Written by Mikey Sibson
Futuresound's annual weekend-long, citywide celebration of music and arts Live at Leeds returns for its sixth year next weekend with - arguably - its strongest lineup to date.
There are things happening over the city each day, with music kicking off on the Friday (4th May) and continuing right the way through to the 'hangover' events on Monday. As well as this, Friday will host the aptly titled 'The Unconference', a live forum held at the Art Quarter's Munro House addressing and discussing the role of digital platform distribution, marketing and promotion and more. In attendance will be representatives from nationwide and local industry names including 6 Music's Tom Robinson and Sunday Times columnist Sean Adams. Hosting the punters at The Cockpit that evening is the pop-tinged stylings of King Charles, whose debut album Love Blood is released on the 7th of May. Playing at Brudenell Social Club at the same time is American multi-instrumentalist and pure sonic genius Juffage.
Saturday is when the bulk of the action will take place, with young local post-punk indie ensemble British Daylight opening up. They bring their eminently energetic performance upstairs at Milo at 12pm, providing a reason to make the effort to get into town a bit earlier and appreciate the region's talent.
Two other young and accomplished unsigned bands playing the festival are Marsicans and The Mexanines. Both have procured a refined sound whilst traversing the circuit, with the latter winning a slot on the BBC Introducing Stage at Leeds & Reading Festivals last year. They're on at The Faversham and Nation of Shopkeepers respectively at 1pm.
The Faversham boasts a reputable lineup for the day, with names such as indie pop outfit The Heartbreaks and, in the same vein, Leeds four-piece This Many Boyfriends all gracing the stage throughout the day. Joe Carnall of Milburn returns for a headline slot, playing bass with Reverend & The Makers at 11pm after previously passing through the venue in 2006.
Spector play the O2 Academy at 6:15, building on a hugely successful few months as their single Chevy Thunder gained prestige in indie circles. Most will reconvene at The Cockpit shortly after, however, to catch the Minneapolis-based Howler, who return to the venue after a triumphant show in February. In the downtime, if you're quick, head to Leeds Uni Stylus to revel in the synth-laden sounds of Brooklyn five-piece Friends. The Enemy and The Subways clash at The Cockpit and O2 Academy at 9:15 - I suggest going to see Matt Abbott's lyric-based outfit Skint & Demoralised at Milo instead.
Los Campesinos! and Marina and the Diamonds head up the night at the Stylus and Leeds Met until 11, when you'll be forced to make the heart-wrenching decision of seeing Ghostpoet at the Brudenell, Reverend at The Faversham, Jakwob at Nation of Shopkeepers or Scroobius Pip at The Wardrobe. Punk, metal and hardcore also gets a deserved airing at the festival in the newly re-opened and refurbished The Well, with Blacklisters and Eagulls topping the bill from 10. The Cockpit hosts the official aftershow until 3am, with Milo also staying open for the early-morning partiers.
Other bands I suggest throughout the day are Kleine Schweine (downstairs at Milo, 5:30), Dead Sons (Leeds Met Back Room, 8:20) and Alt-J (Holy Trinity Church, 6pm).
The Brudenell Social Club is the focal of proceedings on Sunday as it plays host to Matadors and 70s-inspired Dan Sartain, among others. You can still get into these performances with your Live at Leeds wristband. The festival rounds off with a 5-a-side football tournament at the Goals Soccer Centre for Sport Relief, with venue staff and bands from the festival taking part.
All in all, Live at Leeds looks set to be another cracking party this year, and with wristbands costing just £20, there really is no reason to miss if you're in the area.