Live at Leeds certainly could not have chosen a better band to kick-start the day with. The Wardrobe was filled to maximum capacity and Talbot strutted on stage to greet both cult-fans and newbies. There were plenty of people there clearly taking a keen interest to see what IDLES had to offer as the opening act of the festival and no doubt, everyone was left breathless. As IDLES orchestrated their hour-long revolution in the dark, cramped 4 walls, fans grew even more animated in their movements. With each of the five boisterous band members launching themselves at the crowd, there’s no surprise fans had to temporarily leave the centre to gasp for air.
It was a politically-charged performance that sent shivers down the back of spines and sent some leaving in disgust at Talbot’s incessant spitting. IDLES exhibited a certain fervour not yet seen in any other band currently in the music industry. As sweat utterly saturated Kiernan’s mop and Bowen’s pristine moustache, the zeal that was so potently thrusted upon the sea of drenched fans left their throats dry and their palms invigorated with adrenaline.
For me, IDLES gave the best live performance of the entire day.
It is no secret that Peace’s still fairly recent comeback has awakened memories cider drinking in the sun; the nostalgia of when indie-rock was in its prime. Such a mentality was so incredibly raw at the set that Peace performed at the O2 Academy. It didn’t matter that you were surrounded by complete and utter strangers because Peace instilled a calm, accepting and incredibly magical ambience which vibrated through every open space in the room.
Harrison Koisser’s vocals were absolutely flawless as he guided his adoring fans through both classics such as ‘Money’ and ‘California Daze’ as well as songs from their new album Kindness Is The New Rock and Roll. Their performance of ‘From Under Liquid Glass’ felt as though it really resonated with the audience as fans already knew the words and were hanging onto every note as Koisser gave an immensely emotional production.
With ‘1998’ and ‘Wraith’ undoubtedly being their greatest songs of the set, both of which sent the crowd into frenzied mosh pits and screeching, Peace really showed they are finally back and are here to stay.
The Howl and the Hum
The Brudenell Social Club provided the perfect blue-washed and disco-ball lit backdrop for this peculiar quartet’s dystopian dances. There was nothing else like The Howl & The Hum at Live at Leeds. Time and time again, song and song again, this awe-inspiring quartet of pure madness, intelligent lyricism and lingering licks never failed to leave jaws dropped open in admiration.
It’s almost as if Ginsberg, Paul Simonon and a child’s TV presenter all decided to form a modern band. We never quite know just what’s going on, but we just know we want to be part of it.
As frontman Griffiths ushered the audience through a fictional state by his compelling and imaginative lyricism coupled with his extravagant body flinches leaving him sprawled out on the floor, this experience was so unbelievably intense and captivating that for just 30 minutes, The Howl & The Hum created a whole new reality.
Blaenavon were truly intriguing from the very moment each of the three members strolled onto the University Stylus stage. A very refreshing air of humility radiated from the trio although, and, had they been ostentatious, we’d have completely understood why. The sheer amount of energy and genuine care that infiltrates every movement of each of the members made their performance striking.
Frontman and lead guitarist Ben Gregory was particularly dazzling with his distinct and fairly unusual vocals which embellished his effortless guitar playing. With Frank on bass and Harris on drums, it was very clear from their first note that these thrilling musicians work together as a cohesive unit to produce songs that are not only disparate from what the majority of current indie bands are writing but are also freshly insightful.
With dark and ethereal lighting to showcase Blaenavon’s performance alongside fans that reflected an impressive vivacity from start to finish, this band proved to be one of the very best at this year’s Live at Leeds Festival.