I DON’T know what power the organisers of Live At Leeds wield, but if you are going on holiday, you should ask them to ensure you have good weather.
For the third year in a row they managed to get a dry day in a Yorkshire spring – well done!
The only trouble is Saturday, April 30 was a blazing hot day which meant every time you ducked out into the sun between myriad bands, you got gig blindness when you went back in.
Hence legions of people were wandering zombie-like into venues from Hyde Park to the city centre trying to catch one of the 120 bands playing that day.
First up with an unhealthy 1pm start was Insect Guide. The hard gigging band played a 30-minute set including a cover of Cee Lo’s X-rated ditty plus fuzzy, serpentine pop from their Darks Days and Nights album plus EP material.
The band, appearing as a three piece at the Faversham, are fronted by singer, Su Sutton, from Salendine Nook. That sentence was for all the alliteration fans reading.
Backed by a great visual display the band rattled through their set with the minimum of fuss but maximum intensity as Su saved her words for the songs rather than the crowd.
The band are the equivalent of the chisel in the cake for a prison breakout. Something that’s sweet in theory but harbours plenty of steel.
Speaking after the gig, Su said: “It was great to see a crowd at that time as we were concerned about being on at 1pm. We seemed to have quite a following.”
The band are currently working hard on recording their new – as yet untitled – album at Mook Studios in Leeds.
“It’s going well but it’s hard work,” said Su.
The album, which is due in October, will remain untitled for a while yet said Su, adding: “We never decide what it’s going to be called until the last minute.”
After Insect Guide it was a short hop to Leeds University’s Mine venue for Halifax embryos GOLD (in big letters as their lead singer reminded the audience).
Wearing implausibly young heads and physics-defying tight jeans the four-piece band performed a tight set in front of an audience which should have been bigger.
The big voice of the young singer hovered over some great music which veered between electronic soundscape meets spiky rock opera meets Editors – with a bit of a dub bassline chucked in for good measure.
Full of promise, try and catch GOLD live because the more experience they get, the better they’ll get.
It was then a short dash (thank God) back up to the Faversham for Wakefield’s Piskie Sits.
The Piskies, as I now call them after seeing them at last year’s event, are a real crowd pleaser – as evidenced by the packed venue.
Imagine if Slade had sex with Modern Life is Rubbish era Blur and then the resultant offspring moved to the USA in 1988 and absorbed slacker culture for the next decade.
Well, that’s what they sound like – loud, laid back, fun and full of charm.
After a break during the afternoon it was down to the Town and Country now the equally romantic sounding O2 Academy.
On stage were Kassidy, the Scottish long haired folky-country troubadours.
Having read a Guardian review of them playing York the day before which described them as an “anodyne, airbrushed, teen-market Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young”, I can sort of see where they are coming from.
But in true style the customer is king and the band got a great reception from the crowd – not passionate just pleased, but you can’t have everything.
A short set change and it was the turn of The Duke Spirit.
The four-piece were hyped by friends who’d seen them supporting the excellent Phantom Band. Apparently they were great.
From the start I was left cold. The cod-rock god stylings of lead singer Leila Moss grated on me and from the sound of grumblings around me I wasn’t the only one.
Plus the sound of grumbling shouldn’t have been heard – I don’t know who’s to blame but the sound was nowhere near loud enough and this may have caused problems with a lack of atmosphere.
Friends said they weren’t happy with the song choice – apparently not enough from their first two albums and too much new material.
Clad in a gold sequinned jacket Moss pulled all the usual shapes and sounds but it didn’t do it for me. They’ve supported Queens of the Stone Age, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and REM but they were the biggest disappointment of the day.
A band hyped so much (by the music industry as well as my friends) simply failed to deliver.
Ultimately, Leeds Live turned out to be about the bands you hadn’t heard of, rather than the ones you apparently should have.