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Festival Coverage: Leeds 2015 - Saturday

Still on a high from the previous evening, Saturday begins with a liquid breakfast and a trip to the Main Stage to catch LA's Mariachi El Bronx, who cheekily introduce themselves as “The Bad News Bears from Reno, Nevada” before immediately launching in to a short but perfectly executed set of Mariachi music. From the bemused looks on some faces there are several people here who would rather be watching the band's hardcore iteration, but the first act of the day, the likes of 'Right Between the Eyes' and 'Wildfires' make for a gentle and novel start to the day's proceedings.

 

Remaining on the Main Stage, the upbeat pop-punk of Wrexham's Neck Deep are more to everyone's taste, and despite the current controversy surrounding the band the devotion of their fans is evident. A plethora of circle pits open and close across the crowd whilst the bodies of crowdsurfers are flung mercilessly towards the stage to tracks such as 'Damsel in Distress' and 'What Did You Expect?'. You can't fault the band, nor the crowd for the matter, but for someone who has seen the likes of New Found Glory several times in the past, it's nothing groundbreaking.

 

Taking a breather we navigate back towards the NME stage in order to catch American Football for the second time this year. Unsurprisingly their set is comprised only of a handful of tracks, but the likes of 'Honestly?' and 'The Summer Ends' still sound as fresh as they did in the late '90s, and though few people in attendance realise the enormity of what a band liked AF coming to Leeds means, those that do offer the quiet respect the tracks deserve. Finishing with the anthemic 'Never Meant', it's clear that there's going to be more than one person going home to practice their guitar noodles.

 

Over on the Lock Up, Aussie punks The Smith Street Band play to a disappointingly small crowd; their set resting heavily on tracks from last year's Throw Me in the River. It's a shame the band draws such little numbers, especially given the vocal support in the past from the likes of Frank Turner. Unfortunately it's probably attributed to the fact both Panic At the Disco and All Time Low are gracing the Main Stage at the same time, but given the relevance of either band to a 20-something punk-at-heart, we're more than happy where we are.

 

Following The Smith Street Band, Philidelphia's The Menzingers draw a somewhat bigger crowd, allowing us to relive their support slot for The Offspring from just a few days previous. How they're not bigger I don't know, but with tracks like 'The Obituaries' and 'Burn After Writing' as well as the now-expected cover of The Bouncing Soul's 'Kate Is Great' thrown in to the mix, it's difficult to imagine them staying on the fringes of skate-punk for much longer. In contrast, folk three-piece Bear's Den play the Festival Republic tent and offer up a more subdued but no less heartfelt half an hour for those that find tonight's headliners Mumford and Sons a little too much to stomach.

 

Keeping things suitably pop-punk however, given the rest of the day's acts, we opt to spend the last two sets of the evening forgoing the middle class Mumfords niceties in favour of both Simple Plan and New Found Glory, both of whom pull what is arguably the biggest crowds The Lock Up has seen all weekend. With both bands considered pop-punk royalty. Unsurprisingly both bands litter their set with a handful of classics; the tracks which soundtracked the adolescence of everyone in attendance. It may seem a little trite to see tattooed twenty-somethings singing the lyrics to the likes of Simple Plan's 'I'd Do Anything' or New Found Glory's 'All Downhill From Here' with such adoration, but these are songs that meant everything to their fans at one point or another; the reason many of them became fans of pop-punk and alternative music to begin with. To see two such bands back to back, in a setting that was once synonymous with the halcyon days of pop-punk, at least as far as Britain is concerned, well, it doesn't really get much better.

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