Following on from day two’s incredible intimate gig with Being as an Ocean, Day 3 of the four gigs four days brought in the big guns with a chance to catch Feeder playing to a sold out crowd in Leeds Becketts Student Union. Unfortunately due to more transport issues which seem to be becoming a regular theme these days we arrived just after tonight’s support Novacub had finished playing so only managed to catch headliners Feeder. However given the stream of people collecting stickers and meeting the band at the merch table they must have put on a decent show and I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out for an opportunity to catch them again next time they are around.
With over 20 years of material available at their fingertips there was an
air of anticipation around which tracks the band were going to include in the
setlist alongside the cuts from their newly released album ‘Tallulah’. As the
band opened with Youth it made for a fun start. Being the first track on the
album it was clear that people were singing along and it was great to
experience the song live. Following this up with older hits such as ‘Lost and
Found’ and the iconic ‘Feeling a Moment’ made for a very strong start to the
night. With huge LED screens behind the band showing fantastic visuals
alongside the tracks it was clear that over the many years Feeder have developed their live performance into a very slick
process. With new album just released you would expect there to be some
material in the set from it but in Feeder’s
case tonight, nearly half of their 22 song setlist came from the new album.
With the new tracks spread throughout the set it meant that the band struggled
to keep the energy from older tracks going as the slower nature of the new
tracks kept slowing the show. The newer tracks aren’t all slow and steady
though as the bands play through of ‘Kyoto’ seemed to pick up the crowd with
its heavier stylings and similar to sounds to their earlier tracks. Other
highlights of the slightly drawn out middle section included the incredible
sounding ‘Insomnia’ which coupled with the huge screen flashing the words
through the chorus had the crowd all dancing and singing along; and a rare play
of ‘Comfort in Sound’ which was a real treat for the crowd. As with the start,
the band didn’t hold anything back towards the end of their set with a huge
closing one two of ‘Seven Days In The Sun’ followed by the very well known
‘Buck Rodgers’ as the perfect set closers they really woke the crowd back up
from their lull during the middle section of the gig and finished off the main
set in fantastic style with even a sizable pit opening amongst the jumping
bodies during ‘Buck Rodgers’.
As the band left the stage for a brief pause before their encore, the crowd
certainly knew what was coming as after the standard chants for one more song
they burst in to singing the opening guitar of ‘Just a Day’. As the band took
back to the stage they had to put a pause on the singing as they had new track
‘Blue Sky Blue’ to play through first. Whilst the track itself is anthemic and
builds nicely, putting it between ‘Buck Rodgers’ and ‘Just a Day’ really took
the wind out of its sails as everyone just watched along waiting for the last
track to come on. When it did however ‘Just a Day’ got a fantastic response
from the crowd and proved just why the track is still considered a classic
after all these years. With the last track done the band thanked the crowd for
attending and mentioned that tonight was all about looking forward at what the
future of the band holds rather living in the past. While the sentiment is one
that we should all be happy with unfortunately tonight fell slightly flat with
the crowd and there was just too much newer material to balance out the
classics. With the precise performance that Feeder were putting in on stage, when the crowd were fully involved
the set made for a fantastic watch however struggling to keep that energy made
the middle of the set drag slightly. With a little more balance between their
new tracks and the older classics tonight could have been a huge triumph for
the band however it felt more like a “going through the motions with their new
album” kind of show. Definitely not a bad show in any way and I’d be very open
to seeing the band again in the future.
Occasionally a tour will be announced that is so good that you buy tickets despite the fact that the band you are going to see aren’t ones that are regularly played on your music list. This is one such example of a tour with two of the most influential yet somehow underrated bands in the alternative scene playing the same stage on the same night as co headliners. With both Thrice and Refused it was interesting to see the mix in the crowd as both bands have a very different sound to each other and yet somehow everything worked to perfection. Unfortunately thanks to the drive from hell across the M62, I didn’t get chance to catch tonight’s support act hardcore punks Gouge Away which was a real shame as they were a band that I was certainly looking forward to catching. If you aren’t familiar with the band then I’d definitely recommend giving them a listen, a personal favourite from them is R.O.T.
