Friday, 24 May 2013

Live at Leeds '13

The 1975 at Live at Leeds

Sound Influx started Live At Leeds 2013 with a visit to The Wardrobe on the Friday night to catch Bearfoot Beware and Wet Nun’s sets. Although Bearfoot Beware entertained, it was Wet Nuns who really impressed. The duo created a sound of a volume seemingly beyond their means. That sound was full of huge riffs and thunderous drums, and boy was it LOUD. Their blend of lo-fi blues/punk really must be experienced live to have its sheer power appreciated fully.

Wild Swim

On the Saturday, it was a long walk to the Brudenell Social Club (buses/taxis are cheating, apparently) to catch the end of Wild Swim’s set. Their emotional songs with Wild Beasts style keys and vocals were certainly worth the walk, especially closer ‘Echo’. Next, to the Faversham, where Swiss Lips’ energetic set surely won them some new fans. The band’s sugar sweet vocals, synths and drum machine beats are easy to hate, but after seeing them live, this cynical view might just have changed for some. The Manc popsters really did bring a fun atmosphere, and live, their sound is just much less, well…annoying. One band who didn’t need to convince anyone was Dinosaur Pile-Up. The local lads certainly know how to whip up a crowd and there were circles going from early in the set. But my god were they loud. Loud is to be expected and anticipated from this band, but ears ringing four hours and the lasting regret of forgetting earplugs isn’t. This was a bit of a shame as it meant the set wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been.

Swiss Lips

After a break for burritos (the ultimate festival food, probably), we got ourselves to the Stylus to see the fantastic MØ, who’s energetic stage presence combined with infectious pop songs made for a really great set. The use of projections as a backdrop was a nice touch, adding an extra dimension to the show for those at the back. ‘Pilgrim’ and ‘Glass’, with Singer Karen Marie Ørsted prowling the stage in a leopard print bomber jacket. From one definite highlight of the weekend and straight on to another, I managed to get to the front for Savage’s set. That renowned intensity wasn’t hampered too much by sound difficulties with singer Jehn’s mic. Once these problems were fixed the launched into a full on rendition of ‘Shut Up’, and there’s probably some irony to be found in there somewhere. The rest of the set, with rumbling bass, punchy drums and, of course, Jehn’s fierce, intense vocals made sure that savages’ performance stayed in my mind for a good long while. They scared and thrilled in equal measures and SI loved every minute.

Dinosaur Pile Up

After getting slightly lost, SI managed to arrive at the beautiful Holy Trinity church in time for Sóley’s sound check. Her set was beautiful, even despite a quite impossibly loud argument breaking out halfway through, which left a slightly awkward, embarrassed atmosphere lingering for a few songs. However this went away as throughout the rest of her set Sóley created such beautiful, haunting songs which had the audience in a sort of hushed reverence, befitting the church setting. ‘Pretty Face’ and ‘I’ll Drown’, with its echoing, sampled vocals, were the highlights of a truly captivating performance.

Embers were a last minute addition to the line-up, and although they clashed with headliners The Walkmen, they were un-missable, as a band who have played too few shows since they first burst onto the Manchester scene. And they didn’t disappoint, creating huge, reverberating songs that filled the tiny, boiling Nation Of Shopkeepers from wall to wall. It may have been the walking, or the heat, or the lack of sleep, but SI may have found ourselves getting a little emotional towards the end of their set. Embers’ blend of shoegaze and post-rock is immensely impressive live, and SI implores you to go and see them.

After realising that I had missed ‘The Rat’, SI is ashamed to say that we left The Walkmen’s set early. A whole day of intensive band watching, walking and getting lost in Leeds had taken its toll and we needed a bit of a sit down. As the Stylus was packed (and rightly so) for The Walkmen, we wandered down to The Mine to Watch Sky Larkin. To end the weekend with a band who have been a part of the Northern music scene for many years seemed fitting somehow, and was really quite special. It seems they have only got better since we last saw them all those years ago.

Live At Leeds, though exhausting, was a thoroughly fantastic festival with a great atmosphere. And, for this writer, who had never been to Leeds before, it also proved a fantastic tour around the city and some of its impressive venues. The only downside was missing so many bands due to clashes , walking or both. Honourable mentions go to The Crookes, The Staves, Micky P Kerr and King Krule. We’re sure that there’ll be plenty of opportunities to see this lot soon though. Roll on Live At Leeds 2014!

Words: Holly Read Challen
Photos: Braden Fletcher

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