THEY are the unassuming looking Leeds venues that helped nurture some of the biggest talents in British music – and carved themselves a place in rock folklore along the way.
Now a new online exhibition and film series is turning the focus on the places that created the people.
Three newly released short films will give a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the Leeds gig circuit – and the legendary Brudenell Social Club and Cockpit have starring roles.
FIVE OF THE BEST GIGS EVER PLAYED AT THE COCKPIT IN LEEDSThe films, and the special online exhibition accompanying them, are being released to celebrate the hard work of the city’s many bands and venues. It’s all part of the build-up to this year’s Leeds Festival at Bramham Park, where many of the acts who honed their talents on the local gig scene eventually went on to play.
One of the films is a nostalgic look at the The Cockpit which – before closing its doors last year – played host to some of the biggest names in music including The White Stripes, Amy Winehouse, Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stoneage, Flaming Lips, The Libertines, Feeder, Mumford & Sons, Vampire Weekend, The Killers, Fall Out Boy, Bloc Party, Coldplay and The Kaiser Chiefs.
Olly Corpe from one of the featured bands, King’s Parade, says in the film: “No venue is like The Cockpit. It’s really kind of an honour to be here. The Cockpit is kind of this legendary venue.”
In another video, members of a band discuss how they met while studying at the Leeds College of Music before going on to play both the Leeds and Reading festivals. They name the Brudenell Social Club as their favourite venue in the country.
The third video profiles Eiger studios in Hunslet, the newer kid on the rock ’n’ roll block.
The online exhibition begins on August 24 and music-lovers can watch all three films at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLm0Wv S2XqHfGjPI-UFKv292puIkXiFduT.
Marek Romaniszyn, assistant curator of community history with Leeds Museums and Galleries, who worked on the project, said: “All the venues and bands involved were fantastic and we are planning to further develop our contemporary music material over the next few years.
“These films also testify to how quickly things can change in music, as the legendary Cockpit venue is now closed.”
Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for culture, said: “These films really give an insight into the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at some of our local venues and the dedication and enthusiasm it takes for artists to get their big break.
“As we prepare to welcome thousands of fans to Leeds Fest later this month, it’s fitting that we celebrate our thriving local live music scene and look back at some of the places and stories that have helped make it so successful.”