LEEDS FESTIVAL: Day One review: The Libertines headline, but Years and Years and Jamie T shine

Pete Doherty and Carl Barat of The Libertines share a vocal during their headlining set at Leeds Festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat of The Libertines share a vocal during their headlining set at Leeds Festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.
0
Have your say

The Libertines were the main stage headliners on a busy and triumphant first day of the 2015 Leeds Festival.

Pete Doherty, Carl Barat and the band rattled through old favourites and new material during a solid, if not quite spectacular set.

Feed The Rhino did their best to get early arrivals at Leeds Festival into the spirit. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Feed The Rhino did their best to get early arrivals at Leeds Festival into the spirit. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Little Comets flew the flag for the North East, filling out a sizeable support stage to near capacity.

Although the festival had started for the early birds on Thursday evening, with Pulled Apart By Horses headlining a welcome stage with a rapturous, high-energy set, it was during a sunny Friday afternoon that the crowds truly swelled as festival-goers arrived from across the country.

The first band to take to the main stage were Feed The Rhino, an emerging hardcore quintet who lit the arena up despite a sparse early crowd, encouraging circle pits and getting involved with the audience.

This set the tone for the opening few hours, with Lonely The Brave and Against Me! playing lunchtime sets.

Black Honey play the first day of Leeds Festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Black Honey play the first day of Leeds Festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Elsewhere, a plethora of exciting new bands took to supporting stages sponsored by NME, BBC Radio 1 and hosts Festival Republic.

Highlights included the fast-emerging femme-fronted rockers Black Honey, who are playing Twisterella Festival in Middlesbrough next month, and Sundara Karma.

Others such as Shura disappointed with slightly more lukewarm performances, although brief rain showers in the fields allowed them to still draw sizeable crowds.

As the day progressed, the main stage became a homage to indie disco, as The Cribs, The Maccabees and Jamie T all returned to the festival, the latter proving the standout with a mixture of angsty classics and his newer, more mature offerings.

Leeds Festival was almost a home gig for indie-rock band The Cribs, who hail from Wakefield. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Leeds Festival was almost a home gig for indie-rock band The Cribs, who hail from Wakefield. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

The Gaslight Anthem also made their final Leeds appearance before an indefinite hiatus, proving cohesive if less explosive than might have been expected for a farewell set.

All were well-received, but the party only truly kicked off thanks to a slew of popular mainstream offerings, such as Californian hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar and chart-toppers Gorgon City.

The highlight of these would be Years and Years, whose frontman Olly Alexander brought showmanship and some slick dance moves to a fine show that proved arguably the party set of the day.

Little Comets played the Festival Republic stage, the only major North East offering despite the festival’s popularity with attendees from the region.

Maccabees strut their stuff on Friday at Leeds festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Maccabees strut their stuff on Friday at Leeds festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

They packed out the tent and proved lively and wholesome, if mellow compared to the Frank Turner solo performance that followed.

But it was The Libertines that would prove the day’s big story, as the weekend’s most prominent indie headliners.

With a greying Pete Doherty at the helm, they were slow to get going, and Doherty scolded the subdued crowd by stating that they were making them feel “unloved”.

It was a far cry from the suspension of their last appearance at the festival based on crowd safety concerns.

However, favourites such as Can’t Stand Me Now and What Katie Did helped to lift the mood, and by the end of the set they were back to their usual selves, even if their newer material was clearly not as well-loved.

A quickfire encore closed by 2003 single Don’t Look Back Into the Sun followed, and overall they would just about prove to be value for money and worthwhile headliners.

Jamie T went down well on the first day of Leeds Festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Jamie T went down well on the first day of Leeds Festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Those staying for the weekend have the contentious headline set from Mumford and Sons to look forward to, on a Saturday packed with alternative talents as well as broad casual appeal, including names such as Bastille, All Time Low and Limp Bizkit.

Rumours of a secret set by Foals also continue, fuelled by the announcement of a Saturday performance at the sister Reading Festival.

In the meantime, there’d be a chance to sleep – or not, for the most party-hardened – and reflect on a sunny, action-packed opening day.

• To see more of Katy Blackwood’s pictures and reviews, VISIT HER WEBSITE HERE.

Spring King were an unusual sight at Leeds Festival - they have a singing drummer. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Spring King were an unusual sight at Leeds Festival - they have a singing drummer. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Kendrick Lamar got the crowd going on the first day of Leeds Festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Kendrick Lamar got the crowd going on the first day of Leeds Festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Years and Years were one of the highlights of the first day of Leeds festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Years and Years were one of the highlights of the first day of Leeds festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Little Comets are the only North east band on the bill at Leeds Festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Little Comets are the only North east band on the bill at Leeds Festival. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

The Libertines took time to warm up the crowd as they headlined the main stage on the first day of Leeds Festival, but some old favourites got them there eventually. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

The Libertines took time to warm up the crowd as they headlined the main stage on the first day of Leeds Festival, but some old favourites got them there eventually. Pic: Katy Blackwood.