Festival Review: Leeds 2015

LEEDS 2015

28th-30th August 2015

leeds 2015Words and Photos: Elena Katrina

Leeds has always been a firm must in our festival diary, it’s one of our favourites. You might think that it’s perhaps not the best festival to find new music but I disagree they always have bands for me to discover and not always on the BBC Introducing stage. New Music aside, it’s become a place where I get to witness once new bands play to their new audiences, their much bigger audiences and revel in the pride I feel for them, the excitement of it all. So off we went to Leeds – with a massive list of bands to see.

The best laid plans don’t ever go to plan at a festival though and even things such as queuing for a toilet can leave you missing a band who have only a 20 minute stage slot. So Blossoms were a miss – thanks for that, bladder. We also, for the first time ever, spent some time checking out the stalls and may or maynot have partaken in some trying on of hats and flowers – ok so we did and there’s photographic proof, and the fact I still have the flowers. But hey festivals are as much about the experience of it all than just the music. Although, let’s be honest I do charge about like a manic on a mission to see as much as possible.

bear's den leeds There are moments at this year’s Leeds festival which I hope will stay with me forever. One of those moments was being stood in the middle of the crowd watching Bear’s Den play their debut Leeds festival show to a packed out tent. The atmosphere gave me goosebumps and I actually forgot where I was for a moment during Agape. I admit this whole thing brought a lump to my throat. I’ve followed this band for three years and to see how far they’ve come was an amazing thing. It’s not something new to me, it’s happened many times but perhaps because I love them so much it felt a little more personal. As always they played a tight set, engaged the crowd and totally drew on our energy. Just bloody brilliant really. I had a similar experience with Prides, who coincidently followed on from Bear’s Den. A band I saw only a year ago play on the BBC Introducing stage at this same festival now had all sorts of stage nonsense going on – platforms and lights, smoke and for Messiah very large balloons which their team excitedly bounced back and forth from the pit to the crowd. It was an electric set with quite some dancing, yelling and general excitement going on down the front. I was in the thick of it, well the front of it, smack bang in the middle. Watching as the band played out tracks from their debut album, The Way Back Up,  released earlier this year.

Interview – Prides:

P.M: Last Year you played the BBC Introducing – in a nutshell what has the last year been like?  Leeds to Leeds.

PRIDES: “In the Leeds sandwich of our lives, where Leeds is the bread, the filling would be loads of shows all over the place and writing bringing out a record – our album is the mustard. it’s a disgusting sandwich. There’s no sandwich stuff, it’s just sweaty band stuff. It’s a reading Leeds filled with lots of sitting in a van.

P.M: What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do?

PRIDES: “None of it. None of it’s hard. I think it would be really remiss of us to try and pretend that we have a hard job.

PM:The funnest thing?

PRIDES: “Honestly the festivals this summer have been my favourite thing. Now that the album’s out and people know the songs and we’ve had some great slots at T In The park, Lattitude, and yesterday was off the chain.

Leeds have a lot to prove today. reading honestly it went off, it went off so we’re expecting big things.”

P.M: “How has the reception been to your album do you think?”

PRIDES: “Yeah massively. It’s a bit of a weird one when you hand that over and don’t know what to expect and the fact we got top 40 with is is ridiculous and yeah everyone’s been so kind about it. It’s really nice to know that people are connecting with some of the songs, enjoying it and telling other people about it. It’s been amazing”

P.M: If we’re going to have a sandwich for this year to next year, this Leeds to next Leeds what to have accomplished by then?

PRIDES: “We’ll buy some chicken, coleslaw… we’ll buy some sandwich stuff. Well the big thing is a new album. We just got to get out on the road as much as possible and write some better songs. We haven’t planned anything after the 31st of December. YET. One thing at a time.”


