After watching some brilliant performances, some terrible ones and taking a trip to 1989 the previous day, I wasn't too psyched for what is tradtionally the 'indie-rock' day at Leeds. Quite a few surprises were in store though.
I woke up in excruciating pain. Surprise chump! The camp bed you shelled out eight whole pounds for was in fact created by Satan (and not the one with the best tunes who's in league with the finest Rock n Roll bands). A possible trip to see Finch play in a tent early was cancelled and I spent the morning walking to the supermarket looking like Quasimodo instead.
Feeling better a while later I went to see The White Stripes. Having heard a couple of albums before I was looking forward to it. Could they manage a great show on such a huge stage though? I know there are only two of them, but the sound was nowhere near powerful. Meg White tried to rectify this by hitting all the drums on every beat but it didn't work. They played a few obscure songs, a few 'hits' and another load of album tracks before having technical difficulties and going off early. For me the music took a back seat to the strange husband/wife brother/sister relationship the band members have. The bizarre way they looked at each other throughout the performance left me a lot more scared than Slipknot had the previous day. They just about managed to pull off a show which would have been fantastic in a tent but lost the magic in the open air.
Weezer came next and turned me into a fan pretty quickly. I pushed my way to the front early in preparation for the mighty Jane's Addiction (who were up next) and I could see Rivers Cuomo sticking his head out from the side of the stage, hoody pulled tightly around his head. When the band actually got on stage they were greeted by the most crazy fans of the entire weekend. I could only just hear the band over the singing of the crowd, truly amazing. We even moshed to 'Island in the Sun'! Rivers was suitably crazy too.
"That's some hardcore shit motherfuckers! Rammstein are comin' up next, they're gonna rock your socks off! Guns N'Roses are gonna rule tomorrow!"
...which would have been fine, if Rammstein were playing the festival and Guns N'Roses hadn't already. It was truly a greatest hits set, starting with 'The Sweater Song' and closing with 'Buddy Holly'. The band were grinning as much as we were and Rivers seemed to be really pleased to be um, wherever he thought he was. They were fantastic and maybe even should have headlined the whole day judging by the fans they brought along. They were heaps more popular than The Strokes who were actually headlining.
Following a mass exodus of people I found myself surrounded by dreadlocked thirty-somethings. Jane's Addiction next then! I braced myself for another trip to 1989. Frontman Perry Farrell pranced onto the stage halfway through 'Up the Beach' dressed suitably stupidly (with a gigantic feathered hat) swigging wine from a bottle. The band (3/4 original members) wore the biggest smiles I had ever seen and tore into 'Whores'. Most of the songs they played had huge riffs, only stopping for breaks with lighter stuff like 'Summertime Rolls' in which the relative oldies around me looked suitably spaced out. Perry announced he was off the drugs and celebrated by downing the rest of the bottle of wine and a couple of brandys. Not much had changed then. The Jane's back catalogue is definitely more timeless than that of Gun's N'Roses and 'Three Days' was the highlight of their set, sounding as if it was just written the previous week, not 13 years ago. Definitely comeback of the weekend.
Following Jane's there wasn't anyone I particularly wanted to see for the rest of the day, so I took another break (being crushed at the front was damn painful) and then swapped between two headliners in the tents. Aphex Twin is one of the few dance music artists I like so I decided to check him out first. He announced his prescence with a interesting version of Europe's 'The Final Countdown' before playing what I thought to be pretty much textbook Drum n Bass for such an innovator. I left early when I realised his reported 'mad live show' wasn't really going to happen. I wondered over to the New Bands stage to see The Polyphonic Spree who played run-of-the-mill indie. What made it interesting was that they were a 25 piece orchestra all dressed in white robes. The music was boring, but just watching 25 people playing everything from harp to cowbell going crazy on such a small stage was great.
All in all a fun day and relaxing enough to allow we to be totally ready for Sunday.
Next - final part in which the World Record for number of bands seen in one day is broken. Possibly.