Leeds Festival 2010

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The weather forecast looked bleak but with a line up of Guns N’ Roses, Blink 182, Arcade Fire and The Libertines, it hardly seemed to faze the 70,000 revellers. So out came the wellies for another bank holiday weekend at Bramham Park and boy was it a smasher. As 2010 saw reunions, amazing covers, artists of the future and River Cuomo (Weezer) in a wig, it had it all!

As 70,000 or so highly charged music fans descended on the small site, not much had changed. The standard setup means the two main stages are at either end of the site posing major problems when fighting against a sea of people. Merci to the god of rain for saving all it’s vengeance for the Reading site.

Kick-Ass was the most appropriate movie picked on the Thursday in the Festival Republic tent, getting the crowds ready for the festival to …ya know….Kick Ass.

So it begins – Kicking off on the main stage The Futureheads caused their usual chaos to a respectable crowd. Steaming through their recent released album and finishing with the howls of ‘Hounds of Love’ – always guaranteed a sing a along, a great start.

Following suit, The Mystery Jets are back with a new album and more hair, it seems. From performing on the NME stage in 08, and now on the main stage they seemed to have alot more presence and with catchy tunes as ‘Two Doors Down’ that seemed to fit the unexpected sunny weather on the opening day at Leeds.

London quintet the Maccabees brought their youthful melodic indie for the third time to Leeds fest but this time on the main stage. Orlando’s sweet nervy voice along with the high pitch riffs waved across the park to their ever growing fan base. Performing hits from both of their smash hit albums including the beautiful ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ and ‘First Love’. The future looks bright for the Maccabees, who I’m sure will work their way up the bill.

Dizzee Rascal successfully pulled another one out of the bag, the only Grime act to perform at the festival. With his live band he completely rocked it! As the opening riff of ‘Teen Spirit’ ripped through the air teamed with ‘Stand up tall’, Grime and rock merged to form something amazing- one of my highlights for sure. After what seemed to be the end, Dizzee pops back with ‘Bonkers’– it had to be done. Easy Job.

Now for the most highly anticipated act of the weekend The Libertines. Questions of if Pete will actually show, or indeed, know where he is. Alas! On strolls Barat and half dead looking Doherty cigarette in mouth and completely intoxicated. That’s the way we love him don’t we? Opening with ‘Horror Show’ they seemed to have put their troubled past behind them. It was lovely seeing Carl and Pete share a mic, especially for the classic ‘Can’t stand me now’– really was a golden moment in the history of Leeds and Reading. The love was for the songs and not just the spectacle made it one to remember.

From their last appearance in 2007 Arcade Fire’s reputation has grown to be one of the best live bands in the world, and now with their UK number one album ‘The Suburbs’ taking them to the mainstream – the anticipation was high and they didn’t disappoint. Opening with ‘Ready to start’ and ‘No Cars Go’ displayed a true presence which engulfed the whole crowd. Then on to their recent album, ‘We Used To Wait’ seemed to be the new fan favorite, and with an encore of ‘Wake Up’ was simply one of those goose bump moments where everyone was in harmony – easily the best performance of the festival by far.

The New Yorkers the Drums made their first Leeds debut in the packed out NME tent, their first show in the UK for a month. The captivating moves of lead singer Jonathan Pierce was like a mixture of Morrissey, Curtis and Steven Pastel – he had total command of the stage. Ending on ‘Down By The River’ was a surprise as they didn’t play their hit single ‘Lets Go Surfing’, which was rather odd. But none the less a brilliant fresh new band, in which we will no doubt see a lot more of.

Former Bloc Partier Kele goes it alone with his new band at Leeds. Rather odd not having Bloc Party on the line up but Kele sure made up for it. His grin alone lit up the NME tent; along with his new direction of electro dance that lifted the tent of its pegs. From the deep bass of ‘Tenderoni’ that got everyone spelling it, to his recent release ‘Everything you wanted’ gave his new and old fans a taster of his new style. Not forgetting his roots, old favorites ‘Hunting for Witches’, ‘The Prayer’ and ‘Flux’ were played for the old fans – was a brilliant performance. I suspect he’ll be back next year with or without Bloc Party.

