Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Leeds Festival Day 2


Saturday at the festival saw just the slightest drizzle of rain but was windy as hell and freezing during the night. But first up - The Joy Formidable, a trio from North Wales who are doing things by their own accord.

Saturday at Leeds the NME stage was brought to life with the hazy reverb and dreamy, yet powerful vocals of female lead, Ritzy Bryan. Regularly receiving references to last nights performers Arcade Fire and even the Yeah Yeah Yeahs it was the powerful balance of rock music with the delicate voice of a chick that had the audience enthralled. Their set was filled with monstrous instrumentals and mind blowing crescendos, however in contrast the band was lyrically quite minimal. Towards the end of their first track Bryan began smashing her guitar, albeit unsuccessfully, this short haired blond lass rampaging across the stage screamed Courtney Love. The onstage dynamic of TJF was quite unique with the drummer located at the front of the stage but facing away from the audience, towards his fellow band mates. This live performance was loud and the bands music genuinely needed space to breathe.


Hanging out for Local Natives (formerly known as Cavil at Rest) this quintet out of LA have  recently been described as psych folk. Their boyish charm and measured harmonies of the first few track reminded me of Sydney's Boy and Bear – just less folk and more dance. Fromm immense drumming to pop hooks, the guys brought their west coast charm to the audience at Leeds. The complexity of each song becomes evident as three part harmonies are enhanced by tribal drumming and melodic guitar riffs. Alternating between lead vocals (I think I counted three changes) they were finally joined on stage by fellow Leeds performers Fools Gold for some full blown percussive break downs.

Catching the tail end of Cardiff eight piece Los Campesinos, who had pulled an impossibly large crowd, I got in a good position for Wild Beasts.

Performing with falsetto croons and deep tenor moans in perfect measure, this band seemed to transcend a number of genres and influences. Front men Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming both extremely talented and did a stunning job of introducing  Leeds Festival to their mercury nominated album Two Dancers. Stunning the audience at the NME stage, Wild Beasts’s set was filled with unique melodies and an expansive range of daring vocals, the passion and sheer talent of this group strikingly evident.  Trading instruments as the set progressed the band closed their 40 minute time slot with a chilling performance of Hooting and Howling. 

I hate to say it but I used to be a bit of a Limp Bizkit fan. Admittedly I was much younger and musically na├»ve, but I had to check these guys out for nostalgias sake. But sadly their performance was less than average. Entering the stage to the beats of DJ Lethal with his signature basketball singlet, this time the Celtics, and hat, (but no the NY one we have some to know and love) Fred Durst’s performance was bland. And , showmanship, almost not existent. Occasionally screaming “yeah…LEEEDs” into the mic there was often long pauses between songs and no real banter to fill the void. As for Wes Borland – this was by far the creepiest on stage ensemble I have aver witnessed. Painted black legs, a dark grey coat, fox fur around his neck, long black hair and a fringe with bangs,  white make up with giant red clown lip and then his teeth – ohhh his teeth… covered in black grime. Opening with Rollin crowd favourites My Way, Break Stuff and Take a Look Around were play before the boys closed with their anticipated cover if George Michael's Faith. Sadly there was to Nookie

Next up was west coast rappers - Cypress Hill who seem to be just an excuse for everyone in the audience to light up heir splifs. Considering the fact that there is no drug searches or dogs at this festival people could get in anything and everything they pleased. As expected How Could I Just Kill A Man and Insane in the Brain went off.

Finally making it over to the dance tent for the first time this festival I caught UK electro-pop (with a hint of post punk) quartet Metronomy, this is one of those bands who are really hard to pigeonhole. Coming out among a midst a sea of bands in a simular vein, it seems as though people are becoming less and less interested by this genre. The turn out was unimpressive but the energy on stage eventually got people involved. The bands twitchy riffs and sharp vocals were drizzled with enough synths to keep the dance floor alive and maintaining momentum. You Could Easily Have Me, Radio Ladio and Heartbreaker were vibrantly welcomed by the audience although by the end of their set is was sadly apparent how much this band have changed their vocals for the album. Sounding sometimes off key, Metronomy were fun but really not worth seeing live.  

American rockers Band of Horses, previously known as Horses had packed out the NME stage by 6PM on Saturday. Gaining popularity after their second album Cease to Begin the 5 piece are renowned for their indie country-rock revival and southern American sound.  The vocals of Ben Bridwell echoed ever so magnificently through the tent at Leeds and enticed references to My Morning Jacket, the Flaming Lips or even soft rock sounds of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Soundscapes encapsulated the audience as did the powerfully evocative lyrics and earnest choruses. As raw guitars give way to a softer side, the delicate and genuine verse on tracks like Ode to LRC and No One’s Gonna Love You came the focal point. Hitting each note with perfection and an uncanny ease Band Of Horses were simply beautiful to watch.



Opening with Total Life Forever, Oxford quintet  Foals are stuck with a wall of applause at the audiences first recognition of the songs melodies. The NME stage once again packed but this time it was impossible to move, especially in the front D, which was a little dangerous as people just kept coming and coming. The Levels of reverb echoed through out the tent only to be brought to a halt by the chilling falsetto vocals of Philippakis'. Saturdays performance was bold and the bands musical scope monumental. Playing tracks from both Antidotes and recent release Total Life Forever the immense vocals of Philippais weaved their way through out venue creating vivid aural landscape amidst a blooming wash of blue lights. Despite the slow and gradual build of Spanish Sahara the audience never waivered in captivation. Climbing up poles one side of the stage and down into the audience, the Foals frontman was brilliant to watch, breath taking in every aspect. Highlight of the set – the cacophony of instrumental and electronic layers that is Miami

Finally for the much anticipated Punk-pop trio – Blink 182 who seemed to entrain themselves as much as they did the audience. Regular outburst of profanities and burping on into the mic, Tom Delonge shortly announced “Leeds is going to kick the shit out of Reading." To which the response was mammoth, the sibling rivalry between these two festivals is hilarious. Initially performing in a shirt with 'RIP DJ AM' sprawled across it (shortly being removed after becoming drench with sweat) drummer Travis Barker was phenomenal to watch, especially during his extended drum solo that took place later in the set.

Screaming Fuck, shit, C_nt and blow jobs in to the mics at random, Blink 182’s set was insane from the get go. On stage banter continued as much the same level including mark announcing Thank you - "We are Mark Hoppus and the other two guys." The band hour and a half set opened with Dumpweed and included The Rock Show, What's My Age Again, I Miss You, Don't Leave Me, All The Small Things, Josie and closed with Dammit

Bec Clark 

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