REVIEW Feeder – Leeds O2 Academy – 13th March 2018

November 2008. The last time I saw Feeder play O2 Academy (or should I say Carling Academy, and shudder at the memories of warm ‘gig’ Carling) and rather enthusiastically ended up somewhere between the middle and the front, depending on which way we all danced around.

Many things have changed since then, generally and in live music venues. The small queue (impeccably managed based upon previous experience at the venue over the years) even an hour after the doors opened, as a result of security, is a stark reminder of the more challenging and saddening aspects of live music that have evolved throughout this time period.

For a Tuesday night mid March, the venue is… Well to be quite frank, it’s full. As in, properly full, not strategically spaced ‘I’m saving spaces’ full. Hardly surprising considering this is a band whose music has spanned over multiple decades.

Although I missed the first support act Sweet Little Machine (another addition to factor into the equation attending a gig in comparison to 2008, having a full time job to negotiate), I did purchase one of their t-shirts due to the eye-catching design, which has since lead to finding their music – a reverse marketing ploy worked well on this occasion.

Team Picture. Counting the band members walking onto the stage, I was debating for a second whether we were in a Broken Social Scene situation (you’ll be pleased to know their 19 band members ‘record’ is under no threat). A full O2 Academy, with the hustle and bustle of the bars and crowd is always difficult in the circumstances. Their style was of the scaled back Arcade Fire kind and pleasant to listen to. A band that would be interesting to see on the festival circuit and from what I can spot so far, it seems they have Long Division 2018 in place.

Lights dimmed, Feeder made their way onto the stage. Having grown up with the band, particularly during high school, the songs evoke many memories. Starting with ‘Feeling a Moment’, there was the mutual understanding within the audience that people just ‘get’ it. The real truth is, it’s hard not to like any of their songs. 

Classics after classics, with a few of the newer songs thrown in for good measure. Particular highlights of the evening, besides the obvious, included the back-to-back combination of ‘Pushing the Senses’ and ‘Lost & Found’ and later on in the set list, ‘My Perfect Day’, ‘Cement’, ‘Borders’ following each other in quick succession. Considering the guys have recently hit the big 5-0, you would simply have no idea. The energy input for the two hour setlist was brilliant.

Of course I have to mention the usual songs. The ‘Just A Day’ and ‘Buck Rogers’. Let’s be frank, no matter how often you hear these live, you know you’d be disappointed if they weren’t played. Complete and utter joy/madness/happiness doesn’t even come close to describing everybody in the room when the opening chords start.

Once again they delivered. A great midweek gig, providing the opportunity to reminisce and celebrate over 25 years of life with Feeder.

Set list can be view here

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PREVIEW: Live at Leeds 2016

Here we are again. Number ten.

Between unemployment, redundancies and whatever else has headed this way in the last 12 months, until last week I wasn’t even sure if I was going to Live at Leeds this year. Then to throw a spanner in the works as an avid Guiseley AFC fan, I realised their last game, an important relegation battle one at that, is on the same day. Nightmare.

I sat down, had a good old word with myself, ‘Don’t be so ridiculous’ I said, and promptly printed out the schedule. I’ll have half an eye on Twitter from 5.30pm for the Guiseley score.

Simple things first, I love the colour and design of the schedule this year. Top marks for that. If you want to know what the hell I’m on about check it out here.

The dilemma with the end of the day is that they’re all just a bit good, if you know what I mean? I remember we used to split as a group in earlier years, go see a different band, reporting back at Starbucks (Pre legal drinking age) with distorted phone recordings.

Things have changed in the ten years since Live at Leeds started. I have a ticket from the 2008 festival I believe, £10.00 for the day but a separate ticket to a main act that night in Millennium Square. We’ve lost venues (RIP The Cockpit and Joseph’s Well, I’m still bitter), gained venues and lost the truly amazing time saver that is the Free City Bus. Okay I know it still exists, but it’s not free.

No matter what though, I am lured into the buzz, the build-up and the excitement. I just can’t keep away.

With over 20 stages this year, I’ll definitely be reaching my daily step target and probably balancing out the inevitable street food and ales I will consume during the day. Combine this with listening to endless hours of fresh music (Anybody remember Bastille at Leeds Met?).

Now onto the important element; music. I’ll say here’s a few of my picks for the day, and I will try and get to these, but you know what it’s like; I’ll probably see none of these and discover another ten bands in the meantime.

The Boxer Rebellion

Probably don’t need much of an introduction. If you do then their songs say it all. If it can be helped, my ‘go to’ headliner at the 11.00pm mark. It’s not that the other bands aren’t worthy (Believe me they are), but these guys are heading off to Europe and America throughout the rest of this year so catch them while you can.

