Live at Leeds Festival 2012 on Saturday, 25th August 2012
Local hipster ravers Hadouken! entered to a bassy and ominous electronic introduction. Front-man James was in fine form, spurring up the crowd with great interaction and hyping them up into a party mood. The rest of the band remained fairly static, so more movement from the guitarist and bassist would have added to the energy. The atmosphere was less dissimilar to a club, rather than a gig, and to find a band bridge that gap is a great sign for music's evolution over the next few years and decades. Music-wise, parts were fairly repetitive, but dance music is permitted to be so to keep the crowd moving, and since every song from the set did exactly that, they must be doing something right. Heavy synths worked effectively with dirty thick distortion and a huge dance beat. The set was based around the band's later material, showing a maturity from the band's brash teenage endeavours from the first album, from which they only played one song. Later material has a much sturdy beat, is much darker and less tongue-in-cheek, and in my opinion, a much welcome fruition. New songs were showcased, showing glimpses of much heavier dubstep and drum n' bass, so new material is bound to be very exciting and well anticipated indeed. On the whole, another very successful homecoming show from this highly unique band.
Metal-heads Coheed and Cambria used a long and dramatic introduction, featuring huge regular booms from a synthetic bass drum. When they finally made the stage, they entered into a fully-fledged metal onslaught through their song 'No World For Tomorrow'. Squealing guitar licks, heavy drumming and glorious vocal harmonies were all showcased, with the lead singer interspacing screams throughout. After the fantastic opener, the next song was a little dull and repetitive. Throughout the set, a multitude of genres were trialled and tested, which must always be admired, as it takes a talent to be so versatile and experimental. However, a lot of these attempts were poor and not carried off effectively. The band's true talent came through their dark minor rock with melodic vocals and huge metal guitar licks, and only here did they prove why they were playing the Main Stage at such a large festival. In the rest of the set, such appeal was lost. The front-man was very energetic indeed, running about the place but still retaining an ability to hit painfully high notes. Fine guitar-work was also displayed, finishing up the set with an overhead solo on a double-necked guitar. The set grew as it progressed, and the climax was impressive. However, to improve, the band should find what genres they can play effectively and stick to what they know.
Lock Up Stage returners Random Hand were in fantastic form as always. Heavy punk rock was mashed together with brass-fuelled ska, with the front-man showing great capability with a trombone as well as great crowd interaction. Great rhythmic breakdowns and shouting vocals were also used effectively. They were very slick and tight, with every off-beat stab perfectly in sync with the rest of the band. The whole band had a brilliant stage presence, jumping all over the place to the massive off-beat bounce of the music. The highly hectic crowd were also very much up for it, forging a circle pit spanning almost the entire tent. A top band that deserves to be much higher up the bill, and without a doubt, they are the best thing to come out of Keighley in a long time. Playing the Brudenell in mid-October, all should go and support this fantastic local band.
American alt-rockers Angels & Airwaves had a very different sound compared to other bands playing that weekend. Dreamy electronica merged with huge aspects of ambient music, quieter dynamics and elements of punk rock. Their sound is very reminiscent of current-era Blink-182, obviously due to front-man Tom DeLonge's song-writing influences. Their stage presence was dramatic yet minimalistic, matching the music with an emotive and expressive performance. Features of post-punk and post-rock were also largely present, reminiscing of the Cure and 65 Days Of Static. Tom's vocal twang was oddly fitting over the more mellow music, adding a strong idiosyncrasy to the songs. On a whole, their music was unique and inspiring, with a real emotional value, and this fantastic side project for DeLonge made an excellent first impression upon myself.
Ska Punk Metal Mash Up from West Yorkshire, UK