Saturday at Leeds Festival 2014 – the full report

Paramore, Gerard Way, Queens of the Stone Age, Vampire Weekend and Metronomy played

The second day of Leeds Festival 2014 is now complete, with Queens Of The Stone Age, Vampire Weekend, The Courteeners, Metronomy and Paramore playing at the Bramham Park site.

Paramore headlined the festival for the first time, performing a set in which singer Hayley Williams praised co-headliners Queens Of The Stone Age and brought her younger sister on stage. Read the full report here.

The Courteeners opened their headline set on The NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage with ‘How Good It Was’, and the Leeds crowd responded with cacophonous cheers – the tent was packed and fans sang along to every word. The Manchester band’s frontman, Liam Fray, was dressed in a leather jacket and sunglasses, which he removed after a pulsating version of ‘Cavorting’. He then addressed the crowd for the first time, saying, “Yes Leeds.” They then played the first slow song of the night as fans climbed onto each others shoulders and waved their arms aloft. Fray was a focal point for the duration of the set, prompting his band to start and finish their songs and conducting singalongs in the crowd – even of tracks from new album ‘Concrete Love’, such as ‘Small Bones’. At the end of that song, Fray thanked the crowd for buying the album. A series of fan favourites that climaxed with ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ and ‘What Took You So Long’ followed. During the former, two red flares erupted in the crowd. As Fray held his arms aloft and allowed the throng to sing the final lines of ‘What Took You So Long’, confetti cannons and smoke cannons went off, covering both the band and the crowd. Feedback wailed as the band left the stage and Liam Fray stayed behind, picked up three setlists from the floor and jumped down towards the front rows to hand them out. He then took photos on fans’ cameras and waved at the crowd before departing.


Palma Violets closed the Festival Republic Stage with a guest appearance from Childhood frontman Ben Romans-Hopcraft, who unexpectedly jumped on stage to join the band on ‘We Found Love’, contributing backing vocals and throwing beer over the crowd. Before that, the Lambeth quartet had drawn a sizeable crowd to the tent, benefiting from their slot coming between Queens of the Stone Age and Paramore on the main stage. Opening with new Libertines-indebted song ‘Secrets of America’ – one of three new tracks played tonight, the others being ‘Matador’ and ‘I Got Hollywood In My Bones’ – the band’s performance was an inevitably riotous affair, with bassist Chilli Jesson on particularly good form, declaring the crowd to be “better than Reading!” before ‘All The Cool Cats’. The highlights from debut album ‘180’ were all present and correct, including ‘Rattlesnake Highway’, ‘Tom The Drum’ and ‘Jonny Bagga’ Donuts’, before the set ended on a rousing – if slightly ramshackle – rendition of ’14’.

London rapper Giggs headlined a rammed Radio 1Xtra tent. Dressed all in black, the 33-year-old played tracks including ‘Play It Loud’, which he introduced as a song that “means a lot to me because, as you know, a couple of years ago I was locked away for a bit [in 2012, for firearms charges that were subsequently dropped], and this is about that time”.

After the track, he asked the crowd: “Where’s everyone from? London, yeah? Or is it Sheffield? Hull? Manchester? Birmingham? Or is it all Leeds?” The hometown mention got the loudest cheer from fans, who responded by singing along to 2010 single ‘Don’t Go There’. “Let’s get everyone jogging on the spot,” he said before the sinister ‘Hustle On’. Giggs beamed as the beat for ‘Is It Gangsta (Yeah Yeah Yeah)’, from last year’s ‘When Will It Stop’ album, was greeted by the majority of the tent waving their arms in unison. Afterwards he asked: “Where’s all my weed smokers? Enjoy yourselves, yeah.” Then he brought out East London grime artist Ghetts for a run through their 2014 collaboration ‘Gas Mark 9’. Next came south east London rapper Kyze – “who’s been in jail recently,” said Giggs – so they could perform new track ‘Punani’ together. He was followed by grime star Skepta for 2009’s ‘Look Out’, which featured the lyric “look out you bastards, ‘cos we push the hard shit”. They traded freestyles, before Skepta left the stage and Giggs asked, “is there anyone who likes sex in the building?” He then played ‘Monsta Man’ followed by 2010 hit ‘Look What The Cat Dragged In’.

