Live Review: Leeds Festival 2011 [Bramham Park, Leeds [August 26-28, 2011]

So, it’s been a pretty amazing weekend here in Leeds – we’ve gotten stuck in the mud a lot – your scribe has four legs (two of them walking sticks), […]

So, it’s been a pretty amazing weekend here in Leeds – we’ve gotten stuck in the mud a lot – your scribe has four legs (two of them walking sticks), so it makes it amusing to get about in these conditions! We’ve been wet through and we have shared some amazing times, seen some amazing bands, and obviously had a much better time than anyone down South at Reading. Leeds, in short, has been epic. The weather sucks, but err, we’re from Yorkshire, we’re used to it. It’s been a pleasure to attend and see some immense acts. We’ve tried to cover as many new bands that we haven’t seen at other festivals this year (see our reviews of Download, Sonisphere and Sziget), so check it.

Little_Roy_by_Andy_Sheppard

FRIDAY

What better way to start our weekend than with (the issue two featured) Frank Turner? Can’t think of one? Thought not. His performance here stands out over the weekend. His passion for creating the best in folk-rock sounds is totally admirable and he is clearly one of the most truly passionate rock musicians we have found (and covered) in recent years. As his band power through the uplifting and powerful ‘I Still Believe’, Frank has the crowd chanting back with him, and fists pumping throughout. The perfect start to a rainy weekend, and while Frank is strutting his stuff, nobody could give a flying fig about the conditions. Frank Turner is everything he is billed to be as an artist and performer, he deserves all the attention and respect he gets from indie, rock and metal fans alike, not because he was in Million Dead and can now pen decent pop-rock songs, but because we can see, hear and feel everything that went into the writing of them in-front of us. Proper good.

Frank_Turner by Simon Moss

Next up we see Cage The Elephant produce complete aural chaos on the Radio 1 Stage – this group is one of our stand-out indie artists of the year and their material is wholly addictive – while their sound is unique (with the incorporation of many credible influences), we feel they have the same exciting-yet-unpredictable vibe and energy as Nirvana back in the day. ‘Shake Me Down’ and ‘Aberdeen’ as one might expect, incite mini-riots and see vocalist Matthew Schultz get down into the crowd to visit his sweaty and wholly appreciative audience. A great moment comes for the aforementioned ‘Aberdeen’ were Schultz can be seen thoroughly enjoying shouting the chorus “way back!” with the crowd.

Cage_The_Elephant_by_Jamie_Boynton

Afterwards, we roll over to the main stage to check-out the cover stars of our latest issue, Enter Shikari. Their genre-bending assault is lapped up by the dedicated crowd of hardcore fans and ravers who come together to see the band in one wet and heaving mass of bodies moshing to prominent tunes like new one ‘Quelle Surprise’ and the defining ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’. We believe that this set might be the confirmation Shikari have been looking for, that they can confidently graduate from metal scene juggernauts (see what we did there? They’ve got a tune called ‘Juggernauts’, innit? Teehee…) to charting crossover mainstays. Seeing hundreds of people go mental and bounce about for the ultimate dance-metal anti-anthem ‘Zzzonked’ should confirm this to any critics. Party on, Shikari, party the frick on.

Neeext! And we are going all nostalgic on the Radio 1 Stage for the returning Panic! At The Disco. Their delightfully poppy tracks are given a heavier make-up out in the live arena, and charming vocalist Brendan Urie loves performing the uplifting ‘9 In The Afternoon’ for an adoring audience. After everything that this lot have been through, it’s great to see them back, and doing so well. It feels a little bit like this act are taking steps back to us, (but not in a bad way), as they had been used to main stage action before at UK fests, but now they seem renewed and re-invigorated with new members and a slight change of attitude, perhaps? For Panic!, physically and sonically, it seems time to take everything back to the beginning; more pop-punk than cabaret, and a dash more vitriol than before. Of course, ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ gets the ultimate in responses. It’s a positive sight to see that the band are still in love with these songs and that they can re-imagine them so well, years after they first arrived in our ear-holes.

