My first ever experience of live music was at a festival so they hold a special place in my heart. Having frequented them for the past 10 years they never cease to get me excited. Big or small, they're just the best way to spend a day or weekend. I've especially always enjoyed Festivals that take place within a city. The UK has an ever growing one day festival scene and this year, the first one I got to go enjoy was Live at Leeds. Surprisingly, I rarely jump on the one hour train to Leeds from Manchester for gigs. So an early morning trip was quite a nice thing. I was also very excited to check out all of the venues I'd heard so much about ever since I was a kid and began to fall in love with music and gig going. Leeds Cockpit, Brudenell Social Club, The Faversham, even Leeds' own O2 Academy was new to me. Click below to see what we got up to on the day. It was a very fun one.
Upon arriving into Yorkshire on the fine sunny afternoon I was greeted by a rabble of teenagers in too much make-up and cut off jean hot pants. I personally didn't realise these were still a thing for young girls as it looks like their clothing is being eaten by their ass but what do I know. First things first was a trip to pick up tickets and then grab some free beers in the Press Area courtesy of the I Like Press crowd. Top bunch of people. I the decided to head to The Faversham to check out YADi who we've talked about a fair bit on SKoA in recent months. Effortlessly blending styles with a beautiful unique live voice I was very excited to catch her live for the first time. After getting a little lost due to my iPhone playing up, I arrived to a wonderfully organised venue with burger bars outside and plenty of seating; perfect as the sun shined on the happy gig goers. The venue inside was a marvel to the eye. Small in size, but laid out perfectly for the performers lined up that day. 15 minutes passed and I began to wonder what was happening. A quick tweet to YADi from my personal account resulted in me finding out she'd pulled out last minute due to illness. BUMMER. Not to worry, Manchester's Swiss Lips were next on the bill.
After a swift beer in the sun I went back in to a packed room which surprised me as didn't see that many people pass me while outside. Time flies when you're having fun and all that! The 5 piece electro band were full of energy from start to finish and the room was rife with dancing and fun. That's what i love about festivals like this. Discovery. All festivals have an element of this, obviously, but as the venues were spread out you don't want to miss too much so you tend to stay at one venue for a few acts as oppose to just who you went for. I'd heard nothing but positive reviews fro Swiss Lips prior to this show and I'll definitely be checking them out on their home turf in Manchester soon. Minus some technical issues with a guitar and a pedal board the set was electrifying.
Now I had my bearings for the city I knew exactly where to head for the next band on my to "to see" list; Little Comets. Playing to a packed O2 Academy, the Dirty Hit band played an array of hits and it was the first time in the day I'd seen people on one anthers shoulders getting rather carried away. It was great to see. "Violence Out Tonight" got me singing along with its heart wrenching lyrics and the rest of the venue joined in too. Other tracks from In Search of Elusive Little Comets , and last year's Life is Elsewhere were faultless. If you're yet to cheek out this band I advise you do it. Neatly arranged indie classics that will ring around your mind for days after hearing them. I hope to see them going on to great things and playing bigger and bigger venues later in the year.
Little Comets were the perfect opener for a band I was rather excited to see perform some new material having had their new album on repeat since February. I'd seen Tribes live before at both tiny Manchester shows and Festival shows but I wanted to hear the new tracks in a nice indoor environment. They didn't disappoint. Bashing out the hits from last year's Baby, "Corner of an English Field" and new tracks "Dancehall" and "Wrapped Up In Carpet" the band made the balance of new and old glide seamlessly into one another with little time left in between for chit chat, I can't fault this band in a live environment or on record. I've said it before but this band really remind me of early Foo Fighters with their on stage energy. Not in a musical sense per se, but they just gel so well. They are one entity on stage and their friendship is evident. Keep your eyes peeled for Wish To Scream when it's released next week and our interview with the band later in the month too.
I was kind of in a pickle now as to who to see with not a lot of time left to get back across the city I saw that SKoA favourites The 1975 were playing at The Cockpit and having never ventured into this legendary sweat pit of music in my 12 years of gig going I couldn't resist the temptation. The 1975 are a funny one for me. Late last year I saw them play to a room of 40 people in Manchester, and now they've sold out 3000+ venues just 4 months later. It's kind of crazy, but good on 'em. They're popularity is growing at a rapid rate and when they perform live you can see why. Obviously I wasn't the only one eager to catch them as the queue outside of the venue stretched for as far as the eye could see. Seriously, it was ridiculous.
After slipping through the back door and through a blacked out curtain I was greeted by the busiest venue I'd seen in quite some time. Matt Healy walked out on stage, hood up, looking moody as ever and the crowd erupted. Having yet to release a full length the band have a hefty back catalogue of EP's with their fourth, IV, out late this month. Having such a polished recorded sound, in a live setting it comes to life. The band have marketed themselves remarkably well releasing their catchiest tunes "Chocolate" and more recently a new version of "The City". I was surprised to then see them open with the latter and play their biggest track "Chocolate" three songs in but none seemed to care. The whole place was bouncing and singing the lyrics back at the band with all their might. Flawless as per usual. They're going to be hard to escape this year so embrace the indie pop with open arms. Their debut should be a cracker.
Next I took a trip to Leeds Uni Mine to catch a personal favourite of mine, Hawk Eyes. As they prepare to release some new material I was just excited to round off a fantastic day with my favourite band. After a bit of confusion as to which room I should be in. (I should of guessed the huge one I was in was incorrect but hey!) I was treated to a pre-Hawk Eyes treat. A new (to me) Leeds based band who I've fallen in love with in recent months. They're called These Monsters and if you're a fan of full frontal, ball in your face guitar lines and vocals. You're in for a treat. I'd heard a few friends raving about them recent and upon seeing them. Yup. I will definitely be giving them more attention. Their set was chaotic and gripping to watch. Their new album Heroic Dose is released today (May 13th) and I'd advise you pick up a copy. Think Pulled Apart by Horses meets Deftones and you'll be close. Tongue in cheek awesome.
Now to the main event, in my eyes anyway. I've seen them live a few times, and one time last year at Y Not festival I ended up screaming into the microphone when Paul jumped into the crowd but it's always treat to see them in whatever the venue. Playing Leeds Uni's 'Mine' venue. Some familiar faces could be seen in the crowd including members of the aforementioned Pulled Apart by Horses and Blacklisters the latter of who would take to the stage for the end of sweat filled set. Delivering an on point and breathless performance they performed tracks from their attest album Ideas. Given the fact that the band took to the stage at 10:30pm you could forgive the fans if they were lacklustre in their participation but they weren't. The packed out Mine was swaying to-and-fro and jumpng along as if it was still mid-day and they were yet to have too much beer. The highlight of the set had to be when Billy from Blacklisters burst from side stage to perform with the band in his usual frantic manner.
Absolutely fantastic end to a bloody glorious day of music in Leeds. After 12 hours of walking, travelling and sipping beer intermittently I was shattered. That kind of tired that only a day of musical fun can induce. I'll be back Leeds. Thanks for the memories.
If you're in two minds about festivals in City centres across multiple venues I'd advise you to get involved. I had the most fun filled 12 hours in recent memory and Live at Leeds is a truly well oiled machine going from strength to strength year after year. With that in mind the festival has announced a limited number of early bird tickets for 2014's event. Priced at just £15, £10 cheaper than the normal going rate of a ticket. Plan ahead. Book now and mark you iPhone calendar with Saturday the 3rd of May 2014. I know we'll be there, but you should be too!