For the first of two hour long headline sets this evening were the Swedish punk pioneers Refused. Opening up with new album opener REV001 things started with a bang and by bringing the new album to front of set showed that they weren’t just living with their past success. Following up with ‘Violent Reaction’ kept the energy nicely flowing and was great to hear live after I’d put a bunch of plays into it on Spotify in preparation. Despite the new album sounding incredible, playing big hitter ‘Elektra’ early in the set really got the crowd moving and dancing along. Heading back to the newer tracks ‘I Wanna Watch The World Burn’ Which took vocalist DennisLyxzén Into the crowd all the way to the back which proved to be a very effective way of opening up the pit. Giving talks on serious topics such as capitalism and patrichy amongst others went out to approving crowds and it was good to see punk standing for something so strongly still. Saving the best track until last, it was no doubt that ‘New Noise’ would go down well to finish the set. As crowd in unison launched in with opening line ‘Can I Scream?’ ManchesterAcademy turned upside down with the sheer amount of people bouncing and shouting along the words. Pausing for extra effect before the last chorus Refused thanked the crowd as they were the reason the band could keep doing what they do. Launching back in it was clear how heavy the track hit and really ended the set on a high. It’s great to see that Refused unique sound is carried from their records and sounds just and incredible live and it just goes to show how talented of a band they really are.
Taking to the stage for the second coheadline set tonight were Thrice. Regularly described as your favourite bands favourite band, its no wonder that they deliver a fantastic show and having accidentally discovered them at Leeds festival back in 2016 so I was long overdue seeing them! Coming out to ‘Only Us’ showed the complete juxtaposition between the two headliners with Refused’s raw energy compared to the refined performance and intricate tracks of Thrice . By the second track ‘Image of Invisible’ the crowd were in full voice signing along with the chorus. It was clear that Thrice’s building tracks left the crowd in awe and new track ‘Just Breathe’ proved that booming across the Academy. Following this there was a huge crowd reaction to the opening riff of ‘Hurricane’ which got a huge tear and an even bigger singalong flying straight into ‘Artist in the Ambulance’ after was one of the highlights of the night as the two tracks worked so well with each other. A couple of songs later the band cracked out arguably their biggest track ‘Black Honey’ which really showed just how tight the band were and how each element mixed so beautifully with the others. After a rousing performance of ‘The Earth Will Shake’ to start to wind down their set the band opted to finish with slower track ‘Beyond The Pines’ which somehow worked perfectly. It finished with somber tone but somehow worked and built on the fantastic set from tonight. As the band left the stage the crowd were left in awe at the end of Thrice’s phenomenal show. Despite having to follow a much heavier band it was clear that they could hold their own and by making the set focused on their deeper tracks they really used the earlier mentioned juxtaposition to their advantage. It would definitely be hard to find another band that refined and tight in a live setting, everything worked perfectly and really went to show just why Thrice are so many people’s favourite bands.
When the option comes up to see a band play that inspired most of the bands
that you listen to currently it is a real no brainer. Especially when it’s the
first time that the band have played the UK in over 35 years. And with that
said the drive across to Manchester seemed like nothing for the spectacle that
tonight was going to be seeing Black
Flag playing live.
