Review: It’s hard not to love Live at Leeds

Forward Russia at Live at Leeds 2014. (Picture by Stuart Rhodes)
Forward Russia at Live at Leeds 2014. (Picture by Stuart Rhodes)

Review by Stuart Rhodes

Live at Leeds 2014, various acts, various venues

The Mexannines at Live at Leeds 2014. (Picture by Stuart Rhodes)

The Mexannines at Live at Leeds 2014. (Picture by Stuart Rhodes)

Its May bank holiday weekend, and it’s the eighth annual Live at Leeds Festival. Live music played over three days the city centre.

Founded in 2007 with just 50 bands playing this year on the Saturday alone there were over 200 bands and singer songwriters performing for only £25.

Big names this year included a last minute addition with Frank Turner alongside Pulled Apart by Horses, George Ezra, Albert Hammond Jnr and making a long awaited return to the stage major Leeds alternative rock band ¡Forward Russia!.

With past alumni including The Maccabees, Mumford and Sons, Ed Sheeran and The Pigeon Detectives.

This year saw literally hundreds of potential break through acts including hot contenders for stardom in the coming year including the stunning Chloe Howl who at only 19 years of age is already signed to a major record label and was a contender for BBC sound of 2014. Check out her performances online.

Stunning duo from Ireland Hudson Taylor brought their own style of country folk rock to the O2 Academy along with the beautiful and super talented Scottish singer Nina Nesbitt whose single Stay Out reached 20 in the singles charts last year. Her debut album Peroxide is well worth a listen.

Local talent was represented by amongst others the stunningly talented Rupert Stroud, whose current single Morning Light is getting regular play on national radio and he is receiving considerable media attention in the national music press.

With bands like the brilliant Mexannines and the simply superb ¡Forward Russia! the sounds were big and the performances bold and energetic.

Which really sums up Live at Leeds. Big, bold and energetic the festival may be but it is also a friendly affair with more relaxed and laid back venues ranging from a capacity for some 30 people to the bigger venues like Leeds Town Hall, Universities and the O2 Academy all hosting broad age ranges as thousands of people work their way through the spread sheet of bands and wander across the city from venue to venue.

A festival without walls, with 24 different performance stages in 18 venues, allowing the public to dip in and out of the performances, relax in the city’s many eateries and then head back into the music at will Live at Leeds is a unique event and one that belongs on the calendar of every true live music fan.