Live at Leeds – H2N’s Hour by Hour Preview

Live at Leeds on Saturday 5 May is one of the Yorkshire indie highlights of the year and it’s always best to do a bit of planning to get the best from the day, although it’s not an easy process.

As well as thinking about simple band timing clashes there’s your “must sees” to fit in, a bit of time for a sit down and some nosh, the distance between venues to consider (no one wants to spend the day tromping back and forth across the city), whether the venue for a must see band might get busy (this boy ain’t gonna queue for no one), and getting that mix of noisy and loud, and quiet and reflective right. With all those factors in the mash here’s my thinking.

12:00 noon

The early bird gets the worm at Live at Leeds and there’s an immediate heart wrenching clash. Is it going to be melancholic troubadour Lelo weaving his spells and magical tunes at The Lending Rooms, the spiky, angry and cutting agitpop of Idles at The Wardrobe or the sophisticated electronic 1975 ish vibes of Dream Estate at The Chapel? I guess I’ll wait to see how much the train trip to Leeds vexes me before wading in.


There’s only two bands in town in my eyes at this time; the absolutely magnificently wild Sheafs from Sheffield are the first. It’s an absolute crime that these mad lads are on so early, and at the Hyde Park Book Club to boot, which in the context of a long day almost feels like a hike to Harrogate. The lazy boy option is to see the equally magnificent and riotous The Blinders at 1:15 at The Wardrobe. The weather might make my mind up on the choice.


It will be time for a change in tempo otherwise my heart will fail before the day is out, and the gentle intense strains of Plested at Headrow House or the slightly more out-there, but equally relaxed Snicklefritz at Oporto might suit for a chill down session. Of course, there’s H2N favourites Riscas with their brand of bouncing indie pop at Trinity Stage if we need to keep things banging a while longer.


By 3:00pm the insanely talented Martha Phillips will have been on stage with her acoustic set sans Elephant Trees at the Wardrobe for 15 minutes, and there is also the chance to catch the intelligent lo-fi vibes of Far Caspian at Trinity Stage.  If I want to play a wild card then there’s the wonderfully soul-reggae voice of Tom Walker to explore, over at Church. Still a very popular draw, at 3:30 there’s a chance to pretend it’s the mid 1990‘s again with the pop-punk of Ash at Leeds Becket Main Stage.


4:00pm sees the accessible tunes of Courtyards, although again they are up in Harro…sorry Hyde Park Book Club. Unless I’ve managed to hire the services of a deliveroo scooter driver by that point, I’m guessing I’m gonna want to be back at The Church for 4:30 and one of my personal must see’s of the festival; the moody, magnificent electro doom of Stereo Honey.


I’m always a sucker for a bit of loose blues, so if I’ve not dived into a curry house then Broken Witt Rebels back at Wardrobe might take my fancy. Alternatively there’s the heavier, freakish sound of King Nun at the Key Club at 5:15.


At 6, there’s another diverse clash of sounds to think about, and it’s going to depend on my mood and the weather as to which one to see. The bouncy, Hubbards will make sure everyone seeing them have a good time at Trinity Stage, The Old Pink House have been making waves with their brand of light indie funk, and there’s chance to see them at Nation of Shopkeepers, or there’s Hey Charlie at the Key Club. For voice, there’s Sam Fender at Stylus at 6:15


It might be time for some retro 1970’s style New Wave, and so TOUTS at the Nation of Shopkeepers might fit the bill. If you see TOUTS you will have the advantage for being in the right venue for totally awesome The Pale White at 8. My guess is that the place will be heaving.

Of course, who can resist a band on the up, so there is the draw of The Magic Gang at the Leeds Festival Stage, who are as the name on the tin says indeed a magic gang live. If my legs are still working, and I’m not embarrassed to grace the doors of The Wardrobe once again, the excellently tuneful Sea Girls are performing there at 7:15.


Aah the time where things will be starting to get a bit hazy and wobbly. I’m expecting to be sweating with the best of them in a rammed Pale White gig, but as an alternative, there is the wonderful voice of Keir over at Belgrave Music Hall at 8pm.  I’m not beyond a bit of jazz dance and I have to say a short detour from indie to see Shor at Headrow House also looks attractive to mix it up a bit. Those looking further ahead with their eyes on the prize of that potentially rammed Cabbage gig a bit later, might be thinking of popping onto Wardrobe for the riotous Yak at 8:30.


This is the time for the big boys, and my beloved will no doubt find the allure of The Vaccines at the O2 Academy for old time’s sake too much to resist, and to be fair to The Vaccines they have finally released another album that isn’t complete pants. It will certainly be a fun singalong experience. I’m rather thinking of the marvellous Cabbage at the Wardrobe at 9:45, although there’s a risk I’ll get locked out as it’s gonna get busy (OK, I’m basically going to be in Wardrobe for the day).


So this is the time to make your final choices of the day; hopefully by this time you will be so sated by fine experiences that you would be quite content with anything, but the excellent Anteros are playing at another outlier venue The Brudenell Social Club, which may be the way to go if Cabbage are full. To close at 11pm if my ears aren’t bleeding, there will be after a final blow out with those North York Moors energy boys Avalanche Party up at the Lending Rooms at 11pm which seems like a fine way to end the party for those that can still stand.

If you want to do a bit of your own planning go to the Live at Leeds schedules. 

Chris R



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