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Leeds Festival 2009

1 September 09 words: Jared Wilson
Arctic Monkeys, The Prodigy, Faith No More, Gossip,Gallows, Kings of Leon, Scorzayzee, Petebox, Lovvers and more
LeftLion representing at Leeds Festival 2009
LeftLion representing at Leeds Festival 2009. See a full Leeds Festival Gallery.


We got to the festival site at about 3pm on the Friday this year, earlier than usual for us, but still not early enough to have time to set up your tent, get into the arena, buy a programme and have time to see the likes of former Nottingham Trent student John Berkavitch doing his spoken word thing (which is always highly entertaining) and Notts very own beatboxing legend Petebox (who assures us the gig went very well without us), on the Alternative Stage. Pity we missed them, but don’t be too disappointed as there is plenty more Nottinghamia to come!

On the plus side while we were dragging our tents and boxes of beer from the car to the campsite, we did meet two top fellas who were empty handed and kind enough to offer to help share our load. We got talking to them and it turned out they were there as guests of The Prodigy. I stared at one of them a bit intently and realised I recognised him. Turns out it was Kelly George, a veteran actor of Grange Hill and RocknRolla fame. A really nice bloke and a helpful courier too! Who says those child acting stars aren’t well-grounded?

Ian Brown at Leeds Festival 2009
Ian Brown at Leeds Festival 2009. See a full Leeds Festival Gallery.

By the time made it into the arena the uber-dull Courteeners were on. Maybe we’re judging them too harshly from only hearing a few minutes of their set, but their run of the mill indie whining didn’t entice us to stick around, so we explored a bit of the festival site instead. That was until king monkey himself Ian Brown came on. I’m a big fan of his albums (and of course the Stone Roses too) but I’m also amazed that a man who displays so little talent as a live singer has made such a good career out of it. Still, the likes of Fools Gold, FEAR and Corpses were great to hear again anyway, if a tad out of tune.

We then caught a bit of Maximo Park on the main stage (the kindest thing I can say about them is that i'm not a fan) before heading off to the Lock Up Stage to see The Bronx, a lively five piece punk act from California who did make me want to hear more. Unfortunately for them The Prodigy were on the main stage, so like many others we left to go and see Liam, Maxim, Keef and co send the crowd mental. The Prodge were brilliant as ever, mixing new tracks like Take Me to the Hospital with classics like Out of Space and Breathe. Even the chavvy blokes from Mansfield next to us in the pit who were aggressively trying to pull women and piss on people couldn’t spoil it for us. Especially as my missus elbowed one of them really hard in the windpipe after he made a rather ill-judged move on her. Haha serves you right you twat!

Then we caught the beginning of the Arctic Monkeys headline set and were impressed by the energy of their new material. It’s not an easy act to follow The Prodigy and to be honest they didn’t quite pull it off. But the majority of the packed Leeds crowd might not have agreed as they just seemed pleased to see the Yorkshire boys come home. We left the Monkey’s set halfway through to catch the (half an hour late on stage) Gossip. Again, I’m not a big fan of their music myself, but it’s hard not to appreciate their show. Especially when Beth Ditto was clearly making an effort to look like Matt Lucas auditioning for a part in the Rocky Horror Show. Top marks for poor application of make-up there!


Le Donk screening at Leeds Festival
Le Donk screening at Leeds Festival.
See a full Leeds Festival Gallery.

We started off Saturday rather pleasantly by parking our camping chairs in the Alternative Stage to see a screening of Shane Meadows latest film Le Donk. A bloody good film it was too – with Paddy Considine and Notts own Scorzayzee sharing top billing in a film about a couple of losers who get a chance to make it big by supporting the Arctic Monkeys at Old Trafford.

After the screening Warp Films Mark Herbert and Scorzayzee did a brief Q&A, which consisted of about five minutes of talking and a good ten minutes of freestyle raps by Scorz. He revealed to us that his long-awaited debut album has been finished and should be in the shops by the turn of the year. That’s a big one for all UK hiphop heads to look forward to!

