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In Review: Leeds Festival 2019

In Review: Leeds Festival 2019

Stefan Gandhi | Reviews

After a beautiful two days of sunny weather that spanned across Yorkshire over the August bank holiday weekend, Leeds Festival was ready to host it’s final day on Sunday - a day of incredible live music that sold out just days before the festival itself was due to take place. Following on from the hype over the previous days that featured acts from the likes of Foo Fighters, The 1975, Royal Blood and many more international superstars, festival goers were promised another all-star bill that certainly would not disappoint on the last day of the festival as part of its 2019 edition.

Upon arriving at the grounds, heated temperatures basked over the festival for one of the hottest weekends of the year so far - but extreme weather conditions didn’t look like it would stop this crowd of avid music fans from making their way to the entrance gate. With the festival boasting a Sunday lineup of world-class acts from various genres including rap and hip-hop, flocks of fans made their way into the BBC Radio 1 stage so they could catch a killer set from Northampton-based rapper Slowthai.

With numerous award nominations and inclusions this past year such as the BBC's Sound of 2019 poll, the renowned Mercury Prize by Hyundai, NME’s NME 100 list and more industry-recognised awards, this 24 year old superstar has taken the nation by storm with his politically charged lyrics and raw beats that has even led to selling out his next UK tour in advance this October. The demand was in full motion to see this upcoming rap talent, packing out the tent and building an atmosphere of like-minded individuals who knew they were in for a treat as the set brought about fan favourites including ‘Polaroid’, ‘Drug Dealer’, ‘Doorman’, ‘Inglorious’ and more at this memorable live performance.

Ché Wolton Grant, aka AJ Tracey, has had quite the rollercoaster in stardom this year following the release of his self-titled debut album in February and reaching number #3 to great acclaim without any major record label backing his career - something that has to be emphasised when you witness this relatively young artist performing on the Main Stage at Leeds Festival. Since unleashing his self-titled EP back in 2016, the London-based rapper/music producer has garnered attention from the likes of MTV, Vevo, The Guardian, BBC and more. Opening his set with the 2018 single ‘Mimi’, and performing other tracks such as ‘’Psych Out!’, ‘Fashion Week’, ‘Ladbroke Grove’, ‘Thiago Silva’ and more, it was easy to groove along to these bangers from AJ Tracey that were perfect for getting guests feeling those much needed festival vibes under the British sun.

Definitely one of the big artists to watch over the weekend, American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish brought her iconic signature sound to the legendary festival for a show-stopping set of some of her best tunes. The global superstar certainly had the buzz built up to match her sound before appearing for her set as festival attendees ran in large crowds towards the Main Stage in order to watch this worldwide pop phenomenon. At just 17 years old, Eilish has become one of the biggest stars to emerge since the release of her popular single ‘ocean eyes’. Her genre-defying debut album in 2019 titled WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? shot to number #1 in the U.S Billboard charts, as well as the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and more countries across the world. Starting the highly anticipated set with one of her best known tracks ‘bad guy’, the popstar lived up to the expectations of everyone watching as she combined a mixture of upbeat songs and ballads for that perfect balance to keep interest throughout, featuring ‘idontwannabeyouanymore’, ‘you should see me in a crown’, ‘when the party's over’ and closing single ‘bury a friend’.

Comprised of Lynn Gunn, Alex Babinski, and Brian MacDonald, PVRIS played a collection of their biggest hits and some new tracks that had fans roaring with excitement as the sun set and brought about an energy that was deservedly expected of a band of this calibre. The Massachusetts trio fuse their post-hardcore sound with elements of alternative rock and electropop in an impressive manner that wowed the Leeds Festival crowd on Sunday evening. Far from boring, the group performed new single ‘Hallucinations’, revealing a new pop side to the band that has rarely been seen before as part of their next chapter - and it had no problem getting festival guests grooving on the dancefloor and singing along despite being still quite fresh. Belting out the performance with ‘St. Patrick’, the list of songs in their set featured numerous classics from the group such as ‘You and I’, ‘What’s Wrong’, and ‘Anyone Else’ to ‘Holy’, ‘Heaven’ and ‘My House’.

Since the release of their Grammy Award winning 2015 LP Blurryface, Twenty One Pilots have gone on to play sold-out arena tours and returned with the release of their sensational album titled Trench - a collective of work that marked the band’s next chapter in breaking boundaries and appealing to fans around the world due to its diverse mix of sounds and forward-thinking approach to songwriting from band members Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun. From showing their appreciation for British music by playing a cover of Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ with a special appearance from Sunday headliner Post Malone, a raised platform for the drummer above the crowd, insane visual displays and awe-inspiring songs from the band’s portfolio, all attendees were left satisfied when the band closed things off with their song ‘Trees’ accompanied by the use of fireworks to make for that perfect roundoff to what was an impeccable set from the Ohio duo. With songs including ‘Stressed Out’, ‘Jumpsuit’, ‘Heathens’, ‘Lane Boy’ and even an interlude during ‘Morph’ featuring their rendition of The White Stripes iconic anthem ‘Seven Nation Army’, you can be sure that fans will be back for more if this innovative group return to Yorkshire.

Taking the Main Stage spot on the Sunday night at Leeds Festival is a big responsibility but the dark horse of the weekend admittedly had to be Post Malone after his spectacular set and performance that showed no signs of holding back when it came to converting any festival goers into new fans of the 24 year old music icon. Making his first big break in 2016 with the release of his 2016 debut mixtape Stoney, this chart-topping LP took the Dallas-raised artist to new heights in his career and shot him into stardom. Fast forward two years and his sophomore album titled Beerbongs & Bentleys went straight to number one on impact, with global hits such as ‘Rockstar’, ‘Better Now’ and ‘Psycho’. From the incredible pyrotechnics and low-end punchy bass parts that hit you hard in the chest to Posty smashing his acoustic guitar onstage in true rockstar fashion, this all made his performance one for the history books.

Photography by Matt Eachus and Luke Dyson.

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In Review: Leeds Festival 2019

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