Pitching the tent on Thursday night, and making a now customary visit to the Alternative Stage to check out Adam Buxton’s second consecutive Leeds festival appearance; Vulture Hound decided to make a relaxing start to Leeds Festival 2015, before the guaranteed madness of Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Bramham Park.
The first full day of acts begins with a nice easy stint on a picnic blanket in front of the Main Stage watching Feed the Rhino followed by Lonely the Brave. Being the first act on the first day must be a daunting and possibly fruitless task- depending on the weather, however Feed the Rhino take the growing crowd who are basking in the early afternoon sun and show them exactly what Feed the Rhino can bring to the party, hard heavy riffs all packaged together by Lee Tobin’s hardcore vocals.
Lonely the Brave on the other hand are the polar opposite of Feed the Rhino, the Cambridge based band played a mid-afternoon set on the NME/Radio One Stage last year, and a year of hard work and touring has paid off giving them the opportunity to move up the Leeds bill and play on the Main Stage. Lonely the Brave have a raw sound that oozes emotion, they manage to fill the Main Stage but yet create an atmosphere that makes you feel as though you’re watching them in the smallest of venues.
Picnic blanket away, the time comes to venture closer to the stage and make a very rare step into the “the pit” in order to fully appreciate the set to come from Against Me! Last years ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ was a heart-felt and honest album, that came across almost as a diary of Laura Jane Grace’s transition from Tom Gabel front-man of Against Me! to Laura Jane Grace front-woman of Against Me! Adding the mix of ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ to the bands bulging back catalogue of anthemic anti-war, anti-racist, anti-homophobic allow Against Me! to have one of those special poignant “moments” that every band playing Reading and Leeds Festivals wants to have.
The first band away from the Main Stage on Vulture Hound’s weekend plan (easily planned on Clashfinder General; a festival goers must have) was Queen Kwong. Headed up by Carré Callaway (who recorded every instrument herself, on the latest album with producer Joe Cardamone) with Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit, Fred Sablan and Hayden Scott, the band have an old school New York sound, something similar to a heavier Patty Smith. Callaway is a growling bundle of energy, with this Wes a totally different figure to the make-up clad Wes Borland people are used to. Ultimately this is Carré Callway’s project and with live performances like the one seen at Leeds, Queen Kwong have a bright future and a fresh perspective in the rock genre.
Vulture Hound has been attempting to see Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes for many many months, with fate seemingly (and cruely) keeping us apart. Début album ‘Blossom’ recently hitting number 18 in the charts, the former Gallows front-man was seemed to be chomping at the bit to walk out onto The Pit Stage at Leeds. There are many ways that The Rattlesnakes set could be described, but it can be summed up into one short sentence; Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes Tore. Shit. Up! This was a proper punk show, but on a festival stage with people crowd surfing, the biggest circle pit Leeds has probably ever seen in (and around) one of its tents, and some crazy mother-fucker jumping the barrier and then proceeding to evade security and jump off the stage.Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes made Leeds festival their bitch! Bound and gagged.
There aren’t many bands that could follow The Rattlesnakes and keep the mayhem going, but if anyone was going to try- it was going to be Beartooth.
With just a fifteen minute turn around between bands, the crowd didn’t have any downtime to lose the buzz created by the previous act which only served to fuel the electric atmosphere. This isn’t the first time Vulture Hound have been in the presence of one of Beartooth’s sets, and rest assured it will not be the last.
Beartooth are a band created as an outlet, they aren’t a band created to sell millions of records and that is what makes them feel so organic and free. If only 5 people had turned up to watch them play The Pit, they would have still played with as much passion, aggression and heart as they did to the packed out tent in Leeds. Beartooth represent an spectacular moment in time, that could last forever, I do worry however when the time comes, what new material will go down like.
The second of the days three Franks’ took to the stage after Bury Tomorrow, who on a side note need to be applauded for taking time out to have fan photos for what must have been an hour or more.
When former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero first débuted live in the UK supporting Mallory Knox, there was a level of shyness and reservation to his performance as though he wasn’t 100% sure how to be a front-man. Still feeling completely organic and true- Frank slams around the stage, with a passion and an energy unlike anyone else- his tunes are raw and different.
Frank Iero is truly a one off. What a difference the last nine months or so have made! Frank Iero has grown into something special, he retains an element of shyness and reservation but at the same time draws you in with that twinkle in his eyes and his catchy hardcore tunes, My Chemical Romance this ain’t, this is a ‘Cellabration’.
If you thought that the line-up on The Pit Stage couldn’t get any better, then you’d be wrong because following Frnkiero and the Cellabration came a change of pace and tone, with Cancer Bats bringing their brand of dirty Canadian hardcore. If you don’t know what you are in for when you opt into a Cancer Bats set, then you probably shouldn’t be there!
Cancer Bats are a whirlwind of energy with front-man Liam Cormier getting up close and personal with the crowd on numerous occasions. They hit you like a brick wall, and if you’re not ready it will hurt.
The Festival Republic Stage made a welcome break to a day spent watching bands in The Pit, as Frank Turner made his ninth consecutive appearance at Leeds festival, this time just bringing himself and his acoustic guitar, and gosh-darn was it good!
The ‘Leeds moment’ is a rare thing, and there was nobody last year with the exception of Royal Blood who had that hair on end ‘Leeds moment’. Frank Turner had that moment, a packed out Festival Republic Stage all singing-a-long to ‘If Ever I Stray’ will possibly go down in Leeds Festival folklore, it was truly a spectacular moment that will not easily be forgotten, and you’d have to be mad to not expect to see Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls on the Main Stage next year.
The last band of the day were headliners of The Pit Refused, a band that have influenced a generation of bands with their legendary album ‘The Shape of Punk to Come’.
As Refused walk onto the stage they look nothing like one would expect the band who influenced the likes of The Used, Taking Back Sunday and My Chemical Romance to look like, dressed in suits and cowboy boots they wouldn’t look out of place on the Festival Republic or NME/Radio One stages. However when the first chords hit, and Dennis Lyxzén starts to move; it becomes clear that Refused are right at home on The Pit Stage, and not only that but the are happy to be back, and with new material to boot. With an unparalleled energy this band are fucking insane. A very surprising highlight of the weekend, it’s odd how much better the music can sound when the performance is at such a ridiculously amazing level.
Both Refused and Frank Turner did what a festival headliner should do, brought the fucking house down.