Saturday 25 August Leeds Festival 2012

Saturday's music started even earlier. Minutes after Green Day opened up the NME/Radio 1 Stage at Reading, Funeral Suits were bringing their individual brand of synth driven post-rock to a steadily growing crowd. Unique in their ability to effortlessly switch lead vocals and instruments, the youngsters made for a curious start to the day. From there, all attention switched to the Main Stage and another perfect Leeds Festival band in Deaf Havana getting the day's proceedings underway. Their pop tinged rock went down excellently, the attention focussed, as always, on self-deprecating singer James Veck-Gilodi and his small-town tales.

Leeds & Reading Festival

This set everything up nicely for one of the most exciting bands of the weekend and, by the time weekend compere Colin Murray announced the arrival of Toronto's Cancer Bats, the crowd was teeming with Cancer Bats T-shirts, baseball caps and an air of anticipation. The band didn't disappoint, with new material from this spring's Dead Set On Living causing chaos in the midday sun. Frontman Liam Cormier is a live wire performer, whipping the crowd into a frenzy with a typically energy filled performance and, by the time 'RATS' heralded the end of their set, hundreds of fists punched the air accompanied by the chorus call of "There's a special place in hell, for people like you". Incredible stuff, the standard set absurdly high for the rest of the afternoon. Coheed & Cambria did their best to keep the energy flowing, with a surprisingly accessible set of Prog-Metal largely well received. Claudio Sanchez provided swirling guitars and high-pitched vocals, as well as one of the most envying manes of hair seen on site all weekend.

All afternoon, people had been steadily gravitating towards the tent housing the NME/Radio 1 Stage in anticipation for the arrival of The Hives. Everyone's favourite anarchic monochrome Swedes duly obliged, providing a high-energy performance that spanned their back catalogue. The customary freeze-frame moment at the climax of 'Tick Tick Boom' left mouths wide open throughout before closing with Patrolling Days, leaving everyone present howling for more.

Unfortunately, those that remained had to endure The Blackout. It's a mystery why they were placed so high up the bill, a convincingly energetic live performance let down by a collection of hugely forgettable songs. In contrast, hiding away on the BBC Introducing Stage, two-piece Death Punk crew Wet Nuns played a truly bonkers half hour. Compelling material combined with entertaining banter and props made for an excellent tonic to some of the more serious acts of the weekend. As the Nuns saw out their set with one of the best moshpits of the weekend, a revived Paramore took to the Main Stage. As always, all attention fell on the one and only Hayley Williams. Despite committing Bohemian Blasphemy by cutting off Queen as an intro to their set, their arena troubling anthems soon won everyone over. More importantly, however, was the impending arrival of Every Time I Die on the Lock Up Stage. Again a band with quite a reputation for live performances and a ferociously loyal following, Keith Buckley and his band encountered one of the liveliest crowds in the tent that weekend. Their high octane, southern-fried Hardcore went down a storm, Buckley proving effortlessly why he is one of the best frontmen in the game.

By then, the stage was set for one of the true icons of British music to take to the Main Stage. The Cure, led as always by Robert Smith, provided one of the most atmospheric spectacles ever seen at Bramham Park. The crowd was slightly smaller than the previous evening for the Foo Fighters but, with one click of Smith's musical fingers, everyone was under his spell; simply pawns in his twisted visions. That said, there were sing-along moments in abundance, with 'Friday I'm In Love' echoing around the site louder than anything heard all day. Letting the songs do the talking rather than indulging in time addressing the crowd, Smith and the band played a colossal two and a half hour set and, with an encore culminating with Boys Don't Cry, not one member of the audience wasn't guilty of dancing in a style reminiscent of Ricky Wilson's exploits the previous afternoon. The party atmosphere carried on through the night until the sun crept up heralding Sunday morning.

David Straw

Click here for Sunday 26th Leeds Festival Review 2012

Click here for Friday 24th Leeds Festival Review 2012