It's been eight years since a bunch of music venues in Leeds first opened their doors to hardy metropolitan festival-goers for Live At Leeds. Following the tried and tested format of SXSW and the Camden Crawl, Live at Leeds has risen to become the country's foremost inner-city gathering of bands, musicians and like-minded music fans.
Though the booking is invariably spot-on, key to Live at Leeds' popularity is the quality of the venues, including The Cockpit, The Hi-Fi Club and the stalwart Brudenell Social Club. The bustling Belgrave Music Hall is a welcome addition to this year's festival. In order of appearance, here are 10 of our suggestions for this years event.
Imp - 1pm Brudenell Social Club
Though Leeds bands are thriving at the moment, spare a thought for Wakefield, just down the road, which has its own burgeoning music scene. At the forefront of which is Imp, whose fuzzy surf-rock album Moon Coastal Maine was a late highlight of 2013. The group - signed to local label Philophobia - take to the Brudenell Social Club stage at 1pm on Saturday. Because where else would you want to start off Live at Leeds?
Fickle Friends - 2pm The Hi-Fi Club
Brighton favourites Fickle Friends are unashamedly heavy on hooks and their enthusiastic 80's tinged pop should be the perfect catalyst to give you a mid-afternoon kick ready for the evening. The Hi-Fi Club will also play host to Pete & The Pirates new band Teleman and Tennis. Fickle Friends are set to play a number of festivals this year including The Great Escape Festival & Dot To Dot Festival later this month.
Gengahr - 3pm Belgrave Music Hall
London quartet Gengahr are making innovations in all areas of their music. While they present blissfully atmospheric, guitar-based tunes with creepy song titles, their openness to adventure and new ideas is proven in their debut music video for new single 'Fill My Gums With Blood'. The visual was directed by the lisping filmmaking prodigy that is Nico Smith; possibly one of the youngest directors of music video history. They're a band who are not afraid to think outside the box and we are definitely looking forward to seeing what they have to offer in their live performance.
Jack Garratt - 4:30pm Leeds College Of Music
Immersing his listeners in pure soul is Buckinghamshire-based Jack Garratt, whose flawless vocals with their falsetto capability are truly astonishing. His debut single 'I Couldn't Want You Anyway' had James Blake undertones and a soothing R&B vibe, but we have seen even more diversity in this man's voice with his latest track 'Water'; a more contemporary sounding guitar-based tune. Both songs have rendered Garratt's voice irresistible which is probably why he's been so busy touring in the past few months, having recently supporting Dan Croll on his UK tour.
Wild Cub - 6pm Leeds Uni Refec
Another stateside artist is Nashville-based quintet Wild Cub. There's nothing quite like the multi-layered, hugely upbeat music these guys have been producing since they formed, an example being the country tinged beauty of 'Thunder Clatter'. Last year the group unveiled their debut album 'Youth' which they have since added to with the release of the deluxe edition earlier this year. It's an appropriate name for the childlike excitement it induces and we can only hope to be hearing a lot more from them soon.
Primitive Parts - 7pm Brudenell Social Club
London trio Primitive Parts first drew our attention earlier this year with the release of their double-A single 'Open Heads'/ 'Signals'. There's something so classically Britpop about them with the fuzzy guitars, punk-esque vocals and infectious hooks, that we just can't get enough of them. Though, of course, that sort of chemistry is bound to happen when you put members from such loved bands together to make something new. Lindsay Corstorphine from Sauna Youth and Kevin Hendrick and Robin Christian from Male Bonding make up this three-piece and they are sure to bring an exceptionally entertaining live set to Leeds.
San Fermin - 8pm Belgrave Music Hall We're happy that orchestral sounds are ripe within emerging music culture nowadays and Brooklyn collective San Fermin (named after the famous Spanish fiesta held in Pamplona) are a perfect example of why it's so brilliant. Founder Ellis Ludwig-Leone recently released the self-titled debut album which is jam-packed with dynamic pop with a classical edge. Vocals, guitar, drums, violin, trumpet and saxophone all join together to create such a unique experience that's totally contemporary, an example being uplifting album highlight 'Sonsick'.
Lizzo - 9pm The Hi-Fi Club
Partly because it would be unhealthy and downright stupid not to head down to The Hi-Fi Club during Live at Leeds, we're tipping Detroit rapper Lizzo to deliver to stonking set on Saturday evening. Initially getting her name out as part of a couple of decent R&B girl groups -particularly the now defunct Destiny's Child heirs The Chalice - Lizzo released her debut album LizzoBangers in 2013. It featured the infectious 'Batches and Cookies,' which certainly found favour amongst the BBC6Music crowd.
There's always one clash at a festival and this ours for Live At Leeds!
Bipolar Sunshine - 10:15pm Belgrave Music Hall
Bipolar Sunshine is the newest project of former Kid British singer Adio Marchant and he has since become a pop sensation. With his raw vocals, catchy tunes and wonderfully poetic lyrics, it's no wonder that this Manchester-based musician has become a stand-out artist in the UK music scene. His uplifting 'Where Did The Love Go' easily imprints itself into the brain of any listener, and his collaboration with Rudimental on their track 'Distance' revealed an incredibly funky side to him. If you're in the mood for a dance, he's a great one to look out for on the live circuit this year.
Forward, Russia - 10:20pm Leeds Town Hall
They're back! A one off gig that should not be missed by anyone who was a fan. Forward, Russia made a big impression when they first came about in the mid to late noughties, garnering a huge following with the release of their epic debut album 'Give Me a Wall'. Many people were sad to see the end of one of the bands that cast so much light on the vibrant Leeds music scene, it's great to have them back even if it's just for this special appearance. That energetic, post-hardcore vibe with its electronic buzz is being sorely missed after all.