The weekend of 26th to 28th Sept saw a trip up the motorway to Leeds for what promised to be a fantastic weekend of live entertainment.
I decided to stay on site for this one and as a press guest was thankfully offered guest weekend camping. I’m pleased to say that it was very civil, with hot showers and proper toilets!.
Leeds festival is huge and has two main stages along with several others, it would have been impossible to cover the whole event on my own so I’m sure other colleagues from the magazine will fill in any gaps with further articles.
Here are my highlights from the weekend.
Caity Baser on the BBC introducing stage had the largest crowd this particular stage had all weekend at Leeds. Having followed her career this year I wasn’t surprised though as she has created a crazy amount of engagement on the popular social media site TikTok.
With tunes with great hooks and an engaging on stage personality Caity clearly understands her audience, she sings about real life situations that fans of her music can relate to. The adoring Leeds crowd sang pretty much every word of every song. I was hugely impressed with her performance and also with her superb band. Caity has a headline tour coming up soon, only the fast fingered will get a ticket because if today is anything to go by it will definitely sell out.
Beabadoobee showed us why she has over 10 million monthly Spotify listeners. Opening with Worth It she quickly had the adoring crowd in her hands. A standout song for me was Last Day On The Earth, which was co-written by The 1975. Check out the new album Beatopia to sample why Beabadoobee is so huge, great live performance all round.
The 1975 replacing Rage Against the Machine as Friday headliners did not disappoint. Opening a 19 song set with If You’re Too Shy, singer Matt Healy’s fantastic stage presence sent the crowd into full on party mode. If anyone had doubted the band’s ability to replace Rage as a valid headliner that discussion was quickly put to bed. Matt talked about attending the festival as a punter over the years and he and the band would surely be proud of this performance. A fantastic show full of greatest hits, huge stage production and incredible sound.
Gabe Coulter on the BBC Introducing Stage offered up a more laid back set, with some quality tunes and a great band, strong vocals ensued with star quality obvious. Gabe talked about how his grandparents had met during the war at Bramham Park. His dad (nice guy) was in the crowd so for them playing at the festival was a big deal for the family. A great story to compliment a successful Leeds Fest debut.
Kid Brunswick lit up the Stage with a fantastic performance. I hadn’t seen Kid before but was really impressed. A photographer’s dream full of energy and enthusiasm complemented with a massive sound. Great drummer too!
Cassyette on theFestival Republic Stage, I had seen Cassyette’s performance at Download earlier this year and made a point of getting to see this set. She has a great voice and really strong rock/pop songs. Joined on stage by Kid Brunswick for Behind Closed Doors the stage performance from this pair was absolutely electric. Sad Summer Girl was a highlight of a great Leeds set. Be sure to check her out soon.
Everyone You Know had been recommended to me by my son Dan and I wasn’t disappointed by this Leeds performance from brothers Rhys and Harvey, hailing from London the set was a mix of hip hop, punk and 90’s rave influenced tunes, with a unique sound. Mosh pits sprung up and the crowd went mental. Great fun, great band, oh and another mention for a top drummer!
Ashnikko hailing from the USAI think it’s fair to say has a unique style and stage presence, and that’s no bad thing with so many playing it safe these days. What a performance is all can say, a musical fusion of rock, rap, indie, techno, and electro, you would need to go check her out to decide for yourself and fully appreciate this live show. Massive sounding tunes and a stellar performance.
The Sherlocks performed what they described as a Sunday ‘graveyard shift’ on the main stage. However, plenty of hungover festival goers climbed out of their tents for this Yorkshire bands performance. A great set, highlights for me were Will You Be There and the set closer and crowd sing along winner Chasing Shadows. A solid set worthy of the main stage, the lads seemed really humble about that fact, no egos just great Yorkshire talent!
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes another early main stage set and a fave of mine following the band’s performance at Download Festival in June. Frank has so much live performance energy and was soon in the crowd performing handstands held up by crowd surfer friendly people! At one point Frank and his guitar player performed crowd surf acrobatics surrounded by two huge mosh pits, you really couldn’t make it up! High energy hard rock all the way through and a hugely impressive set once again.
Wolf Alice opened with the thunderous Smile, what followed was simply top class from this London based rock band. Fronted by charismatic singer Ellie Rowsell, the stage production was the best I’ve seen for a while. During the song, ‘Bros’ huge video screens showed old footage of the band’s rise to fame, from small clubs with one person in the crowd to the Leeds Mainstage.. what a journey. I have to admit after watching it I had a lump in my throat.
Closing with Don’t Delete the Kisses only the Artic Monkeys could have followed what was one of the best performances of the entire festival.
So onto Arctic Monkeys who as I’m writing this have just dropped a new single, There’d Better be a Mirror Ball, with a new Album The Car set for release in October. I didn’t have a Main Stage photo pass for this one, so sadly I can’t post any pictures. The crowd was huge as expected and literally erupted as the opening chords of Do I Wanna Know blasted through the sound system. A mixture of songs across a successful career of album releases followed, with the earlier releases seemingly having the most impact with the Leeds Monkey’s faithful.
Closing the set with the awesome R U Mine? The Arctic Monkeys provided a fitting end to an incredible Leeds Festival, one I will remember personally for years to come.
Well done to all concerned and roll on Leeds 2023.