Leeds Festival blues? Here is a live music guide

UP CLOSE: Kings of Leon rocking the First Direct Arena earlier this year.
UP CLOSE: Kings of Leon rocking the First Direct Arena earlier this year.
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As the clean-up operation following Leeds Festival came to a close it also signalled the end of summer sounds. But if you are missing your fix of live gigs, we have something that might be music to your ears.

Guest writing for City Buzz this week is Will Vallely, who has compiled his top ten venues for watching live music. He said: “I’ve often worried there are too many venues within the city for them all to survive. But they all seem to be going from strength to strength with more history being created. This list highlights the strength of the Leeds music scene and its venues.”

1) Brudenell Social Club. Bands from across the pond often come to Leeds with the desire to play here. So, what sets the Brudenell Social Club apart? Intimate scale of the main room, character, range of beverage choice at a reasonable price, two gig rooms? Whilst these factors certainly help the reason why it is number one is the community feel you get when walking into the club.

2) First Direct Arena. Leeds’ biggest permanent music venue has attracted some of the industry’s leading names including Bruce Springsteen, Celine Dion and Elton John. Not every act hosted will suit your tastes. Regardless, the arena really has helped put Leeds on the world music map.

3) Leeds University. Three venues makes it one of the most diverse spaces around. The Stylus is what first comes to mind with a decent sized floor and a balcony. If you want to have a mosh down at the front you can, if like me, you’re a bit past that then you can stand at the back with easy access to bar without missing a beat.

4) Belgrave Music Hall. A fabulous place to visit for a gig, a bite to eat or full on drink session. A lofty stage where the act can be seen in any part of the room and a bar at the back with sofas means you don’t have to decide between missing a favourite track and grabbing another IPA.

5) Church. A new take on an old stomping ground I assumed would be garbage. But, for the first time since 1994, I was wrong. An easy to see stage, stained glass window backdrop makes a grade 2 listed building blurring out banger after banger feel right.

6) Wardrobe. Since the closure of The Cockpit in 2014, it has grown to become one of the pillars within the Leeds music scene. My gig highlights include Drenge, Ghostpoet and the most raucous gig I’ve witnessed, Scroobius Pip at Live at Leeds 2012.

7) Leeds Beckett SU. Some major acts have made the room their own over the years including my highlight Foals in 2013. The venue, as expected, has a heavy student crowd which means gigs have plenty of energy which bands feed off.

8) Millennium Square. There is something special about attending an outdoor gig in the middle of your familiar city. Crowds of people in a usually baron space, dancing away seems all the more sweet with commuters passing by going about their regular business.

9) Temple of Boom/Meatlocker. Primarily a rehearsal space it presents metal/punk gigs. A small bar sells cheap cans for a couple of quid and an old abattoir like room fits just a couple of dozen onlookers. The perfect setting for something gruesome…something marvellous.

10) O2 Academy. One of the core foundations of the Leeds music scene. A humble beginning for those destined to achieve mainstream success.

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