Leeds Festival 2009

Leeds Festival 2009

Leeds Festival (Saturday)

Date: Aug 29 2009

Institution: Festival Republic

Sponsers: Radio 1, NME, Tuborg, HMV, Relentless, Gaymers

Rating: 4.7/5

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Following an intense line-up on the opening day of the festival, the diverse Leeds Saturday schedule offered music for every fan. The main stage hosting an array of indie and alternative rock bands with the likes of Bloc Party and Radiohead, the dance stage taking the place of the lock-up and offering the likes of house and drum n bass DJ’s Deadmau5 and Chase and Status, along with a dynamic NME line-up; hardcore punk from the Gallows and a taste of folk through the acclaimed Frank Turner.

Punk rock outfit, Broadway Calls, opened the NME stage on the Saturday. The trio have a wealth of touring experience behind them, touring with the likes of The Gaslight Anthem and Alkaline Trio, clear throughout their performance at Leeds Festival. A jam-packed gig offered singles from both their debut and recent albums; by letting the music do the talking Broadway Calls produced an enjoyable 30 minutes of pop punk. The third band on the Festival Republic stage was the highly acclaimed new band – The xx. With a critically favourable debut album behind them, The xx attracted a great sized crowd for their slot in the day’s schedule. A rather solemn and somewhat morbid performance was displayed; however, the vocals were excellently projected despite a very nervous looking group – more than likely overwhelmed by the size of the crowd they attracted.

The Joy Formidable followed The xx on the Festival Republic stage, a Welsh three-piece who released their debut album ‘A Balloon Called Moaning’ earlier this year. Female vocalist, Ritzy Bryan put on a strong performance, remaining very animated throughout, getting the crowd singing along, creating a good atmosphere, difficult to obtain in a small tent so early on in the day. The Joy Formidable looked very promising, comparable to an early-days indie group such as The Subways – depending on future record success this trio have the potential to move up significantly in stature.

The eccentric sounding electronic group, Metronomy, took to the NME stage mid-afternoon, with their up-beat engaging sound giving the majority of the tent no choice but to dance to the likes of ‘Radio Ladio’ and ‘A Thing For Me’. Crystal Castles fronted by the peculiar Alice Glass put on an absurd yet entertaining show, displaying some newer songs as well as some big debut album hits. Two unique bands mid-afternoon, with the alternative electronic group Passion Pit fitting in between the two offered a good 2 hours of none-generic, diverse music.

Chase and Status, one of the biggest names in drum and bass at present hit the dance tent at around 6pm, scheduled to play a DJ set. A packed out tent expected a highly energetic session of drum and bass and dubstep – which was exactly what was offered. Varying from the duo’s own productions, to the likes of Nero, the crowd let out a ridiculous amount of energy over a pair of CDJ’s.

Bloc Party sub-headlined the main stage, with a large majority of the crowd eagerly anticipating the long-awaited Leeds Festival Radiohead performance. Bloc Party started the gig with the new single ‘One More Chance’, followed by lead singer Kele announcing – “…for the next hour you’re watching Bloc Party”, in response to a disengaged crowd – clearly awaiting Thom Yorke and co. As the gig progressed the crowd grew in liveliness, with a peak of excitement hitting the crowd for the final two songs; ‘Flux’ and ‘Helicopter’. Despite a decent all-round performance, it was rather dissimilar to a certain 2008 performance, same slot, and same stage; and even more reminiscent of a certain Glastonbury 2009 headlining performance. Being displayed on live television at Glastonbury, you would think speeches and on-stage anecdotes would vary somewhat for one of the biggest festivals in the country.

Deadmau5, Radiohead and Lostprophets was seen by many to be a cruel clash of talent, the dance stage, hosting Deadmau5, was packed with an audience breaching the tent boundaries, leaving much of the crowd hearing a distant Radiohead performance over a DJ with a rather large mouse helmet. Radiohead, being renowned for their superb live performances, reinforced their fame by putting on a highly entertaining performance, with a variety of instrumental and vocal talents before a stage full of trippy lights and an overall great setup. Radiohead played a memorable, two hour performance, opening with the experimental ’15 step’ and ending with ‘Everything In It’s Right Place’, a superb finale to a another great day of music.

~ Article by James Murray

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