Queens Of The Stone Age played the supporting leg of their co-headlining bill with Paramore, having topped the Main Stage at Reading last night. Coming on at 7.45pm to ‘You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire’, they continued with a crowd-pleasing ‘No One Knows’ and ‘My God Is The Sun’ before diverting from last night’s setlist to play ‘Era Vulgaris’ track ‘I’m Designer’. Removing his scarf, but decked in a warm quilted jacket, singer Josh Homme then introduced ‘Smooth Sailing’ before addressing a fan in the front of the crowd who kept asking how he was. “I’m wonderful actually, I feel fantastic,” he replied. As heavy rain started to fall, they continued with ‘Make It Wit Chu’, ‘If I Had A Tail’ and ‘Little Sister’, with an extended intro. ‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer’ was given an impromptu ad lib with lyrics referencing the weather – “Dark skies at night/ They obscure the light” – as they moved into ‘The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret’ and ‘Sick Sick Sick’, following which Homme thanked the “ladies” in the audience. Finishing with a lengthy outing of ‘A Song For The Dead’ with an added drum solo as the sun went down, Queens of the Stone Age exited to cheers from the sizeable crowd.

Metronomy brought a slice of south-coast sunshine to a wet evening as they played second from the top on the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage. Opening their set with ‘Holiday’, the London band continued to provide a sense of escape with ‘Love Letters’ and ‘The Look’, dressed in their now trademark all-white suits and stood in front of a backdrop consisting of pink fluffy clouds. Early on in the 50-minute set, drummer Anna Prior left her kit and joined synth player Oscar Cash on backing vocals on ‘I’m Aquarius’ and ‘Reservoir’, before picking up her sticks once again for ‘Corinne’. 2014 album ‘Love Letters’ was mined for the middle of the set as the five-piece played ‘The Upsetter’ and ‘Month of Sundays’. Frontman Joe Mount thanked fans for watching and, mentioning the red night sky, said people can expect “shepherds delight” tomorrow. The set ended with ‘Heartbreaker’, ‘The Bay’ and ‘You Could Easily Have Me’, lifted from debut album ‘Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe)’.

SBTRKT performed next to a giant inflatable of the Aztec-Egyptian jaguar from the album artwork for his new album ‘Wonder Where We Land’. His set on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage comprised mainly of new tracks as well as ‘Wildfire’ and ‘Right Thing To Do’ from his self-titled debut. The electronic artist – full name Aaron Jerome – performed with two other musicians on stage, all in the trademark SBTRKT masks, who played a variety of percussion and keys as he darted between soundboards, synth pads, and drums. “Leeds festival, let me hear you, let’s go!” he cried, to applause from the crowd.


Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend was a surprise guest vocalist on ‘New Dorp New York’ and Emily Kokal of Warpaint appeared for new track ‘War Drums’. Both artists previously played sets with their own bands at the Bramham Park site. Other new songs included ‘Look Away’ and ‘Temporary View’.

Vampire Weekend started their early evening Main Stage set playing to a medium-sized crowd caught in a downpour. Wearing a grey Nike tracksuit, frontman Ezra Koenig and his band performed in front of a pink, flowery wallpaper-style backdrop. They started the set with ‘Diane Young’ from ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’, and ‘White Sky’ and ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ followed. Koenig thanked the crowd for the applause and said, “We can always count on Leeds, on all of Yorkshire.” ‘Campus’, ‘Oxford Comma’ and ‘A-Punk’ from the band’s self-tilted debut album were crowd-pleasers. “Leeds, this is the last show in the ‘Modern Vampires’ tour,” said the singer, before he introduced a “world premiere” of ‘California English’, a song that dates from the era of their album ‘Contra’ that the band had never played live before. The set concluded with ‘Walcott’.

