Culture, Music, Uncategorised

Live At Leeds 2020: The Top 5 Acts In the Line-Up You Cannot Miss

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By Camilla Whitfield

With January’s winter blues heavy upon us, it’s time to start looking ahead towards summer. Live At Leeds is coming back with a bang to Leeds city centre on the 2nd of May 2020, boasting headliners such as indie heavyweights DMA’s and alt-rock staples Pale Waves. And if that’s not enough to seal the deal, then it’ll surely draw crowds for the handpicked range of emerging talent. Plus, it’s a metropolitan festival, so it boasts all the fun without the muddy wellies.

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1. Kawala

Inspired by bands such as Bombay Bicycle Club and Half Moon Run, Kawala is the brainchild of duo Jim Higson (lead vocals) and Daniel McCarthy (guitar, vocals). They began their journey into the music industry away from their native North London while they were studying in Leeds, with a shared love of melodic guitar and close vocal harmony. After a stint as an acoustic indie-folk act, they relocated back to London to expand their sound.

With the new additions of Ben Batten (drums), Reeve Coulson (bass) and Dan Lee (electric guitar) they’re ready to take on the live music scene. They’ve incorporated a range of styles including a thumping bass and catchy hooks while keeping the indie-folk influence central. Latest track ‘Wash Away The Wild’ is a melodic symphony for the ears. Every track is a whimsical transportation to a carefree festival atmosphere. At their set, the only thing missing will be the beach.

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2. The Pale White

When a band has received a five-star review from The Independent which compares them to Queens Of The Stone Age, you know they’re worthy of being listened to. Hailing from Newcastle, this three-piece indie band consists of brothers Adam (Lead Vocals, Guitar) and Jack Hope (drums) and their friend Tom Booth (Bass). Their live shows showcase their magnetic live performance, as well as their expertise at blending catchy rhythms and melodic guitars.

They’ve previously secured BBC Introducing’s ‘Track Of The Week’ which led to tearing the stages up at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds. If that’s not enough they’ve also opened up for current powerhouses Foals and The Amazons. Latest indie-rock anthem ‘Swim For Your Life’ was the third expertly created track produced by Jolyon Thomas, who has previously worked with Royal Blood and Slaves. Their snowballing success is anything but ‘unnatural’.

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3. Easy Life

Easy Life were placed second on BBC‘s annual music poll ‘Sound of 2020’ and it’s easy to see how they’re quickly dominating the music scene. The band consists of Murray Matravers (vocals, synthesiser, Keyboard, trumpet), Oliver Cassidy (drums, percussion), Sam Hewitt ( bass guitar, saxophone, backing vocals), Lewis Alexander Berry (guitar) and Jordan Birtles (percussion, keyboard, backing vocals). Their latest EP Junk Food, reached #7 in the U.K. Album Chart a day after it’s release. Last year was massive for the quintet and they headlined the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury Festival and track ‘Earth’ debuted as Annie Mac‘s ‘Hottest Record’ on BBC Radio 1. Not ones to shy away from hard topics, they used the platform to comment on environmental issues, which was shot at a plastic recycling plant in Morocco.

From the slow melodic groove of ‘Nightmares’, which discusses insomnia, to ‘Pockets’, which begins with a beautiful brass introduction and delves lyrically into financial issues, Easy Life are sure to appeal with their clever and well thought out lyrics, whilst blending indie with psychedelic electronica. Front-man Matravers may have grown up on his parent’s farm picking potatoes and looking after chickens, but with their growing success, it seems they’ve definitely got a solid new career.

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4. Pale Waves

Four-piece bubblegum-pop-gone-goth outfit Pale Waves are amongst the front runners of the contemporary music industry right now. The band consists of Heather Baron-Gracie (vocals, guitar), Ciara Doran (drums), Hugo Silvani (guitar) and Charlie Wood (bass). After signing to Dirty Hit in 2017, they released the shiny, synth fuelled number ‘There’s Honey’, which was produced by fellow Dirty Hit success, The 1975’s frontman Matty Healy. They’ve even taken influences from bands such as The Cure, but have made them their own and brought them right into the 21st Century.

Pale Waves have got the acclaim to prove their success and were announced as the #5 artist on the BBC Sound of 2018. Their latest album My Mind Makes Noises released in 2018, features hit single ‘Television Romance’, a catchy rhythmic return to the confused love silver-screen dream. Final track ‘Karl (I Wonder What It’s Like To Die)’ is a beautiful stripped back serenade and even more touching when played acoustically live. It embodies the power of music and shows they really can do both. They’ve been making waves of their own in the music industry, and show no sign of slowing down.

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5. DMA’s

They may be travelling from the other side of the world, but the headlining Sydney natives will be bringing their old-School Mancunian indie-rock sound to Leeds. Despite hailing from far afield, their music does draw some comparisons from Manchester powerhouses Oasis and Happy Mondays. DMA’s was formed in 2012 and is made up of Johnny Took (acoustic guitar), Tommy O’Dell (lead vocals) and Matt Mason (lead guitar, backing vocals). From humble home-recorded beginnings, they rose to fame with their breakthrough hit ‘Delete’.

2019 was a successful year for the band and saw them release their first live album MTV Unplugged Live, recorded at the Melbourne Memo Music Hall in 2018. The reworked album showcased powerful, emotive vocals and moving violin solos such as in ‘In The Air’ and ‘Emily Whyte’. Latest single release ‘Silver’ marks a return to their Mancunian-indie roots with unique vocals meshing with charmingly crafted lyrics. 

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Live At Leeds 2020 is set to be an unforgettable day. Grab your tickets now.

About the author / 

Camilla Whitfield

Fourth Year BA English with Overseas Study | Music Editor | Manchester & Leipzig | Music & Gig Enthusiast

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