Growing up in Leeds means that you will inevitably be exposed to the music scene at some point in your time there. It’s been an integral part of the city since the 70s, taking on many forms over the years from punk, to goth, to indie rock.
Although Leeds Festival usually steals the spotlight, due to its reputation as a weekend of debaucherous hi-jinks set to a soundtrack produced by popular artists from the past year, Live at Leeds is much more in keeping with the city’s musical roots.
Live at Leeds kicked off in 2007 to make the city’s 800th birthday, with around 50 bands playing across a few well known venues in the city centre. By 2013, LaL had developed into one of the front runners in the metro festival scene, ramping up the scope of both bands and venues to briefly take over the city.
It makes for the perfect day festival, showcasing bands from a wide range of genres, without the usual festival worries – mud, food, ‘facilities’, find your tent at some ungodly hour of the evening while embodying the anthesis of sobriety. Acts from across the country, and occasionally from across the pond, come together to create a stellar line-up of up and coming bands, with a handful of bigger names to round out the festival.
Live at Leeds was a staple of my teenage years, up until I left for university and managed to miss it multiple times. Luckily, I found myself back in Leeds just in time to make this year’s offering of new talent and crowd favourites, so I fully intended on diving back in to break off as much musical content as possible.
PILES OF CLOTHES
A fantastic acoustic fella, Andy drew a decent crowd into The Social to say it was still early on in the day. You could hardly move in there, and finding a decent view of the man himself wasn’t easy.
Pile of Clothes are storytellers at heart. Andy brought a strong solo performance, which channeled elements of bands such as Dry the River during moments when certain songs brimmed with raw emotional vocals. He managed to connect with everyone in the room on some level, drawing the crowd in with narratives that left people contemplating the more profound elements of Andy’s lyrics.
Ethan, also known as Ten Tonnes, has been making a name for himself with his three track EP, Lucy, and more recently the single ‘Silver Heat’. He’s the younger brother of George Ezra, and has meticulously crafted each song in his repertoire.
Despite Ethan being the main event here, the band really shouldn’t be overlooked – they were tight as, with a practically flawless performance and round out each song to bring together some stunning tracks. They provided Ethan ample support for his vocals to roar and roam without missing a beat.
Ten Tonnes is the real deal, and definitely someone to watch.
THE PIGEON DETECTIVES
Veterans of the indie golden years, and showmen ’til the end. They knew exactly how to get the crowd going, and gave them what they wanted – all the classics, Yorkshire based banter, and endless energy.
This was the crowd waiting for The Pigeon Detectives, 20 minutes before they were even due to start. The Chapel was packed and backed out the doors, which is damn impressive for a band who haven’t released an album since 2013.
The atmosphere was not what I was expecting for a 3pm gig – mosh pits, crowdsurfing, and people at varying degrees of sobriety. This was also the first appearance of the pink flamingo, which repeatedly surfaced throughout the day.
Overall, The Pigeon Detectives delivered an outstanding set which lasted for an impressive 75 minutes, remaining brash and boisterous to the very end.
More to follow…