Posted by Rebecca Atkinson.
Reviewed on 28th August 2012.
Live at Leeds Festival 2012 on Saturday, 25th August 2012
Cancer Bats are second on the main stage providing a euphoric start to the day with furious renditions of 'Bricks And Mortar', 'Lucifer's Rocking Chair' and 'R.A.T.S.' Signature screeching guitars, burly drumming and Liam Cormier's special brand of frontmanship incite head banging and circle pits galore, demonstrating why they are regarded as one of the best live bands around, and their wonderfully heavy cover of Beastie Boy's 'Sabotage' is met with rapturous applause. There is a good deal of punk and metal discernable in their music which flits between Pantera and Every Time I Die as the volume and energy are ramped up to the max with 'Hail Destroyer'. While there is something fundamentally strange about seeing them so early in the day in the (semi) sunshine they perform admirably in the unfamiliar setting and have certainly won themselves more fans here today as the end of the set sees Cormier hurl himself triumphantly into the appreciative crowd.
Coheed and Cambria come complete with unusual hair and polished progressive metal; they are like a modern day Rush and with just as rabid a following. They blast through a crowd pleasing set with material spanning their five previous concept albums whilst also previewing tracks from the forthcoming new record, which in truth is much the same as what has come before. 'Running Free' provides the centrepiece for their set inciting air drumming all around the field. Uniformly melodramatic and atmospheric, they blend chunky riffs, screamo and gentle lament in the sometimes clichéd manner we have come to expect from them over the past decade. The overblown noodling and morose lyrics are not to everyone's taste but there is no doubt that they still do what they do better than anyone else.
The past eighteen months have been very successful for British female singer-songwriters and the timing couldn't be better for Danica Hunter to break. Over on the BBC Introducing Stage she unveils her captivating and soulful voice to the amassed audience. Accompanied by a toned down band and Cajon her songs are mostly about the trials and tribulations about life as an eighteen year old but there is a pleasant depth to her voice which stops the song writing from feeling shallow. The combination of blues, soul and the colloquial puts her somewhere between Duffy and Kate Nash but to compare her to either is to do a disservice to Hunter's voice. She and her band make easy listening, highly enjoyable, experimental pop with a bluesy edge. Expect big things from this young lady in the future.
The wonderfully named Wet Nuns have been tipped by various magazines and websites as one of the bands of the weekend. They also have the backing of the Arctic Monkeys, who are surely one the most powerful bands in British music right now and good people to have onside( incidentally, Matt Helders' recent remix of fan favourite 'Heaven's Below' is well worth a listen). It's a lot to live up to and they don't disappoint as front man Rob's razorblade growl is accompanied by assured drumbeats and classic rock riffs. They play loud and fast, drowning out the dross of You Me At Six from the nearby main stage, and draw a large and animated crowd. They are surely the first band to pen a track about a "denim axe" (said axe appears here with them on stage this afternoon) and the accompanying song is a real stand out in their set not unlike the material fellow Yorkshire mob Hawk Eyes have been pedalling for the last few years. A little lo-fi, a little Americana, a little blues and a little metal they merge their influences well creating a unique and inspired sound which completely warrants all the hype. Exciting stuff.
Bouncing Souls have been a constant presence on the underground alternative scene since the late eighties. Named after Doc Marten's advertising, they and their music are pure punk rock but it's uplifting heart-on-sleeve stuff rather than sheer angst and aggression. There are no sleepers in their set and the audience participate passionately during oldie 'Kids And Heroes' and 'Here We Go' with its big chant along chorus. Material from the new record is also aired including the soppy 'Coin Toss Girl' and the eponymous 'Comet' which proves to be the best of the bunch. Like a Rancid-Gaslight Anthem hybrid the lyrics from 'Private Radio' read like the band's manifesto; 'I like to rock / And I love to roll / When the music hits my soul / No place to go / But my own private radio' and all their fans here tonight are on the same wavelength. Musically, lyrically and innovatively it's unspectacular but it's also impossible not to enjoy a Bouncing Souls gig, after nearly a quarter of a century together neither the band or the crowd seem in the slightest jaded and for that they must be applauded.