Panic_At_The_Disco_by_Jamie_Boynton

Following on from Panic! We enjoy a little Death…(sorry), that’s Death From Above 1979. The recently reformed noise rock maestros put on a good showing, and we are very impressed that so much good can come from just two dudes. Indeed, guitarist Jesse F. Keeler and drummer Sebastien Grainger pander to the near capacity crowd begging for a glimpse of a band that they never thought they’d see after the 2006 break-up. The best tracks performed here include ‘Black History Month’, and particularly the electro-rock banger that is ‘Romantic Rights’ – they sound ever fresh and relevant, and do not miss a trick producing every intricate progressive rhythm and beat with as much precision as on the recorded version. We can’t wait to hear new material from this band.

Elbow fire-off next over at the Main Stage next with their straight-forward (and unashamedly Mancunian) feel good rock. As the perfect precursor for our ultimate headliners, the Bury legends ram through new material including the near-perfect cuts of ‘The Night Will Always Win’ and ‘Jesus Is A Rochdale Girl’ and match them up with the best of their Mercury Award-winning ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ including ‘Grounds For Divorce’ – if there was ever a grand Northern success story within the music industry, then Elbow must rank as one of the greatest. No matter what genre you are into, there is something in Elbow’s sound to appeal – elements of rock, pop and orchestral sounds lead us perfectly into the night as fans raise lighters high in the air for one melodic and beautiful beast after another.

Elbow_by_Simon_Moss

Elbow could’ve headlined today, but instead they are a sweet lead in to Muse who, in-turn are quite possibly the best live band on the planet. Diverse and almost breath-taking visuals (we mostly dig the marching robots during the playful and profound ‘Undisclosed Desires’…who doesn’t love robots though, really?) accompany this, the tenth anniversary of the act’s breakthrough album ‘Origins Of Symmetry’ – the band play the record through tonight and those looking on may as well have been witnessing a dream; Muse’s live show must have cost the world, but clearly it means more than that to thousands of dedicated followers; everything from eyeball balloons (used for genre-transcending rock club anthem ‘Plug In Baby’) to fire and lasers are used tonight and the whole production serves to justify exactly why Muse have the reputation that they do. ‘Darkshines’ and ‘Hyper Music’ reign supreme as stand-outs in the diverse set, alongside the ballad-esque beauty of tracks like ‘Exo-Politics’, the decadence in ‘Starlight’ and the emotive Queen-esque energy of ‘Resistance’. We could go on, but in order to give other bands the writing that they deserve, we’ll just stick with this…Muse craft the best live show we have ever seen. These musicians are just that fu**ing good, honestly. You need to see this band before you die. It’s the perfect end to our Friday night in Leeds. Enough said.

Muse_by_Tony_Woolliscroft

SATURDAY

We start our second day in the muddy swamp that is now Bramham Park with Welsh rockers The Blackout. Their material gets the crowd moving even though it begins to spit again. It should be said here that The Blackout seemingly market a type of positivity arguably unrivalled in alternative rock at the moment. As part of their performance, cheery vocalist Shaun Smith pays tribute to their fans alongside other bands performing on-stage today in a lovely move mimicking tracks from The Offspring and Deftones, that’s just before inspiring a crazy-as-hell circle pit for their own tune, ‘Children Of The Night’. A personal highlight though, comes in the form of great “woos” from crowd for new single and future anthem ‘Higher And Higher’. We really do support this lot, as they are seemingly trying to bring back (at least in part) the nu-metal vibe and sound. Don’t kill us or write nasty letters in just yet! We mean that The Blackout have got these great bouncy tunes, catchy choruses and upbeat lyrics – okay, the lyrics aren’t very nu-metal, but there’s definitely a hint of the sound in there that has always, without fail, made people move with reckless abandon and we like It. Power to The Blackout then; another band that (like Shikari before them) know how to make time on a main stage count. Following on, we rush over to the Dance Stage to catch the end of rave-rock’s finest Does It Offend You, Yeah? We arrive just in time to catch the band performing their mosh-ready stomper ‘The Monkey’s Are Coming’ and then worldwide hit ‘We Are Rockstars’ – we won’t be surprised if by next year this lot are tearing things up on main stages all over the planet; a strong showing with excellent atmosphere.

