Tuesday, May 5

Live At Leeds- May 2nd & 3rd

. Tuesday, May 5

Gigwise 1+ 2

Taking on the multi-venue style of Camden Crawl or The Great Escape in Brighton Live at Leeds is a sprawling collection of the cities finest exports and a nice amount of up and coming indie bands playing in the cities myriad of pubs and clubs. Despite the fact they have played in Leeds every other week since forever both Wild Beasts 3pm slot at Joseph's Well and Sky Larkin's tea time performance at The Cockpit are full to capacity lock outs- our fault for not arriving in time 'spose. Not to worry however as the first act of the day we catch is The Joy Formidable. The Welsh trio put on an assured performance, showcasing tracks from their excellent album 'A Balloon Called Moaning'. The crowd gathered lap it up as 'Whirring' gives way to 'Austere' the band go from strength to strength. Some tracks fall away into anonymity but ultimately this set is a triumph.

Anonymity is one thing you can never accuse Pulled Apart By Horses of. By the third song ('The Crapsons') of their half-hour set a circle pit has begun spinning and flailing in front of the stage and the atmosphere never drops below jaw-dropping. Essentially playing thrash metal for indie kids their songs are brutal but come accompanied by huge pop hooks which regularly see the audience joining in and punching the air in celebration. By 'Meat Balloon' lead singer Tom Hudson has re-located his microphone to the middle of the mosh pit and leads the "We are so macho" refrain from the heart of the crowd. It's easy to forget you are in the back room of a pub at 6pm in the evening as the sheer sense of fun over takes you. 'E= MC Hammer' and 'I Punched A Lion In The Throat' burst out of the blocks and finish off a set that this reviewer feels will struggle to be beaten by anyone in 2009.

Annoyingly the most appealing line up of Dinosaur Pile Up and Grammatics supporting The Maccabees at the Metropolitan Union has led to a gridlocked que with no sign of entry forthcoming. The walk to The Faversham is soundtracked by the muffled sounds of 'No Kind Words' emitting from the venues walls. Still, in the week the band release their masterpiece 'Wall Of Arms' it can only be a good sign that people are willing to stand in the cold for a chance to see the band play live. At The Faversham Dan Black is finishing off his set with the single 'Yours'- it ticks all the boxes of a major label, watered down Hot Chip but seems dated and a bit cheesy. Nothing however could prepare these eyes for the epically terrible Ou Est Le Swimming Pool. Having seen the best gig if the year earlier in the night it was a nice symmetry to then see the worst. Sunglasses, hoodies with bare chests and frosted tips hair do's made this feel less like an alternative music festival and more like being on the set of Ibiza Uncovered. Their Lonely Island esque jock pop and terrace style chanting from the crowd contributed to a set to forget.

With Saturday's extravaganza over Sunday took a more low key turn with just the one show from the chart kings of cod-doom White Lies. In support were the divine School Of Seven Bells who beguiled the collected audience with their ethereal take on the so hot right now shoegaze. Unfortunately playing to blank stares and muted applause the likes of 'Half Asleep' and 'My Cabal' were both charming and show a great fission between the Deheza sisters vocals and Ben Curtis' expansive and intricate guitar work. With a better crowd to work with and a more focused set they will win the fans they deserve.

In front of a crowd reminiscent of a Top Gear focus group White Lies take to the softly lit stage and begin ploughing the hits. 'Fairwell To The Fairground' and 'Lose My Life' are seen off early with the latters refrain of "Let's grow old together and die at the same time" being met with blanket repetition from the fans. The band formerly known as Fear Of Flying have obviously been embraced by the commercially beneficial lad-rock market but quite how is a mystery. To all intents and purposes they are a very camp and humourless band. Kaiser Chiefs do well with that demographic as they are fun, The Enemy tap into the small town ennui, Kasabian are the sound of a beery Saturday night, so what are White Lies? Their songs are all ham-fisted odes to death and despair. Presumably people aren't listening to the lyrics and instead falling for the admittedly catchy hooks. It's probably for the best as you soon realise that not a single line in any White Lies songs means a thing. They do have the tunes though and as 'Death' brings the show and indeed the weekend to a close it would be churlish to deny the crowd and the fans their shallow moment.

Photo: Brendan Docherty.
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