Welcome to the Room Thirteen live music in 2007 round up. Here you’ll get links to all the festival coverage we brought you, a collection of some of the key tours we attended, plus some of our most prolific live reviewers give their top five gigs of the year.


It was another extremely busy summer for live music. The rain did it’s best to make life uncomfortable, Glastonbury, T, Global Gathering and V among the big names to get a drenching, not to mention the likes of Reading where a site redesign was called for, Truck that was rescheduled and Fflam which never made it at all. But it takes more than a bit of mud and rain to stop the mass ranks of the British music fans from having a good time.

There is a growing grumble from some sections of the music media that there are simply too many festivals. One of the arguments put forward as to why this might be the case is that a number of events this summer had similar collections of headline acts, with many of the smaller stages also seeming to have plenty of the same bands appearing. Sure if it’s your job to go to festivals the fact that the Killers headlined Glastonbury, T in the Park and V is going to make life boring, but how many paying punters will go to all three? On the upside, Reading and Leeds produced a headline trio not mirrored elsewhere. The Smashing Pumpkins reformation was one of the most eagerly awaited shows of the summer (and didn’t disappoint), it was just a shame the Chili Peppers were well below their best, and then there was Razorlight, but Ash and Jimmy Eat World were on elsewhere at the same time so it was far from disastrous. Download was, as you’d expect, largely duplicate free too, Iron Maiden and Linkin Park made their only major UK appearances here this summer, with My Chemical Romance also popping up on the second stage at T in the Park, as well as with Muse at Wembley.

Then there’s the atmosphere question. Michael Eavis claimed that Glastonbury this year was simply too middle aged and middle class, but with the ticket prices among the most expensive for any festival are we really surprised? That’s not to say that Glasto isn’t value for money if you like that kind of thing, given the enormous variety across the range of stages, or that the anti tout measures they brought in weren’t worth doing, but it seems here more than anywhere else, with success and demand comes a price to be paid: both from the fans and the events point of view.

Those who it was suggested have taken the edge off Glastonbury have as much right to go there as anyone else, and with the number of events on offer, a new generation of festival goer simply wants to go somewhere else, because My Chemical Romance, Gallows and Foo Fighters are probably too heavy, and Klaxons, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire and Biffy Clyro can be seen elsewhere, that isn’t as pricey and doesn’t involve as much traveling: another reason why more doesn’t automatically mean bad.

V often gets the atmosphere-less finger of blame pointed towards it. The Chelmsford and Stafford festival is what it is, and doesn’t hide from being an event that caters for the mainstream, with sponsorship and adverts coming at you from all angles. Granted the only people who claim it to be the stand out event of the summer are Virgin Radio DJs, but it has it’s place, all be it a place where James Morrison, Mcfly and Mika are just as welcome as the Foo Fighters, Manic Street Preachers and Iggy and the Stooges. For every V and O2 Wireless, there’s Bestival, Guilfest, Indian Summer and Bloodstock Open Air, all offering something truly unique, with an atmosphere, line up and price that pretty much hits the spot. They’re also events that don’t get nearly the press coverage they deserve.

Room Thirteen isn’t, and never has been, a festival only website, however with so much of the summer taken up with them, they’re a big part of what we do. In 2007 the heavyweights were covered, like Iron Maiden and My Chemical Romance at Download, Smashing Pumpkins at Leeds, Foo Fighters at V Brian Wilson at T in the Park and Muse and the Stones on the Isle of Wight, but we’ll go anywhere if it looks like it might give us a good weekend.

We returned to Guilfest for the third year, and headed to Derby for the bigger than ever Bloodstock Open Air. As well as covering Camden Crawl, we had a nose round the much smaller, but similar in ethos event in Salford called The Sounds From the Other City Festival. We also checked out two events marking note worthy milestones, 24 years of the Rock and Blues Custom Show and the 35th anniversary of the Cambridge Strawberry Fair.

Our search for decent music in interesting places took us abroad too. One of the biggest European events is Spain’s Benicassim and we went to find out why. Rock and metal needs were catered for with Hellfest in France and the Dutch festival Rosrock, plus we even found our way to the music press favourite early year hang out of South by South West in Texas: although you might not think it, actual members of the public can go there too!

Our most diverse summer yet saw a guide to the world’s biggest arts extravaganza: The 60th Edinburgh Festival. And once the weather got cold and the nights drew in, it was back to In The City, and a trip to the debut for Hard Rock Hell.

Click links below for set Reviews from the likes of Download, Leeds, Isle of Wight, Guilfest and Bloodstock.

