Leeds Festival 2018 – Sunday – the victorious return of Panic! At The Disco

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LEEDS FESTIVAL 2018
Sunday 26th August

Photo: Matt Eachus

It wouldn’t be Leeds festival without at least one day of bad weather, and Sunday is looking to be that day. Campers flock reluctantly to the arenas from their dry tents to catch a few of the early bands, because lets face it, a little rain hurt nobody right?

Welsh rock band Pretty Vicious (8) are the first on our list to check out today and it was worth braving the storm for. Frontman Brad Griffiths commitment to the cause can’t be questioned, as he thrashes away on his guitar with what looks to have been a broken hand all bandaged up. The lads may look young and inexperienced in terms of live performances, but you shouldn’t be fooled by their appearance. They tear through a furious riff heavy set with a stage presence that keeps our eyes and ears fixed to the stage. ‘Are You Entertained’ closes the set with us all nodding with satisfaction. Pretty Vicious sure look to be a brilliant raw talent and look to be a great prospect for live rock music in the coming years.

A quick trip over the the lock up stage should have given us enough time to check out A Man With A Mission (?) before heading over to the main stage, however 10/15 minutes of their set was filled with them attempting to fix their equipment so we were unable to see a single song much to our disappointment.

Photo: Cai Dixon

Running much more punctual was ex Linkin Park vocalist Mike Shinoda (8.5) who has been on our radar for Reading and Leeds since the announcement. Bouncing out onto the stage rapping through Fort Minor’s ‘Petrified’ to an ecstatic reception from the crowd. Mike Shinoda is an incredible songwriter and musician, and its displayed with ease on the main stage as he works his way around an array of instruments from drums to guitars and the keys. After the recent death of fellow frontman of Linkin Park Chester Bennington, Shinoda has released a brilliant solo album ‘Post Traumatic’ about coming through the difficult times of recent. It’s great to finally hear some of his solo music live, ‘Crossing a Line’ and ‘Running from My Shadow’ sound great, but it’s the Linkin Park songs in the set that spark the biggest reaction from the crowd. A young fan on the shoulders of his parents holds high a sign saying “Make Chester Proud”  before Mike acknowledges it and tells us a story or two about his time with Chester and how incredible the support has been from Linkin Park fans to pull him through the difficult times. An emotionally fuelled performace of a stripped back ‘In The End’ has many in tears singing their hearts out as Shinoda looks on proudly across the Leeds Festival crowd.

Pulling out of the emotional part of the set we are thrown into some fan favourites including the likes of ‘Papercut’ and a mash up of ‘Good Goodbye/Bleed It Out’ for good measure. It’s incredibly heart-warming to see Mike Shinoda back on the stage with a smile on his face, and it’s infectious. We can’t wait to see Shinoda’s creativity run wild now he’s back on top of his game.

Photo: Matt Eachus

Following on the main stage, Sum 41 (8.5) burst out with ‘The Hell Song’ which the intro riff guides us all into mosh pit madness as Co2 cannons on the front of the stage blast up into the sky revealing Deryck Whibley demanding the crowd to get involved straight from the kick off. The Punk Rockers know how to please a crowd and they look to be at the top form as they fire through the likes of ‘Motivation’, ‘Still Waiting’, ‘In Too Deep’ and ‘Fat Lip’ which provide plenty of chances for us to shake off the rain in the mosh pits. Their set up includes plenty of explosive blasts of Co2 as well as a gigantic inflating skeleton giving us the middle finger behind drummer Frank Zummo. A couple of extras are thrown in including a cover of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ before a curveball end to the set as ‘Fat Lips’ suddenly turn into Linkin Park’s ‘Faint’ and Mike Shinoda runs out to the stage guitar in hand for an incredible cover which provided many peoples highlight of the weekend.

A change in pace on the mainstage provides a quick mix up of the crowd as a few leave, but many gather as Britan’s hottest pop act is about to take to the stage. Dua Lipa (9) has soared into greatness in less than a year. It was only last October when Dua played to a sold-out Leeds Academy on her first big tour since dropping her debut full length self-titled album. Now she’s walking out onto the main stage at Leeds Festival to a crowd the size you would expect to see a sub-headliner pull, which speaks in volumes. Dua Lipa works her way through some of her best hits including ‘Blow Your Mind’, ‘Be The One’, ‘Hotter Than Hell’ and ‘IDGAF’ with it’s very own parental advisory warning.

