Why 2022 is set to be a great year for live music in Leeds - YEP Opinion

It took me a long time to get back to live music after the coronavirus pandemic.

Sunday, 9th January 2022, 4:45 am

Suddenly, something I loved had become something I was fearful of, being worried about being in such close proximity to so many other people.

I'd also become distrustful of the future, scared to purchase tickets for a gig because I couldn't be certain it would even go ahead.

It was an ironic twist of fate then, that after tentative steps easing back into the 'real world' of live music, my first show back was the week that Omicron entered the arena.

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There are plenty of fantastic artists due to perform in Leeds in 2022. Pictured: The crowd watching Sports Team at the O2 during Live at Leeds 2021. Mark Bickerdike Photography.

After some umming and arring (helped by a total lack of information available about this new variant at the time) we opted to head on down to the gig.

My first show back was The Libertines at the O2 Academy Leeds in Cookridge Street. Oddly enough, The Libertines were also the last band I saw before March 2020 struck, back in December 2019.

It was different - we had to show a Covid pass before we entered the club - but also very familiar, much the same crowd (albeit with a few more wrinkles - myself included), the same vibes and the same flat, overpriced but wonderful two-pinter of Calsberg.

The gig was great, aside from an odd vaccine-related interlude from Pete, and as I stood in the crowd, I couldn't believe I'd stayed away from live music so long.

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Obviously, pandemic-wise, things have taken a turn once again, so while I will be keeping one eye on the news, I am now cautiously optimistic and looking forward to a gig-filled 2022.

There's some great shows coming up. Self-Esteem, who's latest album Prioritise Pleasure has been named 'album of the year', is at Leeds University Union in early March, a gig I am really looking forward to, while my mate is buzzing for the upcoming Spector gig later this month at The Brudenell.

Festival-wise, Leeds has it made this year.

Leeds Festival, held in Bramham Park each year on the August Bank Holiday has secured some great acts already on its line-up. Dave, Bastille, Fontaines D.C and of course the Arctic Monkeys, are just some of the artists already announced.

I wasn't surprised to see how quickly the Sunday tickets sold out. There's a whole generation of us who still know Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not word-for-word.

Live at Leeds (LAL) is also back and this time with special summer edition. LAL In The Park is going to be held at Temple Newsam in June and the line-up is already looking stellar, with Bombay Bicycle Club, Sea Girls and Arlo Parks. It should be a great day of music.

Things are still a bit weird and not quite back to normal, but Leeds is set to see some incredible artists and bands. I've already got a few gigs pencileld in this year, but I also can't wait to see what new artists I discover.

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