I had the best day ever and it’s honestly the best festival I’ve ever experienced. All thanks to the main man Salim (First photo, man on right). Words cannot express how thankful and grateful I am for him and how generous he is with sharing his experience.
On the way back to London on the train last night, I was just sitting there stunned with life. I mean think about it. It’s not everyday a KL girl gets to experience all this first hand!
When I first got there, I was a little nervous. I honestly don’t know how European festivals work and I was pretty sure they were gonna be a lot different from the festivals we have at home. I got into the festival and had to make a long walk to Bad Rabbits’ stage, the BBC 1Xtra stage.
Walking by, I saw the rides and the food stalls and all these people just sprawled all over the place. Finally, at the BBC 1Xtra stage, Salim came out to get me and we went to chill backstage.
I don’t know if I came off as snobbish or sombong as we call it, but I was really quiet. I was really shy. I had met Bad Rabbits the night before but it was in a loud place and it was hard to talk to them then, let alone at the festival where it was quieter and I didn’t know what to say. I just hung around and kicked at the mud at my feet until Salim had to go perform and his (my new friend) friend Juliana came with me to stand out front and watch them.
The sound was great (duh, would the Reading fest settle for any less?) and people started piling in, filing up the tent up to the point that Juliana and I had to look for space to dance. Everyone was moving and singing along and crowd surfing! And bear in mind, Bad Rabbits’ music is like groovy ass R&B mixed with a little rock. I just love seeing people have a good time and I could see from the look on Salim’s face on stage, he was overwhelmed.
After their set, Juliana and I went backstage to congratulate the boys on a crazy amazing show. She mentioned how proud she was of them—they’ve been friends for 13 years!
I waited for Salim to finish eating, grabbed his stuff, and headed over to the Guest Area where he would be spinning some tunes. On the way there I caught a song from Clean Bandit.
When we got to the Guest Area, Salim went ahead to set up his DJ set and I headed back out to catch a couple of songs from Sleeping With Sirens. Sang at the top of my lungs standing by myself. It was quite a sight. Then I headed back to the Guest Area to find Salim busting out some Prince. Danced and danced till the couch area cleared up and then I had to sit the heck down. Haha. My legs were just exhausted.
Salim finished his set and said, “Let’s go watch A Day To Remember.” I nodded excitedly and responded with a, “I’ve never seen them live!”
So Salim led the way with some other dudes and they started heading their way to the Mainstage Backstage area. I slowed down and when Salim turned back I said, “I’m shy. I can just watch from the front. It’s not a problem.”
He waved his hand, beckoning me over, “Come on.” My heart was in my throat. We walked to the security, flashed our tags, and it was like a whiff of fresh air waved past me.
The size of the stage was incredible.
JUST THEN. Papa Roach comes out of the press area. Coby stops dead in his tracks and sees Salim. “You’re a singer!” he exclaims. “Hi, I’m Coby,” he introduced himself to me.
As they start talking, Jeremy McKinnon walked pass me.
"No, I’m not, but I know who you’re thinking of, and I play guitars in that band," Salim politely replies. "Bad Rabbits."
"Man, I LOVE you guys! What time are you guys playing?!" Coby asks. I was like Damn, how insane is it to have Coby of Papa Roach know your music?
"We played at 1 this afternoon!"
"Damnit! Awh that sucks! Would’ve loved to see you guys!"
Just then a lady starts bellowing at Coby, asking to quickly go with her and he adorably replies with something like a, “Hold on I’m just showing my man some love!”
And he left Salim and I standing there looking at each other like. Wow.
Just then, one of the ADTR crew members comes up to Salim and passes us some new passes that will get us on the side stage. We walked passed the second security check with NO problems and there I was, standing next to the stage, between the performance area and storage area.
The storage area for the equipment and instruments was incredible. All the names of my friends that would have flipped out looking at the backlines and stuff started popping into my head.
Salim, Justin (Mustache Man) and I stood along the side and I saw Jeremy McKinnon walking up to Salim. They’ve played at the same places before so I reckon they had a lot to talk about. Once Jeremy made eye contact with me, I leaped forward and introduced myself, “Hi, I’m Tasha!”
