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Preview: Top Picks for Live at Leeds 2018
14 April 2018

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Now in its 11th year, Live at Leeds continues to offer an early high point to the festival season. Not only does it showcase a wide range of new and established artists, but also the city's many excellent venues. This year’s lineup features an exciting array of acts - in the region of 200 of them across 19 stages / venues.

Who would have thought back in 2007 that The Horrors, having emerged as a real haircut band, would prove to be an enduring, and exhilarating, proposition over a decade later? Ever-shifting, drawing on the noise of the Jesus and Mary Chain and dousing it with a dose of psychedelia and swaggering groove. They’re headlining the Dork Stage at Church at 9:30.

Pulled Apart by Horses emerged from the scene centred around the now legendary Brudenell Social club, before being catapulted to the world of R1 airplay on the release of their debut album. As energetic and exhilarating as they come, this home-town show sees them on at 8:30, before British Sea Power, on the Leeds Beckett Main Stage.

We don’t mind a bit of Ash. With enough singles to fill a festival set that will entertain even the most casual of listeners, they're one of those bands you can’t really go wrong with. We also like Live at Leeds’ scheduling of a big-name act early in the afternoon. Ash play the Leeds Beckett Main Stage at 3pm.

FEHM hark back to the Leeds of 1983-84, with flanged bass and chilly synths backing baritone vocals, there’s still an accessible dark pop tinge to their gothy post-punk sound. They’re on first at The Brudenell at midday, and that’s reason enough to get down early. It’s worth sticking around at The Brudenell because a) it’s The Brudenell b) they’ve got 2 stages of lesser-known but quality acts on all day. Of them, Magick Mountain (1pm) and The Howl and the Hum (6pm) represent the festival’s eclecticism, and are particularly worth checking out.

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Cabbage may have endured some controversy in 2017, but the Manchester-based five piece, renowned for their snarky, discordant post-punk racket and riotous shows have emerged to release their debut album with their reputation intact, and stand as a truly thrilling live act. We’ll be down the front at the Dr Martens Stage at The Wardrobe at 9:45. At the other end of the bill, opening up at The Wardrobe are Idles. Pitched as being for fans of Sleaford Mods, HMLTD and Shame, they promise ‘a visceral barrage of joyous bile’. We’re excited.

Very much at the calmer end of the spectrum but no less potent lyrically is Nadine Shah. Pitched as ‘coming armed with a uniquely rich and soulful voice paired with effortlessly eloquent and arresting lyrics’, her third album looks set to be quite the breakthrough. Catch her on the Clash Stage at the Holy Trinity Church at 9:30.

Fizzy Blood are very much in the up-and-coming bracket, and the youthful Leeds band play gritty, grunge-orientated rock and boast some killer hooks to boot. They’re on at The Key Club at 7:15pm.

And if it’s all looking a bit testosterone-heavy, the shouty feminist punk fury of Dream Nails is the answer. They’re playing at the relatively new Hyde Park Book Club at 3pm.

For the full lineup, stage times, and tickets, go to: : Live at Leeds

  author: CHRISTOPHER NOSNIBOR 14 April 2018