Live at Leeds Festival 2012 on Friday, 24th August 2012
My first port of call upon arriving at Leeds Festival 2012 was, without a doubt, going to be the Lock Up Stage; and what a better way to start the weekend than by melodic quartet Apologies, I Have None.
A surprisingly warm, hazy afternoon provided the perfect atmosphere for tracks from their recent debut album, London. A mixture of passion and energy, complete with trademark 'ohs'.
Kicking off my festival weekend with upbeat punk rock, the tent started packing out with already boozy revellers and it had barely struck midday. Even the Apologies first-timers had something to shuffle their feet to. The band gave us all a treat; 'Sat in Vicky Park', 'Concrete Feet' and '60 Miles' to name a few. The British punk foursome also played their new single 'Long Gone' which, ahead of their appearance at the festival, released their new music video for.
My one criticism is that, having seen them perform in smaller venues previously, I felt that they were grappling with their sound in a venue as ample as the Lock Up tent. It didn't feel as personal. On the other hand, they totally kicked arse at Leeds Festival so what do I know?
If I told you Canadian punk rockers The Flatliners formed seven years ago, would you believe me? I wouldn't believe myself, having only just listened to them a couple of years ago.
I have never seen the band play a live show, so when I heard that they were playing Leeds Festival this year, I was ecstatic. I just hoped that they'd live up to my expectations.
I stayed put in the Lock Up tent. Scanning my surroundings, I had noticed that not only was the excitement building, but so was the alcohol consumption. The crowd were warmed up and ready to go.
Striking the first chord lead the drunken rabble into a frenzy. The band's fast pace makes it hard not to get rowdy. The agreeable gruff vocals from Chris Cresswell, speedy instrumentation and shouty group vocals saw an infectious energy spread from the few passionate fans at the very front, all the way to the back of the tent. If the symptoms of the disease are this, then I wanted to catch it.
Mixing ska punk and classic post punk, the band have got it down. I love the variety of songs from their album Cavalcade; from the heavy roars of 'The Calming Collection' to the ska boppin' 'He Was a Jazzman'. Sad to say that they didn't play my favourites from the album; however, tracks I could sing along to included 'Monumental' and 'Count Your Bruises'.
I'd be definitely buying a ticket next time they're due to tour the UK.
It was my younger brother who introduced me to the badly kept secret that is Möngöl Hörde; Frank Turner's musical side project. I felt pretty honoured to be one of the first few handfuls of people to sample the delights taking place on the Lock Up stage.
Former Million Dead singer turned folk poet has temporarily given up his day job to bring us a mixed bag; screaming and chanting alongside elaborate musical breakdowns.
The manic 30 minute set, featuring former Million Dead member Ben Dawson and Sleeping Souls, Matt Nadir, kicked off with a shirtless Frank thrashing around the stage and doing what he does best; driving the crowd into disarray. He spent much of his time stage diving and being mauled by the excitable fans at the very front.
Turner's vocals are intense and at times, quite aggressive. At first, I was a little taken a-back by how boisterous the set was. Nonetheless, being unruly seemed to work in favour of the band because their energy was ideal for this type of crowd.
The set list included their first track, Casual Threats from Weekend Hardmen and also their newest, Tapeworm Uprising. You wouldn't expect anything less from Turner's hardcore performance; faster, thicker and heavier than ever before.
Möngöl Hörde, are without a doubt, set to revitalise the UKs hardcore scene. Watch this space.
Drifting over to the BBC Introducing Stage I found myself watching Dingus Khan. How to describe Dingus Khan... rock and roll, and utter chaos!
Picture this, if you will. Eight (or was it seven?) young lads, in their twenties. They are all jumping, screaming and fret-bashing on stage. They are all dressed in white; the lead vocalist/guitarist sporting a full length white kaftan. There's an extra drum kit for additional beats as well as multiple guitarists and bassists. Not forgetting the electric ukulele.
It sounds absolutely mad, and they were. However, I was bloody enjoying myself. The majority of the band played their instruments collectively whilst the lead guitar kept a strong levelled sound throughout. The front man was the only one who wasn't jumping around the stage but he made up for the madness by means of the Kaftan.
Lyrically, the songs they were singing were beyond me. I was too engrossed in what was happening infront of my eyes to even take notice. All I could see was that their commitment to putting on a show was equally paramount to them enjoying themselves. Thus, the crowd enjoying themselves to.
Dingus Khan have seemed to build a strong core of dedicated followers and are without a doubt a band that should be seen live. It's the only way you'd believe me otherwise.
Making my way back to the Lock Up stage, I was prepared to experience the perfect fusion of reggae, dub and ska which was about to greet me from East London quartet, The Skints.
Keeping the punky guitar parts to a minimum, The Skints are aiming to push their sound towards becoming more reggae inspired. This is definitely apparent in their newest album 'Part & Parcel', in which they incorporated into their 30 minute set list.
Opening track 'Rise Up' created a huge reaction from the crowd; feet were shuffling and heads swaying in time to the deep bassline and skank guitar rhythm. The band also played ska classic 'Rat-a-tat'. Arms were reaching into the air, hands were waving and people were getting high; and not just from the music.
The Skints have a way of making you feel alleviated and just plain happy. It's a bonus that they're such an interesting band to watch live.
Front woman and multi-instrumentalist Marcia Richards is forever changing her instrument of choice; from saxophone to flute, then to keyboard and back to the flute. Alongside this, her astounding vocals blow me away everytime. They add variation and provide a sweet melody; the perfect contrast to the gruff vocals from the guitarist.
The Skints are the real reggae thing. They have worked hard to perform at such a renowned festival. Their lyrics and originality are like no other and for this they deserve their beauty to be recognised.
After eventually pulling myself away from the Lock Up stage, I made my way over to the main stage just in time for New Jersey punk rockers The Gaslight Anthem.
Now, I can't fault these guys. They are one of my favourite bands and seeing them live for the third time thrilled me no end.
If anyone knows how to infuse classic rock and dynamic punk spirit, it's these guys. Their infectious Springsteen influence throughout songs had everyone singing along. There's clapping, chanting and plenty of 'alright, alright's. However, the band shouldn't be entirely sought after as Springsteen's successors. Why, they have managed to create their own unique sound, in turn expanding their fan base considerably. Just glancing across the vast crowd huddled infront of the main stage, goes to show what great musicians The Gaslight Anthem really are.
Their trademark American rock 'n' roll not only included the classics 'The 59 Sound' and 'American Slang' but it also saw the band play new tracks from their recent debut album 'Handwritten'. The raw, personal experiences of Brian Fallon are evident throughout. Their new single '45' was a definite favourite with the crowd.
It goes without saying that their appearance isn't too shabby either. Watching them, you find yourself preoccupied and feeling as though you exist in a romanticised American motion picture; hopeless romantics brandishing tattoos, stubble, and flat caps and me? Well, I'm the star struck lover disappearing into the great wide open...
Of course this is all too good to be true. I'll just stick with watching them play their music live for now.
Ending their set with 'The Backseat' was the perfect touch. The force, emotion and sincerity caught up in such a song really hits hard and as the band start clearing the stage, you're stood there thinking to yourself, if these guys don't headline the entire festival within the next couple of years, well, I'll be damned.
The Skints are a reggae/dub/punk/reggae fusion band from London