Being a relatively unknown local band on a bill of much larger acts is not always the most enviable of positions to be in. You usually either play well enough to draw people away from the bar to stand in front of the stage for a few minutes or play to a mostly-empty room of your close friends who are there to see whoever is coming on later. Rarely, you end up playing to a rather large crowd that is unfamiliar with your music and gain some new fans. Luckily for Windfall Foundation (made up from ex-Tyganda band member), a tight live performance with a staggering level of professionalism for a young unestablished band as well as solid songwriting landed them squarely in the third category. Opening the evening for local heavyweights Cardinals as well as The Years and Vancouver’s Said The Whale, Windfall Foundation kicked the night off spectacularly and with a relentless energy. Their sound is best described as spacey third-wave post-rock soundscapes and textures to give the music depth with the angular guitar rock sensibility of Bloc Party to keep things in motion. The instrumentation is paired with the lyrical sincerity and emotion of bands like Touche Amore and Brand New. Lead vocalist Can Kilic [Authors note: yes, Can. Not “Cam”] engaged with the audience mid-set to inform them that their next song, Thief (unfortunately not up on their Bandcamp page yet) was his favourite in the whole world. By the end of the chilling and emotional number, I’m sure he wasn’t the only one who felt the same way. Sounding very much unlike the acts that followed them, the quintet was a bright spot in a bill jam-packed with talent and big names. It remains to be seen if Windfall Foundation is a band that will be one to watch in 2013, but they’ve stolen a crowd before and there’s nothing indicating they can’t again.
I’ve written reviews whilst not entirely sober, now it’s time for me to write a review of five days for which I was sober for about an hour. Because Leeds Festival is one that requires a drink. It’s as infamous nowadays for its ‘let’s go fucking mental’ ladishness (example: a guy who drank his own piss, vomit and had a gram of ketin a line before being carted off) as it is famous for its top-tier headliners. It is more of a drink all day and all night festival than say, the laidback Latitude, and you do have to accept that you will encounter some wankers in wifebeaters and flat peaks drinking Stella. Plus (unpopular Tumblr opinion here) but I don’t mind a decent DJ set or some dubstep, so the Relentless Tent and Picadilly Party seem more worthwhile to me than a standard night out on the town. When it comes to the Leeds Fest nightlife, my view on this is that it’s fine to go out until 5AM and get completely sozzled as long as you still manage to see some music too (and not be hungover lying in your tent as your favourite band are on). Because who wants to pay upwards of £200 and not see a single band?
I think I got the balance right this year and saw around twenty acts, so let’s talk music. This year was a real mixed bag of genres for me; Friday began with Tribes, who impressed me earlier this year on the NME Tour and held their own in the NME/Radio One Tent, with all the sing along power of bigger bands like The Cribs. Some friends could not stop going on about The Skints so I went along and was pleasantly suprised to find that they were less reggae than I’d heard they were (not my thing) and more ska (bit more my thing). The Lock Up Stage was pretty packed with a nice, chilled, dancing crowd. More dance moves ensued at SBTRKT, who you can make as many jokes about the London Producer just pressing keys on a laptop but the singing and live drums really shows he and collaborator Sampha can use their instruments live too. I got dragged to Gallows as well, who definitely were not my thing and I can’t feel like I can judge their performance at all without knowing anything about that genre of music. Somehow, I also managed to take a nap during them too whilst having a cigarette break (it had been a heavy night before). Unfortunately I missed The Black Keys but I was all ready to see Foo Fighters who you can’t deny have some classic hits. We stuck around for the beginning, but nearly three hours was pushing it for me, especially when I am not a hardcore fan. Instead, I hopped over to Justice whose set was absolutely amazing. They segued perfectly from track to track, playing extended versions of “Civilization” and “We Are Your Friends”. They may not be legends on the level of Foo Fighters, but if you’re in the mood for throwing shapes, then the French duo are a much better act to see.
Onto Saturday, which started with Friends, a band who I only knew one song by but are now intrigued to listen to a lot more. Crystal Castles on the main stage played as well as they have any other year, but suit the festival’s tent a lot more in my opinion. The act that has been on repeat on my headphones all summer, Alt-J, filled the Festival Republic stage and lived up the their hype in what can best be described as indie with a bit of a post-dubstep-friendly bass (I feel my hipster levels rising as I type that). After catching the tail end of Bombay Bicycle Club, who treated us to a few new singles, my plan was to split half my time between the clashing headliners of The Maccabees and The Cure. But after an hour of the latter’s set a riled by “Friday I’m In Love”, I decided to stay for the duration. As a friend pointed out, you can see The Maccabees anytime but The Cure are a once-in-a-lifetime band. Even though I only knew their greatest hits, at no point was I bored because whilst they may be ageing, they can all play to perfection.
