It came, It went, It conquered as per. Leeds Festival 2014 was a real pinnacle for this year's UK live music, cramming it's masses into the colossus fields of Bramham Park, this year's Leeds Festival was a true menace of a machine. From strolling the sights and stalls of the relatively tame arena, to hiking through the foothills of Red camp and afar, the beast of Leeds Festival was out in full glamour this year. Not only for the sheer size and scale of the glorified playground, nor for the big bad names it captured upon its stages, but purely the immense and sometimes overwhelming atmosphere of Leeds Festival is what attracts the crowds in their droves - (Each and EVERY year).
This year's line-up, though transparent in parts, boasted an array of big names and must sees. From Gerrard Way's premier solo show, right the way through to Macklemore's fur coat - teenage girl-screaming onstage antics. All considered, It is fair to say Leeds festival caters to the masses, though in doing so, often leaving the fringes of those masses at somewhat of a loose-end. Fear no-more, as this year with 10 arena stages and a dozen campsite venues, attendants waved farewell to mud-mooching moments of waiting around and embarked on the northern event of the year. With Oxfam blazers, slush puppy pleasantries and a number of near 24-hour rave spots all been thrown around, It was hard to find even a moment for the annual carbon monoxide poisoning - plastic bag burning ritual around the camp fire.
Without further ado, we present to you this year's top live sets and why they really made this year what it was.
Friday's line-up was a mega-mashup of all things crowd-pleasing. The return of Papa Roach brought smiles to thousands of thrashing fans down in the pits. Gogol Bordello returning with their crowd-rowdy get up and go set they are oh so famous for. Clean Bandit turning up the Volume with their modest slot on the NME stage just 1 year after their first single, and the list continues for just the opening day's attractions.
The main highlights of the day begin with the Klaxons set on the BBC Radio 1 Dance stage. Having not really pulled back much success after their glowstick-chewing habits in the early days of 'nu-rave', a real hats off to them for this set as they pumped the crowd more and more. Returning with much more of a distinct dance sound, the Klaxons set both visually and audibly proved their righteous stance in colourful - all over your face dance pop and left that early Friday crowd wanting more. Evidently, the crowds emerged in masses for the Klaxons 1:30am DJ set on the camp-site based Relentless stage. A daunting fiesta hidden at the end of a long tree valley - riddled with green yellow and red strobe lighting, It was hard to make person for person - just faces toward the heavens as the Klaxons nailed the 2 and a half hour set.
The second clear highlight of the day was that of Blink 182. The old 'Know what you're getting' and 'safe bet' vibes were rife throughout the Main Stage crowd, though not for lack of attendance. Returning since their last appearance in 2010, there was much humbug circulating with regards to their set, but on arrival at the main arena it was clear of the false validity of such gargling. With fans both shamed and unshamed all amasses together in chorus and choir of their most loved punk-rock band. Great live set - and by Lord possibly one of the most entertaining drummers to live.
With this year's Friday kicking off with a bang, there were strong forecasts of hangover and dull in the air. Suffice to say - everywhere you looked the tents had great crowds and great atmospheres of jumpin' and jivin'. Of course with Gerrard Way's premier show starting the day, who wouldn't want to be up and out, early as a bird and catching those worms?!!? Unfortunately, it was a tough call but Way's extremely early bird set didn't make this year's Saturday highlights - they are as follows.
Vampire Weekend took gracefully to the stage, later to follow through with a real-time good-time show of hits and more. Even if you hadn't heard Cousins as a teen with A-punk on the blast, Vampire Weekend presented some quality entertainment on the afternoon's main stage. Tight, talented and totally awesome - catch a VW show if you haven't already.
Next up in terms of real spine-tingling, good-time pop was Metronomy on the NME/Radio 1 Stage. Possibly THE best live set to emerge out of 2014, Metronomy had the NME stage rammed to capacity and the central pitt in blissful awe. It has been said Metronomy's ability to replicate record to the stage is impeccable, however their ability to develop so much more of an atmosphere on top of that - is profound! White blazer formal-shique and the ultra-cool beats of Anna Prior to really put the icing on the cake - possible nomination for the best set of '14.
Now, with eye-lids, sweat glands and beer stock all grinding to a halt, what the attendants of a mega-fest really need is some pillow-beat nu-vibes and a little dance encouragement for good measure. Milky Chance provided just that. On record Milky presents a somewhat reflective pop version of dance - perfect for the time and state of mind of mid-day Sunday Leeds Festival. Onstage, however Milky Chance opens up our eyes to the seemingly more beat orientated dance version of pop. Bunny ears, said Oxfam blazers, unkempt perms all swilling and swaying to the left-right notion of Chances Sunday mornin' grooves. This really was a magical set on the Radio 1 Dance stage and truly gutting not to be lucky enough for a second later-on slot just as the Marmozets pulled out of the invisible bag.
As hyped before, and really - you must believe the hype. The Arctic Monkeys broke many a scale within Sundays headlining threshold. Buried deep within the masses of Main Stage madness, I recall the entire population of Leeds Fest behind me. From barrier to the bar stood a march of true witnesses to the magic afoot. Wrapped in a Yorshire rose-clad blazer, Alex Turner and the gang sifted through their hits, the others and more. With the latest album AM holding motive for the set-list, the Yorkshire boys rattled through an epic set. A perfect finale to what was a menace of a festival, a true testament to both UK music and the north of England. See you all next year.
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