Not content with just covering this year’s Reading Festival – which we’ve done here – Clash also sent snapper Danny Payne to Leeds, to capture a wide range of the sister festival’s fantastic performances.
And here’s a gallery to that effect – simply click each photo above to move on to the next one. Headlining this year: Arctic Monkeys, Paramore and Queens Of The Stone Age, and Blink-182. Pretty decent, likes.
Update: now with some lovely review words from Dannii Leivers…
The Wytches comprise a hair-raising start to Leeds 2014, their twisted, Black Sabbath-meets-The Horrors psych-doom blasting away whines that there's nothing exciting happening in guitar music at the moment. Later, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart sound gorgeous, all surging melodies and wistful dream-pop.
It’s a shame to leave early, but The Horrors performing tracks from this year’s ‘Luminous’ LP is too much of a pull. Friday also sees Frank Turner’s Mongol Horde put in the best performance of the day, as they unleash the relentless brutality of their recent hardcore debut on a crowd that sucks up the aggression then spits it back at them.
Disclosure have to pull all the stops out to top that, but the hungry mob that’s gathered to devour their ’90s garage house is so huge that there’s little need for doubt. When the woozy warp of ‘Latch’ finally leads into the weekend’s biggest choruses, the dancefloor explodes and the Lawrence brothers look like they can’t quite believe what’s happening.
Saturday brings another weekend highlight from duo Slaves and their fantastically snotty and bleakly humorous punk. Eagulls whip up a wall of taut goth-punk, while later Brody Dalle lets the music do the talking with a set pulling from the disco defiance of new album ‘Diploid Love’ and Distillers classics.
To the evening and I Am Legion, a partnership between UK hip-hop crew Foreign Beggars and bass behemoths Noisia, are blowing chunks out of the floor with their massive drops. Then it’s down to the main stage to watch Queens Of The Stone Age shimmy into their natural place at the top of the line-up. Thumping out hit after hit from all corners of their back catalogue: ‘No One Knows’, ‘Make It Wit Chu’, ‘Little Sister’, ‘The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret’, plus tracks from recent album ‘…Like Clockwork’. Not even a sudden downpour can dampen the triumph.
The final day is kicked off by Australian duo DZ Deathrays, whose ferocious approach to garage grunge does little to soothe sore heads. Peace play to a large crowd sprawled on the grass, and the sun finally comes out for the glossy sugar of ‘Bloodshake’. Wolf Alice perform to a packed mid-afternoon crowd, opening with the swirling grunge maelstrom of ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’. The band knows when to apply a tender touch though, and the ringing refrain of ‘Blush’ segues beautifully into a cover of Chris Isaac’s ‘Wicked Game’.
But of course, the biggest headliners of the weekend were always going to be Arctic Monkeys, who draw a massive audience that stretches all the way back to the food stalls. They only cherry-pick a couple of tracks from their debut tonight and they’re right to do so – while it’s still great to hear ‘Dancing Shoes’, the band has outgrown that period of their career. Instead, later tracks including, ‘Do I Wanna Know’, ‘Crying Lightning’, ‘My Propeller’ and ‘505’ hang together beautifully like a rich tapestry that shows their development into the best band the UK has to offer. A brilliant finish to an excellent festival. Leeds, see you next year.
Photos: Danny Payne