This was my first experience of Live at Leeds. I knew from what I’d heard that I’d be in for a real treat – and I was not disappointed!
The whole City had a buzz about it. People were travelling from all over to be part of the thriving music scene in Leeds this lovely autumnal Saturday! I wanted to make sure I covered as many venues as possible – so I jam-packed my day with various talented artists across the City Centre and beyond.
First up, Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird at Belgrave Music Hall. Next, I ventured to The Wardrobe for Katie Gregson Macleod. More about these in the next part of our Festival review.
Rosie Miles was set-up to play at cosy venue, Sela bar from 5:30pm. It’s a quaint little spot with red lighting and love-hearts hanging down from the ceiling. It definitely seemed to fit in with Rosie’s aesthetic and general vibe for the evening.
In fact it is the perfect location for Rosie, an ‘alt-folk storyteller’ who has ample charisma and wit. She brought a lovely 60’s feel with her catchy tracks from her newly released EP, ‘Still Life.’ She also played some songs which haven’t even been named yet, but were all about ‘learning to be on your own.’ Something I think we all need some help in learning how to do comfortably.
A lot of her lyrics focused on the rejection of adulthood and wanting to remain in her prime. She has a very eloquent and soft performance style.
A highlight for me was her acapella section which was dedicated to the chaos which consumes the world these days. It focused on grieving, finding peace in turmoil and understanding that though we can’t control most things, we can still feel grief for what is happening around us. It was a very emotional two minutes where the whole venue was silent, clinging onto every word she sang.
In contrast to the more mellow part of the set, things picked up during ‘Mountain Babe.’ Rosie’s friends sang along to her anecdotal lyrics about whisking herself away to live on a mountain and have a baby. She wittily narrated the lyrics to describe each verse with comments like, ‘This is the best bit coming up!’ Her humour and bubbly personality really created a lovely warm atmosphere. It was almost as though we were all sitting around a log fire having a sing-song!
Her light-hearted stage presence really kept me hooked. I’d definitely head to another gig of Rosie’s for more effortless charisma and charm.
To Headrow House, for Aziya. Another one for part three!
I hopped in an Uber to the Brudenell (a personal favourite as far as venues go) to catch Chilli Jesson. You might recognise the name as a founding band member of indie favourites, Palma Violets. But now Chilli Jesson is back with his own sound. Chilli brought an effortlessly dapper vibe to the stage, full suit intact and a tinnie of Heineken in hand.
His music is melodramatic and filled with passion, prevalent through his stage presence and performance. He kept us gripped by standing on the edge of the stage, bouncing around the room and holding the mic up to the speakers for some edgy feedback whilst he banged random keys on the keyboard throughout the set. It was chaotic, yet captivating, to say the least.
A favourite song of mine from the evening was definitely ‘Gucci Want The Suit Back’ which had the crowd singing and dancing along to this absolute bop. This song has been described as “a candid look at frivolity, fame and fashion” from its press release. Compare this with tracks like ‘White Room’ which brought more depth and emotion to the set.
What’s not to be under-looked is the effort and talent that came with the band supporting Chilli Jesson. The harmonies and vocals massively complemented the complexity of the tracks and added another layer of ‘oomph’ to the night.
Chilli Jesson’s chaotic energy was contagious as the delighted crowd travelled with him on this talented rollercoaster of emotions.