Can it really be a decade since this unique metropolitan festival burst onto the West Yorkshire live music scene, creating a slew of imitators all over the world? Now in its 11th renewal, Live At Leeds has grown into a local institution, firmly established on the live music calendar, with this year promising to be the biggest and best of all, boasting over 100 varied acts to choose from, a carefully curated blend of local, national and international musicians meaning there is more than something for everyone.
Proceedings start at noon, beginning nearly 12 hours of continuous live performances, not forgetting an official afterparty at The Wardrobe continuing the wee small hours, free to enter with your Live At Leeds wristband if you arrive before midnight.
Pick of the local acts include perennial afternoon guests The Pigeon Detectives, showcasing their fab new album ‘Broken Glances’ at Church, with quintessentially quirky Wild Beasts the closing act at Leeds Beckett. Other leading lights include incendiary punk duo Slaves, the final band at the O2 with recent Brit Award winner Rag ‘n’ Bone Man filling the Leeds University Refectory with his dulcet tones in a headline show.
Ticket price: £32.50
Saturday 29th April 2017
Expect venues where the main acts appear to be pretty packed so if any are on your hit list, be sure to arrive with plenty of time to spare. Nevertheless, having attended numerous Live At Leeds events, thanks to the skill of the scheduling I can only remember a couple of occasions where I was unable to access a venue for this reason. Previous festivals have also provided a mobile alert service informing you if any venue is completely filled so please check out the 2017 Live at Leeds website for the latest news.
However, one of the real treats of this festival is that the undercard is invariably littered with gems, previous renewals providing yours truly with so many wonderful surprises I’ve lost count, giving each festival goer a bunch of new music to check out. Here are my five to pencil in this time around...
Amber Arcades; the solo vehicle of Dreamy Dutch chanteuse Annelotte De Graaf and signed to Heavenly Recordings who usually know a good thing when they see it. Her alluring combination of Europop infused indietronica really impressed when supporting Basia Bulat at Headrow House last Spring so expect plenty of interested parties attending her 7pm slot at The Wardrobe.
Clean Cut Kid; formed by Liverpudlian husband and wife duo Mike and Evelyn Halls, the band gained bassist Saul Goodman and drummer Ross Higginson along the way. Blending close vocal harmonies and west coast leanings, this is polished pop music and should warm up the Leeds University refectory crowd nicely ahead of Rag n Bone Man. Stage time 8.15pm
Idles; a noisy quintet from Bristol and best known for the Fall-esque ‘Well Done’ a track name checking a certain departing Great British Bake-Off judge as part of a searing polemic at the nation’s addiction to the cathode ray nipple. Returning to the region after recently tearing Wakefield’s Unity Works a new arsehole, expect mayhem and chaos when they take to the Key Club’s Dork Stage at 7.15pm.
She Drew the Gun; following on from Amber Arcades set at The Wardrobe (8pm) is the thought provoking alter ego of Louisa Roach, mixing Winehouse influenced R&B with eerie lo-fi sensibilities, creating a bunch of beautifully crafted songs on love, loss and the state of the nation.
The Moonlandingz; if you want to end this year’s LiveAtLeeds setting your controls for the heart of the sun, Brudenell is the place you need to be at 11.15pm. Sounding somewhere between Gorillaz and Stooges and fronted by a certain Laos Saudi, their startlingly good debut ‘Interplanetary Class Classics’ boasts a stellar list of guest appearances including Yoko Ono and Phil Oakey.
Rest assured your £32.50 will be money well spent and if you want to make a full weekend of it, you can upgrade your wristband and include the visit of Maximo Park plus 4 support acts at the O2 on Sunday for less than £15 extra.
Words - Mike Price
Live At Leeds