as Radiohead close day two La Roux, Lostprophets, and Deadmau5 all have huge appeal

Leeds Festival 2009 review

published: Tue 1st Sep 2009

around the festival site (1)

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

With the rain staying away for the night, giving the ground chance to dry out, walking boots where the order of the day. Wandering around the site I grab a bacon buttie and savoured the day ahead, enjoying a little bit of peace when that is suddenly smashed apart like a sledgehammer with someone playing a version of Adam & The Ants' Prince Charming blaring loudly from the dance tent. Making a dash over there I discover Master Shortie is having a blast with his late 80's early 90's influences. 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' is given a noughties makeover with rap over the top & works a treat with the Leeds crowd clearly lapping it up. Shortie calls out "Bringing it back to the old skool night" which clearly they are, the reggae fused 'Dance Like A Whiteman' is pure genius. A must see band if you ever come across them, what a great start to the day.

3Oh3
Staying in the dance tent for Colorado's 3Oh!3 who seem to be getting lots of press lately and the tent is bursting with the sides getting pulled up by girls trying to get into the rammed tent. Why they are deserving of all this attention I am not really sure, they come across as a very poor Bomfunk MC's mixed with N' Sync & not very good looking at that.

I take a walk over to the Festival Republic Stage where the equally hyped up The XX are playing. Their PR going into overdrive giving the whole crowd black T-shirts with a huge white X on the front. They sound very very quiet either they are meant to sound that way or they are very much lacking in confidence. Still their tunes are very nice in a relaxing thoughtful way. I make for a large steak pasty which makes a change from the usual burgers and fried stuff, then head back to the Festival Republic Stage where Magistrates are kicking off. Magistrates are a five piece outfit with a keyboard playing lead singer who has wide versatility with his voice, think he also wants to play drums as he is constantly playing air drums, 'Do What You Want' is high paced, fast hi hat cymbal playing with high pitched Prince-like vocals, a girl shouts "I love you!" A guy calls out "I love you more!"

A boogie is needed by now so its time to see Metronomy who have a large crowd in the NME/Radio 1 tent. Their bass driven overlaid synth music with a nod to early Simple Minds and Human League get the tent bouncing, and is all good fun. Grammatics are different kettle of fish all together with a cello player in their ranks creating a unique sound, a chance to chill out after the fun of Metronomy.

My first Main Stage band of the day are New York's fantastic Vampire Weekend, never a band to disappoint they get a huge crowd & are thoroughly entertaining & the fans sing-along to 'A Camp', even the sun decides to have a look at the commotion, asking "Have you got enough energy? You wanna dance?" 'Oxford Comma' is a great set closer on a fantastic 50 minutes of goodliness.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs follow and as usual Karen O has gone all out in the theatrical attire, wearing a top with many multicoloured tassels & then adorned by many strings of coloured beads she graces the Main Stage with so much panache & passion. 'Maps' is stunningly beautiful and 'A Date With The Night' is truly awesome.

I grab a quick thirty minute nap to prepare myself for the Saturday night ahead. Radiohead with their headline slot gets the Main Arena rammed with security even needing to put a one way system in place to prevent congestion at the entrances. Adorned with their low energy green lighting, the video screens are separated into 6 different sections with a web cam style applied to each band member in black and white with a red tinge. This may have looked good during the rehearsals but with a stage surrounded by long vertical lighting wrapping cage like around the band it was difficult to make out Yorke & co on the stage.

After 3 songs not being able to make out what is happening on stage I make a break and have a wander around the site. Finding Lightspeed Champion in the Festival Republic Stage, with his Vic Reeves club style singing entrances along with his drummer playing the slow snare drum continuing the social club feel. After Champions set I go back to check on Radiohead where I discover the arena half empty already. I walk through the sparse crowd & find myself within touching distance of the stage barrier without barging or asking anyone to move such is the scarcity of the crowd.

For the second time this festival the main headliner had lost its audience, I also decide to split and go take in some La Roux back at the Festival Stage unfortunately it looks like the majority of the main arena have the same idea and the tent is bursting stretching right back to the fairground which with its blaring PA's proves impossible to hear La Roux, I go to the NME/Radio 1 stage where Lostprophets are headlining again the same problem there with the tent fully rammed & the crowd stretching a far distance from the entrances, last throw of the dice is Deadmau5 is the Dance Tent where I am met with the same problem. So walking back across the barely attended main arena I decide to call it a day. Let's hope tomorrows headliners prove more worthy of the Leeds Main Stage crowd.

around the festival site (1)
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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