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Everything Everything: Beacons Metro 2015

19 October 2015
Everything Everything: Beacons Metro 2015
Over the past few years we’ve seen some great creative venues emerge across Leeds. Just one of these spaces is Canal Mills, a refurbished 18th century textiles mill on the outskirts of the City Centre. It’s become a cultural hub, hosting all manner of events from beer festivals to street food markets, but it’s music that is the venue’s primary focus and for which it’s become best known. On 18th October Canal Mills became one of four Beacons Metro festival venues as it opened its doors to alt pop band Everything Everything and supporting acts.

Everything Everything Beacons 2015 - Article 1 Photography by Mark Wheelwright

Vitamin: Vibrant indie electronica

As early as 6.30pm eager event-goers queued outside while local Leeds band Vitamin performed a sound check. The quartet, who have just begun a three-month residency at the iconic Brudenell Social Club in Hyde Park, describe their sound as having “an influence in electronic music” as well as drawing from the 80s and 90s Chicago house scene. As they kicked off the evening’s performances, playing songs from their EP including the infectious new single “To Believe”, their on-stage ease and energy livened up an initially docile crowd.

Everything Everything Beacons 2015 - Article 2 Photography by Mark Wheelwright

Bernard + Edith: Lana Del Ray meets Kate Bush

Electronic-pop duo Bernard + Edith took to the stage following Vitamin as the venue began to fill out, reaching what looked like capacity by the end of the set. There was a definite shift in tone from upbeat indie to the pair’s unique brand of haunting electronica, although Edith’s undeniable stage presence and strong vocals ensured the shift didn’t lower spirits. The pair closed with “Heartache”, a sombre track with elements of (early, decent) dubstep. Unusual but alluring, echoing acts including Kate Bush, Submotion Orchestra and Lana Del Ray, there’s a spooky but compelling quality to this Manchester-based two-piece.

Everything Everything Beacons 2015 - Article 3 Photography by Mark Wheelwright

Everything Everything: Headliners own the stage

The crowd erupted as Beacons Metro headliners Everything Everything took to the stage, donning a uniform of matching neon jackets and black drainpipe jeans. Lead singer Jonathan Higgs said of the band’s decision to perform in matching attire: “When we first started we’d play gigs and not know what to wear. We would argue about it…we really liked bands like Devo and loads of bands that wear matching stuff. So we thought, ‘Why don’t we just be one of those bands?’”

While the foursome may have been influenced by the sartorial decisions of performers past, one thing’s for sure: their sound is something totally new. An unusual combination of seemingly incongruent genres, Higgs explained: “We like to be unpredictable, colourful and vibrant. Just keep it interesting and exciting for ourselves.” This amalgamation, geared by musical influences including nearly everything from electronica to RnB, has resulted in a unique style bolstered by Higgs’ falsetto vocals.

Everything Everything Beacons 2015 - Article 4 Photography by Mark Wheelwright

All hands were in the air as the band opened the set with “To The Blade”, the first track on their new album “Get To Heaven”. Playing a mix of songs off the new record and 2013 album Arc, including a rendition of the ever-popular “Don’t Try”, it was obvious that while the supporting acts had been warmly welcomed, it was Everything Everything gig-goers were here to see.

On a serious note (no pun intended), there’s something captivating about watching Higgs perform the new tracks, the band’s high energy juxtaposed with the brutal themes in the lyrics and his clearly intense relationship with them. He confesses that at the time of writing he was influenced by the barbarity reported in the media: “I tend to look at current events sometimes; they wheedle their way in. I got quite obsessed with certain things that were happening while we were making the record, and quite a lot of the world events crept into my writing as a way to understand them and get them off my mind.” There is indeed a cathartic quality evident in Higgs’ performance, seeming to cleanse himself of the troubles he documents experiencing while creating the record.

A gig of epic proportions by anyone’s standards, attendees drifted out of Canal Mills with that hazy, happy look only achieved with a high-octane, pristine performance from a favourite band. Both Vitamin and Bernard + Edith imprinted their individual essence on the evening, and will no doubt see their Soundcloud plays shoot up following stellar performances. It’s set the bar high but we’ll look forward to watching artists booked by Beacons Metro try to meet it at the festival’s coming events.

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Sophie’s a jack of all writing trades. A freelance journalist and copywriter, writing culture features and opinion pieces makes her world go round.