This is a festival bringing together local heroes and brand new bands playing the city for the first time. If there’s any act on the bill today capable of calling themselves ‘hot property’, it’s Clean Bandit. By the time the four-piece take to the stage at Leeds O2 Academy, the crowd are at boiling point, and with fine pop hits like ‘Extraordinary’ and - of course - that Number 1 ‘Rather Be’, there’s no stopping a true classical-meets-dance party exploding into life.
Mausi were made for afternoons like this one. The sun is high in the sky and they’re, erm, in a very (very) dark Stylus. Still, their brand of breezy euphoric pop cuts through uncharacteristic mid afternoon blackness, all synths and shapes. They couldn’t be more different to Menace Beach. The Met is packed for the Leeds based sort-of-but-sort-of-not-supergroup. Battling their own instruments in the vague direction of a tune, they’re a world of wrestled feedback unable to turn away from a brilliant off kilter hook line or melody. If they were from the other side of the pond, they’d be the lightning rod for a whole scene. As it stands, they’re approaching mind-bending brilliance all by themselves.
Follow the maze of corridors that is Leeds University and eventually, after a few flights of stairs and a couple of twists and turns, Honeyblood will come into focus. Effortlessly filling the Uni’s Mine with their gorgeous brand of scuzzed-up pop, the Scottish duo provide the perfect treat for early evening viewing.
On their early efforts, London group Flyte give off the impression of being smart, dynamic and undeniably polite. Their patience is tested to the limit when, in their own words, ‘absolutely nothing’ works on stage. Monitors shot, instruments ablaze, they still manage to spill into a set that relies on spontaneity. The result is something predictably sweet, but more free to roam than on record.
Given their surrounding slots - Happyness’ college rock, Solids’ thrashing force - Woman’s Hour could feel out of place at the Brudenell Social Club. But they bring a power of their own, one formed out of crushing samples and barely-there vocals. Precision is their game, and on ‘Our Love Has No Rhythm’ it finds itself reaching a passionate peak.
Filling the entire Refectory with different coloured lights is one surefire way to get the crowd in a playful mood, but Los Campesinos! have so much more up their sleeves this eve. Playing against a backdrop of pink and turquoise hues, they provoke some of the brightest moments of the fest so far, with tracks like ‘By Your Hand’ being the perfect opportunity for a bit of a singalong.
In the midst of a chaotic Saturday night, it’s more than a little difficult to come across a quiet spot, but that’s where George Ezra is setting up camp tonight. Centre stage at Leeds College Of Music, complete with wonderful acoustics and an entirely seated audience, the 20 year old takes us on our very own journey; giving us a sneak peek of his forthcoming album ‘Wanted On Voyage’.
When The Amazing Snakeheads let out an unified scream, it’s out of brilliantly undignified passion. There’s no hate or spite in what they do, no frustration forming their foundations. On the DIY Stage they seem understood, with a dynamic crowd from bald tank toppers to baggy jeaned kids, jumping on board. Cut off a snakehead, it’ll just grow another dozen. That’s how it feels watching this band progress.
To say the crowd for Palma Violets’ not-so-secret set in the tiny confines of The Faversham were excited might just be the understatement of the festival - if not the year so far. Screaming even when the various band members pop on stage for a line check, fans reaching forward to grab Chilli Jesson’s inevitably sweaty hair - the floor’s literally shaking as they figuratively raise the roof.
The ‘Yorkshire!’ chants and utter bedlam of Pulled Apart By Horses’ headline set on the DIY Stage are inevitable. This triumphant (and partially topless) four-piece step things up a gear with new material: these songs don’t just roar; they strike quickly, going in for the kill. Both celebration and intrigue collide tonight, in one supremely confident showcase.
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The quartet will be testing out some new material before heading into the studio.
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Peace, Pulled Apart by Horses, Dirty Hit, Live at Leeds and lots more to speak at DIY’s Do It Yourself Neu Tour!
We’ve got a full day of speakers and gigs coming to Brighton, Birmingham and Leeds this month.
We chat to a range of key players from Leeds, including James from Pulled Apart By Horses and Matt from Jumbo Records.