Leeds Festival 2012: Day 2

As you may remember from yesterday, it’s pointless trying to enthuse a photographer at a festival, and could in some cases result in serious injury. They work all day and night, lugging gear around under stressful conditions in all weathers, and they’re constantly competing for the best shots, so they’re entitled to be bitchy. Which is good, because sitting in the press tent while they talk about pop stars is like sitting in on an episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race when everyone is pretending to be on their period. That’s why you should follow @TogBile in the hope that they actually continue with it.

Back on the side of the fence where everyone is wearing something unusual on their heads so that their mates can spot them easily (which doesn’t work, but is an excellent festival contraceptive) the mood is still perky. I hope the festival undersells every year if it means there’s space to run around at the back of all the big tents doing aeroplane arms – something I’m sure the festival organisers and bands are equally pleased about.

Random Hand do their bit for teenhood obesity by leading a ska-cercise session; run around in a circle and jump up and down for 45 minutes, and as a reward Robin plays his trombone and does a bit of his stand-up routine. Later on, lucky fans witness the bassist and drummer out in the arena celebrating a great gig by taking turns to punch each other in the arm to see which member – whose arms are equally essential to the band – can do the most damage. This is a competition with no winners.

Alt-J are probably brilliant, but due to a freakish misjudgment of how many people actually want to see them – combined with their lack of volume compared with the waltzers – to me they sound like a mixture of 90s euphoric cheese punctuated by the sound of people being sick, which would make them a Skrillex rip-off. One for the ‘try again’ pile.

The Blackout are the obligatory alt rock band of the festival, which isn’t the criticism it sounds like it’s about to be. They perform an important duty for the latest freshers to this festival for whom this is briefly the most exciting noise the world, picking up the baton several bands down the line from Feeder who performed the exact same service for me when they had sharp enough teeth that their name wasn’t yet a crime under the trade descriptions act.

Today’s love-at-first-sound is Passion Pit, helped in no small way by being in the best tent, the wonderful NME/Radio 1 stage which is massive (aeroplane arms). After having my inner 16-year-old coaxed into a rage by The Blackout over some injustice like my mum not having washed my favourite subversive tights, my inner mum is soothed into not giving a shit about it by Passion Pit, whose big-eyed electro-pop is a gin and valium for the soul.

By this point you’ll be wondering how I can have missed [insert band everyone said were amazing], and I’ll tell you why. Firstly, because I tried that a few times and always found it to be a massive disappointment (as previously stated I have to make allowances for being differently-tasted) but also because it’s not that simple once you’re actually there. When you factor in wee-breaks, refuelling and bumping into people you’ve not seen since last year whom you chat to enthusiastically before being reminded that there’s a reason you’ve not spoken for 12 months, it becomes a challenge to fit in everything you ‘should’ see. I do have a crack at You Me At Six (which the photographer inexplicably hears as The Floating Hibnibs, much to my confusion) but they’re not for me even if they are for 10,000 girls in tiny shorts, and even this doesn’t entice me to stay long.

But I hope you will forgive me when you hear that I am one of the people who can say they saw the entirety of The Cure‘s set, undeterred by knowing only about three songs, by flying cups of what I can only hope is beer, and by really needing a wee (which I manage to solve by just recycling my cup and then disposing of it into the air where I presume it drifted up into the atmosphere and is now space debris (I don’t do that, that’s exclusively for dirty bastards)).

As they occasionally pop into view from behind a cloud of smoke that Bill Hicks would find excessive, watching The Cure is a like watching a baked potato in a wig appear on Stars in Their Eyes as Robert Smith. But however incongruous it might seem to watching him shimmying around onstage looking like Edward Scissorhands’ dad in Cilla Black’s outfit, in an attic somewhere there must be a painting of Robert Smith’s vocal chords which is gradually decaying while his own remain completely intact.

It’s clear evidence of southern bias that Friday I’m In Love is played in Reading appropriately on a Friday, while we get to sing along bitterly knowing that today is merely ‘Saturday, wait’, which takes the piss considering we’ve been waiting for them to play in Leeds again since 1985.

Overheard campsite quote of the day: “Oi, Elton John, do you want an Oreo?”

Pics by Jim DeBarker

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  1. “watching The Cure is a like watching a baked potato in a wig appear on Stars in Their Eyes as Robert Smith.”

    I love you. My coffee-soaked keyboard? Less so.

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