Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Live At Leeds 2010

It's been a really long while since I've done any gig reviews. So I'm coming back with a bang. Or a whimper. Let's see how this plays out. In all honesty it's probably going to end up somewhere in between. A whimbang, perhaps.

Lame introductions aside, the noise-fest that was Live At Leeds 2010 started for me in the Cockpit, with noise-rock outfit Dolphins who hail from Bradford. Now I caught them in the last 10 minutes of their set, but they still managed to cram a whole lotta (good) noise in those ten minutes.

About an hour after Dolphins, Rolo Tomassi strolled onto the stage in front of a packed Cockpit, an amazing feat considering it was only 2pm. But hey, this is Rolo Tomassi we're talking about. One of the best and original live bands in Britain, they didn't disappoint. From first album Hysterics favourites such as 'I Love Turbulence' to new songs such as 'Party Wounds' from the Diplo-produced (!) Cosmology, Rolo rips up and dominate the stage, reciprocating the enthusiasm and adoration of the fans.

I Love Turbulence

Party Wounds

After Rolo's devastating set, we stayed at the Cockpit for Vessels for a captivating half-hour set of blissful experimental post-rock. Like Rolo Tomassi, they played to a fully packed Cockpit. The crowd is more subdued this time, but only because Vessels' music is not a mosh-monster, but an epic sonic journey.


Then we ventured into the depths of Leeds University, ending up at what seems to be a student hall/cafeteria made-shift into a venue fit to house rock stars. Well, Castrovalva do have the attitude of rock stars, but (or maybe because of that) their songs sound purposely obnoxious and bland. For all their promise of being weird0-rock, they don't really sound strange. They just sound plain annoying.

Castrovalva - Donut

These Monsters are a far less irritating outfit, even if they did unwittingly repeat a Castrovalva joke about the Hadouken! banner behind them. If you haven't noticed from the presence of the saxophone player, These Monsters aren't your typical hardcore band. There's definitely a fair amount of subtlety hidden in those ear-killing riffs, and the saxophone adds some much appreciated, for lack of a better word, groove.

These Monsters - Call Me Dragon

As we took an hour break after These Monsters's destructive performance, we met up with my friend Sam who studies at the University. As we watched a game-show narrated by a Richard Hammond armed with a ridiculously-written monologue at the back of a fast food restaurant by the name of Mahmood's, the sun was starting to set and the second half of our Live At Leeds experience is still yet to come.

Of course who better to start the evening than a favourite of yours truly, the truly wonderful, the incredibly amazing, the sheer goodness that is, Tubelord. This threesome-turned-foursome gave the crowd an awesome show that the lack of space in The Library did not deserve.

Tubelord - Night Of The Pencils

After that Tubey wonderfulness, we headed back to The Refectory where Castrovalva and These Monsters were. We were greeted to hundreds of people all singing the songs of Blood Red Shoes. Sort of a reversed White Stripes if they went grunge and a bit disco, it was quite a formidable party we got ourselves into.

Blood Red Shoes - Heartsink

The headliners for the Refectory, or the owner of before-mentioned banner, is a different kind of animal. Hadouken! is, to me, just slightly less annoying than Castrovalva. But that doesn't take away the fact that they completely hypnotised the crowd with their on-stage presence. The audience followed the frontman's every command, except for what was clearly (I hope) a joke request for someone to perform the Worm in the middle of a frenzy of amicable violence.

Hadouken! - Mic Check

Of course I would've rather chosen a different way to end the night (perhaps Johnny Foreigner would've been the preferable alternative) but it was absolutely not a bad way to go. As we took the penultimate train of the night back to York, we knew it had been one hell of a day in Leeds.

Signing out

Over and out

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