Kings Of Leon close curtain on Leeds Festival
Faith No More, Billy Talent and more play
While their modest light show looks feeble and low-budget compared to Radiohead and The Prodigy
earlier in the weekend, the Tennessee pretty boys brought an end to proceedings in their own inimitably soulful manner,
exuding the kind of true Rock Star quality expected of a headlining act.
A beautifully haunting intro heralds them to the stage before the raindrop-like guitar line of ‘Closer’ opens things up. Rather than leave their biggest hit ‘Sex on Fire’ to last they treat us to it half way through, howling across the site at a deafening volume.
No such humility over on the NME for Faith No More, as frontman Mike Patton conducted the audience in a mass singalong of 'Midlife Crisis', interspersed with the theme from Eastenders. The band's sense of the perverse was on full show for the band's first show in area for a decade, covering Midnight Cowboy, Patton singing half of 'Evidence' in Italian, and the frontman running up to the barrier to dance with the audience for closer 'Just A Man'; all highlights in a set which despite the disappointingly low turn out, many described as better than their infamous Download festival set earlier this Summer.
Back in the arena, fans were climbing over an ice cream van outside to reach the Main stage, leading Ben Kowalewicz from Billy Talent to quip, "Looks like we found the smart people at Leeds," over in the Lockup tent. Fans of the band's straight ahead punk rock sheltered from the crush outside, safe in the arms of poppy oldie 'Try Honesty'. Sure, there's no pits or wild mosh action going on, but 'Fallen Leaves' made a perfectly good, if subdued, end to Leeds on the Lockup.
If there’s a band who got the crowd revelling in the mud it’s Kaiser Chiefs. These hometown heroes seemed fully-charged, tearing through ‘I Predict A Riot’ to a deafening response. “I don’t suppose the miserable bastards in Reading heard that,” states Ricky Wilson to a huge Leeds cheer. “Next year we’ll be headlining” he says, before firing up the crowd with an ego-massaging “Kaiser! Chiefs!” chant, utilising their brightly-lit backdrop for maximum effect. Visibly beaming with pride Wilson gushes “this is my favourite band in the world – I fucking love Kaiser Chiefs” before ‘Oh My God’ ends a triumphant performance from a few local lads still pinching themselves that they’ve made it this far.
Battling with an increasingly breezy Main Stage, Deftones thrashed out a commendable greatest hits set, bassist Sergio Vega seeming a more than capable replacement for the hospitalised Chi Cheng, gnashing his teeth to a storming ‘Root’ and ‘My Own Summer’. But despite Chino’s valiant stage-stomping it wasn’t enough to sway a sparse, disinterested crowd. It took the emo-rock of Fall Out Boy to fill the arena, the band diving straight into ‘Sugar We’re Going Down’ and almost being drowned out by the collective lungs in front of them. With no backdrop and amps hidden from view, the songs were allowed to shine, mesmerising the mostly younger audience before the heavens opened and we were given the second drenching of the weekend.
The evening on the NME stage kicked off in style with the skin-tight garage rock of The Horrors. Despite her hand being a bit worse for wear after an accident yesterday, the bright haired Florence from Florence and The Machine's was still shaking along to 'Dog Days', her truly amazing vocals more of a gift to the crowd than they were a belated birthday treat for her. The clip-clopping indie-rock is in full swing, as Friendly Fires' more cowbell made for a dance-riffic stomp in the mud. Charismatic cocky cockney Jamie T is surrounded by bellowing fans as the NME tent echoes with 'If You Got the Money'. However, it's 'Shelia' that was the crowning glory of tonight's set - even devout northerners are screaming "London" along to the chorus.
The Bouncing Souls continued their 20th anniversary celebrations in a Lockup tent of old school fans eager for their rousing gang punk. The besuited Greg Attonito may make a stiff frontman, making this set for the faithful only - but it's testament to his humble charisma that he made sure he shook hands with everyone on the barrier after a triumphant 'Gone'. The second set of the day from Alexisonfire brings them into more familiar surroundings - the packed out Lockup stage - for a crowd-pleasing set that really deserved headline billing. Aside from treating fans to rareity 'Water Wings' and a guest appearance of Chris #2 on a glorious 'This Could Be Anywhere In The World', slow-burning closer 'Happiness By The Kilowatt' truly lives up to its name, George Pettit prowling around the stage as Chris Steele threw his bass around to the song's blistering climax. That's not to say that Anti-Flag themselves didn't prove themselves to be just as worthy, despite the relative emptiness of the tent after Alexisonfire. In one of the most heart-warming punk sets of the weekend, 'Die For Your Government' and 'The People Or The Gun' see the band in the mood for unity, paying tribute to Bouncing Souls and Leftover Crack, and genuinely supportive of fans not there because of "what MTV told us to be, but what we choose to be".