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EDITIONS
Monday, 26 August, 2002, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Slipknot liven up Reading's finale
Reading wheelie bin
Even a wheelie bin became part of the Slipknot show

It was a day that began with some of the best rock performances of the weekend - and ended in ska.

But there was a place for everything on the Reading Festival's final day - even a wheelie bin.

Well before all that, The Shining were playing to an unknown audience in the Evening Session tent.

Front man Duncan Baxter is clearly positioned between the stage poise of Liam Gallagher and the sound of Richard Ashcroft, but time and again his voice reached all the (stunningly high) notes required of it. Another promising new band, then.

Over at the Carling Stage, all hell was breaking loose as Hell Is For Heroes bemoaned having photographers between themselves and their audience. The photographers were ordered out of the pit as stage dive after stage dive threatened the security staff in the small tent.

And they were loud. Very loud. The single I Can Climb Mountains had the whole place moshing for all it was worth.

Slipknot
Offally good: Slipknot proved entertaining
Biffy Clyro had a tough time following them, but the Scottish band had clearly brought in busloads of support as their more reflective style of rock provided the perfect antidote to the carnage of earlier.

But we were interested in seeing a late addition to the bill in the form of So Solid Crew's Oxide & Neutrino - and we weren't to be disappointed.

Gruesome

MC Neutrino scarcely paused for breath as Oxide dished up unsuppressable drum'n'bass beats.

Over on the main stage, a stage show in every sense of the word was about to take place. We'd heard rumours of Slipknot ordering cow intestines to throw at their audience, so were expecting the worst when the band, clad in their gruesome masks, strutted onto the stage.

There was a palpable rise in the audience's sense of excitement. For the first time it seemed like anarchy might actually overcome the organisers' carefully-laid plans.

Six By Seven singer Chris Olley
Six By Seven also played Reading on Sunday
With choreographed headbanging, drums which aren't drums but stage props and overalls to protect them from the deluge of fruit and bottles lobbed at them, Slipknot were mighty to watch.

True, they aren't much to listen to. The point of this band is entertainment rather than music - but they really know how to put on a show. They give the audience what it wants - a rise in blood pressure, not least at the eardrums.

The clown jumped onto drums which rose skyward as a wheelie bin, of all things, was used by inspired members of the audience to create a makeshift sub-stage. Eventually, even that was thrown over the security cordon.

There was much swearing and finger-gestures, the whole hilarious spectacle coming to a head when the band thanked the audience "from the bottom of our hearts". How very dangerous!

Mike Skinner
The Streets: Mikey on the mic
Surely Slipknot would be the story of the day, but we hadn't reckoned on Mike Skinner's Mercury-nominated The Streets being up to much live. How wrong we were.

Feelgood beats

The little bloke they call Mikey lapped it up like a seasoned performer.

The audience howled its appreciation as Let's Push Things Forward and set closer Weak Become Heroes in particular sent the whole place abuzz with feelgood beats and thoughtful lyrical musings.

After The Streets and Slipknot, The Prodigy had to offer something very special indeed.

Prodigy
The Prodigy closed proceedings on Sunday
Expecting tracks from their forthcoming new album, the audience was pleasantly surprised to hear a collection of old favourites - Poison and Breathe going down well.

There were new tracks too, like Baby's Got A Temper and a particularly jarring ska piece complete with saxophone, which had the moshers at the front going for broke. They kept it up for the set's closing tracks Firestarter and Fuel My Fire.

But the sets of the day had already been played, as the Reading Festival closed its gates for another year.


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