Leeds 2001 Review – Saturday

[L-Zone1]After a sleepless night spent listening to the campsite chorus of ‘Bollox’ and ‘Tim-meh!’ it’s surprising that so many make the main stage in time for Mary Ann Hobbs to tell us what’s in store. Announcing the line up Green Day get a big cheer, but at the mere mention of Travis there’s an embarrassingly stony silence and it takes The Donnas to reignite everyone’s interest. More credible than also rans Hole and L7, they demonstrate their aptitude for Ramones-esque classic punk, rriot gurl behaviour and of course the video screens don’t fail to miss the drummer’s ample chest jiggling up and down.

Up next are self confessed shambling stoners the Lo-Fi Allstars, whose mop top keyboardist is so into the groove that he needs little bits of sticky tape on the keyboard to tell him where to put his fingers. Awww. They cover Jamiroquai’s ‘Space Cowboy’ and the laid back funky sound is eminated by Tahiti 80 on the Carling stage, who are busy winning over a horde of new fans. These are the band who gave us the breezy cantina rock classic ‘Yellow Butterfly’, theme to XFM’s dancing radio ads and the opener of today’s set.

Perhaps the most dissappointing gig of the weekend comes courtesy of the Eels. It’s a lifeless performance that lacks sparkle and disregards the needs of the audience who have actually paid good money to come here for a good time. Even a bizarre cover of Missy Elliot’s ‘Get U’r Freak On’ fails to raise a smile.

[R-Zone2]The unannounced arrival of The Strokes [transferred at the last minute to from the tent to the main stage] is a welcome relief, even though Julian Casablancas doesn’t look comfortable at all in front of what’s probably been their biggest audience ever played. There’s nothing going on here that we haven’t seen before, many of their tunes pilfering beats and riffs straight from classic rock of the late 70’s early 80’s.

[L-Zone3]They’ve painted up their drum skin with their logo, like all the bands did ‘in the old days’ – indeed this retro cool image is such a big element of the whole Strokes experience that you’re left wondering wheher this as all just a big Monkees style set up. As for the audiences reaction – some are proudly showing off the T-shirt already, whilst the others are either wondering who this band are and what happened to Iggy Pop, or puzzled to know where is the revolution that we were promised? It would more likely have happened if the band were left to play a smaller tent as originally planned.

A converge of holey fishnets and feather boas gather at the evening session stage soon afterwards to watch King Adora. There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said, lead singer looks like Richey Manic, sings like Frank Black – but we’re not quite tired of it yet. Their set is as always geared toward quality not quantity the highlights of which are, unsurprisingly, ‘Bionic’ and ‘Suffocate’.


Back to the main stage where PJ Harvey, resplendent in a glittering tight red dress is sticking a perfectly manicured two fingers up at the Rock Chick stereotype. Was that a blood pressure monitor strapped to her arm, or a walkman, through which she was listening to something more interesting? It’s all a bit too glossy and if you’re not getting off on her *physical* presence then you may as well have stayed at home and listened to the whole thing on a CD.

[L-Zone1]As two huge tour buses whisk Polly Jean away to somewhere more ladylike, sirens herald the arrival of Green Day, whose Peter Pan fanbase remains as young as when I was a basket case back in ’95. Waving hands and pogoing heads stretch further back than any other band has managed so far. Whilst they managed to sound as fresh as they did back in the day, the highlights were the cabaret bits – Billy Joe’s brilliant idea to form a spontaneous band from amateur musicians plucked from the crowd, and the ubiquitous drum-kit bonfire, if only to see the expressions of deep concern on the stage-crew’s faces!

[R-Zone2]Meanwhile another stalwart of a by-gone era, Evan Dando, is indulging himself in the evening session tent. The jangle pop classics such as ‘Big Gay Heart’ and ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’ come at a price, being interspersed between a set comprised mostly of songs that are probably more fun to play that to listen to. A quick peek then at Gary Numan who has attracted the biggest crowd I’ve seen in the dance tent so far. He does this by plugging the hole that seperates Rock and Dance music – and putting on a freaky display reminiscent of an 80’s sci-fi movie. man and music are ageing well.

[L-Zone3]So who’s dumb idea then, to confine Ash in a tent? With the added pressure of those avoiding the Travis-ty on the main stage it was obvious that this wasn’t going to work. The gig is stopped at least three times for danger of crowd implosion and because of this combined with Ash’s own excitement at the audience reaction, the music suffers from being rushed. ‘Do you think we should have been on the main stage?’ asks Tim during yet another stoppage, to which the crowd reply with a huge roar of approval and a chant of ‘Fuck off Travis’!

[R-Zone4]The tunes are much the same as we’ve heard during their latest tour and at Witness festival two weeks ago. ‘Free All Angels’ gets a well recieved airing, though the announcement of ‘Candy’ is met with boos from some of the crowd who disagree with the band’s decision of making this the next single. By the end of the track however, everyone has been won over by the sheer cheesiness of it all, confetti raining down over our heads.