MY FAVORITE CONCERT MEMORY: DJ Matt Stocks on Leeds Festival 2002

DJ Matt Stocks is the opening act for the upcoming Fireball sponsored Fuelling The Fire Tour with Less Than Jake, Goldfinger, and Save Ferris next month. In addition, opening support in each city will come from the contest winners of Fireball’s Hottest Band Competition for each city the tour hits. DJ Matt shares his Favorite Concert Memory ever with Ghost Cult, his time well spent at Leeds 2002!

With it just being August Bank Holiday weekend and the annual Reading & Leeds Festival, I’d have to say the one gig / live music experience that stands out for me was Leeds Festival in 2002, which also happened to be my first ever festival. I was 16 years old, had just picked up my GCSE results, and was entering a whole new chapter in my life – and Leeds was the perfect environment in which to celebrate. First of all, the line-up was insane, and at the risk of sounding like an old man, they just don’t make festival bills like that anymore. There were far too many great acts to list them all, but over the course of three days I got to see a selection of some of my (at that point then, and still now) all-time favourite bands: Weezer, Jane’s Addiction, The Hives, NOFX, The Offspring, The Prodigy, Guns N Roses…the list goes on.

The festival remains vivid in my mind for a couple of other reasons, which might not be suitable for print or indeed deemed details to applaud, but I’m going to talk about them anyway because it was all part of what made that weekend so unforgettable. The first thing was the riots. And I’m not talking a few unruly punters causing a bit of scene. I’m talking full-scale riots. It was the final night of the festival and after Guns N Roses closed procedures (I can’t remember exactly, but I think they came on about two hours late), the campsite erupted into total chaos. For a 16-year-old kid experiencing his first-ever music festival, I was completely terrified and beguiled all at once. This was a real anarchy in the UK.

The final ingredient which cemented Leeds Festival 2002 into my everlasting memory – and this is the part that comes with the disclaimer that drugs are bad – was ecstasy. On the Sunday, I was given my first ever pill by a friend who shall remain nameless and I took it whilst Less Than Jake were on stage. I remember it like it was yesterday: they were halfway through History of a Boring Town off Hello Rockview when I started to feel the effects coming on and by the end of their set I was as high as a kite. I don’t think I’ve ever told the band that story, and I’ve played about 25 shows with them now, but it’s kind of funny how life turns out. And if you’d have told 16-year-old me that I’d go on to tour multiple times with the band that I was watching all loved up on ecstasy that day, I think my tiny adolescent brain would have crumbled. But this year’s Fireball Tour will indeed by my third tour with Less Than Jake. And I still love them now as much as I did then, long after the drugs have worn off.


Fireball and Academy Events are excited to announce the finalists in this year’s Fireball Hottest Band Competition! A local band has been chosen for each date of the tour in September, giving 8 bands the opportunity to kick off the party for a monumental lineup! The winners join Ska-Punk legends Less Than Jake, Goldfinger, Save Ferris, last year’s winners Thieves Of Liberty and DJ Matt Stocks on each respective date of the UK tour. One band will be chosen at the end of the tour to be crowned Fireball’s Hottest band 2020.

We’re so proud to announce the strongest group of finalists our hottest band competition has seen so far. All handpicked by us all at the good ship Fireball and Academy Events from the hundreds of awesome applicants that we received over the last two months… (it’s gruelling work, but we do it with a smile, so you don’t have to). From all the entries that I have listened to, I must say it’s very evident that the UK scene is incredibly strong at the moment, now I can’t wait to hit the road in September to finally get to see our finalists live and crown Fireball’s Hottest Band 2020!” – Matt Reynolds // Fireball UK Brand Ambassador

The Finalists are:


19th O2 Academy, SHEFFIELD – Frank Grimes and The Disasters

After a year-long hiatus, Frank Grimes and The Disasters are back and more miserable than ever. Formed in 2016 and releasing the latest EP in September 2019, if you need a hole to stick them in then ‘macabre Pop-Punk’ is a snug fit.

20th O2 Academy, LEEDS – This Time Last Year

This Time Last Year are a Leeds based quartet known for their mix of energetic Pop-Punk with hard-hitting, relatable lyrics. Their highly energetic shows, focusing on crowd participation and positive vibes, ensure This Time Last Year are a band you will want to see live over and over again.