The Jackobins

The Liverpudlian alternative rock outfit bring undeniably catchy songs which will no doubt have your feet tapping away. They’re confirmed as playing Apollo Festival at the end of June, check them out in the smaller venue of Leeds Beckett.

Fatherson

Headlining Stage 2 within Leeds Beckett, this Scottish trio (sound familiar?) bring big sounds, big choruses and delightful anthemic rock. Oh and they happen to be supporting Biffy Clyro this year too.

Otherkin

I first saw these at Nation of Shopkeepers at the end of last year. Energetic and raw Irish rock band, definitely recommend seeing. If you’re tiring from the antics throughout the day, these will definitely revitalise you.

Carvella

It may be early in the day, but getting down to The Wardrobe for this time can be highly recommended. With thrashing guitars and a 90’s Brit Pop/Indie feel, it’ll be worth it

The Elephant Trees

The Guiseley based alternative rock outfit stick the rock essentials; guitars, strong vocals and the customary guitar solo. An interesting band to catch, and the venue choice of The Wardrobe Bar should be ideal for the bands sound.

Reigning Days

Thrash around in The Key Club to this band. I already have done just by watching their latest video. The line-up in this venue last year was phenomenal, I am certain you won’t be disappointed.

King No-One

Constellations is a damn catchy song. The Yorkshire Indie-Rock group will be entertaining Belgrave Music Hall with their guitar goodness. Have a little early afternoon dance around to their songs, it’s never too early for anything on Live at Leeds day.

Bring on the 12+ hours of music.

Enjoy #LAL2016 everybody!

 

 

Is it your first time or are you a seasoned pro? Ten Live at Leeds pointers for their tenth year, mostly from experience…

Now, I suppose you could say having ventured to Live at Leeds from the start I have collated a few ‘tips’ across the years. Nothing too fancy and hey, you don’t even have to consider them but in its tenth year, here are ten tips for Live at Leeds 2016.

  1. Go steady with the drink, alcohol that is

I learnt this throughout the first few times I went to Live at Leeds. All day event, music, have a beer (or two) at each performance. By 5.00pm you’re tired, unsure whether you’re still drunk or if it’s a daytime hangover and you start debating whether to stick around and be a misery or slope off home (Bed is so appealing right now).

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1.00pm is a bit too early for these

Alternate your drinks and keep the water levels up. I’d say take a water bottle but we know some venues don’t allow water bottles in… (I’ll save that for another time).

  1. Remember to eat

It sounds stupidly obviously. However you’ll be surprised in the excitement of the day you’ll have reached 4.00pm, had a bowl of cereal at about 9.00am and suddenly feel very, very weird. We’re fortunate that Leeds is such a compact and cultural city, opportunities to find food are endless. Taste of Leeds have collated just a selection of these locations and a hand guide to where they can be found in relation to music venues.

  1. Take a break

I can see it now, you’re shaking your head in disbelief. It’s true though, much like the ‘drink’ and ‘food’ pointers, your body needs to physically sit down throughout the day. Even if it’s for a quick coffee. Use it as time to re-group and plan ahead for the rest of the day. Your body will appreciate it, as will you when you’re dancing into the early hours of the morning.

  1. Communicate

With your group, with other people, whoever. The beauty of the event is that people are all there for the same purpose. They want to discover new music and share that with other people. Some people will come along with friends, others by themselves. Have that chat about the heavy metal band you have just seen at Holy Trinity Church (Extremely unlikely but hey, just an example). At the very least, it’s a conversation. Who knows, it could lead to new career opportunities.

  1. Layer up

It’s all well and good setting off at 10.00am in just a T-shirt, but when that temperature drops by 11.00pm and you’re waiting for the last bus back, it’s no longer fun. So basic, but even a lightweight waterproof is better than nothing. Bearing in mind we’ve just had snow, maybe a thermal coat and gloves?

  1. Pick a random band

Any band. Like the look of the name? Pick them. Realised it’s the only band you can get to within the next hour? Go for it. It can be an experience and allow you to hear a band or artist you would never have chosen. We can’t guarantee if you’ll enjoy them, but at least you gave it a shot. I stumbled upon a little-known band called Bastille a couple of years back – I guess it can’t be all bad!

  1. Try a new venue

Venues has closed over the years (Please don’t get me started…) but others have reopened in their place! Different venues tend to host different style bands. Usually. Therefore I do recommend trying to visit a range of venues, you may just find your new favourite. The Social/Slate Courtyard and Hyde Park Book Club look interesting choices for this year.

