Leeds Festival 2019 – Friday
As the August Bank Holiday rolled round for another year it was time to close the Festival season in style with Leeds Festival. With a huge variety of different genres on show throughout the weekend it was a shame that I was only able to attend the Friday this year but what a day it was. Unfortunately due to some pretty severe transport issues (broken down trains into Leeds and an incident on the shuttle bus route meaning we had to walk down the A64 to the site) I didn’t manage to get into the site until 3pm so it’s quite a short review but despite this all bands put on amazing sets as you’ll read below and its certainly kept my love for the festival up and I’ll be looking forward to Leeds Festival 2020 next year
Enter Shikari – Main Stage
After an absolutely dismal journey in to the festival things were going to start back with a high as the first band to play were special guests Enter Shikari. Opening their set with newly released track ‘Stop the Clocks’ it was a clear that this was going to be a fun set and with the inclusion of the rarely played ‘The Paddington Frisk’ a few songs later that was all but confirmed. In true Enter Shikari fashion they put on a great show and the pyro blasting out during ‘Juggernauts’ really showed that they belong on the big stages. Whilst it was nice to see them intimately at Download Festival, they really could pull out all stops for their set with the huge screen behind them displaying various different elements to add to the show throughout. With the Quickfire Round flashing by the crowd were and truly here’s for a party. The 2019 mix of ‘No Sleep Tonight’ got everyone dancing before the crushing riffs of ‘…Meltdown’ finished the quickfire round brilliantly. By the time the band finished set closer ‘Live Outside’ it was clear the level of appreciation that was shown by the crowd. With chants of “Oh Enter Shikari” throughout and Rou’s words to “Be Wild, be free and be wonderful” taken on board this really was an incredible set to start the day with.
Machine Gun Kelly – BBC Radio 1 Stage
Next up for the day was Machine Gun Kelly, an artist that I was much less familiar with. This seemed to be something that I had missed as there was a huge crowd packing out BBC Radio 1 Stage to see him. New track ‘Candy’ went down a treat with the crowd singing it back at full volume! After playing at Download Festival a few years ago it was good to see his heavy influences throughout the set with a cover of Motley Crue’s ‘Shout at the Devil’ from The Dirt blasting out through the tent. ‘RAP DEVIL’ also made an appearance in the set and was a masterpiece to see live! Chants of “Yorkshire” filled the entire stage as Yungblud came out to perform with MGK for ‘I think I’m OKAY’. Having missed his set earlier in the day thanks to the transport it was great to see the young Yorkshire lad taking to the stage and bouncing around. One of the standout points of this set was that Machine Gun Kelly really showed off how much of a multi-instrumentalist he is by switching things up and taking on both the drums and guitar throughout as well as his vocals. Given my lack of knowledge beforehand this was definitely a surprise for me how much I enjoyed his set and I’ll definitely be listening to him more in the future.
nothing,nowhere. – The Pit Stage
Keeping with the rap theme, it was time to catch emo rapper nothing,nowhere. an artist that I’d heard great things about but never managed to catch live yet. Working his balance of light signing and rap perfectly it was a very minimal performance but in the best way. With the confines of the tent over The Pit stage it worked perfectly with the intimacy meaning that each track hit home hard. The standout part of his set came as he finished with arguably his biggest track ‘hammer’. It was a perfect end and even managed to stir up a mosh pit in the closing moments to really release the emotion of the track. Definitely an artist that I’ll be checking out again in the future, whist the slow beats of emo rap are not usually my cup of tea this set really showed why nothing,nowhere. is really at the top of the game at the moment.
Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes – Main Stage
Heading back to the Main Stage and changing the momentum very quickly to much heavier rock and roll, it was time to watch Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes. Having caught them at every Leeds Festival since 2015 I knew what to expect from the set but still they crushed it. The huge crowd began moshing as soon as the first chord of ‘Tyrant Lizard’ rang out. It was great to hear the newer tracks alongside older ones and really showed the growth that both Frank and The Rattlesnakes have done over the past few years. After all these years it’s great to see them rewarded with such a high slot after his set opening the Main Stage in 2017 everyone thought that would be the pinnacle. It’s great to see the band pushing the positive messages hard and this was made clear during ‘Wild Flowers’ where he not only had a female only crowd surfer moment but also a mosh pit just for the women in the crowd. It worked perfectly to give those that hadn’t had courage to do either before an opportunity to try it without a worry and hopefully gave them a great experience to take away. Following this it was back to the older tracks with ‘Devil Inside of Me’ which went down a treat causing an absolute ruckus in the crowd. Finishing with the huge ‘I Hate You’ was always gonna be a great choice but using it to ‘”Celebrate” the current prime minister, point out the failings in the current government and encouraging young people to vote was a great idea and certainly one I hope the crowd took on board. A fantastic set to really show what Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes stand for and how they are helping out the entire rock community. It won’t be too long before they are headlining the entire festival hopefully
A Day to Remember – Main Stage
Continuing the heavier theme on the main stage were today’s main supports in A Day to Remember. Opening their set with ‘2nd Sucks’ really started the set off with a bang and what followed for the next 45mins could only be described as a brilliant set. Keeping things heavy meant that pits were opening everywhere and when rarely played ‘Sticks and Bricks’ came out the reaction was huge. Screams of “My heart is filled with hate!” were shouted back before the huge breakdown hit home and the crowd imploded on itself. After the heavy start things let up a little with ‘Rescue Me’ and the anthemic ‘Have Faith in Me’ getting massive singalongs. New track ‘Degenerates’ was added into the set and from the crowd’s reaction it’s certainly going to be around in their sets for a long time.