Does_It_Offend_You_Yeah_by_Jamie_Boynton

Continuing on with a showcase of some of the best in rock and punk music, New Found Glory take to the stage and pull out all the stops to please old fans and gain some new ones today. ‘All Downhill From Here’ gets things going at a blistering pace with frontman Jordan Pundik acting as ring-leader for the excited and smiling crowd (it’s not raining right now, you see…) before other hits are brought out to inspire more crowd participation, bouncing, crowd-surfing and the like. ‘Hit Or Miss (Waited Too Long)’ shines clearly as the best performance, while a great festival memory is created for us as the group breaks into a Clash cover (namely the ever-popular ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’. Excellent stuff from a band that clearly still has years of pop-punk excellence left within them. The performance today, is everything that you might expect from New Found Glory, nothing more, and nothing less; but why change a winning formula, eh? While that band finishes things up on the Main Stage, progressive-electronic act Crystal Fighters are making waves over on the Dance bit with their weird and wonderful concoction of pure electro sounds for ‘I Love London’ – it’s like an all-out rave but with awesome acoustic instruments. These instruments include a wooden xylophone-like thingy played by two people standing face-to-face (it’s called a txalaparta [thanks, wiki]), a rope-tuned snare drum and err, a pipe whistle. This band is certainly one of the most original acts inside the genre to come out of the UK (via Spain) this year. ‘Xtatic Truth’ is a great addition to the set and offers a contrast to the previous track by featuring acoustic elements to introduce the slamming synth lines that follow; Crystal Fighters make for one of our great surprises of this weekend. Lovely stuff.

While wondering over to the Alternative Stage for our first sample of comedy, we check out the Grammatics-inspired post-rock influenced orchestral noise of Reading’s own A Genuine Freakshow as they perform ‘Our Bodies’ at the BBC Introducing Stage – this act carries with them a lot of promise; their multi-faceted sound recalls the best work of the aforementioned, alongside other underrated talent the likes of Martin Grech. Let’s hope that over the rest of this year and into 2012, the Freakshow can turn some more heads with their almost hypnotic mash-up of genres and styles.

Upon our arrival at the Alt Stage we are greeted by the proper Yorkshire dialect of Justin Moorhouse. This guy has a great set crafted, but he knows that the tent is rammed because of the man that follows him. Still, like any great performer he plays to the massive numbers, stands everyone up (we are not exactly sure why they’re sitting down in the first place, though) and brings everyone forward from outside like a rockstar about to perform his own anthem. Instead of singing or joking though, he threatens a stage dive and begins to take his shirt off. Now, as a “big-ish” bloke, we think Moorhouse is quite taken aback by the roars of appreciation at this suggestion. Quick as ever, he breaks out some festival-ready quips about being fat and starts a “Yorkshire!” chant before leaving the well over-capacity crowd to shout for Tim Minchin and await his arrival on to the stage.

