KennyHoopla delivers a stunning set that proves it’s a matter of “when” not “if” the main stage comes at Reading 2023

One of the most explosive sets of the weekend.

Words: Ali Shutler.
Photos: Frances Beach.

“I’m done with the backflips, time for me to grow up” said Kennyhoopla earlier this month. It doesn’t stop his set at Reading Festival being one of the most explosive of the weekend.

After tours with Blink-182 and Limp Bizkit, Kenny has evolved into a formidable force onstage. He twirls about the space like a whirlwind, crumples into a ball screaming the lyrics to his cathathic, rage-fuelled anthems and trusts the crowd to sing the words back at him. It makes for an electric show. 

Opener ‘Silence Is Also An Artist’ kicks things off with its stadium-ready refrain, while ‘Smoke Break’ keeps the intense energy up. ‘Plastic Door’ is more dreamy, but no less hammering while the fiery ‘Hollywood Sucks’ sees him on the barrier, sharing the mic with people who’ve found belonging in the angst-ridden track. Breakout anthem ‘How Will I Rest If I’m Buried By A Highway’ is turned into a moment to rival ‘Mr. Brightside’ or ‘Sex’, with Kenny leaning into the tracks thundering refrain as one of the most exciting rock songs of the past few years finds new ways to inspire and surprise. “I’ll give you all I got if you give me all you got,” he promises before the closing snarl of ‘Estella’. “Don’t let me down,” he adds.

Diving into the crowd for one more moment of connection, it’s another stunning performance from an artist who continues to exceed expectations. Shortly before the gig, he admitted he wanted to be on Reading Festival’s main stage. With a show this fiery, it’s a question of when, not if.