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Looking back at Leeds Festival
9:33am Wednesday 29th August 2012 in Features
THE rain held off for most of the Leeds Festival, but when it finally arrived on Sunday, it didn’t stop the celebrations. Early in the afternoon, comedian Gary Delaney provided frequently filthy one-liners on a packed Alternative Stage, like a post-watershed Tim Vine.
Heavy rain struck the festival at 3.50pm, but didn’t stop a few thousand still turning out to the Main Stage for The Shins, who reacted with good grace to the largely empty field, and performed album-quality tracks from their new and older albums.
Jake Bugg proved to be one of the favourites of the festival, with so much positive press ahead of the Bank Holiday Weekend, the Festival Republic Stage was filled to capacity before his performance started, and hundreds more crowded outside the tent in the rain to hear the Nottingham teenager’s blend of Dylan-esque country folk music.
Over at the crowded and muddy NME-Radio 1 stage, Swedish electro-pop band Miike Snow thrilled the audience with their mix of rock and dance, with a similar sound to Bloc Party, and created far more noise than their image would suggest.
The band also put on an impressive light show, helped somewhat by an overactive smoke machine, and managed to sneak in a political dig, with frequent big-screen close-ups on the bass drum, which read ‘Free Pussy Riot’.
The crowds returned to the main stage as the weather dried up, and the sun started to go down, to see The Vaccines perform new and old material including latest single Teenage Icon, and the band seemed genuinely pleased to return to the Leeds Festival.
Singer Justin Young told the crowd: “This time last year, we played over on the NME stage and it was one of the best gigs we ever had. Thanks for making this one even better.”
Despite rumours of an illness and possible replacement by Green Day, Florence And The Machine gave their all, with all signs of Florence Welch’s recent bout of laryngitis banished as the energetic redhead bounded around the stage while singing pitch- perfect renditions of the hits and new material.
Main stage headliners Kasabian proved they were more than just riffmongers, with an undeniable presence and a string of surprising covers – from the Korgis brilliant Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime, Fat Boy Slim’s Praise You, and John Williams’ theme from E.T. in honour of astronaut Neil Armstrong.
The band even got the biggest crowd of the day to bounce and sing along with all their hits, including Club Foot and Shoot The Runner, before closing the festival with an a capella version of The Beatles’ She Loves You as the crowds made their way towards the exits.