August bank holiday marks one of the most popular annual moments in music, Reading and Leeds Festival. Showcasing some of the best names in the industry, each year is jam-packed with bands and artists across the spectrum of genres ready to end your summer perfectly. Leeds Festival 2018 became my home for four days, with some incredible acts including Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, Post Malone and more... Intrigued? Unfortunately I couldn't be in six places at once and therefore couldn't catch every single act, however I made note to highlight the memorable performances to discuss on the blog.
Friday Line Up:
With the arena fully opening on Friday 24th August, it was the day for everyone to begin getting into the festival spirit. Despite this, I personally found the line up to be quite lacking for those who prefer punk and alternative genres. The first act I caught was 18-year old SoundCloud rapper Lil Pump, which certainly attracted attention from the crowd. Performing on the BBC Radio 1 Stage, he quickly packed out the tent with rowdy fans who kept the atmosphere alive with a combination of raves and pits.
Post-performing well-known song Gucci Gang, it certainly went down-hill. Starting with a fan having a seizure in the pit, he stopped his performance and encouraged the crowd to help the man out. Directly after removing him, Lil Pump attempted to rile the audience back up, failing at encouraging them to start another pit. Quickly he became frustrated, angrily shouting and swearing at the audience before performing the next song. Due to wasted set time from the over-reaction, he ended mid-song whilst exclaiming "This gay-ass venue is cutting off my sound. Fuck you Leeds, please come see me in November" then stormed off stage. Even with his immaturity and unprofessionalism, it was entertaining nonetheless.
After Lil Pump, Don Broco took to the same stage, opening with Stay Ignorant. Instantly igniting passion and excitement within the crowd, the band exploited their immense energy on stage which is present with each and every performance. Throughout the set, they performed hits from new album Technology, including Good Listener, Pretty and fan-favourite Come Out To LA, before finishing their set with the iconic T-Shirt Song. As with every Don Broco show, the crowd took the opportunity to take off their tops and swing it around their heads during the final song, all whilst vocalist Rob stage-dived into the audience. From the moment they stepped foot on stage to the last chord played, they lifted spirits across the tent, leaving everyone in the true festival mood.
Headlining the main stage were Kings of Leon, which surprisingly left the crowd disappointed even with their well-established name. Due to the Leeds festival attendees being predominantly young, the majority of the songs performed during their 90-minute set were unheard of and too mellow for the party-scene gathered. Unfortunately, the energy of the band was also lacking with several members checking their watches on stage mid-song. All of this combined resulted in large crowds of people walking away from the stage, rather than towards it during their performance. Luckily, the last 10 minutes picked up as they sang well-known songs Use Somebody and finishing with Sex On Fire, noticeably the first time the remainder of the audience began singing along.
Saturday Line Up:
Heavily rumored before the festival, Bring Me The Horizon announced a secret set on the BBC Radio 1 Stage for 2:15pm. Opening with their new song Mantra, the first song released from the band since 2015, crowds quickly gathered to witness this comeback to the music scene. Due to their long break from performing, I was expecting a slightly rusty performance, however, it was unmistakably mesmerizing. Shadow Moses in particular stood out amongst the rest, as vocalist and front-man Oli Sykes proved his spellbinding stage presence. Stood silently, he raised one hand and subtly gestured to part the crowd. With every eye on him, the pit opened instantly in a hypnotising manner unlike anything I've seen before. They finished the set performing Drown, where Sykes jumped down from the stage and ran along the barrier, high-fiving fans and stopping to sing directly to individuals.
Mid-afternoon on the main stage, Post Malone certainly proved his popularity before even stepping out to perform. Throughout the entire festival, the turn out was the busiest I had seen this stage, on par with Sunday headliner Panic! At The Disco. After an unnecessarily long introduction, he started with Too Young, at which point the atmosphere began to be overpowered by the stench of marijuana. The super-chilled audience maintained excitement whilst dancing throughout the set including Psycho, Candy Paint, Go Flex and Rockstar, then stopping to make a speech. He began to tell us a story of how he taught himself to play the guitar from the age of 12, before recording his first single White Iverson. His entire set was incredibly well-received by the audience and swarms of fans were left entertained and content.
The Main Stage headliner for Saturday was classic emo rock band Fall Out Boy. From the moment which they stepped out on stage, performing Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes, the heavily enthusiastic crowd roared and the unique, incredible energy remained throughout the set. This original alternative rock band also played classics and popular favourites Sugar, We're Goin' Down, Uma Thurman, Thnks fr th Mmrs and even a Michael Jackson cover of Beat It. Unfortunately, the one thing which reduced the show from perfection was a faulty sound check which led to issues during the live set with the speakers completely cutting out for short intervals of a few seconds each time. However, FoB continued completely un-phased and ended it on a high with an encore consisting of My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) and Saturday. This was the perfect end to a Saturday night at the main stage.
Sunday Line Up:
The Sunday of Leeds Festival had weather which was very undesirable. Skindred performed on the Main Stage, and managed to get the crowd going, creating an interactive set with Kill The Power and That's My Jam. Despite the pouring rain and swamps of mud, vocalist Benji encouraged the audience to remove their rain coats and swing them around in their air above their heads. Watching an artist have the power to get fans to sacrifice their dryness, warmth and comfort for a performance was mesmerising and clearly proves their strong influence.
Next up on the Main Stage was Mike Shinoda, who co-founded Linkin Park in 1996. Performing solo, he embraced the stage with a power unseen from many artists, not only as a singer and songwriter, but a friendly face with an approachable manner. He began by singing Introduction, along with one other Fort Minor song, Petrified. Shinoda then switched to Linkin Park songs, making a speech which had the crowd in utter silence. Delving into the emotional side of life, he discussed both his personal struggles, followed by his relationship with the late Chester Bennington. He stated 'Sing this next one so loud that Chester can hear you', before performing In The End. The tearful crowd erupted in song, creating a community spirit from the barrier all the way to the entrance. Mike finished his set with Running From My Shadow.
Taking to the Main Stage next was Sum 41, opening with The Hell Song. Original pop punk fans surrounded the stage, enjoying live hits including Over My Head (Better Off Dead), In Too Deep, Fat Lip and a Queen cover of We Will Rock You. Quickly getting the audience pumped up even in the poor weather, they kept everybody moving with ease, starting small pits in the centre. Utilising their contacts, they finished the set performing a Linkin Park cover of Faint, bringing Mike Shinoda back on stage to complete the song alongside them.
The final highlight of Leeds Festival 2018 was the Main Stage presence of Panic! At The Disco. Highly anticipated by the majority of festival goers, the atmosphere lightened in time for Brendan Urie to embrace the stage with (Fuck A) Silver Lining from the most recent album release, Pray For The Wicked. With each major P!ATD hit played including Hallelujah, The Ballad of Mona Lisa, Miss Jackson and Death of a Bachelor, the crowd became increasingly louder and spirits lightened despite it nearing the ending of the festival. By the finale complete with fireworks above the stage during I Write Sins Not Tragedies and Victorious, energies had transformed from the somewhat tired and dreary Sunday at Leeds to a sensational party.
Did you attend Leeds Festival 2018?
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