The Prodigy outshine the Arctic Monkeys on first day at Leeds

Leeds Festival 2009 review

published: Tue 1st Sep 2009

The Prodigy

Friday 28th to Sunday 30th August 2009
Bramham Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS23 6ND, England MAP
weekend £175 - SOLD OUT, £70 a day for Friday, or Saturday only
daily capacity: 55000
last updated: Thu 20th Aug 2009

Due to work commitments my start to the festival was a late one. However on reaching the new A1 junction 45 there was very little traffic about, making entry to the site a much easier affair. Whilst travelling to the festival it appeared Yorkshire had been hit by a monsoon, with torrential rain pouring from the skies. The arena on first entry was already a mud bath so I was pleased I had chosen wellies as my footwear.

around the festival site (1)
First band for me on the main stage are those Oasis wannabees The Courteeners, whose festival appearances this year have been very scarce. Opening with 'Cavorting' gets the crowd going straight away whilst 'Not Nineteen Forever' creates an epic sing along. Currently working on a new album it was with relief they stuck to their current stuff, unlike Ian Brown who insisted on playing album tracks mixed with new stuff, a few points for playing The Stone Roses' 'Fool's Gold' and his own great track 'FEAR', but there was to be no 'Dolphins Where Monkeys' or 'My Star' which was a major disappointment.

Before the evening fun I went to get some dinner from one of the many catering vans scattered around the site. These consisted mainly your usual festival fodder, fish & chips, the noodle bar, the jacket potato bar, pizzeria & many other fast foody type fodder. I chose sweet & sour chicken from one of the many noodle bars, at £6.50 I thought was a tad over expensive, but never the less it hit the spot. As the festival has lost its sponsorship from Carling the bars where stocking Tuborg lager & Gaymers cider for £3.60 with the now seemingly predictable 10p refund on your cup. Which brings me to a major bugbear at festivals now they have brought in the 10p cup refund, why do people who have spent £160 on a festival ticket spend their time picking up all the cups, I don't get it, I know there is a credit crunch on but isn't the point of going to a music festival to enjoy yourself & get away from the current economic climate?

The Prodigy
Back to the main stage to see The Prodigy, who seemed to have played every major festival this year, such is their cross genre appeal. With the stage ablaze in red & white lighting with searchlights pulsating the sky Maxim shouts "Where are my fucking people?" 'World's on Fire' is high energy dance with heavy guitar playing thrown in for good measure, 'Breathe' is awesome with Maxim going down to the front barrier, some guy in a fancy dress gets over the barrier & pogos all the way along it whilst surrounded by security. 'Firestarter' booms from the speakers and I notice around me the fires have already been made and lit around the arena with the smell of burnt putrid plastic hanging in the air. The very politically incorrect 'Smack My Bitch Up' gets everyone singing and a finale of 'Take Me to The Hospital' is a brilliant end to a brilliant set.

Glasvegas
I run over to the NME/Radio 1 stage hoping to catch some Glasvegas and luckily for me the stage is running half hour late so I catch their opener 'Flowers And Football Tops'. With a huge Elvis Vegas style GLASVEGAS neon lights behind them, fantastic white lighting & smoke on the stage creates a fantastic setting, just a shame that the tent is barely half full to witness one of the better doom & gloom misery porn bands around at the moment.

Running back to the Main Stage I eagerly await the chance to catch Arctic Monkeys. Last time I saw them was at that ill fated Glastonbury Headline slot, which has hovered over their career like a bad cloud ever since, so with a chance to put things right this should have been a great headline slot. There is always a fear that when a band brings out their new album the same week they play a festival, they will fill their set with it. Oh dear oh dear oh dear, Alex Turner, you fell in the trap right from the off. Opening with two new album tracks which where okay, but you cannot really singalong or dance to tunes you don't know can you? Thankfully 'Crying Lightning' restores some crowd pleasure as does 'Brainstorm' but then its back to the new stuff again, finally we get to hear 'I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor' but by then its too little to late and already people are leaving the arena. 'They Say It Changes When The Sun Goes Down' is great, and Turner desperately pleads with the crowd to participate as he belts out yet another new one, by which point I had had enough & along with the mass disappointed Main Stage Arena audience exodus I seek out something more exciting.

I end up catching the end of Gossip's set in the NME/Radio 1 arena, Ditto with orange hair and a short black white dress never fails to disappoint whether it is singing "Lady GaGa Lady GaGa" to the 'Lady Marmalade' tune or "Your sexism is on fire" to Kings Of Leon's 'Sex Is on Fire'. All in all great fun and a damn sight more entertaining than the Arctic Monkeys.
review by: Gary Stafford

photos by: Gary Stafford

Friday 28th to Sunday 30th August 2009
Bramham Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS23 6ND, England MAP
weekend £175 - SOLD OUT, £70 a day for Friday, or Saturday only
daily capacity: 55000
last updated: Thu 20th Aug 2009


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