REVIEW: LIVE AT LEEDS 2012

Live at Leeds showcased the finest mix of artists around the city, from the new and unsigned to British festival scene frequenters, on Saturday the 6th of May. 100 plus artists brought energy and enormous crowds to the venues across the city and into Hyde Park.

Celebrating its sixth year, the North’s alternative to The Camden Crawl is a must see. With tickets of an honest price and such huge headliners, there is no reason to be missing this. 2013, yes please!

Here are our Top Ten Picks of Live at Leeds:

Lianne La Havas – Leeds Met

While many could think of Lianne La Havas as merely an acoustic act, for anyone that showed up to Leeds Met thinking Marina and the Diamonds was playing, Lianne proved she is more than capable of entertaining the masses. She translates her intimate sound to a stage impeccably and kept the vibe lively with the help of her band and her famed storytelling. Best performance of the day by far.

Ghostpoet – Brudenell Social Club

Ghostpoet’s small performance in the Brudenell social club was perfect for his intimate and subtle sounds. He delivers his lyrics as a constant stream of conciousness while remaining aware of the importance of electronic sounds in his music. The beauty is that you leave feeling like you’ve learned something while not really knowing what it was about at all.

Jessie Ware – O2 Academy

While she’s not instantly recognisable, there were enough people at Jessie Ware’s performance at the O2 to prove she is slowly but surely asserting herself as one of the most promising female vocalists of 2012. Her outstanding vocals and powerful stage presence mean there is no need for acrobatics on stage and she has the ability to make a track both elegant and fun simultaneously. I only wish that it was a headline show, not enough people would shut up, proof that Ware has some work to do with those who perhaps have never heard of her before.

The Subways- The Cockpit

Headliners, The Subways, started off an amazing set with ‘Oh Yeah’. Sending a powerful energy crashing throughout the Cockpit, the reception from their cult-following couldn’t have been stronger. Billy’s self-assurance and excitement (demanding a circle pit which dominated the venue) hasn’t changed since ‘Young for Eternity’ was released in 2005. The band were glad to be back, and every track they played was chanted back.

Spector- O2 Academy

Calling in a large audience, the much acclaimed BBC Sound of 2012 nominees, Spector, brought indie rock guitar music and dapper dress straight to the stage. The confident chat of showman Fred Macpherson (lead vocals) entertained the crowd and his powerful stage presence encouraged a liveliness that the loyal fans were strong in returning- mosh pit and all. These boys know their fans, and know how to keep them happy. ‘Friday Night’ and ‘Chevy Thunder’ were obvious crowd favourites, and it doesn’t have to be explained why. Unconfirmed album date, but it’s going to be a cracker!

Jake Bugg – Cockpit

Jake Bugg. A VERY impressive 18 year old. Calling in a packed and extremely loyal and supportive crowd to the small room at the Cockpit, this was a set not to be missed. An artist with so much ahead of him. His strong distinctive voice, combined with a country swagger accompanied by the peaceful strum of his acoustic guitar, is reminiscent of Dylan and Cash. With no one quite like him at the moment, there is so much in front of him, and judging by Saturday, so much support behind too!

Kyla La Grange- Brudenell Social Club

The multi-talented and distinctively voiced philosophy graduate emitted her powerful, heart wrenched vocals throughout the Brudenell Social Club. The bands mesmerising sounds, combined with evocative lyrics created a incredible atmosphere. Dominating rocky outbursts, against her quite melancholic verses enwrap the crowd. Her debut single, ‘Vampire Smile’, is a fantastic track and illustrates what she stands for. Not far behind Florence Welch, there is so much more to come.

Friends- Leeds Uni Stylus

Friends was by far the most fun I had all day. After trawling around empty gig after empty gig the packed out performance at Stylus started off the festival vibe. The loveable hipsters don’t take themselves too seriously; while their front girl Samantha pranced on and off the stage making everyone fall in love with her, their experimental sounds tantalised the senses and made everyone want to dance. My only regret is that we weren’t in a field dancing together.

I Like Trains – O2 Academy

The dark, mysterious sounds of Leeds band I Like Trains opened the O2 Academy. The five-piece alternative post rock group filled the space and created an energy through the sounds they generated, performing with a slow and tame stage presence. Speaking to the crowd, David Martin (lead vocals) introduced tracks from their third album (out now) ‘The Shallows’- an album that has a lot to say; exploring relationships with technology and it’s impact on our social connections.

Rae Morris – Holy Trinity Church

That beautiful ready-made reverb of sound that Holy Trinity Church offers was the ideal venue for the powerful and captivating vocals and piano of the young singer-songwriter, Rae Morris. With an audience in awe as she played songs from her debut EP ‘For You’, I’m sure a few hearts melted. After recently touring with the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, Morris now has a whole summer of gigs and festivals planned – her live performance is definitely worth catching!

Words – Emily Ames, Lara Thomas & Holly Lampe.

Photographs – George Beck

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