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Festival Review: Live at Leeds 2015

In general, I must say I find it hard to get on board with day festivals. The lack of camping can draw in a crowd that tends to ‘peak too early’, and in general the vibe seems a bit less relaxed – take Manchester’s Park Life for example. However, the same cannot be said for Live at Leeds; it was a real cracker! The festival itself spans across the city, taking over the bulk of the live music venues in Leeds so comfortable shoes are important, but most Leeds dwellers (well, the students anyway) live in trainers so this won’t make a difference! I started my day in the Brudenell Games Room to watch London four-piece Beach Baby’s electric performance to a packed audience. The Brudenell Social Club is quite the trek from the city centre, but completely worth it, as it showcased some of the best up and coming bands throughout the day and has the best sound system by a mile!

Next on my must-see list was Sophie Jamieson, who was playing The Faversham acoustic stage. It was a truly beautiful set, with a slowly swelling crowd as people began to realise what they were missing. You could have heard a pin drop! It was made even better by Jamieson dropping her capo and then proceeding to bang her head on the microphone while trying to retrieve it, revealing a glimpse of the sheepishly cheerful character behind her dark and mesmerising music. One of the great things about Live at Leeds is that it offers the chance to catch lesser-known artists who are set for big things in an incredibly intimate environment; it tries hard to showcase new talent while still reigning in the bigger names like Slaves, The Cribs and Dutch Uncles. Gengahr fans were treated to an exceptionally tight show at Leeds Met later that day. Their live performance is grittier than the softer sound of their EP, and the crowd watched slack-jawed as lead guitarist John Victor wielded the instrument with outstanding ease and expertise. The boys certainly have an exciting road ahead of them with a support slot with The Maccabees and their first UK headline tour just around the corner.

The last two sets that really caught my attention were those of Nimmo, and Lucy Rose. Despite struggling with sound problems, Nimmo were certainly one to wait for. Frontwomen Sarah Nimmo and Reva Gauntlett’s soulful vocals are a force to be reckoned with, blending perfectly with each another over a bed of darker indie-pop. Finally, Lucy Rose was playing at The Holy Trinity church, which is such a special place to watch live music and it was the perfect end to the day. Unfortunately Rose came on 45 minutes late, due to a technical fault which meant she had to change a lot of her set so that it worked acoustically rather than supporting a more electronic performance. However, she couldn’t have handled it better – she was clearly distressed about the delayed start and was incredibly apologetic about the technical fault. The lack of electronics showed how talented Rose really is, as she had to improvise half of her set on the spot. If anything, the way she handled the problem only made me like her more!

For only £30 a ticket, there is no excuse for not heading to Live At Leeds next year – it’s a fantastic festival, and works hard to book artists that other festivals overlook.

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