South London’s Childhood put in a meandering set at the Festival Republic tent, their sound mixing elements of shoegaze, The Smiths and Echo & The Bunnymen. Opening with the airy pop of ‘Blue Velvet’, the band drew a decent crowd with a set that included ‘As I Am’, after which singer Ben Romans-Hopcraft thanked the crowd for coming out since “your hangover must be setting in now”. He later dedicated a song to Palma Violets, “who you should watch later,” before finishing the set with the ’80s-influenced indie pop of ‘Fall Away’ and a final ‘Solemn Skies’, complete with a yelped chorus and psychedelic finale.

Alunageorge got a frenzied pop party started in the Radio 1 Dance Tent with the help of a cover of Montel Jordan’s ‘This Is How We Do It’. Taking the stage to the strains of electro pop hit ‘Attracting Flies’, a shimmying Aluna Francis barely spoke over the course of their half-hour set other than to thank the crowd, ask them to “put your hands in the air”, “do this together” and “dance with me, man”. Instead they focused on pumping the crowd with carnival horns and crisp modern pop such as ‘Supernatural’. Having dispatched an un-named, slinky and intricate new song, halfway through the set they prompted a forest of girls on shoulders with Disclsoure’s hit single ‘White Noise’, which Francis provided guest vocals on.

The set closed with the enigmatic electro of ‘Your Drums, Your Love’ and ‘You Know You Like It’. “Leeds, we love you, peace and love,” Aluna said as she left the stage, stopping to take a selfie with the crowd.

As rain started to pour heavily, Warpaint took to the NME/BBC Radio One stage, backed by an image of their self-titled second album cover, released earlier this year. Kicking off with ‘Keep It Healthy’ and old track ‘Bees’, they then launched into ‘Undertow’ bathed in pink lights. Drawing a reasonably small crowd, they did however have a fan attempt to climb up the supporting pole to the roof of the tent during ‘Love Is To Die’. Speaking to the crowd, guitarist Emily Kokal asked “Do you feel like dancing or is it too early? Now’s the time to get it started” before kicking into ‘Disco/ Very’. With multi-instrumentalist Theresa Wayman declaring, “Thanks for bringing us here, it’s rainy but it’s cool” the band finished with a heavily-extended ‘Elephants’.

Before comedian Bill Bailey’s Alternative Stage set an excited crowd chanted “Bill! Bill!” He emerged nearly 20 minutes late and bounded across the stage with his fists raised above his head. When he eventually stood still he shouted, “I’m Bill Bailey thanks for asking. I’m from the West Country”, I don’t know if you knew that”.

He then told the crowd “I’ve had a bad week. I’ve had two shows turned down by The BBC; they’re not ready for Rhetorical Question Time or The Arab Springwatch. I don’t know why”. Bailey talked about British politics during the first part of his set, riffing on David Cameron, David Milliband and Nick Clegg. Of the latter he said “He’s like a plastic bag up a tree – poignant but useless. No one knows how he got up there and no one can be bothered to get him down.”

Bailey kept the crowd laughing throughout his performance, which moved from politics to music with a piano song about David Cameron shutting down hospitals. During a song in which he assumed the role of a doctor giving a diagnosis, he sang “I’ve seen your scans, don’t make any plans.”

After impersonating Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, he played a reggae version of the theme tune from ITV’s Downton Abbey. The show finished with a cover of Miley Cyrus’s hit single ‘Wrecking Ball’, which he performed in the style of German band Kraftwerk, licking a hammer at the end.

Problems with sound delayed the start of Brody Dalle‘s set on The Lock Up Stage, and it was ten minutes after stage time when she appeared, beginning with ‘Burn This City Down’ from this year’s solo album ‘Diploid Love’ and ‘Dismantle Me’, a favourite from the back catalogue of her former band The Distillers. Wearing a steely glare for much of the set, Dalle said little to the crowd for the first 20 minutes, other than to say, “I love you too,” to a member of the crowd who blurted out her devotion to the singer. Her T-shirt spoke for itself: “Blow me”, it read. The latter half of the set saw the singer’s frosty demeanour thaw; after ‘Meet The Foetus/Oh Joy’, she apologised for having to cut her set short, going on to play Distillers track ‘Die On A Rope’ and ‘Drain The Blood’, the former being dedicated to the crowd: “You guys are better than Reading, by the way. Way better.” A throat-shredding ‘Underworld”, dedicated to “my dad”, closed the set.

