Live at Cockpit on Friday, 6th April 2007
Right kids, before music, it's time for a bit of history... Dance To The Radio (DTTR) is a Leeds based record label started by Whiskas (yep that's right, the ginger one out of Forward Russia, some people have all the luck... or should that be all the talent?) with the aim of "doing it for bands that young A&R don't want to / can't stick their neck out for" in the hope that they "might have ignited a fire that leaves them with the buzz and the interest to create something for themselves outside of the mainstream". Basically just making opportunities for ace bands who might otherwise not have a chance were they to try and go the usual label route.
For those of us who've been in Leeds long enough to remember the furore surrounding the release of Dance To The Radio's first compilation, which featured a plethora of Leeds artists which have since gone onto, well I hesitate to say 'bigger and better' things, but certainly much greater commercial success such as The Sunshine Underground, and which sold out pretty much immediately upon release having never been re-issued since - much to the disappointment of Leeds music fans everywhere.
And the subsequent release of DTTR's second album - What We All Want - which was met with equal anticipation. Notable inclusions on this issue are the then almost fledgling The Pigeon Detectives and the now ubiquitous Yes Boss who add that dash of garage flavour that seems to be working its way into a scene previously dominated by indie music. Today was a rather exciting day. In celebration of DTTR's third release - Something I Learned Today - we were being treated to a full day of the bands featured on the album, what better way is there to spend Good Friday?
Doors opened today at an unfashionably early 2pm hence the crowd didn't really start building up until the slightly later time of 4pm, perhaps as a result of most people's reluctance to come in out of the sun on such a scorcher of a day. The day kicked off with a performance from White Light Parade who put on a great show and certainly won some brownie points with the free CDs that were being given out to accompany it.
Next up; Laura Groves provided a lovely acoustic break for the eardrums and a heart-warming selection of tunes to melt even the most hardened indie soul. Her voice reminded me of Regina Spektor and left me a little mesmerised, just in time for a much-needed sit down and some people watching. The crowd today spanned several generations and sensibilities which is always nice to see, although perhaps The Cockpit should have issued a suggested dress code with the tickets - the heat, or perhaps it is the fault of the day time drinking, led several people to get incredibly confused and suffer what can only be described as a meltdown. Yes that's right, you two with the glow sticks you know who you are, even if you are on your way to a Klaxons gig, there really is still no excuse. The random selection of Easter bonnets however did much to amuse me - did you decide to wear them collectively? Or were you just several strangers who fell victim to fashion statistics? (In a city X size with Y number of shops, Z people are bound to end up wearing the same hat... even if it is an Easter bonnet it seems you just can't defeat maths).
The main band I was interested in seeing today however was Grammatics, I had heard a number of good reports and wasn't disappointed when I finally got to see them perform. They provide the opening track on the compilation, which despite being their first commercially available track, is unlikely to be the last.
Whiskas et al further demonstrated their flair for picking the cream of Leeds' musical offering with the rest of this evening's line up and eventual headliners Black Wire, who put in yet another stellar performance and got the crowd all riled up and ready for Yes Boss Sound system and The Garage, the club night following today's event.
With events such as this it's difficult to avoid comparisons to Nasty Fest, which takes place bi-annually at The Faversham and is now a seasoned pro at this sort of thing. The Cockpit did themselves proud and the day ran extremely smoothly although my only complaint would be the total lack of distractions from bands and booze - I realise that's what we all came for but 12 hours in a dark club's more than even I can take particularly when, although I know the sun exists on the outside, I am forced merely to sense its presence due to a lack of any windows whatsoever in the main part of the venue. There was no food either, forcing most people to have to leave and find sustenance elsewhere, otherwise do without.
Apart from that a great start to the Bank Holiday!