with headliners Metallica

It's been five years since Metallica muscled their way to the top of mother England's mighty Reading and Leeds Festival bill.

Back then the metal veterans were in a state of turmoil following the loss of bass player Jason Newsted, James Hetfield's ongoing battle with alcoholism and in band fighting during the recording of their last album St Anger. Fast forward five years and Leeds is greeted by a very different monster to the one that rocked up in 2003. But more on that later.

First off it’s over to the dance tent where Canadian krautrockers Holy Fuck are kicking up a storm as Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh switch between their keyboards and guitars quicker than Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt. The Toronto outfit are so impressive even Arctic Monkeys sticksman Matt Helders sneaks in to see out what all the fuss is about. And it can only get better as fellow electro-digi punks Crystal Castles unleash their bleepy chaos with a hair standing show that sees singer Alice Glass crowd surf her way across the tent. Writhing and screaming over Ethan Kath's 8 bit bleeps, the likes of 'Courtship Dating' and 'Alice Practice' thud like Skins anthems in the making.

Over at The Festival Republic stage Glaswegian newboys Glasvegas make grown men cry with a heartfelt set packed with soaring tales about ruthless stabbings and inner city violence over a wall of ear splitting feedback. Dressed in a Dracula style black poncho (that'll be the Christmas album they're recording in Transylvania), James Allan's tear jerking vocals are a joy to behold as he croons his way through the gorgeous 'Geraldine' and the woozy 'Daddy's Gone'. In between the football terrace chants of "Here We Go/ Here We Fucking Go" ('Go Square Go'), this is easily one of the festival moments of the weekend.

As is Alex Turner and Miles Kane's theatrical debut as The Last Shadow Puppets. When we first saw the pair muddling their way through a ramshackle acoustic jam at Glastonbury in June, it was obvious they weren't taking their theatrics seriously. But tonight is a very different scene and one that would be more suited to the West End if of course it wasn't for the mud. There's Beatles suits and ties, a string quartet and a theatrical blood red velvet curtain thrown in for good measure. As performances go, it's a fitting tribute to the Walkers Bros as Turner and Kane roll through the cinematic 'Calm Like You' and the galloping 'Age Of The Understatement'.

Finally cometh the hour cometh the Metallica. Strutting onstage all smiles and demon free, singer James Hetfield greets the Leeds crowd like a long lost friend. Unfortunately the Gremlins strike early as the first four songs are dogged disappointingly by sound problems. It's all forgotten in a flash though when the metal legends spit out the brutal 'Harvester Of Sorrow' to mass applause.

Drilling through their back catalogue, Metallica fire out elaborate pyrotechnics, gunshots and monster powered harmony solos for an incredible show befitting of any Leeds headliner. As Hetfield gently growls the lyrics to ‘Nothing Else Matters’ over Kirk Hammett's hair standing chord intro, it truly is a festival moment to behold. But the real stroke of genius here comes when fire shoots from the stage like grenade bombs against a backdrop of gunfire for Metallica's all time war classic 'One'.

When it's over, the LA metal giants struggle to tear themselves away from the stage as each band member lines up to thank the crowd like they’re at an awards ceremony.
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