Live at Live At Leeds 2013 on Saturday, 4th May 2013
My Live at Leeds starts with a full on assault of indie, guitar driven energy from Tokyo Corner, a band I was looking forward to seeing live. Channelling shades of early Kasabian, with a real raspy tone to the vocal, they have all the qualities that make indie great! The winning song of the set, was 'Feel the Drop', slowly building until it lets loose into a frantic powerful performance that got the crowd bouncing. Displaying a great stage presence, Tokyo Corner were so good, it could have been the last act of the night. Loved it!
Next, on to The Cockpit, for Marsicans. I know what to expect from these boys, but the promise of some new tunes makes this an exciting prospect. 'Chivalry' is a great opener and I love the energy they bring every time, particularly from Matt (on drums) who is on form today. Their new tunes are brilliant and make use of James' full vocal range, delivering an explosion of sunny pop to rival that of King Charles! They create beautiful earworms in the form of 'Scuba', a staple of their set, and new track 'Terrapin', which would sit well next to the likes of The 1975. The Marsicans tore it up and packed out The Cockpit with their joyful and happy sounds. I predict big things for these boys!
I take a short cut through the city to see George Ezra in the Holy Trinity Church. A boy with a guitar and an enviable tone to his voice, that could melt a thousand hearts. He is effortless and powerful with a voice older than his years which manages to captivate the crowd and silence falls. He has a hint of Paulo Nutini and Marcus Foster (albeit slightly deeper) meets Bob Dylan, about him. George Ezra gives my first 'wow' moment of the day with the vocal arrangements on his new song, 'Budapest', supported by delicious old style guitar strumming. Absolutely Stunning!
A little late, Swimming Lessons at Stylus was mid set, when I walked in and was surprised to hear an interesting take on 'Stay', by Rihanna. Ben, the face of Swimming Lessons, stands alone on stage, juggling guitar, keys and looping sounds. He blends a trippy kind of shoegaze and creates, through electronic trickery, intriguing layers. However, at this point in the day, I actually want to have my earth rocked. It is too mellow and chilled and proves difficult to fill the large stage with this one man sounds.
I hang around and next up on the Stylus stage are Department M, who bring precision and intensity with pitch perfect vocals, and a stage presence that commands your attention without too much fuss! Over dreamy soundscapes and finely crafted synths, they generate a great electronic vibe. The band is serious and it feels 'Uber Cool' without being pretentious. The drums are an absolute star throughout and underpin the whole set without being too heavy or invasive. Incredible, inspirational music at its best and my band of the day so far!
Time for a short walk over to the Met, for London Grammar, who kick off with a lot of finely tuned 'Ooohs' and 'Aaahs'. It is beautiful, slow and purposeful, bass and reverb heavy with a distinct tone and clarity to the vocal. The more familiar, 'Metal and Dust', is the best of the set. They are incredibly talented and the lead singer has an amazing voice, emulating a similar style to that of The XX, It is musically luscious and rich, but it kind of flat-lined for me and never really went anywhere.
Back to the refectory to see The Neighbourhood's cool, Lo-fi indie, lyrically articulate blend of credible pop. Currently tipped for bigger things and I can't disagree, they are an incredible force that lifted me out of the lull I was falling in to! Their atmospherically dark tunes were delivered with intent, despite the imperfect venue sound and the bullet mic (common place in their set) being dumped halfway into 'Wires', it lost none of the impact. Though having seen them in Manchester recently, I was surprised the on-stage dynamic appeared more focused on Jesse, as the remainder of the band seem a little flat. However, they did warm up and the set starts to take shape, and as they draw to the end of 'A Little Death', I manage to catch a cheeky and rather pleased smile from the lead guitarist. Highlight of the night for me was 'Afraid', displaying a hint of their hip-hop roots, a personal playlist favourite. In six months time, you will all know their name.
Staying at the refectory, Everything Everything finish off my night, with a 90 minute long set. There are not enough words to do this justice. TOTALLY STUNNING! That is all.
What an end to an extraordinary day, Live at Leeds, each year you get better and better.
I did not see the queues at ANY venues, other than the bar, but I did choose a variety of acts across the city. Planning is everything on the day, and early collection of your wristband is essential. I was also really impressed with the new App, a brilliant scheduling tool. I am already looking forward to next year!!
Ex-Grammatics man, Owen Brinley's new project, a tomorrow's world vision of future pop music. Industrial rhythms and noise breaks smoothed over with swathes of lush eighties analogue synth.
Indie Rock & Roll from Huddersfield