A Review of Live at Leeds 2022
This weekend, Live at Leeds 2022 took over the city with a range of music genres and artists. Ben went down and reviewed a handful of our favourite artists so the rest of us didn't miss out!
Written and Photography by Ben Fletcher
Portsmouth natives FLOWVERS kicked off my Live at Leeds experience with some solid bass-lines, raw energy and indie rock stylings at the Lending Room. Despite an early 2pm slot, the four-piece were self-assured and confident on stage, singing with ferocious passion and treating us to a captivating, lively performance - the perfect start to the day.
Perhaps most memorable though was the lead singer’s hood beanie (anyone familiar with TikTok’s ‘The Don’ will know the sort of look I’m referring to), as well as the topless drummer’s Travis Bickle-esque mohawk.
Whilst FLOWVERS were somewhat of a pleasant surprise for me (having been unfamiliar with their music), I went to see Warmduscher at Leeds Beckett with high expectations, having already been a fan. They didn’t disappoint.
This group is very hard to define. Are they post-punk? Alternative? Electronic? Funk? All are fair descriptions, but none do the band justice.
They enter the stage to an impressive (if at times distracting) light display, all in matching all-white boiler suits. Of these eclectic characters, the American multi-hyphenate frontman (Clams Baker) was the most prominent presence on stage; twisting and gyrating throughout the set, he was hard to take your eyes off. That is not to say that the group as a whole weren’t equally magnetic.
Baker’s proclamation of ‘We are Warmduscher, ladies and gentlemen, and this is what we do’ perfectly summarised the band’s funky energy, wild spirit and an excellent show. I already can’t wait to see them again. If you’re not already a fan (or are unfamiliar with their great and varied discography), listen to ‘Fatso’ or ‘I Got Friends’, then you will be…
Next up was London’s Moreish Idols at the Belgrave Music Hall - always a fantastic venue. Fusing an array of genres together, this band incorporated as many elements as saxophones and bongo drums to electric and acoustic guitars. This unusual, but fresh style was complemented by interesting, unconventional vocals (at times reminiscent of Alt-J).
After a couple of pints and a great burger at Assembly’s Vocation Taproom (highly recommend), I headed to the O2 for headliners Sundara Karma and Pale Waves. Having seen both give memorable performances at this year’s Y Not Festival, my anticipation was growing.
I was not alone. Sundara Karma were received by swathes of screaming fans; and soon had the entire crowd in the palm of their hands. Lead singer and guitarist Oscar Pollock commanded the stage throughout the set, although at times was arguably let down by the sound mixing team - some audience members complained that the vocals were being drowned out by the other instruments for the initial few songs, yet this minor issue didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the show one bit.
One of my favourite performances of the evening, the atmosphere was electric, and only grew stronger as they continued to pull out all the indie classics that got the crowd moshing. It wasn’t just the audience who were thrashing around with such energy and having a great time; the lead’s shoes started to fall apart mid-performance, which certain fans went particularly feral for when he flung them into the animated crowd.
With Sundara Karma having set the tone for the night, Pale Waves entered the stage with a cool confidence - and emo-punk outfits to match. For those unfamiliar with their music, my brother quite aptly described their lead singer/guitarist as a ‘punk Taylor Swift’, not to say Pale Waves’ Heather does not have her own distinct style and skill. And proudly northern! At this point her incredible level of charisma and stage presence should be mentioned, as perhaps the most memorable performer of the night (and day!).
Myself and an already buzzing crowd were receptive to their indie, punk and emo-infused set, captivated by a magnetic performance peppered with audience interactions (albeit quips and ad-libs I recognised from their last show I attended). There was room for spontaneity, too, though. The group agreed to play fan-favourite ‘Red’ after impassioned calls from the crowd, despite it (apparently) not being on the setlist and being one of their ‘cursed’ songs. Luckily, there was no danger though - unless you count the dedicated fans’ boundless energy - as the song went down a treat.
From the punk rock riffs of ‘Jealousy’ to the softer, poppier melody of the aforementioned ‘Red’, Pale Waves treated myself and others a memorable show.
LOS BITCHOS Another force of nature, Los Bitchos didn’t need vocals to do the talking. The all-female group took on Brudenell and brought the night to an effervescent climax.
Funky and fun, the band brought a deliciously unique energy to the day’s proceedings, including an unexpected Christmas tune. From the onstage laughs, and impromptu audience interactions, it was evident that they were having just as much fun as the crowd.
Self-described as producing ‘instrumental voyages’, I was certainly taken on a trip with their playful, funky tunes. These instrumentals evoked brilliant party vibes at the Brude, from renditions of ‘Tequila’ to songs infused with elements of dub, dance, disco, psychedelic and pure old school funk.
Los Bitchos were awesome on stage. Bouncing and jumping around in sync, they seemed inherently connected to each other and the music, giving the show a feeling of self-confidence and proficiency complimented nicely by more organic and unscripted moments.
Cool fringes, too.
My only remaining question: is it too early to put Los Chrismos on repeat?