Live Review: Live At Leeds Fest 2017!
Now in its 11th year, Live At Leeds Fest is the leading metropolitan festival of the north bringing over 200 acts to 17 venues right across Leeds City Centre. The festival continually has one of the best line-ups of northern festivals year in, year out and 2017 was finally the year that I got to check it out for myself.
Following a swift wristband exchange at the First Direct Arena, first up for the day was Hull-punks, Life at Leeds Beckett Student Union. I hadn’t actually seen Life for a few years, so it was a nice surprise to see them deservedly packing out the room.
With a brief interlude informing the crowd of the importance of voting in the upcoming election, it was straight back into the music with tracks such as ‘Euromillions’ and latest ‘Ba Ba Ba’ following suit. The set was straight to the point, concise and enough to leave the audience wanting more.
It’s only a short walk from Leeds Beckett Union to o2 Academy Leeds, but the queues for the first band on of the day at the venue, White Lies were around the back of the venue and across the road! Hardly a surprise for a band of their calibre. The band were fashionably late on stage and didn’t fill their set time, but what they did fill it with, was back to back hits spanning their career.
Frontman Harry McVeigh thanked the crowd for coming out to a rather early 3pm set and continued throughout their 75 minute set playing favourites such as ‘Farewell To The Fairground’, ‘Getting Even’, ‘To Lose My Life’ among others. Aside from a slight hitch in ‘A Place To Hide’ where McVeigh mumbled through part of the track attempting to remember the words, their performance was, as usual, flawless.
Following White Lies, I hadn’t even left the proximity of the venue before I bumped into Vijay Mistry from Kaiser Chiefs who was pondering around the perimeter of the venue. Vijay was on a break having been writing with Kaiser Chiefs in Leeds during the previous week, was looking forward to their upcoming UK festival dates and was on his way to see Idles later that afternoon. Shortly after leaving Vijay outside o2 Academy Leeds, I also bumped into a somewhat dazed looking, post-performance Harry McVeigh who was seemingly having an identity crisis when approached. I left him to it, not wanting to intrude and I was hungry by this point, so went on my way.
I’d been recommended that I should go and see Brighton-based, The Magic Gang by quite a few people, but as I hadn’t exactly listened to them much, so they weren’t the top of my agenda. But after shuffling my clash-heavy “must-see” list for the day, the decision to see them playing to a packed out Church was a top one! This turned out well because I was seriously impressed by the band’s set and they quite possibly had the best crowd of the day, one which absolutely went for it. I didn’t catch The Magic Gang’s full set, but what I did see went down an absolute storm.
We at Mix It All Up loved The Orielles eight-minute long, debut track ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’, so seeing them at Live At Leeds was a no-brainer. The Halifax based trio smashed through a set of buoyant, psychedelic, fun tracks. As to see as many bands as possible across the day, unfortunately I didn’t see the last half of The Orielles set, but I’m envious of anyone who did.
Following this, I headed back to The Church for Temples who played what was quite literally a spellbinding set in a venue that fit the band like a glove. I haven’t seen Temples live for a few years now, but their set at The Church completely reiterated how magical their music is. Their set was a good mixture of old favourites and new tracks from their latest album ‘Volcano’ which was released just last month. The whole atmosphere including the band’s music, the venue and the atmospheric lighting just shone through the whole performance and was genuinely something special to witness.
From Temples on to the final act of the evening for us, Teleman were on top form. Surprisingly was one of the sweatiest of gigs of the day in the packed out Wardrobe which was a bit of a trek across Leeds after being on your feet for hours, but a very worthwhile one at that.
Teleman’s music flourishes live and never disappoints. Tom Sanders (frontman) thanked the crowd for coming to see them and exclaimed that it was a nice gig to get back into things following a period of writing. Debut album Breakfast’s bonus-track ‘I’m Not In Control’ is always a particular highlight live.
Teleman were the only band of the day that I saw that came back to do an encore. For this, the setlist wasn’t solidly confirmed and there was some slight confusion among which tracks they were going to play when. Nethertheless, they launched into the growing ballad of ‘Cristina’ before ending on ‘Düsseldorf’, a favourite from their latest album ‘Brilliant Sanity’.
The day pretty much went off without a hitch other than security not exactly knowing what they were doing at Leeds o2 Academy regarding press access, but this was sorted rather swiftly early enough in the day.
Other than this 99% of the gigs I attended during Live At Leeds Fest 2017 were on time which is good going for a festival of its size. Everything was incredibly well organised and the festival is a credit to everyone involved. I would definitely recommend Live At Leeds to anyone regardless of whether you’re going solely to see your favourite bands or to stumble across something new. There’s definitely something for everyone, regardless of what you like and I’d seriously consider going again next year.
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