Benicassim Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Iggy and the Stooges, The Hives and Kings of Leon hit Spain.
Bloodstock Open Air Testament, Lacuna Coil, Arch Enemy and In Flames played the biggest ever BOA.
Camden Crawl Biffy Clyro, Damned, Calvin Harris, Shy Child, The Whip and Frank Turner over two nights in London NW1.
Connect Beastie Boys, Primal Scream, CSS and Emma Pollock played this new Scottish festival.
Download Iron Maiden, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, Velvet Revolver, Lamb of God, Gallows, Motley Crue, Megadeth and Billy Talent.
Guilfest Supergrass, Madness, Reuben, Ordinary Boys, Zico Chain and My Vitriol.
Hard Rock Hell Cradle of Filth, Saxon, McQueen and Turrisas went to the Minehead Butlins for a winter weekend away.
In The City At Manchester’s annual new music showcase we caught Palladium, SixNationState and This Is My Lawnmower.
Indian Summer Flaming Lips, Wilco and Emma Pollock played Glasgow’s Victoria Park.
Isle of Wight Rolling Stones, Muse, Ash, Snow Patrol and Amy Winehouse (who actually turned up to this one).
Latitude Arcade Fire, The Good, The Bad and the Queen, Jarvis Cocker and CSS in the Suffolk countryside.
Leeds Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ash, Nine Inch Nails, Lostprophets, Funeral For A Friend and Jimmy Eat World.
O2 Wireless White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age, Satellite Party and The Thrills in London.
Prog Power UK Jon Oliva's Pain, Kamelot and Leaves' Eyes headed to Cheltenham in March.
Rock Ness Charlatans, Manic Street Preachers and El Presidente on the banks of Loch Ness.
T in the Park Brian Wilson, The Gossip and Reverend and the Makers.
T on the Fringe Interpol, Shins and Seasick Steve at venues around Edinburgh.
V (Staffordshire) Foo Fighters, Manic Street Preachers, Basement Jaxx, James, Mumm-Ra and Lily Allen.

Question: how many times have you heard people banging on about how festivals are about much more than just the music?

Lots, so have we!

So because festivals are about so much more than bla bla bla, get further coverage of some of those listed above, plus more that weren’t including Hellfest and Rosrock from Europe, SxSW in Texas and our first visit to Bestival on the Isle of Wight.

Bloodstock Open Air
Cambridge Strawberry Fair
Camden Crawl
Edinburgh Fringe
Hellfest (France)
In The City
Isle of Wight
Indian Summer
O2 Wireless
Prog Power UK
Rock and Blues
Rock Ness
Rosrock (Holland)
Sounds From the Other City
South By South West (Texas)
T in the Park
V (Staffordshire)

Writer Top Fives

Andy Latham: North of England Reviewer

1. Capdown at Manchester Academy 3 in February
Surprisingly not their farewell tour performance; this one came early in the year on the release of the last album and it was just outstanding. I don't give many 13/13 but Capdown got one for this, it was just everything that a gig should be - great sound, brilliant performance, great crowd, great set, couldn't fault it.

2. Frank Turner at Manchester Night and Day in January
It was a toss up between this & his Leeds Festival performance but I went for this one because it really was the breakthrough moment. The album had just come out and where 6 months earlier he was playing to 20 or 30 people, suddenly here he was in a packed out venue with a full band for the first time and it was just brilliant to see all that hard work pay off. "He's found his sound and at last he's found his crowd.”

3. Wildhearts at Manchester Academy 2 in May
The Wildhearts returned with a new album, a new line up and just nailed it. A brilliant set that saw them resume their rightful place as one of the best live bands around.

4. Ghost of a Thousand at Manchester Attic in April
There were only 20 people in attendance (I counted!) & 15 of them were from the support bands! This was the first time I'd seen them live and they were brilliant. Great hardcore bands are few and far between but on this showing Ghost of a Thousand are hardcore legends in the making.

5. Lamb Of God at Download
Lamb of God just blew me away, I'm not a huge fan of their music but this was just a stunning performance that had the crowd going crazy & the drumming was just amazing. "A thoroughly impressive display of outstanding musicianship that never becomes self indulgent or boring is the hallmark of Lamb of God's set today and it puts them right up there with the best bands of the weekend. Devastatingly good!"

Andy Reilly: Scotland Reviewer

1. Amiina at Glasgow Mono in May
4 Icelandic girls making music as heavenly as Sigur Ros but with a wider range of instruments in an amazing venue. A gig that had nothing to fault.

2. The Whip, first night of their two sets at Camden Crawl
I had really enjoyed what I had heard of The Whip and they didn’t disappoint over the Camden weekend. Their first gig tops it due to the element of surprise and the set-list which had 'Frustration' later in the gig.

