The Magnificent: Leeds band back from the States to streets of Holbeck

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The nation celebrated a Royal wedding but a punk rock group had something else on their minds.

The Magnificent, an Armley-based band, enjoyed the launch of their music video 1981 on the fourth floor of Leeds Shopping Plaza.

It was shot in Holbeck, south Leeds, and features young students from Leeds Film School and from Cloth Cap/Old Chapel Studios.

Band leader Jimmy Islip said: “The film identifies the tough situation faced by young people growing up in under-developed areas like Holbeck. It looks at life around the time of Charles and Diana’s Royal wedding, juxtaposed with modern images of teenagers on waste ground created by the demolition of council housing.”

The video is available to watch on YouTube. “I hope people see it and recognise the talent of these young people,” said Jimmy. “It’s a high quality film made with little money.”

Jimmy sings and plays bass; his cousin Charlie Batten plays drums’ and long-time friend Matt Colmer plays guitar and sings. Their new single 1981 was recorded in Chicago with Jeff Dean, guitar player with The Bomb, who suggested they should do it in the States.

“With Jeff’s help we booked a short tour ending at the Fest in Gainesville, Florida,” said Jimmy. “We hope to go back later this year.”

The three musicians met when they were teenagers. Charlie is now a tree surgeon and Matt a trainee teacher; and Jimmy works for a Leeds arts organisation called Lumen. Their tongue-in-cheek website says: “The Magnificent sing about stuff that affects their lives. Important things like pigeon fancying, coal mining, brewing beer, cutting down trees, playing squash, bureaucracy, coalition governments that don’t work, and whippets.

“Their sound has been compared to Gunpowder, the Replacements, Billy Bragg, the Clash, Alkaline Trio and maybe someone being sick.

“If you are an American, the music sounds English. If you are English, you have never heard of the band.”


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