Festival Review: Live At Leeds

Live At Leeds

Saturday 2nd May 2015, Leeds

Words: Elena Katrina and Sean Regan

live at leedsLeeds has become synonymous as a bastion of UK rock in parts thanks to it’s burgeoning DIY music scene and the often riot inducing Leeds festivals. The weather was traditional UK festival (rain) so thankfully everything was indoors in the numerous pubs and clubs spread throughout the city.

It’s also a city that has it’s music venues spread wide and far, resulting in the at times re-naming of the festival by us to Lost In Leeds rather than Live At…  Even with a map our timing dind’t pan out according to plan and while we ran from venue to venue to find the band we wanting to see just leaving the stage, time and time again, eventually we managed to settle, find our bearings and catch some mighty live music.

Rawshac – The Library Bar

Although not part of the festival, The Library Bar hosted the enigmatic Rawshac a group melding soul, hip hop and electronica into a moveable feast. Having listened to the tracks online and feeling they went on a bit longer than we’d have expected, it was pleasing to see how well they translated to the stage with the build ups and skilful MCing working the crowd throughout. These guys are new and fairly underground at this stage, definitely worth keeping on the radar.

Frances – Holy Trinity Church

With a tentative stride young singer-songwriter Frances took to the stage stating her excitement at being able to play not just once in this church but in several  churches in one week. While her presence wasn’t exactly bounding to begin with her soulful melodies and beutiful harmonies soon caught the imagination of the congregation that had ammassed as her voice and paino called out into the streets of a wet and gloomy Leeds. By the end of her set she had everyone eating out of the palm of her hand.

Frankie Dickson – Holy Trinity Church

You may see a bit of a theme here but once we’d found a venue it was difficult to want to leave it especially as this stage was curated by the wonderful people of Communion Music for Live At Leeds. Freddie’s set might have started with a little hiccup but it was more than forgotten by the end and while he was clearly visibly flustered he dealt with it as though he’d been doing this singing on stage malarky for years. His band, known as The Guard, (we love it when singers name their bands!), carried out their duties with suprememe confidence and brought fantastic dimensions to each track. Their voices for hamonies particularly worthy of a mention here. When a huge cheer errupted for current track Speculate, Freddie looked genuinely shocked and muttered “no way!” into the mic before a huge grin spread across his face. Soon enough all his songs will get similar reactions.

Seafret – Holy Trinity Church

There was no way I was going to miss seeing Seafret by chancing getting lost on the way to see another band a mere “10 minuites walk” away. Staying put in my now front row pew I very quickly knew that this was the place to be as people scuttled in and filled every possible space, including the floor infront of the stage, in between the pews and standing wherever they could. Seafret, a duo who are the most unassuming duo I’ve ever witnessed upon a stage played as though they were both born to find each other and do this. Masterful, clear and perfect, and quite frankly the most perfect sounds I heard all day. Halleluja.

Jagaara – Nation Of Shopkeepers

These three ladies are responsible for writing one of my favourite tracks so far of 2015, In The Dark, so it goes without saying that I raced to see them. On the whole Jagaara’s music requires a little patience, a little peace and a little shut the fuck up talking already audience. There are very delicate moments within their sound and so trying to hear them above the somewhat raucus crowd made my temper prickle a little at times. The kind of vocals harmonies that Jagaara are the kind you’d expect from sisters, bound so tightly and so perfect for each other. Definetly a band to see when you can.

Man Made – Leeds Uni Mine

Following Reading / Leeds Festival slots and touring with Jake Bugg, Manchester three piece Man Made were able to draw a sizeable crowd and fairly boozed to the Leeds Uni Mine. The narrow venue was a good fit for the stripped back rock band keeping the crowd shoulder to shoulder. Nile Marr, sporting trademark shimmering gold jacket and very swish hair, took us through a set rooted somewhere in Northern UK Indie pop with cool delayed guitar sounds backed with lots of clever hooks from the Rhythm section. Pretty good.

Blossoms – Leeds Uni Stylus

Another from the Manchester Catchment, with a retro guitar sound rooted firmly in the psych scene, were the extremely slick Blossoms. Not to be outdone in the excellent Jacket department, Singer Tom Ogden looked every bit the heartbreaker as he crooned through a collection of lush ballads drenched in swirling organs and guitars. Although it’s a bit of a throwback sound from the Psychedelic bandwagon everyone is jumping on at the moment, the performance from the band and the catchiness of the songs are first rate so nothing wrong with that.

Kid Wave – The Beckett

London Slackers Kid Wave played well, sounded great but ultimately couldn’t pull in much of a crowd on the night. I’d have expected all the venues to be packed out by this time of the evening but given the sheer number of bands and stages it looks like these guys slipped through the net. Which was a real shame as they served up an excellent set of shimmery summer shoe gaze to brighten up the wet Yorkshire night. Still it’s a parochial part of the country and perhaps the hype from the South has yet to make it’s way up to this corner. This will probably be rectified as their reputation catches up with their stellar performance.

The Cribs – Town Hall

There is really nothing more to say about The Cribs. They’re set is stuffed with so many crowd pleasing indie bangers that everyone pretty much turns up to sing at the band. It’s a shit load of fun to be a part of, sometimes it’s a bit out of tune but who cares right? They’re a bunch of lads with guitars being as raucous as possible and I doubt anybody watches them sober anymore. Long may they continue.

 Check out some of our photos from Live At Leeds on our Instagram.

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