Live At Leeds 2019 : Livewire's Review
The 4th of May has always been an exciting day for one particular reason. Star Wars Day. However, this year it was so much more than that. Live at Leeds returned for another year and I was given the opportunity to explore the festival known as being ‘one of the best events to discover the best new emerging artists’. With over 20 different venues hosting 200 different musical acts, Live at Leeds was the perfect way to kick off 2019’s festival season for me.
I started the day off in the Press Room interviewing various bands, planned and unplanned. Black Honey made my first ever official interview a very easy and relaxing process and within a few minutes of talking to them my pre-interview nerves had gone and I felt as though I was catching up with old friends. Lady Bird were a laugh and definitely the type of people I’d like to go to the pub with. I was also very grateful for the advice they gave me about breaking into a new pair of Doc Martens.
After spending £4.10 on a pint of the cheapest cider (no you don’t need to go to Specsavers that really was £4.10 for a pint in the north), I danced into the set of Gengahr to catch the end of “Before Sunrise”. Despite being gutted that I missed my favourite track, they still played multiple classic’s like “She’s a Witch” and “Mallory”. The set was fab, the lights the fab, the fans were fab and the dancing was fab. Altogether it was smashing, strobey, Obi Wan Kanobi.
SPINN were next up on our agenda and after a short Uber ride we arrived at The Wardrobe and boy, were we impressed. Despite many technical difficulties, SPINN managed to pull off a brilliantly candid performance. SPINN’s frontman Johnny Quinn had great audience interaction and often came to the stage barrier for a quick chat to get to know his fans. This was something that makes intimate performances particularly special and a quality that I really miss when seeing larger bands in larger venues. Songs such “Sunshine” and “Foundations” showcased SPINN’s feel-good attitude to life and was jam-packed with jangly-guitar riffs and drum patterns to send you into a toe-tapping frenzy. This was demonstrated fabulously by Johnny who had moves that would put Hugh Grant’s dancing in Love Actually to shame. After the set, Andy Power and Johnny agreed to a spontaneous Livewire interview which I was so grateful for. SPINN is definitely an emerging artist to look out for and they are hopefully fixing the broken hearts of TRASH fans as we speak. I’m excited to see how this band develops and how Andy’s staple hairstyle evolves (or doesn’t).
After a short walk and a Tesco Passion Fruit Martini (ooh boujie, that was a southern move for sure), I finally had the opportunity to experience a Leeds Church gig for myself and see Cassia. The green and yellow stage lights refracted and bounced off of the stain-glassed windows and the crowd were happily bobbing to “Small Spaces”. I danced my way to the front and let their calypso infused melodies take control of me as they played their best tracks from their new album. The lead singer looked the spitting image of Livewire’s Ben Moxon which was very strange but all in all it was a very pleasant performance.
Following this, the moshing began. Year 11 me went absolutely crazy to the Academic’s punchy, indie rock anthems. Although I was sad I missed FUR at the Brudenell Social Club, the Academic was so worth it. They played fan favourites such as “Bear Claws” and “I Thought I Told You” and I witnessed the friendliest moshes ever. Everyone was saying ‘sorry’ if they bumped into you and were picking up the fallen and wounded. The Academic, in all of their Irish charm, left me in a buzz for the following hour.
Black Honey was a whole new ball game. Izzy came out in a two-piece striped pyjama set with her hair pinned up into a messy blonde beehive, looking very Dolly Partonesque. She instantly captivated her audience with her sultry looks and the band played Black Honey classics such as “Madonna”, “I Only Hurt the Ones I Love” and “Corrine”. The mosh pit to “Spinning Wheel” was the largest one I’ve ever seen in a small venue and I got severely battered and bruised as a frontliner but oh my, did I have the time of my life. Black Honey are definitely another artist to watch.
Next was my favourite ever hype band: Confidence Man. Although the performance was not as exciting as it was at Latitude, I still had the best time and busted some moves only Theresa May would be proud of. Confidence Man are so much more than just music. Their perfectly choreographed dance moves, electropop rhythms and bass drops were so rainbow rhythms and they could probably get an audience watching an opera to at least tap their toes.
I had the best time at LAL and I can’t wait for the next one! The whole day was a whirl and every band was talented, exciting and in touch with the crowd. It’s just a shame it didn’t last longer (and Confidence Man didn’t wear Star Wars Costumes).