First Thoughts: Leeds Festival 2011 Line Up (Friday and Saturday)

Posted on March 23, 2011


On Monday, this year’s Leeds Festival Line Up was announced, with tickets going on sale. The reaction and public opinion seems to be split, with a lot of indie fans delighted at the chance to see The Strokes and Pulp perform on the closing night. However, there’s a lot less so far in terms of punk.

I’ll admit that there are a few acts I plan on seeing who don’t come close to the punk or ska genre. I’ll definitely be seeing The Streets, Muse, Panic! At The Disco, Seasick Steve and Tim Minchin, but there are still some heavier bands that I’m hyped about seeing (more often than not, for at least the second time). Here’s who I’m looking forward to on the Friday and Saturday.

Taking Back Sunday (Friday, Main Stage)

One of the fathers of the emo/alt-rock genre, Taking Back Sunday last played Leeds Festival in 2008, and it was a good set. Bands of this level don’t often fare well on the main stage, however. Sometimes they can, and it will definitely be special to hear songs like “Cute Without The E” alongside such a big crowd, but the atmosphere and energy could be lost.

Frank Turner (Friday, Main Stage)

It’s not secret on this site that I enjoy Frank Turner’s music, and I’m of course grateful for the interviews he provided for Punk Ska Press (which can be found here and here). In 2010, I saw him support Green Day at the LCCC in Manchester (June), followed by sets at Leeds Festival (August) and Preston’s 53 Degrees (December). I’ll also be seeing him perform an intimate set in Manchester in May. To say I love Turner’s live shows is an understatement, and I couldn’t be more excited to see him on the main stage.

Enter Shikari (Friday, Main Stage)

Not strictly punk by any stretch of the imagination, Enter Shikari deserve credit for the live show they put on, which is simply phenomenal. Although it is largely based on an extravagant light show, Enter Shikari showed in 2009 that they could hold their own on the Main Stage at Leeds. Their set was disjointed by technical issues, but they coped well and showed professionalism as they took it in their stride. Last year, performing on the NME Stage just before Pendulum, their set was again troubled, with time issues meaning crowd favourite “Sorry, You’re Not A Winner” being cut. Hopefully this year won’t carry on the tradition of poor sets from Enter Shikari, because they do have a great live show.

Madness (Saturday, Main Stage)

What can be said? For a huge fan of ska of all kinds and eras, Madness being announced is a dream come true. Sure, some people may not be able to see past songs like “Baggy Trousers” and “Our House”, which is a real shame. Madness are one of the names from the two-tone ska revival in the 1970s, and it’s a shame they’re so low down on the Main Stage bill. Still, they should bring something special.

Jimmy Eat World (Saturday, Main Stage)

Jimmy Eat World return to Leeds Festival this year with another slot on the main stage, although fans will be hoping for a repeat of 2007 (where the “thinking-man’s emo” outfit also headlined the Lock Up Stage on the same day). Songs like “The Middle” and “Sweetness” will always go down well at a festival, so Jimmy Eat World should have no problem making a good impression. The only thing that may count against them is performing just before the trio of The National, Pulp and The Strokes. They may be better suited to another day or another stage, but Jimmy Eat World should be able to overcome this.

Check back later this week for my opinions on the bands closing out Leeds Festival on the final day.