Saturday 4th May saw Live at Leeds festival yet again successfully create another incredible day festival around Leeds City Centre. The festival focused on promoting emerging UK artists and allowed fans to watch them in smaller venues such as Brudenell Social Club and Nation of Shopkeepers, creating a more intimate festival experience as opposed to your standard festival often with overcrowded tents.
Throughout the day we saw a chilled set from singer-songwriter James Gillespie (Operator Records) who took over Nation of Shopkeepers with his powerfully raw vocals and love-focused tracks such as Him:Her and Beyond Today from his EP, Lost. Live highlights included popular What You Do, taken from his latest EP Wants and Worries.
Belgrave Music Hall saw sets throughout the day from the likes of multi-instrumentalist Oli Fox with his heartfelt pop; and East London’s 19 year old Jvck James with his 90’s R&B and soul inspired tracks. Elli Ingram also played the Hall, who’s well known for her track Higher Love from her 2013 EP Sober.
The University Union went off as British boys Sea Girls took over with their upbeat set and catchy, indie-pop tracks. They played the Farah stage following the release of their new single, Open Up Your Head, which went down incredibly well as the venue filled up with fans dancing along. Alongside new releases, they pleased fans by playing popular tracks Call Me Out, What For and Too Much Fun from their 2018 EP’s, Heavenly War and Adored.
The evening kickstarted with an insane set from Sam Fender at the O2 Academy. Since the release of his first single Play God in 2017, Fender has quickly turned into one of the hottest artists of 2019 right in time for his debut album release.
Sam played a generous set, including brand new track Hypersonic Missiles which saw fans jumping up and down repeating his lyrics back to him. We got to hear a special preview of multiple tracks from his debut album of the same title, due in August.
His new tracks were a varied mix of pace yet all in keeping with his definitive theme focused on strong vocals and fast paced riffs. Fender also played catchy Dead Boys from his most recent EP, alongside a cover of Oasis, which had the entire crowd singing along.
The evening also saw alternative rock band Sundara Karma fill the O2 Academy following the recent release of their shiny second studio album, Ulfilas’ Alphabet. The boys wowed fans by playing a mix of upbeat and melodic tracks from their new album, whilst also throwing it back with tracks Flame, Happy Family and She Said from popular album Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect (2017).
Tom Grennan fulfilled all expectations as he headlined the Farah Stage at LeedsUniversity Union Refectory, following the huge success of his debut album Lighting Matches and Everyone You Know.
For a day packed full of discovering diverse artists Live At Leeds is not one to miss. Small venues combined with a reasonable entry fee and a city filled with everything you need puts Live at Leeds at the top of our list.
Words by Sophie Eastham // @sophyvictoriae