Although it has been running for four years this is the first time that I have gone to the Are You Listening? festival (AYL) in Reading. AYL is a one day music event that showcases (mainly) local music in bars and event spaces around the town (so no mud and getting wet) in aid of the charity Mencap.
Starting at 2pm there are over 70 acts through the day at nine venues. And there is something for everyone from rock to folk to DJ sets and even a bit of close harmony.
Like all festivals the quality of the bands on offer increases the later in the day it gets and it was the same here. During my limited time yesterday I saw all of the following:
- Mickey & the Milkshake
- The Royal Harmonics
- Jazz Morley
- Big Zero
The lead singer had such stage presence and he knew it. He could work the audience better than a lot of hardened pros I have seen over the years. He also suffered for his art cutting his finger and leaving a slick coating of blood on his guitar strings.
The acid test is would I buy and for Jazz Morely and Big Zero I probably would.