Festival review: Leeds Festival

Liam Gallagher was one of the highlights of this year's Leeds Festival. Picture: Mark Bickerdike
Liam Gallagher was one of the highlights of this year's Leeds Festival. Picture: Mark Bickerdike
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Once again, and more than ever before, that momentous occasion Leeds Festival hit us with those Bank Holiday highs – and what a weekend it was.

I’ve personally been going to Leeds for around 15 years now, but dare I say there had never been a buzz around the weekend like there was for this year’s aforementioned saga. I knew we had a task on hand juggling with time, and our cameras, to capture the greats and the newcomers on film and tape, there was just so much we wanted to cover, but, all in all, it felt like we floated around the beautiful Bramham Park site with not a care in the world.

Tom Meighan of Kasabian on the main stage at Leeds Festival. Picture: Mark Bickerdike

Tom Meighan of Kasabian on the main stage at Leeds Festival. Picture: Mark Bickerdike

Earlier in the week the weather proved it could provide a sticking block for certain punters last-chancing it for the day tickets. However come Thursday the sun doffed his cap and allowed the festival hitters to enjoy their weekend without the worry of a downpour. Local heroes The Pigeon Detectives provided Thursdays warm up to the main show with a glimpse of whats to come from their 10th anniversary of their Wait For Me tour. Matt Bowman and Co offered all their illustrious hits and more with a standard issue crowd surf that really paved the way for the weekend antics.

Friday was all go go go with cameras at the ready to get in on all the action. First up we caught Blossoms who, this time last year, went number 1 with their self titled album. The Stockport five-piece were on top form as they delved into the last year’s mind blowing tour. As for their slot, they had the early evening one, it set the tone perfectly with all their hits from the debut feature length getting a sing-along; with the crowd in total and full voice.

Cometh the man cometh the hour as the sunshine began to set over the outlandish main stage, Mr Frontman himself, Liam Gallagher, dropped in to take us into the early evening. The legend that is, kicked things off bigging up our fair city with a huge Leeds chant, that seemed to roll on forever, then eased his way into classics like ‘Roll With It’ and ‘Rock and Roll Star’ before offering us an unusually reclusive take of ‘Wonderwall’ which got the mainstays weeping and chanting together! Of course, it’s been on everyones minds for the past six months, if Liam still had it, and from previous performances around Europe alongside the epic Leeds Festival show, I can only say it’s like he had never been gone at all. It seems as though he has switched up each major festival set as well which is always refreshing to see. We would all love that Oasis reunion, however, if we just get Liam doing this for the foreseeable we would take that on, ‘As You Were’ for now!

Saturday offered us a plethora of talent, which made it tough for us to choose from, however, highlights came from Jagwar Ma, Two Door Cinema Club and the all mighty Kasabian. Aussie trio Jagwar Ma have been touring for the past 18 months, from intimate dwellings to mud-filled festivals the three piece are starting to wind down from what has been a hellacious year and a half. Leeds Festival was the third time I’d seen them this year and although they played a somewhat short set it was filled with energy and acid soaked elegance that we have come to love over the years. Obvious highlights came to the forefront in that of Uncertainty and Howling which capped another successful outing for the band.

Two Door Cinema Club are dubbed as that perfect ‘festival band’ with tracks like ‘What We Know’ always bringing everyone together, however they are far more than that. The triple pronged attack took to the main stage to near full house offering out all the classics within the glistening heat. ‘Something Good Can Work’ always affords that hands in the air moment whilst the Irish act also opted for tracks from their latest full length ‘Gameshow’ too.

Kasabian, who headlined back in 2012, and also fresh off the back of a highly acclaimed album, took the top slot again. Their backdrop was edgy, and loud, whilst their swagger oozed charisma. The Leicester outfit went for a solid 90 minutes featuring tracks like ‘Bless This Acid House’ and ‘You’re In Love with a Psycho’. However, it was adolescent tracks that proved to be the shouting point, when hits like ‘LSF’ and ‘Fire’ took centre stage leaving the crowd chanting for more, even after they had left the set on two occasions. Emotional at the end, Serge left us with a solid goodbye, and we can now look forward to the boys being back at Leeds Direct Arena later in the year.

Sunday was always Eminem day, and when the hip hop legend arrives on the epic stage you know he always delivers. This somewhat reclusive act can often shun the limelight, and rarely can be seen interviewing or promoting his music, but when he finally gets on stage he really doesn’t hold back. Set to release a new album this autumn, and cheekily adding snippets within his set here, it could only be overshadowed by classics from his Marshall Mathers LP which really set his career alight. The US native was throwing everything he could into his two-hour slot and only left us wanting more. He will likely tour again, if this performance is anything to go by, shouting loud about his recent UK gigs. Arguably one the nicest people to meet, and humble to the fact it’s the fans that love him; this was a perfect way to end the festival.

Nick Hodgson is to release his first solo album in January.

Music interview – Nick Hodgson: ‘I am essentially a musician – whether it’s playing Elland Road or playing some pub, I just love it’