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Leeds Festival 2019: The Review, Including Foo Fighters, The 1975 and more!

Following a weekend consisting of copious amounts of takeaway noodles and weirdly sunny weather, I’ve rounded up and reviewed a handful of the lineup for this year’s Leeds fest.

The 1975

Right from the opening consisting of the ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ version of their self-titled theme track, there’s an elusive spark of excitement in the air – one which explodes as they delve into their newest track ‘People’, that sees them explore a more electronic side of their sound. Having debuted only the day before, it’s challenging, argumentative and slightly whimsical nature made for a fitting introduction to their set; inducing head bobs and curiosity in the crowd, rather than the familiar buzz which was soon induced as they began “Give Yourself A Try”.  The first shift in the atmosphere occurred at their rendition of ‘Loving Someone’, with Matty’s preceding thoughts inviting the crowd to indulge in a more contemplative mood. “I kissed a boy in Dubai the other week,” he ponders. “To be honest, it was a beautiful moment.

When you see that, as a human, your natural inclination is to think, ‘that’s nice’ but sometimes, to simplify it, governments are dickheads and they get involved in those sort of things when really, they should leave you and your lovely genitals alone to do with what you want. I really liked that boy, and I’m pretty sure he liked that kiss, so it’s not me that needs to change. It’s the world that needs to change.” Followed by the grand display of the LGBT flag, the intimacy between Healy and the crowd during this track was moving. Piercing, almost. Next comes a nicely timed ‘A Change Of Heart’, continuing the nostalgically contemplative mien of this part of the evening. Towards the end of their set, old favourites such as the cheekily infectious ‘Girls’ and head-banging “Sex” make an appearance – while the fizzy “The Sound” concludes the show. 

The 1975 started off as a punky-pop covering band, which have transcended into something completely different, yet with the all-too-similar addictiveness. You can’t help but appreciate that they know how to put on a show – whether you like them or not. 

Foo Fighters

The sheer fact that the Foos are still headlining huge festivals – the fourth time for Leeds, in fact – 25 years after their debut , should be commended. Dave Grohl has still got it; his capacity for rockin’ and rollin’ is unmatched to any other, and remains un-dampened with age. Usually, when a band keeps coming back to major festivals like this, their crowd gets increasingly smaller and the novelty wears off… However, this isn’t the case at all with Grohl & Co. They’re still playing to tens of thousands of people in packed-out arenas (and fields alike), and with this comes an overwhelming sense of reverence. It was a three-hour rock profusion which encompassed all of their classics, ranging from their 1995 debut to ‘Concrete and Gold’ (2017). One of the most bizarre moments was a random man parachuting during “Learning to Fly”, prior to a man dressed up as Freddie Mercury getting on stage, only to perform a rendition of ‘Under Pressure’ alongside the band. The comedown from the head-banging worthy first part of their set arrived midway through the show, when Grohl’s daughter, Violet, strolled timidly onto the stage to perform a touching duet of “My Hero”… Overall, it was a healthy merging of rockin’ and rollin’, with tender moments.

Crystal Fighters 

Nearly ten years back, the niche Crystal Fighters started playing their first gigs at half-full warehouse parties across London in their very early days. Fast forward to now, where hundreds of us huddle together in an absolute sweatfest, dying to witness their ever-evolving tendencies and a truly spiritual experience which accompanies these tendencies. As they disperse onto stage, all colour and vivacious energy, an electrically charged explosion of beats and rhythms becomes intertwined in the crowd; immediately initiating an ebb and flow in our seemingly slow-motion jump up and downs. It was magical. 

Let’s Eat Grandma

Throatily executed lyrics and tranquil undertones sum up LEG’s sludge-pop spectacle at Leeds. Moodier tracks such as ‘Hot Pink’ at the beginning of their set invited a series of sways and bops, its quiet opening synth chords acting as a catalyst of easing the crowd into the track, before picking up the pace in the last minute and its twittering, high-pitched sounds come in, inducing a singalong within the crowd, as the vocal repetition of “Hot pink!” continuously streams throughout the tent.  

The Hunna

They seem cool, but I suppose that something can only be described as ‘cool’, given that it’s original and worthily distinctive, no? All of the oddballs are cool, to me. The quirky ones. Therefore, I don’t think that The Hunna really satisfy the unspoken definition, despite their loyal following of almost exclusively indie-cindy mid teens being heavily inclined to disagree with this. The band’s notably unimaginative style which admittedly, is comparable to any other given, average indie-rock band, betrays their ability to ignite any excitement within the crowd. Because they know what to expect. They know that they’re not gonna tear shit up, but rather, carefully dissect their lyrics of utter genericness. And this is boring. 

The Night Cafe

What I absolutely love about The Night Cafe, is that they’re normal lads. Normal scouse lads who are just best mates, writing good music, and having the best time while they’re at it. Having garnered a huge following, mostly in Liverpool, they’ve recently released an 18-track album which is simply put, incredible. They deserve more recognition around the world, and there’s no doubt about it. Starting their set with a track from their new album, the audience timidly swayed together until it got to the point where their more upbeat, old school songs such as ‘Mixed Signals’ were played, which set off the first mosh pit of their set, and a grin of recognition at the track, on everyone’s faces. A perfect mix of old/new and nostalgia/moshpit-worthy alike, they smashed it as usual. I wish that they were on for longer.