Blink-182 headlined the first day at Bramham Park
The first day of Leeds Festival 2014 is complete, with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Kooks, You Me At Six and Schoolboy Q among the acts appearing across the event’s nine stages.
Disclosure‘s headline set packed out the NME/BBC Radio 1 tent. Performing a 90 minute set, the Surrey brothers drew on their 2013 album, ‘Settle’, and more, playing their hit ‘When A Fire Starts To Burn’ early on. “It’s good to be back at this wonderful festival for a third time,” Guy Lawrence told the vociferous crowd, “But better than that it’s good to be back in the north of England.” Unlike last year’s Leeds Festival performance, the band had no guests on stage with them – instead relying on cutting-edge visuals and the power of hits including ‘White Noise’ and ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’.
After his DJ warmed the crowd up for 20 minutes with a series of hip-hop classics, Joey Bada$$ emerged to play the final set on the BBC Radio 1xtra Stage. The teenage New York rapper, real name Jo-Vaughn Scott, was greeted by loud cheers from the stage’s biggest crowd of the day.
Wearing a floppy bucket hat and baseball jacket, he opened with ’95 Til Infinity’. The crowd sang along to every word of the track, which featured on his 2013 mixtape ‘Summer Knights’. Joey Bada$$ is yet to release his debut album, and the first half of his set was packed with songs taken from ‘Summer Knights’ and his debut mixtape ‘1999’. Referring to the New York district he lives in, He led his fans in a chant of “Say Brooklyn”. He went on to hold up a vinyl copy of ‘1999’, to loud cheers from the audience.
The DJ played a snippet of House Of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ and Joey was then joined onstage by a second MC for a rendition of ‘Big Dusty’, the first single from his upcoming debut album. The rapper then paid tribute to Captial Steez, the MC from Joey’s New Era hip-hop crew who passed away in 2012.
Before the closing ‘Survival Tactics’ he addressed the crowd for a final time and said, “I go by the name of Joey Bada$$, get home safe”.
The 1975 filled the tent with fans as they played on the NME/ BBC Radio 1 Stage, leaving hundreds of people watching from outside on big screens.
Frontman Matt Healy swigged from a bottle of red wine as he recalled his first time at Leeds Festival in 2004, saying that he came “10 years ago with 10 pounds in my pocket and no tent.” He then added, “I got beaten up for the first time in my life in this field and I did drugs for the first time here too. I had sex here, though not for the first time. It might be Reading & Leeds but to us, Leeds will always be in front.”
The band’s set was met with screams and sing alongs throughout with a closing trio of singles in the shape of ‘Girls’, ‘Sex’ and ‘Chocolate’ warming fans up before headliners Disclosure.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘ Main Stage set began with a fanfare – literally. The rap duo’s brass section trumpeted their arrival. Their global hit ‘Thrift Shop’, came early in the set – and it was a well rehearsed set piece involving dance routines, plumes of flame and a crowd singalong of the key lines, “I wear your grandad’s clothes, I look incredible…” After, the crowd chanted ‘You what, you what – Leeds’ at the rapper, who looked puzzled. “I’ve got to be honest, I haven’t a clue what you’re all saying,” he said.
Vocalist Fences joined the large ensemble for recent track ‘Arrows’, after which Macklemore showed he’d been doing his homework. “I know this festival has a long lineage of bands and mud and camping and probably some STDs involved in it, but to me that’s what the summer is all about…,” he said. Before ‘Otherside’, the rapper put the song in context in his career. “I have a lot of flaws and a lot of vices, but I can say right now if it wasn’t for me getting sober for the first time in 2008 I wouldn’t be up here on this stage,” he said. On a similarly serious tip, a speech about equality followed by means of introducing the anti-homophobia track ‘Same Love’. After, a furry beige jacket worn by a member of the crowd caught the rapper’s eye. “That is a nice-ass jacket. Can I wear that jacket?” he asked. The garment was passed from crowd to stage and Macklemore proceeded to put it on. “I did not know that this jacket was gonna smell the way it does and be warm and wet – kind of like fresh urine,” he said.
“Can’t Hold Us”, which followed, saw the pockets of the crowd erupt in frenzied dancing, and Macklemore joining in with the front row. The following track, Cadillac, saw the group joined by rapper Schoolboy Q, who had performed earlier. ‘Wings’ closed the main part of the set, and a recorded comedy skit introduced the encore. After, Macklemore emerged wearing a gold cape and Rod Stewart-style wig, surrounded by dancers decked out like aerobics instructors, for a closing ‘And We Danced’. The track concluded with flames blazing, smoke billowing and Macklemore on a podium, bellowing “Leeds” at the top of his lungs. “I’m going to the tent and I’m making out with your mother,” he said.
