By Rachael Reardon
After packing the advised essentials (a
minimum of 4 toilet rolls and as much beer as I can carry) I lug my arse
down to my first ever Leeds Fest!
I’m one of those people that stay in and
listen to music, choosing only to venture out at times of crisis – i.e.
I’ve run out of ciggies. So imagine my limping bunny in head-lights expression
when I find myself surrounded by about 60,000 (give or take a thousand
or so) other music lovers. I decide to make meself busy, get the tent up,
have a beer it will all be fine…
Crack* and the Carling is opened! And too
f***ing right after trying to put up my bastard of a tent while it insists
on trying to blow away in gale force winds. Ahh..
Its at this point that some tit of a security
guard reckons he will tell around 50 tent putter uppers to move our arses
as “you cant pitch here” – “are you f***ing jokin mate?”. By his face,
I came to the conclusion that he was indeed being serious and thought I
would ska-daddle before I got the ‘don’t talk to me like that young lady’
After dragging my tent about 2 miles or
so up several hills of the new Festival location, Bramham Park, I am officially
pissed off. I dunno why I reckoned Leeds would be stress free, but it’s
a proper blag getting sorted; subsequently, when my temporary home is up
and running like a bitch, I’m close to crying tears of extreme joy.
After drinking one too many beers I hop
my enthusiastic arse over to the toilets with the view that “its only the
first day – they cant be that bad”. HO HO! HO HO indeed! Now, I am not
naturally crude, but let me tell you – I actually saw someone drop a log
in the metallic cube of a toilet next me! This is not good. This is not
good at all. Luckily I have the comfort of ‘Permission To Land’ (my favourite
record at the minute – but we’ll come to that later) being played in the
tent next to me.
In fact, whilst I’m on the subject I may
as well start right there. f*** leaving the best till last. I’m too excited
at the prospect of getting you all to check out this awesome band.
The Darkness are from Lowestoft in London
and the story goes that after playing in bands for other people, and making
tea for fat cat music company goers, The Darkness finally hit the big time;
when Guitarist Dan Hawkin’s realized his brother, Justin, had the voice
of a messiah after hearing him do ‘Bohemiam Rhapsody’ on karaoke.
And so The Darkness mania of the UK began.
Whether to worship or to ‘not take too seriously’, everyone over here is
going f***ing ape over these guys.
Justin’s now trademark zebra-print leotard
cat suits (phew!), and tingling shrills have earned him the name of the
‘Straight Freddie Mercury’. What a guy.
‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman (Motherf***er)’
is all good, old-skool rock n roll. ‘You cunnnt! Get your hands off my
woman motherf***er, Ow!’ was heard for miles around as fans tried to tackle
the sexy declarations of the man himself.
They have the rock n roll attitude of AC/DC,
the style and sexiness of Queen, and that secret factor that every band
longs for, that invisible force that takes your breath away and leaves
you with the distressingly inadequate “I dunno what it is. But they are
When they bound onto the Main Stage a day
earlier than confirmed, The Darkness have every one of us eating from the
palm of their hands like sparrows on the Slim-Fast diet.
Justin comically tries to get the crowd
to reach the falsetto notes on the incredible ‘Love On The Rocks (With
No Ice)’. A cowboy-western twinged intro, wonderful old-skool riffage and
solo’s that put ‘Appetite for Destruction’ to shame, lead to every hand
in the air, clapping along in rhythm.
‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’s swaggering
grooves and metal licks reassure any doubtful minds that good time rock
n roll is BACK.
The Darkness have managed to bring back
from the dead those precious rock n roll songs that even the shyest prune
of a rocker would adore to sing in karaoke; as they delve into the world
of air guitar, plucking the strings and thrusting their crotch in tandem.
Now I have that off my chest – let us commence…
When Hot Hot Heat hit the Radio One stage,
the Canadian electro funk-punkers receive a spectacular welcoming roar
and I squeal like a hormonal teenager at a (R.I.P.) Take That concert.
Delighting us with songs from both debut
‘Make Up The Break’ down and earlier EP ‘Knock Knock’ like the up-tempo
sing a long ‘This Town’ and the snappy wailage of ‘Le Le Low’, punk tries
to dance; and succeeds on all accounts.
As the jigging and boogying on down to
the fair ground keyboard interludes commences, this once small time Victoria
BC band can no doubt smell the 80’s tinged love in the air this Friday
Mega hit single ‘Bandages’ is held until
a rapturous final ending from the Canadian quartet, as the fans who have
been shouting ‘play Bandages!’ throughout, have now been bitchslapped into
shutting up. After the initial misinterpretations of ‘bag o’ chips’, ‘bag
o’jiz’ and the like, right now - even the fashionable retro dressers havin’
a ‘looking cooool’ smoke in the corner, cant keep their lips shut to ‘bandages
on my legs and my arms from you’.
There are arguments brewing as I try to
con my mate into not watching Death In Vegas and coming to see Radio One
headliners instead. I won….
The Music are undeniably one of the best
bands to come out of Britain for the last 10 years. Psychadelic rock and
reminiscent Zepplin jamming, ‘Take The Long Road’ evokes full-on, old-skool
rockage from the packed stage on Friday. A bit of well deserved recognition
wouldn’t go amiss from the fat cats by bazzing this band on main stage
next year, opening with the twang twanging and ‘heyyy Monday mornin’…’
and pure genius of ‘The People’. Rock on.