After this we stuck around to watch some comedy, which was all highly entertaining. Host Dave Twentyman had a ‘Paddy from Max and Paddy’ charm and Jamie Kilstein did an amusing set containing offensive letters he had written to the US Military. This was, however, just build up to the crowd favourite that was Tim Minchin. Like a crossbreed of Russell Brand and Bill Bailey, he performed songs like I really love boobs and Only a ginger can call another ginger ginger to the most packed crowd the tent saw all weekend.

We then caught some of the melodic emo-rock of Brand New, before heading back to the tent for a nap in preparation for seeing Gallows on the NME Stage. We were glad for the rest too as frontman Frank Carter was on particularly fine form shouting instructions at the crowd to form a circle pit, like an obsessive compulsive human traffic warden. If there are a better punk band around in the UK at the moment I haven’t seen them! As always they know how to rock a crowd and the invasion of the stage at the end of the set from US touring partners AFI was very amusing too, particularly as one of them ended up having his pants pulled down (twice) on stage by our Frank.

Radiohead at Leeds Festival 2009
Radiohead at Leeds Festival 2009. See a full Leeds Festival Gallery.

We also caught a brief snatch of Bloc Party, just before the two-hour headline set from Radiohead began. Thom Yorke and co have created what is, without a doubt, one of the most innovative British bands of the last few decades. But like most of the crowd we were eager to hear more tracks from The Bends and OK Computer and less from their seemingly hundreds of ‘experimental’ albums since. We were a bit disappointed to only get the likes of Just, Nice Dream and Paranoid Android thrown to us as bones (still no sign of them ever playing Creep, Fake Plastic Trees or Street Spirit again). But on the flipside you have to respect their ‘bollocks to pleasing the crowd’ stance and we’re cerainly glad we saw them.


Lovvers at Leeds Festival 2009
Lovvers at Leeds Festival 2009. See a full Leeds Festival Gallery.

Sunday started with a brief glimpse of Madina Lake on the main stage, who came across okay to someone who has never considered giving them a listen before. Then came a set from Alexisonfire (who we think were the only band to play twice this year with another set in the Lock Up stage later that evening).

We then headed back to the Alternative Stage to soak in some comedy from Neil Delamere and Sarah Millican, both of whom were rather entertaining. Then we caught The Deftones on the main stage, who were good, but probably on about four hours too early for the crowd to really get into the spirit of their screamy mosh rock. We then sat through a bit of Fall Out Boy, who I’ve warmed too a bit more over the years – that’s not to say I’m a fan, I just don’t quite have the energy to hate them like I used to.

Then came the misfortune of getting caught in the screaming teenage girl crossfire of Jack Penate (“Isn’t he lovely aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh”), before enjoying a set from Florence and The Machine on the NME Stage. Florence was on fine form even with her arm in plaster after a drunken accident at Reading and the crowd, including us, loved it. We then headed back to the main stage to see Placebo, who made us feel like it was 1997 again, even with their recent addition of a new (mental) drummer and a foxy violin player.

Placebo poster modification at Leeds Festival 2009
Placebo poster modification at
Leeds Festival 200.
See a full Leeds Festival Gallery.

We then saw sometime-Nottingham-band Lovvers headline on the BBC Introducing stage,. The band playing a tight set as lead singer Shaun did his best to alienate any potential future fanbase by turning the tables and heckling the crowd! They’ve improved a lot since I last saw them and they were good fun then too.

This was followed by catching four or five songs by Mark Laneghan’s latest dancey side project Soulsavers. For anyone not familiar with the dulcet bassy tones of the former Screaming Trees frontman, imagine putting Tom Waits’ voice into the body of Will Ferrell. Then imagine giving him a band that appeared on stage like The Shadows on speed. Bloody good fun, if a tad bizarre.

However our final act of the festival, and frankly I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, was Faith No More on the NME stage. In a surprisingly intimate set Mike Patten and co were relaxed, bubbly and eager to please. At two points during their set they tried to egg the British crowd on by playing the Eastenders theme tune and they made light work of a friendly set where they played all the classics back to back, entering to Midnight Cowboy and continuing with the likes of Midlife Crisis, I Started a Joke, Ashes to Ashes, Introduce Yourself, We Care A Lot and Easy. Bollocks to the Kings of Leon on the main stage, it was like the last thirteen years never happened for us. New album soon please Mr Patten?

Leeds Festival website


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