Like Giants are a four-piece Pop-Punk band from the Midlands, UK. The band formed in 2019 and have just released their debut single ‘Cut and Run’ from their debut EP; ‘Sovereign’, set for release late September. Bringing with them heavier riff-driven tracks, with hard-hitting, but also soft melodic vocal melodies, this has helped them set themselves apart from the ever-expanding Pop-Punk genre. Influenced by; Neck Deep, A Day to Remember and State Champs, Like Giants write songs covering topics like mental health, relationships, and life in general through punchy riffs, and very catchy choruses.

23rd O2 Ritz MANCHESTER – Well Done You

Well Done You are a high octane five-piece Pop-Punk band from Manchester. Having been championed by Kerrang! Radio and The Unsigned Guide, Well Done You recently released their latest EP ‘Please and Thank You’. Their debut album, ‘Welcome to Camp Sunshine’, is set for release on 25 October.


Belle Elmore formed in the North East with several like-minded souls looking to jam and just play some cover songs for a lark, maybe gig a little if opportunity knocked. But the thirst for more was overwhelming… It was decided that performing their original music was the path to take. Since then the band have found pleasure creating and discovering their own sound, stemming from very eclectic tastes and influences.

25th O2 Academy GLASGOW – Crashes

Crashes have had a great year thus far: sharing the stage with top up-and-coming UK acts Dream State, Woes and Cold Years as well as releasing their second EP ‘Something’s Wrong’. A collection of songs which showcases their polished, Pop-Rock sensibilities alongside introspective lyrics and atmospheric backdrops. They draw elements from a wide spectrum of influences, such as Paramore, Deftones, The Dangerous Summer and Bon Iver to create a unique sound, with subtle electronics giving way to huge, anthemic choruses.

27th O2 Academy BOURNEMOUTH – Weatherstate

With their recent Green Day music video homage receiving the thumbs up from Mike Dirnt himself, Weatherstate are a Punk-Rock outfit from the south coast. The band have spent the past couple of years touring Europe and the UK. Weatherstate’s effervescent take on Punk, harks back to legendary Pop-Punk bands of the 90s whilst incorporating a new, venomous energy. They have been seen shredding stages with the likes of The Dirty Nil, Single Mothers, Trash Boat, WSTR, Creeper and more.

28th O2 Academy Brixton, LONDON – Millie Manders and The Shutup

Millie creates cross-genre Punk that is hard to ignore. With lyricism that pokes fun, draws you in or leaves you questioning social norms teamed with incredible vocal dexterity, grinding guitars, irresistible horn hooks and a pumping rhythm section, the Millie Manders Music Machine churns out more raw punk fusion than you can shake a stick at, with a huge amount of Pop appeal. “Watch this space” is a term very much worth its salt when considering the hype surrounding the force to be reckoned with that is Millie Manders and The Shutup. Their live shows are electric and her songs infectious. If you haven’t listened yet, you need to…

Be sure to pick up a ticket for this year’s MUST-see tour:


19th O2 Academy, Sheffield

20th O2 Academy, Leeds

21st O2 Academy Birmingham

23rd O2 Ritz Manchester

24th O2 Academy Newcastle

25th O2 Academy Glasgow

27th O2 Academy Bournemouth

28th O2 Academy Brixton, London

Tickets are available now priced £21 each.

Ticket Link

Spotify Playlist

Returning for its 4th year, one of the most anticipated events in the UK Punk-Rock calendar returns this September to O2 Academy venues up and down the UK with a staggering line up.

Yes! It’s that time of the year again. Less Than Jake is extremely excited to headline this year’s Fireball: Fuelling The Fire Tour. We wanted to ramp up the insanity this time around so we’re bringing along our friends in Goldfinger to celebrate with us. We can’t wait for these shows. It’s going to be epic! See ya soon!” – Chris DeMakes // Less Than Jake

“UK! I have always felt at home in your beautiful countries… You have the best audiences, the best festivals, amazing food and I write really good songs there! I wanted to also thank Fireball for continuing to support live music; so pumped to do this tour!” – John Feldmann // Goldfinger

This September we’re embarking on our 4th annual Fireball: Fuelling the Fire Tour. It’s the most outrageous, downright criminally fun and cinnamoniest fortnight of the touring calendar and we absolutely haven’t relented on the great bands this year. We’re incredibly excited to welcome Less Than Jake, Goldfinger, our Hottest Band of 2019: Thieves of Liberty and veteran Fireball Tour DJ Matt Stocks into the fold, as well as some of the UK’s best emerging talent specially handpicked for each show and one ultra-special secret band that is still to be announced! So that’s five bands every night, a live DJ, excellent prize giveaways and as much Fireball as you can cram into your sticky mitts all for just £21 a ticket! Let’s party!” – – Matt Reynolds // Fireball UK Brand Ambassador