First up however were tonight’s only support Total Chaos. Starting out with the ringing guitar before launching into ‘War in L.A.’ really set things off to a great start, the band sounded great live and were clearly enjoying themselves with everyone jumping around and really filling the stage. The crowd may have been a little sparse at first but certainly filled up as the set went on .Total Chaos were the only support tonight so had a big job to build energy before tonight’s headliner but with a 45 min set of original hardcore punk the levels were easily met by the crowd. ‘Punk No Die’ got a great reaction to the crowd and really stuck to the title with the crowd pogoing in the pit throughout. ‘Running with the Youth’ brought riffs aplenty and definitely got some heads banging. And just when you thought you’d seen everything this band could offer they then brought out Tezz from Broken Bones/Discharge for a play through of one of his top tracks ‘Decapitated’. While playing tonight the band mentioned that tonight was part of their celebration of 30 years as a band which is amazing to hear as very few bands make it that far without a lot of effort and dedication. As the set went on it was clear to see during ‘Complete Control’ that, despite it being released over 20 years ago, there’s still the same issues around. Newer track Toxic Fallout sounded great and by the end of the set there was a sizeable pit forming. As Total Chaos finished with arguably their biggest track ‘Riot City’, it was clear that the crowd had increased massively and they had definitely build the energy up in preparation for Black Flag. Although the band may have been around for a long time but have certainly honed their performance over the years as there wasn’t a foot put wrong all while showcasing the raw energy of punk in its finest form.
As I mentioned at the start, Black
Flag were playing their first tour of the UK in over 35 years tonight so
was a real no brainer for me to go having not even been born last time they
were across. Opening their set with ‘Depression’ it was obvious that the crowd
had been waiting for this moment for the entire night. As the riffs rang out on
stage the crowd wasted no time in erupting into chaos. By the time the band had
reached ‘Black Coffee’ it was clear that the crowd were at maximum activity. As
with total chaos before it was clear that Black
Flag were enjoying themselves up on stage and with the addition of Mike Vallely on vocal he really brought
a ton of energy to the stage dancing around whilst Greg Ginn dazzled the crowds with his insane technical ability. ‘Gimme
gimme gimme’ was notable tonight for having the first crowd surfer of the night
go over the barrier and it certainly wouldn’t be this evenings last. As the
band flew through the huge 22 song set list tonight it was nice to have a breat
of fresh air as the band played an extended intro to ‘Six pack’. The bass and
drums sounded incredible in the mix and were played to perfection, building the
song up well with maximum frenzy once the track kicked in fully.
It took until 40 minutes into the set before Black Flag gave a quick round of introductions to their current line up before launching straight back into it. Whilst usually I’m not a fan of bands that just play all their songs with very little talking tonight seemed different and with the timelessness of their tracks the link between crowd and band was already there without needing to appeal to newer fans. It was nice to hear from Mike V when he mentioned about how he’d seen Black Flag when he was younger and that it was wild they’d asked him to step up to do vocals back in 2013. After playing through a couple of lesser known songs, it was time for the band to finish the night with the big hitters, Launching into ‘Nervous Breakdown’ the entire venue was shaking with the crowd really going for it and screaming along with the words. As if that wasn’t enough the band then went into ‘TV party’ which got exactly the same reaction from the crowd and really set things to end on a high.
With no let up on their finale, the band brought Total Chaos back out to help with vocals on their penultimate track
‘Rise Above’. Being a true classic in the hardcore punk scene it was no
surprise that the crowd lapped it up with the pit engulfing the entire front
half of the venue. It was definitely the highlight of the set and a moment that
would be hard to top for any band. After the carnage of ‘Rise Above’ there was
only one track left for them to play before finishing off their UK tour and
that was their well-known cover of Richard
Berry track ‘Louie Louie’. Usually when listening to this track it’s a
minute of pure energy and would have finished the night off perfectly however Greg had other plans this evening as it
became an extended guitar solo for him to really showcase his talent. Unfortunately
while his technical ability was clear the song seemed to drag on for minutes
and after the high energy of ‘Rise Above’ it seemed like a very weird way to
end the night. After the extended guitar solo he then passed his guitar across
to Shawn from Total Chaos to finish the night’s solo before things came to a very
abrupt end. With no encore to follow on and just a crowd photo with the band it
seemed to draw the conversation after the show. With no one talking about how
incredible the set was but just questioning why the solo ended things this
If Black Flag had finished tonight at the end of ‘Rise Above’ then it would have been a 10/10 set with no doubt however this ending really shut down all the energy in the room. Whilst I am very happy I saw Black Flag this evening I can’t help but feel that no one had really thought about how to end it and it would be interesting to see if the same happened at other venues on this tour. Still regardless of this it was certainly one that I can now tick off my bucket list of bands and the added bonus of seeing Mike V who was one of my favourite skateboarders growing up was insane. This will certainly be a night for me to remember in years to come.
