Live at Leeds
Venues across Leeds City Centre
The May Bank Holiday weekend saw Leeds city centre awash with skinny jeans and leather jackets as Live at Leeds returned for its 6th consecutive year, with over 100 bands playing at a variety of venues across the city, with most of the action taking place on the Saturday.
The first band to check out were local boys I Like Trains at the 02 Academy, the brooding alternative quartet showcasing their new third full length record The Shallows. Dressed in all black, the band wear their post-punk influences on their sleeves and a fairly busy Academy was treated to an atmospheric and captivating set from the four-piece.
Next up was the short journey to Leeds Metropolitan University to catch electro band Bastille, a blend of synthpop and catchy indie, not to mention a cover of City High’s 2001 hit ‘What Would You Do?’ (You know it, trust me- Youtube it), getting the crowd rocking well, as rocking as they could be for half 3 in the afternoon.
Heading back to the increasingly busy Academy, NME favourites Spector provided one of the best sets of the day, frontman Fred Macpherson’s stage humour and wit earning him a reputation as a young version of Jarvis Cocker- glasses and all. Their short, catchy 3-minute indie tracks are rather Vaccines-esque and judging by the crowd’s reaction today, Spector could well follow in their footsteps with big things expected from them this summer.
It was on to the legendary Cockpit after that to catch the end of S.C.U.M’s gothic-tinged post-punk set and with closing tracks such as ‘Whitechapel’ we can almost forgive frontman Thomas Cohen for marrying Peaches Geldof. Almost.
S.C.U.M were followed by my personal highlights, Minneapolis rockers Howler, their blend of early Strokes indie and 2012 surf rock providing one of the bounciest sets of the day. They even provided some moments of comedy gold in between tracks, with the Americans confusing the drunken Leeds crowd’s drawl of ‘Yorkshire!’ with ‘You’re shit!’ Bless.
As the sun set it was time to head over to Leeds University Stylus to catch the end of Brooklyn disco-scenesters Friends’ set, before headliners Los Campesinos! took to the stage. Showcasing material from all four of their studio albums, including latest record Hello Sadness, LC! went down a storm with a fairly teenage crowd, at least until frontman Gareth David decided to tell everyone just how much he hates Leeds United- but I think that’s something we relate to here in Manchester.
For those whose feet were not entirely worn out by 11pm, it was time to head to the Brudenell Social Club for a chilled out performance from London’s Ghostpoet, a venue that said yes to stage invasions and- much to everyone’s delight- offered the cheapest pint of the day. The perfect way to end a great day at one of the UK’s most talked about metropolitan music festivals.