Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Leeds Festival 2009 Review

If I had to sum up Leeds Festival in one word, it would be - messy. In both a metaphorical and literal way. Demographically, the punters seem to be between the ages of 16-25, and most of those are sixth formers. The main aim of the average festival goer here is to get as wasted as possible, as quickly as possible, for as long as possible. No one really seems to understand the concept of a bin bag, and even the incentive of a beer token for every bag of recycled cans handed in didn't capture many imaginations. A few people did make between £20-£30 for the beer/cider paper cups collected (10p each), but I got the impression they were working in some or other capacity at the festival anyway ( - e.g. stewarding, bar work, etc). The other surprising thing was the sheer number of tents left abandoned at the end of the festival. If I hadn't have known any better, I would've thought two thirds of the campers were still asleep at 1pm on Monday afternoon. There was definitely a post-apocalyptic air about the place.

Due to the timing of my shifts, I only managed to watch The Prodigy on the first two days of the festival. I found them unnecessarily rude to the crowd, and didn't particularly enjoy their set, though that could have been because of the fear of being drenched in what I can only hope was beer in flying paper cups; I am compelled, however, to think it was bodily fluid. The less said about that the better.

I was very fortunate to have the whole of Sunday off, and there were many good bands to be seen. Somewhat regrettably, my musical education did not really extend much further than to be able to say I had heard of all the bands before - apart from Madina Lake - but I hadn't really listened to their music. Nevertheless, this is my opinion on their efforts:

Sonic Boom Six - very enjoyable, very upbeat, great vocals. A good kick start to the day on the main stage, they did very well to engage with a very hungover crowd.

Madina Lake - flattery gets you everywhere, guys! Musically a nice, tight set, they were continually expressing their gratefulness at being there.

Alexisonfire - boring. Quite forgettable, I don't seem to recall thinking much at all during their performance.

New Found Glory - similar to Madina Lake, but in retrospect they haven't made too big an impression on me.

Funeral For A Friend - didn't pay a great deal of attention to them, I spent most of their set trekking to and from the loo, and trying to find people in the crowd.

Deftones - definitely way too depressing for me, and I couldn't understand why the singer was screaming so much?! Perhaps because he looked like he was gonna die on stage.

Fall Out Boy - genuinely impressing performance, a good few singalongs, wholeheartedly recommended.

Placebo - amazing. They kept me interested and listening throughout, despite me knowing only one song (Every Me and Every You). I was somewhat bemused by the blond girl they had on stage, who first played the electric violin for a bit, and then proceeded to sit at a huge piano and every once in a while play five notes, but they inspired me to download their music, which can only be a good thing.

Jamie T - is a chav with a guitar. I don't get the hype at all, the tent was packed and so many people were singing along but he was, at best, average and, at worst, bad. Particularly disappointing was when he played an (acoustic I think) bass for one of his songs...I use the term 'play' very loosely, he was essentially playing one open string over and over again.

Faith No More - certainly converted me! (I've been wanting to use that pun for what feels like forever!) They put in an incredible performance. Mike Patton, the lead singer, injected such enthusiasm and energy into the set, you couldn't help but 'rock' along. I especially enjoyed the EastEnders tribute (very well received). It felt like this was exactly what we'd been waiting for all weekend, and I couldn't think of a better way for my festival to end.

Other than the music, there isn't really a huge range of things to do at Leeds. There were a few fairground rides and a Guitar Hero tent, but the main arena shuts sometime between 12am-3am and most people then must just make their way to the campsites. It has a certain corporate feel to it, and though I had a good weekend, I can't say that I'll be rushing back any time soon - unless it is to see my friends or a few bands that I really really like. However, now that Leeds Festival is out of the way, I don't really feel like I have anything left to look forward to. My summer is well and truly over.

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