3. LCD Soundsystem at Glasgow Barrowlands in April
Filling a set with a lot of new material before the album is released can be tricky but all the new tracks sounded brilliant. When coupled with some old classics, it was a euphoric and immensely enjoyable set.

4. Emma Pollock at Glasgow Mono in September
Building on her festival performances, Emma’s album launch show proved that the hopes for her were correct and she was relaxed and confident in the album just made, which again, was fully justified.

5. Who Made Who at Benicassim
They were added to the main stage as last minute subs for Klaxons and turned in a performance so good that no one minded. Their cover of 'Satisfaction’ was the hit of the weekend.

Jo Vallance: Editor

1. Jesse Malin at London Islington Academy in January
In a showcase performing tunes from his new album, and well-loved numbers alike, Malin sets the standard for the rest of the year, whipping the crowd up with his pithy anecdotes and touching tunes. Bruce Springsteen loves his harrowing honesty; an endorsement which is impossible to ignore.

2. Brett Anderson at Munich Backstage Werk in April
Anderson's fairly dour new album is brought to life and filled with energy during this performance, which sees the singer return to Suede splendour, never lacking in that special charisma that keeps the crowd enthralled.

3. Arcade Fire at Latitude Festival
After cancellations on their earlier European tour there was even more anticipation for Arcade Fire's Latitude performance and it's only fitting that such an eccentric and engaging band get to close the final night of this unique festival. The band even commands the night sky as their Chinese lanterns beckon the beginning of a fresh rain shower. Simply epic.

4. Patrick Wolf at Latitude Festival
In a tent in the wood, the youth singer feeds off the proximity to nature and puts on a sparkling show with glitterball and wolf howls in such a magical setting.

5. Neil Leyton at Weekender Club Innsbruck in May
It takes an impressive amount of confidence to pull out all the stops and perform for over an hour and a half to a fairly limited crowd, yet Neil Leyton is a consummate professional, enjoying every minute of his set and giving his all, including acoustic offerings and political banter.

Simon Webb: Deputy Editor

1. Frank Turner at Leeds Festival
This was the climax of my year and a half of watching the rise of Frank Turner. From a half empty pub in Kingston to a packed tent at the Leeds Festival, this had the same feeling of backing a 40/1 long shot that goes on to win the Grand National: not that I’ve ever been that good at picking horses.

2. Manic Street Preachers at V Staffordshire
The Manics have always been one of my favourite live bands. Maybe it was the length of time since I’d last seen them, perhaps it was the crap weather, or that V 2007 was far from being the best line up of the summer. Either way this hit heavy set punched it’s wait far above the rest that weekend.

3. Metallica at Wembley Stadium in July
Having been very disappointed by Wembley Stadium on the night Muse played, I wasn’t bursting with excitement for this gig. The sound at pitch level is way better than in the seats, and Metallica played a blinder. There was only one song in the setlist from later than 1991 album ‘Metallica, which made this a collectors item for anyone that claims to be a metal fan.

4. Jimmy Cliff at Guilfest
I didn’t think I knew many of his songs before hand, but Jimmy Cliff delivered a faultless display of feel good reggae classics, coupled with an ability to entertain most could only dream of. A great hang over cure in the Surrey sunshine.

5. Snow Patrol at The Isle of Wight Festival
The Stones were grabbing most of the pre-event media hype and the Muse set was being billed as a warm up for Wembley Stadium meaning that Snow Patrol, playing on the opening night (the half day), could have been viewed as the soup of the festival: alright as a starter while it lasted but long forgotten by the end. Far from it! I was skeptical as to how they’d handle a headline spot but they proved my doubts wrong, so much so that I made a mate watch them at V to rid him of his doubts too.

Jodie Woodgate: South Based Reviewer

1. My Chemical Romance at Brighton Centre: Black Parade Spring Tour in February
After months of hype and promises of theatrics MCR finally brought the Black Parade to life on our shores. From Gerard Way being wheeled out on a hospital gurney to the pyros that threatened to transform Brighton into the towering inferno it was all there proving just why this is a band dominating everyone’s attention. For me this was a tough choice though as having religiously followed every MCR tour this year their final show at London’s O2 Arena this November was simply mind blowing and a true fan treat with rarities and B sides making appearances to unite old and new fans alike but in the end the Black Parade bravely played live and in full just clinched it.

2. The Killers at Wembley Arena in February
Brandon Flowers and co brought a little bit of Vegas to the North of London as Wembley Arena received some much needed glitz and glamour. From tales of murder to fear of flying no subject was avoided and with a resounding rendition of ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ closing the set you were left exhausted but extremely happy.

