SONG REVIEWS – ‘Loaded Gun’ and ‘Her’ – The Contravenes

‘Loaded Gun’ and ‘Her’ are songs by indie-rock Leeds band The Contravenes. Full of guitars, percussion and the raw vocal talent of Denny Parker, they’re the style of band you want to discover late afternoon at a music festival. A band and you can tap your feet, nod your head and jump with; but still pay attention to.

The Contravenes

The Contravenes

‘Loaded Gun’, beginning with a lonely guitar riff, soon intensifies, drawing in additional instruments. If you think The Walkmen, crossed with The Libertines, you’re probably on the right lines. Well composed, good old guitar-led rock from a band that can already produce a high quality melody.

What’s nice then is that ‘Her’ is a different style completely. The intensity of the song is stripped completely back, focusing more on the lyrics with a simple percussion in the background and the tones of a guitar accompanying the vocals. Proof if it was ever needed that The Contravenes are versatile in what they do.

Having just played a successful gig at 360 Club with The Vendettas, The Contravenes are playing as a part of the Oxjam Leeds opening event this Saturday 18th July 2015 at The Primrose (Meanwood Road, LS7 2HZ). A free event it’d be foolish not to go check them and the other acts out.

Visit The Contravenes Soundcloud to listen to both tracks

Music video for ‘Loaded Gun’ can be found

PREVIEW Live at Leeds 2015

The sun is shining (Albeit briefly but it will be back!) and I’ve been awake since about 6.30am with a niggling thought.

Just where do I begin my Live at Leeds 2015 journey?

Yes, it’s that day again and genuinely I can truly say this year I am bamboozled. Completely.

I usually ‘go with the flow’ but due to excessive time through unemployment, I thought this time around I would have a little listen to the acts beforehand that I liked the ‘vibe’ of.  Now that has left me stuck.

Do I slope around the corner from Wristband Exchange to Belgrave first for the electro-pop goodness of Polo, fulfil my steps quota to the maximum hitting Oporto for Ireland’s The Riptide Movement or combine amazing food and music at Nation of Shopkeepers for NGOD.

And this is only for the 12.00pm slot. Do not even get me started on the rest of the day.

See, the free city bus used to be my friend for these dilemmas, but I’m not even sure they can plant me in 3 places at once for this situation. Plus squeezing in refreshments breaks (Which is also a big choice game with the delightful street food options now on offer!) makes it all part of the fun.

It’s come a long way since the days of 2007 at approximately £10.00 a ticket, where the venues kind of slotted neatly together and your only food dilemma was if it was wrong to re-visit McDonalds twice in a day (so long as it was a different branch).  We’ve lost The Cockpit, Joseph’s Well and gained more venues, rebranding others.

But that’s the appeal to a festival like this. Planning for a day that never goes to plan and confusing the hell out of non-festival people who obliviously choose to come shopping and cannot understand why town is so busy.

Therefore, I am simply going to list the bands that I would like to see during today (I could post the whole line-up but even I had to cut the list down), and await to see if I see any of them, most of them or simply tear up the line-up and see where I end up.

Or not, because I’ve just changed my mind, again.

I’m sure my dilemmas will continue through the day via Twitter.


EP REVIEW – THE GRAND – ‘Incapacitated, Ill Fated, and In Love’

You can never have too much of a good thing. Too right. In this instance it’s music; more specifically bands hailing from Wakefield.


EP Cover

This Friday sees the release of  ‘Incapacitated, Ill-Fated and In Love EP’ by The Grand; a 3-piece alternative outfit who in recent months have received numerous airplay opportunities on BBC Leeds and featured on the Yorkshire Evening Post Postmusic podcast.

Starting the record with the dramatic bassline of ‘Romance is Dead’, gradually building with vocals, percussion and guitars it is immediately a likeable, foot-tapping, melody. This theme continues into through the ‘A City That Loves Me’ (Which also includes the use of what sound like brass instruments, somewhat adding to the uplifting of the song).

