We have a comfortable entry into the Saturday all-day gigfest at the annual LIVE AT LEEDS. As we arrive at the press centre based in Leeds City Museum, a healthy queue for wristbands is building up outside and the sun is beginning to beat down on dedicated gig-goers. We’re greeted by friendly staff and buckets full of Fosters lager – bit early in the day since it’s barely midday, but we are in Leeds. Having driven in from Manchester, we’re on the hunt for caffeine, of which there is none.
A few goody bags later, and we make our way to the Marriott Hotel where we’re greeted by even friendlier staff, who we discover includes a paralegal working at Blacks Solicitors. Bacon butties and again Fosters are on easy supply, and we are relieved to find the elusive coffee and tea. We’re here for a bit of the ol’ networking, and are pleasantly surprised to meet Pete Bott from Blacks who chats to us about his role in the evolving media & entertainment law department at his firm. Having been in a band himself, he’s keen to meet bands who require his firm’s services, considering that many musicians are in real need of legal advice, especially in this growing DIY climate.
Onwards to the live gigs. YADI has (much to our chagrin) cancelled, leaving us at the dimly lit Faversham to check out Manchester band SWISS LIPS. We caught the band at last year’s Liverpool Sound City and have been curious to see how they are doing, having played Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, among other stages last year. The video to DANZ still tickles us – best dance moves ever.
Moving on to the busy Leeds Met, we catch buzz band LONDON GRAMMAR, who are yes from London. This tight three-piece unit smashed Liverpool the day before and gained a whole slew of new fans, so we weren’t surprised to see the venue filling up nicely.
They’re a bit of everything, quite often carrying a Massive Attack sound in parts, and the most reliable electronica we’ve heard in this country for a while. They’re deeper and moodier than Chvrches and some of the others on the horizon competing to be the next Brit-electro cool kid band. Hannah Reid has naturally outstanding vocals having been already compared to something in the Tracey Thorn / Florence Welch / Katie Stelmanis range, perfectly melded with the drum and key strokes of Dot Major, and pretty guitar riffs of Dan Rothman.
Second time we’ve caught this band in two days and we’re quite a bit in love. What I really like about these guys is that they do an amazing job live, without trying too desperately hard to win your attention, added to which their tracks are top quality and a lot more accessible – less heavily engineered – than that of the xxs, Florences, and Ellies out there. I always feel like you’re kind of hanging out with them in their basement flat somewhere, just enjoying great music and chillin’ out together. Let’s hope the ‘evil’ industry doesn’t get the better of them and that they keep motoring in this direction – more tracks and performances like this and they could easily become the next Massive.