Farewell tours are always a weird kind of show as there’s a balance of being sad that a band is playing for the last time but also happy that you can celebrate it one last time. With the rain seeming to be constantly pouring outside it took care of the sad atmosphere as upon stepping foot into The Key Club it was clear that this was a celebration of everything the band had achieved over the last 10 Years.
Tonight’s Opening band were local lads Kill the Silence. Due to having some prior commitments I only
managed to catch the last two songs from the set. Being somewhere between Post
Hardcore and Alternative Rock, the band really had an interesting sound which
seemed to bounce between. Having played one of the dates on the Press to MECO tour as well earlier in
the week, I’m sure these guys will be popping up more on my radar. The fairly
large crowd that were in the room when I arrived was a very promising sign.
Whilst the crowd weren’t quite ready to start moshing yet, the energy was
definitely building and with a play through of newer track ‘All We Are’ you
could tell that people were definitely singing along. With only having two
tracks that I saw it’s hard to make up my mind on this band so I guess I’ll
just have to see them again before I make my decision. After tonight’s
introduction though things seem very positive.
Following on from Kill
the Silence were upcoming Alt Rockers Led
by Lanterns. Having not listened to the band before their set but hearing
glowing reviews I was excited to see what was going to come out of these guys.
I definitely wasn’t left disappointed as the band opened up with ‘Smoke Screen’
which instantly brought up the energy in the room. With a little bit of work
through the track by the end the crowd were very much involved and had woken up.
To introduce themselves to the majority of the crowd who hadn’t heard them
before they pulled out a cover for everyone to sing along to. In a twist that I
wasn’t expecting they took a poppier turn and covered ‘New Rules’ by Dua Lipa however they still managed to
build on the energy and the crowd started to dance and sing along much more
freely. Later track ‘Composure’ really showed the incredible vocals from front
man Shaun as he captivated the room
throughout the track. The entire band exuded energy on that stage with a
special mention needed for drummer who took every opportunity to stand up and
sing along with the crowd all whilst playing a solid set. With a small pit
breaking out in the crowd during final track ‘Alive’ Led by Lanterns had definitely done their job of warming up tonight
crowd. Definitely one a and that ill be listening to after the show and
possibly even the band to fill the space that Mallory Knox will be leaving in the scene after this tour is up.
As ‘The Final Countdown’ came through the speakers it was
time for Mallory Knox to take to the
stage. It was a nice touch for the band and really helped to set the tone for
the rest of the set that the band were here to have fun and celebrate their
work. In a time when it seems that a lot of main stay bands are calling it
quits it seems all the more important that after all the issues that Mallory Knox have overcome they are
very much doing this on their own terms. Tonight celebration kicked off with newer
track ‘Sugar’ and the crowd wasted no time in bouncing along despite the track
being one of the bands newer releases. With a set list spanning the last ten years including everything from
the first song written for the band ‘Oceans’ all the way through to tracks from
the newest album such as ‘White Lies’ there really was time for a bit of
everything this evening. It was great to see the crowd give the same reaction
to all tracks and really showed that the band had a core of very dedicated fans
here tonight to see them off. Pulling out all the big hits in their set, the
band played faultlessly with everything sounded impeccable. After having to take
a break and rest for a few shows last week there was a concern that Sam’s vocals may have suffered, however
this was not the case and as the band played through ‘Beggars’ it was clear
that the rest had helped.
