Leeds Festival 2010 – Sunday 29th August

Looking at this final day line up it feels weird being more rock-orientated, as opposed to the more traditional indie friendly Sundays of recent years; with sets from A Day To Remember and Billy Talent getting the day off to a loud and emphatic start. Gogol Bordello followed, although I was somewhat distracted by an extortionate, but delicious £7 Yorkshire pudding, mash and sausage combo, before NOFX gave the best main stage performance of the day – mixing classics ‘Stickin’ In My Eye’, ‘Bob’ and ‘Dinosaurs Will Die’, with plenty of humour and onstage carelessness that’s so rare in bands. “My grandfather died at a concentration camp” proclaimed Fat Mike, as he traded Jewish and Mexican jokes with guitarists El Hefe and Eric Melvin, “He got drunk and fell from a watchtower”. Inappropriate, and borderline racist, but meant in the nicest possible way.

Up next, and whilst Lostprophets have something of a reputation when it comes to delivering outstanding sets here (in both 2004 and 2007) it all just feels a bit half-hearted today. Despite chucking in all the hits including ‘Last Train Home’, ‘Rooftops’ and ‘Burn Burn’, their 40 minutes only really came to life with an impromptu cover of The Prodigy’s ‘Omen’ and oldie ‘Shinobi Vs Dragon Ninja’ to close.

You know it’s cold when man-mountain Josh Homme shows up on stage sporting a massive overcoat. Cold or not, you can always count on Queens of the Stone Age for a raucous outing – playing a set drawing from their substantial back catalogue. Whilst they may have been in the unusual scenario of a band playing a festival with nothing to promote – other than recent anniversary reissue of Rated R, after a year on the road with Them Crooked Vultures, it’s obvious Homme is more than happy to back at the old day job.

I should have known better than to wait around for Guns N’ Roses’ main stage headline slot – in hindsight the double whammy of Phoenix and LCD Soundsystem in the NME would have provided a much better finale – but I’m a sucker for ‘November Rain’. Whilst Axl and co took to the stage a mere half hour late (compared with the hour they were delayed at Reading) there really is no denying that whilst their songs are still classic, their performance feels more than a little stretched. Long pauses between songs, or worse, instrumentals acting as obvious attempts to cover Axl’s runs offstage to the O2 canisters, destroyed any momentum the once legendary act could have hoped to create. Despite the late start (and going 30 minutes over their well publicised curfew) they did manage to cram in most of what was required, even if all the overdramatics really did overshadow the music. Parting with abuse towards the festival organisers seemed totally unnecessary and further spoilt what could have otherwise been a much more joyous return. Post festival Melvin Benn has said “I definitely book them again”. I’m just not sure whether the crowd would bother to turn up.

Leeds 2010 will certainly be remembered as an odd one. With a flurry of comebacks and reunions, as well as early noughties nostalgia aplenty, this years outing offered something a little different, and in many ways a refreshing change. What direction Leeds 2011 will take, who knows.

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