Leeds Festival 2002 - Day Three (Cover Artwork)

Leeds Festival 2002

Day Three (2002)

live show

As morning came on the foggy, cold and wet Sunday morning of the 2002 Leeds festival, a slight chill was very palpable in the air. After the previous nights festivities of watching fearless young men and indeed women allowing themselves to be pushed down slightly muddy hills by vast crowds of drunken and exited youths, into the general and specific direction of unfortunate burger vans around the camp site. Little sleep on my part was gained that nite as you would expect, so alas i was feeling slightly numb with tiredness. But indeed a sense of exitement as i knew that the day would quite possibly hold the biggest number of bands i would see in one day for the rest of my life. Indeed the final sum of roughly 12 bands was the clincher in the end!

A faint hope for some sun rested in my heart as we faithfully tramped to the arena to catch rising rock'n'rollers The Pattern come on stage as the first band on the bill on the Evening Session stage. The band who immediatly broke into some cool garage-rock-old skool punk-rock'n'roll stylee certainly had the crowd going, but more and more i feel the scene nowadays is becoming just a wee bit too crowded with 'garage-rock-old skool punk-rock'n'roll stylee' bands. But entertaining nonetheless.

So afterwards i headed off to catch the end of Sahara Hotnights set on the main stage. Yes, beautiful they may be, and certainly they put effort, energy and a suprising amount of angst into their Indie Rock Pop Punk numbers. But yet you have to feel that the feline quartet from Sweden lack a certain somethin which fails to ultimatly captivate. Alas their set is easily forgotten, but to be fair, not bad.

Next it was off to the evening session stage again to see Pop-Punkers Midtown take to the stage. My interest in Midtown was initally inspired by their Split EP with Millencolin, and the 'Colin's Burning Heart Records stable mates certainly got things moving. An energetic pit was experienced all the way throughout their set, and obviously with many Midtown fanatics enjoying their experience as every song was fully backed up with enthusiastic vocals from the crowd. Especially on the anthemic 'I Wish I Could Hate You For The Rest Of My Life'. Midtown are a very accessible band and are certainly one to watch.

Next up on the evening session stage were Californian Ska-Punkers Goldfinger. Again, it seems to me like the more punky bands at festivals get a much better reception, and thus in my view inspires them to a better performance. Goldfinger were energetic throughout and entertained the crowd with old classics 'Superman', 'Ted Nugent and 'My Head'. Also rockin' the pit Goldfinger wheeled out their new single 'Open Your Eyes' which went down well, the crowd singing their hearts out. But unfortunatly Goldfinger's set was fairly short, about half an hour so really the best of them was not gleaned from this show, but a solid performance no doubt.

Next on the agenda were New Jerseys Bouncing Souls. I had been very very exited about the prospect of seeing the 'Souls live as they are one of the more solid bands on Epitaph, and thus i made utmost effort to push to the front of the pit. My effort rewarded not just with a great view of the band, but also with two very attractive young ladies standing right next to me! The Bouncing Souls certainly did not dissapoint with this show, breaking into an energetic performance of 'That Song' from their new album 'How I Spent My Summer Vacation'. But also packed out their set with tracks stretching their 3-Album Epitaph career. Songs like 'Cracked', 'Say Anything', 'East Coast Fuck You!', 'East Side Mags' and 'Hopeless Romantic' had me and the rest of my pit-colleagues singing our combined hearts out, and indeed the band were enjoying it as well. Singer Greg having a big smile on his face throughout the show and even finding it in his heart to hand out some free cd's to certain lucky individuals at the front, but unfortunatly i was not one of them!

After a quick drink i headed back over to the main stage to see the band that would produce the best pit of the weekend. Less Than Jake stormed onstage with their Ska-Pop-Punkery with the anthemic 'All My Best Freinds Are Metalheads', after which they rolled out the classics from all 3 of their more recent albums, even finding the time to whip out an old classic 'My Own Flag' certainly went down well with the LTJ devout including myself. When i say that the best pit of the weekend was gleaned from this set i mean it. The Less Than Jake show produced no less than 15 huge circle pits into which i threw myself with full enthusiasm. But the best was yet to come...during their last song 'Gainsville Rock City' the crowd were pursuaded by Singer/Guitarist Chris Demakes to produce a huge circle pit which would ring itself round the big sound desk control centre in the middle of the crowd. The pitter's responded with full enthusiasm and the huge circle pit made at least one full rotation round the sound desk to the immense joy and screams of the crowd...what an experience, absolutely brilliant!