Enter Shikari brought a mix of politics and humour to the Main Stage with their early evening set, which saw frontman Rou Reynolds praise the NHS and criticise racism as well as crowd surfing and using a fire extinguisher.

Opening with ‘Enter Shikari’, the band also played ‘Destabilise’ after Reynolds told the audience that his band were at the festival to “upturn the furniture of your mind.” He also spoke to the audience before playing ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’, saying that the song was one of the first they wrote as a band when they formed 10 years ago. “As we travel the world,” Reynolds added, “we see more and more people saying no to racism, homophobia, sexism and the slimy one per cent that owns 50 per cent of the world’s wealth. You guys are the guardians of the future.”

Elsewhere, ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi’ featured bass player Chris Batten singing the chorus from Elton John’s ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ as Reynolds surfed across the stage on a trolley.

The band also played a new song, ‘Anaesthetist’, from their upcoming fourth album. Reynolds explained that the song was written about the NHS, which he described as “One of the best things about this country.” The hour long set the ended with ‘Sssnakepit’ with Reynolds setting a fire extinguisher off as the song reached its end.

Chicago indie-punks The Orwells came on-stage for their mid-afternoon set on the Festival Republic stage to a chant of “USA USA” from singer Mario Cuomo.

Sporting a black necklace and psychedelic patterned shirt, Cuomo led the five-piece into first track ‘Dirty Sheets’ and it’s opening line: “We ain’t the worst, we ain’t the best / Drink all night I’m such a mess.”

Then came the psychedelic garage rock ‘n’ roll of ‘The Righteous One’ and the Strokes-ey racket of ‘Let It Burn’, during which Cuomo stood in the middle of the stage, wiggled his hips and gazed blankly into the crowd.

The band, who supported the Arctic Monkeys on a 2013 American tour, then played ‘In My Bed’, during which Cuomo finished a can of Foster’s, crushed it and threw it into the crowd. He then staggered backwards, tripped over drummer Grant Brinner’s riser and fell over. As he got up, the band stumbled into the screaming punk of ‘Mallrats (La La La)’.

Afterwards Cuomo stared into the crowd and sarcastically danced along to the intro ‘Who Needs You?’, three minutes of raucous pop from the 2013 EP of the same name.

“This is our last song everybody”, said Cuomo when the song finished. He sarcastically added in a high-pitched voice: “This next song’s the first song off our new record.” They then finished the chaotic set with ‘Southern Comfort’ from second album ‘Disgraceland’.

Temples thanked the crowd for watching them instead of Enter Shikari as they drew a medium-sized crowd to their 5.15pm slot on the NME/BBC Radio One stage, kicking off with ‘Sun Structures’ from their debut album of the same name. ‘Colours to Life’ provoked the first proper reaction from a reasonably silent crowd while B-Side ‘Ankh’ followed. Previous single ‘Keep In The Dark’ was also well-received while ‘Mesmerise’ was given a heavy, extended outro. With the crowd chanting at the end, singer James Bagshaw responded saying, “I can’t hear what you’re saying but it sounds like ‘world peace’ so yeah, we want world peace”. They then ended with debut single ‘Shelter Song’.

Lizzo and her DJ/co-rapper Sophia Eris brought a minimal but hugely energetic show to the BBC Radio 1Xtra Stage, making an inadvertent star of NME’s photographer by having the crowd chant ‘Laura’ until she came on stage to take a picture of the rapper in front of the audience. Breakthrough track ‘Batches And Cookies’ was a hit with the modest crowd, but the rapper’s twerking drew the biggest cheers. “How many people are gonna get fucked up once this is over?” she asked before ‘Faded’. “We call that faded in the States. I’m gonna get faded!”

“This is an ode to ass,” she said before her closing song, imploring the crowd to shake theirs. After a quick twerk, she finished with the track ‘W.E.R.K.’. “I’m Lizzo – follow me on Twitter,” she said before exiting.

