Friday, 29 August 2014

Leeds Festival Part 3: Sunday



It’s the last day of Leeds fest and it falls to BBC Introducing stars-in-the-waiting Forever Cult to shift those hangovers. Their ‘soft verse, loud chorus’ approach works well, displaying a love of both noise rock and melody in enough balance to keep them feeling progressive. Oldies ‘Graves’ and ‘Luck’ sound as good as ever, but it’s the vocal melodies of their newer material, showing off their poppy side, that hints at even better things to come 

We're ready to continue the rock with Pulled Apart By Horses, but due to illness cancellation we end up at Little Matador, who soundtrack out third Chinese takeaway in as many days with well orchestrated Scottish radio rock that should please any Twin Atlantic fan. They’re pleasant enough, but lack that indescribable x factor.

Choosing to watch Royal Blood requires some serious elbow work through one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. One we do get inside, we're thoroughly baffled: clearly the band is made up of just two guys, but what we get is a wall of sound that looks like there is a guitar backing track underlying Mike Kerr’s live bass, rendering proceedings a little fake. However, before we get on our authenticity high horse and ride off into the sunset, we figure out that his instrument is in fact strung to play both guitar and bass parts, this means he is TWICE as talented. Suitably humbled, we release that they're pretty darn awesome and well worthy of donning Matt Helders chest at Glastonbury.

With the main stage having brightened up, Peace get the paisley clad teenagers dashing to the front for their slice of deliciousness. ‘Lovesick’ and ‘Money’ sounding slicker than ever, highlighting how comfortably and cohesively their set now sits together. Filling the main stage with a natural ease normally reserved for bands twice their stature, they’re destined to be a bill climber.

What do a Wolf Alice crowd and a Rolo have in common? They both have gooey, moorish centres that get sweaty in the heat. The turnout for the London four piece is staggeringly informed, bellowing along to each of their angst-anthems in fine voice, taking it in turn to clamber on one another's shoulders for a closer look at their new icons. Resplendent in white, they remain as grateful as ever despite a long run of festival shows this season, coolly ignoring the laddish cries of 'Ellie you're fit' with a concise, well executed set. Expect to see them in the NME tent this time next year.

Watching Circa Waves play is a little like watching the younger, less miserable brothers of The Strokes play. They fling out massive choruses like canapés at a fancy press party, and the audience just can't get enough. Their chord progressions occasionally remind me of the OC theme tune (oh Seth, why won’t you be mine), but I’ll never say no to this sort of nostalgia trip: here, at the end of August, it feels like summer has arrived. Along with yesterday’s Southern, they prove themselves to be my favourite discovery of the weekend.

If being greeted onstage by a giant cardboard of your own face is enough to terrify anyone, but if Chvrches, Lauren Mayberry is bothered, she doesn't look it. Launching into  ‘We Sink’, they cater to expectations (her voice holding out much stronger live than we expected), but they do little to go above or beyond, and their set ends up feeling a little lacklustre because of it, despite a pretty stunning light show.

Perhaps Chvrches could learn a little stage presence from We Are Scientists who despite having stalled a little out of the starting blocks growth wise, will always have ‘With Love And Squalor’ and a beautiful bromance between members to fall back on. ‘Nobody Move…’, ‘The Great Escape’, ‘It’s A Hit’… they’re all present and correct, but it’s forgotten classic ‘After Hours’ that gets a nostalgic tear dwelling in the corner of our eye.

If Melvin Benn fancied scouting for future headliners, he would have down well to skip out on Jake Bugg and watch Bombay Bicycle Club instead. Boasting beautiful, hand crafted visuals over their well travelled, intelligent indie, their set feels like something of a celebration of all they have achieved thus far, Jack Steadman grinning from ear to ear. The overlap with tonight's main stage headliner means a slightly early finish and a mass evacuation before the final songs, but ‘Feel’ and ‘Carry Me’ sees hardcore fans sticking around, using the new found space to launch a serious dance party. As established Bombay fans, it’s the first time we’ve seen newer songs get a better reaction than old, which can only mean very, very good things. Bombay Bicycle Club, headlining 2016. You heard it here first.

And so the weekend has come to an end, and what more classically northern way is there to end things than with Arctic Monkeys? By the time we push ourselves out of the Bombay melee we’re far too late to get anywhere near the stage, but the Yorkshire pride is palpable in the air, and cries of jubilation ring out as Alex Turner takes to the stage in a custom made coalminers jacket, emblazoned with two Yorkshire roses. What ensues is a typical Monkeys set; nothing fancy, but fun nonetheless, a fitting way to say goodbye to the ‘AM’ era. Whilst ‘R U Mine?’ restarted 3 times isn’t exactly much of an encore and Turner teases the audience by throwing out a solitary casual verse of ‘Mardy Bum’, there is simply no touching his Las Vegas worthy cool, however obnoxious, and the band sound as tight as the trousers Turner is sporting. Rest your snake hips and quiff comb Alex, you’ve ready for a well deserved break.


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