Following our lengthy preview we have finally managed to rediscover our eardrums and get our heads round a ridiculous day out in Leeds. Impact Music team journeyed into a windy and bright Yorkshire day where hundreds of acts and thousands of revellers crammed into every venue in Leeds for a day of thwarting clashes and quick fire performances. Here are our highlights:
One of the first acts of the day is Bristolian George Ezra who took to the stage at Holy Trinity Church. With a stained glass window backdrop and armed only with an acoustic guitar, his voice is deep and gravelly, speckled with and engrossingly well pronounced lyricism. Reminiscent of Willy Mason, the Church is at capacity and his husk hurdles above unfortunate chit-chat from the back. The young troubadour plays a patchwork set of soulful rangy ballads to upbeat story-telling. Very good.
Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs
On a mid-afternoon slot at the Leeds Uni Refectory, Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs brought their take on New York art-punk to Live At Leeds. Playing to a steadily-building crowd, stand-out songs were ‘I Watch You’ and ‘Be Glamorous’, both singles from forthcoming album, ‘Clarietta’.
With swirling keys, pounding basslines and reverb-drenched guitars, these five London lads certainly know how to make a noise. As ‘Clarietta’ receives ever more positive reviews, don’t be surprised to see their Television-inspired songs a bit higher on the bill next year.
Leeds Met played host to Stockport’s feisty Findlay fronted by the fascinating Natalie Findlay. The room was absolutely rammed and were it not for the windows being flung open I may have melted. Having seen her quite a lot recently, Natalie was really on top form. Plunging into the crowd head first at every opportunity she is forceful and intense. ‘Off and On’ gets the crowd bouncing around and it’s all over before it really gets started. The way this bunch work the stage really is joyous.
Taking to the Leeds Uni Stylus stage in the early evening, this foursome delivered their warped post-punk, with influences ranging from The Wire’s screechy guitars of ‘Jazz Funerals’ to the Wild Beasts tranquillity of ‘The Trawler Man’s Code’.
With a name taken from a John Cooper Clarke song, it is no surprise to learn that many of the songs are essentially social commentaries, driven by lively bassist Alice Scott’s thumping basslines and singer James Smith’s howling Wu Lyf-esque vocals.
The much hyped King Krule, formerly Zoo Kid, played a late evening set to a very tightly-packed Holy Trinity Church. Now playing with a full band, it was imperative that the sound was impeccable, something that isn’t always easy in a church. After a short delay, presumably a last ditch effort to perfect the sound, King Krule whizzed through a half hour set of predominantly new songs, before finishing on first single, ‘Out Getting Ribs’.
Their jazz / post-punk hybrid is deserving of a better sound, but certainly showed much promise for the future.
This intense all-girl group played a night slot at Leeds Uni Stylus. As expected, their set sampled heavily from new album, ‘Silence Yourself’, and despite technical difficulties spoiling singer Jehnny Beth’s shrieking vocals for the first couple of songs, it was quite clearly one of the best sets of the day.
With Ayse Hassan’s simple and repetitive bass riffs and Fay Milton’s tribal drumming driving the band forward, the largely middle-aged crowd enjoyed a set that wouldn’t have been out of place in the post-punk heaven of 1982. Savages could be around for quite some time on this form.
Meanwhile, following King Krule at Holy Trinity in the evening was the much talked about Luke Sital-Singh. Strangely, the venue is very empty, probably due to some ridiculous clashes; Savages/Swim Deep/Aluna George. Unfortunately, although the acoustics are magical, the atmosphere was chatty and didn’t allow for the silence most gathered at the front craved. His set peaked too soon, starting with the enchanting ‘I Have Been A Fire’ which shows off his absurd range. ‘Fail For You’ is another tingling highlight.
Well, this was annoying. Due to the act on the main stage downstairs’ tardiness, yes, I’m talking about you Laura Mvula, PINS anticipated stint was late, short, and empty. Not that anything would stop this ferocious foursome: looking great, as ever, PINS, fronted by Faith Holgate blitzed through their half hour set with buzzsaw guitars, thumping basslines and towering drums. They look tight, and unfazed by the circumstances surrounding the half full venue. LUVU4LYF is brutal, and Eleventh Hour was savage. Beautifully done.
A brilliant day at the best value for money day out in music, yes, even more so than Camden Crawl. If the giant leap from last year is anything to go by, next year will be off the Richter scale. A special nod to iLikePress for their fantastic hospitality, too.
Adam Keyworth & Alex Neely