The Datsuns main stager churns out old-skool
rock, with Deep Purple esque solo’s during ‘Lady’, with Led Zepplin influenced
riffage and ascending drum hammering in ‘Sittin’ Pretty’. This band is
looking to become big time this year, and the loyal fan base here today,
only justifies that further.
Disco-rockers Electric Six have definitely
lost a lot of their controversial appeal and ‘zsa zsa zsu’ tonight (mainly
as most are awaiting Elbow), slamming out the box-hit, but now charm less
‘Danger! High Voltage’.
Following one hell of a rock n rolling
riff, its amusing to see men built like brick s*** houses call out ‘I’ve
got something to put in you’ during the comical ‘Gay Bar’, whilst the others
not so ‘lost in the music’ start to side step slowly away…
The Polyphonic Spree pummel onto the stupidly
small stage (or stupidly large band?) and are undoubtly one hell of a live
act. Are they Christian Aid in disguise? Why do they dress like priests?
Dunno really, but when they hover into the swoonful ‘Light And Day/Reach
For The Sun’ and bewitching ‘Hanging Around The Day’ the crowd go f***ing
wild, singing with the Polyphonic flock like a gospel choir on purple haze.
Despite the rumour that the herd have been
dropped by 679 Recordings, its pretty obvious that TPS will heave themselves
off their feet (around 70 in total I imagine) and continue with performances
that feel like a pure, white-hot cleansing event as our mere teenage worries
float off into the oblivion.
I have been creaming in anticipation over
punk/hardcore New Yorkers The Movielife, who are somewhat surprised at
the outcome of the packed Concrete Jungle Stage when they arrive.
With unpretentious demure they ask “has
any one heard of us before today?”- met with a pantomime ‘oh yes we have!’,
For some, the first taste of The Movielife
is today; but for the rest of us the dynamic punk rock beats and exuberant
riff’s can be only one song…as we sing back to Vinne’s extended mike -
‘I’m walking on glass!!”
The attractiveness of The Movielife compared
to fellow label mates such as New Found Glory, is that unlike most, this
punk band take their lyrics a tad more seriously; telling tales of love,
heartbreak and generally getting f***ed over. Not to dampen to the catchy,
happy-go-lucky, shake your body any-which-way–you-like tunes, but to alternatively
take a point of listening; instead of taking the band with a pinch of salt.
One of the best bands by far on Drive-Thru
Records, The Movielife appear to be genuinely modest; but with their punk/ska
catchy beats and hardcore licks, its not hard to hear why people have stood
up and skanked their way up to Leeds Fest to see them.
Blasting out the glorious ‘Hand Grenade’
from EP ‘…has a gambling problem’, every f***er in the tent is dancing
and singing along ‘cuz she’s just a hand grenade, so pull out the pin and
throw it back’. Awesome!
You can hear The Mars Volta from a mile
off. It sounds like you’ve wandered into a jamming session of a bunch of
pilled up weirdo’s. No harm in that mate!
The Mars Volta complete about four songs
during their 45 minutes (is any one truly shocked?), including the Cedric
howling marathon, breakneck LSD induced ‘Inertiatic Esp’.
Following At The Drive-In, have shimmied
180 degrees to an off the wall, fluctuating riffage and beat sound, which
appears hard to react to judging by the little/none movement of the crowd
tonight. Just as you get rockin….bam! change of hallucinating riff; shown
to perfection during the ‘Eriatarka’ during which most sit there arses
down and simply enjoy.
Junior Senior are out to brainwash any
unsuspecting victims, with their horrifyingly catchy groove ridden beats
like the formidable ‘Move Your Feet’ and the option less group sing song
‘Shake Your Coconuts’. It’s probable some will leave sick off the fun,
carefree vibe of Junior Senior. It’s also probable a lot will leave, newfound
The less extrovert Cooper Temple Clause
have found their feet since 02’s ‘See Through This And Leave’ and have
risen above the initial ‘cool retro haircuts = fashion core’, via a applaud
worthy mix of techno rock/ indie and industrial. Check out ‘New Toys’ from
up coming release ‘Kick Up The Flames, And Let The Flames Break Loose’,
which had the Leeds lot swaying about like stoned hippies at Woodstock.
On a different note are old-time Brit-rockers
Blur, who amiably surprise the audience by hammering into past track classic’s
such as ‘Song 2’ and the scatterbrained ‘Park life’, appear past it, and
regardless of the recent release lovers, they have become almost stale
bread – its edible if you’re starvin’ marvin, but it tasted better before.
Which is a pity (yet unsurprising considering Albarn’s side projects),
for a group that used to stand tough as one of Britain’s essential rock
bands; along with the likes of rivals, Oasis.
AFI lead main on the radio one stage on
Sunday, churning out the dark punk rock that they are renowned for. WITHOUT
A DOUBT this band is main stage next year, complete with heavy riffs and
heartfelt enthusiastic vocals a la Davey Havok with a lurid, murky undercurrent
shown in the sombre ‘Ever And A Day’.
Shouting ‘Tarar!’ to the neighbours and
giving the V-sign and evil eye to the bogs, I trundle off in the pissing
rain. I’m all out. Luckily, I sleep all the way home. Unluckily, I spasm
throughout this sleep with nightmarish thoughts of Metallica fan’s well
and truly kicking my arse when they read my future review.
On my final note remember this; THE DARKNESS
believe Rachael? Click
here to Check out the Darkness eCard with full streams of the songs, music
video, news, reviews, photos and more!)