Jimmy Eat World – Leeds Temple Newsam

By paul

So the Leeds leg of the 2002 Carling Festival went with a bang – literally. Thanks to the mindless minority we may well have to go without a 2003 fest, which would be a great shame seeing as though 2002 rocked. Punktastic (and half of its message board) went, saw, conquered and bought several t-shirts. There was random craziness, terrible headwear, girls staring at me (sorry Boo ;->), bottle fights, emo overload and random Israeli-girl picture opportunities. But most of all the whole thing was excellent – and not one bad band was seen. So, here is the story of Sunday.

Having arrived early, we met up with random Punktastic folk and the Milk2Sugars crew, missing out on JESSE JAMES in the Concrete Jungle Stage. Not being impressed with them when I saw JJ supporting Lit, I wasn’t too disappointed about missing them, but by all accounts the tent was crammed and they put on a good show. However it was up to LIGHTYEAR to get the day off in fine style. Playing a whole range of tracks off of their ‘Call Of The Weasel Clan’ record, the Derby mob bounded around the stage with reckless abandon, living up to their name of being a top quality live act. Thankfully there was no nakedness, but there were shout-outs to anyone from Scunthorpe and to vocalist Chas’ mum, who was merrily skanking away next to the majority of the Milk2Sugars crew. A mass invasion by Jesse James at the sets end got the day off to a good start. (7)

A quick hop to the nearby Evening Session Stage led us straight to MIDTOWN, who, by the size of the crowd, have gathered quite a following over the last year, and rightly so. They may have massive egos (and do their own soundchecks) but the music really does the talking. Today Midtown are damn good. The kids go off to the likes of ‘Become What You Hate’ and ‘Like A Movie’, so much so that one kid gets his nose busted in the process. Fantastic musicians even if their sense of style leaves a little bit to be desired, ‘Just Rock n Roll’ is a fine track, and as usual they end with shades of the Kiss classic ‘God Gave Rock and Roll To You’. Midtown may appear to be dicks offstage, but on it they give as good as anyone else. (8)

A short wait and we are greeted by John Feldmann and the rest of GOLDFINGER. Unfortunately sometime decides to call time on the set after just 20 minutes, although a hi-octane 20 minutes at that. Bouncing around with aplomb, the band are on top form, with ‘Superman’ rightly making the kids skank like their lives depended on it. But the set is way too short, missing out the likes of ‘Mable’ and ‘Here In Your Bedroom’, and even new single ‘Spokesman’. ‘Open Your Eyes‘ goes down well, as does ’99 Red Balloons’ and a singalong ‘FTN’, which was accompanied by the now obligatory vegan spiel. Good, but way too short, a band that I once really, really liked have gone downhill a bit and aside from the odd pop-punk gem, are rapidly becoming also-rans. (7)

Back to the Concrete Jungle, THURSDAY had just taken to the stage and proceeded to ram their magnificent ‘Full Collapse’ album down our collective throats for the next 30 minutes. Singer Geoff has a fantastic vocal range and the songs sound immense. However, the odd song aside, the subtleties that the album is so good with are lost in the tent, and at times the music batters the senses rather than compels you to listen. If you hadn’t heard of Thursday before it would have been easy to have got bored of their bludgeoning sound, but for the fan the likes of ‘Understanding In A Car Crash’ and ‘Standing On The Edge Of Summer’ are fantastic. A new track went down a treat too, before the blazing finale of ‘Cross Out The Eyes‘. Very, very good, although probably not best suited to a tent in the middle of a stately home. Thursday are well worth checking out though, or worthy of a second chance if you weren’t impressed first time round. (8)

I have always thought that DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL should have been called Dashboard Creek as Chris Carrabba’s songs are more like an episode of the TV show Dawson’s Creek than regular tracks. At times unneccesarily wordy, the band aren’t one that I have really got into. Until now that is. Spellbinding and captivating live, the band had every single person in the tent singing along with gusto, so much so that Chris (who is so damn small) was visibily shocked that so many people knew the words. ‘Saints And Sailors’ is absolutely brilliant, a contender for song of the day, and ‘Screaming Infidelities’ is fantastic. ‘Emo’ is vastly overused to describe music, but today you can sense that everyone connects with every single word that comes out of his mouth. People are hugging each other, some are crying and the rest are singing along. I’ll admit I am now a Dashboard convert – the album has been dusted down and is now on repeat in the cd player. Bloody fantastic stuff. (8)