Quicker than expected it was Sunday, the final day of music. Despite the fact it was midday after four straight days of alcohol, I was up and raring to go by midday for one of my favourite bands Los Campesinos!. They seemed pretty chuffed to be on the Main Stage (well, as chuffed as Gareth Campesinos! can possibly manage) but the crowd was pretty sparse at this time. Dry The River were decent and ideal for just sitting and listening to after a long weekend. I don’t know what to think of Mystery Jets’ new Americana look for their new album, however I don’t think it made much difference to the style of their music by the few songs I heard. But why change something that already works, and their classic songs were as faultless as ever. Unfortunately I didn’t rep my local Nottingham acts Jake Bugg and Dog Is Dead thanks to an almightly downpour on the way back to camp, but they seem to being going places outside of the Midlands so watch out for them. As always, I went along to The Vaccines with everybody else, and as always I fail to see what all the fuss is about. They do have some good pop songs but they seem to merge into one long shout-a-long chorus to me. Can someone please enlighten me as to what I am missing? For a bit of a change, I saw Azealia Banks and her energy on the Dance Stage was fantastic; I felt instantly more badass just being around her. Of course the crowd went mental for “212” and she wouldn’t be someone I would pay to see but definitely catch her if you get the chance. With a long car journey home that night, and pre-empting the five day hangover, I had just enough time to see The Cribs. As a Wakefield band, the Jarmans clearly stated their love for Leeds Fest who supported them from the start and it really showed through in their set. I know understand what separates them from many other similar bands because their live shows just blow you away. They deserve to be headlining the Main Stage, no question.
And so there ends my extended weekend. Of course, there are a handful of other bands I wished I’d seen, but I would much rather be havfing fun on the campsite as well than running round with a programme like a headless chicken. I think I got my money’s worth, now excuse me whilst I spend another day recovering with my duvet and waiting for next year.
Started the weekend with Iceland’s Of Monsters & Men, who were amazing; although I only knew one song previous to seeing them, I felt like I knew more, and will definitely be downloading their album. Next were Band Of Skulls, who I vaugley remembered from a couple of years ago, so I knew a couple of songs and they were really good actually. We then sat outside the main stage and heard Eagles Of Death Metal, who I previously saw supporting Arctic Monkeys. Sweet Jesus, the lead singer is a knob; their music wasn’t terrible, but I can’t stick that man, so irritating. The Black Keys were really good, including my favourite “Tighten Up”; I thought they may just play tracks from 2011’s El Camino, since no one seems to know they’ve had seven albums so far, but they played a mixture of material, with a lot take from their Brothers album. Tall Ships were incredible, the crowd was really small too, and they were superb to dance to (albeit alone).
Well… we decided to get really drunk in the morning by playing ‘imaginary Ring Of Fire’ (just Ring Of Fire with no cards, so you just pick what ever you want). Basically it involves making rules all the time such as “only speak in Scouse” etc. We somehow managed to see Hadouken! which was so so funny, we were the knobs jumping around with Carlsberg boxes on our heads. I then manage to almost sober up for Spector, who were amazing. Crystal Castles were next, and I swear Alice Glass has got even more fucking mental. Lucy Rose followed by Alt-J was a great double. I popped to Bombay Bicycle Club for a while who were perfect as always, even on the fourth time seeing them, followed by the fifth time to see The Courteeners, who never disappoint. Headliners The Cure were AMAZING, although I watched them on my own at the end in a very drunk state, but still so so good.
Blood Red Shoes started my day who were amazing. The crowd weren’t great, a double shame since no one I was with really knew their stuff that well. Ppopped to see some of twin atlantic, who were incredibly Scottish. Some more drinking and getting vodka confiscated led me to Jake Bugg, the tent was so packed but he was great and perfect. Somehow ended up at Enter Shikari, and discovered I knew a lot more of their tracks than I’d admit to admit to. Somehow convinced myself to see Florence + The Machine again, but left nice and early for the fouth time seeing The Cribs and there is a reason they’re my fave band ever.
Things I learnt this weekend include:
- I’m too old for this now really,
- I am still strong enough to have people on my shoulders
- I am way to old to start making pits and also i am a girl, pits are not a good idea, very bruisey.
