Review: Smashing Pumpkins

6 out of 10: Leeds, Friday, 9.40pm. Some unexpected poignancy, but Friday's headliners are clearly twice the age of the punters.

Stage: Leeds, Main

Time: Friday, 9.40pm

Dress code: Stylish. Billy Corgan may not have the original lineup, but he's replaced them with glamorous girls in boots who are particularly loved by the festival screens' cameramen. Meanwhile, the Corg opts for a stripy long-sleeved top with a T-shirt over it, topped off by a scarf. Unexpectedly dapper.

In summary: There didn't seem to be a particularly enormous clamour for a Nineties grunge revival, and eyebrows were raised when the Pumpkins reformed as half the band they were - minus bassist D'arcy Wretzky and guitarist James Iha. Nevertheless, they are very warmly received, especially during a rousing Tonight, Tonight, just after the sun goes down. Powerhouse drummer Jimmy Chamberlin has obviously been moved by the presence of Chili Peppers' Chad Smith on Sunday's bill to make an early and ferocious claim for the title of best drummer at the festival. Wobblier moments arrive with the bad guitar solos and dated rock from new, inappropriately-titled album Zeitgeist, when the grunge years suddenly seem an eternity ago.

Highlight: Corgan's playing of the Star Spangled Banner. Hendrix famously demolished the American anthem at Woodstock; Corgan plays it melancholy and eerie, as if making a subtle comment on the state of the USA today. Unexpectedly poignant.

Better than: Courtney Love.

Worse than: Nirvana, or Nearvana.

Talking point: That Friday's headliners (including Nine Inch Nails) are approximately twice the age of most people watching.

What they'll be up to this time next year: Corgan is clearly touched by the reception - so a return may be on the cards.

Mark out of 10: 6


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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