On 31st August 2005 at 21:18 Anonymous 3717 wrote...
Awesome. Relief to see the maiden review \m/
Live at Leeds Festival 2005 on Friday, 26th August 2005
Dark sky in the morning, festival goers warning. Fucking brilliant ensemble of bands on the main stage tonight, festival goers delight. Or so the old saying goes at least. Oh yes, The Carling Leeds & Reading festivals are back in town and this year proves to surpass all expectations for sheer relentless quality of bands and the jovial spirits of attendees on display. Friday's main stage proves this point to a tee. Not in anyone's wildest dreams could these 9 bands, all worldclass headliners in their own rights, appear on the same bill, but Mean Fiddler pulls out all the stops for the Friday. Shalom and welcome, Leeds Fest '05 is go.
Love them or hate them, My Chemical Romance must be commended for even showing up today. Many bands wouldn't have once given the opportunity to play the MTV Awards but instead of disappointing their devoted legions of fans, they opted to play both venues on the same day. Good shout. Opinion may be split on MCR's music and indeed their whole 'gimmick' but on record (especially debut 'You Brought Me Your Love, I Brought You My Bullets') it's hard to knock the atmospherics, the hooks, the dark tongue in cheek lyrics, in fact the whole package is great if taken on face value. But post-'Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge' the adulation adorned on the band has been too much for some and MCR have become the new band to mock in order to keep that all important cred up. That's all bullshit of course because My Chemical Romance are the bees' knackers when it comes to exciting live performances. Most of the set is stripped from their latest release (including 'I'm Not Okay', which is unashamedly naff and a source for mocking if there ever was one) with one or two golden oldies thrown in but it's all really strong and played with enthusiasm and gusto by the high flying Jerseyites. Vocalist Gerard Ways banter is a problem though. Varying from pantomime style screams and expletives to advice for girls to tell bands to show them the middle finger if they're rude. Embarrassingly cringe worthy at times. If nothing else they get the crowd riled up one way or another in preparation for the coming day. [7/10]
Highlight: 'Thank You For The Venom'
How can you not love Turbonegro? I mean seriously, you mustn't have a fun loving bone in your body if you can't be lulled into Hank Von Hvelte's twisted world of camp sailors, morning glory realisations, and make-up. It's gloriously over blown and takes dressing up as the ones deemed too risqué for The Village People to a whole new stratosphere. You really have to suspend all sense of disbelief and go with the flow to enjoy the Turbonegro live experience and most of the crowd seem to do so accordingly. The Nordic superheroes pull off all the stops to put on a display like no other band on the bill. Cannons filled with confetti & money (albeit fake)? Check. More balloons than a clown convention? Check. Vocalist dressed as a Viking come dominatrix? Waaaait a minute, this really isn't your average band is it? The opening 3 numbers are the highlights and although Hank's between song musings are hard to decipher, you can bet your ass they were probably hilarious and a little bit saucy. Never confused. Add this one to your things to do before you die list, somewhere above swimming with dolphins - "Go see Turbonegro". [8/10]
Highlight: 'Sell Your Body To The Night' and Hank's baton twirling exploits.
Personal soft spots Alkaline Trio are reliably untouchable in whatever way you wish to filter them. On record they've found their calling and for the last 2-3 records have carved a niche all for themselves in the field of punk. Live, Matt Skiba is a marvel to behold, as his gravely voice note perfectly storms through a vast array of tracks from the front to the back of the catalogue. Even 'Maybe I'll Catch Fire' & rarely unleashed 'Stupid Kid' get a well deserved airing and contend for the position of highlight but honestly any track could be hoisted to that pendulum. That's how good Alkaline Trio are. It's hard to know where they'll go after latest release 'Crimson'. A bit of variance wouldn't go amiss but to be honest if you're a real Alk3 fan, you wouldn't mind if they released a zillion more of the same. Co-vocalist Daniel Adriano takes a back seat in terms of leads today but when he does on 'Poison', a moshfest singalong is duly created for the first, but definitely not the last, time this year. From a personal standpoint Alkaline Trio prove to be the best band of the day. [9/10]
Highlight: 'Private Eye' or 'Stupid Kid'
Back for a 3rd year running and finally making the main stage it seems a long long time ago since the yet to be proved next UK megastars Funeral for a Friend opened the Concrete Jungle Stage a mere 24 months past. FFAF definitely deserve this early afternoon main stage ranking though. Sophomore album 'Hours' is a much superior record to their 'Casually Dressed...' debut and that's not as if that was a poor introduction to the band. The band are simply brimming with confidence and seem immensely chuffed and appreciative (but by no means nervous) of both the turn out and being afforded this billing. The band cohesion and the on stage relationship between them continues to improve with every gig and FFAF are definitely on form today, delivering a textbook display of harder edged tunes to get the masses moving. The obligatory a cappella audience uber participation on 'Juneau' is in there, but there's no place for 'Bullet Theory' or 'History' unfortunately. The view from the down the front is an exceptionally enjoyable one, even if slightly painful. Expect Wales' favourite emo sons to continue to saunter up the line-up ladder next year. [8/10]
Highlight: 'Escape Artists Never Die' and the band making up for lack of PA dialling tone to aid the opening of 'Streetcar' by attempting it themselves. And failing.