3. Billy Talent at Download Festival
Up against the mighty Maiden the Canadians and their squeaky voiced lead singer had a tough job but from the instant they bounced onto the stage to the communal call to arms of ‘Red Flag’ Billy Talent proved seeing them was definitely the right choice.

4. Biffy Clyro at Download Festival
It seems the cries of “‘Mon The Biffy” have finally stopped falling on deaf ears as people sat up and took notice of the trio and whilst the fun packed jaunt of ‘Whose Got A Match?’ will liven up any gig it was the spine tingling colossus of ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies’ that made you glad to be stood in a tent on a baking hot day in June.

5. Muse at Wembley Stadium in June
Over the two days the Sunday line up may have boasted the heavier rock acts but it was Muse’s performance on Saturday that proved why they were the best British band to play Wembley first. As soon as ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ heralded the bands entrance the crowd seemed to be jumping as one never letting up throughout the set even when acrobat sailed above their heads! Add to this a set list covering all bases and no one could possibly have left disappointed.

Pete Worral: Metal Reviewer

1. Dream Theater at Manchester/Blackburn in November
My advice to every Dream Theater fan is to make the effort to see these guys at least twice because you never know what you're going to get. It was refreshing to see a band explore their back catalogue rather than stick with a rigid set list.

2. Saxon at Manchester Academy in April
My neck was beginning to ache after two hours of almost constant head bobbing and turning to my party of five it was all agreed that this was Saxon at their best. I think Biff said it best, "a lot of you are just standing there...I bet you'd forgotten we were this good,” … and he was probably right.

3. Arch Enemy at Bloodstock Open Air
Christopher Amott has recently returned to the band after a brief hiatus and it was obvious the rest of the performers were rejuvenated because of this. Maybe this was the defining element of their performance, who knows? But it was great to watch and collectively appreciate some truly wonderful guitar trade-offs.

4. Jon Oliva's Pain at Prog Power UK
It's not often the UK is blessed by Jon's presence and the crowd would've stayed until the early hours if they had to. A great show, a great set and a frank reminder of how much of a class act Savatage were and still is within the hearts of Jon Oliva's Pain.

5. Firewind at Bloodstock Open Air
There were times during the festival when bands were on for thirty minutes and it seemed like an hour, Firewind were on for fifty minutes and it seemed like fifteen.

Other Live Highlights

Click here for all our live reviews from 2007, with a few key gigs linked below.

30 Seconds to Mars at London Brixton Academy in September
Arctic Monkeys at Glasgow Barrowlands in April
Ash at Newcastle University in February
Bouncing Souls at Manchester Academy 3 in February
Bill Callahan (Smog) at Glasgow ABC 2 in May
Capdown Farewell Tour at Manchester Academy 3 in October
Cooper Temple Clause at London Shepherd’s Bush Empire in April
Enter Shikari at Brighton Dome in November
Foo Fighters at London O2 Arena in November
Franz Ferdinand at Glasgow Grand Ole Opry in June
Gallows at Bristol Academy in June
Get Happy 2 Tour at Swindon Oasis in October featuring Bowling for Soup, Bloodhound Gang, Zebrahead and Army of Freshmen
Half Man Half Biscuit at Cardiff Point in March
Heaven and Hell at Manchester Men Arena in November
The Hold Steady at London Shepherd’s Bush Empire in June
Killswitch Engage at Manchester Academy in January
Kings of Leon at Glasgow Academy in April
Lostprophets at London Wembley Arena in April
Mastodon at Manchester Academy 2 in March
McQueen Halloween Home Coming Tour at Nottingham Rock City in October
Nine Inch Nails at Manchester Apollo in February
NOFX at Liverpool Academy in November
Jack Penate at Southampton Lennons in March
Porcupine Tree at Preston 53 Degrees in April
Reverend and the Makers at Edinburgh Liquid Rooms in October
Sex Pistols at Manchester MEN Arena in November
Softcore Tour at Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach in September featuring Frank Turner, Jonah Matranga, Jacob Golden and Joshua English
Super Furry Animals at Glasgow Barrowlands in October
Taste of Chaos at London Brixton Academy in November featuring The Used, Rise Against, Gallows, Aiden and The Blackout
The Verve Reunion Show at Glasgow Academy in November

So that was 2007. Roll on 2008, the year that Iron Maiden play their first ever UK stadium date, Foo Fighters are the latest rock act to hit the new Wembley, Smashing Pumpkins return to play arenas in February, Radiohead take 'In Rainbows' on the road in June, and frankly who knows what else. Will Led Zep tour? Are Rage Against the Machine heading for a UK festival? Who will be the must see bands of the year? More importantly, who will we be saying are the must see bands twelve months on that none of us have heard of right now?