After the Huge ‘All I Want’ it was time to slow things down again for an acoustic version of ‘If It Means a Lot to You’ which really showed off just how good Jeremy McKinnon’s clean vocals were and by the time the song had built to its crescendo with the full band joining there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd. Not one to put off a big finish, the band saved arguably one of their best tracks till last with the chants to ‘The Downfall Of Us All’ ringing out across the crowd and the CO2 and Pyro flying across the stage. With their set well and truly killed all that was left for the band to do was drop a huge banner down with ‘You’re Welcome’ on which only built the hype for the new album, only a few months to wait before its released.
Enter Shikari – The Pit Stage
No you haven’t scrolled back to the top of the post, it really is a second Enter Shikari set. Enter Shikari had the incredible ability to play two completely different sets in the same day and after their insane set earlier on the Main stage it was time for their Headline set on The Pit stage. Unfortunately due to the set times overlap with A Day to Remember, I wasn’t able catch the entire set but from the parts that I did catch it was no wonder that the tent was packed out. With old cut ‘Tribalism’ making its live debut despite being released almost 10 years ago just as I walked into the tent it was clear that this was going to be an incredible set. With the pyro and confetti thrown in it was certainly Enter Shikari’s no holds barred live show.
With big hits such as ‘Arguing with Thermometers’ and ‘Slipshod’ making appearances things were certainly rowdy and with everyone jumping into the crowd or climbing the stage framing it was clear this was a set to have fun with and definitely a great way to close the stage for the day. As the band finished with their set with ‘The Appeal and The Mindsweep II’ it was clear to see the energy was still flowing at 100% and it certainly looked like it ended the day on a high for the band. The fact that the band had pulled off two sets in the same day was one hell of an achievement and certainly one I’m glad to say that I was able to experience. I’ll say it in every review I write about Enter Shikari but it’s no lie, if you haven’t seen them live then go see them as soon as possible as it really is an unreal experience.
Foo Fighters – Main Stage
After being warmed up perfectly by both A Day to Remember and Enter Shikari it was time for today’s headliners – rock and roll titans Foo Fighters. Now in the past I’ve described sets starting with a bang but in this case there was a literal bang as fireworks shot into the sky as ‘The Pretender’ rang out. After this incredible start the band launched straight into ‘Learn to Fly’ as a para-glider flew about over Bramham Park. After starting at 110% the Foo’s dialled things back a little as they got to ‘My Hero’ with Dave bringing out his daughter Violet to help him on vocals which went down amazingly with the crowd. As the band introductions came around in the set the pace slowed a little bit but the band pulled a wild card when a guy dressed as Freddie Mercury in the crowd was invited on stage to dance along to Taylor Hawkins cover of the Queen hit ‘Under Pressure’. It brought a great entertainment factor and the guy pulled it off well getting a huge cheer from the crowd as he ran around the stage. Bringing out both All My Life and Monkey Wrench brought the energy back up to 100%. It was good to see how they had mixed some of their older tracks in with their big hits to really give a well-rounded Foo Fighters experience. ‘Best of You’ got a deafening singalong from the crowd being almost louder than the PA system.
As the band’s two hour set drew to its closing the band weren’t really to go down quietly and a cover of the massive AC/DC track ‘Let There Be Rock’ built up all the remaining energy and prepared the crowd for the last song in the set – the legendary ‘Everlong’. With Dave Grohl dedicating it to the crowd that had been with them for the last 25 years it really was a celebration of what the band had achieved over the years and as the song closed to an end and the fireworks rose to the sky over the giant logo it was clear to see just how much Foo Fighters meant to everyone in the crows and how they become one of the legendary bands in rock music. As the set wound down and people started leaving the arena it was clear from the overhead conversations that this would be a set to go down in Reading and Leeds Festival’s history books. A Phenomenal set to really end a brilliant day of Rock!