Danny Brown played the penultimate slot on the BBC Radio 1xtra Stage, warming the Leeds crowd up for a headline set from Joey Bada$$ with a performance full of huge bass drops and a capella rapping. Dressed in his usual outfit of black leather trousers, black boots and a leather jacket, The Detroit MC ran around the stage delivering a barrage of near indecipherable rhymes. He introduced himself to the crowd by saying, “Hello I’m Daniel,” before breaking into his trademark giggle. During ‘Attak’, the single taken from Warp producer Rustie’s new album’Green Language’, he leaned forward and made devil horns with his hands and incited the crowd to bounce in unison. Between songs, Brown turned to guzzle water, only stopping to say “Leeds festival make some noise”. Before closing track ‘Dip’, Brown said, “I’m nearly done here and I’m happy because that means I can come out there and party with y’all”. The song played out as Brown paced the stage holding his mic away from him to allow the fans in front of him to sing his lyrics.
The Horrors played a typically stylish evening slot on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage, mixing their set with songs from new album ‘Luminous’ and older material – ‘Chasing Shadows’ and ‘Still Life’ were taken from the former, while ‘So Now You Know’ and a 10 minute long version of ‘Sea Within A Sea’ got an airing. Frontman Faris Badwan kept his on-stage chat to the bare minimum, saying only “You’re a great crowd, thank you very much,” and introducing final song ‘I See You.’
Backed by visuals of multicoloured ‘K’s, wearing all white and filling the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage to near capacity, Klaxons opened with recent track ‘A New Reality’ before launching into a crowd-pleasing ‘Atlantis To Interzone’ and ‘Children of the Sun’. With singer Jamie Reynolds thanking “every single one of you” for coming, they then played recent single ‘There Is No Other Time’, which Reynolds dedicated to his father. A singalong of early hit ‘Golden Skans’ followed, before the band continued with ‘Show Me A Miracle’ and ‘Invisible Forces’ from current album ‘Love Frequency’. Instigating a crowd singalong of Happy Birthday for Boys Noize, who had played before them, they then closed with ‘It’s Not Over Yet’.
Vic Mensa opened his high energy set in the BBC Radio 1Xtra tent with a song that sampled Disclosure’s ‘Fire Starts To Burn’, bouncing onto the stage like a hyperactive tigger. Wearing a bandana around his peroxide-tipped hair and a tight leather jacket he jumped into the crowd for ‘Cocoa Butter Kisses’, the track from friend and collaborator Chance The Rapper’s mixtape ‘Acid Rap’. The audience responded to his commands to clap and bounce with fervour as he showered them in water, and his hype man backed up his lines wearing a ‘Vic Fuckin Mensa’ t-shirt. He performed recent single ‘Wimmeh Nah’ recorded with producer Kaytranada before bigging up Schoolboy Q, who’d performed previously. Following a short cover of White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ he performed hit single ‘Down On My Luck’ to a raucous crowd.
Schoolboy Q brought hip-hop to the NME/ BBC Radio 1 stage with a high octane set which prompted huge mosh pits throughout. The California rapper started with ‘Hands on the Wheel’, taken from debut album ‘Habits and Contradictions’. “I don’t know about yooooou but I’m out to get faded, drunk, high and have a super fucked up night,” he said, speaking to the audience for the first time, prior to ‘Hell of a Night?’ Wearing a maroon hoodie and trademark green bucket hat he then informed fans that he “was about to turn it down but let’s turn this the fuck up”. Tracks including ‘Collard Greens’ and ‘Gangsta’, ‘There He Go’ followed by triumphant set closer ‘Man of the Year’.
The Kooks had people spilling out the side of the NME/BBC Radio One stage for their 6pm slot. With singer Luke Pritchard clad in black and white paisley trousers, the band brought out new tracks ‘Around Town’ and ‘Down’ (both taken from forthcoming fourth LP ‘Listen’) early. Introducing old hit ‘Naive’, Pritchard stated, “We’ve been away a little while so it’s good to be back playing new stuff, but I hope you remember this from 2000 and sometime. I hope you’re not too young”. The crowd responded with a loud singalong. They continued with new track ‘Bad Habit’, ‘Seaside’ and ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’, after which Pritchard bowed to the crowd to thank them for their reaction. They finished with another new track and assembled for a group bow at the front of the stage.