A quick wander over to the main stage and we catch the arse end of LESS THAN JAKE‘S set, the fantastic ‘Al’s War’ finishing things off. A huge crowd turn out to see them, which is weird as three years ago they were playing basements in dingy clubs. But still, if anyone deserves it it’s the Gainesville boys. Unlike SUM 41, who bounce on stage to ‘Motivation’ with guitars blaring from all sides. They sound amazing, until Deryck opens his mouth that is. This guy cannot sing. At all. Infact he’s awful, making you wonder if he has ever heard himself back following a show. Proof that mainstram punk rock is more about image than the live performances. One song is enough for us, a walk back to the Concrete Jungle is neccessary.

THE GET UP KIDS are possibly my favourite band ever. I’ve been waiting since 1998 to see this lot live, and they didn’t disappoint. Well they did, they didn’t play ‘Red Letter Day’, but that was my only gripe. A big group of us gathered in anticipation and needless to say we were singing along in no time. ‘Holiday’, ‘Ten Minutes‘ and ‘Action and Action‘ are awesome three minute pop gems, proving that this Kansas crew are the modern day Beatles, and new tracks like ‘Walking On A Wire’ and ‘Campfire Kansas’ are immaculate, even if they are maybe not as well known as some of the other songs. ‘Don’t Hate Me’ is thrown in too, much to the delight of the old-skool fans and by the sets end everyone goes home happy. A completely faultless set by a band that have been criminally overlooked, if they had played ‘Red Letter Day’ or their cover of ‘On With The Show’ it would have been the best gig ever. Emotastic. (9)

A trip back to the main stage next for ASH, a band who certainly aren’t punk but their spikey-pop nuggets brought back more than a few memories for me having gone through school and college worshipping them. ‘Goldfinger‘, ‘Girl From Mars’ and ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ are all fantastic songs, and even the newer tracks ‘Envy’, ‘Burn Baby Burn’ and ‘Sometimes’ are served up with huge smiles. Ash play as if it’s their last show, possibly because their bus crash from four nights previously is still on their minds. But Tim Wheeler and co are at their best when they go at it head-on (excuse the pun) and there’s no better finale around than ‘Kung Fu’. Another faultless set from the Northern Irish lads (and English girl) and a highly impressive return to form. (9)

Another trot back to the Concrete Jungle Stage and we catch SAVES THE DAY, a band who have dropped their brand of pop-punk to lead the pack with their melodic (and MTV2 loving) emo sound. It’s yet to be seen if fame has gone to Chris Conley’s head, but his haircut is becoming dire, coming acros more like Bryan Adams circa 1989 rather than a punk rock star. Still, Saves The Day, now a 4-piece, are brilliant in the small tent even if they do largely stick to all of the songs from their new record ‘Stay What You Are’. Unsurprisingly it is the two singles that go down best, with huge singalong choruses during ‘Freakish’ and ‘At Your Funeral’ being obvious highlights. But the very effiminate Conley is at his best during ‘Cars And Calories‘ as he gyrates and dances his way through the song. It’s amusing to watch, but you cannot fault him, or the band for effort. (8)

I’ve heard lots of bad things about the live JIMMY EAT WORLD performance. Some people have said that they cannot sing, they have no stage presence and that they just sound boring. Well I can safely say that all three of those comments are lies. For tonight JEW are simply stunning. With a set that is predominantely made up from the ‘Bleed American’ album, it’s obvious that the singles go down the best, with a number of lungs fit to burst from all the singalong moments. But the best songs on show are those from ‘Clarity’, and album revered in the ’emo’ world – and rightly so. With passion and commitment to the cause, tonight Jimmy Eat World are more than a bit special. Do they hit a wrong note? I can’t remember if they do. Quite rightly second on the bill – but in my opinion a main stage slot would have been just as deserving. (9)

So many bands that we missed, it was literally impossible to catch every single band that we wanted to see. No Rival Schools, no No Use For A Name or Bouncing Souls, and we even missed out on Less Than Jake. Still, Leeds 2002 was an undoubted success – until the fires started that is…