Leeds Festival 2013: Saturday Review


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Saturday came and the site’s landscape had changed drastically. Rain had come in a big way, with heavy rain in the night, turning the lush green grass into a mudbath. Wellies were a necessity, as were ponchos, it was ‘proper’ UK festival weather.

As a result of the poor conditions, I was stationed in the NME Tent for a good few hours and was lucky to see what I saw!

Fatigue seemed to have set in during the first half of Deap Vally’s set. At the 20 minute stage, drummer Julie Edwards instructed the crowd to wake up and have fun, reminding them they were at a festival! They promptly did so and the atmosphere was quite good afterwards, shame the music wasn’t quite as good. I sort of like Deap Vally, but their music is too samey for my tastes, I liked their energy during the gig though, they played at such a frenetic pace I’m surprised they managed 2 shows in 2 days!

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Next up were fellow Americans Fidlar. A little heard of band, but an excellent band, one of my finds of the festival. They played a clutch of quick, simple songs that relied on great riffs and lead singer Zac Carper’s hyper vocals. I was reminded of a very low-fi Nirvana, if you want to see for yourself I recommend you check out ‘Cheap Beer’, the slogan that adorned their merch and the song that really had the crowd going wild.

I suspect that the crowd was boosted because of the next act. Brummie stars Peace, were as flamboyant as predicted, lead singer Henry Koisser striding out in a leopard print jacket and hat to a loving audience. Tracks ‘Follow Baby’, and ‘Lovesick’‘, got the best responses and saw the band at their most confident. Sure the live set isn’t yet perfect, some of their songs weren’t the most interesting in a a live arena, but they are getting there as one of a few bands that could really kickstart the era of the British guitar band.

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Frightened Rabbit, were the benefactors of the horrendous weather which poured down, turning the festival into a swamp! They were aware of this however, and took full advantage, producing a lovely set. At first, I was pretty disinterested, and thought of them (badly) as a Scottish, ‘Mumford & Sons’. The longer they went on, the more I became enraptured by their folky sound, but I was persuaded into liking them by their modest attitude, too. Many bands could’ve reacted snobby and above with such a packed tent, knowing they’re only there to evade poor weather, but the quintet instead opened them with welcome arms, Their interaction saw those present become part of a ‘human accordion’, something that went a way towards neutralizing the disappointment of missing Frank Turner on a sodden Main Stage.

After all that I fancied a bit of a walk, venturing into the now spitting rain to find some fresh music. It was the Rock Stage that I found it, with The Computers part way through their set. Instantly I thought I’d been transported back to the 1950s as they were all dressed in slick suits, with even more slicked back hair. Their tunes matched the image, and were a breath of fresh air. Sure the lead singer’s attempts at telling a story inbetween songs were a bit manufactured, as were his off-stage antics which saw him join a wet, muddy mosh pit. But it was pure fun, reminding me of The Hives’ eccentric set from 2012, in a good way!

Then, then it was Major Lazer time. Now I didn’t know what to expect, a pure DJ set? Well I was wrong, it was a carnival atmosphere from DJ Diplo and his party. He had a DJ, a couple of dancers, guest vocalists, cannons, fake cash-THE LOT!

Then the tunes arrived. The first half of the set was incredible, with the music pumping out, MC’s hyping the crowd, the crowd promptly going mental, Diplo deciding to take a journey out amongst the crowd in a zorb (the big ball things!) and everything generally going crazy! It was a party I was glad I had attended, a scene that despite the rain and mud, showed Leeds knew how to party. We were packed in the inner ring and it was a scene that saw the chavvy half of Leeds mix well with the rockers, everyone was there to have a good time and it showed. The second half of the set saw more samples of remixes of other songs, taking the gloss from the event ever so slightly for me personally, but still culminating in a great, great set that wasn’t to be surpassed on that Saturday…

Kate Nash, was the soundtrack to my noodle-eating, and it was a good job they were thoroughly cooked, otherwise I could’ve been seeing them again, in a more raw form. She was just awful! Everyone knows that one song, ‘Foundations’, the song that brought Nash mainstream attention. Well it seems she’s tried to strip herself of that image, instead appearing as some sort of glitter-fairy. Her all-girl band screamed ‘FEMINISM’, and her songs didn’t really warrant the sort of showmanship you’d get at a circus. I don’t know, there was just so much of her set that I hated, that made me glad I didn’t prioritize it at all over anything worth seeing! Slightly harsh maybe, but my honest opinion.

Headliner time had come, and the pop-punk of Green Day was blasted from the Main Stage. Now I was a fair distance back, and wasn’t massively impressed with the size or energy of the crowd, but to be fair, it was constantly raining, muddy as anything and the band were just okay, nothing more, on reflection. Billie Joe Armstrong annoyed me, with his political speeches and subtle nuances. However, I did enjoy songs off ‘American Idiot’, which I loved at the time of release, with their comprehensive playing in full of 1994 album Dookie, released the year of my birth, missing the mark for me, but not for the legions of loyal fans down the front.

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