Dua Lipa’s shows are much deeper than just an impeccable vocal performance. She has a brilliant band to back her up, including backing vocalist and dancers on stage who glide around the stage with the pop star, and we can’t take our eyes off her. Her recent hit single ‘One Kiss’ with Calvin Harris is one of the set highlights, but fan favourite ‘New Rules’ is the song to close out a set we wish would never end.

Photo: Matt Eachus

N.E.R.D (8) really do provide something of a spectacle. Much like Dua Lipa, their stage presence is tantalising. Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and Shay Haley really know how to get the party started. Backing dancers and break-dancers glue the set together with some incredible moves, as N.E.R.D work their way through a 15 track set. ‘She Want’s To Move’ and the magnificent ‘Rock Star’ are particular stand outs in the set as you would expect. Pharrell knows exactly how to work a crowd and he does exactly that from start to finish demanding everyone to get moving and even teaching those who aren’t familiar the lyrics so they have no excuses. 2017’s release ft Rihanna, ‘Lemon’, closes a set that stands out aside the rest over the weekend on the main stage.

The return of Beartooth (8.5) is one that is greeted with open arms for many of us, even more so for us who really fancy a bit of hardcore at The Pit/Lock up stage opposed to Kendrick Lamar on the main stage. Being a short and sweet festival set, we don’t get to hear much of their new material to be released September 28th in the form of ‘Disease’, the bands third full length studio album. However, title track ‘Disease’ and ‘Bad Listener’ are sandwiched in the mid drift of the set and they both are incredibly furious live as we hoped for. The faithful fans are rewarded for their liveliness with ‘Body Bag’ for some frantic circle pits before ‘In Between’ finishes the set perfectly.

 

Photo:Matt Eachus

Finally the third and final headliners are set to hit the stage. Co Headlining with Kendrick Lamar on the Sunday night, Panic! At The Disco (11) are ready to pull out the big guns and turn up the crazy to make sure they own the weekend. Brand new album ‘Pray For The Wicked’ has a number of certified bangers on it, and we kick off the set with album opener ‘(Fuck A) Silver Lining’ and an explosion of sparks on stage as the frontman struts his way around to deafening screams.

Other tracks from the new album making live UK debuts were ‘Hey Look Ma, I Made It’, ‘Dancing’s Not A Crime’, new single ‘High Hopes’, and the fantastic ‘Say Amen (Saturday Night)’ with an explosive chorus that has everyone singing out loud as it’s, well, we guess it’s sort of a Saturday night being a bank holiday weekend!

As incredible as the new album is, there is much more depth to PATD’s set than just that. There is plenty to go around from the last two albums ‘Death Of A Bachelor’ and ‘Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!’ with highlights being the grooving ‘Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time’, the colourful ‘Girls/Girls/Boys’, and ‘Nine In The Afternoon’ which you just can’t help but sing along too.

One thing you can guarantee in a Panic! At The Disco set is an incredible Queen cover. Frontman Brendon Urie openly speaks about his wish to have written the “best song ever” ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, but even though it may not be his, he owns it with his impeccable live vocal performance hitting notes we didn’t know was humanly possible.

As far as encores go, we don’t think we’ve seen a stronger one this whole weekend. ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ kicks off the finale in devilish fashion, before ‘Saturday Night’ and ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’, which forever goes down a treat with Panic! At The Disco fans. A conquering set can only end in one way, and that’s with the triumphant ‘Victorious’. Fireworks, blasting Co2 cannons, and falling confetti make sure the set ends in the most epic possible way leaving us all wishing there was more to come. After this display, we for one can’t wait for their headline tour next year to kick off.

“Tonight we are victorious”. Those are the words sung by Panic! At The Disco frontman Brendon Urie, and a truer sentence could not be spoken.

 

Check out highlights from Friday’s review here, and Saturday’s review here!

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Editor / Live Music Photographer / Journalist at Soundcheck-Live