Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Leeds Festival Day Two

Day 2 I was woken from my dreams of Claire Nazir by a neighbouring tent telling all and sundry just how good The Prodigy were, not the actual tent as outside of HR Puffenstuff, that is just fantasy, the person in the tent decided to tell people, loudly, that The Prodigy were excellent and as far as men that shout over their own records, they were right up there with the best of them.
Enough of that though, I had an appointment with a Welshman that likes to sing in an American accent, he wouldn’t be the last today but kicking things off for day 2 was welsh pop punk band, Kids In Glass Houses. It would be wrong for me to throw stones at them, but they are a one song band and it was evident from their set, it was only a cursory glance up from my Guardian to see them perform their hit, Saturday. Saturday you say? Sorry but it appears Warnock has signed to Villa, carry on Welsh pop punkers. They arrived with an American accent and they left with the same accent, I was a little more enlightened about Serena Williams, thanks wholly to The Guardian and not Kids in Glass Houses.
The sound of young Wales were followed by Noah and The Whale, they of the five years time hit. They were pretty good in all honesty, they did a very laid back acoustic set, with fiddle and piano and it was pretty good to eat breakfast to it. Oddly their hit wasn’t played, but it wasn’t missed, I think that tells you something about the strength of their songs. They are a scruffy bunch though, looks like they hadn’t ironed their clothes. No discipline bands these days, Senseless Things wouldn’t dream of entering stage left without a starched collar.
Melbournes own The Living End were to follow, a three piece that I like very much and thought they would truly storm the Lock Up stage with their brand of rockabilly punk, as it goes they played the main stage and were placed higher than they should have been and as such, died a little death. Well maybe not, but it didn’t translate and any form of intimacy was gone before their sound had hit the back of the security guards head. Wrong stage, wrong time.
Some Scottish men came on afterwards, they muttered something I didn’t understand and then played a song, muttered something else and played more songs. I did not understand a single word of The View’s thick Dundee drawl. The songs were OK, well the songs from the first album were OK, performed well and enjoyable, songs from the second album were on the whole shit and a pain to listen to. I suspect they will be dropped from their label and split up within the next 12 months. And the drummer looked like Iggy Pop, facially and bodily.
Now a toss up between watching Brand New or slipping into the arms of Morpheus back at my tent to catch up on the sleep The View were trying to deprive me of. Back to the tent it was.
I hightailed it back a short while later to watch the absolutely stunning Vampire Weekend, the first real party performance of the weekend, spent in good company, great sounds and so far the best music of the weekend, drawing pretty much exclusively from their debut, and playing Mansard Roof, Oxford Comma etc, I threw shapes with the best of them and it shook me awake in the best way possible. Almost African guitars would not have sounded out of place on one of Kershaw or Peels shows. A great set, very enjoyable.
How could you follow that? Well I guess the woefully low down on the bill Yeah Yeah Yeahs could follow them, a band that I have seen before and enjoyed, to an extent, but not a massive extent. This set however was an untouchable set drawing on the best tracks from all three albums. Gold Lion, Maps, Date with The Night, Heads Will Roll etc. Maps in particular was amazing to hear and extremely beautiful, this was pretty much the first festival I had been to without my dwarfish sidekick and Maps poignancy was not lost. Karen Oput everything into her performance and the audience responded well, as I said woefully low on this bill.
Following them was Bloc Party, a band I find dull and having seen them twice before, did not relish a third visit to the buffet. I was wrong, Kele was a fantastic frontman, relaxed, charismatic and putting a lot into his performance. Just enough banter without being over the top. It seems I knew more Bloc Party songs than I thought, every one seemed familiar, do I watch too much MTV2 perhaps? Who knows, but it seems that they have earned their place as second headliners and made a great full stop to my evening in front of the main stage. I had to hightail it out of there before the maudlin fog that is Radiohead engulfed me.
A dash over to the Radio 1 stage to see AFI and for an old man, albeit one that is younger than me, Davey Havok still have some moves and performing a set that draws on an entire career, it was quite nice to watch. Lost Prophets followed them and I was a little bored to be honest, little did I know at this point it would be the last band that I watched, but they were boring, another welsh act that likes to talk in an American accent. I wouldn’t say dreadful, but I have watched them before and they were dreadful then and there has been little improvement.
Day 3 never materialised, one by one my group of friends packed up to beat the Sunday night trouble, and a scout over the line up influenced my decision to return home a day early.
In all it had been a good weekend for music, some real surprises in Bloc Party, some disappointments in Snuff but on the whole, a good weekend. Never again though.

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