Live review: Leeds Festival (Sunday), 25/8/13

Leeds-Festival-2013--718882100-340x280.pngRain, rain; go away; please, please, please, do as I say. No? Okay it was worth a try, the third and final day of Leeds Festival is brought to you by an absolutely bogging right through to the underpants Glaswegian with nothing but twenty quid in his back pocket and a bottle of vodka which I sneaked in with my fantastic superman onesie.

A glance at the festival lanyard suggests there are quite a few clashes today, up until now, those horrific moments had managed to be avoided for the most part – now, though, there would be dilemmas of whether to check out working class poet Jake Bugg or raucous dub step festival regulars Chase & Status, such first world problems.

In the meantime, festivities are kicked off at the Festival Republic stage checking out home born indie heroes To Kill A King, who play an incredibly tight and fun set, recapping for the most part on last year’s Word of Mouth EP.

There is a real serenity and melancholic buzz around tracks such as ‘Funeral’ and especially the sauntering and seeping ‘Howling’, both of which contrast different sides to the band; it will be interesting to see what direction they lean heavier towards on future releases.

After grabbing something to eat, 2013 fast rising psychedelic sweethearts Palma Violets provide a staunch 1960s style wake up call, opening with a chaotically endeavoured ‘Rattlesnake Highway’, the quartet let rip with an arsenal of hip shaking and foot tapping, which causes a scene of contagion with the revellers in attendance.

‘Best of Friends’ brings out a euphoric handclap spreading all the way to the back of the tent; the message of the song has pals cuddling into each other for dear life, aww shucks.

The past ten years have been fruitful ones for Johnny Marr having played and toured with both Modest Mouse and Yorkshire favourites The Cribs, both stints were largely unsuccessful and here he is again, playing under his own moniker.

Having grown up on a diet of Smiths records, it is the soothingly sarcastic guitar rhythms that are the first thing I always listen to from a Marr live show, unfortunately those are on short supply tonight, well that is until the last few songs, but we will get to that in a minute.

When Marr plays his own material, it falls all too often on deaf ears, that is not to say that tracks such as ‘The Right Right Thing’ are not strong songs or packed with excellent musicianship, it’s just, dare I say it, not what the people in this tent came to hear.

Which makes for a massive relief when Marr whips out what folk did come to check out, yes, ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’, ‘How Soon Is Now’ and ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ are all whipped out from The Smiths back catalogue to a sea of massive roars and singalongs, suddenly victory is grasped from the jaws of defeat.

First trek to the main stage is made to witness Glasgow rockers Twin Atlantic, a band that have come a long way since being bottled and heckled supporting mainstream heavyweights Blink-182 and Limp Bizkit a few years ago.

Playing a mixture of new songs and old favourites, the band quickly familiarise themselves with winning over an at first sceptical Yorkshire crowd, with anthems such as ‘Free’ and set highlight ‘Crash Land’ it was always going to be like putty in their hands.

A bruising and brutally frank rendition of ‘Yes, I Was Drunk’ could never be more apt with half of the crowd in attendance intoxicated or reflecting on what has been a fantastic weekend, as the closing chords of ‘Make A Beast of Myself’ run dry, those in attendance realise they have witnessed something special from the Scottish boys.

The past twelve months have been pretty special for Lucy Rose rising out of the shadows of her allegiances with the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club and Ben Howard to signing a contract with Columbia Records and playing integral parts at all the top festivals this summer.

This is the second year on the trot that Rose has played Leeds, last year she stuck out as one to watch in the future, this year, she encapsulates all that and is actually one of the best acts to perform over the full weekend.

There is a colloquial and genial elegance to be found in the beautiful harmonics that leaves her mouth, not one single note breaks, even when the track actually dares her to fail in the likes of ‘Night Bus’, rather than fail, Rose haunts and charms with an abundance of charming heart endearing melodies.

The weekend is rounded off with a main stage double team effort, up first are Chase & Status, now, let me get one thing straight, this is a band that I could care less about on record, but, oh my god, at a festival, these fellas really deliver one of the best live shows I have ever witnessed.

With a sound system that is swamped in swollen bass and ear laden beat drops, they have an incredibly authentic charm, especially in a setting like this, where tracks such as ‘End Credits’ and ‘Blind Faith’ cause absolute pandemonium with over 60 000 people bouncing up and down in euphoric unison.

Closing this year’s weekend is the incomparable and notorious 8 Mile superstar, Mr Slim Shady himself, Eminem.

Again, much like Chase & Status, there is no denying that Marshall Mathers will always divide opinion on record, what with his 10 year whinging about his ex bird Kim and controversial drug addictions over the years, however, when you put all that aside, effectively what you have is one of the largest and most successful landmark musicians to have appeared over the last fifty years.

Playing a vibrant mix of samples and tracks including massive 2010 hit ‘Love the Way You Lie’, 8 Mile sound track ‘Lose Yourself’ and a run through of classic ‘Stan’, which features a special appearance from Dido, Mathers leaves not a single stone unturned to ensure that even after all these years he is still the name on everybody’s lips when it comes to his live shows.

Tonight, the Real Slim Shady certainly stands up.

Until next year, this has been Leeds Festival.

Words: Chris Kelman

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