Leeds Festival, Music, Live Event, TotalNtertainment, Jo Forrest, Comedy

Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest

Leeds Festival 2022 – Friday Review

Leeds Festival kicked off with a line-up including Bastille, DMAs, Mallrat and last minute headliners The 1975. Full review and photos here.

It doesn’t feel like twelve months since Leeds Festival returned to Bramham Park for it’s annual Summer blow-out but, here we are again for a weekend of top music and entertainment. Of course, the line-up this year hasn’t been to everyone’s taste, none more evident than when Friday headliners Rage Against The Machine were forced to cancel their entire European tour, including a long-awaited return to Reading/Leeds. To many, organisers didn’t do themselves any favours by announcing their replacement to be indie stars The 1975.

Our first day at Leeds kicked off with Aussie songstress Mallrat (the pronunciation of which caused much conversation early on in the Media area) who was all smiles as she brought some glorious Aussie weather with her. A gentle way to start the day, her set was followed by Willow (aka the daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith) who ramped up the energy levels with her electro pop/pop-punk sounds.

A quick run up to the Festival Republic stage prior to Willow meant we managed to catch enough of Brooke Combe’s set to confirm that there is definitely a superstar in the making. “Hi Leeds festival, I’m Brooke Combe from Glasgow, let’s do this!” she announced as her first introduction to the Yorkshire crowd and, if that wasn’t enough to win over a whole raft of new fans, her stunning voice certainly would have done the trick.

Venturing into the Dance Tent to catch 100 Gecs (because we were told they looked “interesting”), we quickly made our escape upon discovering the whole thing was a bit too odd for this early in the day. Over on the Main Stage West though, local troublemakers Bad Boy Chiller Crew were making sure that their set was going to be an unforgettable one but, sadly, getting into a fight with stage managers probably wasn’t for the reason they wanted.

Sadly a clash between Manchester goth-pop faves Pale Waves and American singer Ashton Nicole Casey aka Ashnikko brought our first clash of the day but, as we’d seen Pale Waves a million times before and last time we saw Ashnikko a few hundred yards away her show was one worth a second inspection.

Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest

Given how bonkers the crowd went for Bad Boy Chiller Crew, the atmosphere was more akin to that of a room full of people soaking up some great music rather than the aftermath of a bar room brawl. Still, the Australian band pulled out an impressive set which included their wonderful cover of Cher’s hit “Believe”.

Back over on the Main Stage, American hip-hop duo Run The Jewels followed up their riotous UK dates earlier in the year with an explosive set of old-school hip-hop. For those who wanted something a little less confrontational, the Festival Republic stage saw the welcome return of singer-songwriter Beabadoobee who was all smiles throughout her well-recieved set.

Arty London chaps Bastille put in one of the highlights of the Main Stage West bands to round out our time in that part of the festival. Dwarfed by video screens flashing up attention-grabbing visuals, Dan Bastille and the band dished up the kind of performance that was fit to earn them a headliner slot.

Equally attention-grabbing was Liverpudlian indie upstarts Stone who, over the past twelve or so months have seen their profile rise with packed out gigs and riotous performances. Their set on the Festival Republic stage was no different and, given it was our first time witnessing the band live, confirmed that everything we have read about the band so far, was justified.

So to the controversial headliners The 1975 who had the tough job of replacing American rap-metal titans Rage Against The Machine. In the weeks leading up to the festival, their addition to the bill raised a few eyebrows as you could hardly call them a like-for-like swap. Still, judging by the reaction from the healthy crowd, there were plenty of fans in the crowd who welcomed Matty Healy and co with open arms.

Clearly not bothered by the controversy, the indie band pull together a hit-packed set of crowd favourites even managing to find a moment or two to crack the odd joke about the original headliners. Obviously, the 1975’s set was nothing like the explosive set that would have wiped the floor with this crowd had RATM appeared but still, the huge singalongs showed that, while they might not have been anyone’s first choice, The 1975’s return to Leeds was nothing short of a huge success to end Leeds Festival day one.