Leeds Festival 2009

Leeds Festival 2009

Leeds Festival (Sunday)

Date: Aug 30 2009

Institution: Festival Republic

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

Rating: 4.8/5


After a brilliant previous two days of live music, a fatigued crowd gathered at the front of the main stage for Manchester punk ska group, Sonic Boom Six. Known to the fans as ‘SB6’, the five-piece have been touring since 2002/03, however, opening the main stage at Reading and Leeds has become one of the greatest milestones in their musical careers. Lead vocalist, Laila Khan ran out onto the stage to kick off the day of music, playing a variety of tracks from new release ‘City of Thieves’. The crowd soon got involved, despite the drab weather, with several circle pits and plenty of crowd interaction for a midday, prominently hung-over audience.

The lock-up stage, reverted to a punk schedule following Saturdays replacement to dance and electronic acts, saw hardcore punk outfit The Ghost of a Thousand take to the stage. With recent release of their second album, ‘New Hopes, New Demonstrations’, displaying a heavy sound similar to that of modern British hardcore punk kings Gallows, The Ghost of a Thousand were clearly prepared for a half hour set of heavy riffs and crowd carnage. Lead vocalist Tom Lacey let the crowd know exactly how he felt about the low crowd activity throughout the opening song, jumping the crowd barrier and starting a mosh pit in the middle of the spacious tent. The gig continued, with great crowd interaction and a strong live performance from the five-piece. The band concluded the gig with their thus-far most successful single – ‘Black Art Number One’, shortly after a ridiculously sized ‘wall of death’ from the crowd.

Canadian punk/ska punk group The Flatliners took to the stage early afternoon. Despite a moderately sized crowd and an understandable lack of crowd energy after The Ghost of a Thousand’s slot and the time of day after a long festival, The Flatliners displayed a good live performance. With two albums and a forthcoming third album, The Flatliners had plenty of tracks to play with, fitting a variety of tracks from the ska punk influenced debut to the less-so ska influenced second studio album.

Placebo and Brian Molko’s presence at this years Reading and Leeds was under some debate just weeks before the festival due to a cancellation of the US tour, after the lead singer collapsed on-stage, being given a recovery time of six weeks. Regardless of speculation that Placebo would not play Reading and Leeds, an announcement was put up on the bands official website as confirmation for appearing at Reading and Leeds festivals; and Molko’s illness certainly had no negative effect on the performance. Molko’s vocal’s were brilliantly projected throughout, also with new band member Steve Forrest putting on a great drumming performance. Classics such as ‘Infra Red’ were played as well as new singles ‘Battle For The Sun’ and ‘For What It’s Worth’, overall one of the stand-out performances of the weekend.

The political punk-rock four-piece, Anti-Flag from Pennsylvania were formed in 1988, and have had steady success since, never quite reaching the mainstream audience. Since 2005, Anti-Flag signed with a major music label, and in the eyes of many this was seen as a hypocritical move by a band that stood up for the working class and anti-capitalist lyrics. Despite criticism, since signing with a major label, Anti-Flag have toured with Rise Against, gained high slots at festivals and begun to gain recognition that they have been seeking for over 20 years – their views finally reaching the wider world. At Leeds Festival, Anti-Flag had superb crowd interaction. Renowned for crowd unity and ridiculous sized circle pits, lead vocalist Justin Geever (Justin Sane) did his usual preach of telling the crowd that if people fall “we pick them up!” shortly before the whole crowd set off in a circular motion. The punk outfit proceeded in playing better known songs ‘1 Trillion Dollar$’ and ‘The Press Corpse’.

The main stage finished with a packed out Kings of Leon, making it difficult to move anywhere due to the sheer size of the audience. Faith No More played to a rather intimately crowd at the NME stage, due to Kings of Leon stealing the crowd numbers, however, went on to finish off a good show with hits such as ‘Midlife Crisis’ and ‘Epic’. Overall Leeds Festival was a great success. A very diverse line-up offered a great array of bands, some good, some less-so. A combination of great bands, and a much better weather outcome that expected left the most part of 70,000 festival-goers more than satisfied.

~ Article by James Murray