FestivalsLive Reviews

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Live At Leeds 2021

Photo Credit: Abbi Draper

Live at Leeds it a festival we’ve been looking forward to all summer. Beginning in 2007 as a festival to celebrate Leeds 800th Birthday, year after year, the festival has provided great line-ups giving platforms to once-small bands in the form of The 1975, Tom Grennan, IDLES, and Catfish and the Bottlemen – to name a few. It is a hub for upcoming indie bands, and with over 100 artists playing on the best stages Leeds has to offer across the day, it’s a date in the calendar not to be missed.

Arriving in the late afternoon, The Blinders play Leeds Stylus to open up our day – the great little venue is placed in the Leeds University campus, right next to a cracking little bar. The Sheffield rockers that preach of Brutus, 1984, and lunatics with loaded guns started off the day in a very strong fashion. They drew a decent sized crowd and were successful in their efforts to get people moving. They sounded great, although the lead singer did lack a bit of stage presence, this was probably the only negative from the gig. Aside from this negative, they put on a show which the crowd certainly warmed to as the show went on, with fan favourite tracks like Brave New World, and I Can’t Breathe Blues getting fans jumping around very successfully. 8/10

As this festival was across all venues, there was a lot of walking involved during the day so it is a bit of hard work, so as we paced from Leeds Stylus to The Key Club, we just about got there in time for Lynks’ first track. The reason why we essentially jogged to this set is because Lynks is one of the best live acts on the circuit. Having seen them a few times this summer, we knew what to expect. Dancing, raving, singing, costumes, laughing, and more dancing is pretty much what makes a Lynks gig so much fun. Despite the Everyone’s Hot (And I’m Not) drop hitting so hard that Lynks actually fell off the stage and injured their leg, there really was nothing negative to point out during this performance. Lynks’s hilarious wit and painfully relatable lyrics made this show completely unmissable. Their own brand of Prodigy on 2cb is just fantastic in the live environment – see Lynks live! 10/10

After a while to catch our breath, we made the stroll to The Wardrobe to see Lady Bird – an exciting upcoming punk rock band from Kent. These guys were clearly made for a small venue like The Wardrobe. Lead singer Don Lennols stage presence is pretty faultless. During one track, he made his way into the crowd and started singing in people’s faces and wrapping his arm around people’s shoulders as he sung tongue in cheek lyrics of the ups and downs of life. The crowd were really into it, and definitely won’t be forgetting the band’s performance in a hurry. One unforgettable moment was when the band wanted a break between their songs so drummer Joe Walker took his chance to grab the mic and read a poem off by heart about living life to the limit. Their honesty is certainly refreshing, and you will definitely have a laugh and a mosh at a Lady Bird gig. 9/10

Last but certainly not least, the headliner for the day – Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. The band must almost be accustomed to headlining festivals by now, and that definitely came across throughout their performance. As their new record Sticky was released last Friday (24 hours before the festival), the band opted to play the majority of that record to a lot of success. Several times during the set, Frank Carter reiterated to the audience how grateful and gobsmacked he was at the reception to the new tracks. For every track, there were mosh pits. For Kitty Sucker, Frank essentially spent the whole song amongst the fans in the crowd, as he impressively managed to stand up using people’s hands alone. Fan favourite Juggernaut’s infamous stabbing riff had the crowd going into circle pit frenzies, as well as making people absolutely lose their shit during the breakdown. Frank even offered some death metal vocals alongside the track, with him stating after, “if you don’t know us, we’re Arctic Monkeys crossed with Slipknot”. Another highlight was during Wild Flowers, and in very much Frank Carter tradition, to get everyone to clear the pit and only let women into the mosh pit in what he called, “the happiest mosh pit you’ll ever see”. There was also a heart-warming moment during the set when during Love Games, Frank Carter and Dean Richardson looked at each other and smiled, as if they had fully made it. We could go on forever with how many highlights there was, but the last one we’ll write about is Lynks coming on for the two songs they feature in dressed in an outfit that words really don’t do justice. It was a brilliant set that was more than deserving of being a headline set. Don’t be surprised to see Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes headlining more and more festivals near you very soon. 10/10

Overall, Live at Leeds was a top day with so many brilliant bands on. The only negative is the distance between venues making it quite tricky to see lots of bands – especially when they clash. We would definitely recommend a day out at Live at Leeds if you’re into seeing bands at awesome independent venues as well as getting to know the brilliantly multicultural city of Leeds, and rumour has it they are doing an outdoors edition next summer… 10/10

Written By: Joe Loughran

Photos By: Abbi Draper (Featuring High Vis, Jack Garratt, Luca Wilding, Lynks, Chubby And The Gang, Lady Bird, Bob Vylan, Circa Waves, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes)