Maybe having The Pigeon Detectives open up the Church stage seemed like a grand idea on paper but given the extent of the queue, curving all the way alongside the setting. Meaning everybody had to wait for that one-in-one-out queue rule enforced by the security. Which left more fans disappointed than a festival like this would like. However inside the Church at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, with many a fan already tipsy, The Pigeon Detectives show just how easy it is to turn a venue upside down this early in the day. Going from a story of someone bringing a toy owl to the venue in the last few shows because they couldn’t find a pigeon to Vocalist Matt Bowman wiping his sweat and product filled hair on a fans shirt that was ever so willingly thrown to him from the middle of the crowd. Whilst it was pure happiness inside the Church, some people on the out gave up the fight to get in completely.
A fair walk away from the city centre up towards Leeds University is where The Hunna opened up the Refectory stage to a crowd that were that parched the bar had more of a gathering than the actual stage upon entry. Irresistibly likeable track ‘Bonfire’ and the tingly guitar tones of ‘Piece By Piece’ somewhat oozes qualities of The 1975. If you missed them this time around, they mentioned their headline set at the upcoming Leeds Festival a fair few times so if you’re free you should experience the appealing nature of these indie tracks from the British one album sensations.
Four piece, Black Honey from Brighton, had an aura of confidence to them thanks to their vocalist Izzy B Phillips, who slightly resembles the stage presence of Courtney Love and the reminiscent of Debbie Harry. The almost hypnotic quality of Phillips’ voice is a pure presentation of captivating indie goodness amongst the slightly western instrumentals, and even if you don’t like what you hear, you wouldn’t be able to take your eyes off the stage. Stand out tracks like the addictive chorus of ‘Corrine’ and the winding guitars of ‘Somebody Better’ may have left the O2 feeling a little cold because the roof was definitely blown off.
Back towards the City Centre in the underground Key Club, extremely dark in comparison to the ground level stages but particularly more intimate given its close proximity to the crowd. Five piece alternative band Dead!, an accumulation of a floral shirts and bleached hair with the ever so vague sound of emo bands from the mid 2000’s. Premiering their new melodic track ‘The Golden Age Of Not Even Trying’ amongst more aggressive tracks like ‘Enough, Enough, Enough’, which has a more crazed My Chemical Romance feel to it. The set is just enough to give the fans who fall on the heavier side of the Live At Leeds musical umbrella something to jump about to.
All female two piece Honeyblood, for such a static stage presence manage to completely compel the Stylus crowd. Their new album Babes Never Die on full frontal show with selftited track and ‘Love Is A Disease’ making for a much more punchy yet smooth tone than on record. If you were looking for an unlikely new favourite to add to your music collection, this mix of bold and attractive static guitar led tracks are lovely to listen to, but to watch the pair on a live stage is rather tedious. But were here for the music right.
Possibly THE most eagerly anticipated artists of the entire festival, Rag’n’Bone Man, entered the stage as soon as the music went quiet and the lights went dark and appeared, no intro music, no flashing of lights, just a simple spotlight on him, his guitar and the soulful sounds of his voice. One of the biggest hits of the year ‘Human’ went down as well as you would expect but it was ‘Skin’ that was the real hero of the setlist. The Game Of Thrones inspired track backed only by a piano, Rag’n’Bone Man showed us just why he’s set to be one of the biggest artists in the world and everyone facing him inside the venue should be feeling quite proud to see him in such an mediocre sized space. He may not be playing the set of the whole festival but it may have been the most important.