- Single skinned tents are dubious, and being in a 2 man tent alone means you WILL be cold.
- Even at the age of 19, I WILL cry at songs. I have now cried FOUR TIMES to “Be Safe” by The Cribs.
I get why people go to Leeds for the nightlife as it is good, but what I lack is an ability to waste £200 solely on getting bladdered in a field for a weekend, so music is the main reason (and pretty much the only one) I go back, every. fucking. year. Okay three years in a row, but still.
For the first time; Pulled Apart By Horses, Deap Vally, Howler, Django Django, Kaiser Chiefs, The Back Keys, Foo Fighters, Justice, Funeral Suits, Friends, Spector, The Hives, Alt-J, The Cure, The Maccabees, Florence + The Machine, Kasabian.
For the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or in one case 9th Time; Little Comets, Tribes, The Joy Formidable, Lucy Rose, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Courteeners, Summer Camp, Los Campesinos!, Blood Red Shoes, Mystery Jets, The Vaccines, The Cribs
A fun game to play with lists like this are to guess who I wanted to see and who I ended up at because pals. You’ll be wrong.
Maccabees for fucking sure. I hadn’t seen them before and they were fucking incredible, played loads off their last album which I adore, the crowd were good, the lightening was mint and they sounded fantastic. Otherwise, The Cure impressed the hour I saw them, I knew 2 songs but the last one was “Friday, I’m In Love” so can’t complain. Kaiser Chiefs were great as I hoped, SO MANY BANGING CHOONS. 15 year old Ste was so happy.
Justice were great after I bailed on Foo Fighters (more about that later), as I said on the time “leaving a guitar band for a dance band, what’s happened to me?” Do I fuck care though. Alt-J weren’t as good as I hoped they’d be but still really ace. Little Comets were mint as I was pissed on Thursday and the crowd was ace, I’ve seen them three times this summer and they’re just fun yano? You can go watch em knowing you’ll have a good time even if yr never blown away. Really enjoyed The Joy Formidable in the tent after the main stage last year, proper hair raising stuff. Their new track is beautiful but I was disappointed they didn’t play it.
Lucy Rose was LOVELY again, I love her. So good. And she was great with Bombay Bicycle Club too, who get better every single fucking time I see them. Really surprised by them. I love when crowds sing along with bands, so for that alone The Courteeners get in, don’t feel too disappointed alternative crowd as Summer Camp were absolutely fantastic. Elizabeth just has “it”. She’s so sexy and sassy and I also love her. Shame her and her boyfriend/husband(?) is so cute together eh? Blood Red Shoes were really really fucking good. Hardly ever listen to them on record and nearly two years since I last saw them and they were fantastic. Incredible musicians. The Vaccines; I was pissed, they played the 5 songs I like and the crowd was really good, simple. The Cribs are fantastic live. Bit quiet so not the best I’ve seen them, but BE FUCKING SAFE COME ON.
Foo Fighters, massively. I got bored early on and left after an hour and a half… STILL SAW THEM LONGER THAN ANY OTHER BAND. I just didn’t know enough stuff and though Grohl is a great front band he couldn’t carry it on that alone. Los Campesinos! sounded great but the crowd was shite and I was a bit disappointed by that. If you put them on in the Festival Republic tent at like 7pm, they’d be class, put them there and bleh. Starkie met Gareth after and he said he was nice. Mystery Jets are like they are on record, sometimes good, a lot of the time meh. I just expected more. Elsewhere people were alright (I did really enjoy The Black Keys actually but I wasn’t BLOWN away) or unsurprisingly shit. Good stuff.
Drinking is fun. Was pretty much drunk from Saturday night to the moment we left. With being pretty drunk thursday and friday nights too. I don’t need alcohol to have fun, but things are a lot funnier if you are saying shit you dont understand what yr saying. It also makes “raving” a lot easier.
ALSO IT DIDN’T RAIN THAT MUCH, THANK FUCK FOR THAT.
Originally posted here
This won’t come as a surprise, but Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band are the best live act I’ve ever seen. The evening flew by without a dull moment – especially impressive considering the thirty-song set lasted for three and half hours – and left me immediately planning how soon I can see them again. And all this without a single special effect or gimmick; just a brilliant band playing brilliant music.
With such a vast catalogue to choose from, Bruce and his band did a good job of picking a selection that gave as comprehensive an overview as possible of his extensive career. And considering the time span of this career, it was amazing how well it all gelled together. Less well known songs were well placed between the classics and, despite a gap of nearly forty years between them, tracks from Born to Run sounded just as fresh as those from new release Wrecking Ball.
