Live at Leeds Festival 2011 on Sunday, 28th August 2011
Sunday started, as most Sundays start, with a massive hangover. However, after everyone realised that most of the mud had dried out (and that my friend Chris Lawrence hadn't thrown up all over my tent, more about him later), the party atmosphere had come back!
First up was Funeral Party. After the success of their single "NYC Moves To The Sound Of LA" quite a lot of people came down early to see them. They played a well accomplished set that they'd clearly played before with a slight chaotic element, slightly reminiscent of some of the less chaotic Libertines shows. The crowd seemed to enjoy themselves throughout this set and when the band played "NYC..." almost everyone in the tent was singing along, which was hard not to do after earlier in the year when you couldn't walk down the street without hearing it from a passing car with Radio 1 on. These boys know how to put on a show, and so did the next band I saw.
The more that can be said about local band Castrovalva the better. The BBC Introducing Stage didn't have that many people there at the start, but a crowd soon gathered. This set saw the "Noise Hop," as they have called it, trio play a very established set, during which the singer and bassist came down to the front and singer Leemun got into the crowd, grabbed my mate Chris Lawrence (mentioned earlier) and made him sing, as well as making me sing. I hope to see this band on a bigger stage next year; they certainly deserve it, although some people may have been scared by the noise. After they were finished I think I heard someone use the phrase "scarred for life", but that person was clearly in the minority as everybody else seemed to really enjoy them. A great band.
Next up was in my opinion the best band of the weekend, Madness, and this is where my bad dancing comes into full effect. Opening with "One Step Beyond," the massive mid-afternoon crowd at the Main Stage goes mental, and there is not one person stood still. They work their way through their set, classic after classic and you realise just how good this band is and just how many songs they actually have that you had forgotten about. This is the biggest crowd at the Main Stage all weekend and it is clear to see why: 30 years on and they still have just as much energy and talent as when they first started. The set draws to a close with the brilliant "Night Boat To Cairo" and the entire field just erupts with energy. After this set many people go to a quiet bit of the field and lay down, and after all that dancing I nearly did the same. Madness are still one of the best live bands in the world.
The Strokes came onstage slightly late but played an amazing set, mainly comprising of songs from their 2001 album "Is This It" although many songs from their more recent albums also get an airing. Frontman Julian Casablancas is far more talkative than he usually is, and even seems happy for a change. The band only played a couple of songs from their most recent album "Angles" which the band have openly admitted to not liking, although these seem to go down almost as well as the earlier songs. For many, myself included, this set can't end soon enough, as next are one of the most talked about bands of the summer, Pulp.
Weekend enders Pulp come onstage at 9.30 precisely and open with "Do You Remember The First Time?", which went down brilliantly despite the freezing cold weather - you could see your breath, which is never good when you've been stood outside for hours. Pulp worked their way through their very well-rehearsed set playing all of the hits that made them a headline sized band first time around. It feels as if nothing has changed since Pulp's split in 2002: Jarvis Cocker is still dancing about onstage and looking generally very sexual all evening, the band are playing their songs perfectly, and they still end with the classic song and festival anthem Common People. Seeing Common People live makes the years of waiting for Pulp to come back worth it; it also makes standing about in the freezing cold for an hour and a half worth it too. This will probably be the most talked-about set of the weekend, and quite rightly. Hopefully they don't go away for years again, but if they do next time around I'll be back here again, in the freezing cold.
I then went to dance the night away and warm myself up, I then slept for a very long time as I do every year, and I already can't wait for next year!
THIS IS NOISE HOP