The best food blogs in Leeds|The best music blogs in Leeds |The best sport blogs in Leeds |The best culture blogs in Leeds
By David Bowers and Guy Wynn Davies
With a plethora of original music venues including The Cockpit, Nation of Shopkeepers and Brudenell Social Club, the city is in a healthy position to host musical acts who could easily sell out venues worldwide.
Forget about the mid-noughties, a dark period in which Leeds was held responsible for releasing the Kaiser Chiefs/Pigeon Detectives pandemic upon the nation. Instead, revel in the city’s Alt-J who gatecrashed the monotonous Brit Awards after being nominated for three gongs, including British Album of the Year for An Awesome Wave. With the alternative music scene flourishing, is the indie/alternative blogosphere within Leeds mirroring that rise?
The Big Top Blog is a blog that addresses one of the most crucial aspects of Leeds’s scene, in terms of showing off unsigned and up and coming bands. Their rehearsal space/recording studio “Rock And Roll Circus” is a brilliant advert for unsigned music, with its funky décor and history of top quality acts both performing and rehearsing there. Their blog header: ‘We throw parties, we put on gigs, release albums and love music.’ epitomises the Leeds music mentality. They really aim to help unsigned bands, with free, legal downloads available on their website, and information on bands’ upcoming gigs and music releases.
Last month Local Natives, at Brudenell Social Club was a majestic experience. Not only are they a band so reputable that they can headline this years Beacons Festival in Skipton, they recently played a theatre gig to 2,800 people in San Francisco. The intimacy and sweaty rawness of the live music added to the brilliance of the experience. Jenessa Williams’ Safety in Sound interview with frontman Taylor Rice and celebratory fist-pumped is an incredibly refreshing read. The 19-year-old, unintimidated by the prospect of interviewing major artists such as Mumford and Sons, provides music reviews in an original, yet eloquent way. Here’s a snippet of her review of Local Natives’ Hummingbird record:
Hummingbird is a record that acts as a touchstone of a band rediscovering themselves, and in many ways, provides a good parallel to how myself, and many other people, need to adjust their lives. Finding that time to stop, letting things breathe, switching off the things that do not matter to us and put 120% into the things that do. Using challenges and obstacles as motivation to prioritise and reflect on our support networks in times of need. And asking ourselves, are we giving enough?
Jenessa’s fearless delving into the world of music journalism, a notoriously hard area to stamp your authority on is a definite inspiration for aspiring journalists like myself. Her obvious “if you don’t buy a ticket, you won’t win the raffle” attitude is reaping rewards.
Leeds’ music blog scene seems to be somewhat of a monopoly, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The aptly named Leeds Music Scene‘s homepage explodes with new, fresh content ranging from reviews to local music news. There is no quantity for quality compromise though, as their I Am Kloot review superbly represents the gig for those unfortunate to have missed it:
Judged on its own terms however tonight’s performance is a quiet triumph. There is nothing incendiary to be found here, just unassumingly sumptuous, graceful and articulate indie-pop songs all delivered with an earthy authenticity and a pinch of ribald humour.
Despite boasting an impressive catalogue of wonderfully articulate album reviews and gig reviews, there is a potential danger that readers may overlook younger blogs like Safety in Sound as Leeds Music Scene updates it’s website regularly which is highly impressive. Essentially, I’m urging you to get your meat from a local butcher (Safety in Sound) and that you don’t always have to get it from Tesco (Leeds Music Scene).
Music Broke My Bones is a blog that centres on live music, with regular updates informing followers of up coming gigs around the city and beyond. Their stylish blog has sections for new music, interviews, features and reviews, whilst a live stream keeps viewers updated on the latest music news and information.
So is the local music scene, Leeds is so renowned for still flourishing? Murricane.com’s article Is Leeds’ Music Scene Dying? addresses the view Leed’s once great scene has, in recent years, begun to decline, vehemently denying this;
“I’ve lived and worked in cities all over the UK, and can hand-on-heart say nowhere has a music scene quite like Leeds.”
We live in a 24/7 society where most people intend to obtain news quickly and efficiently. With that statement in mind, it’s understandable people get their music-fix from somewhere as fantastic as Leeds Music Scene, I’m sure it’s 9,803 twitter followers would agree. But just like the musicians of Leeds, there are an influx of music blogs in the city flying under the radar. Leeds is blessed with venues that are beautifully original. It’s time we echo the passion of those venues and follow the path of Safety in Sound, Far Out and Bad Fotography, to propel Leeds into becoming a haven for alternative music blogs.
Kaiser Chiefs – Welcome To Leeds
Leeds has a rich history of top quality music, and as such a, wealth of bloggers have sprung up in recent years to document it. Leaders For Leeds addresses the fact that Leeds was always expected to be a musical hotbed. A little outdated maybe, but a clear piece of evidence that Leeds has long been regarded as musically prolific, along with Manchester and Liverpool.
Skip forward 30 years and The Culture Vulture, a well – established blog covering a range of topics (art, music, history) has a highly interesting article on the ‘Leeds Music History Exhibition’. This event, held in the summer of 2011, analysed the extensive history of Leeds’ Music Scene, and displayed a range of musical memorabilia, including actual Q and Grammy awards for Corinne Bailey Rae, a guitar and amp representing the Sisters of Mercy from 1980 to the current day
The organisers, all of whom were dedicated music lovers, described the event as
From the Three Johns to Cud, Bridewell Taxis to Jake Thackray, Age Of Chance to Spacehog the exhibition covers the whole gamut of styles and artists synonymous with Leeds including material dating back to the 1950′s when Leeds thriving jazz scene played hosts to the likes of Humphrey Lyttelton and the Glen Miller Band.
With such a long history of top quality music, this article stands out, advertising the exhibition well, particularly as so as it provides fun facts;‘Who would have guessed that U2 once played the Merrion Centre.’
A slightly more professional blog still whole – heartedly involved in promoting music from the ground up is . This blog has the catchy header
“No nonsense music blog – supporting the best in new and upcoming music.”
It has reviews, features on new bands, interviews and news on live sets, festivals and signings, an advocate of grass-roots music production.
The next blog is by far the most established in Leeds, with profiles on the majority of all Leeds bands, whether brand new or extremely experienced. Leeds Music Scene covers all kinds of music, with reviewers experiencing gigs all over the West Yorkshire area. The blog contains both live and recorded reviews, interviews and a host of multimedia, including music videos, fan footage and fresh new tracks. As a reviewer for LeedsMusicScene myself, I have first – hand experience of the kind of service they provide to the music lovers of Yorkshire, and really are integral to the Leeds Music Scene and the DIY attitude that is so synonymous with it.
A blog that takes music into account while also appreciating other interesting aspects of Leeds life is Leeds List Their article on Leeds’ Independent Record Stores really provides an insight into the Leeds underground music culture and the shops that help unsigned artists, including the process of recording, producing and distributing music without the help of record companies. This blog is particularly helpful for those looking to experience all of Leeds’ culture, with links to restaurants,bars and nightclubs that are popular.
This kind of passion for music, and the refusal to accept that Leeds is any less than an excellent environment for music, is epitomises the reason behind the continuing special and inspiring music scene.