In just over two weeks, venues right across the city will be awash with music for the stellar Live At Leeds. Not only that, 2017 marks the festival’s 10th anniversary, and it looks set to be its biggest year yet. Bringing together the best breakthrough talent with established acts from round the world, the diverse line-up mirrors the patchwork quilt of Leeds’ music scene; just a quick glance sees a blend of acoustic acts, psych-rock, hip-hop, jazz-fusion and a healthy dose of indie.
With countless acts storming everywhere from Oporto to O2 Academy, its tricky to know where to start. So, in keeping with the Live At Leeds ethos, we’ve brought together a mix of high-profile jewels and hidden gems to save you some time. Here’s just a flavour of the diverse acts on offer this year…
1) Slaves @ O2 Academy
As seen on their latest release Take Control, Slaves are never lacking something to shout about. In the last few years, the duo have taken modern punk by storm with just one guitar, a set of drums and a middle finger to Westminster. Not one for the faint-hearted, Slaves are also famed for their rowdy, sweaty gigs; why not see what all the fuss is about?
2) The Big Moon @ Brudenell Social Club
Having just smashed out their gutsy debut, Love In The Fourth Dimension (voted Rough Trade’s album of the month), the all-female quartet are taking it straight to Live At Leeds. With massive swells and mellow moments, The Big Moon bring a post-grunge indie vibe that’s sure to tickle Brudenell’s taste buds.
3) Let’s Eat Grandma @ The Faversham
Worried you’re not getting enough weird? How does two teenage girls wistfully moaning over layers of synth, drum pad and a tonne of glockenspiel sound? With a hint of Grimes? Thought so. For something moody, haunting and yet beautiful, Let’s Eat Grandma are the ones to watch for sure.
4) The Age of L.U.N.A @ The Faversham
At the age of only 18, the self-produced quartet bring together jazz-infused instrumentation with soulful vocal hooks and intelligent, relatable rap. Drawing influence from the likes of Public Enemy and A Tribe Called Quest, L.U.N.A’s hip-hop fusion is jam-packed with infectious grooves, and hotly tipped for 2017. Fans of jazz and hip-hop alike cannot miss this one.
5) DMA’s @ O2 Academy
Although they might not look like much, DMA’s are Australia’s answer to Britpop, boasting an anthemic sound evocative of Oasis and The Happy Mondays. After smashing Stylus at the back end of last year, it’s safe to say the trio will bring raw energy and heartfelt lyrics to O2 Academy in a fortnight’s time!
6) Temples @ Church
The veritable kings of UK psych-rock make their Live At Leeds debut, bringing the synth-heavy sound of Certainty with them. Not to mention, their music inside the walls of Church makes for one hell of a gig. For swathes of reverb and a scent of the sixties, how about taking the trip?
7) XamVolo @ The Faversham
London raised, Liverpool sculpted, XamVolo is a force to be reckoned with. In his own words, he splays his “messy mind” atop “raw, dark jazz grooves”, a style guaranteed to get your head bopping. But behind the fully-fleshed production and sexy voice sits a versatile jazz musician. So, whatever band lies behind him at the intimate Faversham, one thing’s for sure; it’ll be a joy watching XamVolo perform.
8) The Magic Gang @ Church
There’s something nostalgic about The Magic Gang, and they’ve not even released a full-length LP yet. Perhaps it’s their bluesy, surfer-esque vibe, or their clear sixties influences? Indie with an old school twist, it sounds like The Beach Boys had a baby with The Kooks. Either way, the driving bass and trebly guitar licks of these Brighton-based boys is damn infectious, and sure to get you shuffling!
9) Jagwar Ma @ Leeds Beckett
Bringing their psychedelic haze to Live at Leeds, Australian trio Jagwar Ma look set to light up the Leeds Beckett stage one way or another. And if the acid house vibes of their latest release Every Now & Then don’t resonate with the denizens of Hyde Park, then nothing will.
10) Rag ‘n’ Bone Man @ LUU Refectory
Rory Graham smashed the singles chart with his soulful vocals on the anthemic ‘Human’ this year, spending a whopping 13 weeks in the Top 10. Tattooed and towering over his support band, Rag ’n’ Bone Man’s intimidating stance is matched only by his humble persona and beefy tones. He’s sure to ram out Refectory this year, so be sure to get there early!
11) Carmody @ The Faversham
For those with a taste for something softer, Carmody’s blend of subtle beats, soft accompaniment and sweet vocals should quench the palate. Best known for her work with Tom Misch, her chilled out style should entrance the crowd at the intimate Faversham. Make sure you don’t miss this mid-afternoon gem!
The acts listed above present just a taste of the treasures on offer at this year’s Live At Leeds festival. The event takes place on April 29th, and tickets are available here: http://www.lunatickets.co.uk/event/live-at-leeds-2017/various-leeds-venues/1037098/
For a full list of artists, see here: http://liveatleeds.com/artists
Compiled by Sam Corcoran & InTheMiddle