Thursday, 17 November 2011

Reading Festival - August Bank Holiday Weekend 1992

The news that Nirvana and The Wonder Stuff were going to headline two nights of the Reading Festival in 1992 was enough to convince Mark, Ivan and me to sign up for weekend tickets. Reading's reputation was as a Somme re-enactment site where men in black T shirts amused themselves between bands by throwing two litre bottles of piss at each other. With that in mind we booked ourselves into a B&B for the duration.

On the Friday morning we exchanged our tickets for wristbands and entered the site just as Redd Kross were finishing their set. On the gate we were given flyers that showed the running order and were sponsored by a new magazine called IndieCator. I don't think that lasted very long. I notice that I have helpfully ticked the bands that we saw, which is good news as I have no memory of several of these even being on, let alone watching them.  The down side is that this now stands as a permanent record of some (with hindsight) tremendously poor choices we made when deciding which bands to watch.
Running Order - click to enlarge

Of the Friday bands I only remember watching PiL and The Wonder Stuff (annoyingly spelt wrong on the flyer).

Well look at that - we passed up the opportunity to see Public Enemy in order to watch BAD II.  Not even the original Big Audio Dynamite; BAD II. I'm pretty sure it rained too. Sigh...  I was impressed by Ride and my first live sightings of The Manics and Rollins did not disappoint. 

The final day was all about the headliners. There had been plenty written in the music press in the previous months (and since) about Kurt Cobain's drug use and speculation was rife that the band were going to break up due to his ill health.  It was therefore quite a relief when they appeared on stage and played a blinding set - their last in England as it turned out. I'll spare you yet another write up of Kurt's entrance and the gig itself, mostly because I have nothing to add to what's already out there, but I will confirm that they were awesome.  There's something about the noise made by three piece bands that really speaks to me and they were on fire that night.  The only down side was that we were further back in the crowd than we would have liked because of another terrible decision on our part - to pass up the chance to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds who were on immediately before Nirvana. Gah...

I believe Kurt had a hand in deciding the rest of the Sunday main stage bill.  I remember very little which is a real shame as I'm a real fan of the Beastie Boys. I do however remember L7 getting pelted with mud and one of the band removing her tampon and throwing it into the crowd to show her displeasure. Nice. 
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