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David Beech

David Beech

Festival Coverage: Leeds Festival 2017 - Sunday

Despite getting little sleep thanks to the very public break-up that happened in the tent behind ours on Saturday night, Sunday morning arrives with the campsite in good spirits and the weather continuing its rare good form, as rumours begin to circulate about a ‘secret’ set over on the Festival Republic Stage from London’s Wolf Alice.

Much like QOTSA’s not-so-secret set two days prior, anyone with battery and the festival app would have found out about it a couple of hours before stage time, but even still, as midday rolls around and the four piece appear on stage the tent is less busy than expected. That said, as they launch open with their most recent single ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching a headline act, given the modest crowd’s huge reaction.

With a setlist comprised of nothing but singles, every track aired evokes a similar reaction to the first. And when the band finally finish with a rousing rendition of ‘Giant Peach’, the crowd loses it. Having already made their stake on headline glory in 2015 with a blistering performance on the NME stage, you can guarantee that following this morning’s set, they’re well on their way to the realms of indie royalty.

At a somewhat more emo end of the spectrum, Moose Blood’s over on the Main Stage were a perfectly inoffensive way to ease any lingering hangovers. And while the older members of the crowd offer little more than ambivalence towards the Canterbury four-piece, the fans at the front hang on to front-man Eddy Brewerton’s every word.

Flipping that scene on its head, it’s little more than three hours later, and the older crowd, all too aware of the post-hardcore royalty that stand on stage before them, are hanging on to every crunch and scream of At The Drive-In, while those younger members of the audience look on bemused, or opt to head elsewhere.

It’s something that continues for nu-metallers Korn, whose set, though plagued by a thunderous low-end that drowns everything out. That said, the band slam through  an impressive fifteen song set, airing classics such as ‘Falling Away From You and ‘Blind’ while ‘Freak on Leash’ signals numerous circle pits and ends their set on a high.

It’s a direct contrast to the sun-kissed indie-pop of Macclesfield’s Cassia, who draw a modest but devoted crowd over on the BBC introducing Stage just before hand. Having just released their latest single ‘Sink’ the trio are riding an impressive wave at present, and while their tireless work ethic must be taking its toll by now, they show no signs of fatigue as they liberally scatter their set with fan favourites such as ‘Moana’, ‘Paradise Beach’ and the massive ‘100 Times Over’. With a set that feels short but sweet, you can expect to see them rise through the R&L ranks over the next couple of years.

With the sun now set for the final time on this year’s festival, and the anarchic and somewhat over the top bass of Major Lazer finally finished, swarms of people head towards the Main Stage for this weekend’s final headliner.

No stranger to the fields of Bramham Park, this is Eminem’s third time headlining the festival; his appeal no less diminished despite the recent lack of new material. Undertaking a mammoth 33 song set that takes in tracks from over the course of his career as well a smattering of covers by the likes of Lil Wayne, Drake and B.O.B, the latter’s ‘Airplanes Part II’ a particular highlight, allowing for Eminem’s nasally vocal delivery to cut through the track’s polished production exquisitely.

Of course, the tracks from later in his career offer up a different aesthetic entirely from those early cuts, and while the likes of ‘Love the Way You Lie’ and ‘The Monster’ benefit from Ebony taking on Rhianna’s vocal parts, it’s the earlier offerings, from The Marshall Mathers LP or The Slim Shady LP that showcase just how far Eminem has come. And though tracks such as ‘Stan’, ‘The Way I Am’ or ‘My Name Is’ elicit some of the weekend’s biggest reactions, there’s much more time spent on the more recent, ‘serious’ material, that which has gone on to prove Eminem’s career encompasses much more than quick flow and controversy.  

Despite the huge set-list, his encore comes around all too soon and somewhat fittingly, ‘Lose Yourself’ garners the biggest reaction of the day. As Eminem tells the crowd that “We’ll always remember this show”, it feels like anything but a cliché. 

Festival Coverage: Leeds Festival - Saturday

While I might consider myself something of a  Festival veteran these days, arriving halfway through the weekend is something I’d never done before. Unfortunately, work commitments meant that this year we don’t arrive on site until early Saturday afternoon, a move which has both pros, and cons.

While turning up looking and feeling fresher than the hardcore contingent that have been camped since Wednesday has its pluses, it also means that this year we miss the likes of Liam Gallagher and Muse, whose respective sets were mentioned over the weekend with nothing but reverence.

Entering the arena for the first time this year, it’s instantly obvious that the atmosphere on the Main Stage for indie-poppers Two Door Cinema Club has been boosted tenfold by the weather, and the band’s bright and breezy indie anthems are lapped up by a baying audience. We make our way over to the BBC Introducing stage for Leeds locals The Golden Age Of TV, whose upbeat art-pop is yet another perfect accompaniment to the weather. Having come a long way in a short space of time, the band’s latest single ‘Television’ only feels like the tip of the iceberg, and you can expect much more from them soon.

Unsurprisingly, Bastille’s return to the Main Stage following their 2015 appearance is met with a rapturous response from a distinctly younger audience and as the sun starts to dip and the band belt out the likes of ‘The Things We Lost in The Fire’ and ‘Pompeii’, flairs are lit and more than a few people seem physically moved.

Elsewhere, Cigarettes After Sex offer an atmospheric and more laid back alternative on The Festival Republic Stage, though one can’t help but feel their overtly chilled ambient indie would be better suited to an earlier slot than the one they find themselves in. That said, the band make for an interesting discovery, and one we recommend checking out.

Back on the Main Stage, Kasabian hit the stage to a riotous response, opening with ‘Ill Ray (The King)’ there’s bucket hats aplenty and more than a few flairs considering their banned nature at the festival, it all adds to the atmosphere however.

Concurrently, You Me At Six followed up last year’s not-so-secret set with a blistering statement of a headline on the NME/Radio One Stage. 15 tracks filled that span the entirety of the band’s career, it’s performances like this that inspire the massive devotion their fans shower on them. Tracks such as ‘Loverboy’ and ‘Stay With Me’ are met with huge singalongs, while ‘Save It for the Bedroom’ is almost deafening in its crowd participation. And as huge jets of flame erupt from the stage, it’s abundantly clear that You Me At Six have come a long way from their be-fringed pop-punk beginnings and are fully deserving are the arena-filling realms they now inhabit. True modern day rock stars.

Back at the Main Stage, Kasabian close with an impassioned outing of ‘Fire’, and while the crowd loses its collective shit, it becomes increasingly clear that they’re a band I just won’t ever seem to ‘get’ and though they’re one of the biggest names in British music in recent years, I can’t help but ask myself, why?

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