Day 2 kicked off on the BBC Radio 1 Stage with Blackpool lass Rae Morris. Does she make pop music for dance people or dance music for pop people? Frankly who cares, she has some sublime tunes, she is a wonderfully absorbing performer whose energy and happiness on stage infects the whole crowd with a positive high on happy vibe. I wandered across to the Lock Up Stage after that for the wonderfully named Thunderpussy. These four wild women play their rock as hard and harmonious as it is possible to get. Some of their tunes are simply off the scale excellent. They also have a stunning array of costumes, some of which might have outdone Nona Hendryx and Patti Labelle in there 70s Labelle prime. This was a really gutsy performance. I was beginning to think that female bands were once again thin on the ground at this festival, and they almost certainly still are. But Thunderpussy have the ability and the power chords to make some of their male counterparts spontaneously combust. There were even a couple of Bowie Ronson moments between singer Molly Sides and guitarist Whitney Petty which woked staggeringly well.
I was disappointed, actually totally gutted, to have missed Frank Carter’s secret set here on Friday. However I was over the moon to be in the audience for the much rumoured and loudly fanfared not so secret set from Bring Me The Horizon on the BBC Radio 1 Stage. They tore the roof off the tent and sent it into orbit around the sun. “Throne”, “Antivist” and “Drown” shone brightest for me in a powerful set that was over way too soon. I hope Bring Me The Horizon headline the Main Stage in 2019. In my opinion they are far better headline contenders than either the Kings Of Leon or Fall Out Boy this year. The Xcerts were on great form on the Lock Up Stage. Spectacular songs, immaculate playing and a in Murray MacLeod a vocalist who knows exactly how to put immense emotion into a song.
My first visit to the Main Stage on Saturday was for Post Malone. I had always felt that Post Malone was ok but somewhat over hyped. But now having seen this Texan in all his performing glory it is clear that he is way, way above average. But it still feels like there is a tad too much on the hype front. But whatever I think the crowd went ape-shit crazy for him. San Francisco’s I The Mighty hit the Lock Up Stage like a Panzer division laying waste to Europe. There is a little of everything here; prog rock, US pop punk and maybe a smattering of emo. I recognise that on paper that sounds like a mess, but it works almost effortlessly. Ms Banks proved that she is a woman totally in control with her edgy and insightful set on the BBC Radio 1 Extra Stage. This 22-year-old south Londoner really gets life and totally loves and understands her audience. Her put down of security when they wouldn’t let her bring a few fans on to the stage to dance was done very firmly, tastefully and even moderately politely. I definitely want more Ms Banks in my life.
Over on the Festival Republic Stage it was time for Dream Wife. This is punk with a social conscience, but not in a po-faced kind of way. This band makes you feel that having a conscience is not only right but that it can be fun too. If Madonna had fronted Bowie’s Tin Machine back in 1989 it might have sounded like this. There was a disappointingly small crowd for Beach Riot on the BBC Introducing Stage. I suspect because people were at the Main Stage while the Wombats were on and maybe they stayed for the Kooks, well they missed out! What the crowd lacked in size they more than made up for with enthusiasm. I saw Nirvana at Reading in 1991/ 92 and I have also seen Blur at their punked up best. Beach Riot from Brighton reminded me of both. I stayed at the BBC Introducing Stage for the mighty Fizzy Blood from Leeds. This band is possibly the loudest and probably the maddest band to grace this stage in 2018. This is some of the most entertaining, guitar shredding rock that you will ever hear.
It was three in a row at the BBC Introducing Stage for me because there was absolutely no way that I was going to miss Doncaster’s the Blinders. They are a politically charged force with front man, guitarist and full on perpetual psychedelic motion machine Tom leading the charge. He has the same level of starey menace conjured up by Jordan of Avalanche Party. Bass player Charlie looks a little like Nick Cave and moves like Bruce Foxton in the early days of the Jam. Meanwhile Matty on the drums is a monumentally punktastic human metronome. If the Blinders do not become massive then there is something wrong with the world. Anything I saw next was probably not going to match the Blinders, but the day wasn’t over so I headed over to a totally rammed Pit/ Lock Up Stage for Utah’s the Used still going very strong fifteen years since their first album, they are now on their seventh, ‘The Canyon’. This was an emotional, gut wrenching journey through some timeless songs and included a great cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. That is a cover that only a few acts can pull off and the Used did Cobain proud.
Bad Sounds were next on the Festival Republic Stage and obviously the name is amusingly ironic because every noise they make is great. Like a laboratory created hybrid of punk and hip hop with a side order of the Flaming Lips there are not many bands like this out there right now. The nucleus of Bad Sounds are brothers Ewan and Callum Merrett. Their songs are spectacularly hook laden and their core fans knew every word. “Zacharia” had the energy of a gallon of Red Bull. Death From Above (when did they drop the 1979?) have been around since 2001 although they broke up in 2006 before reforming in 2011. They aired six songs from their current album “Outrage! Is Now” and the set showcased their pile driving punk, electronica and modern metal credentials with a nod to Muse and Biffy Clyro. “Nomad” has the power cranked up to 11 and is designed to tear down walls. I am so glad that these Canadians are not only still with us but that they are still producing classy music. I was never a big fan of the Horrors but they have become something quite different over the years, their most recent album ‘V’ is a staggeringly good collection of songs, many of which were aired in their set which closed proceedings on the Festival Republic Stage. However while it was a good performance it didn’t rise to greatness for me. This was my last day at the Leeds Festival for 2018, I must apologise for this, but having seen the amount of rain forecast for the Sunday I decided to quite while I was still quite dry! But I will be back next year!
Public Service announcement: apart from the branded festival poster pics all the pictures were taken by me on my cheap Chinese phone. The videos are all sourced from YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like me to credit you or take it down please get in touch.