Day 2 of the Leeds Festival 2022 kicked off for me with Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes on Main Stage East. Frank and the Rattlesnakes are possibly the best live band in the country, and probably beyond, right now. Frank Carter clearly loves what he does and cares passionately about his fans and the wider festival crowd. The female mosh circles he got going were incredibly popular. But the highlight was Frank and Deano hoisted high in two separate circle pits while they carried on playing and singing. That takes balls and skill and this band has an abundance of both. I doubt that there is a more perfect band to kick off a day at this festival. Next, it was over to the Festival Republic Stage for Beauty School Drop Out. These manic LA glam metal punksters smashed it with a storming energetic set. I love this band that occasionally reminded me of Don Broco. I stayed at the Festival Republic Stage for the Scratch. This was fucked up folk music for all of us fucked up folks. This band is like an Irish Gorgol Bordello but on Lemmy levels of speed. The Scratch are definitely one of the best bands I have ever seen at a festival and also one of the oddest. There was even traditional Irish dancing going on in the mosh circle too. This was refreshingly different and bloody magnificent. I made my first visit to the BBC Introducing Stage on Saturday to see Sisi. Some of today’s R & B can be derivative and bland, but that is not Sisi. She is an ace performer and her voice has a majesty that only some of the greatest soul singers can match. Imagine the voice of Whitney Houston (in her less shouty moments) spliced with Millie Jackson’s immense soulful voice, that will give you some measure as to how good Sisi is. Witch Fever drew me back to the Festival Republic Stage. They are like a Bikini Kill for this generation. But they are even more magnificent, even more metal, and this last one might be hard to believe, but even more militant. This band wears their hearts and their beliefs on their sleeves. People should be more Witch Fever.
I stayed at the Festival Republic Stage for Scene Queen who had Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” as their entry music. For a moment that did make me think what the fuck is happening here. But oh boy this was light years from AquaThis US band put on a proper rock show “Pink Bubblegum” was good, but “Pink G String” took the roof off and was accompanied by a huge ass-slapping circle pit. Scene Queen also played a cover of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” and made it their own. I need to see this lot again. I wandered over to Main Stage West next for some of Joy Crookes set. I would say that she is almost certainly influenced by a mix of Stevie Wonder and Amy Winehouse. She has a stupendous voice and some great tunes. I decided to spend a lot of time at the Festival Republic Stage and went back there for Kid Kapichi. Someone recommended them to me at an Apollo Junction gig last year and finally, I got to see them live. The band give it their all and some. They have a party hard and play music harder attitude. In the music family tree, they might fit close to Idles and Fontaines D.C. although they have a greater handle on great pop hooks in their songs. “The Gift That Keeps On Giving” is a fabulous anti-UK government anthem, which is perfect for these strange times. It was the turn of Deadletter on the BBC Introducing Stage next. If you were to put Yard Act, Talking Heads, and Eddie and the Hot Rods into a huge blender I think the resulting output might be Deadletter. Lead singer Zac has the best of the stage presence skills of Iggy Pop and Jarvis Cocker and he is a total master of his audience. He also has that classic Ian Curtis jerky St. Vitus dance moves. But above all that perhaps the best thing about Deadletter is the sheer scale and quality of their staggeringly great songs. If they didn’t make new fans from this appearance I will eat my notepad!
I returned to the Festival Republic Stage next for a band that sounds like Muse going full-on metal, but on steroids, I give you Tigercub. The mountainous riffage and the stellar drive of the rhythm section puts a beat right in your chest that competes with your heart. Tigercub grabs you by the throat and don’t let go until you succumb to their towering tunes or when you simply melt in the mosh circle and become a part of the Tigercub ether. Caity Baser was on the BBC Introducing Stage next. She has a pop rap style that draws on Lily Allen, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry. She has a stunning voice, even though on the shouty bit of the first song the ghost of Violet Elizabeth Bott loomed large. This was one of the biggest crowds that I have ever seen at a BBC Introducing Stage at Leeds or Reading. All Time Low were on the Main Stage West and I caught some of their show. With bands like these, it kind of does what it says on the tin, just perfect pop punk. Nothing groundbreaking maybe, but fuck they are still a good band and their canon of great tunes have aged well. The first time I saw All Time Low was at Reading Festival in 2010. The Festival Republic Stage became a home from home today and I went back there for Sick Joy. This lot reincarnated the ghost of Kurt Cobain with a grunge riff tsunami. The vocals were raw and matched the excellent songs perfectly. Singer Mykl even wore a dress, which Cobain did sometimes too. Dolores Forever were next on the BBC Introducing Stage. In the opening numbers, there was a whiff of 70s Fleetwood Mac about them. But songs like “Funeral” and “Party In My Mind” took them a long way from that comparison showcasing just how original they are. The vocals are sublime throughout, especially on “Kilimanjaro”. It would be incredibly hard not to like Dolores Forever.
Tigress was the next band to occupy the Festival Republic Stage and I think it is fair to say that they have the combined power of a pack of a thousand tigresses. This was a marauding musical assault on the senses in a good way. The singer worked the disappointingly small audience really well. I guess everyone had gone off to see Little Simz, if that was you then you missed something very special by not seeing Tigress! The Festival Republic Stage was next host to Cleopatrick, a truly great name for a truly great band. This band are punk as in PUNK, they deserve to be huge. They deliver their cracking tunes with the power of a neutron bomb coated in megatons of passion. Bilk were next on the BBC Introducing Stage. These Essex lads come on like old-school 70s punks, at least musically anyway and they pull it off with style and supreme skill. “Be Someone” was my favourite song from an outstanding set. As It Is hit the Festival Republic Stage next and they hit us with molten melodic metal with hooks that Gods would sacrifice themselves for. This bunch are absolutely and officially as loud as fuck! Headlining the BBC Introducing Stage was Dan D’Lion. I sensed a range of influences from Justin Timberlake, to Jamiroquai via Plan B. But it is also crystal clear that Dan D’Lion is a rare and very special talent in his own right. What a fucking brilliant performance, he did not let up for a moment. This bloke even makes a tracksuit look cool. I would pay to see him again! Megan Thee Stallion was next with a spectacular performance. The scantily clad performer had the crowd screaming at every move, every word, every twerk, and every booty shake. She stopped the show to bring fans onto the stage to dance and I suspect some of those fans will be telling their grandchildren about that moment in years to come. I was perhaps a bit lukewarm on Megan Thee Stallion until now, she was fucking awesome! Surprise last minute guests on the Festival Republic Stage were the Interrupters a very classy LA ska punk band. The energy from this set could have powered the whole three days of the festival. “Take Back The Power” and “Raised By Wolves” were particular highlights in a set filled with banging tunes!
Incidentally, there won’t be a report on Day 3 of the Leeds Festival for me as my car decided that Sunday was the right day for a meltdown, so sadly I missed what looked like the best day of the weekend, but hopefully, normal service will be resumed next year.
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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