ATP! Live Review: Live Review: Saturday @ Leeds Festival, UK (08/29/2014)
Reading and Leeds Festivals. Arguably the twin pillars of British youth culture and, for those over the age of 21, something you either love or you (pretend to) hate. It’s almost impossible to talk about a UK festival without comparing it to those in America so for a quick lowdown, it basically goes like this: The British counterparts have a lot more young people drinking. It’s impossible not to notice, as the drinking age is just 18. Then you have the fact that it’s far less insular. You’re much likely to get diversity among the nationalities of bands playing. Finally – the weather almost always sucks in the UK...but you probably knew that.
Each event happens over three days, rotating the bill across the same weekend. We hit good old Leeds on the Saturday to catch everybody from Jimmy Eat World to Paramore and, boy, were we in for a treat…
Gerard Way may have taken to the stage at a pretty tender hour, considering many people would have been up until the small hours partying; but that didn’t stop any of his fans (read: the MCRmy), and the simply curious from waiting in anticipation for him to play. It’s something he’s certainly aware of as he rocks out to greet us, complete with flame red hair and an electric blue suit, evidently both surprised (we’re sure this is genuine) and full of gratitude. With a 30 minute set that has the audience engaged throughout, it’s a definite possibility that he’ll do pretty well and find himself WAY further up next year – no pun intended. It might be too soon to play anything from his former venture, but in fairness he doesn’t strictly have to. Yes, these opportunities smack of a certain ‘nepotism’ from what came to be his parent band, and no, there may never again be anything quite as good as My Chemical Romance, but his solo material carries its own weight, too.
La Dispute are one of those bands that you can easily lose yourself in the moment to – on record, they’re sheer brilliance. And yet, for some reason, their live set never quite achieves what you want it to. It’s not that they don’t carry to live performance - as one of the best lyricists of our generation, frontman Jordan Dreyer packs an impressive punch, as does the entire band. Despite their obvious talents and all-round incredibleness, for some unknown reason, it never seems to translate the way you hoped and you can’t put your finger on it. Perhaps this is just an error of a band with such versatility - the song choices are never quite what you need at the time.
Party boys Enter Shikari take to the Main Stage with what looks like a swarm already waiting for them to start. With their distinctive crossover sound, they’re a band who achieve things that others may find a hapless task – appealing to fans of every genre. It’s no mean feat, but someone’s got to do it – and they did. Whilst newer tracks go down well, it’s the now classic "Sorry You’re Not A Winner" that really catches everyone’s attention. (Clap Clap Clap!) Of course, it wouldn’t be Shikari without some deep and meaningful crowd interaction, touching on some truly important social issues, but in this case it’s nicely interspersed with some really random action from the masses. They may have been around a while and suffered their dips, but there’s nothing stale in this triumphant performance. Ridiculous… but in the very best way.
We don’t know a whole lot about this girl, other than that she’s awesome. At a festival with literally hundreds of acts scheduled across the day, you’re literally spoiled for choice. As a result, someone new catching your eye can be incredibly difficult to manage, but Rebecca Clements manages exactly that from her humble spot on the BBC Introducing stage. With her dialect-laden singer-songwriting tones gracing the small crowd growing around her, her evident shyness resonates – and yet, this girl has talent, vocally, on piano and guitar. A truly beautiful aural experience.
Oh, Brody. Brody, Brody, Brody. How does one get to be as kick ass as you, please?! The woman is fierce as ever as she just about blows the roof off the Lock Up tent in which she’s playing. A throaty, gravelly voice and a shock of white blonde hair makes her instantly recognisable, as she charges through a striking, snarling set. She’s pretty much been a punk-rock icon since her Distillers days, but she’s nowhere near done with yet, don’t you worry.
Jimmy Eat World
Jimmy Eat World played not one, but TWO sets today for the soaking wet masses, much to everyone’s delight. The second of the two sets somewhat delightfully allowed us to catch their fifth album, Futures, in its entirety. To celebrate the ten year anniversary of this now classic record, the tent is pretty much packed out, with overspill everywhere creating a rather messy effect. ‘Pain’ and ‘Work’ of course go down especially well, but the not-so-festival-like ‘23’ manages to find its rather more sombre feet amongst the fans. Whilst it might be ‘Futures’ which has everyone hanging out hanging on their every word, following up with ‘Sweetness’ and ‘The Middle’ is a pretty good choice that nobody’s complaining about.
Okay, how much time have you got for this one? The rest of the day was great, sure, but this is Paramore’s night, Paramore’s time to shine. Although the crowd is shockingly smaller than one might expect, it’s a crowd who’s packed out to see one little lady (namely, Miss Hayley Williams), alongside the incredible Jeremy Davis and Taylor York. The band that is, no-introduction-needed-but-we’ll-say-it-again-anyway PARAMORE. This is the first time a female fronted band have ever headlined Leeds, and we couldn’t be prouder.
Whilst their set sticks pretty rigidly to that which the super-fans have come to expect from the summer’s long run on Monumentour, it’s one that’s been selected painstakingly nonetheless to have maximum impact. Opening the show with the fun, super catchy "Still Into You," spirits are soaring high from the outset. The hits, as you’d expect, all came out to play (think "Misery Business" (with a fan onstage, duh), "Ignorance," "Decode," and so on), but there were some extra special treats thrown in for good measure. Highlights include "Let The Flames Begin" (complete with outro), nicely following into "Part 2," which fans will know flows oh-so-perfectly, telling the history of a band who’ve achieved so much together.
"The Only Exception," whilst sadly not complete with the spur-of-the-moment acoustic-ness of the previous night’s Reading Festival gets everyone swaying, and by the time "Last Hope" is resonating, any of our hope for dry eyes in the house (er, field) goes straight out of the window; emotions unsurprisingly running pretty high. These gems may not be typical ‘festival’ numbers, but a band this big commands attention no matter they style they’re playing, so they pull it off - a fact you can’t dispute.
It wouldn’t be Paramore without their power to manipulate our feelings (in the BEST way), and so when they close with "Ain’t It Fun," we’re once again back into the party spirit. Yet , we can’t supress somehow feeling a jumbled cocktail of sentiments when Hayley brings out her sister to the stage and we have to deal with the fact that, in spite of our dancing and the confetti cannon that’s going off, it’s time for them to leave our shores once again. Awe-inspiring… but then, what did you expect?
Words by Claire Louise Sheridan