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Leeds Festival 2023 – Sunday review: radiant energy and fascinating sets to end the weekend

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Featured image: Georgina Hurdsfield @tinyraindropphotography

The final day of Leeds Festival had finally come around and the campsite was gradually getting less and less busy as campers packed away their tents, preparing for the day ahead. The weather was somewhat more wet than the rest of the weekend, but crowds still flocked into the arena to catch some of the earlier bands. 

The up-and-coming nu-metal band Graphic Nature played one of the smaller tents just after midday, bringing in a collection of metalheads from the second their songs began. The band tore through an impressive set filled with heavy riffs, crowd interaction and an overall thrilling performance that made the early morning worthwhile. Their song ‘Killing Floor’ received a huge reaction from the audience which was seen by the sea of head-banging. After watching their set, it’s surprising that this five-piece don’t have more recognition than they do! 

Credit: Georgina Hurdsfield @tinyraindropphotography

Chase Atlantic played up next on the Main Stage as fans flocked in constantly. The front pit was closed off before they had even come onto stage, proving the dedication of fans and leaving myself wondering whether the hype over this Australian group would live up to the talk on social media. Bouncing onto the stage, frontman Mitchel Cave performed to an overwhelming roar from the audience, opening with ‘Slow Down’.  The band quickly jumped into playing fan favourites including the likes of ‘Swim’ and ‘Into It’, before closing their set with ‘Friends’. After hearing about this three-piece band all over apps like TikTok and Instagram, it is obvious they know how to put on a good show and their energy was radiant all the way to the back of the crowds. 

Following on from that incredible performance, Knucks played the Main Stage as the sun finally made an appearance, to a crowd which was divided between actual fans and those waiting to get a good spot for The 1975 shortly afterwards. His songs sent the audience into scenes of madness with teenagers throwing gun fingers into the air and a stellar amount of people sitting above shoulders. The British rapper held a better stage presence than what I had expected and easily created one of the best atmospheres I had witnessed all day. His most popular song ‘Los Pollos Hermanos’ received a great reception and provided an enjoyable set – even for newer listeners. 

Credit: Georgina Hurdsfield @tinyraindropphotography

Similar to Marmite, the next band are either loved or hated when it comes to frontman Matty Healy’s antics, never failing to cause seemingly never-ending controversy on stage and online. However, The 1975 truly are one of a kind and sometimes it takes seeing them live to realise their fascinating style. Eyes and ears were fixed to the stage as the filler music finally came to an end and the band walked onto the stage to the lyrics of their introductory song. The lyrics “Go down, soft sound” echoed throughout the site and fans were ecstatic to hear the return of these words. The crowd got involved almost instantly, dancing and celebrating the 10-year anniversary performance of their self-titled album from 2013. It is clear that this band know how to please an audience as they fired through the fourteen songs from the album, leading the crowd to dance, cry, sing and enjoy living in the moment. There were times where it was made obvious that everybody was left in complete awe, especially during ‘Robbers’, a fan favourite, where Healy found himself standing on a speaker on the left side of the crowd to get as close as possible to those on shoulders. This band are one that everybody deserves to see in their lifetime and were definitely the highlight of the weekend. 

Credit: Georgina Hurdsfield @tinyraindropphotography

A change of pace from inside the Festival Republic tent provides heavier music for those that aren’t a fan of the very mainstream (yet very good) The Killers who were playing Main Stage. Sleep Token played to a smaller crowd which was no surprise considering they overlapped with two of the headliners, although I do think they deserved a lot more recognition and potentially an earlier slot in order to miss the biggest clash of the weekend. The band soared into their hits whilst all dressed in disguises: robes and masks all around. Singer ‘Vessel’ took to his character providing a somewhat theatrical set, making a lot of hand gestures and singing up-close to the faces stood at the barriers. The only way I could describe this band is emotional, gothic metal – and it was perfect. 

The finale of the night came around as we went back to one of the Main Stages to see the last act of the festival: The Killers. It felt like the perfect atmosphere as families and people of all ages danced around to the hits we have heard throughout our lifetimes in pubs, clubs and radios all over. They performed an incredible 18 songs to the ecstatic Leeds Festival crowd and memories were made that will be remembered for life. As far as encores go, this band were able to provide the strongest of the entire weekend when they returned to the stage and played the worldwide classic ‘Mr. Brightside’ which went down a treat and ticked off a bucket list moment. The band eventually left the stage, leaving us wishing that the festival lasted a week instead of just three days.

Credit: Georgina Hurdsfield @tinyraindropphotography

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