a Fuck’ is brought out for an airing. We all lose it big time. It doesn’t go on even a zillionth long enough. They’ve run out of time which means the ’monsters’ (a motley gang, not the monsters we’re used to) barely have time to march out and salute before they’re ushered off. Amusingly, the Panda (since when has a Panda been a type of monster?) tries to come on early and gets pushed back into the wings by Gruff who is both eager to maintain monster equality and to demonstrate his Super Furry dominance over all. Hurrah! We are happy. Can we go home now?

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