moon tourists leeds 15Moving back to the festival…. Rat Boy was an interesting one. Especially, in my mind, because Jamie T was also on at the same festival. They might not look the same but they just sound so similar sometimes I have to remind myself what’s going on. His recent gig incident at Hull (Where security forcibly removed him form the stage and threatened to call the police as they decided he was inciting riots) certainly makes for some interesting publicity  – despite the fact I don’t recall any such lyrics or behaviour at Leeds and his crowd were baying for more. Talking of new acts too we managed to catch some ace ones over on the BBC Introducing Stage, where the moon was proving ever popular in a band name. Moon Tourists from Kent were super fun with electro pop, dance moves, an awesome outfit and a megaphone. Where as The Big Moon waved a spell of effortless grunge infused indie pop over their crowd who were getting ever closer with each song. VITAMIN and Clay both had similar reactions but with them both being local Leeds bands they had a throng of people bouncing toward the stage before they even set foot on it – proof that both bands are building a strong reputation in their hometown. After flawless sets I’m in no doubt that they’ll soon begin to build just as strong a reputation up and down the country! I was also thrilled to finally get my eyes as well as my ears around the wonderfulness that is John Joseph Brill who really wowed me with his set, not only that but he made me laugh so much – especially by asking the crowd if they liked a whole list of things that he isn’t and then was delighted to tell them so. I was totally won over with his stage presence from that point on.

Interview: VITAMIN

PM: How have you found everything as a new band, how have you approached coming to a festival like this?

VITAMIN: “We’ve been really happily surprised with the reaction that we’ve had. We had a fatastic gig on Thursday another great gig in Reading and a great one just now as well. It was great (on Thursday) as we had the festival to ourselves.

PM: How did you find the crowd outside of your home town?

very well it was a great gig everyone got into it and everyone got into it we didn’t have to work very hard. i think we were pretty prepared. We rehearsed ate well did yoga.

PM: Yoga? All Of You? In the studio?

VITAMIN: “Yeah in the studio. Getting the stretches in in.

PM: What advice would you have for other new bands wanting to do this?

VITAMIN: “Yoga and healthy eating! And follow your heart.”

PM: We hear you are starting a club night in Leeds on October 13th. What’s that all about?

VITAMIN: “It’s about this  local scene we have going on in Leeds. All of our friends, it’s brothers and sisters really, family. It’s also about finding that medium of a club night and a gig. Something we don’t really feel exists at the moment. Sort of bringing the two cultures together.

PM: Where would you like to play this time next year if you got invited back? What’s your ideal spot?

VITAMIN: “The NME Stage. But we’d happily play the Festival Republic Stage. Any stage. We’d play here (not on a stage). We’d just love to come back.”

We of course had a peek at the main stage for the headliners over the weekend, with the first band up being The Libertines who arrived around a cloud of excitement following a full on album campaign including their own tea and pop up shops in Camden. If I’m honest I wasn’t all that fussed – I’m not keen on bands doing come backs – but well there was at least one of us who wanted to go and see The Libs so off we went, one of us not quite as happy as the other. I’ll give them something, they really have got their shit together. Aside from playing the first song with a guitar totally out of tune (not entity sure this wasn’t on purpose mind you) by the end of the set, yes I lasted that long I didn’t feel quite so against them having re-formed, in fact, I secretly enjoyed some of it! Mumford and Sons was one I all but ran toward. I’ve never seen them and though I’m still not sure on the new material but I was keen to see how these guys sounded live and I can’t fault them to be fair. As is often the case with main stage headliners there were scores of people joining in the fun well into the first few songs of the set – but this time they were dancing, in huge groups, clapping and it seemed strangers were joining in as they all surged a little closer to the stage. It was that kind of upbeat feeling that Mumford and Sons brought to the festival.

jake isaac leeds 15It wasn’t really the headliners though who were my choice picks of the festival. These I reserve for the likes of the secret set from Foals. A set that on the NME stage felt like even more of a treat because of the confined space – there’s no doubt that these guys will one day be a headline. Jake Isaac was a surprise early on in the festival. He played to an unsure crowd on the Festival Republic stage. At least they might have been unsure at the start but by the end they were so on side they were calling for more. And last, but not least, Everything Everything proved that they’re one of the best live bands out there right now with their incredible set on the NME/R1 stage. Our recent home town pals Clean Cut Kid would have err cleaned up too if it wasn’t for the totally bafflement that they were not allowed to play their last song  – Vitamin C. Seeing as they were literally the last band on the stage and still had at least two minutes left by my watch I don’t see why running over a whole ooohhh 2 minutes or so would have killed anything with a stage that shut at 8pm but stage manager … he say no. CCK they say boo! I say boo! Everyone pretty much left feeling bereft of that song. I tweeted to tell them not to worry, last year at Leeds Royal Blood also had their set cut short and look at them this year – main stage – so you never know, could be “the thing” to happen to bands who are going to smash it in the coming year!



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  1. […] until the following decade! I can’t help but add that some of their outfits show that the group yoga is paying off […]


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