Live at Leeds 2013 [Review]
Photo Credit: leeds-list.com
For only ₤22.50, Live at Leeds has to be one of the cheapest prominent music festivals out there. Combined with a stellar line-up and an absence of ques, LAL makes for a pleasant and low key weekend festival. A few complaints aside, it made for one of the more memorable weekends of the past year.
Georgia ThurstingI began the day at A Nation of Shopkeepers not really knowing what to expect. I had heard a track or two of Georgia Thursting, the Leeds College of Music standout, but was not sure how it would translate to the stage. The gig was intimate, filled with a wide-variety of age groups, though a significant portion of the audience seemed to be fellow students at the university. Thursting, a specimen of modesty, spoke few words between songs, and quiet words at that. This first gig gave me a glimpse of the painful feeling of a show being cut too short that I would continue to feel throughout the day. Thirty minutes was not nearly enough time spent with Thursting's standout voice. However, she ended on a great note, covering a Miguel track, though the name escapes me right now.
BackyardsOriginally I was supposed to catch YADi during this time slot but due to illness she had to cancel. In place of heading to the Faversham I decided to take my chances and head to The Wardrobe. I had no idea who would be playing this time slot but I got lucky as it turned out that Leeds-natives, Backyards, was playing. The group matched the mood of the venue and audience well. Boasting sweeping, brooding violin riffs and reverb heavy guitar, I can only describe the group as Yndi Halda with vocals. Their soundcloud hardly does them justice.
Jacob BanksAnother brilliant result by serendipity, Jacob Banks has found a new fan in me. Perhaps the most tragically short set of the festival, Banks took to the stage opening with "Is This Love" before quickly running through a medley of emotional tracks, some happy, some sad. Upon realizing that Banks was covering Bob Marley, I was quickly turned off but found myself giving it a second shot as the song drew to a close. Banks fully won my attention with his cover of "Valerie," a song that made me think back to my friend Yang from back home and the killer rendition she does herself. Left in a haze of sentimentality, I was caught off guard when Banks announced twenty minutes in that he would be performing his last song. I took it all in, gathered my things and was on my way.
On An OnThe only plus to the abnormally short Jacob Banks set was that it allowed me ample time to run across town to A Nation of Shopkeepers for On An On. Prior to the show I had only heard "Ghosts" and "The Hunter." What began as a mediocre show, with heavy reliance on a vocal effects, eventually built to a raw frenzy framed by the intimacy of the cozy bar. A stunning brunette stood to my right and most of the show I found myself torn between taking in the set and asking for the girls name and number. Maybe it was the nuanced complexities of On An On or the girl being intimidatingly gorgeous but On An On won out. Walking out along The Headrow, the closing lyrics, "Take me out of here," ran through my head though I in no way agreed with them.
Hunting BearsSadly, Hunting Bears were my biggest disappointment of the day. From a little research done before the gig I was expecting them to be a bit like Eliza & The Bear. They were very musically tight but lacked the real pickup I was craving. Notable, however, was their "Heavy Tree," which granted them and the audience a bit more steam. A talented group for sure but just not what I was expecting or feeling at the moment.
King KruleKing Krule's performance in the Holy Trinity Church hit me flat in the face with a number of shocks. Firstly, never thought I would see a Fosters Beer tent in a church. Secondly, the size and demographics of the crowd took me back. While I was expecting to be watching King Krule amongst a pristine, "holy" atmosphere filled with reverent fans, what I found was painfully different. Surrounded by hulking and chanting rugby players and over chatty tweens knocking down some of their first ever pints, I could not help but feel that I had been cheated. Don't get me wrong, I knocked quite a few pints back myself that day, but is a church really the right venue for all of this?
Complaints aside, it quickly became a notable set. Archy Marshall took the stage with little more than a scant word, launching into his set. Marshall has made a name for himself with his deep, booming voice that bespeaks little of his meager frame. His vocals started out a bit on the belicose side, even for Marshall, before settling into an easier rhythm. Pretty soon the Church became enthralled in Marshall's rhythmic sermon. The second half of the show was remarkably better than the first and salvaged my hope for the rest of the evening.