The joy of Leeds Festival is that it isn’t all about the music, the Alternative Stage does what it says on the tin and gives festival goers a rest from a line-up laden with rock, indie and dance acts. So the Alternative Stage made the ideal first stop on Saturday to catch a bit of magic, magic from a dragon called Piff, you might know his older brother Dave (apparently). Piff the Magic Dragon is what the Alternative Stage is all about, with hundreds of people packing out the tent to sit and watch a guy in a dragon suit do some magic and make people laugh, and the best part- his tricks were actually pretty fucking good.
Neck Deep take to the Main Stage following a set from Mariachi El Bronx who serve as a nice way to ease into to the day on the Main Stage and will be back later in the day as their alter-egos The Bronx. Having released album ‘Life’s Not Out to Get You’ the previous week and given the waves that they are currently making, the writing was always on the wall and despite the early set, Neck Deep were always going to draw a crowd. Filling the stage in a way you could never have expected, considering the smaller venues the guys usually rock, their set was magnificent! Neck Deep are riding so high at the minute, and fronting the current UK pop-punk movement it is not hard to see why, putting on a set worthy of the bands that have inspired them Neck Deep are ready to take that next step; they’re about to explode.
On the NME/Radio One stage are a band that have the potential to bridge the gap between mainstream and pop-rock- Echosmith. The band comprising of four siblings, have been making a name for themselves in the US and with some play time from Radio One it is arguably only a matter of time before the general public latch onto Echosmith’s catchy pop hooks and infectious energy, front-girl Sydney seems comfortable taking center stage and putting on a performance obviously looking to set Echosmith apart from other bridging bands.
When a band goes through multiple line-up changes and only one of the original members remains, it is easy to assume that the soul of the band will be diluted- with what seemingly made that band great half missing. However it would seem that Brandon Urie has been able to hold onto the magic and re-create everything that was great about Panic! At the Disco. Urie is an enigmatic front-man that has the whole crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, even managing to do the unthinkable and make it through a Queen cover without seeming overly cheesy or shit. Panic! At the Disco are a festival dream, I dare you not to dance.
The great thing about a festival is that it will often bring in bands who you been dying to see, but who might not have the fan base to allow them extensive UK tours. Such is the case with The Menzingers, who did selected dates in support of their latest album last summer but Leeds offered Vulture Hound a first chance to see them (and interview them, look out for that one). Opening to ‘I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore’ it was a set full of energy and angst. The Menzingers have a sound and style that is reminiscent of early 2000s East Coast punk, a bit grungy but energetic and fun, they are certainly an entertaining band to watch.
One set seemingly not enough for The Bronx, they shed the Mariachi El Bronx persona in favour of their hardcore roots for a set on the Lock Up Stage. The Bronx are veterans, they know how to play a show and do not disappoint, The Bronx are here to bring some the LA party and they do the job.
Limp Bizkit are Limp Bizkit, they need know real introductions, they don’t need people to pass by the tent they are playing and discover them. Limp Bizkit are bonafide legends, and it could be argued they should be playing the Main Stage. Instead Fred (not Robert as his hoody clears up) Durst and Co, pack out the NME/Radio One stage before they take to the stage launching into classic ‘Rollin’ which has the thousands in attendance moving and doing the ‘Rollin’ hand gesture thing. Also Wes Borland dressed up like some kind of crazy vaudevillian barber shop singer with no trousers, it was all kinds of cool.
The day was finished up on the Lock-Up Stage with two pop-punk bands guaranteed to bring a tonne of energy to the stage. First up Simple Plan with their blend of Canadian pop-punk, anyone not gleefully jumping during their set was either dead inside or in the wrong place.
New Found Glory were the last band of a packed day of watching bands, and while some of the other stages may have been struggling to draw crowds from Main Stage headliners Mumford and Sons, New Found Glory were having no problems. The self-proclaimed rebirth of New Found Glory following some line-up changes and such is a step in a positive direction for a band that may have lost a bit of traction in the last couple of years. New Found Glory are bags of fun and energy, and worthy of their headliner status on the stage bringing in an array of Green Day and Neck Deep clad fans.