It’s been a great few weeks for music in Leeds, the weather has been glorious, The Boss has successfully christened our new live music venue, and to top it all off last Friday played host to one of the greatest line-ups of live home-grown hip-hop. If you missed it, shame on you, for those that were there, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Four acts had been carefully picked to showcase the best in Yorkshire hip-hop and electronic music, with each bringing a very different flavour to the genre.
First up was Terra-ist. A lone, but strangely familiar figure, lurking from underneath a huge beanie. Part Tricky, part RZA, with an impeccably produced backing track. The music is grimy and dirty, with addictive bass lines fusing trip-hop, dubstep and old school drum and bass. His lyrics are politically aggressive and fresh, heartfelt and a little bit scary. In another incarnation Terra-ist can also be seen fronting Leeds band The Creeks, but tonight his solo performance is powerful, tender, refreshingly honest and stripped down.
Fresh from winning a slot at this year’s Bingley Music Live festival, Down Radio are young and confidant. Comprising a drummer, guitar player, vocalist and a DJ, they blast into their first song with immense stage presence and passion. It is almost impossible to not draw massive comparisons to Rage Against The Machine. Oddly, though, they manage to bring a distinct Yorkshire twang. They blend hip-hop beats, delicate guitar hooks and melodies, massive heart pounding bass lines with distinctive hip-hop/indie vocals. It’s an unusual but really interesting mix, delivered with such vigour and swagger, that it is hard to not instantly love them.
With the best name in the history of music, Endoflevelbaddie hail from, well, another galaxy probably. They have made a pretty big impact in the UK already, playing at Leeds ands Reading festival, and been championed by Zane Lowe and Huw Stevens on Radio 1. Endoflevelbaddie are a four piece collective that combine massive production, slick visuals, sharp lyrics and a live show second to none. With producer ‘Endoflevelbaddie’, VJ ‘Eyesore’ drummer ‘Beat ‘em Up’ and MC ‘Player 1’, they cut a striking image in anonymous masks. Musically they pay homage to the progression of hip-hop and electronic music over the last 30 years, from Grandmaster Flash and Public Enemy through to Daft Punk.
Their show is a high energy, full on live explosion of noise, fresh beats and is stunningly crafted from start to finish. Tonight they are on fire, and leave most of the audience open mouthed and excited to have seen them. They are ones to watch, if your a fan of energetic live shows, with a huge sense of drama and fun, check them out live in a small club or venue, while you still can.
The headliners tonight are Leeds-based legends Savvy & The Savoir Faire. They are a huge live band with brass section, keyboards, DJ, vocalists and full backing band. They mix pretty much every genre you can think of, effortlessly oozing soul, hip-hop, jazz, blues and funk. They are all individually stunning musicians in their own right. Front man Savvy is a charismatic figure, with lyrics that come from the heart, touching on some clearly personal subjects. It is an incredibly powerful performance by him tonight. It is so heart-warming to see a band that really sell the show and come across as hungry and on point. If you were to combine Jay Z, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, George Clinton and Barry White, you would be about half way there. The music has so much light and shade, really tender moments, followed by slamming, epic tracks full of energy.
I hope that they continue to grow and refine their live performance as a band. The talent and ideas are all there, and can see the live show being pretty special as they hone their craft in the coming months. I would definitely go and watch them again, and look forward to seeing what the future holds for them.
These shows do not happen in Leeds very often, and our home grown hip-hop and dance music scene often gets overshadowed by other things. The night was proof that Yorkshire is indeed home to some of the most talented and creative musicians, and I feel very lucky that I was able to see some of the cream of them tonight. More of this, please!
Gig date: July 27