Bruce’s performance was every inch as energetic as it was forty years ago, too. He leapt around, jumped up and down, and danced the night away – all with a big grin on his face. He seemed to genuinely be having a great time. What really made the performance special, too, was the degree of audience participation throughout the night. Bruce seemed to spend more time down with the crowd than up with his band, and spent the breaks between songs entertaining us with stories in his deep American slur.
I think I wasn’t the only one who burst with jealousy when fans were pulled up on stage. A young boy did an impressive a job when Bruce handed over the mic during “Waitin’ On A Sunny Day”, and as the band played “Dancing in the Dark”, one lucky girl got to dance with the Boss a la Courtney Cox in the original music video. Another jammy fan grooved alongside cool saxophonist Jake Clemons, nephew of the late Big Man Clarence Clemons, who was later remembered in a touching tribute.
Although I was much further back than these fortunate few, the whole crowd was included in the fun that Bruce and the band exuded. Being exposed to a typically rainy British summer evening in the open-topped stadium didn’t matter at all – we were all too busy singing and dancing along to notice. Creating an atmosphere like that in such a vast space is something only a rare breed of performers can do, and sustaining it for over three hours is something only the Boss can do. To sum up, if you’re thinking of going to see Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band then do it!
It was clear from the moment that Florence Welch walked on stage at the NEC that this was going to be a good show. As the atmospheric opening notes of ‘Only If For A Night’ reverberated through the arena, her silhouette appeared at the top of a flight of stairs with a magnificent Art Deco ‘Ceremonials’ backdrop – and the crowd went wild. Her penchant for extravagant costumes had resulted in a skin-tight black cat suit with a slightly Gothic shoulderpiece and cape (which, of course, only Florence Welch could ever possibly pull off) and what might have looked like ridiculous fancy dress on someone else was, on Florence, perfect. It seamlessly slotted in to what was, together with the stage design and the music, an utterly entertaining performance.
In contrast to her imposing stage presence, Florence was surprisingly meek when talking to the crowd. I lost count of how many times she thanked us all for being there – her astounding success and extravagant costumes clearly haven’t gone to her head. Her speaking voice was also unexpectedly quiet considering the pair of lungs she has, but that only endeared her to the crowd even more.
There was no way that her hushed tones were going to restrain Florence from getting the crowd going, though. She must have tested the structural integrity of the arena to its maximum by getting the whole crowd jumping throughout ‘Dog Days Are Over’. Most of the time, though, we needed no encouragement – it was almost impossible to stay still when irresistible tunes like ‘Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)’ and ‘You’ve Got The Love’ kicked off. And, pleasingly, the setlist didn’t shy away from these big hits.
Although Florence’s performance was pretty all-consuming, a word must be said about the band as well. I’m never quite sure whether Florence and the Machine should be referred to as ‘her’ or ‘them’, but in any case it was clear on the night that the band was a vital part of the act. They did a brilliant job of transferring heavily layered studio tracks, particularly those of ‘Ceremonials’, to the live stage. In fact, they didn’t put a foot wrong all night.
In short, there really wasn’t much more that Florence and the Machine could have done. The whole stage was buzzing with infectious energy, and both the music and the crowd were electric as a result. Florence Welch proved, as she has done so many times, that she is more than just a singer – she’s a born performer too, and one that I can’t wait to see again.
As the lights dimmed we were greeted not by the recently-reunited Bloc Party but by a superb laser display, rotating hipster triangles and all. The coloured circles on the cover of the band’s comeback album Four were blown up to psychedelic proportions, entrancing the revellers, who almost failed to notice when the four-piece actually took to the stage. With a complete lack of acknowledgment towards the crowd, which surely can only come with knowing that every single person in the room is gagging to hear you, they opened immediately with new track “3 x 3”. It’s insanely heavy chorus soon made up for the fact that you really couldn’t connect with the song yet, engaging the eager crowd to surge forward in frenzy. However, the first half of the set was marred with a sense that some of the newer songs were either not up to scratch or the band had misjudged which ones would go down well live. Even the choice to play “Trojan Horse” as their first already-released song, wasn’t greeted especially well, although the simplified, stripped down guitar version of “Waiting for the 7:18” was fantastic.