As the set drew to closer to an end the band thanked Leeds for its impact on their career
and mentioning all the venues that they had played in the city over the years,
from The Cockpit when they were
first starting out all the way to the Main stage of Leeds Festival. With the thanks out of the way it was time to go
out in style and what better way to do that than to play through three of the
bands biggest track. Starting out with my personal favourite track ‘Wake Up’
this really capitalised on the energy in the room and everyone was screaming
the words along. Following on from this the band launched straight into the
anthemic ‘Lighthouse’. As the chorus rang out it was clear to feel the unity in
the room and the fact that no one was stood still (including the band) really
built everything to a fever pitch. After one final round of thanks and no need
to do an Encore the band finished tonight with ‘Better Off Without You’. I’m
sure this was 100% planned when they were writing the set list but I can
confirm that we are not better off without Mallory Knox and it really is a
shame to see them call it a day. Tonight however, was a fantastic send off and
from the crowd as they were leaving The
Key Club its one that a lot won’t be forgetting soon. As one final sentence
to finish the review all I have to say is Thanks for everything over the last
10 years and RIP Mallory Knox!
First up tonight were the local support Borderline. With a synth, a bass and a drum kit out on stage it really was interesting to try and work out what kind of sound was going to come off the stage. The best way I can think to describe it would be if you imagine Royal Blood but someone let them go wild with a synth. As they burst into first track ‘Empathy’ it came as a shock to the system but very much in a good way. The high notes of the synth were a huge contrast to the groove from the bass and drums. Shouldn’t have worked from the variety of different sounds but it actually came out very well as a mix and each instrument complimented the others for a really interesting soundscape. Older track ‘In a Vacuum’ made for a catchy number with the synth almost taking the role of a lead guitar while still mixing with the rhythm of the track. Unreleased track ‘Lara Croft’ sounded good and will be one to keep an eye on when it’s released. As the band wound down their set they mad a very poignant stand to end it with a song about some of the serious issues in the world today, only the serious issues turned out to be shark attacks. This felt very fitting as the band weren’t afraid to have fun all throughout the night. Very often an opening band will be a safe choice but Borderline were far out and it was incredible to see a band trying something complete different and doing it well so huge props to the band for stepping up and putting on a great set.
Next up tonight were Chapter and Verse, a band that I was much more familiar with. As a little interesting fact, last time I came to a gig that was being played at The Basement, Chapter and Verse were supporting Dream State so it was quite surreal to see them again as supports in the same venue. Between the last set in York and seeing them playing the Main Stage at 2000Trees last year it was clear that the band are coming on leaps and bounds and are sure to hit their break through soon. Starting with new track Bad Blood which sounded fantastic live really hit this point home. Tonight’s mix sounded great and the band always put on a very energetic live performance. As vocalist Josh said tonight was “Like playing in a living room and watching your little brother go mad”. Keeping with the newer releases, it was great to get an exclusive play of unreleased track ‘Beauty Sleep’ which continuing the theme of ‘Bad Blood’ is a very promising sign of things to come. One of Chapter and Verse’s standout points are the incredible vocals soaring above the heavy tracks and as usual this was shown off brilliantly during ‘Ink’ with everyone stood in awe listening along. After a speech to the room about The New Breed which really built the inclusion the band finished tonight with in my opinion their best track so far – Magazines. This definitely ended the set on a high and really built the energy for Press to MECO who were up next. After another incredible set I really would love to see these guys get the recognition they deserve and play much bigger crowds and with the new tracks like Bad Blood it’s definitely a possibility.
