The sensation of confusion pulsates in the darkness of my room this morning, I sit up and recollect what happened last night. I remember I returned to a personal favourite club of mine, accompanied with my “gig buddy”, and several bottles of Fosters (classy, I know) to contribute in an exciting annual event for music lovers of Leeds. Cockpit is a club and music venue managed by local promoters Futuresound Music, and situated underneath the Leeds Railway arches, adding to the romantic mystique of the place.
From the outset, Cockpit may look like a seedy doorway to hell, and the arched ceilings, and blackened rooms echo that of a cave, but this just makes the place even more beautiful. Since its birth in 1994, Cockpit has played host to not only some of the most well known names in music; The Hives, Coldplay, Queens of the Stoneage, Crystal Castles to name just a few, but also shining a maternal and guiding light on new bands hoping to establish themselves in to the music business.
Over ten dates in July, Cockpit is opening its music loving arms to several local bands, who are hoping to win the chance to play a set on the Festival Republic stage at Leeds and Reading Festival, and if that is not enough, the five runners up will play on the BBC Introducing stages at both Festivals, giving them a chance to place their feet on the musical runway.
Last night was Heat Five of the competition, and I was humbled to contribute to such an important night for these bands, I could taste the anticipation in the air. The crowd was a willing slave to all four bands that nervously strutted on stage, and played their hearts out in the hope of getting closer to this wonderfully exciting opportunity. This venue generously fills their rooms with such opportunities for bands still learning to walk, and thus is a fantastic venue for students, either who are in a band themselves, or thrive to have a more involved interest in the latest and freshest of bands.
Cockpit presents to you musical cocktails with ingredients spanning from almost every music genre that exists. Tuesday night is Cockpit’s Slam Dunk night. For the bank friendly price of just £3, you are provided with music varying from Hardcore Metal and Ska, to Dubstep and Hip Hop. With bottles just £1.75, and everything else £2, it is hard not to fall in love with this secret music heaven, regardless of what kind of music you listen to.
Friday at Cockpit holds The Session; A sandwich of guitar fuelled hits that will have you and your mates forgetting all your worries, and letting your hair down to the hypnotising sounds of the guitar riffs, from bands such as The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, and Talking Heads.
Every Saturday night Cockpit hosts The Garage; A Rock/Alternative bomb that ignites as soon as you enter, and explodes and settles in your ears like a kiss from a musical God. It is worth stretching into your wallet and paying the higher entry fee of £5 to experience songs from the likes of Blink 182, Nirvana, and Linkin Park shudder through your chest, however, there is also music from acts such as Tinie Tempah and Beastie Boys to keep your dancing shoes warm. If you are more a pop lover than indie addict, Cockpit has a night especially for you. Every Saturday, depending on which week of the month it is, the venue has a room with a music alternative to rock, for example, every second Saturday The Garage blesses its faithful followers with All Dubbed Up night; DJ sets by various local DJ’s and artists that provide a safe haven for people who find the main room overbearing.
Every student in Leeds should at least try Cockpit once, and although it does form a deeper relationship with Rock and Alternative music lovers, it still welcomes everyone with an open heart, and has a night assigned especially for you. If you are in need of somewhere new and exciting to go in Leeds, try Cockpit, it is not only a music venue, but a place where there is always something big happening, and to the bands competing for the chance to play at Leeds and Reading festival, big it most definitely is.
WRITTEN BY CHARLOTTE, LEEDS MET.