It's been a good few years since Fat Mike and his NOFX posse were at their gritty, skate punk best but they continue to create decent if wholly unremarkable pop-punk and plug away at their attempt to be the proverbial thorn in the Bush administrations side. The Leeds reaction is nothing short of indifferent when the vocalist Mike continues to bait and berate George Dub-ya but the sentiment is there. He called us Limeys though, which is never a particularly flattering remark. The fat bastard. NOFX turn out to be the least interesting and most forgettable band on today's stage but on another day they could have had more of an impact [6/10].
Highlight: 'Church & Skate'
Now we're talking. This is big time. The previous 5 are good but they don't compare to the worldwide notoriety and household name status of what is to come. Was Iggy Pop off his tits? The debate rages on but what he and the set lacks in subtlety Iggy & The Stooges make up for in straight up punk passion and party rock songs. Iggy sprints and writhes around the stage like a whirling dervish with his pants far too low slung for a man of his age. His battle worn body ripe with scars and signs of a life well, if alcohol fuelled, led. He still very much enjoys the music he's playing, that much is a guarantee. A failed attempt to ignite a midset stage invasion is diffused by the security to Iggy's discontent but it fails to mar an entertaining performance highlighted by saxophone extraordinaire Steve Mackay. At times it almost verges on watching the decline of the mind of said focal point but I guess that's Iggy for you. If you buy into the tunes you also buy into witnessing him crawling on the floor yelping and screeching and lobbing microphones around the stage like they were empty beer cans back at camp. When he eventually evacuates the stage to a rousing reaction from fans that can now proudly came to have seen Iggy & The Stooges live, you wonder if even Manson has the capacity to top him. [8/10]
Highlight: 'Lust For Life'
The heaviest disappointment of the day comes in the form of Incubus. Signs weren't positive when one of the band members explained in a well known musical rag that the band haven't been rehearsing or practising in ages and will probably not be on form. How big a slap in the face is that to the UK music community? That really set the tone for a bad start and a disintegration from thereon in. Not helped by the incessant cheers from those female members of the crowd that swoon over frontman Brandon Boyd ever so much. Once his top comes off, he could probably take a crap on stage, shout Germany's better than England, then tell everyone to piss off and the female constabulary would still cry and stare at him lovingly, longing to have his babies. A thin sliver of drool unknowingly slipping from their mouths as they go. Annoying. If that's all Boyd needs to get a rise out of his fans why should he bother with the music? Incubus have a handful of brilliant songs which should create a great atmosphere amongst the punters live but even excellent numbers like 'Wish You Were Here' & 'Nice To Know You' fail to hit the mark and are delivered without enough oomph or enthusiasm. The sound seems to be a lot quieter than usual too and completely missing out one of the greatest songs of all time 'Drive', is a straight up kick in the teeth. You get the impression Incubus would much rather just retire now and live the life of beach bums. Granted they've probably made enough money now to do such a thing but if a continuous display of meandering poor albums and half hearted performances are a result of this universal success, it's the fans I feel sorry for. [4/10]
Highlight: 'Nice To Know You'
The rampant box of uncertainty that is Marilyn Manson then. Expectancy as to the stage, costumes, electronics and other Manson special moves are almost as eagerly anticipated as the songs themselves come a rather large turnover time between sets. Manson has very rarely failed to provide the goods when it comes to the live arena. Especially around the years following his conception when he shocked and pleasured in equal measures the world over with his lyrics and actions. Live was where it all came together though but I suppose it was obvious a time would come when the 'gimmick' would wear thin and everyone would become much more desensitised to the actions of the so-called 'Anti-Christ Superstar'. That's really obvious tonight as the sun starts to set over Bramham Park. The stage is really nothing special, even Turbonegro's Hank Von Hvelte almost out shadows Manson's expensive, ever so stylish skirt ensemble and the only radical nice touch is the fact the keyboard hangs from a hangman's gallows. Time doesn't seem to have moved on for Marilyn Manson. In fact the only thing he has to show for the past 3 odd years in tonight's set is decidedly dodgy 'm-Obscene' and the ill fated cover of 'Tainted Love'. Tonight may have been the perfect platform to raise the bar and be more out there and controversial than ever before but the band don't attempt to do anything of the kind whatsoever. A confusing finish involving a repeated poem from Manson stood upon a Nuremberg trials-esque pulpit is culminated by a sense of disappointing from the tens of thousands that ventured out to watch him. He's still an entertaining and perplexing character to have in the rock scene but he doesn't half need a kick up the backside to reanimate his ever rotting corpse of a persona. Back to the drawing bored Mozza. 6/10.