Time for a breather? certainly not my diminuative chums! straight after LTJ it was over to the concrete jungle stage to check out So.Cal Punkers Face To Face. I had only been a passing fan of F2F before hand but after this performance i was hooked. The band played a hugely energetic and tight set encompassing all their albums from their career. These Fat Wreck Chords Guys sure put on a good show, and like it said in the programme, no wonder other influencial bands in the punk scene constantly name check them. Definitely a band to check out!

As i had stayed to see all of Face To Face, i only caught the last 15 or so minutes of The Hives. But this was certainly enough to put a smile on my face. Indeed, it was made a permanent feature of my Leeds Festival memory bank when Howlin Pete Almqvist told the crowd to "Kiss My Swedish Ass!" before breaking into 'A.K.A.I.D.I.O.T'...the one 'about me' says Almqvist with a cheeky smile across his face. But somehow despite their claims that they were 'the main course' of the festival...and all the other bands were either the appetiser or desert. You cant help get the feeling that The Hives lose some of their punch on the big stage. As they are not a particularly heavy band, the un-distorted guitars seem to pale away a bit too quickly, which is dissapointing. But alas The Hives were so im told entertaining and energetic throughout so a pat on the back for 'Your New Favourite Band'.

By now the Sun had come out and it had turned into a beautiful summers day. Blue skies and the pale sun hung low in the sky as i headed off to see the a bit of Epitaph's The (International) Noise Conspiracy. But as they were taking their time coming on stage i got restless and finally went off to see Jimmy Eat World on the Evening Session stage without seeing any of Noise Conspiracy.

It was a matter of misfortune at the Leeds festival that some bands i had wanted to see were on at more or less than the same time as each other, and in my case this was no more true than for Jimmy Eat World and No Use For A Name. No Use would get my priority, but as Jimmy Eat World had certainly taken their time to come onstage and get set up in my opinion it was all their own doing. But stay i did and they broke into 'Hear You Me' and the anthemic 'Salt Sweat Sugar'. The response from the crowd was a little less enthusiastic from what i had anticipated, but as i only saw 2 songs of their set i cant really comment for the rest of their show...

But with a hefty spring (or maybe sprint!) in my step i bounded over to the Concrete Jungle stage to catch No Use For A Name break into their first number 'Invincible'. This certainly got the crowd going as a sizeable pit erupted. After pushing my way to the front i had a great view of the band for the rest of the set. The pit was kept fuelled for the rest of the set as No Use piled forth with their highly energetic and accessible brand of pop-punkery, even the metal influenced 'Straight From The Jacket' had the crowd singing like crazy. If there is one thing that would let No Use down it would be that their songs more or less sound fairly similar. But certainly they must be given credit for putting on a highly enjoyable show for the crowd.

Rooted to the spot after the No Use show, i wasnt moving an inch for the prospect of Veteran New York Hardcore Punkers Sick Of It All as they were about to bring their socio-political fury to the hearts and minds of every person taking their place in the pit for the show. When the roadies were setting up you really do get a sense of how much a powerful band S.O.I.A are. Their instruments mauled us like knives throughout the set. S.O.I.A came on to a rapturous reception and with little ado broke into the epic hardcore anthem 'Good Lookin Out' which rocked everyone to the core. S.O.I.A's set was packed out with timeless hardcore classics stretching throughout their 17 year career, time has made this band only stronger. Playing an extremely tight and energetic set. This not only allowing us to reflect on the message being put across, but also bringing a positive and respectful aspect to the show. "Anyone who falls down pick em the fuck up alright!" howls singer Lou, the band blitz through the enormous set, the highlight of which being the classic 'District' The crowd went bonkers and all was well.

So there it was, The Leeds festival 2002 was over, now all that was left was to watch the riots and toilets burn, anarchy in its truest form. But what do you expect when you charge £3 for a burger? Cant wait for next year!