Date: August 27th – 29th, 2010
Venue: Bramham Park, Leeds
MySpace: None available
One of the UK’s biggest and most popular festival weekends, Reading/Leeds festival hosts hundreds of acts from pop to metal across an array of stages for three days. Combine mud, overly priced burgers and hot dogs with some amazing bands from across the world and you’ve got an awesome weekend ahead of you. We managed to review some of the bands at the festivals secondary site in Leeds, and here’s what we thought:
So upon trudging into the campsite in the Thursday afternoon, I soldiered through the rest of the day with heaps of grande excitement for the next few days of music ahead.
The first band I stumble across was on the Lock Up Stage, and whilst it was rather glorious weather outdoors the performance from Cerebral Ballzy (*) was one to definitely bring the black clouds in as their atrocious drunken noise reverberated around the tent; crap.
After walking the mere 100 yards or so to the Main Stage I embarked on watching the remaining few songs of the Mystery Jets (***) set. They were gleaming in the sun whilst the chart hit ‘Two Doors Down’ rings in the ears of the festival go-ers.
Next up in true rock and roll style were The Gaslight Anthem (****) who seemingly warmed up the revellers with their feel good anthems in vein of the boss Bruce Springsteen, ‘The ’59 Sound’ being a clear highlight of their set.
Kids In Glass Houses (***) were the next band I watched, and this time willingly rather than mistakenly. Blasting out hit and after hit with ‘Matters At All’ providing an apt set closer, the crowd clearly loved every minute and the band seemed very humbled by the attendance.
Following up in the NME tent was folk/punk acoustic singer Frank Turner (*****) who has the crowd eating out of every orifice in his body, with a mass of feel good sing alongs to songs such as ‘The Real Damage’ and a new one which sounded extremely promising and a certain hit. Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best performances of the weekend.
Continuing on in my repertoire of bands watched was Dizzee Rascal (***) who lapped up the enthusiastic crowd easily rolling out hit after hit with songs such as ‘Dance With Me’, ‘Holiday’ and of course ‘Bonkers’. Not usually one for me, but certainly an enjoyable performance by a definitely competent Mr Rascal.
Taking to the Main Stage directly after the bonkers rapper were The Libertines (****). Admittedly I am far from Pete Doherty‘s biggest fan, but there was definitely a certain aura around the band and their returning performance. With having been reportedly paid over one million pounds for the Reading/Leeds weekend, there was an air of expectation as to whether they would gel together once again. Playing the ever-recognisable ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’, they whip the attendees in a frenzy and a memory that most will never forget as they didn’t let anyone down, let alone themselves.
After waking up to a rather chilly tent and feeling like I’d been hit with a hammer all night, I embarked upon the day that I was most excited for. Setting myself off to the Dance Stage early on to watch the ever delightful and easy on the eyes Lights (****), who I also had the pleasure of meeting later on. Playing tracks such as ‘Drive My Soul’ and ‘Saviour’, the early bird were rewarded with peaceful and easy on the ears music and shown their appreciation accordingly, as did Miss Poxleitner herself.
Toddling on over to the Main Stage, I more or less camped myself there for the remainder of the day, with the odd toilet breaks in between bands. First up were The King Blues (***) who lapped up the fact that they are one of the first ska punk bands to play the main stage at Reading/Leeds. Whipping out their signature tracks ‘Save The World, Get The Girl’ and ‘Headbutt’, they give the crowd exactly what they want on the sunny Saturday afternoon, even if they had to endure their rants about the BNP and the EDL alongside their light hearted and enjoyable tunes.
Following after the ska-laced politics were Thrice (**) who seemingly just looked like they came to do what they were paid to do and leave. Very little interaction between them and the early afternoon crowd was seen, although they did seem somewhat a little out of their depth in front of so many people. They played their instruments well and sounded good, but something just seemed to be missing in their set, nevertheless they were somewhat enjoyable.
All Time Low (****) provided some light-hearted humour and great pop-punk rhythms in true party style, with the addition of boobs aplenty on show on the big screens. Owing their sound a little bit to the headliners they play beneath, they definitely enjoy themselves on stage playing tracks such as ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’, ‘Stella’ and ‘Weightless’. They were withoutdoubt in their element up there with Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat trading the cheeky yet amusing banter.
