Leeds Festival 2015: The Libertines, Jamie T, Kendrick Lamar and Years & Years play first day sets

The Maccabees, The Cribs, Feed The Rhino and more begin 2015 festival

The first day of Leeds Festival 2015 has come to an end with a headline set from The Libertines and appearances from Years & Years, Jamie T, Kendrick Lamar, The Maccabees and The Cribs among others.

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Feed The Rhino opened the Main Stage with an energetic set that ended with the first crowdsurfing band member of the weekend. The heavily tattooed Kent metal band played a selection of tracks from their ‘The Sorrow And The Sound’ album, released in summer 2014, in front of the early morning crowd.

Elsewhere on the site, The Skints brought their blend of punk and ska to the NME/Radio 1 Stage. “Leeds, it’s Friday morning,” said guitarist Joshua Waters Rudge. “You’re wicked. Thank you for coming down and having a Skints party.” The London band’s laid-back set included a cover of Katy B’s 2010 single ‘On A Mission’, a showcase for Marcia Richards’ vocals.

NMEPooneh Ghana/NME

Leeds based musician Robert Harvey, meanwhile, was on the Radio One Dance Stage with his new band The Six. Harvey is better known for his time in The Music and Mike Skinner’s The DOT and is appearing alongside former Delphic member Richard Boardman in the house-pop act. Their energetic set brought a number of people into the tent and acted as warm-up for Petite Meller and her unique brand of pop straight after. Meller’s set included the single ‘Baby Love’ and a memorable bongo solo from a member of her backing band.

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Yorkshire’s own The Cribs opened their 4pm set with ‘Mirror Kissers’. Gary Jarman of the band thanked fans for coming to see them and “welcoming us back home.” He added that this afternoon marked their eighth time performing at the festival.

NMEPooneh Ghana/NME

The Maccabees, meanwhile, took to the stage off the back of new album ‘Marks To Prove it’ going to Number One in the UK Album Chart. Frontman Orlando Weeks thanked fans for helping them achieve the landmark chart position, saying: “Thanks to everyone who bought the new record we put out. You really helped us out.”

The band slipped the album title track into the middle of their set and also aired new material including ‘Something Like Happiness’, ‘Kamakura’ and ‘WW1 Portraits’.

“I’ve always dreamed of playing here,” Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander told the over flowing crowd as his band performed on the NME/ Radio 1 Stage. “Ever since all my friends got their GCSE results and fucked off to Leeds.”

Alexander was swaddled in red light for hyper-emotional mega-ballad ‘Foundation’. The crooked calypso beat of ‘Take Shelter’, meanwhile, gave way to ‘Desire’, which provoked a singalong of every word, as did ‘Real’.

Opening with ‘Limits Lie’, Jamie T asked the audience if they “like bouncing” before playing ‘Earth, Wind and Fire’ and ‘Don’t You Find’. He went on to set the record straight about his feelings on playing ‘Sheila’ too. “I was recently misquoted by XFM as saying that I don’t like playing this next song. What I said was I always think I don’t like playing it and then I see you lot going fucking mental and I change my mind. So print that XFM.”

The 45 minute set ended with ‘Zombie’ and a rapid fire run through ‘Sticks and Stones’, with a fan holding up a home made sign reading “lightweight prick”, after a lyric in the song, being caught on camera.

NMEPooneh Ghana/NME

Dressed in a simple grey hoodie and white shorts, Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar opened his set with ‘Money Trees’ before launching into ‘Backseat Freestyle’. Backed by a four piece band, many of the songs in the set were given a rock makeover with the heavy percussive sounds of ‘Backseat Freestyle’ replaced by distorted guitars and drums. Lamar ended the song by spelling out “Compton” over a wall of feedback.

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Lamar dived into his 2012 album ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’ for the majority of his set, playing ‘The Art Of Peer Pressure’, ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)’ and ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill my Vibe’ with his verse from A$AP Rocky’s ‘Fucking Problems’ appearing in between.

As has become standard with Lamar’s live sets in 2015, songs from new album ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ were kept to a minimum with just ‘King Kunta’, ‘Alright’ and a lively rendition of ‘i’ featuring at Bramham Park.

NMEAndy Hughes/NME

The Libertines, meanwhile, brought the first night of this year’s Leeds festival to a close with a 90-minute set which mixed old favourites with new material from their forthcoming third LP, ‘Anthems For Doomed Youth’.

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Taking to the stage to the strains of Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’, the band then launched into ‘Horror Show’, the first track of an opening salvo which also included fan favourites ‘Vertigo’ and ‘The Delaney’, as well as 2004 single ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’.

In contrast to their last appearance here in 2010, when their performance momentarily ground to a halt over safety concerns, the crowd seemed surprisingly sedate, prompting Doherty to remark at one point, “What’s up with you lot tonight, anyway? You’re making us feel really unloved.” Things became livelier after the bands returned to the stage for a five-song encore which focussed on the band’s early material, with ‘Up The Bracket’, ‘I Get Along’ and ‘What a Waster’ winning over the crowd before the set came to a rousing, emotional climax with ‘Don’t look Back Into The Sun’, ending with the band members in a group hug at the front of the stage.

SEE MORE: In Pictures: The Libertines Bring ‘Anthems For Doomed Youth’ To Leeds Festival
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