The three posts below form my review of the Leeds festival two years ago. It was published on a website called 21st Century Music which sadly is no more. Websites I write for have a horrible habit of closing down...
After a nightmarish Thursday journey that took 6 hours from less than 50 miles away, the highlights of which were a large BANG and being rescued by Jesus (a long story not for these pages), my Leeds 2007 kicked off with New York punk rockers Stalkers who played a short but fiery and energetic set to a decent crowd in the Carling tent. The singer, with an American flag draped around his shoulders, even seemed drunk. At noon. How very rock and roll.
Next up are Glasgow’s Make Model, who play jangly, pleasant but unspectacular indie pop and look aggrieved at the lack of reaction from the relaxed audience, who are mainly using the tent to get out of the baking sunshine.
Friday at Leeds this year is rave day, and dance proceedings begin with I Was A Cub Scout, who draw a large crowd and look all the more confident for a summer’s gigging under the belts since I saw them at Latitude. They close with “Pink Squares” and for the first time of what will be many, Leeds goes nuts.
It’s time to move off now for our first taste of the NME/Radio 1 tent with New Young Pony Club, led by sex siren Tahita Bulmer. After failing to distinguish between the first few numbers we wander back to the Carling tent for Amandah Wilkinson’s Operator Please, one of a crop of young new female-led bands currently making waves. The songwriting here is solid, and the incorporation of the violin is eye-catching. Definitely one to look out for.
Arguably the best thing about festivals is discovering fresh talent. The programme lists Idlewild among Kubichek!’s influences so I stick around and the Geordies don’t disappoint, their powerful rock filling the tent with catchy hooks and precise delivery. A well-oiled live machine having toured practically non-stop since their conception, winning over the festivals will surely see Kubichek! move up the billing next year.
Cold War Kids disappoint me. Sporadically their songs are brilliant, the likes of “We Used to Vacation” and “Hospital Beds”, but too much of their set goes nowhere slowly, just filler around the singles. It’s a real shame, because they are all technically gifted musicians, perhaps time will hone their songwriting.
The first real clash of the weekend pops up next – go and laugh at Fall Out Boy on the Main Stage or head off for Kate Nash to see what all the fuss is about. Nash wins of course and completely packs the Carling tent. Line-up organisers obviously hadn’t forecasted her success and the sheer amount of people somewhat spoils what could have been a special, intimate show. As it is, Nash is difficult to hear above the bubbling chatter of the crowd until The Song That Everyone Knows for the first big singalong of the weekend. But the really important song here is “Birds”, which is either irritating or beautiful depending on your point of view. I’m an unloved cynic. I think it’s utter tosh. But if it’s successful Nash will be unstoppable having cornered both the break-up and the loved-up couples market. It’s an ominous thought.
The only British bands on the Main Stage today are both Welsh, the second of which are Lostprophets. They play the festival game superbly, playing the hits and the hits only, with Ian Watkins padding out the set with entertaining banter. The lack of depth to their emo tinged rock is forgotten by set closer “Burn Burn”.
We’re getting to the really good stuff now, CSS are on in the NME tent and are great fun live as ever. Lovefoxx however seems distracted, possibly by her beau Simon from Klaxons who is watching from the side of the stage. It’s still a riot though, with ‘Off The Hook’ particularly shining out.
LCD Soundsystem do nothing for me so it’s a beer and a mingle before tonight’s NME tent headliners Klaxons. Singer Jamie Reynolds is on crutches after breaking his leg in a stage-diving accident but not even that can stop Klaxons tonight. Having been pigeon-holed as “new rave” by the genre-trigger-happy NME last year it is clear tonight more than ever that Klaxons have outgrown that tag. All the hits are present as well as set highlight, the Grace cover “It’s Not Over Yet”. Leeds goes mental throughout. Klaxons have evolved into a properly big band. Don’t be surprised to see them headlining festivals in a couple of years.