The end of a seven-week tour for Blood Red Shoes marked the start of the annual Live at Leeds festival last night (May 2).
The opening gig of the four-day event took place in the heart of Leeds at The Cockpit, underneath the city’s railway arches. The Brighton two-piece were joined by their tour-mates and fellow duos DZ Deathrays of Australia and Slaves from Tunbridge Wells. DZ Deathrays opened the night with their pounding drums and fast guitar licks before announcing they were going off “to get very drunk” to celebrate their joint tour.
Slaves were well-received, with their unusual blend of old-school punk, old-school comedy and drama school story-telling. Vocalist and drummer Isaac Holman kept the crowd entertained with a meandering tale of spotting girls fighting in the cobbled streets of his hometown of Tunbridge Wells before launching into the point of the story: a 20 second dirge of noise entitled ‘Girl Fight.’
Blood Red Shoes’ Laura Mary Carter and Steven Ansell then played a mix of material from their four studio albums. Opening with ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better,’ from their debut album, the stage was lit alternately with strobes and a set of filament light-bulbs propped up on mic stands at the rear of the stage.
Ansell welcomed the audience to the “end of the tour party,” before admitting that they were both “crazy fucking tired” after their tequila-fuelled tour with the evening’s support acts. The set contained little in the way of surprises; a bold and thundering version of ‘Speech Coma’ from their recent self titled album was a highpoint with the crowd, as was ‘Cold,’ from their 2012 album ‘In Time To Voices’. A fiery version of ‘Light It Up’ brought the set to its peak before they wound up proceedings, ready to carry on into the night with their DJ sets.
Across town at Brudenell Social Club, Melt Yourself Down morphed the humble Northern venue into a tropical sweatbox with their energetic jazz fusion show. Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings glistened with sweat as frontman Kushal Gaya stirred the crowd up into a frenzied stage invasion.
Live at Leeds continues in venues across the city today (May 3), with sets from Drenge, Pulled Apart By Horses and Fat White Family amongst others.