Biffy Clyro headlined at the Bramham Park site
Spector played a jubilant party headline set at the Festival Republic stage before a special, late night extra show from Mount Kimbie. As well as running through a host of tracks from last year’s debut ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’, the band (fronted by Fred MacPherson, today sporting a pink suit and long hair) also played recently-released new track ‘Decade of Decay’ and another new offering, ‘We Combine’, – a fast-paced, lyrically-dense track with a synth-line recalling David Bowie’s ‘Modern Love’. Addressing the enthusiastic crowd throughout the set, MacPherson then thanked them for choosing to attend their slot. “I know you’ve seen the noodle bar. I know you’ve seen the burger vans. I know you’ve seen Kick-Ass Fajita,” he began. “But tonight you’ve chosen to spend your evening with your friends and with this band, Spector. It means the world to us.” Spector then kicked into ‘Grim Reaper’ and ‘Chevy Thunder’, with Macpherson descending into the crowd, before finishing off with a rousing singalong of early single ‘Never Fade Away’.
Detroit rapper Angel Haze covered Kings Of Leon’s ‘Revelry’ and played new single ‘Echelon’ on the BBC Radio 1 Xtra stage. Arriving half an hour late, the 22-year-old greeted the crowd by saying “I said: what the fuck is up? Have you come to play today?” She also dropped her take on Missy Elliott’s ‘Gossip Folks’, and finished the set with ‘New York’, complete with half a dozen crowd members headbanging along onstage.
Azealia Banks put on a colourful show in the NME Radio One tent, arriving wearing a cartoon catsuit with two equally garish backing dancers and a plethora of surreal visuals including aliens, dolphins and flaming skulls. Opening with new track ‘ATM Jam’ from her long-awaited debut album ‘Broke With Expensive Taste’, which she premiered at Glastonbury, Banks otherwise stuck largely to familiar material, playing singles ‘No Problem’, ‘212’ and ‘1991’ as well as a selection of tracks from her ‘Fantasea’ mix-tape. The set closed with Banks shouting ‘Yung Rapunxel’ through a gold-painted megaphone.
Appearing on stage at 7.30pm, the recently returned Nine Inch Nails performed a set that was made up for its lack of hits with impressive, but minimalist, stage craft. Performing in front of a bank of white lights, the band began with ‘Wish’. A high octane set from the start, the pace slowed for 1994’s ‘March Of The Pigs’, which came in waves of softer and harder sounds. The next track, ‘Survivalism’, saw Reznor – wearing grey shorts-cum-shorts, a black, roll neck top and a gilet – bent double singing during the intro, and headbanging during the chorus. ‘Piggy’, from ‘The Downward Spiral’ followed. Notable for the absence of big hits ‘Closer’ and ‘Hurt’, the set finished ahead of its scheduled 8.45pm close.
Disclosure rammed the NME Radio One tent for a set packed full of guest appearances. A crowd stretching far outside the tent saw Sam Smith arrive to sing ‘Latch’, Aluna Francis of AlunaGeorge join the band for ‘White Noise’ and Ed McFarlane of Friendly Fires guest on ‘Defeated No More’. “I think this might be the best crowd we’ve ever played to,” the band said at the end of a set that was characteristically “full of surprises” and one of the biggest draws of Leeds Festival so far.
Fall Out Boy took to the main stage for one of their first live dates since the band’s reformation in February this year. “In Leeds right now,” said Pete Wentz, “rock ‘n roll is very alive and fucking well.” Walking on to the Jay Z intro of ‘Thriller’, the band seemed as stoked as the crowd to be there. Tracks from number one hit album ‘Save Rock And Roll’ included the dance-punk of ‘The Phoenix’ and ‘Just One Yesterday’, which saw Brit pop darling Foxes join for guest vocals, performing the track live with the band for the first time ever. “The first festivals we ever played were Reading & Leeds and we wanted to do something special for you guys tonight,” said Wentz. A mixture of their greatest hits from the last decade – ‘Saturday’, ‘Thank You For The Memories’ and ‘This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race’ – buoyed the crowd under the rain as they welcomed the Illinois boys’ return. Wentz later cofirmed on Twitter that Foxes will join them at Reading to repeat their collaboration.
Charli XCX unleashed the rave anthem of the day in the dance tent with a run-through her breakthrough Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’, the song she wrote for the Swedish pop duo. “Who knows this fucking song?” she roared as the tent filled with hundreds of jumping dance maniacs for the tune, towards the end of her set. Charli also performed the Gold Panda sampling ‘You (Ha Ha Ha)’ and more downbeat, epic tracks such as ‘Nuclear Seasons’ and ‘Black Roses’. She closed with the dense electro-pop of ‘Grins’, rounding off one of the best received dance sets of the day.
Merchandise played to a painfully thin crowd at the Festival Republic tent, but treated the select few to a set that showcased the band’s sprawling songs and Pink Floyd-like guitar solos. Given the length of the band’s songs, it was a short setlist but one that included selections from 2012’s ‘Children Of Desire’ and this year’s ‘Totale Night’, including a well-received ‘Anxiety’s Door’. Singer Carson Cox, wearing a billowing shirt, might have been feeling a bit unloved: “I feel like you’re incredibly far away – it’s a huge gap,” he said, slurringly, at one point. The set ended with ‘Become Who You Are’, during which Cox playfully thumbed his nose at the front row. Before the big, thrashy ending, he unleashed a special effect: a single party popper.
