We are just weeks from Live at Leeds and the hype is real. Year on year the festival has continued to grow, showcasing a range of local talent and headlining acts from all walks of music. In the coming weeks we will look at the venues, the best local bands, a well as a roundup of our personal faves.
This week however, we will be talking about some of the venues that are hosting the fest, mapping the whole thing out for you like a sexy sat-nav.
And when discussing live music in Leeds, there is only one place to start.
The Brudenell Social Club
Hosting: The Big Moon, Howl, Jagara etc.
The Brudenell is an institution in these parts, and a pillar of the touring circuit. It’s comprised of two venues. The DIY Stage is where you can catch The Big Moon (read our review of their debut) Moonlandingz, Dream Wife and many others. Meanwhile on the DIY Neu stage, hosted in the Games Room, there is scandi-poppers Off Bloom as well as liverpudlian trio Trudy and the Romance.
There is a main bar room, with some local beers at very reasonable prices, and a bar in the main room, where the DIY stage is. It’s a little out-of-the-way, located in the heart of Hyde Park, but ideal if you’re a student.
O2 Academy Leeds
Hosting: White Lies, Slaves, The Amazons etc.
You know it, you love it. Probably. Academies are now ubiquitous up-and-down the country, but Leeds’ own is in an old church, and has a fantastic sound set-up. In addition, you get some of the big-hitters playing here, and it is in proximity to the Uni venues and the city centre. White Lies open the billing at 3:00pm, followed by Black Honey and The Amazons.
Hosting: Rag N Bone Man, Nothing But Thieves, Fickle Friends etc.
Leeds Uni has two venues on offer: Stylus and The Refectory. Stylus is located downstairs in the SU. It’s a very similar setup to the O2, and has three levels, with an upper seating section (not for the die-hards, it’s pretty relaxed up there) a mid-level that looks out at the stage, where the entrance is, and the standing level. The sound and light setup is of a good quality, and there are two bars on the entrance level.
The Refectory is actually the canteen, but it’s also a fantastic performance space with a decent capacity, and a high ceiling for the acoustics. LUU have some of the best acts on offer (sorry, Leeds Beckett) including headliners Rag N Bone Man & Nothing But Thieves, as well as The Hunna, Jaws and Fickle Friends. Remember to get cash out before you head that way, there’s always a rush on the machines.
Hosting: Frightened Rabbit, Temples etc.
Formerly Halo, Church is based in a church, obviously. It’s handily located a stone’s throw from the LUU. We’re due to review there later this month but I haven’t personally been there since my student days, and so can’t reliably report on it, as I was probably shit-faced. There’s an interesting mix of bands playing there, from the Scottish band Frightened Rabbit to Pigeon Detectives. It’ll be a lot of indie rock in the day.
Holy Trinity Church
Hosting: Lewis Watson, Jordan Mackampa, Gabrielle Aplin etc.
Keeping it Christian, the other church to note is Holy Trinity. Fans of singer-songwriters and soft acoustic pop will want to take a look. Lewis Watson and Jordan Mackampa (who played together in Leeds last year) are playing alongside Gabrielle Aplin. It’s in central Leeds but is a little out of the way from the Leeds Uni and Beckett venues and the 02. Still, it’s a gorgeous building, and probably the prettiest one on the roster.
There are way way more venues but sadly we can’t list them all. We don’t get paid by the word anymore. However these give you an idea of the variety on offer. Part of what makes the festival special is the sight-seeing involved. You get a real feel for the city and see places you normally wouldn’t. We’ll be writing next week about the local talent on offer, so keep an eye open.
Live at Leeds 2017 is on 29th April. Tickets here.