Festival Fortnight: Live at Leeds

As part of the Festival Fortnight series, Sam Clements blogs about his experience at the 2010 Live at Leeds festival which took place April 30th to May 3th.

With copious amounts of beer, bands and something else beginning with “B”, which I can’t think of right now, Live at Leeds is one of the best ways to begin the summer and start off the festival season.

Like most festivals, the worst bit is having to choose between which bands to see. Live at Leeds Festival has this problem in a different way though – as it is set in different venues dotted all around the city, once you make a decision, you pretty much have to stick to it.


Lightspeed Champion was a disappointment at the 2010 Live at Leeds Festival. Photo: Benjamin Ellis

So with warm weather: check, sunglasses: check, and four mates: check, all was in order for a great day. Despite it being a relatively small festival on the calendar, at the bargain price of £15 to see headline acts like Wild Beasts, The Drums Hadouken, 65 Days of Static, The Sunshine Underground, Blood Red Shoes, and Lightspeed Champion it was impossible to turn down.

Rolo Tomassi were the first band we saw at the Cockpit venue. It was all a bit too early in the day for a screamo synth band and having never heard them before, they seemed like a bit of a poor man’s HORSE The Band.

Having said that, they gave it their all and were really lively – especially as it’s always entertaining to watch a female vocalist produce sounds that only an animal or fictional monster should make.

The hardcore fans at the front were in awe and the slightly more subdued crowd could only watch with respect at the band’s jumping and hair swinging – their enthusiasm was really impressive.

Lightspeed Champion was next, playing at Leeds University, drawing a full crowd that spilled out of the venue although many were left disappointed by their forgetful performance.

To ensure prime positions to see Blood Red Shoes, we had to put ourselves through The Bronx and Wolfgang. A full set of The Bronx’s pop hardcore music was a surprisingly brilliant live experience, full of energy, which was pretty much responsible for the continuous moshing and circle pit, which I can’t deny I got involved with.

Wolfgang provided some of the most generic pop indie music to date, with a wardrobe of outfits to match. With them, they brought a sea of squealing girls, who unfortunately stayed for the prime reason I had gone to Live at Leeds – Blood Red Shoes.

I was apprehensive that the Brighton two piece would fall flat with their limited instrument presence, but they filled the hall so well. Especially impressive was Steven Ansell, who simultaneously was drumming and singing and really brought the performance together. Playing a lot of old favourites and their two most recent singles, the duo was never a note out of place.

We didn’t get to see The Sunshine Underground, being just that little bit too late to the venue. You’re not guaranteed to see every band you want, especially headliners, and considering the day I had, it was impossible to be disappointed.

Live at Leeds offered a great diverse music selection and a full day and evening’s entertainment. It’s definitely something to stick in the calendar for next year.

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