On the NME Radio One Stage, Haim were greeted by a packed tent. “We literally can’t believe we’re here – my sisters and I are pretty stoked,” says Este, having just played ‘The Wire’. A huge singalong to ‘Fallin” ensued, before the band played played ‘Don’t Save Me’ as members of the audience sang along. Taking time out to scope the local “babes”, guitarist Alana and singer Este singled out one audience member in a Hawaiian shirt for a spot of mid-set flirting. Shortly before wrappng up the set, Alana again reterated how happy she was to be there, saying; “We came all the way from Los Angeles to be here and we love you.” Este also made reference to people who received their GCSE results on Thursday (August 22), to some cheers and boos from the crowd. “Full disclosure: I cheated on my SATs, she revealed.
Waka Flocka Flame gave a nod to his Yorkshire surroundings on the freshly created 1Xtra Stage by wearing a Leeds United shirt throughout his brief but wild set. ‘Wild Boy’ and ‘Bustin’ At Em’ caused an early mosh pit and a lone stage invader to join the Atlanta rapper on stage. Later in the set a girl was pulled out of the audience to dance onstage, providing the first on-stage twerking of the festival. Backed by DJ Ace, who wore a V For Vendetta-style mask throughout, Waka Flocka Flame charged through ‘Rooster In My ‘Rari’ and the explosive ‘Hard In Da Paint’ ending one of the most energetic performances of the festval so far by saying, “Leeds, Y’all some crazy motherfuckers.”
Editors struggled to rally a thin Main Stage audience as they played a hits set comprising songs from throughout their back catalogue as well as new album ‘The Weight Of Your Love’. Frontman Tom Smith sweated visibly through his green, button-up shirt as the band charged through both ‘Munich’, ‘Bones’ and new album track ‘Formaldeyde’ early on. Playing ‘The Racing Rats’ and ‘Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors’, the band closed on former single ‘Papillon’.
At the NME Radio 1 tent, Alunageorge performed a well-received set including the Rustie collaboration ‘After Light’. “It’s time to get sexy,” said Francis after, before playing the slow jam ‘Body Music’. One girl in the crowd took it quite literally – pulling her bra down as she appeared on camera at the song’s climax. The band’s cover of ‘This Is How We Do It’ followed. Next, ‘Lost And Found’ got the crowd – and Francis – dancing, before the pace slowed again. “This next song is a song about friendship,” Francis said before playing ‘Just A Touch’. “We’ve got one more song – you’ve got to guess what it is,” Francis said coyly at the end of the set, before beginning a heavily remixed version of her collaboration with Disclosure, ‘White Noise’, to a huge roar of approval from the crowd. The male half of the duo, George Reid, took a photo of the audience on exiting the stage.
Black-clad Bath brothers The Family Rain performed a rousing afternoon set of bloody-toothed blues in the Festival Republic tent, playing an eight-song gig featuring live favourite ‘Don’t Waste Your Time On Me’ alongside the White Stripes-style recent single ‘Pushing It’. Kicking off with the jaunty ‘Carnival’, William, Ollie and Timothy Walter raced through a frantic half hour with barely a word, climaxing with the slinky ‘Trust Me I’m A Genius’ which sparked impromptu games of invisible Frisbee in the crowd. The band seemed hopeful of a return to the festival in 2014. Singer William Walter told the crowd: “We’ve been The Family Rain. Until next year, peace out!
Hadouken! took to the Main Stage at 2pm with frontman James Smith announcing that this was the grindie stars’ fifth appearance at the festival, and name-checking local venues The Faversham and The Cockpit. During ‘Turn The Lights Out’ a circle pit formed. By the end of their 2007 hit ‘That Boy’! ‘That Girl!’ he was on his back with his legs in the air, before announcing: “Leeds festival and Christmas day are the only times of the year you’re allowed to get absolutely hammered before 10am,” Smith joked. The band played several cuts from their 2013 album Every Weekend, finishing on first single ‘Levitate’, plus tracks like the Supremes-sampling ‘Bad Signal’ and ‘Bang The Drum’.
Villagers kicked off their 12.40pm set at the NME Radio 1 Stage with ‘Set The Tigers Free’, much to the disinterest of the massed crowd waiting for Fall Out Boy at the NME Leeds Signing Tent next door. Inside the tent, however, the crowd hung on Conor O’Brien’s every word, especially on the harmony drenched ‘The Bell’ and the hushed ‘Becoming A Jackal’, from the debut album of the same name. Newer material, such as ‘Waves’, which followed, showed a heavier side to the band. It built to a crescendo with ‘Earthly Pleasures’ and its madly delivered lyrics about “Beelzebub'”. After wishing the crowd “an incredible festival” the band closed with ‘Ship Of Promises’.
Wavves played an impressively packed-out set early this afternoon on the NME/Radio 1 stage in Leeds, drawing on this year’s ‘Afraid of Heights’ as well as material from his previous three records. After initially telling the crowd that the band “were too drunk”, the quartet, fronted by Nathan Williams, then hammered through the likes of ‘Idiot’ and ‘King of the Beach’, accidentally introduced as ‘Supersoaker’ by Williams, before jokingly greeting the crowd by saying they were “excited to be in San Antonio”. Wavves then finished with ‘Green Eyes’ before thanking the crowd again and exiting.
Biffy Clyro, Nine Inch Nails, Fall Out Boy and The Lumineers will be performing throughout the day on the Main Stage. Other artists appearing across the Leeds site include Phoenix, Azealia Banks, Disclosure, Spector, Mount Kimbie, Wretch 32 and Funeral For A Friend.