Creeper might be a young band, but there’s no argument that they’re already making an impact. Leeds Festival was ridden with fans wearing the band’s infamous Callous Heart patch, all of whom, of course, turned out to watch their early afternoon set.
The anticipation was palpable throughout The Pit tent, brimming to an overwhelming peak when frontman Will Gould finally took to the stage. The Southampton sextet were powerful from their very first note, demanding the crowd’s attention through ‘VCR’, ‘Misery’, and ‘Astral Projection’.
Creeper are an incredible band to watch perform. Their music is emotional at it’s core, and they presented this same electricity in their show. The band worked naturally together, demonstrating their impressive technical skill. It’s the precision they have with their music that makes for an incredible show, carving out the high-octane hooks that have made them a cult favourite. 9/10
In the Festival Republic stage hiding from the rain, LA-based four piece Transviolet were gearing up for their Leeds Festival debut. The band’s UK fanbase took a jump during their support gig with Twenty One Pilots this February, and so much was evident from their crowd.
Transviolet might have found new fans on the back of an alternative rock giant, but the reason they keep coming back is to their own credit. Vocalist Sarah McTaggart impressed with her ethereal stage presence, breezing through tricky vocal runs in ‘Bloodstream’, ‘LA Love’, and ‘Astronaut’. Their synthy, polished performance was mesmerising to watch, the band working together to recreate ‘Night Vision’ and ‘Girls Your Age’ true to their EP.
The crowd was captivated, moving with the band during abstract transitions and electro overlays. Transviolet have completely come into their own over the past year. With an album hopefully on the way, we can only wait to see what this impressive band will create next. 8/10
By the time The Neighbourhood took to the NME stage on Saturday night, security were having to turn people away. Atmospheric lighting illuminated the swaying crowd, setting the scene for the Californian sextet.
The band kicked things off with ‘How’, frontman Jesse Rutherford exhibiting his charmingly uncoordinated dance moves. Then his shirt disappeared, and the band continued onto ‘Wires’, ‘Prey’, ‘Cry Baby’, and ‘Female Robbery’. American rock classic ‘Sweater Weather’ came soon after, and the crowd’s reaction was phenomenal. The band beamed as the NME tent broke out into a mass sing-a-long.
This was, however, the only time any band member made an effort to engage with the crowd. Their stage presence was massively subdued; The Neighbourhood quickly transitioned from one track to the next, taking no time to speak in between.
The band may have sounded incredible, but their understated antics onstage made the whole thing pretty forgettable. 6/10
Lower Than Atlantis
Watford’s Lower Than Atlantis have been making their way up the Reading and Leeds line-up for the past few years. Now playing mid-afternoon on the festival’s main stage, the band were in fine form.
Mike Duce is an ambitious frontman, engaging the crowd with witty remarks and injecting tracks heavy doses of his personality. Lower Than Atlantis constructed their setlist mainly of tracks from their self-titled album, eliciting an impressive response from onlookers. The band took the opportunity to break out their newest single ‘Work for It’, demanding the crowd open up circle pits throughout. They might not have succeeded in creating a mosh haven, but the single was impressively performed.
Lower Than Atlantis finished up their set with ‘English Kids in America’ and ‘Here We Go’, holding the energy they had when they opened until the very end. This is a band that is meant to be seen live. 7/10
Twenty One Pilots
If you managed to get a spot inside the tent for Twenty One Pilots’ sub-headline set, you were lucky. Fans of the band had been holding down the barrier all day, desperate to be front and centre for the Ohio-based duo.
As soon as they hit the stage, everybody knew why. Twenty One Pilots are the most visually stunning performers of this generation. Their show was multi-dimensional and entirely immersive, demanding the full attention of their audience from the very first static blare.
The band kicked things off with the intro from ‘Fairly Local’, vocalist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun entering the stage in their now iconic ski-masks. The track quickly transitioned into ‘Heavydirtysoul’, Joseph backlit with red, clinging to his microphone. But before it had really taken off, Twenty One Pilots slowed their set with a piano remix of their latest track ‘Heathens’.
The track was incredible to hear live, neither Joseph or Dun missing a beat throughout. The crowd reacted as you’d expect: not a single body stood still. The set continued into ‘We Don’t Believe What’s On TV’, the hazmat-ridden ‘Lane Boy’, and a cover of House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’.
You don’t need to watch for long to know that Joseph and Dun put everything they’ve got into these shows. Both members enter the crowd constantly—Dun alongside his drums in ‘Ride’, and Joseph to climb to a mid-crowd platform in ‘Car Radio’.
A new—and positively bizarre—addition to their show is the aptly named ‘hamster ball’ crowd run during ‘Guns for Hands.’ As the name suggests, Joseph quite literally entered a giant red hamster ball and ran across the top of the crowd. Twenty One Pilots is a band that will go to extremes to feel close to their fans.
The band closed their set in their traditional way—Joseph and Dun’s in-crowd drum battle to ‘Trees’. The set ended, and the NME tent completely cleared out. There’s no mistake that Twenty One Pilots is an extraordinary band. Their eclectic music has enchanted thousands, and these shows are the pinnacle of it all. 10/10