As the first bank holiday of May rolled round it could only mean one thing… The start of festival season!! And as will every year the first one up is Live At Leeds. Showcasing a nice mix of new and upcoming bands from a variety of genres it is definitely one to keep an eye on if you enjoy hearing new acts.
VANT – Dork Stage, The Wardrobe
Kicking off proceedings for day were VANT. Things started off nice and slow to warm the crowd up with a couple of new acoustic tracks before breaking out the electric guitar. Vant mixed older tracks with his newer solo tracks which really worked well to show the mix of his tunes across both incarnations of the band. ‘Peace and Love’ sounded huge and a great reaction from the crowd to newer single ‘Thank Lucifer’. Finishing with a nice combo of ‘Karma Seeker’ and ‘Do You Know Me?’ really gave the crowd a nice chance to return the energy with the first mosh pits of the day. Fantastic set to a packed out crowd to start the festival off nicely and prepare me for the rest of the day.
Horror My Friend – Gigwise Stage, Leeds Becketts SU 2
Continuing the theme of indie/punk were Australian band Horror My Friend. Despite a few technical issues with their guitars, they managed to show the quality of music a band can make with a guitar, bass and drums. By the time they got into their stride the crowd were banging their heads and as the set went on the crowd grew massively to fill the stage. Finishing with ‘DIYS’ led to a nice heavy end showing their punk side off well. A great new discovery and certainly one I’ll be looking into in the future.
Saint Agnes – Upset Stage, The Key Club
Taking things up a notch next at The Key Club were Saint Agnes. Combining powerful vocals, heavy drum beats and jarring guitars shouldn’t have worked but the band smashed it and sounded fantastic! Having discovered them through the festival playlist I was sure how the turnout would be given they were heavier than most bands playing today however from the packed out venue it was clear that this band were high on a lot of peoples agendas, Saint Agnes worked through their hits perfectly with ‘Diablo Take Me Home’ causing the whole crowd to jump and bang their heads before finishing with ‘Welcome To Silvertown’ to really go out in style by diving into the crowd for one final party. Certainly one to check out if you dig the rockier side of things!
Lucas Watt – The Social
After the intensity from Saint Agnes it was a huge change to catch Lucas Watt. Armed with his acoustic guitar and a couple of band mates he showed just how impressive a singer/songwriter he really is. Hits like ‘Tightrope’ and ‘Why Do I Call’ showing how powerful his vocals are. The Social was packed out and the whole crowd were bobbing along to his songs. Treating us to some tracks from his new EP also went down a storm and from the looks of the crowd his headline show in Leeds later this year will be very impresive to say the least.
Inhaler – The Chapel
Following on from a short much break it was straught back into the music with Inhaler. Pulling sounds from both alt-rock and indie seemed to be keeping the large crowd happy and whilst it didn’t do much for me personally, it seemed to go down well with the rest of the crowd. Taking heavy inspiration from bands like Joy Division and U2 it was clear in their sound musically that they had tried to incorporate them using heavy synths and light guitars. Whilst not a band that I will be following I’m sure that plenty in the crowd will be keeping a close eye on them in the near future.
Hot Milk – Upset Stage, The Key Club
Marked as one of my top bands to see there was certainly an air of anticipation whilst waiting for Hot Milk to take to the stage. Crashing on to the stage they proceeded to blow all expectation out the water in a 30 minute set that seemed to fly by. Whilst Live at Leeds doesn’t usually put on much pop punk it was a breath of fresh air and seemed to be very popular with the crowd. Mixing up the two vocal styles worked really well and certainly set them apart from other pop punk bands coming out that the moment. The crowd were loving it with jumping and bouncing throughout the set with a few small pits opening at the band’s request. I can’t wait to hear more from them as the two unreleased tracks they played sounded brilliant. Definitely a band that I’ll be checking out at Slam Dunk/Download if I get the chance.
She Drew The Gun – NME Stage, Riley Smith Hall
After their incredible performance at The Wardrobe back in 2017, She Drew The Gun were high on my list of bands to see. Since then the following of the band has grown and it was great to see them playing to a much larger audience. A great set from the political rockers. Their songs really showing off the powerful messages behind their tracks alongside the talent of the band. New track ‘Something For The Pain’ drew singalongs from the crowd and dancing throughout. Unfortunately things took a turn for the worse halfway through when the set was cut short due to illness. Hopefully they’ll be coming back soon as they seem to be going from strength to strength with the release of the new album ‘Revolution Of Mind’.
Fatherson – Dance To the Radio Stage, The Church
After missing their set at 2000trees and their sold out show at Hyde Park Book Club it was about time that I caught these guys live and it was definitely worth the wait. Everything worked perfectly for them and the crowd were clearly on board for the party that Fatherson were bringing. Tracks like ‘Making Waves’ and ‘I Like Not Knowing’ showed them at the top of the game and the brilliant acoustics of Church meant that it sounded just as brilliant. Fantastic vocals soared across the venue and the guitars crashed around it. It was great to see the crowd jump on board with the band banging their heads and dancing around through their slightly longer set. Definitely one of my top bands of the day and certainly one to listen to if you’ve never caught them before!!
The Dunts – The Chapel
Next up it was a short trip from The Church to The Chapel for the penultimate act of the day. Just as the festival was starting to quieten down for the day The Dunts were bringing a huge amount of energy to the chapel. Bringing out their fast paced indie punk tracks meant that the entire crowd had no choice but to move around with a nice pit opening at the front of the crowd. Everything sounded brilliant from the stage and the catchy delivery really worked to build the energy on the stage. The band worked their crowd interaction well getting huge singalongs. Huge tracks in ‘The Birds and Beez’ and ‘Ride The Wave’ showcased their raw talent and showed why everyone had turned up. As a new band for me from the festival they are definitely up there as one of my favourite discoveries from Live At Leeds in a long time.
Jamie Lenman – Upset Stage, The Key Club
There hasnt been a Live At Leeds when my final Act isn’t in the Key Club and this one was no different. When the option is to see Jamie Lenman or not there is only one suitable response. Despite the fact that there was only one guitar and one drum kit on stage we were treated to 40 mins of pure face melting rock to finish the day off nicely! Mixing in a few covers, from his soon to be released album, with hit tracks such as ‘All Of England Is A City’ and ‘Devolver’ really worked amazing to get the crowd moving and banging their heads. Finishing up the class act with the huge sounding ‘Mississippi’ left the crowd screaming M-I-SSI-SSI-PPI as he closed the stage for the day. Originally billed as a special guest, his set certainly lived up to the ‘special’ in its title. A great way to finish the day!