It took wheeling out first hit “Banquet” for it to feel like Bloc Party really were back with a vengeance; even the new songs just seemed to get better after it. After Kele Okereke claimed that it was his favourite off the new album, “Team A” did indeed show some serious potential. Dressed in a simple buttoned shirt and what can only be described as PE shorts, Kele seemed in complete control of the crowd and band, as they closed the set with a brilliant rendition of their keyboard-heavy standalone single “One More Chance”, flowing epically, feedback and all, into the ever-so-popular “Helicopter”.
It was the encore, though, that really stands out as the high point of the gig. Playing just one short, new ditty beforehand, the band really got the cups of piss flying with Intimacy opener “Ares”. However the highlight of the night certainly must go to “This Modern Love”. Perhaps we were all so knackered that the chance to stare in wonderment at the surreal laser displays, while the emotion of the song really overtook you, was just too perfect. Announcing the next would be their last song resulted in actual booing from the crowd. These were quelled immediately as he began a cheeky attempt at Rhianna’s “We Found Love” straight into the fan favourite dance anthem “Flux”.
For their second gig in three years, you really couldn’t tell that Bloc Party had been gone that long. As for Four, it will certainly be a dark affair, and yes some of the songs were a wee bit iffy on first listen; “Real Talk” sounding more like Kings of Leon than what we really want to hear. Nonetheless, there was some seriously heavy potential, and we can be certain that harcore fans will lap it up regardless. The band have lost none of that raw energy, drummer Matt Tong holding the whole affair together with unrivalled skill, and the only major difference that seems to have occurred during their hiatus period, is that guitarist Russell is looking a lot less emo-tastic in the hair department than four years ago.
- Headline photo: Kavita41
The Best, The Worst, And The Averageseses.
Just over a week ago, I left for a five night camping trip… Oh, and some huge, famous, loud rock bands turned up too. It was quite good, so here’s my best, worst, and those who flopped disappointingly in the middle. The following article is entirely opinion; yes it’s my opinion so it’s pretty damn good, but nonetheless, it’s just opinion. And if I’ve missed out one of your favourite bands, remember, it’s impossible to see every band at a festival, and I was probably seeing someone better, or doing something important, like sitting down, far away from them.
BEST SOUND – Shinedown
Really not much to be said about this, they just had a really good, solid set. The balance of the instruments was perfect throughout, regardless of the fact it wasn’t main stage, or the fact it was being blasted. The bass was prominent and the guitar had plenty of gain and treble without being screechy and average like so many bands were over the weekend. The vocals were loud enough to be well punctuated and easily heard, without drowning out the instruments to make it more of a beat poem than any sort of song. I suppose this award doesn’t even go to Shinedown, but their associated roadies, so well done to those middle aged men with bizarre tattoos and beards for doing an excellent job. One criticism though, Shinedowns frontman, Brent Smith, ended their set with a “Shinedown” chant, which of course reverberated throughout the crowd. However I can’t really help but think, the crowd chanting your name doesn’t really count if you start it yourself; it’s just a little cheap, don’t you think?
WORST SOUND – Black Veil Brides
Where to begin… I won’t lie to you, my hopes were never too high for BVB’s set. They had been booked for the Main Stage on Sunday, an honour I thought to be way above their station at first. They had stage presence, they had the fans, it was just the awful balance of the music that let them down horrendously. Remember all the good things I said about Shinedown’s sound? None of that happened. The vocals were so quiet they could hardly be heard over the rough, abrasive guitar tones that literally clawed at the ear drums with every screeching note. Once again though, this can’t really be attributed to the band, it is the roadies and the soundmen who should have got the EQ right for the set, and they just failed miserabely, not only letting the band down, but the loyal fans who actually turned up for the set. The bad quality of the balance eventually led to the traditional festival bottling (I must admit, I let out a chuckle when one hit the lead singer Andy Biersack in the head). You have to hand it to them though, it’s tough to stay on stage and play properly after objects have started being thrown, pride tarnished, the crowd slowly turning against you, deafening boos at the end of every song… but credit to them, they stuck out the whole set, and even gave a bit of abuse back to those who were launching plastic bottles with admittedly awful aim. I guess the way they reacted to the situation gave me more respect for the band as a whole, but the fact still remains: They’re an unwanted love child of My Chemical Romance and Avenged Sevenfold, and they’re nowhere near as good as either parents (sort of like Frances Bean, sprog of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love… only worse).
