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Reading / Leeds Festival 2013 Review: Friday - Biffy Clyro, Nine Inch Nails, Fall Out Boy And More!

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 23 August 2013 at 23.56

All the action from the Leeds site filmed, snapped and reviewed by Rock Sound, click for Biffy Clyro, Fall Out Boy, Bury Tomorrow and We Are The In Crowd coverage.

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Faced with the unenviable challenge of setting the bar for the entire weekend to follow, coupled with an enormous weight of expectation following a phenomenal Download performance back in June, Bury Tomorrow are up against it in their main stage opening slot. Never ones to slouch in the live arena, however, Southampton’s finest rise to the challenge in style. Their sound might initially be reduced to little more than endless flurries of double-kicks interspersed with frontman Dani Winter-Bates’ best Phil Anselmo impressions, but eventually things settle down enough to allow a little more subtlety to shine through. By their own admission, BT’s sledgehammer brand of get-the-fuck-up melodic metalcore isn’t to everyone’s taste, so it’s to their credit that not only do they inspire dual circle pits a mere three songs in, they even manage to make them go multi-storey during a punishing ‘Waxed Wings’. They came as underdogs, but given the reception they’re afforded this afternoon, it’s safe to say that Bury Tomorrow will be leaving with more than a few new friends. [PW]



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Dinosaur Pile-Up on the Radio 1 Stage at Leeds Festival 2013, click for a full gallery of images


This time 12 months ago, We Are The In Crowd would have been found several hundred yards away in the somewhat cosy Festival Republic tent, rather than on the grand and spacious surroundings of the Main Stage that so many have conquered over the years. Sadly, the New Yorkers won't be adding their name to that list today. It's not for the wanting of trying, with both energy and enthusiasm levels through the roof (which really says something on a stage of this magnitude), but with even those on the front rows struggling to conjure more than a sympathetic waving of hands and Tay Jardine's vocals often disappearing altogether, which makes a struggling 'On Your Own' much crueler than it ought to be, today is ultimately a case of We Are Not Your Crowd for We Are The In Crowd. [RB]

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Given the unnecessarily serious nature of some of the bands that will be setting foot on this stage in a few hours time (you know who you are, Gunsmith), to say that Don Broco are a breath of fresh air would be a grave understatement. Breaking into The Walk seconds into opener 'Priorities', the Bedford quartet make swift work of plastering a smile on every face in the immediate vicinity, which by the time they plough through 'Hold On' and a quite wonderful 'Actors' can be quantified using the words 'rather' and 'a lot'. Putting the numbers to good use during a run through 'Yeah Man' which sees the lads (quite unsurprisingly) out singing the lasses, the 40 minutes fly past at quite some rate, and the cheers that bid them farewell are the loudest yet by quite some distance. #LADS indeed. [RB]

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Hacktivist on the Rock Stage at Leeds Festival 2013, click for a full gallery of images


To suggest that this is a big show for Arcane Roots would be something of an overstatement; after all, this is a band still catching their breath from a recent European jaunt supporting pan-dimensional stadium juggernauts Muse. That said, today marks the Kingstonians’ first appearance at this most hallowed of festivals, but if there’s the slightest hint of apprehension in the ranks, it’s not showing. Coiled like the tightest of springs, Arcane Roots pause to survey their mid-afternoon slot, close their eyes, and slam it out of the park. From delicate caress to walloping bludgeon, every moment of their scant 30 minutes on stage is nothing short of spine-tingling; by turns mercilessly savage and outrageously histrionic, they care nothing for trends, preferring to concentrate on a purity of expression not dissimilar to that of today’s headliners, with an outright display of jaw-dropping musicality to match. If there were ever a threat to Biffy’s chart-bothering alt-rock crown, performances like today’s offer compelling evidence that Arcane Roots are it. [PW]

By contrast, Japanese lunatics Crossfaith are a decidedly lower-brow, but no less thrilling proposition. Peddling some kind of trans-Pacific frat party rave-core, on paper they sound about as appealing as a crocodile enema, but in practice their impact is nothing short of incredible. Floodlit and strobe-tastic, theirs is a show which trades at least as heavily on the all-in-this-togetherness of the dance scene as it does on walls of death and pillar-to-pillar circle pits, unceremoniously shattering what remains of any notion of genre division in 2013. Sporting mile-wide grins throughout, their palpable enthusiasm keeps the onstage ‘banter’ acquired from this summer’s US Warped Tour just the right side of corny, and it’s quite obvious that said endurance marathon has sharpened their live chops to a fearsome degree. Undeniable, unstoppable, and leaving the hundreds gathered before them no option but to lose their collective shit in spectacular fashion, this is how festival sets are done. [PW]

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It may be a tad overcast as the clock moves past 6pm, but for the heaving mass currently assembling in front of the main stage there won't be any danger of being rained on this evening. Literally, anyway. Figuratively, it's about to rain hits for at least an hour, which is simply par for the cause where Fall Out Boy are concerned. Marking only their second appearance since their return (the first of which took place in front of just 500 people six months ago), it's no real surprise to see thousands literally running towards the stage even three songs into the quartet's set. "We just wrote a record called Save Rock And Roll," grins Pete Wentz, "but from the looks of it rock and roll is just fine in Leeds tonight." He's not wrong, because this is everything a Fall Out Boy performance should be in 2013: namely big, bold and, for want of a better term, banging. The hits are present and correct ('The Phoenix', 'Sugar We're Goin Down', 'This Ain't A Scene', 'Dance, Dance', 'Thnks fr th Mmrs' among them), the atmosphere is one of complete adulation from all concerned, and even those picking litter can't help but skip and dance along to a rousing 'My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'Em Up)' as though they have not a care in the world. In terms of a 'large scale comeback', Fall Out Boy have done their job in spades. [RB]

