By Graham Chalmers
“Wow”, I thought, this bunch are good. Twelve months on, London-based synth band London Grammar have sold stacks of copies of their debut album.
Being me, I preferred them live, as I also did with the just as obscure Melody’s Echo Chamber who were also far better at Live at Leeds cramped in the corner of Nation of Shopkeepers than on record.
Charisma doesn’t always transfer to disc.
But that’s the beauty of LaL – it’s a feast of live bands of all shapes and sizes playing simultaneously at a dozen venues across the city.
The best thing of all isn’t seeing the expected but coming into contact with the unexpected whether from the well-known, the semi-obscure or virtual nobodies.
It’s three days of musical mayhem with over 150 bands performing in over 20 stages across the city including the legendary Cockpit, a genuine Leeds institution which this year celebrates its 20th birthday.
My favourite part is the Saturday where for over 12 straight hours all these indie bands and modern-day soul singers and acoustic acts and dance DJs are all together for once on a level playing field where the new can overshadow the old, which is why LaL is my favourite date in the calendar.
The first announcement of the line-up for this year’s event on Saturday, May 3 (though LaL technically runs all weekend) sounds like another cracker.
The names you will have heard of include Hold Steady, **** Buttons, Drenge, Blood Red Shoes, Albert Hammond Jr of The Strokes fame, current hot dance act Clean Bandit and BBC Sound of 2014 Poll runner-up Ella Eyre, the soulful pop/R&B singer famed for her collaborations with Rudimental.
The names you may not have heard of include Royal Blood, Chloe Howl, Yuck, Hudson Taylor, Kodaline, The Scenes, Menace Beach, Holy Mountain, Detroit hip-hop artist Lizzo and, oh, scores more.
Get the wrist band, take the ride anywhere you want to. If you want to savour the LaL experience, visit www.facebook.com/liveat leedsofficial or http://www.lunatickets.co.uk/