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Festival Coverage: Leeds 2015 - Saturday

  • Published in Live

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.


Festival Previews: Reading & Leeds 2015

  • Published in Live

As ever, Reading and Leeds Festival(s) fall over the last bank holiday weekend of the year, and though fairly late in the festival calendar, both sites provide punters with one last weekend of hedonistic debauchery before the darker months and cold weather begins to take hold. Traditionally offering attendees a mixture of both nostalgia and the cutting edge, recent years have seen the festival's line-up diversify even further, bringing in top names from grime, electronica and hip-hop to share stages with the usual fare of punk, rock and indie. Such changes haven't been without their share of criticisms, with naysayers claiming that it waters down the alternative nature of the festival, but for those who like to taste a bit of everything, but would rather not sully themselves with the hyper-corporate V Festival the weekend before, Reading and Leeds tick all the boxes.

This year's line-up unsurprisingly boasts a host of bands and artists that you grew up listening to, whilst providing a platform for those on the up. Where else could you see Limp Bizkit on the same line up as folk troubadours Bear's Den? Or see Frank Turner headline what's arguably the smallest stage on site? The answer to that is, probably nowhere.

Headlining this year are the recently reformed Libertines,who last graced the stages of Reading & Leeds back in 2010, making for one of my most memorable live music experiences ever. Joining them will be Mumford & Sons and Metallica, who, after their headline slot at last year's Glastonbury, are bound to pull out the stops for their appearance across both sites. Elsewhere over the course of the weekend, revellers can expect to see the likes of Deadmau5 rubbing shoulders with American Football, and the Boy Better Know crew bringing their uncompromising grime to the Radio 1extra tent at the same time as post-hardcore legends Refused tear the Lock Up Stage a new one.

It's eclectic, nostalgic, and, regardless of your opinion on the line-ups diversification, it's one of the most talked about festivals of the year. What it's critics fail to realise, is that though not every act on the bill will be to your own tastes, you don't have to watch those acts you don't like. Unless of course you're the sort of person who takes pleasure in trying to heckle a stage that's half a kilometre away, then there's certainly going to be one band or artist you want to see, when everyone else wants to go and watch Bastille. And even on the off-chance that there isn't, the festival offers a wealth of non-musical (and sometimes non-alcoholic) entertainment across the weekend.

Grab your wellies, quit your bitchin' and try to conceal the smug fact that you always knew learning all the words to Limp Bizkit's 'Rollin'' would come in handy some day!

In the words of Fred Durst himself: “Are You Ready?”


Reading and Leeds takes place across the last weekend in August, and tickets and more information can be found at the official website here.

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