Last weekend I headed to Leeds, for this year’s Live at Leeds festival held in multiple venues across the city. Despite the cold and drizzly weather, music-lovers turned out in force to see old favourites as well as potential new favourite bands, of which the line-up promised plenty. After some careful perusing of the program before setting off, I packed my umbrella and headed out. Here are my highlights:
I started the day a little late (and a little disappointed at having missed Gaz Coombes in his early slot), with Stornoway at the O2 Academy. Stornoway have cropped up at many festivals I’ve been to over the years, but having never managed to see them properly I was excited to finally give them my full attention. From the very first song I found myself transported from a drizzly Leeds to a summer meadow. The beautiful melodies of this folksy group had my foot tapping from the start, and songs interspersed with bird calls (yes, bird calls), violins and trumpets only add to the appeal of this band. With a slightly grungy bassist, a keyboardist who could be your slightly odd uncle, and the heart-warmingly sweet vocals of the lead singer, this band are always in perfect harmony, even during a unique rendition of ‘The Only Way is Up’ towards the end of the set. All I can say is that I’m disappointed for having not turned my attention to Stornoway sooner.
Later on I headed to Leeds Uni Stylus for Spector, a choice based solely on their write-up in the festival guide. A little late to the stage, I was hoping they would be worth the wait, and indeed they were. Judging by the response from the crowd, I was in a minority (and feeling rather old) for having not heard this band before, with a dedicated crowd at the front singing along to the entire set. The catchy tunes and lyrics had me hooked, and the lead singer’s almost theatrical performance on-stage engaged me from start to finish. I’ll certainly be looking to see Spector live again, but not before learning their entire album by heart!
I ended my day (after queuing for the best part of half an hour) with The Cribs at the town hall. Having seen The Cribs countless times over the last ten years or so, I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for these local lads and they never disappoint. I had a good old dance to some of the older tracks along with the ever enthusiastic crowd before dashing for the last train home, pleased with my choices for the day, but tired and wondering how I ever managed to stay out beyond 11pm.