Nestled in the back room of a social club, standing in the place of snooker tables and the smell of ale, unlikely venues give rise to musical gems.
Each new venue, set and crowd manifest into puzzle pieces which make up one of the best one-day festivals the UK has to offer. Live at Leeds starts the ball rolling for festival season in true Yorkshire style; the best new music, raucous crowds and a friendly festival atmosphere.
Kicking off proceedings, in Brudenell Social Club’s Games Room, was Geordie trio, Lisbon. Though hailing from somewhere a lot less tropical, their indie-alt-pop with dreamy guitar licks and cleaver tempo transitioning, transported the room into a California haze. Though it took a little while for the early doors crowd to warm up, as day drunkenness sets in and as lead singer, Matthew Varty, started to connect with the audiences, the crowd livened and started to engage.
What the Games Room lacked in acoustics , the band pushed to make up with in a passionate mix of electro loops and strong guitar riffs. Whilst the ‘new’ band has been around since 2012, their noticeable progression with new track, ‘Tyler’, makes it obvious that the time has come for them to push further up the line up ladder.
It was a quick dash to the main for the Manchester duo, Luxury Death, partners in both love and life, they started the project as “something else to do in the bedroom together”, nevertheless have quickly attracted national buzz. They book ended the set with the self titled track from their most recent EP, ‘Glue’, and the track from which they take their namesake, Radiator Face. “Baby, you deserve a Luxury Death” their lyrics reach towards flurries of the destructive and morbid curiosity, whilst conveying unity and bittersweet love. Albeit their voices are paired wonderfully, and their biggest singles gain traction from the crowd, their less familiar songs fell a little flat. Their nonchalant attitude and aesthetic blur the lines of ‘cool’ and a bit to blasé about the whole thing. Nevertheless, they have impressively musical chemistry and their use of the electronic organ throughout gives them a signature sound, from which they will undoubtedly develop.
As the afternoon sun starts to beam down on Belgrave Music Hall’s rooftop bar, we stepped into summer a floor below as KYKO took to the stage. A delicious mix of electro-pop licked with afro-beats, quickly helped to cement Scott Verill as complete crowd-pleaser. Word must have got out, as it quickly descended in a packed room with revealers trying and failing to squeeze their way in. It’s an impressive mark for Scott to make, being his first Leeds at Leeds year, and a relative newcomer to the North Eastern crowd.
Moving away from the British newcomers to further away shores, Australian indie rockers DMA’s brought booze, sportswear and a cheeky charm to the stage. Completely engaging the entire crowd in ‘Delete’, as the ballad rallied the room into a sing-along. Their light and dark mix of acoustic guitars mix, bluegrass influence and raw rock riffs ensure an addictive, high energy set.
Over at Stylus, Flyte pulled together beautiful harmonies and lyricism, to deliver a stand out performance of the day. Still reeling from an all-nighter after their headline hometown London show the night before, their glazed faces still delivered melodic indie sounds with a hint of psychedelics. Though having to cut their set short due misjudged timing, the lack of their most famous tune, ‘Light It Up’ didn’t put a dent in their performance. Recent single, ‘Echoes’, weaved dreamy synths through the crowd. Though less well known outside of their hometown, their stunning sounds drew an impressive crowd that reveled in such a poignant, stunning performance.
Earlybird tickets are now on sale for Live at Leeds 2018 for £25, here.
Words by HQ