Live at Leeds was first formed in 2007 to mark the city of Leeds 800th birthday. The festival is now seen as a beacon for breakthrough artists that are able to showcase their talents in over 20 live music venues throughout the city. The festival is usually held on a May Bank Holiday, but along with many other changes that covid has brought about, Live at Leeds was rescheduled this year to October.
I would say that the only real change that this postponement of the event brought about in atmosphere, was perhaps chunkier boots and less tshirts!
The all day festival saw some class acts perform across the city such as Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes, Circa Waves, Reverend and the Makers and a not so secret set from The Sherlocks.
I’ve got to say that the choice of acts at Live at Leeds is extraordinary! Having decided to get the train down early so as not to miss The Clause we were then faced with the decision of choosing between them and The Sherlocks who had been announced as a special guest….. it was a really tough call but we decided to see THE SHERLOCKS as they were on in one of our first venues ‘The Wardrobe‘.
Walking into the venue it was nice to see ‘THE SHERLOCKS sat at the back of the venue, before they made their appearance down on the basement stage.
We were pleased we managed to gain entry as others were not so lucky and we witnessed people being turned away due to the capacity being at its absolute limit.
The lads kicked off their set with no pre-amble or intro, but instead launched straight into ‘Will You Be There ‘ My first impressions of their performance was how tight their set sounded. The new members of the band Alex Procter (guitar) and Trent Jackson (bass) seemed to have slotted in perfectly. During the set lead singer Kiaran Cook explained how busy the band had been and how they had literally just arrived after playing Bedford the night before, then how they were straight onto York after! Favourites such as ‘Chasing shadows‘ saw people standing on tables clapping and stamping feet whilst singles off their new album showed how highly anticipated their new album is with fans echoing lyrics to new single ‘Falling‘.
Performing in a basement club called the ‘The Key Club’ we caught liverpudlian band ‘STONE‘ consisting of Fin Power (Lyrics) Sarah Surrage (bass) Elliot Gill (Lead guitar) and Alex Smith (drums). This was the first time I’d seen the band live, having previously only watched videos of their performances on You Tube. I found myself hypnotised by lead singer ‘Fin Power’s spellbinding stage presence. As soon I walked into the venue, I know I was witnessing something special. Fin was staring into the crowd menacingly, literally staring into people’s souls. No doubt the highlight of the set was ‘Leave It Out’ which ended up with Fin stripping off his shirt and whispering the lyrics to a hypnotised, adoring crowd. STONE’S performance had the entire audience enthralled throughout. It was hard to take your eyes of the stage. Amazing frontman, amazing band!!
Playing in the 02 Academy were VISTAS, and having seen them before I was quite excited as it was a huge contrast from STONE. Frontman Prentice Robertson always comes across as having a vibrant feel good vibe in his vocals, and I even recognised it in his introduction to the crowd, even commenting to our friends that he sounds like a really happy DJ! ‘Everything Changes in The End’ gave a tidal wave of bouncing and arms around each other. The whole performance was a total feel good atmosphere from start to finish and brought in a big crowd for an early performance.
I’d been looking forward to watching Liverpool based band Police Car Collective for a while, they were playing at the Becket University student union stage 2, which was a very intimate stage left of the bar. Immediately, the lead singer ran on stage with a red balaclava displaying a surge of energy and artistic flair that captured the crowd.
Their track ‘I think, I think too much’ attracted more people to the stage, that seemed to pick up on the high energy indie feel of this track. Police Car Collective are very elusive in the information they provide their fans and have openly admitted to playing with the idea of how little information you can give out, while keeping people engaged. Their performance definitely kept people engaged and left me wanting more..it sometimes felt the stage was no where big enough for them.
Headlining Live at Leeds and marking an end to a day of endless musical talents was Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.
Immediately the crowd interacted as Frank Carter greeted them all with how glad he was to be back after 2 long years of no live music. ‘My Town‘ jump started an enthusiastic crowd along with a sea of plastic glasses!
The gratitude of being able to entertain after time off shone through their performance, dedicating a mosh pit to Radio 1’s Jack Saunders for ‘Devil Inside Of Me’ and ‘Blossom‘ and then arranging another pit just for the ladies and lead singer calling it the ‘happiest mosh pit ever’.
Frank Carter stood In the crowd for the majority of the performance and performed a cover of Motörheads ‘Ace of Spades’ immaculately. It was almost like he was shouting a massive thankyou to fans for what seemed like an eternity away from live music.
All in all what a fantastic experience Live at Leeds is for new acts, well established acts and music fans alike. It’s a must see event for any die hard music lover and I for one, can’t wait until next year!
Words by TAMSIN JONES
Photo credits Tamsin Jones
Photo credit for The Sherlocks – Fergus Hatton