Tim_Minchin by MSethi

We have to be impressed really, observing the sheer amount of people packed into this tiny space (seriously, Minchin could’ve done well on the Main Stage here at Leeds as it appears that he’s more popular than most of the bands on offer?) to see this guy. Now, this writer hates cheese (I actually have cheese-related nightmares, I wish I was kidding), but I have to tell you, Minchin makes it sound half-decent with his entertaining song based on the product that also serves as his introduction. Anyway that leads nicely into a stand-out performance of ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Nerd’ – highly innovative and easy to relate to (yep, rock nerd right here…) for some in the crowd. Minchin is the halfway point between a great comic and a showman the standard of Freddie Mercury (who’s birthday is today – September 5 – respect). It’s quite fantastic seeing him live and we suspect at his own shows, well worth the price. Today seems full to the brim of grand festival moments that people will remember for years to come, and in a stroke of uncomfortable genius, Minchin creates one by performing one of his songs titled ‘Cont’ which at first appears totally racist “I don’t like Jews. Neither should you. They’re ethically and spiritually poor”, before Tim realises he’s made a mistake and covered the lyrics, so the song becomes about ‘Context’ and judging people on their actions not appearance. FYI, the actual line is: “I don’t like Jews, who make and distribute kiddy porn, neither should you”. Other stand-outs include ‘Taboo’ which reference one particular naughty word which is revealed to be…ginger. The song of course implies another one at first, but Minchin cleverly fools the audience (who haven’t seen his act before). He leads the crowd into the chorus: “Only a ginger, can call another ginger, ginger”. Finishing on the schizophrenic song ‘Dark Side’ (which features both heavy and lighter moments), where Minchin proclaims himself to be “just as deep” as Matt Bellamy (Muse) to the delight of his crowd. Excellent work, Tim. Top marks.

Back on the Main Stage now, we bare witness to Deftones and their many alternative anthems. Arriving just in time for the ever-addictive ‘Shove It (My Own Summer)’ we are in a dancing mood and ready to get back to those lost nu-metal days. That being said, the majority of new Deftones stuff isn’t really nu-metal, and has more in common with the progressive metal tag. On more recent tracks (well, since 2003) like ‘Minerva’, or ‘Rocket Skates’ and ‘Diamond Eyes’ from the new album, Chino and co. have embraced wider soundscapes, electronics and softer vocal tones instead of the crushing riffs, hard and heavy drums and all-out screaming. Of course, most fans in attendance know about this balance and applaud the newer stuff, but it is (and probably will always be) songs like the aforementioned and ‘Change (In The House Of Flies)’ that bring about the best responses. Regardless, the band, (who is still without Chi Cheng [currently recovering in hospital after the accident which led to his coma]) truly excited to be performing both the established and new songs. Indeed, with the calibre of their material, we have long felt that Deftones are due a festival headline slot (perhaps one of the heavier settings, like Download, for example) and it remains to be seen if they can achieve this over the coming years. It’d be nice though. They do rock, rather hard and well.

Deftones_by_Tony_Wolliscroft

Offspring spice things up next with their most accessible punk rock hits from ‘Self-Esteem’ through to ‘Hit That’. With this band, it’s true to say that things rarely change but they don’t need to, fans of punk will always find something to dig here. It’s all good fun and the crowd mosh to ‘Million Miles Away’ and ‘Come Out And Play’ like it’s the noughties all over again. It’s a shame that (arguably) Offspring’s major mainstream hits came around with ‘Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)’, ‘Why Don’t You Get A Job’ (around 1998) and ‘Want You Bad’ (around 2000) because while those songs are always enjoyable to listen to and see out live, it’s our opinion that the faster, heavier stuff has much more credibility; many here still only seem to spring to life for those Top 40 singles. Let’s hope that their performance today and the delivery of the earlier material (circa ‘Smash’) scores it (and the band) some new fans.

The_Offspring_by_Tony_Wolliscroft

We move over to the Festival Republic Stage now for Tom Vek who creates some of the most imaginitive electronic and indie sounds that we have heard in recent months. ‘Chore’ stands out for us and its inventive guitar lines mesh with rolling drums and straight-forward vocals from Vek. The standard of musicianship is very credible and the artist’s energy really stands out as ‘Aroused’ kicks in. From here onwards, we’d like to crown TV’s sound as “geek party music” – thoroughly diverse stuff that keeps the festival spirit alive as we delve into the night.