He, as humble as he is, as if I didn’t already know, said, “I’m Jeremy!”
And then he moved over and stood to my right so people could walk by and there I am just stumbling for things to say to him. “Are you excited?”
"Always am," he smiled.
… Krik krik. Haha I was having so much trouble finding the words to say.
"This is the biggest festival I’ve been to. Came from Malaysia for this."
"Malaysia?" his eyes widened.
"Malaysia. You know, we love you in Malaysia, you should think about popping by with the band," I smiled. Words finally coming back.
"Malaysia?" he was stunned as though he would have never guessed we listened to ADTR in Malaysia. "Wow, yeah I would love to!"
I asked him for a quick photo, and told him I have never seen them play before and that I was totally pumped for it. Right before he left to get on stage he said, “Well, you’re gonna have to let me know what you think of us okay?”
"Okay," I flushed. So shy.
Salim, Sheel, Em (sp?) and I moved over to stage right and watched the band from side stage (photos to come up after this). The intro song boomed the stage (and the crowd) and they broke into The Downfall Of Us All.
Haaaa lost my cool. Started screaming the words. Obvious fan girl alert.
We stayed for two songs and Salim wanted to see someone else play so we headed out. On the way out, Salim and Sheel pop by the Artist Toilets (yeah special toilets okay) so I wait outside, still reeling from the view of the audience.
I mean seriously. That many people. When they screamed, I felt like falling backwards and I wasn’t even right in front of the stage. How insane would it be to be doing what you love in front of that many people. I had this smile plastered on my face. I think the view of the crowd was the highlight of the festival for me. Insane. I still get the shivers thinking about it now.
And then a man in a hat walks past me.
I don’t know where the confidence came from but I bleeped out, “Kellin!”
He turned, he was walking with his wife, Katelynne. “Hi!”
"Hi, I’m Tasha! I’m from Malaysia but I missed your concert then so I’m glad I got to catch you earlier! Can I get a photo?" and, I also turned to shake Katelynne’s hand and introduce myself. Didn’t want to be rude, I was asking for a photo with her husband.
Quick photo and Salim was ready and we headed back out into the Guest Area.
And then I bumped into Elmakias. Salim shook his hand and I ran over to him to shake his hand too and to tell him I love his work.
Okay, almost done, I promise.
We met up with the rest of the band and me being so high on adrenaline, I became super chatty. Santi was standing with a couple so I turned to introduce myself. The girl, gorgeous woman, shakes my hand first and then the man and he said, “James.”
And my eyes were all a blur because I was still reeling from before but this guy looked so familiar.
James Veck-Gilodi. Deaf Havana. One of my two favourite English bands’ frontman. My goodness. “James?” I asked, and before he could even nod I asked again, “Deaf Havana?”
"Yes," he smiled.
"I love the band. I love your music. I saw you guys live at Sydney’s Soundwave last year!" my mouth was on a roll. "My friend and I flew from Malaysia to catch Soundwave and were the only two asian people in the crowd just singing all your words!"
"Wait, Malaysia?" I love how humble these guys are. "You mean, people in Malaysia listen to us?"
His girlfriend punched him on the shoulder, “I told you!” she turned to me to say, “He didn’t even know Columbians listen to them! My brother knew who they were and he couldn’t believe it.”
"We should’ve played a set in Malaysia on our way over to Australia," James.
"Yes. Do it. Seriously. Do it. Next time."
And we had a crazy long conversation about the band’s plans and I got a photo with him and I went over to the lady who books them and said I loved them and she gave me a hug cos she was surprised I even knew who they were.
The rest of the night, well, was laid back. Salim and I caught the 1975, and I swear on earth it was an AMAZING show. I haven’t ever really heard their music before but I’m so glad I did. What a great way to end a great day.
I just wanna thank Salim for all of this. Had he not have been so generous I would have never ever experienced all this. I hope you know how grateful I am and how great of a person you are! Truly an amazing human being + did I mention I love your music?! Thank you for putting a painful smile on my face. Painful only cos I was smiling way too long.
If y’all haven’t heard of Bad Rabbits, please do so now.