Live At Leeds: 5 Things We Learned

Live at Leeds kicked off festival season this weekend with a whole load of excellent bands and artists. Wolf Alice, Menace Beach, Happyness Drenge, Blood Red Shoes, Slaves, Courtney Barnett… it was tricky to pack it all in. Palma Violets played new songs during the 11-song set, with ‘Danger In The Club’ following a riotous version of debut album track ‘Rattlesnake Highway’ and ‘Matador’ appearing later in the night. Here’s 5 things NME learned at the urban shindig.

The Royal Blood supply and demand ratio was truly unbalanced

With 20 minutes to spare until stage time, the queues for the Leeds Met venue were snaking around the building and along the main road. Door staff had to break the news to the impatient throng that it was a ‘one in, one out’ situation for those desperate to catch a glimpse of the two-strong Brighton rockers (Mike Kerr pictured above). Their rise in popularity has erred on the side of meteoric (thanks in no small part to a little support from Artic Monkeys’ Matt Helders) and the question ‘did you see Royal Blood?’ was repeatedly overheard for the rest of the weekend.



Fat White Family… not quite the hedonists you want them to be

Once you’ve crapped on your own hand onstage and smeared faeces all over yourself (reportedly, allegedly, we weren’t there, we never smelled it, etc, etc), you have two choices. Either you become GG Allin, or you just approach all other gigs like it never happened. In danger of being consumed by their own mythology, Fat White Family confounded expectations by simply being… pretty good. No antics, no destruction (bar a small dislodged piece of the ceiling), and no shit, of the bull variety or otherwise. Just taking care of business. And the only thing more infuriating than a hype band is a hype band that appear to deserve the hype.

The 1990s revival might actually be a thing, you know

We all thought that the joke would wear thin once the ’20 Years of Parkllife’ articles had been read and the Britpop takeovers on the radio were all done and dusted. It appears not. Everywhere you turned in the city of Leeds, girls sported scrunchies, crop tops, A-line skirts and white ankle socks. WHITE ANKLE SOCKS. Worse than the fashion reprisal, of course, is the existence of bands hell-bent on replicating the Fred Perry-wearing, Rickenbacker-jangling, unabashed POPTIMISM of those years we gladly left behind. Yes, Superfood, we’re looking at you.


Frank Turner: Never stops playing the free-spirited troubadour


When the Leeds College of Music venue couldn’t handle the masses wanting to catch Frank Turner’s 45 minute solo set, the free-spirited troubadour simply packed up his guitar and headed to a local bar to play there instead. Unplanned, unannounced (well, he told the 130,000 people that follow him on Twitter but you know, it wasn’t in the programme), the Pied Piper of alternative folk headed over to Santiago’s bar in the middle of the city and played there as well. Presumably the bar staff were happy with the arrangement, having since proclaimed him “are hero [sic] and the nicest guy.”

At Live At Leeds, you are never more than five foot away from a member of Pulled Apart By Horses

The Leeds rockers may have delivered one of the most violently exhausting sets we have ever witnessed on Saturday night but they didn’t appear to be conserving their energy beforehand. Kicking the lure of sleep (singer Tom Hudson confessed he woke up Saturday feeling like an old man after a couple of weeks on tour), members of the band were spotted watching Menace Beach, Happyness, God Damn and The Wytches. Logic therefore dictates that you were clearly never more than five foot away from a member of the city’s finest export. Possibly.

Hayley Avron