ONE WEEK ON; We look back at the UK’s Biggest Music Festival.
Lil Pump – BBC Radio 1 Stage
Lil Pump struggled through an exciting, but somewhat irritating performance.
On the first day, Leeds Festival was graced with one of its more notoriously controversial acts, Lil Pump; a highly energetic and excitable young rapper, only 18 years old at the time of performance. Despite his age, Pump is known best for his drug-fuelled and brash behaviour, but also because of his popular style of trap/rap music that brought the audience in droves, exceeding the shelter’s capacity. He managed to draw a mixture of adoring fans and curious viewers alike, ready to absorb whatever over-zealous routine he had concocted.
His performance was an exhilarating experience, but also a disappointing one. His set began with the track Boss and instantly sent the audience into motion. The bass matched with his rhythmic and simple rap beats broke the crowd into dancing and mosh pits, and this only continued as he followed with Iced Out. From front to back, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The energy increased even further as Pump suddenly launched into a tribute the late XXXTentacion with a cover of his track SAD. The whole audience was locked into the adrenaline of Pump’s performance and craved more. His next and most iconic number, Gucci Gang completely matched the vibe.
However, as D Rose was just about to begin, Pump suddenly withdrew from the climatic build and urged for larger mosh pits. He eventually conceded and began the song. Once more, the intro was short lived as the youngster suddenly halted again…
Possibly not understanding the dimensions of the tent, Pump began to dictate, like a petulant child, that the mosh pit filled the entire tent, something which was rendered impossible by the middle barrier. After what seemed like hours, he finally began again, but most of the energy had depleted and, despite the fact that mosh pits were in full swing, nothing seemed to his satisfaction.
His following and final song Esskeetit was unfortunately cut short as the stage managers forcibly cut off his music. It appeared that he had overrun drastically because of his tantrums, leaving most of the audience disappointed at the abrupt end. Before leaving, he managed to leave a lasting touch as he insulted the festival itself, calling it a “gay-ass venue” for putting an end to his over-run act.
Mainly due to his evidently overwhelming ego, Pump’s performance was ruined. What could have made a brilliant beginning to Leeds Festival, became instead an abrupt and aborted failure due to his own insolence, resulting in a restless and offended audience. Although he began with a bang, he finished on a fizzle.
Lewis Capaldi – Festival Republic Stage
This soulfully raspy singer/songwriter performed without fault.
Showcasing new numbers, such as Tough, with incredible conviction, followed by well-loved pieces like Bruises, Capaldi truly gave us exactly what we had been expecting and more.
Although he had to compete with the likes of The Courteeners on the main stage, Lewis Capaldi’s performance was well attended – a testament to his skill and everlasting popularity.
He gelled well with his audience and created a wonderful atmosphere that received praise from all those who attended, exactly as was deserved.
4.5 / 5 Bytes
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – The Pit
A textbook example of a festival performance, perfectly executing the hype and festival spontaneity.
Despite being just a surprise act this year, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes have become a staple of Reading + Leeds Festival. Appearing suddenly, as if carried in a gust of wind, they burst onto the BBC Radio 1 Stage full of more hype and energy than most of the preselected acts that day. To everyone’s delightful surprise (mainly as they were only announced 30 minutes prior to their arrival), they slammed straight into action. After little chatter, they quickly dived into an energetic set full of power and motion.
Beginning with Juggernaut, the band instantly sent the central crowd into chaos, launching them into various mosh and circle pits that would move almost endlessly throughout the following setlist. They focused primarily on their biggest hits, playing Vampires, Lullaby and Wild Flowers in quick succession, keeping interludes to a minimum due to their short time frame. There was nothing to suggest that Frank Carter was planning on divulging in any tedious spoken word interludes to his audience, and so this continuous rhythm really benefitted their overall performance. Their music by design, with its guttural, brash cockney vocals, matched with the harsh distorted guitar and brutal drums, really works best when uninterrupted and so flourished under such conditions.
To end the set, Frank Carter played two contrasting songs, one which gave a climax and another which offered a lingering denouement. Firstly, they unleashed Devil Inside Me, with Frank Carter demanding that a circle pit erupted from the tent in a counter-clockwise direction. Despite the song offering the energy to do so, the circle left much to be desired and as the song ended Frank quickly called the now cold and wet audience back in for their final track, I Hate You. In contrast to Devil, I Hate You relies more upon solo guitar and drum backing, with lingering, poignant and aggressive vocals at its centre; drawing out the energy released in the climax to a subtle ending. Rather than ending on a bang, the band left the audience in a state of prolonged euphoria as they came down from the explosive build up. The group managed to perfectly construct their setlist and match it flawlessly with the festival’s atmosphere of spontaneity and freedom.
Lady Bird – BBC 1 INTRODUCING
One of the most exciting breakout stars of the past year, Lady Bird certainly won over some fans at Leeds.
Announced as “Slaves’ favourite band”, Lady Bird swaggered onto the BBC 1 Introducing stage, utterly dripping in confidence and energy.
The crowd at Leeds seemed to enjoy the sounds produced by Lady Bird, and the crowd grew as each song went on. Opening with Social Potions and Leave Me Alone from their debut EP, Lady Bird demanded the audience’s attention by announcing the release of a new single – Boot Fillers. This change in intent got the audience moving and it was evident that the Leeds crowd were enjoying the three-piece from Tunbridge Wells.
Finishing up with Baby! and the popular ode to Wetherspoons – Spoons – clearly left everyone with smiles on their faces and wanting more.
Their set was short, yet sweet, and certainly was one of the breakthrough performances of the weekend. These Kentish lads are headed in the right direction.
Will Wilkins, Jess Daubney, and George Knight