On Wednesday evening I headed to Headrow House to catch the much-anticipated headline set from Leeds based electronic soul quartet Noya Rao, hosted by the ever-reliable Super Friendz.
With support in the form of Long Legged Creatures and Moegli, the night was certain to be an honourable showcase of up-and-coming music from the area.
Opening up the show was Moegli, an electronic music producer originally hailing from London, now living in Leeds. His music is an experimental fusion of electronic, hip-hop, bass and garage. The set was slick, concise and executed with a humble intensity, with the sizeable venue already half-full as he made his way through an intriguing musical journey that encompassed a vast array of influences and styles. Ranging from discordant beats to ambient soundscapes, his distinctive take on the genre is clearly making waves in the local music scene and proved to be a fitting and deserving act to warm up the eager crowd.
Next up was electronica 4-piece Long Legged Creatures, also from Leeds. Their set offered a compelling mixture of electronica and dance with an underlying post-rock feel that added a dramatic and stirring element to their sound. The impact was immediate, and with heavy grooves, infectious melodies and enough drum flair to make the most avant-garde musician proud, the relatively new band impressed the crowd with a performance of pure creative dexterity.
Most notable was the band’s ability to blend heavier, bass-driven sections and uplifting dance sounds effortlessly, a feature which ultimately made them stand out. It’s always fantastic to hear a new band that resonates with you and feels genuinely fresh and exciting to watch – on this occasion Long Legged Creatures positively delivered on that front. You can catch them in Leeds on June 7 alongside Slow Loris at the Lending Room venue above the Library Pub.
Finally, it was time for the headline set from Noya Rao.
Having recently released their debut album ‘Icaros’, the band appeared on stage evidently thrilled to be bringing the new material into a live environment in front of a local audience. The turnout was undeniably impressive for a weeknight, symbolic of the buzz currently surrounding the band. Despite being on the more delicate end of the musical spectrum, they skilfully evoked a powerful and emotive atmosphere through layers of rich melody and a stunning vocal performance from frontwoman Olivia.
‘Same Sun Will Rise’ was a personal highlight of the set and is a song that perfectly demonstrates the band’s ability to write anthemic yet unique music under a wide umbrella of influences. The house-inspired sounds really shone through on this track and added yet another distinctive feature to a band well on its way to making a mark in international circuits.
A fantastic night was had by all and once again Leeds proved itself to be a hotbed of eclectic musical talent. Long may it continue!
Noya Rao will be performing at several events over the summer and beyond on the following dates:
June 24 – Glasgow, Jazz Festival
July 08 – Birmingham, Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival
July 15 – Lewes, Brainchild Festival
July 19 – Newcastle, Cobalt Studios
July 20 – Salisbury, Larmer Tree Festival
Oct 20 – London, Gondwana 10 The Roundhouse
Similarly, their new album ‘Icaros’ is available to download or purchase in physical LP or CD format at www.noyaraomusic.com
Gary writes for Leeds Living on contemporary music, being an avid goer of gigs and a supporter of local talent.