Live At Leeds 2018 (Part 1)
Various venues, Leeds
May 5 2018
Reporting team: Joanne Morris, Ellie Ward, Izzy Butler
Photos: As credits
Live at Leeds kicked off its 11th edition on an unseasonably hot and sunny spring Saturday, bringing in both locals and punters from across the country to sample the city's many venues playing host for this one-day festival to over 200 artists.
Like any festival, for those familiar with the area it's a lot easier for quick navigation than for first-timers armed with no more than a festival app and map to try and get from point to point in the fastest possible time in an attempt to catch overlapping set clashes. But undeterred, the intrepid Little Indie team sallied forth with wristband, camera and notepad to record as much of the day's events as they could.
IDLES (Joanne Morris)
Following their recently sold out UK tour and critically acclaimed 2017 debut album, ‘Brutalism’, it was no surprise to find IDLES fans packing Dr Martens Stage at The Wardrobe to the rafters - despite their being one of the first acts to play at just after midday. The band's extremely rowdy, anarchic and anthemic songs are greeted by an equally raucous crowd who chant back in unison. A mosh pit formed almost instantly with a predominantly young, male crowd. Without doubt, the perfect band to get the festival started.
Bradford's GRDNS at Nation of Shopkeepers at midday, were somewhat less raucous, allowing their hazy dream-psych to resonate with those who had turned up to see them. With a new EP out shortly and the just released 'Roulette Love Gun', it was a nice oeuvre to both they, and the day.
The Blinders (JM)
That The Blinders immediately followed IDLES on the same stage at The Wardrobe ensured that the venue was at capacity, with many disappointed fans being turned away at the door. The trio exude a relentless energy, attitude and youthful angst. As singer/guitarist Thomas Haywood stares wildly at the inquisitive crowd, eyes daubed in black warpaint, he chants the intro to ‘Gotta Get Through’. It's effective, scary and downright wicked. The loud, pounding drums and psychedelic guitar riffs threw the eager young crowd into a frenzied mass, before a mosh pit of manic proportion develops.
At Leeds University's Stylus, the much hyped Superorganism arrive colourfully dressed in just the right kind of clobber for the weather outside - raincoats! Their set may be short on songs, but it's more than made up for on experience: a kaleidoscopic onslaught of visuals and whale animations, with Orono Noguchi being hard to keep the focus off. While The Orielles over at Holy Trinity Church encourage the congregation to listen intently in the aisles as the acoustics echo around. SHEAFS at the Hyde Park Book Club provide some lunchtime rock 'n' roll vibes, and young teen Tom Mouse Smith and his acoustic guitar charm the Northern Guitars Cafe Bar.
Nelson Can (JM)
A disappointedly small but devoted crowd turned out to see Copenhagen female rock trio Nelson Can at Brudenell Social Club. All decked out in bright white, their half-hour set of melodic, uplifting and happy songs with catchy choruses was just the right feel for the afternoon, with singer Selina Gin leaping into the crowd at one point to deliver their hugely catchy single, ‘Miracle’.
Sports Team (JM)
Emerging six-piece Sports Team, managed to draw a respectable-sized crowd as they follow the Danes onto the Brudenell stage. They include new single, ‘Kutcher’, an ode to actor Ashton Kutcher, in their 30-minute set along with ‘Beverly Rose’, ‘Camel Crew’ and ‘Stanton’. Frontman Alex Rice, was definitely the star of their show, commanding the stage with his jerky, Jagger-esque mannerisms and exaggerated moves.
Peace (Andy Hughes)
Peace arrive for a far earlier slot than they should have had by rights at 02 Academy at 3pm. There's another lengthy queue for this big draw band, that snakes its way around venue and beyond. With a new album out the day before, they have plenty of material to call on, but still pull in the oldies, but goodies like '1998', 'Money', and ‘Perfect Skin’, nestle alongside 'Power' and 'Under The Liquid Glass' to show what an incredible comeback they have made this year.
Stereo Honey (Adam Ross)
The Church was undoubtedly the most lovely of all the venue settings, and at 4.30 Stereo Honey took to the stage below the stained glass window to play an equally lovely set. Always a Little Indie favourite, this London four-piece, helmed by Pete Restrick, bring lyrical intelligence to lush, ear-caressing melodies. Over on the BBC Introducing Stage at Oporto, the Gaffa Tape Sandy trio may have been saving a little in reserve for their quick trek home to Suffolk immediately after for another festival appearance later in the day, but with songs such as ‘Transylvania’, ‘Water Bottle’ and 'Beehive' still won favour with their catchy hooks and off-kilter melodies and dual vocals. Bradford's FLING on the Beckett Main Stage are close enough to Leeds to have ensured plenty of their local following in attendance, for what was to be another of their trademark zany, watchable sets.
Sunset Sons (JM)
The British-Australian indie-rock quartet Sunset Sons fill both levels of the O2 Academy, as loyal fans rush to the barrier to get the best view. Starting off with popular uplifting single, ‘Blondie’, the band courageously introduced three new songs into their 45-minute set. Singer Rory Williams acknowledged nearly everyone on the front row suggesting they were devoted fans. A great set of happy, melodious songs that matched the beautiful sunshine outside.
Evening sets to follow in Live At Leeds (Part 2).