Now in its 12th year, multi-venue inner city festival Live at Leeds once again brought an array of musical wonderment to the Northern metropolis on Saturday 5th May. With an abundance of genres and venues to choose from, we headed out to check out what this year’s offering had in store.
The Vaccines at Live At Leeds – photo credit Andrew Benge
Heir – 12pm – Leeds Beckett SU 2
We began our festival with local lads Heir. As usual, frontman Tom Hammond’s vocals are totally belting, and the indie-pop bunch pay like their lives depend on it. With catchy, 80s synth pop hooks and tender moments to boot, this Live at Leeds regulars go down an absolute treat as the opening act.
Martha Phillips – 2.45pm – The Wardrobe Bar
Next, we trek down to The Wardrobe for an acoustic set by Elephant Trees songstress Martha Phillips. Her eclectic mix of covers and original tracks captivates the entire room. Her version of Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman is exemplary, and her usage of loop pedals for harmonies brings something fresh and exciting to the plate. She is definitely one to watch in the future.
THE RPMs – 5pm – Too Many Blogs stage, Nation of Shopkeepers
Brighton boys THE RPMs completely blow the roof off of the swelteringly hot Nation of Shopkeepers. Their happy-go-lucky style is a perfect match for the slightly inebriated crowd, and frontman Jack Valero holds them in the palm of his hand, even enticing several people up to have a bit of a dance. Perfect mid-afternoon listening.
Cassia – 6.15pm – Dr Martens Stage, The Wardrobe
Calypso-flavoured rockers Cassia are up next at The Wardrobe, and their sultry surfer rock vibes are a match made in heaven with the exotic weather just metres outdoors. Hit single 100 Times Over generates a wonderful atmosphere in the room; wonderfully chilled out listening for such a beautiful sunny day!
The Magic Gang – 7.15pm – Leeds Festival Stage, O2 Academy
The last band we catch at Live at Leeds are The Magic Gang. We spend quite the while queuing outside the venue, to be finally let in (but only to the balcony area), where there were that many people all around the upper level, we could barely catch a glimpse of the group. Their set sounds absolutely fantastic nonetheless, with indie-pop riffs to boot, delighting the completely packed out crowd.
Overall, unfortunately Live at Leeds was more of a fizzle than a bang for us this year. I’m certain the incredibly warm weather didn’t help matters – venues were almost unbearable in the heat if they came close to reaching full capacity. Nevertheless, the acts we did catch played INCREDIBLY well, therefore that is not what is it fault, and it’s hard to put your finger on what exactly was missing. With all being said and done, Live at Leeds is a brilliant festival showcasing a perfect mix of new music and old favourites, and it’s one we hope sticks around for the foreseeable future.