Wearing his usual dark sunglasses, Eagulls singer George Mitchell, led his band onstage for their afternoon slot on The Lock Up Stage. The punk five-piece, who formed in Leeds, opened with ‘Tough Luck’ and then played ‘Nerve Endings’, a single from their self-titled debut album.

As the band thrashed at their guitars behind him, the frontman leant on his microphone stand, singing with one hand behind his back. Before ‘Moulting’ he swigged red wine from a pint glass and simply said “Leeds”. The hometown crowd responded with loud cheers. Other than that, he kept between song interaction to a minimum, and anything he did say was largely drowned out by guitar feedback and cymbal crashes.

During the latter part of the set the band were bathed in flashes of white strobing, adding to an already intense atmosphere. Their last song ended up being a cacophonous run through of ‘Soulless Youth’, due to the set overrunning. Mitchell gestured towards the side of the stage, indicating that they would play one more, but the sound immediately cut out. As he left the stage, he said “Don’t blame me, blame them”.

Fat White Family didn’t even finish one song before taking their clothes off with frontman Lias Saoudi removing his top during set opener ‘Auto-Neutron’. The frontman remained central to the Festival Republic Stage performance throughout, physically shaking as he screamed through ‘Cream Of The Young’ and swinging his arms and microphone lead above his head during ‘Touch The Leather.’

Waves of crowdsurfers made their way over the barriers as Saoudi joined fans on the front row, charging left to right as the band closed their set with a wild rendition of ‘Bomb Disneyland.’

Blackpool trio Darlia drew an excitable crowd to the Festival Republic Tent, chanting, “Ooh-ah Darlia!” at the band as they hammered Nirvana-like tunes. Opening with the dense riffs of ‘Napalm’, they quickly unveiled a new song called, ‘I’ve Never Been To Ohio, a swampy track reminiscent of Screaming Trees, during which a fan ran through the crowd in Superman pose. The short set continued with the bluesy ‘Candyman’ and the psych rock ‘The Stars Are Aligned’ before singer Nathan Day, in a preacher’s hat and beads, announced the grunge pop ‘Dear Diary’. The set closed with Day throwing a full can of lager into the crowd and thrashing his guitar around.

Drenge decided against wearing dresses on stage as they did at Reading yesterday (August 22) arriving on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage in jeans and t-shirts for their early afternoon set. Frontman Eion Loveless shouted: “How the fuck are you doing Leeds?” prior to playing ‘I Wanna Break You In Half’, a song that resulted in Loveless’ microphone stand falling over. Later on in the set ‘Backwaters’ was met by a sea of devil hands as fans roared their approval for ‘Bloodsports’, ‘Nothing’ and ‘Face Like a Skull’. The half-hour set reached a climax with fans singing along to ‘Fuckabout’ with many sitting atop friends’ shoulders to get a better view.

Deaf Havana‘s were watched from the side of the stage by Bill Bailey, and frontman James Veck-Gilodi invited the comedian for a “beer or a spliff” after the show, though he did remark that Bailey had turned up “for our most boring song”, ‘Huntanston Pier’.

Prior to that, the Norfolk group had drawn a large crowd to the main stage for their afternoon set, which opened with ‘Smiles All Round’, on which Veck-Gilodi urged the crowd to “cheer up, you miserable bastards”. Second song ’22’ was introduced with an audio snippet of late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s monologue about rock ‘n’ roll from the 2000 movie ‘Almost Famous’, and Veck-Gilodi made reference to the rain – which has been on-and-off this afternoon – throughout. “I was scared that it would be shitting it down when we played,” he told the crowd before ‘Anemophobia’. “Ironically enough, this song might sound quite good in the rain.” Prior to ‘Drive All Night’, guitarist Matthew Veck-Gilodi had something of a Freudian slip, telling the crowd: “Thank you very much for watching us, because I probably wouldn’t. I’d be in a heap over there by the bar.” He was quickly shot down by his brother. The band’s 40-minute set came to a close with ‘Caro Padre’, which as Veck-Gilodi explained, “is about my biological father”.

