Posted by Rebecca Atkinson.
Reviewed on 2nd September 2011.
Live at Leeds Festival 2011 on Saturday, 27th August 2011
It may be early in the day but at the BBC introducing stage there is a decent turn out for local lads Circles. The foursome have a very early 90s Pixies vibe to their music which is often dominated by the vocals and rhythm section, the bass player in particular stands out throughout their performance which is unusual for a young band. They are here today as one of the six bands given the chance to play at Leeds and Reading after competing in the Futuresound Competition and on today's performance their place on the bill seems warranted. The standout track is a particularly catchy ditty written about Lou Reed but there isn't really a weak track in their set and their new EP which they are working on with James Kenosha (Grammatics, Pulled Apart By Horses, Dinosaur Pile-Up) should be an intriguing one.
Exeter punk mob The Computers combine excellent musicianship and showmanship during their driven thirty minute slot. Many of those watching seem to be curious bystanders but by the end of the set they are nodding along and photographing singer Alex's antics as he cavorts in the crowd. They play mainly tracks from debut You Can't Hide From The Computers of which 'Teenage Tourettes Camp' is a particular highlight with its swaggering guitar, chunky bass and raucous vocal performance and there is even a truly unhinged rendition of 'Surfin Bird' which would put Peter Griffin to shame. It's a passionate, humorous and exciting display which is not for everyone but if the illicit love child of Elvis Costello and Henry Rollins sounds like someone you would like to know then check them out.
There is a big buzz surrounding the Brooklyn based thrash punk band Cerebral Ballzy following their extensive UK tour and the release of their eponymous debut album. Their name has caused a bit of a stir amongst stuffy journos but really it typifies their sound as they are loud, fast and obnoxious but really just out to have a good time. With songs written largely about 'skateboarding', 'pizza' and 'hedonistic drug use' there are no big political punk statements here just five average-to-good musicians making a racket and enjoying themselves and its hard not to enjoy that. They blast through a set including singles 'Insufficient Fare', 'Don't Tell Me What To Do' and 'Cutting Class' as a clearly inebriated Honor Titus clambers on the equipment and sneers at the crowd who are only too pleased to be acknowledged by him. As they warp up a powerful set there are chants for more from many of those in the packed tent although this is not as pleasing as the disgusted look on the faces of those who have witnessed the end of the abrasive set having come early for Foster The People's far fan friendly fare.
Deftones arrive on the main stage to little fanfare and with just a simple black backdrop. After all the lasers and pyros we have already been treated to this weekend the message is clear - they are going to let their music speak for them. Unfortunately it feels like their set never actually gets started. Partly it is down to a stagnant crowd (who despite Chino's best efforts do little more than look on unimpressed and soggy), partly it is down to sound issues but largely the song choices just don't seem right. During 'My Own Summer' and 'Diamond Eyes' the Californians are at their best but the majority of the material from the new album which is suffocatingly intense on record just doesn't translate well live. The band sound as precise as ever, there is some nice seven string guitar action and Moreno's voice is still great but today will not go down as a classic Deftones performance during a set which needed a monster like 'Rocket Skates; to waken everyone up. A disappointing show but they will surely live to yell another day.
Noah and the Whale incite mass sing along to Bohemian Rhapsody during the build up to their arrival on stage which shows a level of anticipation in the audience more typical of a headlining band. They play all of the singles from the new album Last Night on Earth as well as the gut wrenching 'Blue Skies' and old favourite 'Five Years Time' (fittingly almost five years to the day since the band played their first show Charlie Fink informs us). The new material is particularly emotive as the bands Springsteen inspired numbers really make you feel like you could just forget it all, get in the car, drive all night and end up somewhere a little more romantic then Lands End. They seem more together as a band than they have on previous tours and Fink himself is morphing into a captivating frontman, albeit a slightly awkward one. It really is a great display, they get the right mixture of melancholy and elation and appear not at all daunted by the huge number of people who have turned out to see their special brand of nu-folk. It seems difficult to merely dismiss them as twee after a performance and reception like this.