Monday, September 05, 2011

A non-music fan's guide to...Leeds Festival

Following the mixed feedback from my first column I approached my follow up with some trepidation and so contemplated for some time about what to write about. But what do people really want, I mused? I considered current issues; but are people really interested in my views on the recent UK riots or on the Gadaffi regime? Probably yes.

Then I saw my opening, Leeds Festival 2011; the last hurrah of the festival season. But could I really write about another festival? We all know what happens when follow ups don't cut the mustard and ideas get stretched. Need I remind you of: The Matrix - Reloaded, Blues Brothers 2000, Sex and the City 2, The new Star Wars films, Grease 2, Cruel Intentions 2: Manchester Prep, Jaws 2: The Revenge, Men in Black 2, Dumb and Dumberer and Speed 2: Cruise Control. I mean, they’re all incredible films, but sadly the world wasn't ready.

Despite the fact I am a confirmed musical ignoramus, the calibre of acts at Reading and Leeds this year was so strong and unignorable that even I was familiar with some names. So on my long and pointless drive to Leeds on the Friday morning I spend the journey familiarising myself with the hits of The Muse, The Pulps, The Strokes and Late Night Gimp Fight. I also opted to bring my girlfriend with me who does like music, despite being completely deaf.

Friday started wel,l as I managed to lose all my cards and money before even paying my donation for our guest passes. Compounding my elation at this, we were also welcomed to the 'jewel of the North' by apocalyptic weather conditions and a small Irish girl attempting to sell me Ketamine. Once we set up camp (in the disabled camp site) music reigned as well as the sky and I decided to watch the bands with the worst / most interesting names which included: Death from Above 1979, Panic! At the Disco, Chapel Club, Friendly Fires, Danananaykroyd and Warpaint. I didn't enjoy them personally, but my girlfriend appeared to - or at least I think she did. I don't know sign language.

In addition to his main stage set we also managed to watch a 'secret set' by one Frank Turner. It can't have been too much of a secret though as the backdrop behind him had his name on it. Much later we watched the Muse with 100,000 strangers. Muse decided to use this point in history to perform their now 10 year old record 'Origin of Symmetry' album in its entirety. I’m sure it’s good and all, but it’s hardly ‘NOW! That’s what I call music’ where you’re certain to have hit after hit and I felt as though it went on a bit, I mean even people wearing Muse T-shirts didn’t seem to know the words so I used this opportunity to eat some chips. Later that night we went 'celeb-spotting' in the guest area which was completely unsuccessful. On arrival back to my tent I attempted to manually blow an inflatable mattress. What a rush.

In the morning a number of stewards approached us and appeared to be trying to suss out the nature of our disabilities, but they were all too polite to just come out and say something, so I spend the entire weekend pretending to suffer various impairments to justify my stay in disabled camping. It was a lovely morning; I was full of positivity and cider. The sun was out, BBQ's were lit and there was an air of optimism, until it started to rain. We spent some time in the early afternoon at the main stage where heavy metal boy bands ‘Architects’ and ‘Bring me the Horizon’ sang songs about girls, their issues with God and having mild mental health problems. This set the tone for a very bleak afternoon spent watching hardcore bands with homeless people. My girlfriend didn't enjoy it either, but obviously I couldn't be sure.

Despite missing X Factor my Saturday evening picked up tenfold when I realised that there was free 'Relentless' in the guest area, and by realising this I managed to miss My Chemical Romance and most of 30 Seconds to Marxism. I particularly enjoyed watching the moment where Actor and Model Jared Leto literally come out of his A-hole.

Sunday and more 'Relentless'. Relentless drinks boast some impressive flavours and over the weekend I enjoyed 'Dominion', 'Inferno' and 'The blood of Christ'. Celeb spotting was a bit better today too and, as well as human shit pump Chris Moyles I was lucky enough to see Louis from pop sensation 'One Direction', though the only sensation I was feeling at the time was a Relentless inducted Stroke. If the drummer from the Kaiser Chiefs looks like a train driver then I may have seen him too.

The weekend was topped off by forgettable performances from The Strokes and Pulp and then changing a car tyre on terra firma drenched with 3 days of rain. My girlfriend and I still aren't talking, but what's new...?!

Tiernan Welch

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