The BollocksToThis Leeds Overview (Part One) (Where possible, band names link to a video of them at Leeds. If this is unavailable it will link to a recorded track. Song names link to the recorded version of the song. It’s difficult to get a recording of each song from the festival Sorry x)
WHAT UP GUYZ. The past weekend I have been in some muddy field in Yorkshire listening to music and drinking alcohol. I payed £200+ for this experience. Kinda sounds weird when you put it like that eh? Bloody kids today…
But yeah, I digress. At Leeds I bounded the name of my blog about to anyone who would listen (usually people trapped in some K-Hole and hoping I had a rope) and it dawned on me that my last like 7 posts were not written by me. For this reason alone, I decided I would do a mini-review of the weekend. Obviously, being Curt McArdle means i’ve put it off like a week so my memory is pretty hazy. I had some proper NME-isms bounding around my head at the time aswell but ah well. I have also only had one bath and am yet to shave since. I think i’m still in festival mode.
The music started on Thursday, with York “La’s" impersonators "Likely Lads" opening up the BBC Introducing Stage. Look at their name, I bet you can already tell what they sound like can’t you? They are a little cringeworthingly predictable, but lad rock is a festival must and the young fella’s done good. That said, it was the first guitar chord anyone had heard in a while, so they might well have been shit in comparison to the rest of the music over the course of weekend. I don’t think anyone really cared. Mass moshpits and sing along-ability ensured a good time was had by all. Due to unforeseen "bad trip" experiences, that was the end Thursdays music for me untill the late night parties (I wasn’t the one having the bad trip, of course, but I had been placed on watch. I really wanted to see "Little Comets" who I’d described as "The most exciting Advert band around" before being told I was a walking blog by my mate, but you cant have it all eh?). Gemini of “Blue" fame played a bass heavy set and the Piccadilly DJ tried his hardest to cater for everyone. I met a nice girl from Wigan and spent most of what remained of the night with her, before bed in my slanted tent. All in all, Thursday was a good day.
Friday was the real start of the festival. Of Monsters and Men opened a rammed NME Tent. Thousands waited for “Little Talks”. They played it last. Everyone sang and air-trumpeted. All went as expected. People asked for a light and fun way to open the day and Iceland’s new stars duly delivered. With the atmosphere at an all time high, bleepy indie kids Django Django entered the stage and seemingly did their best to bring it crashing back down to the floor. A horrific rendition of Hail Bop as an opener acted as a sign of what was to come, marred by tired synths and croaking vox, Vincent Neff’s voice disapeared into the plastic roof and the enthusiastic bleeps from their stand out debut album sounded more like a life support machine trying, and failing, to save a band dying on stage. Leeds 2012’s Biggest Disappointment by a long shot, which is a real shame as anyone who regularly reads this blog knows I really like Django Django. DZ Deathrays, by contrast, were poles apart. Clashing with Tribes meant the Festival Republic Stage was virtually empty, but the huge riffs of “No Sleep" and "Teeth" still induced minor moshpits, testament to the Auzzies raw power. These guys really are a band you have to catch live, you wont want to forget it in a rush. A short sprint to the BBC Introducing Stage allowed me to catch Seasfire playing their future-hit “Falling”, a kind of James Blake-Hurts hybrid with heavy witch house keys. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this band MUCH higher on the bill in a few years time if the current media hype is anything to go by. They are going to be one of them mainstream oriented bands who it’s still going to be “cool” to like. Marina & The Diamonds, anyone?