You Me At Six warmed up for their forthcoming UK arena tour with an early evening set on the Main Stage. Frontman Josh Franceschi led the audience in a chant of “Yorkshire!” and urged everyone to jump shortly before playing ‘Underdog’.
‘Win Some, Lose Some’ was dedicated to “the lads” while ‘Loverboy’, ‘Too Young To Feel This Old’ and ‘Fresh Start Fever’ while Franceschi urged fans to take off their shirts and whip them above their heads during ‘Reckless’. The hour long set ended with ‘Stay With Me’.
The Bohicas played an energetic set of 1960s-influenced rock’n’roll on The Festival Republic stage. Dressed head-to-toe in black, the four-piece thrashed out punchy choruses in front of a modest crowd. Wearing a black leather jacket, frontman Dominic McGuinness – brother of London singer Eugene McGuinness – was a charismatic focal point, turning his back on the audience to play a series of squealing guitar solos. The Bohicas – completed by guitarist Dominic John, bassist Adrian Acolatse and drummer Brendan Heaney – rushed through the first half of their performance, pausing only when McGuinness asked the crowd, “Are you still with us?”.
Before ‘Crush Me’, McGuinness told the audience: “This one’s a bluesy one”. Its crashing riffs and elongated solo preceded a run-through of ‘XXX’ and ‘Swarm’; during the latter, McGuinness spread his arms, took a step back from the microphone and beckoned the crowd to respond. The front rows duly did, breaking out into pogoing as the song rattled to a close.
Clean Bandit played a crowd-pleasing afternoon set to a near-capacity NME/Radio 1 Tent at Leeds, drawing one of the largest crowds of the day. Opening with ‘A&E’, the Cambridge group were greeted with rapturous applause, before going on to play a string of hits from debut album ‘New Eyes’. Vocalist Grace Chatto thanked “all of you who have supported” most recent single ‘Come Over’, which charted at Number 45, while one of the biggest responses came for ‘Mozart’s House’, on which they were joined by guest vocalist Love Ssega. The band’s cover of Robin S’ 1992 hit ‘Show Me Love’ kept momentum going before the set ended with their million-selling UK number one single ‘Rather Be’.
Papa Roach brought a riot of energy to the main stage, and demanded the same from the audience. Frontman Jacoby Shaddix prowled the front row pit during the opening track, imploring the crowd to “Wake the fuck up” before returning to the stage for a well-received ‘Betweens Angels And Insects’. Minutes later, he pulled down his black jeans and mooned the crowd.
After ‘Burn’, he had a message for the crowd: “To my savages in the pit, we love you. To those singing along, we love you too. You guys just standing there with your thumb in your ass, we’re not sure what to think about you. Come join the party!
After ‘Forever’ the band took a moment to acknowledge that it’s their 20th anniversary this year. “We started this band when some of you guys were still shitting your pants!” said Shaddix. ‘Scars’ was then dedicated to “anyone who’s in a dark place”. The entire band, pogoing on the spot, then played ‘Silence Is The Enemy’.
Following Shaddix’s protracted anecdote about “piledriving” a water table, ‘To Be Loved’ began with an homage to The Ramones, the singer repeating their famous “Hey ho, let’s go” line over the intro.
“You bloody like that rock ‘n’ roll, huh?” asked Shaddix, before a closing ‘Last Resort’.
Toronto punk poppers PUP, an acronym for Pathetic Use of Potential, provided one of the most energised sets of the day so far in the Lock-Up Tent, setting off one of the first major circle-pits of Leeds 2014.
Announcing “we wanna fuckin’ play rock’n’roll music,” the 2013 NME Awards tour stars won over a curious afternoon crowd with celebratory anthems from their recent self-titled debut album like ‘Dark Days’ and the epic and emotional ‘Yukon’, with singer Stefan Babcock (pictured above) bawling “you left me on my knees”.
“We’ve got one song left talking about drugs and sex,” Babcock said before a furious run through 2013 single ‘Reservoir’, which saw the crowd break out into moshes and circle pits and Babcock back into the front row for the crowd to grab at his guitar.
