Live Review: ‘The more it changed, the more it stayed the same’ – Live At Leeds 2019

Live At Leeds 2016 (Gary Mather for Live4ever)

For some reason this year’s Live at Leeds felt a little different. Maybe it was a bill lighter than previous ones on big names; possibly it was something to do with the weather, which was more typically northern Bank Holiday than 12 months ago. Whether this sensation was real or not, the same idea as usual still applied: get walking, get ducking into venues and get in front of some new music wherever possible.

On that note, the day opened at Hyde Park Book Club with In Your Prime, a youthful five-piece on home territory who play anthemic, hangover curing rock that brings back memories of Evanescence. In singer Ruby Cooke they have a front woman with lungs like bellows and in Handle With Care they have a song which could break them beyond they city’s confines.

There are fewer worries about profile for Paramore drummer Zac Farro, looking chic in a beret and striped t-shirt and enthusiastically fronting side project Halfnoise. A world away from the angsty heft of the mothership, his alter ego is psychedelic, soulful and, as you might expect, percussion heavy, as demonstrated ably on the likes of Scooby’s In The Back, Funny Feeling and disco stomper French Class.


Less minted but just as special are Cardiff’s Buzzard, Buzzard, Buzzard. Lead singer Tom’s dad used to drum for the Bay City Rollers and their retro-kitsch borrows much from T-Rex, with the swagger of Double Denim Bop leaving a bumper crowd riding their white swans in appreciation. Derbyshire-based Pattawa certainly can’t be accused of lacking a sense of humour after naming their last release London, Paris, New York, Matlock, and another thing they’ve got is the funk, especially on floor movers All The Time and Never Been Better. Also with tongues firmly planted in cheek are Dream Wife, whose self-titled debut album released last year won many friends for its punk sass and gender-conscious smartness. They announce mid-show that they’ve been writing the follow up in a Somerset barn and, as if they feel the story requires further evidence, then produce the tree stump on which bassist Bella Popadec conceptualised most of the material. Anyway, after inviting all the bad bitches down to the front they smash through a crisply energetic set which underlines their undoubted promise.

Another outfit with reasons to be optimistic are local lads Marsicans, due next month to appear on the undercard to Leeds royalty the Kaiser Chiefs at Elland Road; with a finely tuned ear for pop that gives songs like Your Eyes and Suburbs a poised gloss with substance underneath, they may yet emulate their hosts. A jog of sorts then makes catching the ever-wonderful Gengahr possible, with lead singer Felix Bushe simultaneously announcing the good news of their third album and the bad news that it won’t be out until next year.

Christopher Duncan’s miserly 30-minute turn is also as enjoyable as it is truncated, the Glaswegian still celebrating the release of his third album Health and its more expansive approach with new songs from it such as Talk Talk Talk and Holiday Home, still having time though to include the operatically beautiful Say. It was also a briefer than scheduled thing from She Drew The Gun, who right up until the point that singer Louise Roach suddenly left the stage for good had been delivering their melodic agit-prop with typical fiery aplomb. We learned later that the rapid curtailment was due to a Quorn allergy brought on by a vegan sausage roll.

Whether Dublin’s The Murder Capital are carnivores or not is unknown but despite their relative lack of profile, by the time besuited, bouncer-looking singer James McGovern takes to the Brudenell Stage word of mouth alone has the main room almost full. Redolent of Joy Division, their starkly landscaped post-punk is a tar-black revelation; McGovern spends part of the night letting the band’s twin guitar attack rend atoms from each other, seemingly lost in thought.

It got late and there were a number of worthy headliners we could’ve seen to close proceedings, but instead it was back to the former subterranean petrol tank that is Hyde Park Book Club to see Bilk, gobby Chelmsford grime punks with a yard of attitude and biting two minute sonic darts like CM2 and Slob. Coming over as sort of early Green Day meets The Streets, they were all the more loveable for it.

And so, another Live at Leeds had been and gone. The more it changed, the more it stayed the same, with sore feet and ringing ears the best reminders that safe and predictable should always be someone else’s problem.

(Andy Peterson)


By Live4ever - Posted on 08 May 2019 at 8:53am 

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