Leeds Festival 2016 – Sunday Review

Ah, Leeds Festival. You really have saved the best day for last. Highly Suspect, Kvelertak, Heck, Mastodon…what a stellar line up. Right, no messing around, lets go. First up, we have […]

Ah, Leeds Festival. You really have saved the best day for last. Highly Suspect, Kvelertak, Heck, Mastodon…what a stellar line up. Right, no messing around, lets go. First up, we have New York rock trio, Highly Suspect. Ahead of the release of their highly anticipated second album ‘The Boy Who Died Wolf’, the guys have joined us on the NME Stage and play a blinder. Creating one hell of a sound for just the three of them, Highly Suspect belt through a mix new and old. I expect huge things from these guys. If you haven’t heard of them yet, go listen now. Seriously. I’ll just wait here…


Please Like us on Facebook to continue reading.

…what did I tell you, right?

Is there any venue in the country that Heck haven’t completely destroyed yet? No? Good. Today is no exception. Instantly leaping in to the crowd the audience goes crazy for them. Their frenzied live shows have made them notorious on the metal scene and you never quite know what going to happen next. Guitars and bodies are flying everywhere. No one is safe here. But that’s the beauty of Heck. Crushingly heavy tracks and an incredible show. Every time. Guaranteed.

It has become a tradition for Reading and Leeds to throw in a surprise act. In previous years we have had Green Day, Foals, Metallica. This year they have brought in Surrey rockers, You Me At Six. By this time though, word had spread, and there is an enormous crowd overflowing out of The Pit Stage. Maybe these guys aren’t my cup of tea but this afternoon, they are superb. Every word is screamed back at them from the crowd and YMA6 are loving it. Does this mean they will be here again next year on the main stage?


What would it sound like if members of Dillinger Escape plan, Mastodon, Dethklok, Alice in Chain and The Mars Volta got together? Well, I imagine it would sound a hell of a lot like Giraffe Tongue Orchestra. Today, the super group featuring William Duvall (Alice in Chains), Brent Hinds (Mastodon), Ben Weinman (Dillinger Escape plan), Pete Griffin (Dethklok) and Thomas Pridgen (The Mars Volta) play only their second ever show, yesterday at Reading being their first. And they sound good. Really good. Ahead of the release of their debut album, ‘Broken Lines’ we get to hear a taste of what’s to come and I can’t wait for the album, but today, live, things feel a little nervy.

Next up we have the band I have been waiting all weekend for. Norwegian Rock’n’roll/punk/black metallers, Kvelertak. I love these guys, I really do. Singing mainly in their native tongue and playing music which would probably scare a lot of the ‘regular’ festival goers away, you would have thought that Kvelertak would have struggled here on a lazy Sunday evening. But they kill it. The crowd has rocked up to check these guys out doing what only they do and they love it. I actually had quite a tough time in the photography pit with these, it’s hard to control a camera when all you want to do is jump in the pit and go mental.

I have spent nearly all day at The Pit today, venturing away only briefly to catch a bit of Bill Bailey and Highly Suspect, but then again, why wouldn’t I stay here when you have Dillinger Escape Plan to come? Yeah, Greg Puciato (DEP Vocalist) might have once thrown a bag of his own feces over the crowd at Reading a few years back, but he wouldn’t do that to us, would he? Course he wouldn’t. Instead they play a blistering set. Unfortunate though, there is a sense of sadness to tonight’s performance as for a lot of people, this will be the last chance to catch DEP live. Calling it a day after nineteen years, they have already planned their final tour. But, that doesn’t stop them putting on a stellar performance tonight. Like you would expect, they hold nothing back and show everyone just why we are going to miss them.

Sunday night Pit headliners, Mastodon, are playing to what will probably be their smallest crowd in years. Considering these guys just headlined the mighty Bloodstock Festival a few weeks back, tonight the crowd is pitiful in comparison, but then again, they are competing with Red Hot Chilli Peppers over on the main stage. That doesn’t stop them putting on an incredible performance and rewarding the loyal fans who have waited all day for them. The prog metallers fire through ‘The Motherload’ and ‘High Road’ before ending the night on the mighty ‘Blood and Thunder’. Tonight, they are perfect, and the relatively small crowd walk away knowing they made the right decision.

Over on the main stage, it looks as though 95% of the festival has turned up to watch Red Hot Chili Peppers. The veteran funksters have attracted one of the biggest, if not the biggest festival crowd I have ever seen and unless you got there early, you will have to settle for watching it on the screens one hundred miles away from the stage. RHCP know what they are doing now, and do it flawlessly, playing classic after classic from their huge back catalog. But it’s tonight’s encore where it seem to go wrong. Rather than going out with a bang they go out with a whimper playing ‘Give It Away’, which tonight, to me, just doesn’t sound right and sounds a bit lacking. To be fair though, they have been playing it for the last twenty five years. And with that, that’s the end. Walking away I was plagued with just one question though, did we really need that many bass solos?


So, that brings us to the end of Leeds Festival 2016. What a year. Well done Leeds, Well done.

To see the full album of photographs from day, click here.

Photographs by Benjamin E. Gladstone Photography

Words by Benjamin E. Gladstone


About Benjamin Gladstone

Photographer / Editor / Journalist