BEST MOSH PIT – Don Broco
This award is being given to the four boys from Bedford for more than one reason. Yes, they weren’t on the main stage, instead occupying a Pepsi Max gazebo, but still, they worked the crowd unbelievably well, and even managed some synchronized dancing amongst the three band members with legs available to do so (drummer exempt for obvious reasons). Regardless of their humble fan base, they have some good songs, and their recent mini-album Big Fat Smile was probably one of my favourites of last year, boasting some catchy tunes and well produced tracks for a lesser known band. This award goes to them mostly because lead singer Rob Damiani took it upon himself to dismount the stage mid-song and proceed to make a whole mosh pit stop, and do press ups with him. And top marks to the lead man for getting muddy with the rest of the crowd, a very rare trait amongst the other bands at any festival. They will have their first full debut album Priorities out August 13th this year, with the title track already released as a sneak preview. Once you’ve checked out Big Fat Smile, (and if you wish to delve into their more cockney-metal-rap beginnings, I highly recommend their Thug Workout EP as well), Priorities will definitely be worth a listen or two, or three…
BEST CROWD INTERACTION – Steel Panther
To me, there are two types of heterosexual males in this world; ones who would give almost anything to be a member of the heavy metal orgy that is Steel Panther, and liars. I’m entirely certain there’s an inherent black magic quality to which Steel Panther can make women’s clothes fall off ridiculously willingly. I’ve seen perfectly reasonable women, shy andreserved women even, listen to this band live and change suddenly, with exposing their boobs their one and only mission. And thus the dilemma of Steel Panther is apparent; on one hand, they’re amazing. Their music is just old fashioned good glamorous, hedonistic metal, and the lyrics are witty, clever, and above all, hilarious. However, on the other hand, it’s hard to love something you’re so unbelievably jealous of. Michael Starr, Satchel, Lexxi Foxx, StixZadinya (probably not their real names); these men have it all. They’re touring the world, getting more women than I or you will ever know, and their average age is the wrong side of 40, with lead singer Starr being only two years off reach the half century mark. Steel Panther get the award for the best crowd interaction for one reason. Boobs. So many boobs it was unreal; they just wished for boobs, and thousands of them appeared, so bravo to them. Can’t say it wasn’t fairly amazing.
BEST VISUAL SHOW – Biffy Clyro
Most bands came seemingly unprepared for a show. They just turned up with a bland banner baring their name for a background, and played music, and for some acts, that’s fine. But some bands came to perform, and that’s exactly what they did. Armed with suspended triangle mirrors, unique camera effects and enough smoke machines to convince anyone that the stage was actually on fire, Scottish stadium stalwarts Biffy Clyro really brought the show home, blasting out plentiful hits to expertly timed pyrotechnics and light shows; the only improvement that I could really suggest for them would be that it could have been a lot better at night. But you can’t really blame them for that, they can’t control the sun… yet
BEST PRESENCE – Tenacious D
Sometimes it’s not about sound, show or even songs (though they did nail those three categories well), sometimes it’s just sheer charisma. If you have such a presence on stage as Jack Black and Kyle Gass do, little else matters. From their pimpin’ full length fur coats, to the giant inflatable phallic Fenix on stage, to the way Jack Black called a roadie onstage mid-set for a drink of water and a back massage, Tenacious D are many things, but it can never be said that they are modest. The crowd fed off The D’s love for themselves and rock, resulting in a truly amazing set. The duo are currently touring now, so if you can get yourself a ticket, I recommend it hugely.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT – Europe
There’s one, and only one, reason Europe get the award for this, and no, it’s not because they missed “The Final Countdown” from their set; I’m sure they would have played it, had they actually turned up. Yes, having only flown in the morning of their Friday afternoon set, the synth icons were stuck somewhere between Heathrow Airport and Donnington Park, unable to reach the festical. I was rather looking forward to Final Countdown too…
BIGGEST SURPRISE – Black Sabbath
Being the lovely honest guy that I am, I’ll tell you straight; I thought the Brummie metal grandfathers were going to be awful. I thought they were too old, living past glories, and truth be told, I only went to see them so I could say “I’ve been to see Black Sabbath live” – regardless of how bad the show was. Fortunately, not only can I say I’ve been to see Ozzy, Tong & co, but I can also say their set was also a fucking good show. Regardless of how old they are, Tony Iommi proved without a shadow of a doubt that he is still one of the greatest and most consistent guitar players of all time, Geezer Butler is still one of the great bass players (as proved with an excellent solo during the set), and Ozzy Osbourne is still… well, he’s still capable of being Ozzy Osbourne. He still retains his ‘unique’ vocal style, and is remarkably active for a pensioner, doing more laps of the stage than I can be bothered to remember. Bravo to them, and if you haven’t seen them already, I doubt you ever will. They’re supposedly only doing a few more dates around the world, and after that, well, let’s just say there’ll little time left to seem them.
