Welcome Back! SATURDAY Lovvers kick off the Saturday to a fairly empty and unappreciative crowd at the Festival Republic stage. Such apathy is entirely undeserved of course, and despite only playing for around 15 minutes, their shambolic indie-pop meets post-hardcore leaves me, for one, wanting more. One band that can't finish quick enough however is The Gaslight Anthem over on the Lockup stage. A replacement for Set Your Goals, who were unfortunately unable to play, they always were going to have a mountain to climb, given that one of the bands I had most anticipated seeing were SYG themselves. However, their fairly bland, emo/pop/punk/whatever that owes as much to Springsteen as it does to Mackaye and co. does little to justify the hype surrounding the band at the moment. Lyrics about somewhere in America with dust tracks and American Football seem painfully earnest, and it's just not believable. You can tell they want to be seen as ‘touching', ‘truthful' and ‘poetic' but to this onlooker it just seems a bit of an embarrassing act. It's almost as if they are trying to be uncool, and that would then make them cool. Or some strange logic like that, I don't know, either way, these go completely over my head. Towards the end of this set however, the tent begins to pack out, in anticipation for hardcore band of the moment Fucked Up. I'm not quite sure what is fuelling their meteoric rise, beyond them being really fucking good, but whatever. Typically crazy, singer Damien spends more time amongst the sweaty hardcore kids down at the barrier, supported by around four or five security staff, and for just over half an hour the band wreak havoc upon the lockup stage. The juxtaposition of such layered, fast, tight hardcore riffs and complete madness a few feet away is jarring, but makes this band completely unmissable live. Utterly brilliant, and one of the sets of the weekend, although they have stiff competition from... themselves. But more on that later. The NME stage provides quite a contrast from the mayhem of the lockup stage, with Mystery Jets drawing an excitable, youthful crowd, but a slightly more serene one. Much of this is down to the success of ‘21' which is pure indie-pop goodness. Also featuring tracks from debut album ‘Making Dens' this is a further example of just how the band have matured since they first emerged, and as ‘Two Doors Down' provokes one of the biggest sing-along's of the entire festival, there is little doubt who has released on of the best pop records of the year. I only manage to catch ten minutes of so of Cancer Bats (who for those ten minutes are very good by the way) due to being with my brother, who, credit to him allowed me to see most of the hardcore and punk stuff I wanted to see on the Lockup stage,  wants to see We Are Scientists. I like them anyway, and it's only fair, so it's not a disaster. Opening with ‘Ram It Home' a b side from a previous single which appears dangerously close to cock-rock, and featuring a cover of Ace of Base's ‘All That She Wants' this isn't the typical ‘play the hits' festival set from WAS, and its all the better for it. Featuring their now trademark wit in between songs, as well as crowd favourite ‘The Great Escape' among tracks from newest album ‘Brain Thrust Mastery' and the more familiar ones from ‘With Love and Squalor' they more than do enough to keep the mainstage smiling, and dancing for just under an hour. Back at the Lockup stage MXPX keep the nostalgia going. They're not bad, but it's impossible not to think ‘i'm too old for this' throughout the entire set. Over on the mainstage The Raconteurs are hampered by strong winds coupled with the mainstage sound issues. The crowd seem less receptive also than at Benicassim (see my Benicassim roundup for more details) and it's a far less impressive performances, although I suspect little of that was down to Jack White and co. Following them on the mainstage, are Bloc Party. One member down, due to bassist Gordon becoming a father earlier in the week, and with new album ‘Intimacy' released a few days previously, you get the impression that this set means a lot to the band. And they are rewarded with a generous, enthusiastic crowd. Whilst the sound problems do come into play again on the mainstage, by the time the crowd are bathed in lasers for ‘Flux' its clear this is a triumphant return to the festival that is so fond of Bloc Party. My brothers highlight of the weekend.  Following them on the mainstage are The Killers but we don't stay for much of their set, as over on the Lockup stage, Gallows play to a packed out tent. Say what you like about Gallows, live they are quite a preposition, tight, fast, and exciting, this is just how punk should be. Singer Frank Carter manages to crowd surf from one end of the tent to the other (literally) before parting the crowd ‘like the red sea' to run back to the stage. Featuring a number of new songs set to be released early next year, as well as many from album ‘Orchestra of Wolves' this is a fantastic performance, and completely justifies all the hype and attention the band have been cultivating over the past couple of years. Blistering, you just hope they stay inside tents at festivals like this, and playing smaller sized venues, as you fear much of the atmosphere the band so clearly thrive on would be lost on the mainstage or in huge venues. With Saturday over, but buzzing due to excessive amounts of sugar, and energy drink, I decide to head down to the leisure complex on the festival site, in order to catch Fucked Ups second set of the day, as part of Club NME. And am I glad I went! Playing a mixture of rarities, ‘hits' if you can call them that, covers (Nervous Breakdown and Smells Like Teen Spirit anyone?) as well as calling upon Frank Carter for help, and Alexisonfire too, this is far more shambolic than their earlier set, but that's what Fucked Up are all about. Confusion reigns at times, but when you are in a massive hall, with about 50 people going absolutely bonkers and 30 people standing back, watching it all unfold with a puzzled expression on their faces, running around and jumping on top of other people seems like the best fun you can ever have. This band is amazing! I trudge back to my tent in a daze, as whilst the band invigorated me for half an hour or so, it was clear I was running on empty even before I ventured into the club. Jack Pitt Dont forget to come back tomorrow for the final installment!