Tom_Vek_by_Andy_Sheppard

Digitalism mix it up for us next with their frenzied amalgum of decks and drums as we stay in Festival Republic. The DJ and acoustic musician thing that they’re doing live is pretty cool, but it really is just party music and we get the feeling that we are not really supposed to be watching the show but dancing our stripey mud-caked socks off? Since we have to be objective and watch, we move on and while one of our team splits off to watch My Chemical Romance, we head to see UNKLE Sounds headline the Dance Stage. We’ve heard good things about UNKLE’s live rock band (incorporating guitars, drums and synth), and so we were curious beforehand to see what UNKLE Sounds represented. We should’ve guessed perhaps (or err, done better research…) that it’s actually just James Lavelle making sounds on decks with pretty visuals (though they are pretty much the same images repeated throughout until the song changes). Yes, it is UNKLE (‘Eye For An Eye’ from 2003’s ‘Never Never Land’ is played at the opening), and the audio-visual concept is always interesting to interpret, at least at the beginning, but admittedly it would sound much better with live guitars and drums. On decks, it’s all just a bit plain to look at. We’ll take your live band over this any day James, cheers.

Meanwhile, back over at the Festival Republic Stage The Horrors play soothing shoegaze-infected rock to a packed house. That is before there’s a massive technical shutdown for about ten minutes that hits halfway through ‘Still Life’ – as a strong show of support though, Horrors’ dedicated fans just continue on singing the lyrics for five of the ten (“When you wake up, you will find me”) before they continue on. Despite the strength of this new material, we do very much wish throughout that the band would play some more of their earlier more “frenzied” post-punk and garage rock-themed material (form 2007’s ‘Strange House’), but this much more “commercial” work seems to be the order of the day and the indie kids frolic about enjoying the noise before, and after the technical difficulties.

The_Horrors_by_MSethi

While all this has gone on, My Chemical Romance are laying waste to the Main Stage with their addictive pop-rock anthems. Opening things up with the ferocious (and now classic) ‘I’m Not Okay, I Promise’ (which is accompanied by some nice fireworks…standard stuff for Leeds by now?) and keeping the momentum going with ‘Planetary (Go)’, the band bound about like they’ve never taken time away from a stage at all. The blood red-headed vocalist Gerard Way commands the crowd who are clearly so happy to see the band back on UK soil. The audience go particularly mental for ‘Sing’ and the clichĂ©d but effective lyrics: “Sing it for the boys, sing it for the girls”. We have a load of fun dancing around to ‘Teenagers’ (who doesn’t though? Be honest now…?), and pounding our fists with the crowd at ‘The Black Parade’, much like previous act 30 Seconds To Mars, whether you like them or not, you really have to give credit where it is due; this is arena rock music and these artists can lead stadiums when a chorus hits. The show is expensive but we certainly get our money’s worth. My Chemical Romance put on a super show and perform with all the energy and vigour that anyone can expect and more. We bet they’ve managed to convert a few doubters with this set, and rightly so; an incredible showing from one of the world’s best live bands.

SUNDAY

We start our day off with a relaxing dose of spoken word from Saul Williams at the Alternative Stage. Honestly, we prefer him with beats (below) as seen supporting Nine Inch Nails – it’s a bit like rap-punk. Good stuff. Still though, he is a bit of a genius. The stand-out of this set is the raw and honest piece ‘Telegraph’ which is a message to rappers of today and a tribute to those who have inspired the genre in the past. Intelligent and strong Saul puts on a solid showing, let’s have him on a bigger stage with his band next year Leeds?

Seasick Steve is on the Main Stage next and we are very impressed. Steve is a very likeable character championing southern rock and blues on his self-made instruments; the three-string “Trance Wonder” guitar, (plus another guitar made from a cigar box), the stomp box and one-string diddley bo – awesome. We know that this guy is worth the fuss after he introduces Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones on-stage to help him out with a few songs. The stand-out tracks include the infectious ‘Dog House’ and ‘Save Me’, before he introduces himself to a random girl from the crowd and then serenades her on-stage with his track ‘Walking Man’. Other great tunes from this set include ‘You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks’ and ‘Thunderbird’ – these songs are thoroughly entertaining and Steve’s enthusiasm for performing is addictive in itself. If you get an opportunity to see this guy live then do It. Next to Muse, Steve puts on the performance of our weekend.

