When we hear about musical festivals, our imagination usually goes to big stages, cool bands, and good times. This year At Live at Leeds, not only the artists were great, but also the crowds were very enthusiastic and engaging. Founded in 2007, Live At Leeds is an award winning metropolitan festival held annually within a variety of venues and spaces in Leeds. Although it began in the north, the festival has been dedicated to show the work of emerging as well as established artists from all over the globe. As Link to Leeds Ambassadors myself and Nazimul decided to cover as many artists and shows as possible on the day to give you a taste of the art scene in Leeds as well as introduce you to many exceptional new talents you might have never heard the name of. Keep scrolling down to know the list of the performances we covered during the day.
Since the festival took place in various music venues and event spaces around Leeds, we decided to start with the City Centre and go from there to different venues. The first performance we saw was by Apollo Junction at Trinity Stage. Starting at 12 in the afternoon and lasting only for 30 minutes, this was the performance we needed to kick start this exciting musical day. Their original tunes define indie pop and their “Paris” made it hard for everyone not to dance or shake their heads during the performance.
Followed by Apollo Junction was the breath-taking performance by Amaroun at Trinity Stage. Amaroun created an interesting combination of lively pop music and rich content about social issues facing adults. Not the danceable type of music, but one which is finely-calibrated to make you think and reflect. The way Amaroun combined true melodies with her captivating performance and important subject matters made this show unforgettable.
Our next stop was Clash Stage at Holy Trinity Church from 1:15 pm – 1:45 pm to catch a show by the talented Grace Lightman. If you’re a 60’s music aficionado like myself, you need to listen to this London newcomer. The way she performed her single “Fangs” takes you on a journey of timeless love. Her performance coupled with the track’s sad melodies makes it a must to see this artist performing anywhere.
We couldn’t go on without catching a show at Nation Of Shopkeepers, my favourite pub. There, we attended a live show by James Gillespie at Many Blogs Stage. Not only had his performance given me chills but his vocal abilities had made me question what makes a truly fine artist. Many of his fans were attending the show and echoing his lyrics. I’m sure he even made new fans during this performance since all music enthusiasts want some emotionally-rich, ebullient and riveting music.
After stopping for lunch, it was time to catch the next performance at NME Stage in Headrow House by Jalen N’Gonda from 3:00 pm to 3:30 pm. Some voices are universal; they’re not captured by time or place. This is simply the voice of Jalen N’Gonda. If I was asked what my favourite performance for the day was, I will confidently and easily say Jalen N’Gonda’s performance. His smooth and resonant voice redefined contemporary R&B. When he finished performing his “I need you”, the whole crowd screamed in union “One More”. He’s a voice that deserves attention!
O2 Academy at Leeds Festival Stage needs someone like Peace to keep it moving. What was so special about this performance is the huge number of people who turned up to see the band. With every song they sang, the audience’s voices and screams got louder and louder. Why not when Peace is much known on the local music scene? Although this was our first time getting to know the band, their “Lovesick” got me dancing and singing all the way. Their outstanding combination of indie rock and alternative rock coupled with their strong presence made complete strangers jump and dance in union.
Nick J.D. Hodgson
The next performance was at Dork Stage in Church Leeds by Nick J.D. Hodgson from 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Nick’s songs were 70s pop inspired in their tunes, but the topics were fresh, appealing to all tastes. His performance was both moving and emotional, effortlessly making people connect with his music and beautiful melodies.
Many young people got ready at Leeds Beckett Main Stage to see Fling performing from 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Three words would define their live show: unforgettable, controversial and amazingly bold. These four musicians from Bradford are ready to make you get shivers when their music swells or put you off right away depending on your musical tastes. But if you’re into some contemporary pop and glam rock like myself, loud screaming, heavy makeup and snappy clothes won’t be a problem!
Stylus at the University of Leeds Student Union was buzzing with people around 6:15, all impatiently waiting for Sam Fender’s show. I wouldn’t blame them since this 21-year-old singer from Newcastle isn’t here to perform another break-up song but to deliver a message about political and social issues through his independent music. Although young in age, Sam is adept at singing and performing, giving audience a timeless sense of rebellion, fearlessness, and style. “Greasy Spoon” and “Play God” are some of the songs he performed, which easily convince you of how urgent, dynamic and ground-breaking his music is.
We hope this article familiarizes you with the art scene in Leeds and makes you excited to attend the Live at Leeds event next year if you’re in the city. There’ll be pretty much every kind of music you love from blues, reggae and jazz to funk, rock music and Heavy metal. You choose your artist, you choose your music.