A bank holiday always has the making of a good weekend, it’s a 3 day weekend, of course it’s gonna be good. Well how about I add a beautiful city, some top class venues and a whole heap of awesome bands to the mix, yep the mouth waters just thinking about it. Well this weekend saw exactly that, in it’s 7th year Live at Leeds Festival returned for it’s annual party and the festival provided yet more proof of it’s growing stature. We at The Indiependent spent the day running around Leeds to catch some of the best bands on show and we weren’t disappointed.
White Lies kicked off proceedings to a packed out O2 Academy that set the tone for the rest of the day. To rapturous applause the band took to the stage and opened with ‘Take It Out On Me’ the lead single from last years album Friends. The synth indie pop melody was encapsulating from the word go, the Leeds crowd were also treated to some fan favourites with ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ showcasing Harry McVeigh’s elegantly wholesome vocals while ‘To Lose My Life’ the title track from their debut LP was as dark and gloomy as it was in 2009. The set finished with a thunderous rendition of ‘Farewell To The Fairground’ that had the Leeds crowd begging for more.
Next up saw Brighton 4 piece Yonaka take to the stage in The Lending Room, a much more intimate setting to the one White Lies had just played, where we saw an intense and captivating live performance from a raw band. Front woman Theresa Jarvis was a commanding figure at the front of the stage, prowling around like a predator in the jungle while guitarist George Edwards provided the backup with some dark and hefty guitar lines that oozed intensity. Jarvis had the mix of Debbie Harry and Jehnny Beth as she made sure all eyes were on her throughout the marvellous set and especially closing track ‘All In My Head’.
The Stylus in the Leeds University Student Union played host to Flyte, who played a magical set of beautiful indie pop songs. The band ooze both confidence and elegance despite frontman Will Taylor letting the crowd know that they’re feeling slightly fragile having not slept but it didn’t show. Flyte made the Stylus feel like a bubble of sound had taken over the venue with the only thing audible being the all encompassing Londoners. ‘Victoria Falls’ and ‘Echoes’ showcased the bands talent for indie pop melodies and we were not disappointed.
Over in the beautiful church surroundings of the aptly named Church, the hotly tipped The Magic Gang drew a huge crowd that could only be described as a sea of bodies. As the Brighton 4 piece treated the crowd to some of the finest indie pop songs written in recent years, they were witness to one of the sets of the weekend. Flying through favourites like ‘Jasmine’, ‘All That I Want Is You’ and new single ‘How Can I Compete’ the band produced a set that could have been on a major festival stage, crowd presence, perfect indie pop songs and a crowd belting out every word, it felt like the Leeds faithful were taking The Magic Gang as one of their own.
The Nation of Shopkeepers saw B-Town favourites, Superfood, not only headlining the venues stage this evening but unveiling their new sound to the Leeds crowd. Although the band were hindered with technical issues before they started they took it right into their stride and apologising for the delay, the delay was worth it. Opening with ‘Lily For Your Pad To Rest On’, its clear this isn’t the same Superfood that released Don’t Say That 3 years ago, for example one of the bands first singles ‘Bubbles’ has been revamped to mix with their new sound and it sounds better than before while new single ‘Double Dutch’ sees the band do their best Avalanches impression and it works a treat. Musically Superfood are moving forward, playing around with new techniques and sounds and producing some high quality songs; with the album due out later this year the, now, 2 piece are going to comeback with a bang.
When it comes to the Leeds music scene not many venues are more well known then the Brudenell Social Club and the venue had 2 of the most exciting bands in the country closing out the festival for them. First up was indie darlings The Big Moon who produced a dazzling display of well written indie songs and unbridled stage presence. The girls, who have been touted by Radio 1 amongst others, ran through tracks from their debut album Love In The 4th Dimension’ including the delicious and seductive ‘Formidable’, ‘Silent Movie Suzie’ and the ever brilliant ‘Sucker’. Big things are headed The Big Moon’s way and it sounds like their ready.
Closing off this years event The Moonlandingz cemented their place as one of the most exciting bands in the country with a thunderous set of loud, ferocious avant garde psychedelics that came to life as a live concept. The fictional, but real, band packed the Brudenell out to the brim and they did not disappoint, ‘Black Hanz’ sounded exceptional while ‘Sweet Saturn Mine’ was as immersive as on record. An original and brilliant concept mixed with 2 bat shit crazy frontmen in Fat White Family’s Lias Saoudi and Saul Adamczewski it was always gonna be a hell of ride; even managing to get The Big Moon’s front woman Juliette Jackson out for an impromptu duet it was a fitting crazy ending to yet another top class Live At Leeds Festival.
Words by Callum McCormack