Two Door Cinema Club play generic indie next up but their music is well received in this high-pressure setting. On the way to see The Kills on the Radio 1 Stage, we check out Grouplove at Festival Republic – entertaining grunge-ridden party music is the order here and ‘Colours’ is a most impressive (and totally uplifting) statement of intent. We’ll be seeing a lot more from these guys. In the meantime, there’s a lot of hype around The Kills and their dirty blues-infected alternative sounds and we dig it. There’s a small problem though, ‘coz we like drums and they are rocking processed beats from a backing track (though, vocalist Alison Mosshart occasionally employs the use of floor toms). Don’t get us wrong though, it doesn’t make that big a difference to us and we are impressed by the two-piece and songs like the affecting ‘Heart Is A Beating Drum’ and intelligently-penned ‘Future Starts Slow’. The energy and drive of the pair does make up for the lack of acoustic percussion, and it’s easy to see why this band has such a dedicated fan-base worldwide as onlookers screech in appreciation of both musicians.

The_Kills_by_Andy_Sheppard

Meanwhile as The Kills continue their set, Madness are promoting their highly accessible and genre-defining ska-punk sounds on the Main Stage – it is as you might expect, everything you would want a Madness show to be. The band lead their fans into a feel good party blowout here in Leeds. It really is quite something to see so many people “skanking” in one area. It’s quite surreal on the whole, and really cool to observe; despite the mud and rain that totally dominates this weekend, people can still feel delighted and enjoy ultimate pop anthems like ‘Baggy Trousers’, ‘Our House’, ‘It Must Be Love’ and of course, ‘Madness’ – a fine return to form from some of the best performers in the world – it’s nothing too fancy, just great multi-instrumental music and sounds that will continue to communicate to generation after generation of performers and fans alike.

Next, we pop back to Festival Republic to have an ogle at Cults. Their expansive art-rock goes down well and their most danceable track is ‘The Curse’ which strikes us as wholly hypnotic and halfway between The Pixies and Portishead; beautiful and dark all at the very same time. Running back to the Main Stage (gosh, we are everywhere!) we get to witness the immense show that comes from Jimmy Eat World – as champions of US alt-rock music for the last decade, Jimmy has a lot to live up to, but they more than meet our expectations here with their varied catalogue. Today, there is something for everyone, the most accessible and “poppy” tracks like ‘The Middle’ and ‘Sweetness’ clash together nicely with the fan favourites like ‘Hear You Me’ and ‘Bleed American’. They are everything that they need to be for this crowd and it is positive evidence to show that their material will never get old; in years to come Jimmy Eat World will be remembered as a positive example of rock music from the last 20 years.

On the Radio 1 Stage, Glassjaw’s own brand of post-hardcore is part soothing and part aural assault on the senses. Their stand-out today is ‘Cosmopolitan Blood Loss’ – there’s a lot of similar appeal in Glassjaw that is there for Deftones; the diversity and constant movement between post-hardcore heaviness and emotive softness that can command and lead even the most hardened of metallers and trendiest of indie kids towards their sounds. Daryl Palumbo’s diverse vocal delivery perfectly compliments the off-beat drums and unrelenting riffs that make up heavier material like ‘Tip Your Bartender’, Much like Death From Above 1979 before them, there was a period (up until 2008, at least) where Glassjaw were a band that many people thought they would never get to see again, so from our perspective, it’s pretty darn amazing to have them back in the UK again for this festival and, to have had them working on and releasing new material over the last few years. While Jaw are performing, the other half of Soundspheremag is checking out reggae scene legends Little Roy at Festival Republic (pictured before the jump to this article) – the Nirvana covers in Reggae format was an inspired idea and hearing Prince Fatty and his band perform classic tracks from Cobain’s men including ‘Come As You Are’ and ‘Sliver’ is just a great addition to the festival’s bill.

