Leeds Festival round-up: Saturday 23 August

Saturday at Leeds was a little quieter for me – I saw seven acts in total, one of which was unplanned.  The weather was fairly good, with only a couple of heavy showers throughout the day which were, thankfully, easy to avoid.  Here are the photos I snapped:

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G E R A R D W A Y ★★★☆☆

Some of Gerard’s new songs sounded pretty decent, and I found myself tapping my foot along to them.  However, some of them seemed to miss their target for me, and I think I would need to listen to them again to be able to gauge if buying his solo album would be a good choice.

R E D F A N G ★★★☆☆

I didn’t plan on watching Red Fang, but when it started to rain I decided to camp in the NME/Radio 1 Stage until La Dispute came on.  I had no idea what to expect from these guys, but their live performance was good and I enjoyed their songs.  I’ll definitely be checking out their music now that I’m home.

L A D I S P U T E ★★☆☆☆

I expected big things from La Dispute, considering how vocal their fanbase is on social media, however I found their live performance really disappointing.  The vocals from Jordan were seriously lacking, and even though the rest of the band performed well I wouldn’t recommend seeing them live.  Also, Jordan gave himself a bloody lip after swinging the microphone into his mouth – not a particularly good omen.

D E A F H A V A N A ★★★★☆

I also expected big things from Deaf Havana, and unlike La Dispute these guys really delivered.  They had a great energy and stage presence, and the vocals were spot on throughout the set.

M A L L O R Y K N O X ★★★★☆

Mallory Knox were absolutely brilliant.  They played a nice mix of heavy and slower songs, as well as songs from both their previous album Signals and upcoming LP Asymmetry, out in October.  Mikey’s vocals were strong throughout, and I don’t think any member of the band (excluding drummer Dave, of course) stayed still for more than a couple of seconds throughout the performance – I could really tell that they were excited to be on stage.

T W I N A T L A N T I C ★★★★☆

After hearing the Scottish four piece perform live previously I didn’t have particularly high expectations for them, because they’ve performed a few lower-than-average gigs in the past.  Their performance on the NME/Radio 1 Stage, however, surprised me in how good it was.  Sam’s vocals were on point throughout, and the band were really good at getting the crowd excited.  I will definitely have to invest in their latest album.

E N T E R S H I K A R I ★★★★☆

Enter Shikari really know how to put on a show.  They played a good mix of older and new songs, as well as a preview of their latest song The Anaesthetist.  Drummer Robert’s “I met God, she’s black” t-shirt was a nice touch, as was Rou’s denouncing of racism, homophobia, sexism and misogyny between songs.

What were your Saturday highlights?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Currently listening to: Homesick (Acoustic Version)A Day To Remember

Leeds Festival round-up: Friday 22 August

I got back from my weekend in Leeds this afternoon, and I had a brilliant time!  Instead of my usual Monday and Thursday timetable, I will be posting three blogs this week rounding up each day of the festival with photos and reviews.

Friday was a fairly busy day, as I saw eight acts in total, and apart from a little bit of rain during Papa Roach’s set the weather was dry, if a little chilly.  Due to traffic I missed out on seeing Young Guns, which I was really sad about as I’ve been looking forward to seeing those guys live for a long time.  I didn’t get photographs of every act I saw, but here are the ones I managed to snap.

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P A P A R O A C H ★★★★☆

Papa Roach had an awesome stage presence, and Jacoby’s live vocals were excellent.  You could really tell that the band have been together for over 20 years – their live show was well polished and great fun to watch and listen to.

C L E A N B A N D I T ★★★☆☆

I know these guys are a little different to the music I normally write about here, but their latest album is full of feel-good summer tracks, and their live performance was a lot of fun.

N E C K D E E P ★★★☆☆

I didn’t get into Neck Deep’s performance as much as I could have done, as previous to the festival I’d never listened to their music.  However, I thought their act was well-rehearsed and you could tell that they enjoyed being on stage.  I would definitely give their music a listen.

A D A Y T O R E M E M B E R ★★★★☆

As soon as the introduction to 2nd Sucks started to play, I knew A Day To Remember would be one of my highlights of the festival.  Jeremy’s vocals could have used a little work, but overall it was an excellent performance.

Y O U M E A T S I X ★★★★☆

You Me At Six’s performance was a lot of fun, and great to sing along to.  Josh really knew how to work the crowd and get everybody involved.

K L A X O N S ★★★★☆

I found it a little strange that this act played the Radio 1 Dance Stage, as I don’t really think they were suited to that stage.  However, they made the most of it and put on a really good show.

L E T L I V E . ★★★☆☆

As with Neck Deep, I had never listened to Letlive. before seeing them live, but their lead vocalist Jason was an awesome performer and he kept the entire crowd entertained.  I’ll also be giving their music a listen on the strength of their live performance.

B L I N K – 1 8 2 ★★★★☆

Both Mark and Tom’s vocals left a little to be desired, but their on-stage banter was hilarious and they played a great range of their greatest hits and less well known album tracks.

That’s it for my round-up of Friday – check back soon for my review of the bands I saw on Saturday!

Currently listening to: Figure It OutRoyal Blood

Radio 1 Rock Week: Three exclusive gigs, three explosive line-ups

First of all, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the NCTJ for scheduling my exams on the same days as Radio 1 Rock Week.  No, really, you shouldn’t have.

