And so as Leeds gets ready to be the centre of the music universe for the 10th glorious year of Live At Leeds
this weekend. I am lucky and proud that the organisation I work for (LeedsBID
) is bringing a free for all stage onto Briggate as a special new thing to an already great music event: right into the heart of the city to bring an even bigger load of brilliant music into even more of the hearts and souls of Leeds, that can only be good!
Here are the bands you'll find me listening to this weekend from Live At Leeds' phenomenal lineup.
Live At Leeds 2015 / Tom Joy
First, to kick it all off Glass Caves
, Pontefracts finest ballsy alt-rock band, will blast onto the Briggate stage at high noon! For me the sheer energy and strength of this lot lies in the way they fuse the true grit of the north and deliver it straight at you, no messing about. Building a strong following across the mighty North with a solid, rocking groove and a piercing, beautiful vocal that once heard is never forgotten, their dual appearance at LAL is going to roll them bigger, further and South, onto the higher level they so deserve. So be in the centre of Briggate at noon this Saturday and be part of the almighty bang Glass Caves are going to deliver, or frankly take yourself off into some dark corner somewhere and have a stern word with yourself about being a loser, 'cos you'll have missed out. Oh and as a final Leeds band kicking off the Leeds event thing goes, let's face it Ponty is a suburb of Leeds anyway so it works!
Going all international for the next one, We Are Scientists
bring LAL some west coast US style to the festival. Polished, slick and so completely tight they almost squeak, combining too many 90's American pop-rock influences to mention, they deliver a fresh take on bright, clever and upbeat pop which pulls you in with a smile. I think they'll continue to win more and more fans in the UK and for me are one of the must see show of the weekend. Something about the yanks for sure that brings that driving wall of sound mixed with accessible pop-rock (almost like they invented it) with furiously catchy melodies, choruses that never disappoint and hooks that just get in there and stay in there.
Rocking up from the mighty South Coast metropolis of Southampton, Band Of Skulls
have got to be one of the coolest bands on the programme. The real appeal for me comes from the dark, threatening tone running through their songs, powerful riffs, driving drums and a big sound that pulls on strains from the Cult to early Kings of Leon (when they were good) but also gives you the pomp & stomp of Bolan: head-spinning! Crafting their particular trade over 8 years now, this is a grown up band, a live experience for virgins or veterans that will last forever and LAL is only made even better by them about to blow it away.
Corrine Bailey Rae
Corinne Bailey Rae
will undoubtedly bring an emotion and sentiment to her LAL return that for many music fans will hold a very special resonance. Cheated out of a rapidly exploding career over 10 years ago, I had the personal pleasure of working on Corinne's debut album when I was then working in regional promotions for EMI. A vocal angel, so deep and rich it never ended and with a passion for writing and performing beautiful songs so effortlessly but yet with heart-wrenching power, her show has got to be one of those 'I was there when.........................' moments for the whole festival this year. Don't be that loser in the corner, get there, remember it forever and I everyone will hope this is the start of the ascension back to the stardom Corinne always deserved.
Where Fires Are: proper Leeds, proper new and proper future big thing! These lads are cool and they know it. From the self-assured swagger, to the depth of story-telling in their lyrics, to the lush guitar sounds and playing quality to the coolest bass player around, a real magician of the four strings, this band are the total package. Burning quickly and brightly (apologies for no intentional crap pun) they're not afraid of writing and performing deep and complicated songs taking you on a real journey. They rise and they fall, they definitely know how to use the dynamics of both melody and rhythms and demand commitment from the listener to put some effort in because they give it you in spades. At 4pm the band will bring an incredible energy to the Briggate stage and show what Leeds should be proud about from one of its strongest future music stars.
And finally it would be totally remiss of me not to highlight the 02 Academy, Saturday night bonanza that will be Ms Jess Glynne
powering through her amazing array of modern UK number ones (and lots of other very close ones), bringing a pop-dance-soul masterclass to round off what will be the greatest LAL yet, yes I'm putting it out there cos that's what I think. Educated on the qualities of the flame-haired siren by two teenage daughters over the last couple of years, Jess Glynne shows the very best the UK music scene can deliver in her class and though I'll probably have to stand at the back away from said teenage daughters, I'll be perfectly happy tapping my foot and bobbing my head to the huge array of classics like Hold My Hand, Ain't Got Far to go, Real Love and Don't Be So Hard On Yourself.