Kent duo Slaves played a lunchtime set on The Lock Up Stage. Singer and drummer Isaac Holman, wearing a blue shirt tucked into black trousers, addressed the crowd: “Hello Leeds, how is it? Still raining?” The punk band then played ‘Live Like An Animal’, featuring the line “It’s not easy but it’s easily done, you can live like an animal and die like one”.

Hunched over his drums and dancing while playing, Isaac screamed at the tightly-packed tent before removing his shirt, revealing a white vest and tattoos. Guitarist Laurie Vincent thanked the crowd ,saying: “We’re Slaves. We’re from Kent”, before launching into ‘It’s 7am’, a shouty punk song reminiscent of 1970s group ‘Sham 69. The drummer then told story of a “bigfoot” roaming around Slaves’ hometown of Tunbridge Wells before playing single ‘Debbie, Where’s Your Car?’.

Before ‘Girl Fight’ the signer encouraged the crowd to hug each other, then walked into the front row and said: “This is about a Saturday night when I was drunk and hungry. I got a takeaway dinner and when I was walking up the hill eating it I saw two girls having a fight. I threw my kebab in the bin and had a look. I saw fake hair and fake nails all over the beautiful cobbled streets of Royal Tunbridge Wells. There’s nothing more unattractive than two girls beating the shit out of each other.” They then sped into the fast and aggressive song, which finished less than a minute later with the words “Girl fight, girl fight, I wanted to get closer but I couldn’t because I had a white shirt and new shoes on.” The duo, now both stripped down to white vests, finished with ‘Beauty Queen’ as the crowd broke into a mosh pit in front of them.

Blood Red Shoes played a well-received afternoon on the Main Stage, and opener ‘Welcome Home’ was played with a force that suggested they were intent on cheering up a crowd who’d recently had a soaking. “Lets see if we can get this going now that the rain’s fucking gone,” urged drummer Steven Ansell before ‘Heartsink’. He later dedicated ‘Cold’ to former tour mates The Wytches, saying “I hope you all went and saw [them] when they played yesterday, because they’re fucking amazing.” Much of the setlist was drawn from the pair’s recent, self-titled album, with ‘An Animal’ and ‘Speech Coma’ both going down well with the crowd. There was still room for older songs like ‘Light It Up’ and ‘Red River’. The 35-minute set ended with traditional closer ‘Je Me Perds’, described by Ansell as “a little punk-rock song”.

Following the cancellation of Hactivist‘s opening slot due to technical difficulties, Japanese electro-hardcore band Crossfaith belatedly launched the Main Stage bill with an intense set which saw singer Koie Kenta demand the crowd make several “walls of death” in the moshpit.

“Wake the fuck up, Leeds,” Kenta roared, as the band kicked into ‘Monolith’. That was followed by ‘Jagerbomb’, which saw Kenta miming downing a shot of the stuff on stage. “Yesterday we played at Reading on the main stage and it was fucking awesome,” he said before introduction to ‘Countdown To Hell’, a tune full of police sirens and pummelling drums, “You guys can be better”. Kenta also mentioned Hacktivist’s cancellation, claiming “they will be back soon” and dedicating ‘The Evolution’ to them. A clutch of black balloons was released in the crowd during ‘Eclipse’ and the band covered The Prodigy’s ‘Omen’ before finishing with the moody ‘Leviathan’ in celebration of drummer Tatsuya Amano’s birthday. “He’s 24 today,” Kenta said. “I’ve promised him I’d drink 24 shots with him tonight.”

Hacktivist had been forced to cancel their appearance on the Main Stage, and blamed a “technology breakdown” on Twitter.

Former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way opened the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage at 11.50am with his third ever solo performance, following his performance in the same slot at Reading yesterday (August 22) and at a Portsmouth warm-up show the day before. Way’s four-piece band arrived on stage first, before the singer emerged in his new uniform of blue suit, white shirt, red tie and bright orange hair. The frenzied, poppy introductory single ‘Action Cat’ was played second. “Thank you for waking up to hang out with me. I’m sorry you don’t know any of these songs, but you are still going to love them,” he said before ‘Zero Zero’ – one of the few songs from his forthcoming ‘Hesitant Alien’ album to have appeared online so far followed. Click here for a full Gerard Way set report from Leeds.

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