Highlights of a red hot Leeds Festival first day

Liam Gallagher at the Leeds Festival. Picture: Ian Harber
Liam Gallagher at the Leeds Festival. Picture: Ian Harber

The 2017 Leeds Festival got off to a red hot start in unusually warm weather for this event with some spectacular headline sets and shows throughout the day and evening.

Muse closed the day with their usual everything but the kitchen sink approach and firework ending o the main stage, while Haim and Neck Deep were also show stopping in their own way in their headline sets on other stages.

But the first day of this year’s music spectacular was about so much more than the headliners.

In many ways despite Muse’s big sound, big use of visuals and big ending the main stage belonged to a certain Liam Gallagher. Back to remind everyone that he is still every inch the rock’n’roll star - and not just because he continues to include the song of that name from his Oasis days in his set.

The fact that he pulled in the day’s biggest crowd will not have gone unnoticed and there seemed so much more love for him than when he was part of his first post Oasis offshoot, Beady Eye.

He did include a Beady Eye number in his set - Soul Love - but otherwise his set included a sprinkling of tracks from his upcoming first solo album and Oasis classics, including a brilliant What’s The Story Morning Glory, Slide Away and a surprisingly good D’You Know What I Mean. And, of course, he finished with Wonderwall and had fans in the field still singing the song long after he left the stage.

Liam seemed in chirpy mood and genuinely glad to be there, saying at one point: “It’s good to be back in Leeds - especially the posh bit!”

If the solo career goes well, a headline set surely beckons next time.

Earlier highlights on the main stage were provided by Blossoms - including covers of Imagine and The Smith Smiths’ There Is A Light That Never Goes Out - and a band to watch out for, Against The Current.

Royal Republic, meanwhile, opened proceedings.

There was a great start of the NME/Radio One Stage provided by X Ambassadors who had a healthy size tent crowd singing along to their big hit, Renegades.

Their set was followed by a “secret” show, although it was not much of a secret by the time Queens Of The Stone Age were ready to come on.

These late arranged shows are becoming festival favourites in the last few years with You Me At Six last year and Foals the year before. Both went on to be headline acts the year after so here’s the first tip for 2018, although Josh Homme and crew struggled at times to wake the packed tent up with such an early slot and played probably too many new songs.

Later in the day South Yorkshire band The Sherlocks pulled in a similar sized crowd to QOTSA and were much more entertaining, if their set was a tad too short and only offered a slice of how god this band can go on to be.

It was their third year in a row at the event, maybe a main stage slot next year?

Festival veterans Ash were another big attraction on the Festival Republic Stage where Tom Grennan and The Hunna also went down well.

There weren’t so many in this tent for Mondo Cozmo, but this American act new to Britain were the big surprise of the day, alternative rock with some huge melodies that stick in your head - well worth checking out.

One of the biggest crowds of the day was reserved for The Alternative Stage for comedienne Katherine Ryan with hundreds of fans having to make do with listening to her as they could not get inside the tent.

Political comic Jonathan Pie also pulled a huge crowd to the comedy tent while Ivo Graham and Charlie Baker also went down well along with inventive compere Mark Olver.

Leeds band Fizzy Blood delivered a punk rock set on the Lock Up Stage where Muncie Girls, Gnarwolves and headliners Neck Deep also provided energetic sets.

Here there was another “secret” show with Don Broco performing as “The Pretty Boys” to a packed tent in the know that they were appearing.

Contrasting music could be found on the Radio One Dace Stage where Charli XCX put on a big show, Mistajam had plenty of audience anticipation and Marshmello closed the evening out.

The Leeds Festival continues today with Kasabian headlining the main stage and Fatboy Slim, Bastille, Billy Talent, You Me At Six, Reginald D Hunter and among those also providing entertainment.