One of the UK’s most successful small festivals, Live at Leeds is the perfect opportunity to catch sets from more established bands as well as discover new artists. This year’s line-up was bigger than ever, and with the sun blaring down on the city for the whole day it proved to be an excellent start to 2018’s festival season.
Early on in the day over on the CLASH Stage at Holy Trinity Church, special guests The Orielles make great use of their unusual surroundings and powered through despite being given such an early timeslot. Their intricate brand of garage rock is second to none, and they demonstrate time and time again that guitar music is a genre that is far from dying out. Comparing their performance to “being on Songs of Praise”, The Orielles kicked off the Live at Leeds proceedings with the utmost style and grace.
Over at The Key Club, Scottish indie rockers The Snuts played a half an hour set that would make even their fellow countrymen The View do an impressed double-take. This is a band that is larger than life, with the kind of energy that is fit for stadiums. They’ve been compared to the likes of Oasis and certainly have the kind of stage presence and attitude to attest to this. They might not quite be there yet in terms of drawing a crowd but if their Live at Leeds performance was anything to go by then they certainly have a bright future ahead of them.
Peace played their first show since the release of their third studio album, Kindness Is The New Rock and Roll, in the early afternoon on the Leeds Festival Stage at the O2 Academy Leeds. They were booked to play a festival that evening up in Newcastle, but they were given an hour long slot and the challenge of putting on a headline performance so early in the day. They’ve been given a lot of stick about how the new record is tame in comparison to their earlier material, and sadly their set at Live at Leeds fell somewhat short. Older hits such as ‘Lovesick’ and ‘1998’, a Binary Finary cover that Peace have made their own, went down a treat but their play-through of new album cuts left a lot to be desired.
Dirty Hit signing King Nun are a force to be reckoned with, playing with such a ferocity that it’ll come as no surprise that they’re all under the age of 20. Teenage angst has always been the best source of energy, and so when the four-piece performed a blazing set at The Key Club it actually ended up being one of our favourite sets of the day. Their rapacious debut single ‘Tulip’, that saw its release back in 2016, was a defining moment for King Nun and anyone who was lucky enough to catch their set at Live at Leeds is no doubt expecting huge things from this young band.
Back at the Leeds Festival Stage | O2 Academy Leeds, The Magic Gang put on a spectacular show. They’re currently riding out the wave that is the critical acclaim they’ve received for their debut eponymous album, and as a result they drew a considerable crowd that packed out both the standing and balcony areas of the venue. They are the embodiment of “happy-go-lucky” and it’s near impossible to watch them play without a smile on your face. With a set that was jam-packed with hits, including ‘Jasmine’ and ‘How Can I Compete’, The Magic Gang well and truly channelled the sunshine that Leeds had been blessed with that day as they delivered a five-star performance.
Broody pop-singer Keir isn’t exactly the kind of artist you’d expect at a festival who’s main events hail from the indie side of town, but he didn’t let that phase him as he belted out sizzling, dark pop takes like ‘Squeeze Me’ when he played a half an hour set at Belgrave Music Hall. With a larger than life voice, it’s no surprise that Keir has already been making waves across the UK and Europe as his material is not only show-stopping, but unforgettable.
Indie veterans The Vaccines were billed as the official headliner of the day, enjoying a prime-time spot at the Leeds Festival Stage | O2 Academy Leeds. The standing area of the venue reached capacity before the London five-piece even hit the stage, and it wasn’t long before people were turned away at the door completely. Having just released their fourth studio album Combat Sports, The Vaccines recently finished up on a huge UK tour that saw them sell-out the illustrious Alexandra Palace and so it was interesting to see how they would perform on a stage that was, quite frankly, a little bit intimate for them. They took it all in their stride though, and as expected for a band this size they performed with such slick professionalism. Lead singer Justin Young had the audience hanging on his every word, be it spoken or sang, as The Vaccines played through a selection of their greatest hits and newer offerings during their hour and a half set. It was safe to say they were the nucleus of the whole day no matter who else festival goers came to see.