Now Weezer for me are one of those bands that have quietly fallen of the radar, so seeing them on the line up brought back memories. Probably the most entertaining gig I’ve been to as front man River Cuomo was either high or is just out right mental. He was literally bouncing about on stage, climbing billboards and diving into the crowd. You just could not look away, as they belted out their classics ‘Island in the sun’ to ‘Buddy Holly’ then Lady Gaga to MGMT – it had it all, an amazing performance if not somewhat confusing when they played Wheatus. The same question bounced around the crowd, this is Wheatus right?

Paramore are so huge, it was difficult to even get close to the stage with all the teenage lads lusting after Hayely Williams, it was impossible to move. The crowd entertained itself by guessing the colour of her hair whilst waiting the additional ten minutes for their arrival – and then ‘Ignorance’ belted through the air whilst the temperature dropped into single figures. However, jumping about to ‘Brick By Boring Brick’ soon warmed us up, and the radio air time favourite ‘Only Exception’ had the lighters swaying. Abruptly ending on ‘Misery Business’ was a bit of a downer, however the Blink mayhem soon began as the crowd pushed forwards even more.

Teenage anarchists Blink 182 are back! Well more like 30 something’s now obviously but they still had the humour of a fifteen year old with their cock jokes. I will never go down on Barack Obama though Tom. It was a true step back in time, it was brilliant to hear ‘What’s My age again?’ and ‘Girl at The Rock show’ and they did a great cover Jedward’s new song  ‘All The Small Things’, which they personally thanked Jedward for. Overall it’s good to see them back and there is even talk of a new album, so here’s to a new era of the mighty Blink.

They’re the biggest Northern Irish band since erm… Snow Patrol and one of my favorite bands to emerge this year Two Door Cinema Club tear up the NME tent with their debut album ‘Tourist History’- packed full of catchy jams. The power pop of ‘Undercover Martyn’ and ‘Something Good Can work’ got the crowd going, with their short, sharp riffs bellowing through out the tent. I can’t wait for their second album, and very much looking forward to future Leeds performances.

Delphic have had a mad year and have shot to stardom as one of Manchester hottest new bands. They created so much energy when they played with continuous music for an hour, including their smash hit single ‘Doubt’ echoing through out the NME tent. An absolute solid performance, which has just increased their ever growing following by one.

One of the most exciting bands to emerge this year Mumford and Sons take to the NME stage as the crowds kept pouring in. Opening with ‘Sign no more’ instantly saw the crowd and the band become one. As the set continued Mumford feed of the crowd’s enthusiasm and enjoyment, which made for a brilliant performance. The biggest crowd by far in the NME tent, Folk is alive again.

Sunday posed a problem LCD Soundsystem or Guns N’ Roses? Now I’m not the biggest G N’R fan, however the whole publicity surrounding their return gave way to seeing a decent band, sorry LCD. After a half an hour wait finally out pops William Axl Rose sporting a lovely silver jacket and his usual bandana, with further costume changes ranging from cowboy to pimp every few songs, which lead the way for bellowing guitar solos- that went on a bit. Classics from ‘Appetite for Destruction’ their best selling debut album of all time worldwide in 1987 separated the hardcore fans from the student revellers. With a Busta Ryhmes look a like on drums and a not so good Slash-a like on lead guitar, fair play, he had the hat and the fag but no fro. However, I feel they have pasted their sell by date – as I looked out at the not so filled out crowd it was evident that most thought the same. Ending on Axl declaring war on the organizers for not letting them play any longer was pitiful – may have been due to the half an hour you took to get on stage? ‘Paradise City’ was their best perforamce and a great way to end the festival but anymore would have been an ear ache.

As the temperature dropped even more and the drunken shower deprived crowd filtered out of Bramham Park for another year, it is safe to say this one is for the history books, and next years headliners will have a lot to live up to. Bring on Leeds 2011.