Live at Leeds Festival 2015 on Saturday, 29th August 2015
The Mallrats are a trio from York who once again highlight the absurd skill level of local and emerging talent on the BBC Introducing stage. If you ever wondered what would happen if Soundgarden, The Kinks and Nirvana formed a supergroup, the answer is a great band that sounds a lot like these guys. They mix catchy hooks with heavy riffs, and the result is something great and exciting. Despite only forming last year, they already seem accomplished and have an impressive local following, most of whom have turned up to see them play. Their appeal is highlighted on set closer Plunge Pool, which garners disappointed yelps ('this is unfortunately our last song') and excited shrieks from onlookers in equal measure as it builds into a show stopping grunge explosion.
Panic At The Disco and Alt-J give great performances on the main stage. Brendan Urie and Dallon Weekes are flanked by additional touring musicians on the promo trail for Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! Opening with that record's Vegas Lights, it's clear that a sizeable number of diehard Panic fans have made it down the front and infiltrated the banjo-tuning Mumford crowd, who will sit patiently and chew stalks of corn between now and 9pm but are perhaps less prepared for the electro glam rock strains of Time To Dance and the delighted shrieks that the bouncing audience add to them. As Frank Turner previously showed us, one thing that will unite everybody is a Queen cover at a rock festival, and Panic are smart enough to provide it in the form of a formidable attempt at Bohemian Rhapsody ('we just wrote this song backstage'). Wanting to capitalise on the charged atmosphere that mass participation brings, they play their own Hallelujah with its huge chorus and then later follow up with not one but two more covers (AC/DC and Journey). Closing with fan favourite I Write Sins Not Tragedies, there's a sense that they could easily hold their own higher up the bill because when they leave the stage, a lot of those spectators crammed at the front leave with them.
Numbers have swelled again later when Mercury Prize winners Alt-J arrive and launch into Hunger Of The Pine. The band, formed eight years ago at Leeds University ('It's good to be home') play a lo-fi chilled out set that neatly showcases their overall ethos and the best bits from their two albums. It might be a minimalist sound but it can still capture a field full of revellers, as evidenced on the trance-inducing centrepiece of Bloodflood Parts I&II and the inevitable set closer Breezeblocks. The latter track has the assembled masses singing along to every word of its trippy rhymes and 'please don't go, I love you so' refrain, which might as well be aimed at the band themselves as they prove there's more than one way to rock Leeds Festival.
New Found Glory finish things off at the Lock Up stage, displaying their pop punk intensity and igniting a contingent of loyal followers. Slimmed to four members after the recent departure of guitarist Steve Klein, a reduction in line up has done nothing to dampen their sound or spirit. They fire straight into Understatement and don't let the energy drop until the mass sing along of My Friends Over You, bookending the show with these two stellar cuts from 2002's Sticks And Stones. Elsewhere there's room for newer tracks from Resurrection, and recent single Vicious Love goes down a storm. The biggest cheers are reserved for classic tracks like Black And Blue, All Downhill From Here and Dressed To Kill. There's even a nod to their main stage counterparts, with a cover of Mumford And Sons The Cave. It raises some surprised cheers, but even those irked by it would surely forgive quickly as Pundik and his cohorts segue effortlessly into New Found Glory's signature tune Hit Or Miss, capping off an unforgettable night of nostalgia powered riffs.
3 piece grunge band from York
Panic! At The Disco is an American pop rock band from Las Vegas, Nevada