Review – Leeds Festival
Exposed Magazine soaked up the last of the festival season at Leeds over the August bank holiday weekend.
August’s bank holiday weekend to me means one thing, and one thing only… LEEDS FESTIVAL! Yes that’s right, I spent the weekend at Yorkshire’s very own Leeds fest held at Bramham Park. Unlike many other festivals going on at the weekend, festival republic always deliver us a jaw-juddering, spine-tingling line up showcasing an utterly glorious mix of genres from metal, to indie, electronica with everything in between. It always makes for a fantastic mash up of festival goers with everyone there for the same shared goal – to have a mental weekend and watch some awesome live music. It would have been rude to not join in on the madness with the likes of The Libertines, Metallica, Alt-J, Mumford & Sons and Sheffield heroes Bring Me The Horizon on the roster.
With such a huge number of wicked bands playing throughout the weekend, things kicked off early for us on the Friday with Feed the Rhino opening the main stage at 12 with some play-it-loud hardcore punk – it was the ultimate heart-starter and got the crowd going. After a quick dash to the bar and back it was time for Lonely The Brave. The Cambridge boys who played the NME stage last year were well-deservedly upgraded to the main stage to entertain the masses. The combination of catchy riffs and moody vocals have been gracing the airwaves of popular radio loads lately and we were lucky enough to see them play an intimate gig at Corporation with Marmozets and Allusondrugs last October.
The main stage at Leeds was such a different atmosphere with the big crowd singing along to Trick of the Light, Backroads, Victory Line and The Blue, The Green from the marvellous album ‘The Days War’. Next up, we knew that we had a bit of a long stay at the main stage with Wakefield boys The Cribs and Exposed favorites The Maccabees both coming up, so we claimed a great area near the sound desk and frolicked around in the sunshine to some indie-rock all afternoon. With both bands having incredible back catalogs and even better new albums we were in our element! A highlight had to be the Maccabees doing No Kind Words with the crowd getting fully involved and singing back every single word.
After all the day’s excitement there was definitely a need to soak up alcohol with some lovely festival-style street food. This gave us some time to mosey on over to the NME stage and catch some of the Jamie XX set that I was really looking forward to following his latest release ‘In Colour’. As you approached the tent you could feel the love in the air . The crowd was blissfully bouncing around to his gorgeous electronic beats from hyped up rave scene-inspired tracks that had us dancing to more chilled, last-song-before-the-party-ends style stuff to ease you into the harsh comedown. It’s lucky we still had the likes of Jamie T, Kendrick Lamar and Deadmau5 before we got to that point. The highlight had to be Jamie T. I’ve always loved a bit of Jamie T with Panic Prevention being up there as one of my favourite albums. I’d caught him do the secret set last year at Reading, but this had nothing on seeing him in front of a glorious northern crowd on the main stage at Leeds. Songs like The Mans Machine and Calm Down Dearest were belted out by the crowd like epic ballads and cheeky lad-culture faves like Sheila and Sticks’n’stones also made a big appearance.
After a heavy night partying at the Relentless stage I was surprisingly keen to get up and with it, knowing that All We Are were playing at half one. Nothing like some ’70s inspired indie pop to cure a sore head. Think Slow Club meets Mystery Jets. Bloody ideal. Next on the list of things to do was an interesting one… so we’d noticed there was a ‘TBA’ on the line up for midday on the NME stage, so we thought we’d go check it out. There had been a few rumours, which were solidified by a secret performance the day before at Reading… there was only a cheeky half an hour secret set from none other than FOALS! With only half an hour to play they smashed out hit after hit of fan favorites and new releases – My Number, What Went Down, Spanish Sahara, Red Socks Pugie, Mountain at my Gates. Best surprise EVER! After all that excitement and a few drinks later it was back at main stage for a nice chilled day catching Palma Violets, Panic at the Disco and the highlight of the day, the incredible Alt-J. The four piece who actually formed in Leeds whilst at uni were an absolute delight playing hit after hit from both albums including recent tracks like Left Hand Free and Hunger of the Pine to songs like Breezeblocks and Tessellate which won them the Mercury music prize back in 2012 throwing the band into stardom. It goes without saying that the crowd was huge, especially with them having the pre-headline slot. Be sure to catch them on tour later this year!
Next up, Limp Bizkit for our dose of nineties/noughties nu-metal nostalgia before our headliner choice, Knife Party. IT WENT OFF! It felt like the NME tent was pumpin’ so hard it was going to explode from a D&B overload. There was even some crazy girl who climbed to the top of the tent and the show had to be momentarily stopped before things became too out of hand and turned sour. Thankfully, she was boo’ed down and the party continued!
Sunday was always going to be the most epic day of music with a hand picked selection of rock and metal that would be gracing our ears. It started early again bang on 12 which I can only describe as a complete wonder. Babymetal. If you have not seen these before, please stop whatever you are doing, go on Youtube and have a look. I have never experienced anything like them before. Think heavy death metal combined with cutesy Japanese teenage girls singing over the top with cheerleader-esque dance moves. A visual delight. This was followed by some wicked bands including Marmozets, Baroness and Slaves. I should mention that it must have been a traumatizing weekend for the Slaves duo with Laurie’s Goldfish dying only the day before and them subsequently dedicating Live Like an Animal to him. RIP Gerald the goldfish.
Now, it’s time to talk about Bring Me The Horizon. With the highly anticipated release of their new album ‘That’s the spirit’ (out 11th Sept) I was absolutely gagging to see the Sheffield Boys throw it down. And oh my Christ they did. BMTH seem to have a much wider audience with a lot of their recent songs like Drown being played across popular music channels, which did make the audience feel a lot different to when I’ve seen them before. For one, I was in the circle pit at the front pleasantly watching for the entire gig and I wasn’t punched in the face or covered in someone else’s piss. Which is obviously a good thing, but it was unexpected. They stuck with mainly new tracks and favourites from their last album ‘Sempiternal’ but they did throw in the odd classic – Blessed With A Curse made an appearance. Winner.
After BMTH there was rather a long wait in prep for the unmissable Metallica. Numerous sources had been saying this was going to be a huge festival show for them with a whole lot of setting up needed… but boy was it worth it. Wrap-around screens, graphics, fire, lasers, fireworks, big black bouncy blow up Metallica balls, not to mention doing a full two hour set of pure rock pleasure. Everyone stood in awe, watched and sang along, and when I say everyone, I mean 7 year old kids on their parent’s shoulders to some seriously hardcore 60-70 odd year olds. The variety of people in that audience just shows what absolute legends the guys in Metallica are. With hits spanning over 30 years, all that experience and all that charisma and all of that talent was channeled into two hours of unforgettable rock history, it brought the whole weekend to a head and it went out with a bang.