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Sunday, 26 August, 2001, 01:36 GMT 02:36 UK
Manic day at scorched Reading
Manic Street Preachers
Manics: Treated fans to a cover of Van Halen's Jump
By the BBC's Ian Youngs and Martin Vennard in Reading

They are Fidel Castro's favourite band - or at least that is how the Manic Street Preachers were introduced onto the Reading festival's main stage.

Reading Festival crowd
The atmosphere and weather were both bright
A recent trip to Cuba obviously made a big impression on Saturday's headliners, who flew the Cuban flag on stage alongside that of their home nation Wales.

And bassist Nicky Wire dressed in a camouflage jacket and mini-skirt that surely would have made Fidel Castro proud.

They even invited Cuban trumpeter Yasek Manzano - who played with them in Havana - on stage to add an extra dimension to their guitars and drums.

Frank Black
Frank Black: Gave younger bands a run for their money
With a cover version of Van Halen's Jump, Manzano was not the only surprise - but singer James Dean Bradfield soon had them back on familiar territory with hits like A Design For Life.

They rounded off a day which had seen storming performances by many bands - including Supergrass, Feeder and the Fun Lovin Criminals - plus an atmosphere that kept getting better and sunny weather that was ideal.

It took a while for the crowd to work up much enthusiasm, though - and shake off the hangovers.

Rancid
Rancid: Keeping the spirit of punk alive
Californian skate punks OPM tried to wake everyone up with an early afternoon slot on the main stage - but despite their anger and energy, only hit single Heaven Is A Halfpipe did enough to inspire the crowd.

Trail Of Dead were next, and raised the pace a notch with driving guitar rhythms, before Godfather of Grunge Frank Black proved he can still cut it with the younger and thinner stars.

The former Pixies frontman hurled out smooth slabs of thumping rock, which told anyone listening that they should consider him a legend of American guitar music.

Elbow
Elbow left thousands of fans spellbound
Rancid followed and kept the original punk spirit alive - but for those whose musical tastes have evolved over the last 20 years, Mercury nominees Elbow were on the Evening Session stage.

They held those in the tent in their spell with haunting music and lyrics that slice through emotions like shrapnel.

Those who walked past the Concrete Jungle tent while Save Ferris were on were stopped dead in their tracks.

Reading reveller
A range of costumes was seen on the site
This new band fused jazz, blues and funk, while their singer's stage presence was as impressive as her voice.

Back on the main stage, Brit rockers Feeder were being one of the most friendly groups of the festival so far.

Singer Grant Nicholas dedicated a song to the Fun Lovin Criminals - a gesture that was later returned.

And when they climaxed with a cover of The Police's I Can't Stand Losing You, Feeder frenzy had broken out in the crowd.

Supergrass
Supergrass treated fans to some new songs
Supergrass played next and wanted to remind us that they are not going to fade into obscurity with most other Britpop bands despite having been quiet lately.

They have nothing to worry about, if Saturday's performance is anything to go by.

The crowd took the hit Moving literally and started dancing more than they had for any other band all weekend when it was played.

And the new songs the band premièred proved they can keep up the high standard.

Mogwai
Mogwai: Headlined Evening Session stage
For some reason, those melodic Scotsmen Teenage Fanclub attracted a large Japanese following, who made up a good part of the audience in the Evening Session tent.

But their fan club had certainly grown by the time they finished with their debut single Everything Flows.

In the main arena, the Fun Lovin Criminals seemed like an odd choice to be made vice-headliners, but they turned up the guitars and turned down the loungecore and seemed to surprise themselves by how well they went down.

Rocket From The Crypt
Rocket From The Crypt: The crowd surfer's choice
Lead singer Huey looked shocked when 30,000 people started bouncing along to Scooby Snacks.

Scottish noisesmiths Mogwai headlined the Evening Session stage while US rockers Rocket From The Crypt provoked the most crowd surfing per square foot in the Concrete Jungle tent as the Manics were closing proceedings on the main stage.

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The BBC's Alex Stanger's
10 step guide to surviving the Reading festival


Behind the beat

Clickable guide
See also:

25 Aug 01 | Music
Reading Festival: In pictures
25 Aug 01 | Reviews
Rock reigns at Reading
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