Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Carling Festival 2007: Leeds (Part 2)

Saturday morning and with memories of the Pumpkins still as fresh in the mind, as the dew on the grass, we were up and about early for the day's music. First up was the second half of The Pipettes and although it was hard to judge on a few songs, I think these girls coped well with the early slot, getting some early birds dancing to their Motown grooves. Searching for some undiscovered gems, we moved on to the Carling Stage to see fresh faced Nashville punk rockers, the Turbo Fruits. Blasting through a 30 minute set that included 3 chords, 2 ripped string vests and 1 lonesome blow up ball the kids tried their best and at times managed to sound at least a little like The Stooges. By the looks of it, time is on their side so maybe they'll be back again next year.
So, if we had waited 10 minutes longer for the mysterious "Hooks For Hands" we would have been presented with the greatest surprise of the weekend...a secret gig from Leeds very own Kaiser Chiefs, and, although I am by no means a huge fan, I have to say I would have love to have caught them. We moved on quickly, to the sunny main stage, and I had another chance to see The Long Blondes, another local band, who have risen to fame off a critically acclaimed debut album. They were again, pretty fun and almost marked a real start to the day in terms of music.
Next, I decided to venture off alone and I returned to Carling Tent for my first band of a planned double header. Blood Red Shoes were meant to just be my warm up but they turned out better than expected and their tight, edgy two piece rock showed an early ear for hooks and clever melodies. Next up was the one I had waited for, Frank Turner. Almost at the front, I was in prime position to sing, shout and jump my way through his charismatic and warm show. This is a guy who is writing some of the most interesting tracks in the singer/songwriter field and his live performance showed off the personality that is spawning such clever and catchy songs, all with his angry folk/punk edge.
After, with many friends going to see Maximo Park on the main stage I thought I'd come along as there was nothing else that caught my attention. This is a band I've never really been into, but in the live setting they really weren't so bad and all my mates seemed to have a great time dancing and singing to the hits! Interpol were next up on the main and I faced a major clash, them or The Bronx. After much deliberation, I went with my heart and ran off to catch LA's finest for my second occasion. They really didn't disappoint. This is a band which sweats and bleeds passion, a punk band I really believe in and the show was fucking awesome. Spending more time in the crowd than on stage, frontman Matt Caughthran, actually means it when he says he wants to break down the barriers between audience and band. For me, this brings so much respect, and after seeing several bands already profess such things and not really live up to their outlandish claims, it was a refreshing change. Racing through no end of hits like "Shitty Future" and "White Tar" (which I think I got to shout a line on!) the band showed that they meant business. For the former, he lead with the line;

"The bad news is here comes the next song. It's for all the psychopaths. It's feeding time!"

After which he dove into the crowd for what seemed like most the set. All that needs to be said about this band now is, if you want hard rock to believe in and to motivate you, look no further than these guys!
After that exhilarating experience, the fun didn't stop as Kings Of Leon took to the main stage. I've always loved KOL but this performance cemented their place as one of my favourite bands, they are the consummate rock band, a band at the height of their powers. With style, panache and truly brilliant songs they rocked through a set that lasted a little over an hour and took in material from all three records. Slowing it down, on tracks like "Fans" and the beautiful "Knocked Up", and then rockin' out again, with others like "Spiral Staircase" and "Four Kicks", Kings Of Leon are a band that deserved to be entertaining 60,000 smiling fans on that Saturday evening.
Finally, we sat on the grass for a more relaxed view of headlining act, Razorlight. As a big fan of the first album, but not its follow up, I was interested to see these guys, especially after they disappointed me back last year in Nottingham. Plus it was a good chance to just hang out with friends and chill. My overall impression of the set was that they were, not bad. I respect the fact that the songs they have written carry alot of emotion for millions of people and in that area they seemed to entertain their fans, but to me, the new material is a little flat and unexciting and this is highlighted in the live situation. Excluding 'those' two singles, I didn't hear anything that, was up to par with the songs from "Up All Night", the edgy, paranoid and essential debut. Personal highlights for me were when they dipped to the bottom of their relatively shallow bag of songs, to pull out classics such as "Rock & Roll Lies" and "Rip It Up" which did sound as good as when I first heard them. Overall then, they were better than in Nottingham, and maybe with a more creative third effort they'll be able to find another, more interesting, direction but on that Saturday evening they were thoroughly outclassed by everyone's favourite American band of brothers.

Set List
'In The Morning'
'Hold On'
'Golden Touch'
'Back To The Start'
'(Don't Go Back To) Dalston'
'Fall To Pieces'
'Pop Song 2006'
'Can't Stop This Feeling'
'LA Waltz'
'Leave Me Alone'
'Rock 'N' Roll Lies'
'Rip It Up'
'Who Needs Love'
'In The City'
'Funeral Blues'
'Stumble And Fall'
'Somewhere Else'

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