With thought-provoking song titles and lyrics which, may I add, are sung so emotively (Think Hamilton Leitheuser ‘strained’) that it makes the listener feel like they are personally being told a story for each song.

This is particularly the case for slower number, ‘Don’t You Hate it When I’m Right’ which personally I feel is one of those songs which needs to be played and heard live. There is such an incredible clash of sounds; deep and sultry bass tones, resulting in a crescendo of instrumental.

The Grand

The Grand

Increasing the pace, The Grand showcase they can produce a mixture of guitar and bass infused dramatic melodies, teamed with strong vocal ability, creating an alternative ‘pop’ sound that is very addictive.

They certainly know how to compose a record as well. Just as ‘Romance is Dead’ led us into the album, the almost haunting ‘Evening Fell, The Curtains Close’ uses and echoing vocal range to build us up before subtly reducing the input before the final guitar pluck is heard.

Tickets are selling fast for the show at Nation of Shopkeepers in Leeds on Friday 24th April.

After listening to the EP, is it any wonder?

The Grand ‘Incapacitated, Ill-Fated and In Love’ is available to pre-order from Friday 24th April 2015. See for more information.

LIVE REVIEW: American Authors – Brudenell Social Club, 20th November 2014

A music fan born and bred in Leeds, I was ashamed to have never encountered Brudenell Social Club until now, in my mid-twenties.

Tonight sees the arrival of American Authors, a 5-piece from Brooklyn, New York. To date mainly associated with providing the soundtrack to the Toyota Prius advert (‘Best Day of My Life’ in case you are wondering) as well as one of the more identifiable FIFA 2014 songs (‘Hit It’) it is chance for the alternative pop-rock outfit to showcase the rest of their talent in the iconic venue within the depths of Hyde Park, Leeds.

First to hit the stage however is Mike Dignam. An acoustic-led feel-good folk/pop artist. Attracting the predominantly student crowd Mike’s songs tell stories of fun times and relationships – allowing the audience to clap cheer and sing along. A definite music act to watch over the next year.

The break between the acts allows me to look around the venue. A more hexagonal (!) stage area that is sunken down in front of the traditional social club bar and seating. A welcome break from the modern music clubs in the centre and selling ales from £1.99, it is a more traditional setting. The acoustics are wonderful, simply echoing around the room.

American Authors arrive on stage to a mixture of cheers, whistles and screams. Immediately enveloping the entire crowd into clapping, stamping their feet and in some cases jumping (This I noted was not the case for those holding alcoholic beverages)

The moment I regret relying on just my phone camera...

The moment I regret relying on just my phone camera…

Playing through their album ‘Oh what a life’, including the occasional cover (Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ and Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’) frontman Zac Barnett’s energy is endless, evidently proving, should they need to, that they are a band more than capable of producing more than just a couple of ‘soundtrack’ hits.

Naturally humouring the crowd about the English weather (Despite New York sitting under a blanket of snow!) it feels like one big party with friends, a complete carnival atmosphere. The band is quite frankly a delight to watch, genuinely loving what they do, and a breath of fresh air to liven the dank November evening.

Returning to the stage for an encore, the band proceeds to invite the crowd to ‘stick around’ to chat after the gig. This alone restores my faith in the music industry. Since the closure of The Cockpit in Leeds I have been genuinely worried that venues such as Brudenell Social Club, would be forgotten about by artists. However, seeing a band like American Authors tonight with so much passion, leaves hope for the live music scene just yet.

Where shall we hold the next gig?

Over the last few years, the student population of Leeds has gradually expanded taking it into the suburbs.

What was originally Leeds City Centre and Hyde Park advanced through Headingley, and through the expansion and recognition of Leeds Trinity University, Horsforth has now become enveloped within the student population.

Therefore it hardly came as a surprise when they announced a ‘Fresher’s Week’ set of events at the University itself.

