Unsigned bands to check out at Leeds Fest

The Crookes on stage in the Blues Bar as part of Harrogate Fringe. (Picture by Stuart Rhodes)
The Crookes on stage in the Blues Bar as part of Harrogate Fringe. (Picture by Stuart Rhodes)

By Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers

Weekend tickets may now have sold out for this year’s Leeds Festival but more acts are still being added to the line-up at Bramham Park.

Running from August 23-35, the great thing about this annual musical over-indulgence is it still supports up-and-coming bands you may not have heard of – yet.

The BBC Introducing Stage, which local acts Pony & Trap and Youcef Preston narrowly lost out on winning a place on, can booast the likes of Everything Everything and Pulled Apart By Horses as recent graduates.

This year, the stage includes bands like King No-One (the York band who knocked out P& T and YP), Tripwires (who count Tame Impala as celebrity fans), Crusades (a Glasgow-based, post hardcore band), The Grand (Wakefield-based cross between Nick Cave and The National) and Glass Caves (winners of Leeds’ Futuresound competition.

For music fans with Early Entry tickets, the whole party kicks off on the Thursday night with the Dance to the Radio stage where, incidentally, you can catch excellent indie band The Crookes (who’ve played Harrogate’s Blues Bar a few times in recent years) and Dutch Uncles (fantastic live art-rock band from Manchester).

There may be some day tickets left for Leeds Festival, so it’s worth visiting the website: http://www.leedsfestival.com/ or http://www.leeds.seetickets.com/

A great-sounding new festival is launched at the end of September with the truly daring idea of linking up Bradford’s ‘underground’ scene with Leeds’ ‘underground’ scene.

What’s more, Recon Festival has been set up in a truly collaborative, independent way with its backers including the Brudenell Social Club, Hyde Park Cinema, the Howard Assembly Rooms, Wharf Chambers and the contrasting pairing of Cops and Robbers (Leeds’ long-running indie music coop) and Opera North.


Most importantly, Recon Fest has an impressively eclectic and imaginative programme of events linking live music with films and spoken words.

The ‘name’ acts to look out for include post punk legends Gang of Four, Penny Rimbaud of Crass, Skullflower and Vibracathedral Orchestra.

For more information, visit http://www.reconfest.co.uk/

Talking of Ripley and promoters RipleyBlues, local folk-rock outfit Area 40 are launching their debut album in Ripley’s upstairs studio later this month.

Called One Small Step, the collection of self-penned tracks combines a stirring Mumford & Sons meets I Am Kloot meets Waterboys vibe with a slight soupcon of prog and plenty of folky violin.

The band – Steve Peacey, Mark Wilson, Pete McLoughlin, Wendy Ross and Chris Holden – appear at Ripley on Saturday, August 24 in a free gig.

You can also catch this strong musical ensemble live at the Shuffle Music Festival in Bradford on Saturday, August 17 and at feva Festival in Knaresborough on Sunday, August 18. More information at www.area40.co.uk

One half of Scotland’s highly-respected Nimmo Brothers comes to Ripley Town Hall this weekend.

Having toured with the critically-acclaimed blues rock outfit over the past 12 months, Stevie Nimmo has taken to the road with a stripped back, acoustic format to promote his intimate debut solo album, The Wynds of Life.

A mix of country, gospel and blues, you can see Stevie at Ripley on Saturday night.

Harrogate band The Wilde has to cancel their Brave Face single launch gig at The Cockpit in Leeds last Saturday because of illness - but it has been rescheduled for Thursday, August 8.

Sad news. It’s done well to last this long being based, at it was, with no real backers surviving on the independent motives and generous spirit of local music scene stalwards like Allan Smyth, Andy Backhouse, DJ Trev and more, but Harrogate Alternative Radio has come to an end because of both time/money issues and also licensing problems.

As someone who feels he didn’t really do enough to support it, I salute their efforts.