Culture, Music

Leeds Festival 2022: Sunday review – The biggest day in Yorkshire’s musical history

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Featured image: Georgina Hurdsfield / Festival Republic

The final day of the festival was finally upon us and the lovely weather was yet to stop and it reflected the wonderful weekend that everyone had enjoyed. Set to the busiest day culminating in Arctic Monkeys’ return to Leeds, the excitement was apparent in everyone’s faces.

Photography: Georgina Hurdsfield / Festival Republic

Dayglow – 12:40 @ Main Stage East

Hailing from Austin, the sunniest city in Texas – you could say that the band brought the weather and the perfect soundtrack for the final day of the festival. Making their main stage and British festival debut at Leeds Festival, Dayglow is led by founder and lead, Sloan Struble. Their inclusion on Spotify playlists ‘Essential Indie’ and ‘good energy’, should have been a good indicator of what was to be expected from their performance. Their opening track was a cover of Lips Inc’s ‘Funkytown’ and the band’s energy was immediately reflected by their crowd. 

Their track ‘Hot Rod’ saw an inflatable alien bopping along and the crowd clapping to their intricate guitar instrumental mid-way through the track. Thanking the crowd for dancing with them, it has to be noted that it takes a special type of new performer to win over a crowd so quickly. The upbeat nature of their music was shown in ‘Call I Call You Tonight’ proved the band were anything but boring as Sloan did a bit, fake running on stage.

It doesn’t matter how far away from home they were, they had already found a new community at Leeds. Putting their own spin on Tears For Fears’ ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’, it even saw the security dancing together at the barrier for the chorus. Finishing with ‘Run The World!!!’ continuing the security dancing to their thrashing guitar and pounding drums – Sloan could be seen spinning while playing guitar before holding it in the air, exclaiming, “I love you Leeds”. After their set we can confirm that it’s mutual.

Cassyette – 16:30 @ The FR Stage

When you go and catch a rising artist who’s supported the likes of My Chemical Romance, you know they are going to bring a fresh take on emo power-ballads and then some. Cassyette AKA Cassy Brooking has been pushing boundaries since the beginning and her opening track, ‘Dear Goth’ proved why – undeniable vocal skills and dramatic choruses immediately draw you in. Swifting alternating from singing and growling, it has to be heard to be believed.

A surprise appearance from Kid Brunswick joining her for ‘Behind Closed Doors’ as they bounced off each other generating enough energy to practically combust. 

Her track ‘Dead Roses’ confirms what we already knew, her emotionally raw lyrics and natural tendency to connect with the crowd will see her go far. With the pit opening and a man in a banana costume attempting to steal the spotlight, it was an intense and wonderfully erratic affair.

Covering Lil Peep’s ‘Falling Down’, you can always tell a lot from an artist by which songs they choose to cover and it was perfectly executed – in another life, it could’ve been a Cassyette original.

Soon the set was drawing to a close with one final track left. In ‘Petrichor’ she repeats: “I want to be reborn” and it almost feels as if we’re all leaving revitalised. Headbanging on stage, the crowd match her energy and are clapping before the track is even finished. Almost shaking her head in disbelief at her crowd, their reaction is no surprise to those have witnessed Cassyette before.

Wolf Alice – 18:55 @ Main Stage East

Not many bands could pull off a skit of them riding motorcycles against the clock to the main stage without looking nearly as cool as they’d initially visioned. Most bands, however, simply aren’t Wolf Alice. Effortlessly voguish and opening with ‘Smile’, the crowd were already headbanging and giving all of their energy. Keeping the heavy tempo, frontwoman Ellie Rowsell was laughing by the end of their second track. Joy was easily apparent throughout as the band took us through their progressive discography.

Their stage presence is phenomenal throughout with Rowsell asking about hangovers and asking if the crowd is ready before powering into the next number. The tight knit community spirit of Wolf Alice can only be accurately captured live. A member of the crowd waving a cardboard sign with ‘Marry Me Ellie?’, proved that the affection they share is mutual.

A special mention has to be given to the lighting, especially in ‘Delicious Things’ as the black and white background only added to the dramatic nature. Emotions naturally ran high throughout their set. Rowsell’s breathy vocals during ‘Bros’, saw her singing, “I’m so lucky you were my best friend” soared into the air. The acoustic guitar mixed in with her vocals were beautiful in ‘Safe From Heartbreak’ and proved their wide range as a band. ‘How Can I Make It Okay’ saw perfect harmonising with her bandmates, combining guitars juxtaposing with her soft vocals.

Featuring a relentless guitar, ‘Play The Greatest Hits’ saw the lighting flickering in time with the beat and the heavier track making sure everyone was awake. The sign on the screen in lucid green, “It isn’t loud enough”, was evidence of their intention to stir things up.

Ending their set with the song which kicked everything off, ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’, the band had been the perfect choice to keep spirits high before Arctic Monkeys could follow their set. Whether fans had been at the front for them or initially for Arctic Monkeys, they can be certain they left with many new ones. 

Photography: Georgina Hurdsfield / Festival Republic

Bring Me The Horizon – 19:50 @ Main Stage West

A headline show almost 20 years in the making, Bring Me The Horizon’s set was filled with tracks from across their whole discography. Throughout the show we were reminded that we were part of a “one of a kind auditory experiment”, as they “collected data on the next generation”. 