Keeping the young pop-punk groups flowing on the Main Stage, You Me At Six (***) clearly in awe of their vast surroundings take to the stage and attempt to win over the “haterz” and show their fans a good time. Following in the same vein as Thrice, there seems to be something lacking. The sound is simply piss poor, and although vocalist Josh Franceschi does command the large crowd very well it just seems as though their performances on bigger stages needs to be adapted somewhat to make themselves sound as huge as all their songs are. Not to say they were bad churning out fan favourites ‘Save It For The Bedroom’, ‘If I Were In Your Shoes’ and new single ‘Stay With Me’, but some improvements need to be made. Decent enough though.
Limp Bizkit (*****) haven’t been together as a group (the second time around anyway) for a long while, but the way the crowd reacts and the way Fred Durst instantaneously interacts with them you wouldn’t be a fool in thinking that they’d never split-up. Wes Borland is back at his best along with the rest of the members as they and the crowd of thousands ring out hits ‘Rollin”, ‘Break Stuff’ and the George Michael cover closer ‘Faith’. A blast from the past of the nu-metal era in the early noughties, but it seemed like everyone was enjoying their childhood once again.
Cypress Hill (****) were like Marmite for most of the festival go-ers, whilst most attendees would recognise their hip-hop legendary status and know songs such as ‘Insane In The Membrane’ and ‘I Want To Get High’, a minority would’ve been wondering why the hell they were on this stage on this certain day. They had the public bopping and bouncing to their powerful beats, and as they lighted up spliffs during their set it was clear for all to see that everyone was enjoying every second of this performance.
Weezer (*****) as a band are not one who often grace our shores, but they were waited upon today with baited breath and definitely did not disappoint one iota. Rivers Cuomo looked a man possessed singing every note perfectly and putting on one of the best shows I have ever witnessed with songs such as ‘Hashpipe’ and ‘Beverly Hills’. Jumping on a trampoline, climbing on fences, members changing which instruments they play and even covers of MGMT, Wheatus and Lady Gaga just go to show what a spectacle they managed to show the crowd. There wasn’t a jaw in that wasn’t being slowly picked back up from the floor as they exited the stage after cult hit ‘Buddy Holly’.
I’m not going to lie, but Paramore (****) are my favourite band and I was beyond excited to see them. However, stood from afar in the packed tight crowd they didn’t sound as epic as they possibly could, but that could be somewhat due to the poor sound levels You Me At Six also suffered from earlier, who knows. Playing a very short set with songs such as ‘Playing God’, ‘Misery Business’ and ‘Let The Flames Begin’, fire haired frontwoman Hayley Williams bounds around the stage as they all give a very energetic performance in warming the crowd up a little bit more before the evening’s headliners.
After what seemed like an actual lifetime in waiting, the trio of Tom Delonge, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker take to the stage after their 5/6 year hiatus from the English sand and sea. Blink-182 (*****) offer out a heartily thank you to the gruesome twosome Jedward, before blasting into ‘All The Small Things’ much to the delight of the crowd. The big hits keep on coming from there, ‘Stay Together For The Kids’, ‘Feeling This’ and the ever harmonious and emotional ‘I Miss You’ to a great encore of Travis Barker performing a drum solo suspended and spinning in mid-air. The choruses rang out to a crowd of 80,000 voices as every second will be etched upon memory, watching some faces around me literally cry with joy over the band onstage before them. One of the more captivating and possessive performances of the weekend and one that no-one will be forgetting in a long time.
For me Sunday was a poor day for bands, so I aptly left after watching two bands to return to my comfy warm bed and clean showers.
Up first on the Main Stage were fast rising rockers Young Guns (***) who played ‘Crystal Clear’ amongst their other usual songs and whilst the crowd seemed eager so early in the morning, I was far too groggy from sleeping in the car to listen with a more open mind.
A Day To Remember (***) were up next, trying to make up for dropping out last year due to surgery on band members. For a band playing such an early set on the last day they certainly whipped up a frenzy with breakdowns galore and sing-a-longs, not to mention their trademark gang vocals. There has always been one worrying aspect about this band though; vocalist Jeremy McKinnon‘s live vocals, not really up to scratch as he struggles to reach the notes he managed to hit on record. A set filled with songs such as ‘My Life For Hire’, ‘Danger In Starting A Fire’ and The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle’, it was the same as usual in terms of their set and is being to get a little tiresome now. A better variety of older songs would have made all the difference.
Overall, despite being surrounded by a bunch of annoying pricks and overly immature pre-pubescent children wherever you turned, the Leeds festival weekend was very enjoyable. All thanks to the bands being generally much better than expected. Let’s see what’s in store for 2011!
Written by Dominic Wyatt