We’re here, it’s hot, the alcohol is flowing and teenage girls are covered in so much glitter they’re using it instead of clothes. Which is great for the first artist we’ve made our way to, Declan Mckenna, stealing the hearts of pre-adolescent Britain. He’s young, confident and girls are screaming (and crying?!) left, right and centre.
At only 18 and playing his first Reading Festival, McKenna has worked hard since winning Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent competition in 2015. Having recently released his Debut album ‘What Do You Think About The Car?’ with singles ‘Brazil’, ‘Humongous’ and ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’, he threw himself into his performance and the crowd, leaving the stage several times to meet and greet his adoring fans and crowd surf on their shoulders.
Performing on the Radio One/NME stage, Declan was a huge success and left to roars (and more tears…) from the crowd. During this brief interlude, us SupaJammers were able to push closer to the front for one of the bands we’ve been waiting for this festival – the upbeat, melodious pop duo Oh Wonder.
Hitting us hard with ‘High On Humans’, Oh Wonder entered their set with energy and passion that continued throughout the entire performance. Lead singer and pianist Josephine Vander Gucht captivated the crowd with her softer vocals, harmonised by guitarist Anthony West, and not a single note was out of place.
Mixing their set with songs from both 2015 album ‘Oh Wonder’ and more recently released ‘Ultralife’, the pair were a picture of positivity and fun from start to finish, never missing a beat and complimenting every song with energy and an infectious smile. It was easy to see why fans knew every lyric to every song, despite the newer album having only been released 6 weeks ago, as the vibe of both the band and the gig was a high-inducing adrenaline rush that left the crowd dancing, singing and roaring in genuine delight.
Instruments dropped out to ‘Without You’ for the final chorus, as well as ‘Landslide’ and the crowd were happy to oblige and fill the space, pouring their hearts into the lyrics ‘I’ll be there for you, you know’ – clearly singing for every hurt, lost soul they could heal with their voices.
Only adding to the love that was felt by all for this performance and the band, Josephine Vander Gucht announced that Anthony West had been attending Reading Festival since he was 15, a testament to his dedication of not only one day fulfilling a dream of playing here – but also that he is made of stronger stuff and can cope camping amidst sweaty, vomity teenagers, year after year. Impressive.
Finishing on ‘Ultralife’ and ‘Loving You’ with a bow, Oh Wonder received adoration along with their applause. Not only had they convinced their audience that they loved being on stage and performing their songs with addictive enthusiasm, they had opened their hearts to fans and allowed them along for the ride – a lift that we all happily accepted and that will carry us around for the rest of the weekend.
1) Getting High on Humans
2) Without You
5) Lose It
6) Technicolour Beat
Reviewed by Becca Walker