Their opening track could only be ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ accompanied by an explosion of light pink, heart-shaped confetti. It made the set feel like a flashback in time as elder emos united for their favourite band. Frontman Oli Sykes told the crowd to “be whatever you want”. This was the mantra of the whole show.

Photography: Georgina Hurdsfield / Festival Republic

In ‘Happy Song’ we saw a metal version of a cheerleader and Sykes goading the crowd questioning if the crowd knew what a mosh pit was or if this was V Festival or Leeds Festival.

With Sykes grinning during ‘Mantra’ singing, “Do you want to start a cult with me?”, it seemed that mission had long been achieved. Circle pits, screaming and flames for ‘Dear Diary’, it was whirlwind of emotions, ranging from nostalgia to elation. Due to the crowd’s supposed infection, ‘Parasite Eve’ saw the crowd being sprayed with smoke by a person sporting a hazmat suit on stage.

Their latest track ‘Strangers’ was written for this moment and when looking around at the community surrounding everyone, it was both believable and heartwarming. It was clear that the main theme throughout this set was hope – even with the repetition of “We’re going nowhere” in ‘Shadow Moses’,

Reminiscing on their roots and how it feels to be co-headlong with “one of [their] favourite bands in the world”, it’s clear how far they’ve come. After moving out from the “wet shit”, there was a warning from Sykes that their next track ‘Kingslayer’, would have everyone gurning. It was the perfect EDM meets metal crossover that they knew we needed. Topped off with a dayglow wearing dancer, everything had clearly been thought out for the best possible fan experience.

Noting how he almost died a few times but his fans saved him and how he would die for them, it was a touching tribute to the fandom and a perfect introduction to ‘DiE4u’. We were also introduced to a fan who we had to make some noise for. She was described by Sykes as “fucking nuts she’s been to almost every show this year” and he “would definitely die for [her]”.

Photography: Georgina Hurdsfield / Festival Republic

One of the cornerstones of a Bring Me The Horizon show is audience interaction. Sykes’ distinct way with words does make for an entertaining show as he announced, “I’m going to get down there, not to sound like a pervert, but I need to touch you”. He high-fived each person at the barrier including myself. A woman was heard shouting about wanting a shag to which he candidly replied in the microphone, “I can’t snag you love, I’m spoken for”. Bounding on stage with his usual fizzling burst of energy, Yungblud joined Sykes on stage for ‘Obey’.

Making more of an acoustic moment for ‘Follow you’, everyone was on each other’s shoulders with phones and lighters in the air. The whole crowd duetting with Oli Sykes for their hometown show was truly special. 

Finishing with his favourite track ‘Throne’, it was dedicated to Ukraine and the country’s flag was brought on stage, reminding us of our privilege. Everyone jumping in time with the music, reminded us that no matter how many years pass – being a Bring Me The Horizon fan is forever. 

Photography: Georgina Hurdsfield / Festival Republic

Arctic Monkeys – 21:20 @ Main Stage East

The press tent was very crowded on Sunday evening, as was the front of the stage where people had camped out all day. Viewed by many as the ‘biggest day in Yorkshire’s musical history’ with a back-to-back set from Bring Me The Horizon and now Arctic Monkeys, it was a proud day for Sheffield indeed. Teasing the crowd when they were going to come out with the lights going dark, it wasn’t long before they came out to fittingly cinematic music.

Beginning with fan-favourite ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, we were revisiting their AM era. Every member of the crowd was word perfect. It has to be mentioned that the setlist wasn’t necessarily what everyone had in mind but neither was the release when AM was first released. This set was a testament to how far this band has come, they may be older and wiser – however, no one can deny their ability to put on a show. The ‘getting it in your fishnets’ era may have passed 

The cheekier songs such as Brianstorm’ and ‘Crying Lightning’, and ‘Teddy Picker’ brought the band back to their roots. At the end of the latter, their drummer was seen spinning drumsticks on the screen before finishing. While ‘The View From the Afternoon’ provided the perfect backing track for a man running from security near the barrier. Make no mistake though, it’s Arctic Monkey’s show and we’re their puppets. Slowing things down with ‘Cornerstone’ 

Showcasing a brand new track fresh from their new era ‘I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am’, has almost a funk driven guitar. It was certainly a new direction but as they’ve shown by their talent throughout each era, their loyal fanbase will stick with them throughout it all. 

In ‘From the Ritz to the Rubble’, flashing lights to match the riff and the large screens showed just how many fans there were in the crowd. Alex singing “I bet you look good on the dance floor”, in a field rather than over the speakers in a sticky indie floor did make the moment even more surreal. ‘Knee Socks’ also had an added percussion element with maracas, which added to the unique Leeds Festival experience. 

Ending with three encores in the form of ‘One point Perspective’, ‘Arabella’ and R U Mine’, it was the perfect trifecta. ‘Arabella’ featured Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ outro, which perhaps gives us a taste of what’s inspired their new album. A fan fired a red flare which was almost a lone firework before finishing in a high with ‘R U Mine’

After a triumphant set for the band and almost all fans, the unluckier ones being those who thought the band had finished after ‘505’ and left early. A couple even got engaged during their set, which made their night even more special. There might not have been the pyrotechnics which you’d expect of a headliner and some tracks left off the setlist, but it proved how far the band has come. 

About the author / 

Camilla Whitfield

Fourth Year BA English with Overseas Study | Music Editor | Manchester & Leipzig | Music & Gig Enthusiast

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