Festival season kicks off with Live at Leeds 2019: Top 15 Picks
The first festival of the year is always one to remember, with Live at Leeds bringing the best of new music from across the world!
‘A typical existential pop tune’ is how Orla introduced ‘Why Am I Like This?’ – a song for which the audience sang along so loudly, that her charming humbleness she was overwhelmed by the response. Other tunes like ‘Between My Teeth’ saw her take on the synths, if she wasn’t playing the guitar too. You just left Orla’s gig wanting to be friends with the dynamic musical genius and singing her songs for days after.
After reminding the audience that she was there live and requesting us not watch her through phone screens, Kate performed in entirety her new album set for release in June, ‘The Book of Traps and Lessons.’ The narrative in her albums translates to a mesmerising live set, where each song runs in to the next as one big piece of work, rather than numerous individual songs. She started the set with letting the audience know about the sad news she just received of a friend who took his own life, just hours before the set. However, she accompanied with an inspiring reminder about how it is more important to talk about such matters than it is to worry about ‘bringing the mood down,’ reminding us it is real life.
Everyone You Know
An 11.15pm slot is typically hard for a band to capture the crowd, but this dynamic duo ended the festival at Headrow House in the only way you’d want to – dancing. ‘Dance Like We Used To’ is the first track of the set and grabs the audience within seconds, all the way to last song ‘Our Generation’ which is a more direct criticism of their observations. Poetic lyrics like ‘We’re taking shots like we’re bulletproof’ slapped on top of the Prodigy-inspired techno-rave makes Everyone You Know tick all the boxes.
The young star in the making delivered his first live show ever this weekend at Live at Leeds, and it was a special moment to witness. Theatrical in his performance, with a cheeky twinkle in his eye, the rapper-singer creates pop bangers that leave a kick in your feet and a smile on your face. With just two releases to his name, ‘Christ Flow’ and ‘Blu Skyes,’ watch out for tunes like ‘DOUGH’ and ‘Better Than You’ on their way!
Performing an acoustic set, sitting on a stool on stage, this of course meant Beabadoobee was practically invisible when standing in this packed crowd. But just hearing her vocals is enough to feel the impact of her music. As fans lined up to take a picture with her, ‘If You Want To’ was the highlight of the set and is Beabadoobee’s most well-known song which sees a sweet lyrics on top of some good quality live instrument pop.
Performing at the famous Brudenell Social Club, the band marked it as a milestone in their musical career. The rawness of an acoustic guitar taking the lead (in a full band set-up), combined with sound manipulation, was a refresher from the electro pop or heavy riffs that inundated the festival. The soothing middle ground they found makes them a definite contender for revolutionizing the way new music can be produced.
Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard
Clad on stage in Beatles merch and having ‘John Lennon Is My Jesus Christ’ as their most memorable tune, it’s no question where Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard’s rock ‘n’ roll comes from. Between the flare jeans, flying guitars and scissor-kicks so high from lead singer Tom that you’d think he was a gymnast, the band could have easily been lifted from the 70s. They are incomparable to any other band on the grassroots scene.
Performing with just one more person to accompany him, and days after a sold out Camden Assembly headline, Max joined the Headrow House line up following a year of a solid release momentum. Though a strong vocalist, there is also a particular focus on the production that he does himself too, and are obvious in his stage set up. His newest song ‘String On Me’ was released just last week.
‘Party Without Ya’ was the tune from Wooze that really kicked off the evening portion of Live at Leeds. With band members dressed in disposable face masks, rain coats and mesh blouses, the intriguing aesthetic augmented the quirky music the band deliver. Wooze don’t just make music, they make art.
Not often do crowds ask for an encore at a festival, yet the band, hailing from Germany’s small town of Hamm, were able to leave the crowd cheering and chanting for more as they performed at The Lending Room. Giant Rooks was able to take everyone in to a new universe as the tracks from their 2019 EP ‘Wild Stare’ were so engrossing.
Headlining the NME stage after Metronomy were no longer able to perform after a venue flood, Confidence Man carried the slot perfectly as their dance music was craved at the end a long day for a crowd who’s more likely than not pretty drunk by 9pm. The performance of their debut LP ‘Confident Music for Confident People’ just created hype for the rest of festival season!
A stripped back set only meant that the audience could focus attentively on Rachel’s gleaming vocals. There is a charming vulnerability to Rachel’s performance, as she lets us in to her life, whether it’s a song about being 16 and in love on ‘Mamma’s Boy,’ or a pop straight-up pop with up beat tune ‘Adrenaline’ for which she has already made an epic colourful video.
Brunswick performed on the Live at Leeds line up just 2 months after the release of his debut EP ‘We Surround Ourselves With Chaos.’ Though pop-tastic in it’s sound, the topics which Brunswick addresses are heavy in substance, resulting in quite a tasteful collection of music. He nailed the best way to introduce himself to a brand new audience, for most of whom it was their first time seeing Brunswick live!
Leeds’ own homegrown band Marsicans made their city proud as they performed a coveted slot at the O2 Academy for this year’s festival. With a debut album still on the horizon, the indie-pop quartet performed their bright tunes including ‘Suburbs,’ ‘Pop Ups (Sunny At The Weekend),’ and ‘Too Good,’ causing a mosh pit every corner of the venue. This mega milestone came just days after announcing a headline gig at Leeds’ Stylus for this November.
Elli has some classic vocals with a contemporary delivery, making herself endearing to a wide demographic. After taking a couple of years away from the spotlight, she has returned to a large wave of loyal fans who never forgot her. All eyes were on Elli as she took centre stage in a tiger print dress, and even throughout her set, her instrumental accompaniment was minimal, letting the focus be on her voice, though the was a saxophonist who added a raw element.
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