NICEST GUYS – Fear Factory
As I’m sure you’ll have heard, this year’s festival could have easily been renamed Mudload. It was ridiculous. I won’t go into it much more, but it did affect the festival, with the first hour or so of Friday’s bands having to pull out because the arena needed “health & safety upgrades”. This unfortunately meant Cancer Bats had to cancel their set. Luckily for fans of the band, Fear Factory let them onstage during their set to play a song or two, so they didn’t miss out completely. Eventually they got a rescheduled set later in the night, but still, props to Fear Factory, it was just a nice thing to do.
“SUCKS TO BE YOU” AWARD – You Me at Six
This award is how it sounds really; entirely not YMAS’s fault, or even the sound technician’s fault. They could have been amazing, the best set at Download possibly (admittedly it was a long shot). Unfortunately, the Surrey five piece’s hour-long set was placed pretty much slap bang in the middle of Metallica’s headlining slot. So unless you’re a musical retard or a deluded teenage girl, the decision of who to see was quite clear really. I, like many others, would have happily gone to see You Me At Six, but for reasons out of everybody bar the organisers’ hands, they were placed in the worst slot in the entire weekend; rocking the Encore Stage while Metallica were destroying the main stage. Which brings me nicely to my last award of the festival…
BEST SET – Metallica
First you must understand, that all the other awards (all the good ones anyway) actually went to Metallica, but I had to give them all to the runners up in the groups because I realised that if I didn’t it’d just be an article about how amazing Metallica were, which now I think about it, isn’t a terrible thing. Either way, the amount of happiness this set gave me is immeasurable. The electricity the entire band gave off, the three (THREE!) encores, the video back-drop; it all just added up to the best gig of my life, genuinely. Sure, they looked a little grey haired and middle-aged, but not one of the four showed their age on the stage. The band constantly swapped positions, using the widest reaches of the stage to be as close as possible to every fan in the crowd, even on the sides, not just in the middle, which meant a lot. Personally, I’d been pushing my way to the front for over six hours, so I was at the very front railings by the time the legends came onto the stage. Yes, I took a boot or two to the head from crowd surfers, and yes, I nearly got into a fight with an Italian man, but he was trying to take my place at the front, and I was doing nothing but standing my ground, aggressively maybe, yes, but I’d worked hard for that place. The just-over-two-hours-set was made up most of the entire Black Album played in reverse order(!), finished on “Enter Sandman”, and was finally capped off with the 3 encores of “Battery”, “One” and “Seek & Destroy”. If you weren’t there, you should have been, and when they tour again, which they will, I implore you, please, for the sake of all things holy and loud, go, and go hard. Metallica brought everything they had to Donnington Park, and they got everything back from the sell-out crowd of I don’t even know how many. I can’t really describe how amazing they were, and I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand myself.
Shinies, our favourite new Mancunians, are setting off on their first big tour very very soon. The three-piece are one of the most exciting indie bands around right now, mixing the wild fuzz of American grunge with the chiming guitar lines of their compatriot Johnny Marr, “Spent Youth” and “Shola” being two of our tracks of the year. With eleven dates over the next two months, you best move fast to witness Shinies live.
You can view the dates of the tour below.
A summer of fun, frolics and festivals is less than six weeks away, and we here at Hitsville are a helpful bunch so we’ve compiled a list of tips and hints for you festival virgins (and those of you who’ve forgotten everything on getting through as many weekenders as you’re thinking of attending unscathed.
- Pack your bag at least a few hours before leaving. No one wants to be the person who turns up with their sunglasses and expensive camera, but without essentials like a tent, wellies, a sleeping bag, food, warm clothes or a brain.
- Make friends with the surrounding camps. You never know when you’ll need to borrow some extra alcohol or firewood. However, avoid that camp populated solely by snotty, posh kids who appear shocked at the notion of having fun and letting yourself go.
- If you see some bashing out Libertines/Bon Iver covers on an acoustic guitar, report them immediately, because that person is a dick.
- Never underestimate the deliciousness of greasy fast food from a burger van, especially at 9AM on a Sunday morning.
- You really think you’re all going to get up at 7AM on Monday morning to pack away those huge expensive tents, and avoid the rush to leave the site? Oh you poor deluded soul. Your best bet is to buy the second cheapest tent possible (the very cheapest probably won’t even last an hour) and inconspicuously leave it behind on the way home.
