Leeds Festival 2011 review

'A tale of youthful enthusiasm overcoming nature's misery.'

Leeds Festival 2011 review

Photographer: Sara BowreyGavin McInally on 28 August 2011

Leeds Festival and its southern twin Reading, rightfully, have been landed with the reputation of being the riotous cousins of the festival family tree but this weekend proves that even when Mother Nature herself aims to dampen the party, some defiant teen spirit is exactly what's required to triumph.

Blackened skies hover above Leeds all weekend until the swamp underfoot becomes an exercise regime walking between stages, high winds make gazebos deadly prospects in the campsite by Sunday afternoon and short lived sunny bursts only torture revellers further with a glimpse of what might have been.

But Leeds isn't an event which demands brandy and slippers by the log fire, it's far more of a warm Carling and Calor Gas effort and the wellies fit snuggly enough to negotiate the tightest of sites and enjoy a line-up which although lacks geniune headliners - Muse (8/10) aside - has an impressive undercard for fans to get their teeth into.

UK fast-rising hardcore kids Your Demise (7/10), English poet Frank Turner (7/10), the heart-warming Elbow (8/10) and a festival farewell by The Streets (8/10) are stand-out points during Friday before an 'Origin of Symetry' focussed showing by Muse rounds off proceedings with a refined pomp and sense of occasion that the Devon trio are reknowned for.

Green space is searched for, discovered and cherished on on Saturday as the organisers' appreciated attempts to resurface the swamp with hay prove futile.

A metal friendly Main Stage featuring scene kids Architects (7/10), the Welsh polished pop hardcore The Blackout (6/10), American chart hugging punks New Found Glory (6/10), Jagermeister poster boys Bring Me The Horizon (8/10), the jawdropping Deftones (9/10) and original pranksters The Offspring (8/10) is the perfect rememdy to such dreary conditions. This is all before the Holywood glamour of 30 Second To Mars (8/10) and apt young rebellion of My Chemical Romance (7/10) cap an energtic day Leeds and Reading bookers should be applauded for.

For anyone over the age of 19, The Vaccines (8/10), Noah and the Whale (7/10) and White Lies (7/10) are the choice picks from under the canvas of the NME Tent.

Sunday's Main Stage is a slog until Madness (7/10) lighten the mood with with their ska-pop classics. However, American geek rockers Jimmy Eat World (5/10) are faced with a wall of apathy and The National (7/10) hardly face anyone at as their high main stage billing fails to pay off.

Elsewhere, Glassjaw (6/10) and Rival Schools (9/10) roll back the years with sets jammed with Kerrang! favourites from 2001 and Irish post-rock kings And So I Watch You From Afar (9/10) stake a unlikely claim for set of the weekend.

As night falls, rotating headliners The Strokes (8/10) and Pulp (7/10) welcome the masses back on site for a series of well rehearsed sing-a-longs, writing another successful chapter into the Leeds' history books, which will tell a tale of youthful enthusiasm overcoming nature's misery.


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