Live at Leeds 2017: five unmissable sets from the massive city festival

The festival was celebrating its 11th year

Live at Leeds takes place annually on the weekend of the May bank holiday at venues across the city, from the central venues like Headrow House and O2 Academy to those slightly further out, like Brudenell Social Club and The Lending Rooms. At this year’s festival, on Saturday 29 April, there were well over 100 sets to take in – here’s five we couldn’t miss.

King Nun

It’s only 4pm when young Londoners King Nun arrive onstage at Leeds Beckett University Union, but they still storm their way through a 30-minute set. They’ve just come off a tour with Dirty Hit labelmates Pale Waves and Superfood, but they’re sounding much heavier than either: they’ve clearly been on the same White-Stripes-and-Strokes diet as Yak. ‘Sponge’ and ‘Wet Wipes’ are clear set highlights, and at the end frontman Theo Polyzoides leaps right over the drumkit. These guys have so much energy it’s spilling over the stage.

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Yellow Days

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King Nun may have teased primal behaviour from the Leeds faithful – but it was Yellow Days, the 17-year-old songwriting extraordinaire who provided some laid-back slacker-rock as a soothing antidote. The effortlessly dreamy ‘Gap In The Clouds’ provided the set’s most serene moment, as the four-piece band patently trade guitar licks with slinking basslines to delightful results.

Artificial Pleasure

Having rose to prominence with their belting single ‘I’ll Make It Worth Your While’ late last year, for many, the London quartet are still a bit of an unknown commodity. That much is noticeable as the group work hard to win over the rammed crowd at Oporto for the early portion of their set. A level of formality is earnestly achieved as the band’s infectious riffs and choruses catch on – and through their obvious nods to Bowie and Talking Heads, you feel like they’re a band you’ve known and loved all your life.

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Superfood

Almost half an hour of technical difficulties delays the beginning of Superfood’s set at The Nation of Shopkeepers. By the time the Brummie lot get underway it’s all forgotten (despite frontman Dom Ganderton’s frequent apologies) and soon we’re deep into a load of brilliantly baggy new material. ‘Natural Supersoul’ is a swirl of funky indie that brings out a couple of zealous dancers clad entirely in tie-dye: as they carve out a niche for themselves to dance in, ‘Where’s The Bass Amp’ turns up the heat on the set’s grooving vibe, and by the time ‘Double Dutch’ and early banger ‘Superfood’ come around, there’s a full-on circle pit, accompanied by crowd-wide coos of “Superfooood“. From the looks of it, we can expect very big things indeed of Superfood’s second album when it’s released this summer.

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The Big Moon

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Wit, intimacy and charm made The Big Moon’s debut album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’ such a delightful affair – but their raucous live shows see the four piece turn into a completely different beast. Playing late on Saturday evening at the Brudenell Social Club to a packed-out room of sweaty and enthusiastic punters, the quartet step into the occasion with ease – mixing gigantic, arms-aloft singalongs (‘Formidable’) with a bombastic Madonna cover (‘Beautiful Stranger’). The band you’ve come to know and love, but even better than before.

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Words: Thomas Smith and Larry Bartleet

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