Local Leeds, UK Music Scene
The local music scene of Leeds has a deep history connected with the concert festival business. The Leeds Festival has been connected with the Reading Festival since 1999. The Moor Music Festival and the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition are also high profile annual events. Some of the notable musical acts from Leeds include Sisters of Mercy, Gang of Four, Chumbawamba, Scritti Politti, Cud, Mekons, Kaiser Chiefs, Derek Leckenby from Herman's Hermits, The Underdogs and The Expelled. One of the most authoritative websites about the region's local music is LeedsMusicScene.com.
Leeds has a developing underground scene of multiple genres. Some of the best clubs to catch these emerging bands are Brudenell Social Club, HiFi Club, New Roscoe, Snooty Fox, the Taproom, The Vine Club, Joseph's Well and The Wardrobe. The college scene also brings together fans and bands of cutting edge music at Leeds University, Leeds Metropolitan University and Leeds College of Music. One of the most legendary recordings made in the city was The Who Live at Leeds album at Leeds University in 1970. It marked the London band's first live album and it often considered among the best live albums in rock history. The original version of the album only had six tracks including a 14 minute version of "Magic Bus."
Hayley Gaftarnick has promoted several artists in the local scene and finally released her own album in 2013 called Circles. The five piece band Other Peoples is another emerging artist with interesting development, along with The Wooden Machine, Battle Lines and The Sailmakers. The history of the local music scene has mainly been associated with small live venues.
Small venues have significant charm in Leeds. The Brudenell is a nonprofit venue, which sets it apart from other venues. It's also known for being a launching ground for new acts, while it is also used to showcase seasoned talent. Another respected small venue is O2 Academy, which is where you can also see big names and rising talent in an intimate atmosphere. Other favorite small venues include The Cockpit, The Wardrobe, New Roscoe, Snooty Fox, Belgrave Music Hall and Warehouse 23. The local scene has lost of a few important springboards for new talent in recent years, such as Royal Park Cellars and The Well.
The control of music isn't so much an orchestrated plan to control the human experience. It has more to do with priorities based on the way a local music community is structured and relates to the bigger picture. Most of the time, the nation's top music industry gatekeepers surround themselves with watchdogs who do one of two things. They either monitor local scenes and listen to music from unsigned artists and decide that much of it is amateurish or they defend the status quo, which can stifle creativity.
Local music is still a concept that defies a business model. Big players do not want to nurture it because local music could threaten to fragment music sales should it ever catch on. National labels prefer to keep the traditional model in tact in which a few big companies feed the national music scene instead of several labels in each region competing to feed the national scene. Defense of the old system clings to the thread of hope that people will not question how music promotion shapes popular music. Leeds, however, is in fact a land of growing opportunity.
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