Glassjaw

Next, and after the unfortunate announcement that rock leg-ends Jane’s Addiction will not be headlining the Radio 1 Stage (after vocalist Perry Farrell fell ill – feel better mate!) we are ready for the sheer intensity and digital chaos of Crystal Castles and their industrial-tinged electro-indie mush that has captivated the hearts and minds of hundreds of people over the Leeds and Reading Weekend. Through all the smoke and screeching, Crystal Castles promote a sound that crosses genres (arguably) more than any other band this weekend. Tracks like ‘Crimewave’ and ‘Baptism’ are confusing and enthralling at the same time. Many people can’t understand what vocalist Glass is screaming (due to poor sound from the stage, admittedly), but they cannot take their eyes off of her. Likewise the acoustic drum beats and keys add a real element of “rawk” vibrance to the show which we are sure helps Castles get through to fans of heavier styles.

The King Blues are meanwhile tearing up the Lock-Up Stage (it’s where the dance one is as well…we are confused by it too…), and they put on a great performance showcasing their innovative mix of ska-influenced pure punk sounds to an audience not content enough to relax to sounds of Pulp on the Main Stage. Most of the popular tracks come from latest record ‘Punk & Poetry’ and the band plough through some of its best moments from the addictive ‘Headbutt’ to the all-out anti-anthem that is ‘Set The World On Fire’ alongside cult tracks like ‘The Streets Are Ours’ (from 2008’s ‘Save The World, Get The Girl’). This London-based act is great to watch and their messages are clear as they delve into everything from relationships to government policies. TKB make for one of our most entertaining festival stops this weekend. The frontman Jonny Fox commands his stage while the band move around excitedly; we won’t be surprised at all if we are watching this lot on the Main Stage here next year, alongside those at a few other credible pop, punk and metal fests.

Running back over to the Festival Republic Stage we catch a hefty glimpse of cult alt-rockers Rival Schools who receive a warm welcome from a dedicated set of fans (and people from outside the tent), as they power through some of their biggest and best-loved songs including ‘Wring It Out’ and ’69 Guns’ which are perfectly balanced with old’s cool classic tracks like ‘Used For Glue’ and ‘Undercovers On’ – it’s excellent to see such a hard-working (and long-lasting) band get so much attention in this festival environment where fans are spoiled for choice and things to do; for Walter Schreifels and his men though, the attention is thoroughly deserved. For us Rival Schools have been one of the most anticipated and positive performances of the weekend.

After being forced by Soundsphere colleagues and friends at the festival to go on one of those ridiculous rides (the ones that spin you up and down then around again, three times over) your writer finishes the weekend off back at the Festival Republic Stage for a band that is arguably the weirdest collection of “musicians” seen all weekend, The Midnight Beast; despite our best efforts to dismiss them as a Lonely Island (just go and Google ‘Jizz In My Pants’…) rip-off, we find them highly entertaining and their songs, based around pizza in Ibiza (yep, the title to that one is in fact ‘Pizza In Ibiza’), along with ‘Ninjas’ and ‘Booty Call’ appeal directly to the drunk and happy festival crowd who pack out this tent more than it has been for the entire day. The fact that TMB is pretty much an alternative boy-band aside, they catch us off-guard with their hooks and ridiculous dance routines – if you get a chance to see them, they’re definitely worth a look-see.

And so, the excellent and varied experience (which mostly, for me entails battling through the mud with Survivor’s ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ being hummed repeatedly [motivational, right?]) has come to an end for another year and we are sad. However, we’ll take some awesome memories away; from seeing Rival Schools and Jimmy Eat World for the very first time, to feeling the euphoria that comes with experiencing Muse live, discovering that Tim Minchin is that cool, and finding new talent the likes of Grouplove and A Genuine Freakshow, oh yes, and nearly screaming up a lung on a massive spinning fairground ride. It’s been fun. See you next year Leeds! Thanks for having us, and stuff! Yorkshire! Yorkshire!

For more information visit the official Leeds Festival website.

rating-5

Read our interview with Does It Offend You, Yeah? here.

Read our interview with Blacklisters here.

Read our interview with Benjamin Francis Leftwich here.

Read our interview with Your Demise here.

Soundsphere magazine

About Soundsphere magazine

Editor