Jungle filled the sizeable NME/BBC Radio One stage for their mid-afternoon set. Fronted by core members Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson and augmented by five onstage musicians, the band kicked off with single ‘The Heat’ and ‘Lucky I Got What I Want’. With McFarland remarking that there’s “a lot of you out there”, the band continued with tracks from their self-titled debut including ‘Julia’ and a well-received ‘Time’. Dressed all in black and grey, they then brought out ‘Busy Earnin’ which earned the biggest reaction from the crowd before concluding with ‘Platoon’.
Lxury played a 40-minute set on the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage at Leeds Festival early on Friday afternoon. The Croydon house producer, real name Andy Smith, walked onstage and immediately launched into a bass-heavy introductory sequence before airing a selection of mixes and tracks from his ‘Playground’ EP, which was released in June via Greco Roman.
The likes of ‘Company’ and ‘Playground’ featured thumping drum kicks and reverb-laden vocal samples. As Lxury bobbed behind his decks, laser flashes behind him bathed a small but enthusiastic crowd of early dancers in neon light. As the set raced to a climax, the crowd, which had swelled during the course of the performance, bounced to the euphoric piano chords on ‘J.A.W.S’.
The Neighbourhood made their debut on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage, arriving to a warm-welcome at 1.30pm. Frontman Jesse Rutherford appeared wearing a leather jacket with the word “Califournia” printed on the back, a nod to the band’s Los Angeles hometown. The half-hour set consisted of songs from 2013 album ‘I Love You’ with both ‘Female Robbery’ and ‘Jealou$y’ played early on. The biggest cheer came for ‘Sweater Weather’, however, with Rutherford removing both his jacket and glasses for the first time to lead his band through the single.
Australian pop-punkers Tonight Alive played an energetic lunchtime set on the main stage at Leeds, with frontwoman Jenna McDougall declaring the audience to be “un-fucking-believable”. The Sydney five-piece opened with recent single ‘The Edge’ before going into ‘The Ocean’. After ‘Hell and Back’, McDougall told the crowd: “Ever since the very first show that we played in the UK, it’s felt like a second home”, and announced that “playing on the main stage at Leeds is fucking insane”. Later, on ‘Wasted Away’, she encouraged the audience to crowd-surf towards the front (as the stewards looked “bored”), though her plan didn’t quite come off. The band’s 35-minute set came to an end with ‘Lonely Girl’, from their 2013 album ‘The Other Side’.
Twin Shadow (aka George Lewis Jr) took to the NME/ BBC Radio One stage at 12.45pm slot and opened with ‘5 Seconds’. The singer and his three-piece band continued to play a set heavy on new material from his as yet untitled, forthcoming third album which he reported would be “coming out soon”. Despite Lewis Jr stating that “they put such a huge barrier between us” in reference to the gap between stage and audience, he still drew a reasonably sized, attentive crowd. Older track ‘Castles In The Snow’ and a closing ‘Slow’ also received an outing.
Screaming through a curtain of hair, singer Kristian Bell led Brighton three-piece The Wytches through the more hardcore chunks of their debut album ‘Annabel Dream Reader’, recorded at east London’s analogue-only Toe Rag Studios with co-producer Bill Ryder-Jones of The Coral. They opened with a slew of tracks including ‘Digsaw’ and ‘Gravedweller’ – their first, free, digital single on Heavenly Records in February – before launching into fan favourite ‘Wire Frame Mattress’, culminating in a frenzied surf guitar thrash.
The pace slowed for the Arabian-style noise ballad ‘Wide At Midnight’, building to a violent, bawling finale, at which point Kristian announced: “We can only play one more song, it’s called ‘Crying Clown'”. The tune found Kristian singing a melody dedicated to “a graveyard girl swinging her bag like a pendulum” and climaxed in a burst of QOTSA-style riffs.
US pop-punk band The Story So Far opened the Main Stage with an energetic midday set. Frontman Parker Cannon seemed wowed by the size of the stage, telling the crowd: “This is the most giant thing we’ve been on”. Appealing to the locals, he said they’re used to playing venues the size of Leeds stalwart The Cockpit. Wearing a red baseball hat with ‘USA’ on the front, Cannon led his band through songs from 2011 debut album ‘Under Soil And Dirt’ and last year’s ‘What You Don’t See’, including set opener ‘Quicksand’ and ‘Things I Can’t Change’.
“We almost didn’t make this show but we’re very glad we did,” Cannon added, before advising fans to drink carefully: “Day drinking takes a lot out of you.” The half-hour set ended with well-received renditions of ‘The Glass’ and ‘High Regard.’