Live at Leeds 2015: Editor Mary’s Roundup (Part 2)

By on Thursday, 7th May 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Part 1 of my Live at Leeds coverage is this way. For more of my photos from the event, check out my Flickr.

After the highs achieved and all before the 5 o’clock hour at Live at Leeds 2015, I suppose it was inevitable that there would be some kind of letdown ahead. Any music writer will try and map out a reasonable festival schedule that doesn’t have you running yourself ragged, but that too is an inevitable part of the festival experience for us, whether we’re in Austin, New York, Sydney, Liverpool or Brighton. However, the one thing you can never really plan for technical difficulties or cancellations.

There was no mention at all on her Facebook page – and the complete lack of a Twitter account didn’t help either; take note, bands: your fans really do want to know if you’ve decided to pull out of a major event – so it was with much disappointment to learn at the press area Saturday morning that Lonelady, the only show I had pencilled in at the Belgrave Music Hall and the main electronic draw for me all day, had been replaced by someone else. I will say that the sting was slightly taken off by the Patty Smith’s Dirty Burgers Chris and I had eaten there for lunch, as they were without a doubt some of the most delicious burgers I’ve ever had.

In my mind, it was to be left to Worcestershire’s astronomyy to pick up Lonelady’s slack and bring out the beats. I will say first that I have no idea about all the specs and details it takes to run a music venue, but the HiFi on Central Road certainly upset a whole lot of people Saturday in Leeds. What should have been a huge celebration of all things electro and soul in their basement venue turned into a massive problem, which I should have guessed when I ran from the Academy down to the club and astronomy hadn’t even started performing yet. After waiting probably an additional half hour after his appointed starting time, venue staff announced astronomyy would not be going on at all. Boos and jeering began and sadly, it would not be the last of such at the HiFi.

I used the downtime to visit with my Wakefield friend Matt Abbott, a friend of mine who formerly made a name for himself in music as the wordsmith behind Skint and Demoralised, is now a spoken word artist, performing as part of A Firm of Poets, who were at the featured lineup at the Black Swan, part of the Fringe portion of Live at Leeds. I mention the Fringe, as even if you’re skint (no pun intended) or don’t fancy paying for a wristband to Live at Leeds proper, there is still plenty on in town during the weekend that’s free and open to the public if you fancy it.

After we said our goodbyes, I thought it would be a good idea for me to head up to A Nation of Shopkeepers to see what the fuss was about BAD//DREEMS. I have pretty bad claustrophobia – I famously requested my biology midterm exam seat assignment in a university lecture hall be changed one semester, as I had been given a desk directly next to a wall – so this turned out to not be ideal for me at all; the place was packed, which was great, but after I had successfully passed the event bouncer who let me into the place, I found myself pinned in from all sides from people either trying to get drinks from the bar or those who refused to be kind and to make way for anyone else.

I suppose it’s your right to be territorial if you’ve gotten to a venue early and wish to stay, but some people were getting very tetchy and unhappy and it got to the point where I felt like I was going to faint and I had to leave. I did hear BAD//DREEMS’ music through a window outside and I very much enjoyed the guitar rock I did hear. If anything, the crammed in like sardines atmosphere suggests that the people of Leeds were very keen on seeing and hearing the Aussie band play, which is really fantastic for a band so far away from home. They’ll be in Sheffield tonight (the 7th of May) at the Rocking Chair, and I hope I get out of the airport quick enough to see them.

A return to the HiFi to see electro soul duo Honne and their full band setup including a bass player, drummer and a backing singer was worth the wait. However, because of the delays introduced by the astronomyy set that never materialised, the entire day’s lineup was delayed, causing some already drunk by then Yorkshire youths to start acting up, shouting insults in Honne’s direction. I feared a riot , which wouldn’t have been great since the HiFi space is in a basement, so you’ve really got nowhere to run.

Thankfully, they were able to get their act together (literally) and played a truncated yet satisfying set, including the Hype Machine favourite ‘Warm on a Cold Night’, which I imagine will be the song all of their fans will request for years to come. The equally soulful ‘All in the Value’ was another set highlight. Seek out their just released this week EP ‘Coastal Love’ on their own Tatemae Recordings.

As I was stood down the front for Honne, I couldn’t help but fret that I really should have left in the middle of their set to get to Leeds Town Hall for Dutch Uncles, who released their third album ‘O Shudder’ in February. If I’m entirely honest, I was hoping for an appearance of Muncan alongside frontman Duncan Wallis for the track ‘Decided Knowledge’. While I was fretting, I was scanning Twitter to see if there was any point to head there, figuring that the Cribs’ appearance later in the evening likely meant there’d be a massive queue for the hometown boys. Someone had posted a photo of the queue already forming hours ahead of the Cribs’ set, so I skipped them in favour of food, which is a necessary part of festival life, even if you have to force yourself to eat!

Trudging back up to A Nation of Shopkeepers, I arrived at the venue in the middle of a set by all-girl group Jagaara from North London. Punters were gushing over their music, which doesn’t sound all that unique to me: guitars, electronics, female voices, this is well-trod upon ground, folks. I guess I’ll have to investigate them more to form an educated opinion.

I was really at Shopkeepers for Boxed In, whose appearance at Blackjack London and AIM’s Friday night showcase at SXSW 2015 was super fun. I, along with Boxed In mastermind Oli Bayston, were about to be bowled over by the reception in Leeds. I spoke to several people in the audience prior to their set and they all said they had Boxed In’s debut album released last year and couldn’t wait to see the band perform. (Bayston and co. weren’t supposed to be my last band of Live at Leeds; I had intended to stay for the last band Real Lies. But due to technical difficulties at the venue and nearly an hour of waiting after Boxed In, getting my ears pummeled by squeals from the speakers that weren’t supposed to happen and no actual music, I called it a night.)

Running just a mere 5 minutes behind schedule, as soon as Bayston played his first keyboard note, the crowd turned the place into a vibrant dance party. The irrepressible rhythm of ‘Foot of the Hill’ encouraged the ladies to my right to do the dance equivalent of Peter Crouch’s robot moves, arms and legs flailing; ‘Mystery’, the Boxed In radio hit everyone was waiting for caused everyone to shake their tail feather.

As someone who spends a good part of her time trying to promote dance music as a fellow fan, to be able to witness such a spectacle and with so many people enjoying themselves watching a electropop act was equal parts validating and exciting. Fantastic. What a wonderful way to end my first Live at Leeds experience. Fingers crossed I will return next year!

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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