With headliners Arcade Fire
Leeds Festival 2010: Friday headliners Arcade Fire

This year Leeds has the best bite of the biscuit. As of Friday there's not a spot of rain in sight- and after being musically snubbed by Radiohead last year, we've finally got the best day first.

So as we try to recover from the rough night before it appears every band on the bill is here to impress. Gallows, cleverly disguised as The Rats manage to give us a smile like nothing else. Teens throw themselves every which way as Frank Carter barks orders at the crowd. We're then left speechless as he orders a stampede around the outside of the tent, making every passer-by gawp in disbelief.

In a bid to find something just as enthralling and terrifying we head to Freelance Whales on the Festival Republic stage, only to find them softer than Vampire Weekend. The Cribs also fail to impress but Darwin Deez manages to grab us in a second. Bursting into a bizarre collection of dance routines they manage to waste most of their set stalling time. That said, it was one of the funniest moments of the day.

It doesn't matter how many times you've seen Dizzee Rascal live, somehow you're still drawn to the main stage like some rap hussy. This time the rapper is with a live band, but there’s something missing about the performance. Dizzee looks uneasy with the backing band, while the band is unsure what to do with him.

Slowly as the arena fills up it’s impossible to pretend today is not all about the Libertines. As the man in front of us shouts “in five minutes I’ll have seen the Libertines!” we can’t quite believe all these fans have suddenly come out of hiding. And sure thing, as soon as Pete, Carl and co waltz onstage (right on time we hasten to add) many crowd members look bored, as God forbid, they play a few songs. From that moment the show is very rough as each song just dabbles away. Yet as the hits creep in (‘What Katie Did’, ‘What A Waster’) the band and audience warm to their new surroundings. The Libertines were never headline material and today it shows, but it is a quick glimmer into a spot of nostalgia.

Arcade Fire are another unlikely headliner, but with their latest album at number one it’s hard to prove they don’t have the fans to pull it off. Launching into a tirade of angst gnarly hits, Win Butler treats the crowd like we’ve just punched him in the face. The pounding tracks of The Suburbs blends perfectly with Funeral, as a slick highlight package is prepared for the crowd. Each member of the band throws their lives into the performance and in turn so do we. Leeds this year is definitely the place to be.

Words by Ruth Offord

See more of Clash's coverage from the Reading/Leeds festival 2010 HERE.

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