Although the Leeds crowd spent the weekend wet, muddy, tired and Green Day-less, the northeners still managed to make it a bank holiday weekend to remember. Fuelled by large quantities of alcohol, possibly some illegal substances and most of all the music, the festival-goers brought Leeds another year of success despite the ever-increasing ticket prices.
After a night of new and upcoming talent on the BBC Introducing stage, the main stage opened on Friday with Leeds’ own alt-rockers, Pulled Apart By Horses. Accompanied by fans rewinding their mental age to about six and diving into puddles, the day on the main stage continued with the likes of Bullet For My Valentine. Their heavy riffs and metal attributes were contrasted by the alternative and indie anthems of Kaiser Chiefs and The Black Keys. Meanwhile at the NME/Radio 1 stage, the tent was being filled with psychedelic garage music brought to us by The Horrors. If you weren’t under the influence by now, you damn well felt like it thanks to their trippy experimental sounds and rather odd stage presence. Ending the Friday on a high with a massive two and a half hour set, the mighty Foo Fighters headlined the main stage. Two days later at Reading, Dave Grohl named it as their “last show for a long time.” Queen fans were also graced by the presence of Roger Taylor’s son took the drum stool of Taylor Hawkins while Hawkins moved to lead vocals for ‘Tie Your Mother Down’.
Saturday brought a rapid drop in the well-known diversity of the festival. The Hives really set the ball rolling on Saturday while commanding the overfilled NME tent to sit down in the squelchy mud. Strangely enough they happily obliged to the lead singer, Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist’s, requests. This could have been due to the outstanding performance that the Swedish garage-rockers put on. Other than The Hives, Pop-punk and experimental indie dominated the second day of the festival with thousands of teenage fangirls rushing to watch Angels And Airwaves, You Me At Six and Paramore on the main stage. Lead singer of Paramore, Hayley Williams pulled one of these crazed fangirls on stage to sing with her to ‘Misery Business’ at the end of the set and, whether you like Paramore or not, it cannot be denied that this was a nice touch to the performance. This was followed by the legendary Robert Smith and co. as The Cure entered stage. Their gloomy reputation and career-spanning set unfortunately didn’t impress the younger generation which made up most of the spectators. Five or six songs into the set the crowd began to disperse and the typical northeners headed back to the bar to resume their aim of getting completely and utterly rat-arsed. The remaining few plodded over to the NME/Radio 1 tent to see the experimental indie five-piece, The Maccabees, who gave a mediocre performance.
The closing day of Leeds took a while to kick off but when it did, it was absolutely mind-boggling. Despite the poor performance put on by the post-hardcore four-piece, Enter Shikari, the main stage was redeemed by indie giants, The Vaccines. After just two years on the music scene, the Londoners took to the main stage being upgraded from the NME/Radio 1 stage after last year’s festival. Despite scepticism over whether they could handle the largest stage at the festival with a potential 90,000 capacity, The Vaccines hit the spot with many wetsuit-clad fans singing along. While Florence from Florence And The Machine babbled on about “embracing yourself” and acting higher than a skydiver on ecstasy, Yorkshire brothers, The Cribs took to stage in the NME/Radio 1 tent. The three-piece filled the tent with fellow northerners while lead singer, Gary Jarman, sported his usual bowl cut and skinny jeans and somehow managed to look cool. Finally, we reach the end of the fourteenth annual Leeds Festival. Who better to receive the honour of closing it than the one and only Kasabian? Despite much debate in whether they were up to headlining a festival in their current stage, they bested the Foo Fighters and The Cure in stage presence, outfit choice and possibly even performance. The turnout was the biggest yet as the festival-goers united for one last gig. Busting out several covers of artists such as Oasis and Fatboy Slim, they prove to be one of the few bands who can pull off doing covers as part of a live set and the extensive crowd sing-along donning skeleton masks in true loyalty to the band. Frontman, Tom Meighan pays tribute to Neil Armstrong by pointing at the moon which resulted in many confused faces as this was the first they’d heard of his death having been isolated from the rest of the world for four to five days. The indie-rock five-piece ended on the eponymous ‘Fire’ and a rather baffling cover of ‘She Loves You’ by The Beatles which faded out into nothing causing queries of “is that it?”
Another year over and time for Bramham park to have a rest and re-grow it’s grass. The bar has been set high for Leeds 2013 and now it’s time to see whether the line-up lives up to expectations. However, there’s another six months before said line-up is released so in the mean time, we’ll have to sit and wallow in our post-festival blues.
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