Festival Review: Leeds 2014

Leeds 2014

This year at Leeds I saw 26 bands, most of whom were brilliant, a few I wasn’t so keen on and had one/two bands of the weekend who have sent me home in a spin. Oh and all of this with the tail end of a chest infection, no voice, on painkillers and antibiotics!

It’s time to look back at Leeds 2014.

FRIDAY

Missed loads on Friday which was a shame but did see The Sunshine Underground bring it in the Festival Republic Stage to a tent load of people who were equally as happy as I was. Quick run to the Radio 1 Dance Tent to make some Nu Rave shapes with  the Klaxons. They’re probably the only Dance act at the festival that I wanted to see and the tent throbbed with the musical thump and throng of fans.

As I passed by the main stage I was surprised to realise that I did in fact know who Macklemore & Ryan Lewis w as they busted out one of my guilty pleasures of 2013 Thrift Shop – that was probably the surprise of the day for me.

I was intent on seeing The 1975 in the NME/R1 Stage though I couldn’t even get in at first – managing finally to push my way through the human walls just to try and catch a bit of a look. I don’t think they’d even quite managed to all make it on stage before the roar of a thousand teenage girls began. It would seem singer Matt Healy has become somewhat of a sex symbol and the little band I once wrote about are actually flipping huge (I clearly pay no attention to these things and I should).

Time to catch BBC Introducing Stage headliners Prides, who at first had only a small crowd but really pulled in the numbers as the set went on. This is a band who have clearly impressed a lot of people and I can see why – in fact, in between tracks I found out their next local gig to me and put it in my diary to make a point of seeing them again.

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SATURDAY

Saturday was the day that caused the biggest ear worm I’ve had all year – thanks for that Darlia! I couldn’t even see them just heard them belt out Queen Of Hearts which I proceeded to sing all day, all night and actually still now. Fat White Family followed up Darlia’s set with what can only be described as mayhem and they’ve been hailed as one of THE bands to watch of 2014 – they didn’t disappoint!

Twin Atlantic didn’t really grab me as much as I thought they were going to – I only popped my head in for a few songs though I left to catch Kate Tempest in the Alternative stage. Hailing from Croydon Kate brought her South London hip hop sound to Leeds festival with a mixed and perhaps somewhat dubious crowd. The best thing about this was watching two young metal heads clad in leather and spikes totally moshing out to Kate’s sounds as if they were hearing something altogether different.

You’d not normally find me in the 1Xtra tent yet I was told that Lizzo was a must see, so off we went. While musically not my thing at all she is a true show woman who can sing as well as she can rap and who can really engage the crowd. She dragged up a bearded skinny-jeaned man to be her “human sacrifice” I don’t think I laughed as much all weekend as I did watching him and her cavort around the stage shaking their backsides.

Vampire Weekend bought me some much needed indie tunes to dance and sing along to, after all they are one of the best indie bands of the last 8 years. Every song felt like an old friend and felt oddly warming against what was turning out to be a very cold evening.  I loved watching them churn out their magical musical blend.

 

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I started to feel quite high from excitement (and maybe painkillers) while waiting for Queens of The Stone Age to grace the Main Stage. This was the first time I’ve ever seen them live and it’s not been for a lack of want or trying. I had several songs in mind that I needed to hear and then I knew I’d have to leave for there were too many time clashes! Little Sister was the last song I heard them play as I ran off in the sideways icy rain toward my next band with a heavy knot of regret forming in the pit of my stomach – when will I see them again?!

Having been supporting the sounds of  Bipolar Sunshine for a while now It felt rude not to pop into the Festival Republic Stage and witness some of the live show. I wasn’t disappointed by what I heard and no one else seemed to be either! I had to catch Metronomy finish off their set in the NME/R1 tent. I watched, out of breath, and now sweaty, from the centre of the tent and was reminded of the first time I saw them play as a 3 piece way way back when. I mourned for that band for a second then quickly realised that actually what we have now is just as exciting, engaging and at times as eccentric. Bloody brilliant band.

Paramore were our Main Stage headline band for Leeds 2014 and are yet another band I’ve never seen play live before so despite not being able to feel my fingers we stuck around. There were two songs on my “must hear” list and (thankfully) they came around sooner than later. Hayley was a gracious headliner thanking old fans, new fans and sharing her love for the brilliance that is Queens of The Stone Age.

 

SUNDAY

This day was the best and between us we saw 14 bands. My favourite bands, by far, were Royal Blood (I had the biggest smile on my face the whole way through until their set got cut short) and Band Of Skulls whose set I had to cut short to get to my Arctic Monkeys meeting point on time.

Pre Royal Blood we caught the end of Marmozets who quite frankly scared the bejesus out of me at times – wowzers that little lady has some freaking lungs on her! I wasn’t sure if I was going to like them but I actually didn’t mind them at all. I’m not sure that I’ll be rushing to see them again but I might, I just might! Post Royal Blood we caught the pretty cool Sunset Sons on the BBC Introducing Stage who had amassed quite a gathering and coerced them into clapping along. Definitely interested in checking these guys out a bit more now.

Peace gave us the perfect soundtrack to what turned out to be a gorgeous sunny day in Bramham Park and while I was looking forward to re-engaging with The Hives they actually ended up annoying me. Far too much talking and not enough playing! “Sit Down and Shut Up Leeds” shouted singer Pelle – I didn’t need to be asked twice and I was already bored by this point at the lack of music and his general chitter chatter. Shame really because they are a great band I just wanted less chat. Sorry guys!

 

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Just caught the 2nd half of  Wolf Alice who had been on my to see list since last year, then we stayed in for the crush that was Hozier (who also took an #icebucketchallenge and shook it off like a dog before getting back up on stage to perform From Eden while soaking wet). I was already a little in love with him but now I’m almost desperate to hear his forthcoming debut album.

Not my idea but we watched a bit of The Amazing Snakeheads  who I didn’t think I’d like and to be honest it wasn’t quite my cup of tea and I ran away to watch some of Imagine Dragons. They were as excellent as one might have imagined them to be – and well the fact I watched them on BBC red button the night before had given me the added incentive to see them for myself.

We Are Scientists – another band I’ve not seen since they released their first few singles. They almost took the roof off and I was surprised I knew even the songs I don’t own or didn’t pay too much attention to. They’re a brilliant festival band and I have a renewed love for them now. Huge band clash was up next and Team Popped split up to watch both Bombay Bicycle Club and Band Of Skulls.

So with my highlights done and dusted before Arctic Monkeys perhaps I wasn’t as hyped as I should have been. I’ve read people say it was emotionally charged and amazing but I’d walked out on a rip roaring set for a band that at times felt lacklustre and like they were going through the motions. It had been 9 years since I last saw them live and it was worlds apart. While Alex’s vocal might be the same the way he delivers and the way he is on stage was very different. I’m still a fan but I’d still go with the first gig I saw over the more recent one.

Overall Leeds 2014 was a resounding success and we can’t wait to do it all over again next year – we just hope they’ll have us back again!

 

 

 

 

 

Comments
3 Responses to “Festival Review: Leeds 2014”
  1. Dave Beech says:

    Gutted I didn’t make it to the festival this year, the first time in 4 years, and the line-up was a strong as ever. Good to see Kate Tempest getting some recognition, as well as the obligatory Fat Whites mention, definitely one of the bands of this year.

    Dave – SotN

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