Live at Leeds in seventh heaven

Justin Young from The Vaccines

Justin Young from The Vaccines

by Sallie Gregson

Queues seemed to go on for miles, venues were packed and bars were nigh on impossible to get to. Saturday 4 May saw music takeover Leeds.

Now in its seventh year Live at Leeds (LAL) had hold of the city on the Saturday, the festival went bigger and better with more bands than ever before.

An alternative to expensive major festivals Live at Leeds has built up a reputation of being at the forefront of UK metropolitan festivals. The streets were littered with people wearing orange wristbands, it seemed every other person in the city was on their way to the next gig.

The LAL Takeovers were a new addition to the event that brought shops such as Pretty Green and Dr Martens on Briggate and the Everyman cinema in Trinity together with intimate sessions from a collection of bands and artists.

The day started at Leeds Met Uni where The Concetines played a short but sweet set, it was good to start with a new band to remember what this festival is about; discovering new bands to love.

After much running around at 2pm Jack’s attic preformed upstairs in Pretty Green one of the #LALTakeovers happening throughout the day which perhaps could have been better publicised as the room was hardly brimming.

Then there was time for a quick break to get a drink and head up to Leeds Uni Refectory to join the crowds gathering to see the much talked about Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs. Debut single I watch you released last year got the crowd singing along as the band found their feet towards the end of the set.

The stages seemed to be organised to keep bands with similar styles at least near each other so audiences could see as much of each band they wished. But there is also the possibility that by wondering from room to room you might see something unexpectedly brilliant and discover a new favourite band.

This was best displayed at Leeds Uni where Post War Glamour Girls (PWGG)played  in the Stylus. A Leeds band through and through, lead singer James Smith took a break from playing to tell the huge crowd that had assembled they could see the all local bands playing LAL anytime, for free! Their set was that good it made me feel ashamed I hadn’t seen them before, the set was filled with full of raw energy and power which makes them exciting to see live despite the dark tone of their music.

Back upstairs to see another treasured Leeds band Dinosaur Pile Up playthe Refectory, which was a disappointment as the much talked about band proved to be nothing exciting . Next it was the turn of the energetic and comical Castrovalva playing their home show downstairs at the Mine.

Running all the way to the other end of town to Holy Trinity Church to find a massive queue waiting to see Londoner King Krule would have been infuriating if the weather hadn’t been so beautiful. When eventually allowed in he did not disappoint, his chilled, bluesy, minimal sound suited the spiritual venue and Saturday evenings warm weather.

Down the road to The Cockpit to see The 1975 to see queues all the way round the venue and no room to breathe inside, for a band that do not even have an debut album out it was quite a big deal to fill The Cockpit room 3. Despite the squashed conditions, the venue suited their chaotic indie pop only the people outside were left disgruntled after their performance.

Next on at the Cockpit were brummies Swim Deep whose debut album Where the Heaven Are We is due to be released in July and previous singles King City and She Changes he Weather being huge crowd pleasers.

Finally, find of the day goes to Unknown Mortal Orchestra who were one of the accidental bands just over heard whilst having a pint that made ears prick up and take notice. Soulful singer Ruban Nielson transformed the early 70’s psychedelic sounding tracks into something more beautiful and passionate.

There is no doubt that Live at Leeds is great value for money; with such a variety of acts playing, finding something new to admire is easy. Putting up with the queues and running from venue to venue was all worth it to catch that one band that made the whole day feel worth more than £22.50.

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