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Hyde Park Book Club

  1. Take a notebook

Maybe it’s the writer/aspiring journalist within me, but there’s nothing that can replace a good ol’ notebook when you want to jot down that obscure fact about the 3.00pm musician you have just seen. Aside from that, linking back to communicating, it’s always useful to have a pen and paper for impromptu networking conversations.

  1. Take a camera

Take drunken selfies with your friends, or by yourself. Well, you can do. It’s also useful to have for those quick snaps throughout the day be it for a blog, a book of memories or just to upload on Facebook. I also find lesser known bands appreciate the interaction and knowledge you came to see them perform.

  1. Enjoy!

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Does this one really need an explanation?

TRACK REVIEW The Paisley Royals – ‘Keeping Off The Track’

Reminiscent of the Brit-Pop 90’s era, ‘Keeping Off The Track’ is everything you want a song to be; catchy guitars, strong vocals and that melody which despite your best efforts will result in you tapping your foot/nodding your head/swaying from side to side (delete as appropriate). If you think festival performance on a summer day, you may understand what I am on about.

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Sneakily listening to other tracks on the band’s Soundcloud, ‘Keeping Off The Track’ is not a one-track wonder. ‘Flirtatious Beat’ is upbeat and infectious whereas ‘No Dancing On The Tables’ showcases the vocal and harmonising skills of the band.

Although evident the likes of Blur, Oasis and Catfish and the Bottlemen are obvious influences, it is by no means a criticism. The individual style and talent of the band is strongly evident throughout and it is hardly surprising that they will shortly be releasing their debut EP.

Miller Blue – ‘Cold Hands’

In the digital era of music, it can be refreshing to hear music that focuses predominantly on the vocal. Something ‘Cold Hands’ manages to do.

The backing track is somewhat haunting and seemingly supports the rawness of 19-year-old Benjamin Edward’s (Miller Blue) voice. Soulful with an element of electronica-pop, a stunning, and mature, combination for an artist who is only just working their way through university.

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Miller Blue – ‘Persistance’ EP

Delving a little deeper and stumbling across the EP released in September 2015, there is no end to the diversity within the songs. ‘Marigold’ and ‘Vibe’ hold a combination of Hip Hop and R’n’B with the underlying soul still present.

To have the musical ability to provide such a range of genres is brilliant to see and one that should be noted for, I believe, an extremely successful future.

 

Listen if you enjoy; James Blake, Bastille, The Walkmen

The suspense of festival season.

This appeared on the Live at Leeds social media feeds the other day.

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(C) Live at Leeds

We like this imagery. It means things are happening, all good things.

Saturday 30th April will be the 10th anniversary of Live at Leeds. Considering the success over this time period, I can imagine a significant celebration will be in order. Now is as good a time as any to prove why Leeds is still THE place to come to for music of all genres, no matter how established an act is.

The event has stood firm through the years and many of the venues once known for hosting large sections of the day have now diminished. My fear, admittedly, was at the rate this was happening, the style of the festival itself would have to be compromised.

Thankfully this has not been the case.

Extended to include a digital programme in the days prior to the one-dayer we all know the best, it really will be a week of events that show people that Leeds will always be a place for live music.

Now let’s be patient and see what is in store for what is undoubtedly one of the best metropolitan festivals across the nation.

Independent Venue Week – What does it mean?

So this is something I’ve been really looking forward to. Quite alot if I’m honest. You all know how frustrated I am at the closer of independent music venues in Leeds over the last few years, the last 18 months in particular. If you don’t know – it’s a topic I will be addressing in more detail shortly.

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(c) Independent Venue Week

I am torn as of course it is a brilliant idea to allow independent venues to be celebrated and receive the credit and recognition they deserve. However, it does also feel a shame that something like this has to be done in order for their future to remain intact. Kind of a double-edged sword really. To avoid the ending that many pubs have faced over the last few years, it is something that has to be addressed.

These independent venues are integral to a city, regardless of how big that city may be. They provide the essential platform for musicians to establish themselves, create a fanbase and start their journey. Grafting hard selling tickets, promoting, juggling full-time jobs with band practices, playing those venues where only a fraction of the crowd have any idea who you are. It’s a valuable learning curve and one that is being seriously threatened by the closure of the independent venues.

Now since Leeds are already down a few venues in compaison to recent years, it is good to see the likes of The Library on the official list of venues for this celebration. York, Doncaster and Wakefield to name but a few in the region also have venues on offer this week. Check out the full list here .

As they say; if you don’t use it, you will lose it. After all, how many more venues can Leeds afford to lose?

Read more about Independent Venue Week here.