- Considering Mother Nature is an unpredictable madam at the best of times, don’t bet against the heavens opening at some point over the weekend. Just hope you packed that waterproof.
- Even though it’s summertime, festival nights are colder than conversations with a bitter ex. If you’re anything like me, you’ll end up wearing every item of clothing you packed just to stay remotely warm.
- Don’t act like a massive twat all day and expect people to let you use and borrow their stuff because you’ve used/ruined everything you brought. And mos likely a lot of what they brought too.
- Roll mats are useless. Gazebos are indispensable. Camping chairs too, unless you want a ridiculous game of musical chairs whenever you want to sit around camp.
- Dry shampoo is essential. Unless you wake up every morning with a pristine, perfectly coiffed barnet, in which case you’re not human.
- Don’t wander off to the bar any time there’s a band you don’t know playing. Stick around and you might discover something mindblowingly brilliant (or laughably terrible, but either way it’s something to talk about).
- Tweeting during sets is unacceptable… except in times of extreme boredom.
- Alternative stages and comedy tents are a must. In fact, make sure to check out everywhere that’s not the main stage. Keep an open mind, so open that you somehow end up at one of the hardcore stages when you only came to see Florence + The Machine.
- Nothing cures a hangover like more alcohol. Alternatively, two paracetamol with water or OJ do just fine too, if your liver can’t take it.
- Definitely take as many drugs as possible from anyone who offers, even if what they have doesn’t even look remotely drug-like. That way you’ll spend the entire weekend in a blurry haze listening to bands that sound like someone beating a violin with a cat, talking to electricity pylons, dancing to the sound of a hot dog van and wake up on Monday morning wearing nothing but nothing but a straw hat and a smile. Because why else did you pay £250 for a ticket?
- BRING MONEY! LOTS OF IT! With the price of merchandise, posters, arena alcohol, food and god knows what else, you’re gonna need a tentful of cash if you want to make it to Monday.
- If you’re planning on doing the no-pants dance over the weekend, use protection kids. Being a festival baby can’t be a nice thing. Also, make sure you’ve got an empty tent before stumbling back for some lovin’.
- For the hygienists out there, you’re gonna want a separate bag for all your miscellanea. Roll on deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sun lotion, face wipes… then again, you’re just going to end up getting sweaty and grubby the next day, so hygiene goes out the window.
- A torch is always useful, as is the superhuman, ability to dodge insanely-placed tent wires. Soon you’ll need to be a gymnast to avoid tripping over on the way back to camp after curfew.
- Parents gonna parent, so expect numerous texts throughout the days. On the subject of phones, bring at least eight spares with double that amount of fully-charged replacement batteries. I’ve learnt that strangers are surprisingly wary of being asked to use their phone.
- Boo bands who play the “playing up to the locals” card. No one likes a suck-up.
- You know that two-thirds full Strongbow bottle that’s been at your camp for the last few days, but you’ve yet to see anyone drink from? …yeah, that ain’t cider.
- If staying by the Main Stage all day and you’re not one for rushing down the front or being squashed by legions of sweaty teenagers, the perfect viewpoints are the fence in front of the TV camera tower or the one at the back of first crowd area. This way you’ve got a clear view of the bands and the screens with no dick’eds directly behind you, plus you’ve got somewhere to lean against, which is vital if you’re a lazy bugger like me
WHO TO SEE OVER THE SUMMER, AT…
- I’ll Be Your Mirror, curated by Mogwai - 25th -27th May
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat
- Download Festival - 8th-10th June
- Isle Of Wight Festival - 22nd-24th June
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Noah And The Whale
- Radio 1 Hackney Weekend
- RockWerchter - 28th June-1st July
- Wireless Festival - 6th-8th July
- T In The Park - 6th-8th July
The Stone Roses
- 2000 Trees - 12th-14th July
Dry The River
Sonic Boom Six
Dog Is Dead
- Latitude Festival - 12th-15th July
Explosions In The Sky
- Benicassim International Festival - 12th-15th July
Bombay Bicycle Club
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
- Tramlines Festival - 20th-22nd July
Frankie & The Heartstrings
We Are Scientists
Future Of The Left
- Field Day - 6th August
- Pukkelpop - 16th-18th August
- Rock en Seine - 24th-26th August
Eagles Of Death Metal
- Reading & Leeds Festivals - 24th-26th August
The Black Keys
Pulled Apart By Horses
The Joy Formidable
- End Of The Road Festival - 31st August - 2nd September
Willis Earl Beal
- Bestival - 6th-9th September
De La Soul