Featuring Ladyhawke, Ghostpoet, Alt-J and more
Ladyhawke - Live At Leeds 2012

Live at Leeds reached the grand old age of six this weekend, bands and music fans came from miles around to take over Leeds and check out acts from every angle of the musical spectrum. The conundrum for the Live at Leeds festival goers is that there are great bands in great venues all over the city, the punter has to learn not to be greedy, or alternatively put the trainers on and run from place to place, in order to get everything in.

Leeds solo act Soul Mates Never Die AKA Josh Lewis, broke in the downstairs of matchbox bar Milo with just his guitar, voice, and black rimmed spectacles to hide behind. The audience slipped into the relaxed atmosphere of minimal chatter and polite participation. Josh's songs were perfect to start the rapport with the sleepy audience, they laughed at his humorous love tales and showered him with applause.

After waking up with Soul Mates Never Die, there was a mission to even get a glimpse of the next band. The queue for Leeds act Dancing Years trailed down the stairs of The Cockpit. The band's unique selling point was that no one else was playing at the same time as them. They stunned the bunker style room to silence as they mystified the audience with their goose-bump-inducing music. Lead singer David Henshaw's voice burst above the powerful folk songs, and even filled the room without aid of a microphone during one song.

The Holy Trinity was one of the most memorable venues on the Live at Leeds map, the church welcomed those acts whose haunting voices bounced around the eaves of the building and kept the audience permanently glued to their seats - much to the disgusted queue of people out the door who couldn't get in. Rae Morris captivated audience with her sweet silky vocals. As she pressed each key on her keyboard, her voluptuous hair bounced along and she smiled coyly at the audience which just added to her appeal.

One of the bigger names that may have caught the eye was Ladyhawke, the thirty-two-year-old New Zealand indie pop artist filled the O2 Academy. Her eighties edged music slid across the room and although the lights dizzily danced across the room, she remained disappointingly static.

In order to catch the next act Hawk Eyes, a sharpish exit was needed after a couple of songs in order to get to The Well. A buzz surrounded the performance and the rapidly filling room showed that the audience were armed with high expectations. As soon as one word left lead singer Paul Astick's mouth, there was an onslaught of windmills, moshing and crowd surfing. The band threw themselves full throttle into the performance, though their style is harsh and abrasive their musicianship was immaculate and well-rehearsed. Hawk Eyes were keen to reward their audience and when they placed the mic in the middle of the crowd, it paid dividends.

Another act on the bill causing a buzz, Alt- J, the quartet who have just signed to Infectious Records, left a huge row of people in the cold outside Holy Trinity after security couldn't let anyone else in. The band breezed through their set with precision and a calm disposition, and the rare appearance of a slight grin. Their set was greeted by rapturous applause, especially during singles, ‘Matilda’ and ‘Breezeblocks’.

Wrapping up the day at the Brudenell Social Club was Ghostpoet, minus his signature trilby, but he brought his distraught expression with him, due to his beloved Liverpool losing the FA Cup final hours before. He quickly picked himself up and kicked off the set, each song hypnotising the audience until they eventually began to sway. Finishing the day with a bang, a stage invasion had half the crowd dancing on stage with him, giving them a priceless stage invasion story and a new claim to fame.

Words by Cat Marr
Photo by Danny Payne

Click here for a photo gallery of the festival, including Alt-J, Bastille, Black Moth, Ghostpoet, Hawk Eyes, I Like Trains, Ladyhawke, Lianne La Havas and Rae Morris.

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