Keeping with the theme of bands that I saw at 2000Trees were tonight’s headliners Press to MECO. The only difference here was that the set they played there was acoustic so to hear them in full force tonight would be a completely separate experience. As with Chapter and Verse before it was quite a shock to see them playing in a 100 cap venue however with the great reaction to new track ‘Easy Life’ this will probably be the last chance to see these guys playing this level of venue before stepping up to much larger ones. As the band took to the stage, the low ceiling and layout of the venue really gave an intense intimate feeling which worked perfectly to build on the energy in the room. By the time the band reached the end of second track ‘All Your Parts Don’t Make a Whole’ the crowd were shouting the words back and dancing along. With some phenomenal harmonies between the three members of the band it made for a very unique experience as they shared the vocal duties throughout the set. New track ‘Easy Life’ got a play halfway through and sounded nothing short of incredible. Despite only being released less than two weeks ago the crowd had clearly had it on repeat as they knew every word. With the intimate setting slower tracks like ‘A Quick Fix’ and ‘Honestly’ had an amazing feel and really hit home with all the emotion you’d expect there to be. With smaller shows you tend to find the mix a little worse than other places but the opposite was true tonight and continued to impress with all three instruments balanced perfectly to really give a fantastic sound. As the band came to a close with plays of ‘White Knuckling’ and the incredible ‘Here’s to Fatigue’ it really ended things with a bang. As the band expelled all their energy from the stage it was clear that they had given it their all this evening and everyone in attendance had had a fantastic evening. Press to MECO are definitely a band to be keeping an eye on at the moment and after this tour and a new album I really hope that they get the break that they deserve.
As I entered Brudenell Social Club on a warm Saturday afternoon, there was a real air of anticipation and excitement to see Frank Turner play in such an intimate venue. After seeing him play at the First Direct Arena earlier this year, this made for a complete change in atmosphere but still kept to the true way of playing a huge amount of tracks from all eras of his music. He started out with a few new tracks from his recently released album which were amazing to hear live and really worked nicely to explain the meaning behind the tracks and little bits of information as he went through them. Starting off with the first track on the album ‘Jinny Bingham’s Ghost’ Frank had the entire crowd captivated by his performance from the very beginning. As he worked through his other new songs it was great to get his side notes such as the riff from ‘I Believed You, William Blake’ being written while he was still writing songs with Million Dead or the fact that he got approval from a living relative of Egyptian feminist and rebel Huda Sha’awari who was the subject of ‘The Lioness’. As he worked through the new songs it was clear he was passionate about telling the stories from those people that history missed out on and it was done in a very impressive way. The highlight from this first part of the set was definitely hearing him play ‘Sister Rosetta’ live, as my personal favourite song off the new album it made a nice end to the tracks from ‘No Man’s Land’.
After getting a great reception to the newer tracks Frank took the opportunity to head back in time playing some of his bigger hits starting with tracks from ‘Positive Songs for Negative People’ and going all the way back to 2006’s ‘Campfire Punkrock’. As Frank worked through the tracks it was clear just how dedicated his fans were as everyone in attendance was singing the words back. From shouts of “We can get better, cause I’m Not Dead Yet” to ‘Get Better’ to the catchy chorus of ‘Recovery’. As ‘The Road’ got people dancing all across the room and by the time ‘Photosynthesis’ came to an end the entire room was bouncing along very much sticking to the words of the chorus “…I won’t to grow up” which is certainly a great life motto to follow. It was a nice touch for Frank to give a shoutout to the Brudenell Social Club and he revealed that when playing there in 2008 was his first ever sold out show in Leeds as well as talking about the smaller venues like The Fenton which is great for supporting newer upcoming bands was here before launching into final song – ‘Ballad of me and my friends’. As final songs go this was certainly ideal for this as it really showed the sense of community and togetherness that come with supporting an artist like Frank Turner.
As Show #2387 drew to an end it was clear that the respect and love in the room was two way and that this was a show of appreciation from both sides. Having sold out his original show and the early show being added as an extra Frank made sure that he changed the setlist up between shows so that if people were at both then they would get two slightly different experiences which was a fantastic idea. Huge thanks go out to both Crash Records and the Brudenell Social Club for putting on such a fantastic event and really building that connection between not only the fans and the artists but also the music scene as a whole and it really is a great asset for Leeds. Having had the experience to attend three Crash Records exclusive shows now, they really are a completely different experience from regular shows and have always been great. A true gem of a record store and one that should definitely be treasured and supported for years to come!
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!