In a complete reversal from last year’s blazing sunshine, Live at Leeds 2015 was shrouded in a chilly drizzle for much of Saturday. Although it didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the thousands of music fans who’d come to the city centre, it did make the distances between some of the venues much more noticeable.
The previous day played host to the Unconference, the annual LAL curtain-raiser at Leeds College of Music, where industry professionals impart their knowledge and expertise on budding and established musicians. Leeds’ very own Pulled Apart By Horses opened the musical proceedings that night, before the full offering of live music on Saturday.
Having looked through the extensive programme, I made it my mission to catch bands I’d never seen before, bands I’d never even heard of, and at least one headliner. I think my task was fulfilled: in all, I managed to see twelve acts, with my personal highlights being…
Marsicans: a young, jangly local indie-pop band with a fantastic guitar-driven sound, which sounded excellent as the sun streamed through the windows of Leeds University’s Mine.
Louis Berry: Liverpudlian singer/songwriter with band, belting out a set of high-tempo songs reminding me of a more country-driven Jake Bugg. His current single, ‘.45’, sounded excellent in a perfect venue for him (The Faversham).
Pixel Fix: vaguely reminiscent of some of the electronic/guitar sounds of Foals mixed with the psychedelic wailing guitars of Temples, they played an accomplished set at Leeds University’s Mine.
Black Honey: my highlight of the day. I’d never heard of them prior to LAL, but this incredibly charismatic Brighton four-piece – with the blonde lead singer (name currently unknown: they’re an enigmatic bunch) sporting a pair of white transparent flares – absolutely blew me away with their loud, punchy rock sound, tight instrumentals and ****’s screaming Courtney Love-esque vocals. Certainly worth the trek to the Brudenell Social Club, situated some distance from the city centre, and possibly worth it alone for their plastic pink flamingo sharing the front of the stage.
Music and Leeds are going together pretty nicely at the moment.
Words & Photos: Mike Powell