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Despite their growing reputation as one of the most unpredictable bands in British rock and - perhaps more surprisingly - the ominous clouds gathering outside, Pure Love find themselves playing to a half empty Festival Republic stage. For a while, it tells. A bearded Frank Carter skulks on, brew in hand before he and his band plod through an underwhelming opening ten. The mood doesn't set in, as out come 'Pure Love' branded inflatable balls and into the crowd come Messrs Carter and Carroll. In a dinghy, naturally. The rest of the set sails by in a blur of capsizing inflatables and shout-alongs, the crowning moment coming when Carter rides the boat around the outside of the tent through an instrumental version of 'Handsome Devil's Club' in a win for determination, ingenuity and self-inflating life rafts. [AB]

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And with the return of the rain comes the arrival of Nine Inch Nails. Despite the fact that Reznor and co. were always going to be the odd ones out on today’s bill, the sight of the majority of the main stage crowd deserting the arena the moment the sky begins to leak still brings a tear to Rock Sound’s eye. Disappointing turnout notwithstanding, for the hour or so we receive in NIN’s company there is nary a disappointment in sight. As huddled-down as it’s possible to be on a stage of this magnitude, this latest incarnation is perhaps the strongest yet; thunderously propulsive and operating with almost machine-like precision, the band provide the hypnotically immersive canvas under which Trent continues to bleed like ‘Terrible Lie’ was written only yesterday, rather than 25 years ago in an almost forgotten past. Uncharacteristically, the set list reads as something of a ‘greatest hits’, leaving no stone in the NIN canon unturned; as such, this is something special for those whose continue to appreciate catharsis delivered with a touch of class. For everyone else, there’s always Ms Dynamite. [PW]

As Nine Inch Nails drift further though a set that proves dancing is our latest fashion, inside the Dance Tent (funny that) there are a good two thousand people doing exactly the same, albeit for extremely different reasons. Here to witness the electronic sounds of Philadelphia knob-twiddler Baauer, the tightly-packed throng is united in its one goal: to wave their hands in the air as though they just don't care. And seemingly, they really don't. You'd have to be a cynic of the highest order not to appreciate the sheer ecstasy that greets 'Harlem Shake' (yeah, he's THAT guy), and as the set progresses there are more choppers on display than the last time we went to the local swimming pool. Rock it ain't, but for tonight at least Baauer is most certainly on a roll. [RB]

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Gallows might as well write today off, and it's only partly their fault. Appearing a good 20 minutes after their allotted slot due to the stage running late, the band are followed around by sound issues like the stench of a Sunday night welly. Sure, they're missing the muscle and stage presence of recently departed second guitarist Steph Carter, but the early parts of their set are drowned out by the crowd, and not always because they're extraordinarily loud. Finally, the band warm up with a rousing stomp through 'In The Belly Of A Shark' before Wade MacNeil straps on a guitar and - with a little help from former Alexisonfire bandmate Dallas Green - leads his band charging through 'Cross Of Lorraine' before the Watford-via-Canada crew are booted offstage a good 10 minutes before the scheduled end of their set. A furious MacNeil ushers his bandmates back onstage but is cut off, bringing a farcical end to a bad day at the office. [AB]

Branching out is one thing, but debuting a new project for the first time while headlining a stage at Leeds Festival is something else. Nevertheless, that's exactly the plan for Enter Shikari as they premiere the Shikari Sound System on the Rock Stage as the evening draws to a close. The three men with the biggest balls in Leeds (guitarist Rory Clewlow is off duty expecting the birth of his first child) are sans their usual instruments but armed with a sparkling stage setup and, alarmingly, what appear to be a pair or bongos as they expand on the more electronic side of their back catalogue. Their take on Bring Me The Horizon's 'Can You Feel My Heart?' segues into Prokofiev's 'Dance Of The Knights' (the theme to The Apprentice, to you and me) via the band's own 'Arguing With Thermometers' to bone-rattling effect, elevating this exercise far above the glorified DJ set naysayers may have predicted. Throw in seamless guest spots from the likes of previous tourmates Hacktivist and it turns out there's no better time and place to unveil the latest chapter in Shikari's groundbreaking career. [AB]

To say that no British band deserves this headline slot like Biffy Clyro would be something of a backhanded compliment. To say that no band is better placed to capitalise on such an opportunity would be 100% correct. From the opening bars of ‘Different People’ to the dying refrain of ‘Mountains’, this is a masterclass in outplaying, outclassing and, in all honesty, not giving the slightest shit about the competition. For all the razzmatazz surrounding tonight’s show – the giant metallic tree doubling as a backdrop /portable playground; the lasers piercing the rain during ‘Eleanor’; the smoke cannons obliterating the stage for ‘Bubbles’; the flaming beacons accompanying ‘That Golden Rule’ – what truly raises this evening’s performance above and beyond Biffy’s previous festival showings is the brazen confidence with which they project themselves. Finally, they seem to have realised just what they’re capable of and with a set comprised of hits, more hits, and a couple of nods to a past, they duly ram home their status as one of the best live bands the world has to offer, period. [PW]

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Rock Sound review crew: [RB] Ryan Bird, [PW] Pete Withers, [AB] Andy Biddulph

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