Why post about this? Far-fetched and probably not a possibility (Or already explored) once I heard about Scouting For Girls playing Leeds Trinity University I started to wonder.

Why can’t Leeds Trinity SU become an outdoor gig venue?

Not a crazy schedule – since the University of Leeds SU and Leeds Met Beckett SU have reduced their gig schedule over the years with other venues in the city centre. Millenium Square has hosted outdoor events too.

However I do genuinely think it could work, and generate additional income for the local area.

With good transport links back into Leeds City Centre (Horsforth Train Station and regular buses servicing the ‘top end’ of Horsforth), plenty of pubs and restaurants in the local area (And takeaways for the post-gig snacks) it would be a challenge to take that gig experience to the suburbs.

Perhaps from Easter onwards when the student lifestyles are calming down, I don’t know.

It may be a suggestion which has immediate issues. Sound restrictions, all the Health and Safety ‘T&C’s’, but I feel it is a consideration which would start to spread the love of live music to a greater level.

Plus the day I can walk to and from a gig from my house is a happy day.

Just my thoughts and food for thought – I’ll blame the change of weather and the recent demise of yet another music venue.

Gig Preview: City of Lights @ 360 Club, The Library

If you’re heading out tonight, amongst all the festivals there are still gigs popping up over the city!


City Of Lights – The Library 360 Club, LS2 3AP

(C) City Of Lights

it’s been a busy run of gigs for City Of Lights since their Live at Leeds appearance back at the start of May. Tonight sees them perform at the 360 Club @ The Library, Hyde Park.

Guitar infused rock/pop and anthemic choruses. Having previously seen these guys allbeit briefly at Live at Leeds, this is a gig well worth checking out to kickstart your weekend antics.

Can’t make tonight?. They’re making an appearance at The Tramlines Festival on Sunday 27th July 2014.


Festivals this weekend… (3)

All of these festivals make me happy. Okay, so, excited. It means the height of British Summertime has arrived.

We’re going up into North Yorkshire now.

The last one I’m featuring this weekend is;

The Deer Shed Festival – Baldersby ParkTopcliffe, Thirsk, YO7 3BZ


(C) Deer Shed Festival


Price? Due to popular demand only Tier 3 Adult tickets remain at £109.00 for the weekend

Headed up by the likes of Johnny Marr, British Sea Power and Stornoway; the music combined with the arts, family events and of course, the Science element of the festival really make this a unique one-of-a-kind weekend.

Music Line Up 

Science Line Up

What more can you ask for?


Festivals this weekend… (2)

Keeping on the South Yorkshire theme. 



(c) Underneath the Stars Festival

Underneath the Stars Festival – Cannon Hall Farm, South Yorkshire

25th – 27th July 2014

Price?  Weekend ticket – £99.00  Day tickets – Roughly £30.00 – £45.00 depending on the day and concession rates. 

Cannon Hall Open Farm are hosting this family friendly food, music and arts festival with an expected crowd of 9,000 over the course of the weekend.

Kate Rusby, Richard Thompson and The Puppini Sisters are just a few of the artists headlining over the weekend. The full line up of everything happening can be found here;

Full Programme


The Sunshine Underground – 19th May 2014 – Free Acoustic Gig – Crash Records

Taking a diversion from Live at Leeds reviews.

Fantastic news, the Sunshine Underground are to play a free acoustic gig in Crash Record on Monday 19th May 2014 at 5.00pm.

As taken from Crash Records

The Sunshine Underground free live acoustic set in the shop on Monday 19th May. (09/05/2014 @ 15:35:21)

The new self titled Sunshine Underground album is released on Monday 19th May and we are very pleased to announce that they will be performing a free live acoustic set in the shop at 5pm on the day of release. All customers who pre-order the album on either format in the shop or online will be guaranteed entry to the gig. All other places will be on a first come first served basis. Online orders can be collected in the shop on release date when The Sunshine Underground will be happy to sign CDs and LPs after they have finished their live performance. The CD will be £9.99 and the LP £13.99.