Note: As only two members of the site were able to review the festival weekend, we were sadly unable to cover every band performing throughout the festival.
One of the longest running popular music festivals in the UK, the Reading/Leeds Festival weekend is well reknowned and has been hugely popular since its inception. This year, we made an appearance at the Leeds site of the event, and what a (muddy) weekend it was. With the Lock Up Stage turned into a Dance Stage for a day and My Chemical Romance headlining the Main Stage, there’s always alternatives to those who are far from fans of the “emo” group.
ARCHITECTS – 8/10
Architects are currently going from strength to strength, and their move up to Main Stage territory this summer only proves that further. New album ‘The Here And Now’ has propelled them to this level and ‘Day In Day Out’ sounds bloody massive. With songs taken from ‘Hollow Crown’ and the aforementioned new album, the band create a whirlwind of heaviness on tracks like ‘Numbers Count For Nothing’ and ‘Learn To Live’. The ballad-like ‘Heartburn’ gets the crowds arms in the air before the mighty ‘Early Grave’ stomps everything in its path into submission.
THE BLACKOUT – 7/10
Merthyr Tydfil’s own sons The Blackout are back at Leeds and they’re here to entertain, and entertain they do. As they play through their set, it’s amazing how many of their songs you actually know without having ever properly listened to them. Sean Smith and Gavin Butler command the stage and the audience during ‘Children Of The Night’ amongst others and their banter is as always, disgustingly laughable. Oldies like I’m A Riot? You’re A Fucking Riot!’ make an appearance to appease their longtime fans, and even if The Blackout really aren’t your cup of tea, there’s no denying that they’re a brilliant live act.
NEW FOUND GLORY – 7/10
There is not one single day when New Found Glory will fail to put a smile on your face. Come rain or shine, the band have so many summer-soaked hits that it’s impossible not to sing along and throw in a trademark pop-punk jump every so often. Singer Jordan Pundik and co. might be getting a little older, but that’s not stopping them from rocking out to all the greats like ‘Hit Or Miss’, ‘Dressed To Kill’, ‘All Downhill From Here’ and new song ‘Radiosurgery’ after coming on stage to the epic Chariots Of Fire music. Always a pleasure, never a chore.
BRING ME THE HORIZON – 8/10
There’s no denying that Bring Me The Horizon are now officially HUGE. Daytime national radio play and Main Stage slots would have been unheard of for a band this heavy/diverse a few years ago, but they have taken their brand of electronic infused tech-metal to the masses and seem to be reaping the rewards aplenty. This is obviously in part helped by Oli Sykes‘ semi-god status, and today he has the crowd in the palm of his hand. ‘It Never Ends’ is a crushing opener, and bringing his dad Ian out on ‘Football Season Is Over’ is a class touch. Security gets a run for their money as Oli asks the crowd to get over the barrier to hi-five him, and the rest of the band cause chaos as they storm through ‘Anthem’ and ‘Chelsea Smile’.
RISE AGAINST – 5/10
Remember the days when Rise Against were good? Apparently they don’t, because their set list is derived of mostly new material that, in comparison with their older efforts, is tepid at best. A cover of The Clash‘s ‘White Riot’ is a nice touch in relation to the recent rioting in London, but the band fail to ignite the crowd today. While it’s important to progress as a band, it’s also essential to remember what got you there in the first place, and that your fans might want to hear some classic songs to accompany the new.
DEFTONES – 9/10
Which is exactly how Deftones roll. Currently at the top of their game (sadly still without bassist Chi Cheng), the band blast out classics like ‘Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)’ and ‘My Own Summer (Shove It)’ right next to new favourite ‘Diamond Eyes’. A band that’s always pushing boundaries musically, Deftones consistently soar above the competition. Chino is as confident as ever, and is compelling and engaging as he owns the stage during the chilling ‘Digital Bath’ and the mosh-heavy ‘Korea’. A special guest appearance from Rise Against‘s Tim Mcilrath for set closer ‘Passenger’ is a great move, despite some major microphone problems, as Deftones once again prove that they’re the kings of this game.
THE OFFSPRING – 7/10
It’s an undeniable fact that The Offspring will always have amazing songs, but they might be getting slightly passed it now. Coming out to ‘All I Want’ is a great entry that has the old-school fans singing their hearts out, and this theme continues on songs like ‘Americana’, ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’ and old classic ‘Self Esteem’. But, for the love of God guys, get rid of ‘Hit That’ and all the other cheese-filled mess. Just keep bringing out the goods, we know you have it in you still.
30 SECONDS TO MARS – 7/10
It’s been said that 30 Seconds To Mars are pompous, overblown and horrifically cliché, and those that have said that would probably be right. However, take it for what it is and you get a highly entertaining rock show. After all, Jared Leto is a born entertainer and he sends his fans absolutely wild during their set. ‘Attack’ unveils the band’s slightly heavier side to much appraise, and Jared taking spot upon a special stage set up between the crowd parting for ‘Hurricane’ sends them wild. It may be cringeworthy, but hearing a field full of people sing along to ‘Kings & Queens’ is mightily impressive all the same.
MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE – 8/10
It’s widely known across the entire festival that My Chemical Romance are teetering on the fine line of being a Marmite band. A large selection of the goers will opt for someone else during their set, but the many who choose to watch MCR will be treated with an array of offerings from their back catalogue; ‘Our Lady Of Sorrows’ brings moments of nostalgia back from the band’s debut beginnings, ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise)’ and ‘Famous Last Words’ highlights their entrances into mainstream success and fresh offerings ‘Na Na Na’ and ‘Planetary (GO!)’ show face of MCR as they are today. These and others all delivered with Gerard Way‘s impressive vocals driven along by the guitar partnership of Frank Iero and Ray Toro affirms the band deserving of their headline spot this weekend.
PULLED APART BY HORSES – 7/10
Leeds gritty rock outfit Pulled Apart By Horses are definitely a band who need to be witnessed live to be truely appreciated of their capabilities. Tom Hutton and his gang of Yorkshire noise makers are as grimey in their performance as they are energetic, pouncing about the stage through songs like the crazy titled ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’ and the ludicrously catchy ‘Yeah Buddy’. If you weren’t present, then be sure to catch these guys elsewhere soon.
DON BROCO – 7/10
With just a single EP to their name, Bedford’s Don Broco have managed to make quite a name for themselves so far this year, and a high spot on the BBC Introducing Stage is just another achievement to add to their 2011 resume. ‘Thug Workout’ as always gets a mental reaction, and it seems the rock outfit have outgrown the small confines of the stage they’re on, and will no doubt be bunked up at next year’s festival.
TIM MINCHIN – 8/10
Combining music and comedy is only done by a few, and out of those few who do it even fewer can actually pull it off. It’s safe to say that Australian Tim Minchin is one of the strongest artists who fits within this category, providing lyrical content of wit, smut and a bit of irony here and there, which proves for what is a funny yet intelligent act. A rare combination. A set consisting of material from various eras of his work, including ‘Prejudice’ and ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Nerd’, displays Tim‘s consistently hilarious rants and songs. With a new song titled ‘Cont’ being performed that offers some of Tim‘s most outrageous lyrics yet, the future looks incredibly bright for Mr. Minchin.
Written by Zach Redrup and Callum Galbraith