The music scene in Leeds is always electric and the festivals this city has provided speaks volumes of the city. Live at Leeds is a highlight of the year every year and for another year, In The City makes its return to the streets of Leeds. With a stacked lineup the day was set to be a busy and special.
I went along to get in amongst as many venues as possible in a short 12 hour period. From grass root venues to the student union and everything in-between. It was a great day for music and getting your steps in.
The history of this amazing festival makes it what it is - the coming together of the Leeds community and everyone from further afield really gives it a close wholesome feel you seem to miss at some larger scale festival. The intimacy of the venues and stature of the bands really give an incredible feel of what festivals are all about.
After the collection of the wristbands in Wardrobe, it was straight down the stairs for the first act of the day, Hotwax. The Hastings trio take to the stage in a packed room that’s the first venue of the day to reach max capacity - considering it’s only lunchtime, that says all you need to know about this band. They are kicking up a mass storm right now in the best possible way - Off stage they look like a young teenage crew of music fans who are part of this crowd, yet they transform when they hit the stage into a three pronged attack on the senses with their blazing set of perfect grunge, kicking in with a sublime treasure that hits us in the face with pure power.
Lola slap bass is a mesmerising thing to witness while the sound Tallulah wrenches from her guitar is an ear shedding powerhouse of clever noise. Then we have the complex drumming style that gives the whole unit that perfect sound from Alfie.
A little walk across the city to Nation of Shopkeepers to catch a very exciting new in the scene right now - Pixey. Having seen her only a week prior in Glasgow’s east end, I just had to see more. Her eye catching sets are packed full of energy and slapping riffs that leave it near impossible to stand still at any time. The power she has in her music takes over and you find yourself mirroring her endless energy.
Making her professional debut in 2020, she’s reached some incredible highs that’s seen her hit the road with the likes of DMA’s, Miles Kane, Tom Grennan and indie icons The Libertines. 2023 single Just Move was also used as the audio for Liverpools 23/24 kit launch and also the FIFA Woman’s World Cup.
The set itself was packed full of everything you can expect from a Pixey show. With a nice mix of recent and new tunes - the crowd were hooked throughout with some fine dance moves on the go - we were event treated to some fine entertainment from fans outside the venue window who were unlucky enough to miss out due to venue capacity being reached.
To The Key Club next to catch up with one of my must see acts of the day. All the way from Oxford, it’s South Arcade.
There is a huge excitement around this band at the moment and rightly so. Fresh off the back of their first ever headline tour that was also sold out across the board, they return to Leeds again having only played here a short time ago with Aussie friends Yours Truly. A packed Key Club is ready and waiting as the band take to the stage.
There is always such a high energy on stage at any show from singer Harmony and this is mirrored by both fans and the rest of the band - bassist Ollie, guitarist Harry and drummer Cody. Despite the short set, it was packed full on the old and new - recent singles Silverlight & Unaware both getting a great reception from the crowd, especially during Unaware when it’s now became a custom to get down for the final drop to then jump up and loose yourself.
As iconic as I Kissed A Girl may be, South Arcades cover of this classic make it sound fresh out the studio as if it’s their very own - it’s a great mid set drop and will always have a crowd singing a lot regardless where you are. From a Katy Perry banger to their very own banger that went viral on TikTok - Sound of An Empty Room closed off an incredible set. A taste of what’s to come from a band on the watch list - catch them back on Leeds on their next UK tour in March 2024 as they play Oporto on Thursday the 14th.
Sticking to Key Club, next up we have yet another incredibly exciting band who just seem to move from strength to strength - Seaford Alt-rockers, Snayx.
Mid-way through their own headline tour, the 3-piece stop off in Leeds to kick up a storm for the LAL crowd who after speaking with revellers throughout the day, have a huge buzz around the festival prior to their set. So far the most chaotic set of the day, I genuinely lost count the amount of times singer Charlie Herridge left the stage to join the crowd in the madness. Throughout their set it was quite impossible to fixate on just one member, with Charlie going missing in the crowd, attentions turned to both bassist Ollie Horner who’s moves were as groovy as his skills on bass - then we have one of the best drummers I’ve had the chance to witness in recent time and Lainey’s skills behind the kit are something special with insane high levels of intensity & energy.
Released singles like Boys In Blue and I’m Deranged causing some joyful but chaotic scenes in the crowd, it was obvious from the get go this audience never came to stand still. Recent single Better Days brought a slightly calmer side to things being brought in mid set to even the balance before concluding with more anarchy in Work followed by Sink or Swim to close. With their ep around the corner and a highly successful UK tour, the future for the southern trio is looking very bright.
Photo by Maggsvisiuls
Rounding off the day in style was Kid Kapichi, leading up to the festival they were one of my must see acts - and they proved exactly why this was. In a packed Stylus, the Hastings quartet turned up in style.
Citing acts including Queens of the Stone Age, The Libertines, Amazing Snakeheads and Turbowolf, the band’s influences are very diverse. It all becomes abundantly clear when the band take to the stage, with powerful, heavy riffs. The vocals were clear and the instrumentals precise. The set was a strong mix consisting of current material and a couple of new tracks to look forward to.
Having just returned from the states, singer Jack shows his appreciation for being back on UK soil once again - only 3 songs in and the scenes of the crowd has given the band a good welcome home. They have crafted a unique sound that can be considered “textbook Kapichi” through the use of hard, stabbing guitar tones complimented beautifully by pin point accurate rhythmic patterns.
Mid set the band like to do a little giveaway where they throw unwanted rider items into the crowd as a sort of run raffle to who catches first. This time there was a twist with the rider being so little, the band took it upon themselves to provide and nip to the closest Co-Op to fill a bag of goodies. Being in Yorkshire of course the first item out was gravy. Following up with a classic Kinder Bueno and other sweet treats, it was a joy to witness the crowd leap for each item from the sidelines (even though the idea of a Bueno made me want to dive down for a chance of it).
The crowd were treated to some healthy new tracks that will be landing in their ears soon along with some classics like New England and Let’s Get To Work, the set was not stop bangers that always seen the same people starting the mosh pits in the middle of the room. A set like this shows that Kapichi are more than ready to sell out rooms of this size and bigger. It’s just a matter of when.
There we have it, another highly successful day for the Live at Leeds crew. Speaking with fans and staff throughout the day, it was clear today had been a joy for all involved and really cements this festival both in the city and in the park as a trademark festival that will be around for a long time to come!