Festival Republic’s “No Outside Alcohol Inside The Arena” made underage drinking a real difficulty and booze breaks had to be pencilled in sporadically. Friday morning had been a relative success, so it was time to hit the Strongbow (Disclaimer: All other cider’s are nice aswell, if not nicer, but Strongbow is cheap so thats what I drank it. I’m not endorsing any specific brand…unless you are willing to pay). We were camped right on a hill where Blue becomes Red, just close enough to the arena to make it easily acceptable, but outside of the prime robbing-region. Our neighbours were pretty cool aswell, so I guess we struck lucky. I’m not sure how much of it they remember though, as they were “on acid” for what seemed like the whole weekend
After a short break I stumbled down toward the NME Tent to catch SBTRKT, who becomes two people at festival’s but is usually just one guy. The beats were huge and the tent was bouncing, but the vocals were hugely disappointing. It’s always difficult with an album packed with guest appearances, but singing the guest sports yourself seems like a bad idea from the offset. SBTRKT need’s to take a leaf out of Chase & Status’ live manual. After a particulally weak “Pharaohs" I went for a piss in the famous Leeds "Toilets" and caught the end of 2:54's set. I don't like 2:54 on record, I think they sound like Givers if Givers were rhythm-less zombies, but I won’t let this marr my judgement of their live set. They were pretty good. They stood there and did what 2:54 do. If that’s the kind of thing you like then i’m sure it would have been perfect. Not for me, but they did their job. The real reason i’d headed over to the Festival Republic Stage, though, was for King Charles and his live companion’s. Dressed in an open shirt with chest hair bulging at the seams, Charles lead the crowd in many an elegant sing song with his medieval lyrics and folk inspired riffs, Love Lust receiving what was possibly the best reception of the day. This is a man who really knows what his fans want to hear and above all puts on a great show.
As the sun began to set, the site broke into two distinct tribes. Those who would be heading toward the Main Stage to catch that little band with the Nirvana drummer and those who will be heading to the sweatbox of the NME Tent to catch the greatest French dance duo of all time. I went to the NME. (Well, actually I went to my tent for more Strongbow, and got back to catch The Horrors closing with their dark Gary Numan-Core thriller “Still Life”). Those who opted for Gaspard and Xavier had to sit through Two Door Cinema Club (Who had been demoted from 2011’s Main Stage) committing the ultimate festival Faux Pas, a setlist crammed with new tracks. Its a shame, really, because TDCC are made for festivals. Simple lyrics and happy clappy NME-worthy beats (re-reading this, it looks like I have a personal vendetta against NME. I think it’s wank, but that’s where it end’s. That, and the fact I’ve done work for Q, which is far far better I must say..)
After a disappointing TDCC, the moment was upon us. The moment every pilled up raver was twitching about. The moment Bramham Park would be transformed into one huge nightclub from heaven. The amps were stacked, the trademark cross glowing like a beacon of hope in times of turmoil for Dance music. This was the moment Justice were going to provide memories for thousands that would last a lifetime. The whole set felt like one epic dance marathon. There were no individual songs, just one huge event. A masterful reworking of Genesis and Civilisation, entwined with the inch perfect light show, epitomised what the night was about. There was no fighting. Everyone felt like one big French family. Those who were not on drugs danced hard and fought through the wall of fatigue. Those who were on drugs stared transfixed on the bearded duo blowing the stage up. With Audio.Video.Disco it was over, all far too soon, Justice firmly registering themselves as one of the greatest dance acts of all time. This is not the end of dance. Look under the surface, and the scene is still kicking
I spent the rest of the night down at Piccadilly, still glazed over with post-justice awe. The best thing about Piccadilly are the residents. That night I met a brilliant group of girls, mainly from Halifax, who i’ve since added one facebook. Ill give you there twitter’s down in Linkomania. Their tastes might be a little “Mindie” for this blog, but there alright. I met up with them the next morning and we discussed Piss and Oasis over a cider. Don’t you just love Festivals? Part Two is coming whenever I can be bothered to write it. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow. Shut up. Stop pressuring me. I am your friend x
Words: Curt McArdle
Picure: Robyn Shevlin (It is me getting papped at the silent disco. Its tough being a world famous blogger. I am wearing an Alt J top. I caught them on Saturday. You can read about them in part 2)
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STAY TUNED FOR PART 2 IT IS GONNA BE 10X BETTER I PROMISE! (Not Really)