Live At Leeds, for those not in the know, is a triple figure lineup of bands in and around Leeds over the May bank holiday weekend. Lots of venues take part - primarily for alldayers on the Saturday, and a modest entry fee gets you a wristband to all of them. This is great, but also leads to much tramping around the city centre and generally missing bands you'd fancy seeing because you can't be bothered shifting venues yet again. That isn't a very gracious complaint, so it can safely be tucked away at the back with the other nasty, dirty things in my brain.
This year I headed out with friends in an attempt to catch a few bands without knocking ourselves out, which we achieved admirably. In the end we didn't actually see any bands until about 6, when we saw The Bronx at The Refectory. LA punk rock, a very American sound and performance. Almost teethgrindingly so. The music was slightly better than the truly awful motivational stage banter from a frontman who looked like a tattooed, chunkier version of your humble correspondent. It didn't help that their first track was a pretty damn good Hot Water Music-alike that raised the roof, only to be followed by humdrum riffage and shouting. So, wasn't impressed. Ensuing apathy caused me to miss Duke Special at Holy Trinity, which I am somewhat regretting now.
We then caught Holy State downstairs at The Stylus, who did a pretty good job of keeping me watching with some pseudo-Jesus Lizard angular rock. Plus I always enjoy bands who look like they're made up of bits of other bands. A drummer from Kings Of Leon, a guitarist from Wheatus and a singer from any NME cover band? Playing something Steve Albini would be proud of? Quality.
It was then time for a march across town to the Leeds College Of Music to catch the superb Invasion. Somewhat surreal, this one. A large classical auditorium with a stoner metal/motown crossover trio playing to an audience of about 7 people. It really is a crying shame when bands like this don't get the attention or audience they deserve, but they stoically played with energy and left the people who were there firmly satisfied. My musical find of the last 12 months, and highly recommended to anyone reading this. We followed this up with a bus back up to the university (lazy bastards that we are) to catch a good chunk of headliners 65daysofstatic. Playing mostly new and very electronic material, they left me quite cold. They've struck me as hit-and-miss live before, but this time they really did come across like a stock footage band from some BBC news program on youth culture. Lots of multicoloured lights, big beats and people going 'woo' but not much there of substance. Well, one of them balanced his guitar on his chin. That was fairly impressive.
Band of the day? Invasion, without a shadow of a doubt. Closely followed by the macaroni cheese and chips I ate at Nation Of Shopkeepers before The Bronx.