LIVE REVIEW >> Leeds Festival 2013: Friday’s Best Bits

Leeds Festival
Bramham Park // Friday, August 23, 2013

Ah, it was good to be back at Bramham Park, although slightly soggy underfoot, the atmosphere was fantastic, and we’d barely broken into the PM.

Having missed BATTLE LINES thanks to my wonderful time-keeping (sorry!), we made it into the arena with minutes to spare before Leeds rockers HAWK EYES kicked things off for us with some midday mosh. The band arrived back home with a bang after a European tour with System Of A Down, and they tore through a frentic set which ended with singer Paul in the crowd, complete with guitar and mic stand to bring Bears By The Head to a suitably chaotic close. A great start to the day.

We called in to the Festival Republic Stage briefly to see local boys CHINA RATS, but their uninspiring indie rock sounds didn’t do enough to keep us hanging round, so we went and grabbed a bite to eat.


Electro-pop duo ALUNAGEORGE had a great crowd waiting for them when they arrived on the NME/Radio1 Stage. Theirs was a pretty straightforward set, mixing album tracks with their big tunes – You Know You Like It, Attracting Flies and the first of two versions of White Noise – got the biggest response, naturally. Singer Aluna Francis strutted her stuff with near-perfect vocals (enough for us to question a ‘live’ performance!) while producer George Reid stayed put behind his keyboard singing along. Not bad at all.


It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen EDITORS live, so we managed to squeeze our way to the front of the Main Stage crowd with a couple of Mexanines to enjoy their set. A good few tunes from their new album – Sugar, A Ton Of Love and new single Formaldehyde set comfortably beside fan favourites Munich and Bullets. A fairly fleeting set, but we’ll get to see more of them when they land at the O2 Academy Leeds on Saturday, November 23. Tickets HERE. Bloody love Tom Smiths contorted style as he twists round the dark and brooding lyrics before attacking his guitar with heartiness.


HAIM were class. I was half-expecting a fairly safe set of Fleetwood Mac-lite rock, but while the comparisons are obvious, their live show turned stuff up to 11. They were awesome. Really cool band. And yeah, there was plenty of bass-face. Gotta love a bit of bass-face.


Next up was the surprise of the weekend for me. Can’t say I was hugely bothered about seeing DISCLOSURE to be honest, but Mrs Bang The Drum was more than keen. As were thousands of others. We couldn’t get in the tent. We got kind of near so we could watch on the big screens and danced al fresco. What a show! Two guys plonked behind a stack of keyboards, drum pads and samplers were the highlight of the weekend (though I never saw Skrillex press buttons on a giant spaceship). Joining them were good mate Ed McFarlance from Friendly Fires, Aluna Francis for the second airing of White Noise in a few hours, and Sam Smith for set closer Latch. LOVED it!

BIFFY CLYRO have finally made it to the Main Stage headline slot after years of potential. For the last few years, I’ve wanted the Biff to return to their roots and show the kids where their arena-filling rock comes from. I’ve yearned to hear tunes from Blackened Sky and Vertigo Of Bliss for ages. Tonight, I got a brief reminder with 57 and a tease of Questions And Answers. The rest of the set plucked the Big Hits from their huge recent albums, complete with fireworks and streamer canons – a worthy headline set without really pushing boundaries. Oh yeah, maybe they predicted Saturday’s weather by playing Biblical. Nice…


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