Highlight: 'Fight Song' - Still flipping incredible.
An army of Orc like metalheads cascade along the central vicinity to the stage. Hairy, leather clad unwashed forty somethings flank the wings. Bloodthirsty shouts for 'Maiden' illuminate the freezing night sky. This could only mean one thing. The return of Iron Maiden. Well either that or it's the apocalypse. But let's face it, that's unlikely. Not at this time. I admit to being somewhat of a Maiden novice and as such may not be able to do Maiden the justice they deserve but on the other hand perhaps the biggest compliment that could be bestowed upon the band tonight is that they've found a new convert here, and you can be sure that scenarios the same festival over. Iron Maiden kick some serious boo-tay in true old school fashion. There's absolutely nothing like this band on the festival's bill and they are better for it, as they stick out like a sore thumb that's been playing 'The Trooper' far too much. There was every chance, especially for non fans, to anticipate getting bored of basically the same song (Judus!) over and over again but there's none of that whatsoever. The guitar solos are just breathtaking and take an incredible degree of talent that many guitarists could only dream of. I implore you to not just watch in glorious marvel as the 4 none drum playing band members pull off their quadruple 4 pronged metal onslaught upon the front of the stage, stood together guitars raised to the air with Bruce Dickinson waiting to pierce the airwaves for miles around. It's like a snapshot from the 1980's brought back to life for 2005. Beautiful, in a manly way. The set is constructed to basically be Bruce's personal playground. A double layered structure for the still energetic vocalist to fling himself off, on and around. During 'Number Of The Beast' a very naff, seemingly papier-mâché 'beasts' head stands out on the back drop with glowing red eyes but that's soon overshadowed by a huge mechanised Eddie monster to the top of the stage, snarling and smoking like Satan himself. Maybe it really is the apocalypse. 'Run To The Hills' is the unquestionable highlight as 50 thousand voices - young ,old, metal, punk, indie all unite to scream the chorus in unison. Bruce Dickinson is on top form throughout, the Yorkshire born vocalist welcoming the whole audience from front to back and roping them in to participate. A 20 minute encore ushers in the Maiden mascot Eddie for the finale and in a barrage of over the top metal solos and drum solos it's all over. The whole set is memorable in every way possible and another one of those great 'Where you there when...?' events. Exceptional. [9/10]
Highlight: 'Run To The Hills' or any moment involving the metalmongous guitar assault.
A better collection of main stage bands you'll struggle to find, all sharing the same trademark of having noticeably charismatic front man. Absolutely awesome. Indisputably the perfect way to kick off Leeds Festival 2005.
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On 31st August 2005 at 21:18 Anonymous 3717 wrote...
Awesome. Relief to see the maiden review \m/
On 31st August 2005 at 21:43 Anonymous 2832 wrote...
Absolutely ace, Luke, enjoyed reading that so much. What a plethora of reviews! Almost wee'd myself reading your Incubus paragraph concerning female adoration. I'm afraid I don't see the Boyd attraction either...
On 31st August 2005 at 21:57 Dave LMS wrote...
Yeah, I'd echo that, it was great reading through the Main Stage activity... cheers Luke!
On 31st August 2005 at 22:40 Anonymous 2833 wrote...
Hecky thump that was a beast to read! Pretty much missed all main stage activity that day apart from Incubus, who were, as usual i'm afraid, disappointing at t'old festival, shame.