Friday at Leeds Festival 2015

August 29, 2015

Image© Reading and Leeds Festival

Have you ever noticed how every mosh pit has the same smell? Always hard to put your finger on, yet ever familiar. But that’s beside the point – we’re in the middle of one now, as Turbowolf visit their fantastic space rock theatrics upon The Pit stage. “We are here for one reason only”, proclaims wily frontman Chris Georgiadis, tongue in cheek, “and that reason… is to have a good time.” It’s an oddly inspired moment of self-aware rock and roll cliché, and it makes a refreshing change from the self-pitying histrionics emanating from the main stage for much of the afternoon. The crowd duly responds.

For us, Turbowolf’s fast-and-furious mid-afternoon set represented the best of the day’s entertainment. The Bristolians belted through a host of true gems from their two full length LPs, with ‘Solid Gold’ and ‘Let’s Die’ providing the dizzying highlights.

But a number of acts did give them a run for their money. Ghostpoet and his outstanding backing band magicked up a stunning soundtrack to the early afternoon on the BBC Radio 1/NME Stage, his mellifluous intonations weaving woozily around intricate guitar, keys, drums and bass. Another standout performance came from the nattily clad Mini Mansions, with QOTSA’s Michael Shuman on drums and vocals. If you like the sound of a complex and compelling marriage between School-of-The-Beatles harmonies and the kind of off-kilter glam-pop genius that marks the two latest albums from Shuman’s better known project, you’ll like the sound of Mini Mansions.

We’ll head, now, deep into the evening, via a brace of appreciative nods to a stylistically disparate trio of Yorkshire exports: Hawk Eyes, Skinner and The Cribs…

It’s not that The Libertines are a bad band. They’ve written some iconic tracks. Pete Doherty is a magnetic character. But on any Friday night, in several music venues in almost every city in the country – and certainly on this Friday night at Leeds Festival – you’ll find more creative musicians, playing with greater feeling, with far more interesting tales to tell. The anaemic audience which has turned out for their set tonight suggests we’re not alone in this sentiment. It’s the supporting cast who really cap off the first full day of Leeds Festival 2015 – the magnificent Replacements, who pick out crisp rock melodies with precision and passion on The Pit stage; and Boy Better Know, who’ve rammed the BBC Radio 1 Dance tent to capacity for a triumphant headline set of their own.

Leeds Fest 2015, it’s been fun – roll on day 2!

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