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Published on April 21st, 2017 | by Reading Unplugged


Alt Tracks – Are You Listening? Festival 2017

Our music bloggers Reading Unplugged and Tyler Hallows give their recommendations of some of the fine acts to check out at the 5th annual Are You Listening? Festival this weekend raising funds for Reading Mencap across several venues in town.

Adam & Elvis

10.30pm, Rising Sun Arts Centre

adam and elvis

Adam and Elvis are fast becoming stalwarts on the Reading music scene, and they have been a part of the Reading Unplugged journey since its inception five years ago as a radio show, through to its present day guise as a blog for Alt Reading.

Pat and Tom Malone are still the core of the band who have embarked on a practical objective to release an album every year for the next decade. We are sure to be in for a musical treat at the Rising Sun ArtTwin s Centre this Saturday night of vintage and new material constructed from sharp guitar riffs, and highly driven bass lines which will result in the unique sound of the Adam and Elvis live experience.

Big Zero

2pm, Sub89

big zero

Big Zero return to AYL after their memorable mid-afternoon performance last year at a packed Oakford Social Club where one of the members of the three piece band cut their hand on a guitar string, and bled all over a keyboard during the performance, but still managed to power through to end the set.

We can expect some current material and brand new music resulting from Big Zero’s trademark crossover pop tunes, accompanied by their unique retro branding and love of cassettes, VHS tapes, mannequins and endless high energy stage presence.

Draw the Shades

5.30pm, Rising Sun Arts Centre

draw the shades

Draw The Shades are one of the fastest rising bands in Reading, and they have been rewarded with their very first set at the Are You Listening Festival to round off their Easter break from their studies.

The fantastic female fronted alt rock/punk band will no doubt continue their crusade through those awkward teenage years with this brand new material, and recent vintage material which has brought them to the attention of an ever growing fanbase, and local and national music peers in a very impressive and short space of time.

Dream Wife

7.45pm, Sub89

dream wife

Powerful lyrics and raw uncompromising performances are the basis to the music of Dream Wife. The past year has seen enormous praise for the band, with their live show being noted as being intense, displaying great guitar work and the strong presence of front-woman Rakel Mjöll. Their most recent single ‘Somebody’ is a force of nature, featuring the familiar tones of Dream Wife, but with an underlying groove throughout the track.


8pm, Milk


The Coley Park native and Reading’s most creative young hip-hop and spoken word star has been absent without leave from the local scene for the better of part of the last twelve months. He has been locked away in his home musical studio chamber constructing his new musical project Lucifer’s Journal.

If Eastgreen’s performance from last year’s AYL is anything to go by, then he should have no problem by once again stealing the show at Milk and winning over new fans, as well as reintroducing current ones to his quirky, comical, thought-provoking and unique lyrical content.

Figures of Speech

7.15pm, Milk


It’s been a long time coming, and this Saturday see the first AYL performance, and a well deserved prime time slot for Figures of Speech which has been born from the love and passion of the Vocal Networking collective, a highly ambitious group of musical artists who champion the local urban music scene, under the guise of its head honchos and the Puff Daddy and Dre Dre(s) of Reading, Marcus Data-Scales and Smiley Smuggler, and stellar vocal line up including wordsmith James Tanch and many more.

Their previous midweek performances at the Purple Turtle over the last two years could be reflected on as a much anticipated warm up for what we will witness in Merchants Place to the backdrop of a live UK influenced live fusion of hip-hop, grime and a touch of rock.

Girl Ray

4.15pm, Sub89

girl ray

North London indie-pop trio Girl Ray have been causing a stir with their vividly relatable lyrics and warm instrumentation to make music that is irresistibly enjoyable to listen to. Part of the appeal of Girl Ray, aside from their unique twist on indie-pop, is that its quite simply, three friends in a band having fun, perhaps most evident on their song, ‘I’ll Make This Fun’.


8pm, Purple Turtle


Our local pop smack music heroes continue their quest to spread the gospel according to Mellor as far as possible. They recently were showcased on the evening show on Virgin Radio UK, and recently expanded their live music performance preferences by doing an acoustic performance and intimate gig for Sofa Sounds Reading.

Their prime time slot at the Purple Turtle gives Mellor another unique opportunity to remind fans of the constant hard work which goes into all their live performances which is comically and enthusiastically held together by their frontman and vocalist, Gary Kingham.

Spring King

9pm, Sub89

spring kings

If you’ve ever seen Spring King before you know full well how sweaty this mosh-pit fuelled set at Are You Listening is going to be. If you haven’t seen them before, you are in for a treat. Spring King play with intense energy, led by breakneck guitars and a commanding rhythm section to blow your socks off. Headlining Sub89 at this year’s festival, they are sure to close the venue off in style with songs like ‘Who Are You’ that will have you singing along to the lyrics, even without any prior knowledge of the band.

The Big Moon

6.15pm, Sub89

big moon

Having just released their debut album ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’, The Big Moon are back in Reading to play tracks off the album and have an all round party. They’re live shows are among the best and most fun in the country right now, and the venues they play are increasing in size rapidly. Songs like ‘Cupid’ show the brilliance in The Big Moon’s song writing, and highlights the tongue in cheek story-telling lyrics of singer, Juliette Jackson.

Trudy & The Romance

4.45pm, Purple Turtle


Mixing the sounds of doo-wop into alternative rock seems like an impossible task, but Trudy and the Romance do just that, in an original and undeniably enjoyable way. Their live show adds a new sense of intensity to their songs, led by remarkable guitar playing and inter-winding harmonies. ‘My Baby’s Gone Away’ best displays the band in their element. Easily one of the most interesting bands playing Are You Listening this year!

Twin Sun

7.30pm, St. Laurence’s Church

twin sun

The highlight of last year’s AYL Festival had to be the conversation of St Laurence’s Church being transformed to provide short term accommodation for many of the dance and uptempto acts which graced the venue for the very first time.

This success will be hopefully repeated this year when once again the DJ/production duo of Pete Wheeler and Jamie Wilcox will be part of the festivities bringing their unique soundtrack of exclusive edits, alongside classic and current material which has seen the duo in the last twelve months alone work alongside local talent such as Saltwater Sun and Sami Switch, and gaining airplay on the likes of Amazing Radio and BBC Radio 1.

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