At this time of year there are a few certainties: shorts and t-shirts in weather that isn’t actually that warm, looking out of the window during the day and dreaming of beer gardens and, more pleasantly, music lovers starting to plan who they are going to see at Live at Leeds. Although the return of the city’s award winning festival is always a bank holiday treat, with so many acts on offer, in so many venues, getting organised for the day itself can become a lot more stressful than anticipated. Not to worry though, this year TSOTA are here to provide you with a prime selection of the best talent on offer.
The long list of acts (that let’s be honest we haven’t all heard of) makes it difficult to know where to start. Since this musical showcase exhibits not only the best of the nation’s artists but also quality local talent as well, it seems fitting to celebrate some of the performers from the region who will be involved this year.
[Image courtesy of rocksound.tv]
Let’s start with 3 Leeds bands that have made great strides of late. Firstly, Brawlers (The Key Club @ 14:00), this fiercely energetic 4-piece have made significant progress over the past year. Signed to Alcopop, and with their debut album still flying off shelves, the band’s relentless touring up and down the country has helped to build their reputation as powerful punk performers. Another Leeds band who have turned many heads over the past 12 months are Carnabells (The Faversham @ 20:30), playing Glastonbury last year and praised for their traditionally infectious rock ‘n’ roll inspired indie sounds , this band perform with almost as much panache as they dress. Hookworms (Leeds Becket // Dr Martens Stage @ 19:30) are another band with local roots that you may have heard of. With regular rotation on BBC6 music and a second album released via Domino’s Weird World label, this enigmatic act provide blistering musical precision, which is often high octane and accompanied by wonderfully wild vocals.
[Image credited to Steve Gullick]
Other notable local mentions should be made for the infectious garage pop sounds of promising new-comers Bruising (Leeds Becket // Dr Martens Stage @ 16:30); the bright and bouncy sound of Marsicans (Leeds Uni Mine @ 12:15) who are going from strength to strength; as well as the ever fabulous Cribs (Leeds Town Hall @ 22:00), who seem to have cemented their place in the Indie pantheon with yet another top 10 album, entitled For All My Sisters, which was released in March.
[Image courtesy of NME.com]
Now, to turn our attention to a mixture of acts that produce the best music and are sure to provide the best performances from the rest of the country. Despite this year’s festival feeling like it does have a slightly more ‘popular’ twinge to it in some corners, it is still great to see that there are numerous bands who seem to have mastered the art of doing things a differently. Foremost in this respect are Slaves (Brudenell Social Club // DIY Stage @ 23:15). Just as Royal Blood turned so many heads last year for their two piece trickery, this blistering duo, comprised of guitar and a stripped back percussion/vocal combination, have shown great promise with their edgy single The Hunter.
Much closer to the other end of the spectrum, in terms of heaviness of sound, is Boxed In (A Nation of Shopkeepers @ 22:00). A consummate musical professional with a glittering CV, Oli Bayston’s solo project really illuminates his composition ability. A fact that is most vividly displayed by recent single Mystery, which is a track that has the potential to burrow its way into your subconscious and quite frankly refuse to leave.
[Image courtesy of www.theregoesthefear.com]
Dry The River (O2 Academy @ 14:45) are a well recommended band to see earlier on in the day, with vocals that lay somewhere between Wild Beasts and Elbow and wonderfully atmospheric music that at times is reminiscent of early Arcade Fire. The London 5-piece are still riding the crest of extensive touring for their second album (Alarms in the Heart), and will be sure to perform a great set for lovers of melodic indie-folk. Additionally, for even more folky sounds, Charlie Cunningham (Holy Trinity Church @ 17:00) performs with haunting vocals and a fully rounded and percussive guitar style, while Flo Morrisey (Leeds College of Music @ 18:30) provides striking vocals that transcend eras, with what sounds like an interesting mixture of Kate Bush and Lana Del Rey.
For more electronic sounds and a slightly more upbeat vibe Saint Raymond (O2 Academy @ 17:15) mixes electronica and pop to create a fresh and modern sound. Then to close out the day, as one of many headliners, MNEK (Belgrave Music Hall @ 23:15) will provide the party goers amongst the crowd with a display of his talents. This artist’s star has been on the rise over the past few years – with numerous collaborations and accolades attributed to his name as a writer, producer and performer. Talents that are most noticeably evident on his infectious and perfectly structured release The Rhythm.
As is always the case, there are more artists that will grace the stages of this year’s Live at Leeds than can be talked about in one article. The above list should definitely be enough to get your planning for the day started though. Then, to tailor the day more to your own particular tastes, check out the official Live at Leeds Soundcloud playlist – which features many of the artists to play at the festival.
Live at Leeds comes to stage around the city on 2nd May
Tickets are still available for the event here