Let me kick off with the whole split Main Stage thing at Reading and Leeds. What is the point of having two main stages? Surely whoever plays last is effectively the headliner. Does it sell more tickets? Or is it an ego stroke for bands and singers? Or maybe it is something else entirely, I would love to hear your views. Anyway, enough of a bit of ranting let me tell you who I saw on day 1. First up was Mall Rat on the Main Stage East. Mall Rat came all the way from Australia and maybe this is what Kylie might have sounded like had she emerged now rather than back in the 80s. Mall Rat mentioned that she was hot and to be fair it was pretty warm, but she was wearing some kind of woolly mittens, what was that all about? I thought “Are You High?” is a striking pop dance track. The clouds on her rolling logo screen had clouds shaped like Care Bears, so I should insert an “aaaahhh” here right? It is still a bit weird watching just one person on stage singing to backing tracks, but to be fair Mall Rat has some great tunes. Next, it was a trip to the Main Stage West for the K’s, these lads have some top songs and they are getting better and better musically. I reckon that they are potential future Reading/ Leeds headliners, hopefully, by then we will have reverted to a single Main Stage. The K’s have the power, passion, and skill that will lead to them becoming the band that Oasis probably wanted to be but never were.
I saw Dylan at the Latitude Festival a few weeks ago and she was bloody good, so I had to catch her at Leeds, where she opened the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage, not quite sure why she was on the Dance Stage. I think Dylan will be huge, she has a great core following and I am sure she picked up a lot of new fans with this set. Once again she did a snippet of a great cover of “Paradise City”. And just like at Latitude “You’re Not Harry Styles” went down an absolute storm! I paid my first visit to the BBC Introducing Stage next for Boy Bleach, a great festival discovery for me. Hard glam punk with a wonderful overlay of camp. This was a belting full-on performance. This included kind of band uniforms of tartan ties and white shirts adorned with slogans, such as “Tax The Rich” and “Destroy”. “So Good” is a fabulous song, but “Bullet” is anthemic punk for Generation Z. On top of that, the cover of Britney Spears’s “Toxic” was an explosive banger. A truly awesome band. A short hop to the Festival Republic Stage next for Daisy Brain, the alias of Will Tse. This is grungey slacker rock of the finest order. There’s some Graham Coxon, some Dinosaur Jr and maybe even some Pavement and Nirvana too. But above all, there were megatons of Daisy Brain originality. This was a spectacularly good set and I am now proper looking forward to the release of the Daisy Brain EP later this year.
I stayed at the Festival Republic Stage for The Native from Plymouth. They are purveyors of melodic and emotional power pop with a punchy rock edge. This band knows how to write a great song. In particular “Looking Back” is something very special, from the harmonies to the screaming guitar solo. The Native were clearly well up for this appearance! Bradford’s Bad Boy Chiller Crew were on Main Stage West. This bunch put on a British rap and hip hop party, but I didn’t really feel it. A bit like Goldie Lookin’ Chain with nowhere near as much humour. I trudged over to Main Stage East for the phenomenal Pale Waves. When they first arrived on the scene they were considered as another indie band, but they are so much more than that. The songs from the new album, ‘Unwanted’ testify to that. Front woman Heather Baron- Gracie is a real performer and she works the crowd wonderfully well. The band are incredibly tight, especially drummer Ciara. This was another stonking set from Pale Waves. I managed to catch the tail end of Belfast based rapper Emby’s set on the BBC Introducing Stage. Wow, can anyone else spit rhymes and ciphers as clear and as fast as this bloke? Somehow I don’t think so, he was bloody good and I need to hear more of his stuff.
I stayed at the BBC Introducing Stage for DIY Welsh punksters Panic Shack. Incredible songs from a fantastic band. If the Tuts, the Spice Girls and the Runaways had been cloned and spliced then I am sure that they would become Panic Shack. The co ordinated moves were entertaining and skillfully exercised. I love the humour and fun that Panic Shack convey, and obviously the fab tunes too. I want more Panic Shack in my life please. My final act of the day was Crawlers from Liverpool on the Festival Republic Stage. Their songs are impassioned, heartfelt, funky and punky. Another great band and what a stunner of a show! OK why is this my last act of day 1, well I had a prior commitment to whizz back to the Fulford Arms in York to see Ginger Wildheart and I sure as hell wasn’t going to miss that for the 1975. Obviously if Rage Against The Machine hadn’t pulled out I would definitely have stayed at the Leeds Festival!
All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.
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