Monday, 15 June 2009

Leeds festival 2007 review: Sunday

With Sunday’s line-up looking a bit bleak until later on we plonk ourselves in the Carling tent that has served us so well all weekend. The first band we catch is Kids In Glass Houses, who are kind of a Lostprophets without the hooks. The emo kids go wild for it though, and I find myself wondering how they’ve coped with all the sunshine. I even saw some later in the day larking around with a football and generally looking like they were having a good time. Surreal.

Next up are Mute Math, who I describe to my companion as Fields without the Icelandic cool and charm. They look a bit like Geography teachers and as impressive as their musicianship is they are hardly ideal festival fare, a band that would need a lot of time to learn to love.

Exactly the opposite to that is Irish boys Director, who play to a ridiculously small amount of people. I’ve seen them twice before and they get better each time, but seem to play to less people. “Reconnect” is one of the finest pop songs of the weekend. Singer Michael Moloney claims we don’t know who they are because they’re Irish. It didn’t stop U2 did it? Director are already a big deal in their homeland, but if they want any success over here they’ll have to put the effort in again through tours and promotion and such like.

The worst band of the festival is undoubtedly Angels and Airwaves, who would almost be bearable without ex-Blink 182 singer Tom Delonge’s inane banter between identical whining stadium emo songs. If Delonge thinks his bigging up of his crap new band’s new album will make us want to buy it he’s wrong. It just makes me want to take his microphone off him and stick it somewhere very painful to keep him quiet for a bit.

I admire the bravery of Panic! At the Disco. One year after being knocked unconscious by a bottle at Reading Brendan Urie and bandmates are back to run the gauntlet again. But what’s this? By the end of the second song the steady stream of cups, bottles and assorted rubbish being flung at the stage has stopped and people are…people are enjoying it! And rightly so, Panic! have abandoned the circus stage show and let the songs speak for themselves. Their album was underrated and the new songs are just as good if not better. Definitely a victory for Panic!

Bloc Party have had a fantastic year. New album “A Weekend in the City” was well received by critics and punters alike and they’ve spent the summer playing practically every festival going to huge crowds. Kele even seems to have started enjoying himself. Slowly, and on their own terms, Bloc Party have become a band well worthy of such high festival billing. Today doesn’t feel like as much of an event as other Bloc Party shows though, it’s almost as if the band are simply going through the motions at the end of a long summer.

Arcade Fire don’t do bad gigs. Having found themselves labelled (fairly) as the most important band in the world, they are slowly spreading the word to festivals across the land. I’d like to think they converted a few RHCP fans tonight. You won’t find a more powerful, emotional trio of songs in any band’s armoury than “Rebellion”, “Power Out” and “Wake Up”. The fact that they’re playing the same set as they have all summer doesn’t matter. The fact that Win is strangely subdued doesn’t matter. All that matters if that Arcade Fire are here playing for us. I eagerly await their arena shows at the end of the year, they will be utterly unmissable.

You know those bands that have a couple of really catchy singles and you get their album but never really give it a proper chance? We Are Scientists are one of them. The only band of the weekend to be apologetic for playing new songs (excellent, all of them, by the way) WAS are on top form tonight. The highlights are obvious, “The Great Escape” and “It’s A Hit” particularly standing out. Catch them on their own tour later this year or supporting Kaiser Chiefs on their arena tour.

I grew out of Red Hot Chili Peppers a long time ago. It seems the Leeds crowd has too, the half hour we watch goes down like a lead balloon. People seem only to be here so they can say they’ve seen the band. I note that in true U2 style, they have two songs, the slow one and the quicker, funky one. Yawn. It’s amazing how long a band has dined out on a couple of good albums many years ago.

The View are thrashing through their album at a million miles an hour in the NME tent. It’s a great way to end the weekend with one of the bands of the moment. Their popularity may have slipped a bit since their album release early this year but they’re still a fine choice to close the festival. Singer Kyle Falconer sits on the edge of the stage to strum out “Face for the Radio” and then in the space of about three minutes flat the band hammer on through “Same Jeans” (which doesn’t even sound like Cornershop’s “Brimful of Asha” at this pace!) and their strongest track, “Superstar Tradesman”.

It’s been a wonderful weekend. Same time next year? Now all we have to do is get home…

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