Second, how exciting does this line-up look?  The Radio 1 Rock Week has a great reputation for creating awesome live gigs – last year, for instance, included great acts such as Enter Shikari, Frank Turner, Mallory Knox and Don Broco.

This year the annual celebration of rock music takes place over three nights, with three acts playing an exclusive set per night.  The line-up is as follows:

Monday 9 June:

  • Of Mice & Men
  • Architects
  • Bury Tomorrow

Tuesday 10 June:

  • Lower Than Atlantis
  • Mallory Knox
  • Marmozets

Wednesday 11 June:

  • Lonely The Brave
  • Wolf Alice
  • Slaves

Personally, I like the look of Monday’s line-up best – Of Mice & Men are one of my favourite bands at the moment.  However, Mallory Knox are returning to Rock Week for the second year in a row, which just goes to show how awesome they are to have beem given the honour again.  Plus, Lower Than Atlantis’s new single is awesome, and I’d love to hear it live.

The worst thing about these gigs is that there are only 60 pairs of tickets up for grabs at each event.  That means only 120 people will be able to witness these awesome nights, and because of my exams I won’t be one of them.  Sad face.

Thankfully all three gigs will be broadcast live from the legendary Maida Vale studios on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show, so I can listen along in my bedroom whilst pretending to revise.

If you’re lucky enough to be available during the Radio 1 Rock Week, there’s still time to apply for tickets!  More information can be found here.

Currently listening to: Closer To The Edge30 Seconds To Mars

Review: Pure Love, Lincoln Engine Rooms

I think I can speak for most Pure Love fans when I say I did not want this tour to happen.  Last night was the opening night of the band’s farewell tour, before going on “indefinite hiatus“.  The band’s first and only album, Anthems, has seen massive popularity since its release in 2013, as well as cult popularity thanks to the band’s presence on Twitter and Instagram.

Unfortunately, the band’s fate is sealed, and all that was left was to see them on their farewell tour, and have an amazing time.  (Spoiler: I had a seriously amazing time.)

Now I, personally, would have loved to see We Are The Ocean as the support act, as I saw them play with Pure Love in support of Lostprophets in 2012.  Well, that’s the line-up I imagined in my dreams anyway.

However, in reality the night started with PUP.  These guys were a lot of fun to listen to, but I didn’t think much of their lead vocalist.  Also, they’re a lot heavier than Pure Love, so they probably would have been better suited to support a heavier band.  Unfortunately my camera ran out of battery pretty quickly, so I only have one photo of their performance, and it’s a little blurry.

A photo of PUP supporting Pure Love at the Lincoln Engine Shed.

And then, on to Pure Love.  These guys were phenomenal.  Their live performance was polished and well-rehearsed, and Frank’s vocals were spot-on throughout the performance.

Performance is the only word I could use to describe this show.  The show was electric, and I think Frank and Jim spent more time in the crowd than on the stage itself.  They were literally hanging from the rafters of the venue at one point, only a couple of feet from where I was stood, which was an awesome sight to see.

During their final song, Riot Song, the entire band moved their kit from the stage to the middle of the crowd, making the performance even more intimate and getting even the most reluctant members of the crowd jumping.

All in all, last night was a concert I’ll probably never forget.  Their last gig was a perfect farewell from a brilliant, if short-lived band.I guarantee that if Pure Love ever get back together, I’ll be buying tickets to their next tour as soon as they go on sale.

Currently listening to: Smells Like Teen SpiritNirvana

Review: Memphis May Fire, KOKO London

Anyone who follows me on Twitter or who’s read this blog will know how obsessed I am with Memphis May Fire at the moment.  I reviewed their latest album, Unconditional, about a month after I picked up tickets to see them play at London’s KOKO, and all that did was fuel my excitement even further.

Before the gig I headed to Drop Dead, as the band were holding a signing.  Unfortunately I don’t have any photographs of the signing itself, but check out the Challenger booklet the band signed for me!  They were lovely guys too; if you ever get the opportunity to meet the band, then please take it.

A photo of the Memphis May Fire 'Uncondional' album booklet, signed by the members of the band.
Of course Matty signed his name right over the album artwork. Of course.

I may have queued for an hour and a half to get into the signing, but it was so worth it.

After the signing I ate some dinner and then headed to Camden.  The issue with this was that I ended up at the back of the queue, meaning by the time we got into the venue the opening act, Cytota, was already nearly finished.  I wasn’t too sad about that, though; from what I heard, I didn’t rate them very highly.

The next support act was FACT, and to be honest, I’m not sure what to think about these guys.  I could hardly hear the vocals and lyrics over the music, which could have been down to mixing issues, but either way it made the set difficult to enjoy.

Then came The Word Alive.  I really enjoyed these guys.  They had a lot of energy, and their sound is right up my street.  I’ll definitely be buying their next album, Real, out in September.

And then, Memphis May Fire took to the stage.  These guys were absolutely awesome.  Matty’s vocals were clean, and the band’s overall performance was polished and well-rehearsed.

Their best songs were probably Be Careful What You Wish For, The Rose and Prove Me Right; the entire crowd was jumping and full of energy.

My highlight of the night, however, was their performance of Miles Away.  Matty’s vocals were enchanting, and when the entire crowd joined together to sing Kellin Quinn’s section the atmosphere was amazing.

Their encore of Prove Me Right and Legacy was the perfect way to end the night on a high note.  I had high expectations for this gig, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

Currently listening to: Alive In The LightsMemphis May Fire