Reading/Leeds is one of the most anticipated festivals of the year, every year. It is infamous, and brings in massive crowds and great high profile acts. Laying your hands on a golden press ticket is a privilege, and Vulture Hound was ridiculously happy to be there.
Landing on Thursday evening you’d be surprised to learn that the site was already pretty packed. Hundreds of tents already pitched, wellies dirtied and “shorts” crammed into young girls arses..
After doing the necessary festival fundamentals; watching while someone else puts the tent up.. sitting being cold while they get the stuff from the car.. and downing a good slosh of vodka.. the first acts of the weekend were up. The Midnight Beast seemed to go down well with the tent packed with youngsters, but weren’t particularly entertaining if you happened to have ears or a sense of humour. But to give them some credit they came with a lot of energy and started the weekend off with a bang.
Second up on the alternative stage was Adam Buxton, the Radio 6 star with his internet commentary skits, going in as an established fan every word he says just cracks you up, to the point where watching him in public is rather embarrassing, but go in without a clue and it may take a while to warm you up, especially considering the style of his sometimes quite intellectual humour and the youth present in the crowd, having said that Adam filled the tent and everyone seemed to enjoy the show.
After a ridiculously cold night, sat steaming out of the ears because of the stupid cuntbags next door, festival camping does not a happy-go-lucky person make. But looking at Fridays line up you are instantly perky and excited. So what if the arena is filled with ignorant, smelly idiots, and you’re wet, cold and jaded?! Baby Godzilla, A Day To Remember and The Wonder Years are here!
Brooklyns finest, Masked Intruder brought a crazy style and performance to the stage with their awesome persona’s, cute upbeat sound and pure physical energy.
Chatter around the press tent was all negative for The 1975, both pre and post performance. So people have different tastes, and that’s what makes the world interesting.. But if you don’t like them you suck! (Joke- ish!) Ignoring any rumours or personal judgements, The 1975 arrived with a distinct and different sound and visual style. Even if you don’t enjoy that you can allow them credit that yeh- they are different. And for the people that take the dislike further and specifically towards Matt Healy, he is a great front man. We want someone with presence, with something about them, with attitude and he has all that. Despite the feeling of the press, the public packed the NME tent out to see the guys, and they created a great atmosphere, chilled yet intense. Their performance was emotive and they sounded slick live.
The jovial fun and youth of Blink 182 is transcendent on their records, especially “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket” but eventually time moves on. And that showed on Friday night at Leeds, as they were lacking in energy and showing the holes in their vocal ability, Blink were kind of a buzz killer, especially with Tom seemingly performing a caricature of his already bizarre persona and accent nuances. Thank goodness for Travis, the true musical talent of the trio.
In summary, Friday brought men with plastic bags over their heads (in homage to Rubberbandits), Papa Roach bringing the biggest non-headliner crowd and wrestle slamming (and breaking) tables on stage, Frank Turner Punking out and going back to his roots with Mongol Horde, and young bands bringing the realisation that yes- you are getting old as 2nd generation rocker Joey Armstrong and his band Emilys Army took to the stage and actually rocked it.
Saturday was an exciting day with lots of big names milling around backstage, from Gerard Way to Brody and Josh to Hayley Williams aka Paramore.
We caught Bipolar Sunshine who doesn’t exactly bring everyones taste of tunes, but definitely brought attitude and atmosphere to the Festival Republic Stage, Mallory Knox who are incapable of disappointing with their laid back alt-rock and one never to miss, the first lady of punk, Brody Dalle.
As soon as the gates opened to the arenas people flat out ran towards the NME stage to grab a spot for the first act of the day, and newly solo, Gerard Way. The tent was packed inside and even in the areas around it. Looking refined, smart yet still super cool, Gerard took to the stage in a blue suit with red hair. He created instant report with the crowd and filled the tent with an incredible atmosphere- excitement, anticipation. His sound is raw and powerful and reminds of a young Bowie. If anyone created a magical musical moment this weekend it was Gerard.
Misty Miller was a refreshing and organic impromptu seeming set, as you’d hope a rock set would be. Looking young and new Misty definitely has her own sound and lyrical voice, and throughout the set she seemed to draw in the crowds.
La Dispute brought raw energy, spunk, and unbridled aggression to the NME stage, to the point where the lead singer seemed to be having a nose bleed! Now that’s the kind of show I wanna watch.. Needless to say their tunes are great too.
Paramore were.. a surprise. Some rock fans might feel like Paramore started as a cute little band with passion and integrity, and that with the band lineup being changed that has slowly been chipped away, and through drips and drabs Paramore has become “The Hayley Williams Show”. BUT! They have some awesome songs, (albeit many having been written by members past) and dammit- Ms.Williams is a great performer, not a rockstar, but pretty close. They/she brought a tight (yet rehearsed) show to Leeds that the crowd ate it up, moment of note being when Hayley picked out a supposed random out of the crowd to sing with her.
Sunday was joyous- waking knowing you are done with sleeping on the floor, with having to socialise with others, use ridiculously minging toilets or eat expensive festival foods. The joy of VH’s final day was meeting and watching Marmozets. Always awesome, these guys are the ones to watch as their rise to glory has started and will continue on for a long time to come. Their songs are poignant and emotive, screamed with a feminine screamo finesse and played with teachnical skill and passion. They were one of if not the performance of the weekend, as they are every festival they play. Their “moment” was playing “Captivate Me” to a packed NME tent to goosebump enducing clarity.