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Music in Leeds

Leeds has a thriving musical scene, and has produced many notable artists. These include both national chart topping bands such as Kaiser Chiefs, but also smaller, more local bands who play small venues around the city and make up the majority of the music scene.

Bands

The Herman's Hermits Guitarist Derek Leckenby was born in Leeds.

The Mekons and the influential Gang of Four came out of the 1970s punk movement, with the early eighties the punk/oi! groups Abrasive Wheels, The Underdogs and The Expelled who all shared the same record label, Bristol's Riot City.

In the early to mid-eighties the city was home to a large goth scene and many local bands who went on to have some degree of success nationally and internationally including The March Violets, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, The Sisters of Mercy and Salvation (who were formed by Sisters of Mercy roadies) .

The avant-garde art scene centred around Leeds Metropolitan University's (then Leeds Polytechnic) Fine Art course led to the formation of early 80s electronic pioneers Soft Cell.

The Late eighties and early nineties saw success for John Peel favourites, and regular Festive 50 botherers, The Wedding Present, agitprop band Chumbawumba and indie rock group Cud.

In more recent times Leeds has caught up to cities such as Manchester and Sheffield both in terms of quality and the number of bands originating from the city, and Leeds based bands such as Kaiser Chiefs, The Music, The Pigeon Detectives, Your Vegas, Duels, ¡Forward, Russia!, Buen Chico; iLiKETRAiNS, The Sunshine Underground and singer Corinne Bailey Rae have achieved varying degrees of success - some in the national charts, others by gathering small but devoted followings in the area. The NME named Leeds as its number 1 musical hot-spot in 2004.

Electronic music and the clubbing scene

House music had a big impact on Leeds when it arrived in the late 1980s. Early house nights included Downbeat at the Warehouse, Meltdown at the Astoria in Roundhay, and Joy and Kaos at various temporary venues, along with a thriving Shebeen or "Blues" scene in Chapeltown.

Along with Sheffield and Bradford, Leeds was a centre for the Yorkshire Bleeps and Bass scene in 1989–1990, with influential local bands such as LFO, Nightmares on Wax, Ital Rockers, Unit 93 and Juno on Sheffield's Warp Records and Leeds' Bassic Records.

Dance band Utah Saints hit the top ten several times between 1991 and 1993.

International Djs and Producers like Paul Woolford, Ralph Lawson and Riley & Durrant have their studios in the city.

The earlier underground house scene developed into the Leeds club scene of the 1990s, when for a while Leeds held the title of Britain's clubbing capital. Both Back to Basics and mixed gay night Vague enjoyed the title of best club in Britain at different points in the decade, whilst The Orbit in Morley was an internationally recognised techno mecca (Orbit closed in 2003 and was replaced by a restaurant).

In 2007, Leeds is emerging as a city with one of the most creative and diverse electronic music scenes in the UK. Club nights and collectives such as Gonzo and Room 237 hold regular events in the city and have been the catalyst for a rapidly growing electronic music scene which follows a more forward thinking, eclectic and sometimes experimental path. Artists such as Headcleaner, Kubex, Gwylo, Micoland and Ant Orange are current leading lights in the scene, with local D.I.Y record labels such as Gonzo run Dirtload Records and breakcore label Marionette providing an oulet for the wealth of electroncic music coming out of Leeds. Dirtyload Records has recently seen support from Radio One's Mary Anne Hobbs, who featured a number of the labels artists in a special Breezeblock show about Leeds electronic music.

DIY scene

Leeds is very well-known for its current DIY underground music scene, encompassing the genres of hardcore, post-hardcore, post-punk, noise rock, dub reggae, dubstep and electronic music among others. There is a vibrant and active community based around the DIY ethic, supported in part by Cops and Robbers, a monthly guide to DIY events in and around Leeds, and Leeds Music Scene, a guide to the city's independent music scene.

Festivals

The Moor Music Festival takes place yearly in July on Addingham Moorside near Leeds, and regularly plays host to artists from the city.

Leeds initially played host to the northern leg of the V festival between 1996 and 1998 before the event moved to Weston Park, Staffordshire.

In 2000, Leeds played host to the first ever Radio 1 Love Parade at Roundhay Park.

Since 1999 the Leeds Festival, a northern leg of the well established Reading Festival, has taken place on August bank holiday weekend. The event was initially held at Temple Newsam (the venue for the Leeds V Festival) before protests from residents forced a move to Bramham Park.

Leeds is also home to the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition which is regarded highly. It was established in 1963 by Fanny Waterman with the 15th competition starting in September 2006.

West Yorkshire Playhouse (along with several other smaller venues) plays host to the annual Fuseleeds festival showcasing an eclectic mix of more left-field music.

2007 saw the two-day Wireless Festival take place at Harewood House.

Venues

Leeds plays host to many venues, currently including Leeds University refectory (where The Who recorded their 1970 live album Live at Leeds), Leeds Metropolitan University , The Cockpit, Brudenell Social Club , The Faversham , The Hi-Fi club , The Wardrobe, Irish Centre, Joseph's Well , New Roscoe , The Cardigan Arms, The Fenton, The Packhorse, and Trash among others.

Occasional gigs are held in Millennium Square in the city centre (including the Kaiser Chiefs in 2006), Roundhay Park (which was home to Love Parade in 2000 and has hosted gigs by Madonna, U2, Robbie Williams and The Rolling Stones), Harewood House, Leeds Town Hall, Leeds Holy Trinity Church and Leeds Parish Church.

Recently attempts have been made to build an arena in the city (currently larger touring acts tend to play either Manchester or Sheffield owing to the relatively small capacity of the refectory, Leeds's biggest permanent venue).

See also

External links

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