Leeds 2011: Day 1 (John’s Roundup)

By on Thursday, 1st September 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

The heavens were open. The ground was softening. It looked to be another washout festival for me and my poor £10 wellies! My spirits would not be dampened (soaked) though. There were bands to be seen at Leeds 2011, and cider to be drunk out of silly paper cups.

First on my list was American band Taking Back Sunday. Don’t ask me why! The veteran pop-punkers have been here before, on this very spot at the very same time, hardly a fact that Taking Back Sunday will be proud of. However the Long Island boys jumped into ‘Cute Without the E’ with gusto. The crowd reacted well; regrettably, this reaction was to be short-lived. After the initial hit, the impetus was lost and the band sunk into album tracks and new record promotion, contributing to their own demise. The response was little more than silence or more turning around and scampering for another stage. Singles ‘Liar’ and ‘Make Damn Sure’ provoked some reaction from the subdued masses but it was too little to late and Taking Back Sunday skulked off stage to almost silence. Bar a few Alans and Steves.

To follow that was folk-punk troubadour and TGTF favourite Frank Turner, who immediately stated his intention with 1 and a half minute belter ‘Try This At Home.’ There really is nothing better then joining in with thousands of people and shouting the word ‘Dick’ at the height of your voice! It *is* part of the song, eh? Eton-educated Turner and his band the Sleeping Souls’ had the masses of muddy teens in the palm of their hands from the word go. With old favourites like ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘Reasons Not to Be an Idiot’ being joined by new single ‘If I Ever Stray’, Turner’s set went down a storm. “I’ll be hanging round the Lock-Up Stage the rest of the day”, he says as he leaves. The crowd thinks, will you really? Secret set to follow.

A change in pace was in order after that. None better then UK DIY rockers Enter Shikari. If they can’t get you splashing around in the mud, it’s hard to tell what will get you shifting! For sure they delivered one of the surprises of the weekend: their wild mash-up of metal, dance and some cheeky dubstep made for essential festival listening.

Off to the NME tent next to survey whether Panic! At the Disco had recovered from their Reading Festival nightmare. For those who can’t remember here is the short version: “Band leave. Play songs. Be a bit whiny. Crowd not happy. Bottle of wee thrown. Bottle hits Brendan Urie. Urie knocked out cold. Set over.” So for them to return to the festivals was obviously a very brave move for the band. The move paid off; the band was greeted to rapturous applause and shouts of “Panic, Panic!” Urie immediately began to strut about the NME/Radio 1 stage as if it was his own back garden. The crowd loved him, screaming the words to ‘But It’s Better If You Do’ and lifting the roof at set closer ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies.’

One of the biggest success stories of this year has been the remarkable rise of Ed Sheeran, the ginger haired rap/acoustic/beat boxing/anything else cool kid of the moment has hit the ground flying and looks like a force to be reckoned with. No surprises then that his set in the Festival Republic tent was already spewing people out into the open air when I arrived. The audience was, as expected, composed primarily of young girls who all desperately “want to be Mrs. Sheeran” and other such morons. Hits ‘The A Team’ and ‘You Need Me Man, I Don’t Need You’ sound good. The remainder of the set plunges into obscurity. The loop pedal trick is cool, we know; Joe Driscoll did it about 5 years ago and was 1000% more interesting, just not as in such a “handsome” and “gorgeous” package. (Cue vomiting.) The rise of this ginger pop star is set in stone already: major label contract signed, videos out. So expect a number 1 this Sunday from Sheeran. Yes you heard it here first. (Yawn! Next please!)

Finally there was the spectacle that many had been waiting all day crushed at the barriers of the main stage for. Muse. It’s the 10th anniversary of ‘Origin of Symmetry’ and in celebration the Devon powerhouse played the album in its entirety. Too many punter faces were confused, wondering “Where’s ‘Supermassive Black Hole?’ Why aren’t they playing ‘Undisclosed Desires?” Answer to the latter: it’s garbage that’s why, OK? Answer to the former. Because it’s coming in the second half, along with ‘Desires.’ Philistines.

The first half of the set was majestic, as if they had been playing these songs on every tour, not just resurrecting them for these shows. ‘Dark Shines’ was triumphant, ‘New Born’ epic and ‘Plug in Baby’ thoroughly spellbinding, while ‘Feeling Good’ was one that everyone in the crowd could sing along to. The second half delivers hits and the same ol’ encore; a harmonica plays, Matt Bellamy spins a weird box and they tear into ‘Knights of Cydonia’. Queue the madness in the crowd. A successful set for Muse ends, but need I even write that. They’re always good. Guaranteed to tear the roof/stage/arena apart. True rock legends and they’ve got more to come.

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2 Responses

3:42 pm
3rd September 2011

It might have been nice, not to mention accurate, to remind people that the PATD bottling happened at Reading all the way back in 2006. Bearing in mind that it happened five years ago, why wouldn’t PATD have recovered from it?

6:06 pm
3rd September 2011

Granted yes it happened 5 years ago, but have you not seen in every interview PATD have given before the festival that the bottling and recovering from that has been mentioned. It is in respect a very big deal.

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