Gig Scene: ¡Forward, Russia! for Live at Leeds

Forward Russia
Forward Russia

By Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers

LaL is certainly pulling out all the stops this year.

I refer, of course, to the indie event of the year – Live at Leeds which runs from May 2-5.

Technically a weekend event, though most of the exciting action happens on the Saturday (May 3 when more than 100 acts play across the city in a single day) - this year’s festival has more bands, more venues and some real exclusives.

Fifty more acts have been added. Four new venues and, for the first time, the grandeur of Leeds Town Hall will host a line-up of top almost totally local indie acts.

There will be an exclusive performance by hometown favourites !ForwardRussia! who, under the leadership of the likable and inspirational Whiskas, were briefly as big as the Kaiser Chiefs or the Pigeon Detectives, though they were a lot more angular and noisy.

Formed in 2004, they released their debut album on Leeds’ Dance To The Radio label before signing to Cooking Vinyl for their second album.

Also playing on the same bill at this august Victorian building will be atmospheric post-rock band ILikeTrains who famously blew the power supply at the Blues Bar when they played my Charm night in Harrogate in 2006.

Joining them with more tranquil sounds will be the cinematic, slightly folky Lanterns on the Lake who are signed to the Bella Union label and Leeds-based young folkie Sam Airey.

Other new venues at this year’s LaL, which will bring the total number in use simultaneously across town to a whopping 20, include The Hi-Fi Club, Belgrave Music & Food Hall and Oporto.

The first LaL announcement of acts featured the likes of Albert Hammond Jr, The Hold Steady, **** Buttons, Drenge, Blood Red Shoes, The Sunshine Underground, Wolf Alice, Pulled Apart From Horses, The Wytches and much, much more.

To that impressive list has now been added up-coming bands such as Bipolar Sunshine, Years & Years, The Neighbourhood, Woman’s Hour, Big Ups, Beastmilk and Fat White Family.

For tickets, visit or