They would have been opening-night heroes had Cypress Hill not followed with an inebriating punch of rap and hip-hop. Their disarming humour negates the po-faced machismo which so often dogs the rap scene. And they counter live rap's tendency to be little more than two Adidas-kitted boyz in hoods stalking the stage hectoring the audience.
Enter the dock, then, Ice Cube. Apart from a moment of sensitivity so rare it stung, with Cube commanding silence for the fan stabbed to death at his Glasgow gig, the set was a dismal pantomime. When he and his stooge began bickering about whether or not it was indeed a man's, man's, man's world, the dispute was settled by a laughable indulgence ('All the fellas in the house say Yo]') that Chas & Dave would have been ashamed to instigate.
If Saturday's two stages delivered an impossible predicament - Shed Seven, a band on their way up, or the near- imploded Manic Street Preachers - then there was no such quandary for the congregation gathered before Primal Scream. Opening with the triple-whammy of 'Jailbird', 'Rocks' and the gospel-flavoured 'Movin' On Up', the heights their funk- rock scaled cannot be charted on any graph. The pairing of the emaciated, Pierrot-like Bobby Gillespie and the sensuous backing singer Denise might be the most absurd since Sonny & Cher, but they engage in some infectious camaraderie. Building to a colossal 'Loaded', where the Clash's Mick Jones chipped in, the show closed with that most showbiz of traditions, the reprise ('Rocks', in case one helping didn't sate you), proving that there can never be too much of a good thing.
Ryan Gilbey will file a further report on the Reading Festival on Thursday's Pop pagesReuse content