Walking through the crowd at Leeds fest it was hard not to notice the looks of sheer admiration and love people had for Billie Eilish as she stepped out for her upgraded set. God only knows the scenes that would have taken place if she had stayed at the Radio One Stage. Last year the 17-year-old was relatively unknown in the UK and now she draws an enormous crowd for a tea time Leeds slot.
Her eerie trademark visuals appear on the stage and spark the crowd into frenzied excitement that lasted the entire set (a commendable effort considering the heat). Effortlessly strolling out to the cries of tens of thousands, dressed like a character from Blade Runner in neon green, she waits for that bass that has infected every club since its release back in March. Like the crowd, the moment it kicks in her energy is off the chart and was sustained for the entire set. You can see as she bounds around stage, she is doing it all for her fans, and even fans she didn't know she had as she is genuinely shocked by the scale of the crowd, as 60,00 people jump about.
Following 'bad guy', 'My strange addiction' displays a clever craft of lyrics and music that can be delivered live with immense poignancy, amongst a catalogue of equally impressive tracks. It was refreshing that a lot of her music was played live via her backing band was good to see, as too often is too much lobed onto a backing track. Though her set was packed with tunes that got Leeds Fest jumping as if it were a 9pm headline, 'wish you were gay' 'COPYCAT' and 'xanny’ to name some, she also mixed in slower ballad-esque songs.
'Ocean eyes’ 'when the party's over' and 'idontwannabeyouanymore' show a far a sincerer side to Eilish, where she bears her soul to the crowd. These appear to win Leeds over to her completely, as on 'ocean eyes' waving her arm once, she got most of the crowd waving with her in unison for the duration of the song.
Billie closed her set with ‘Bury a friend’, where her voice is drowned out by an all hailing crowd who echo it back to her without command. Such a response is representative of almost all her songs, paying homage to her rise in 2019. It would be wrong to hail the tune as a crowd pleaser as almost every song since 'bad guy' did just that. She need not sing for nearly all of it is echoed back to her without command, and only affirms her new status as the face of interlope pop. It begs the question where will she be next year?