An openly proud Gig addict, I thought it was about time I shared with The Student Channel my favourite haunts in Leeds, where you can usually find me getting my latest fix of live music, in an ecstatically dreamy state, and basically just singing and dancing along like a giggly thirteen year old high on sugar. Leeds has a brimming box full of tools enabling you to fully immerse yourself in to the music scene and become another valued note in the song of Leeds music fans.
Having already previously expressed my love for The Cockpit, I can not fathom to you how important this venue is for myself, and for other fellow music fans in Leeds, knowing the importance of new music, and fresh new bands, The Cockpit is never low on baby faced, innocent acts, ready to throw themselves to the wolves, and dip their aspirational feet in to the water of career. With cheap drinks, and the dark atmosphere, there is nothing more magical than when the headlining acts shimmy their way through the crowd, on to the stage, and the fogged light spreads and kisses each cheek in the crowd, teasing their apprehensive ears until the first beats of the song echoes and rebounds off the unique walls and in to your chest.
Brudenell Social Club
Formed as a gentleman’s social and recreational club in 1913, and originally popular for its cabaret and bingo, the Brudenell is now an extremely popular venue for students in Leeds. On the outside, this place looks like the typical “Frank Gallagher” kind of haunt, but on the inside, it comes alive. I must admit, the first time I turned up to a gig at Brudenell Social Club, I had to swallow my pride, and reluctantly walked in, wishing I had brought my pepper spray, but after the gig, I walked out with my head held high, and utterly smitten with those two small rooms. The size of the social club ensures that the capacity is a low number, and therefore it is a mutual affair between the act and the fans, you are in touching distance with the geniuses on stage, and afterwards it is typical for the acts to join the crowd for a pint and have a nice chat. The relaxed atmosphere of this venue helps everyone to feel comfortable, ensuring the gig runs as smoothly as possible, without any negative rowdiness. The staff here are always pleasant and ready for a chat, meaning that once you have visited this venue numerous times, you form a relationship with them, and feel even more enthusiastic about the beloved Brudenell. Music is valued highly at this place, and it was even voted Best Small Venue in Yorkshire/North East recently by NME and I can understand why. Tickets are priced reasonably for acts, which is perfect for students living nearby, and the drinks are easy on your pockets. The Cribs have repeatedly played here, and continue to revisit, other such big acts that have played here are Kate Nash, Keiser Chiefs, and Franz Ferdinand, this place really is a hidden pearl for live music enthusiasts.
Nation of Shopkeepers
Romantically charismatic, and utterly seductive with the sensual glow of the candles scattered around the bar and stage, you feel almost warm with a heart full of love upon entering this venue. The sophisticated tone of A Nation of Shopkeepers perfectly emphasises the beauty of live music, with an intimate stage for the acts, like Brudenell it is popular for the acts to join with the crowd after the gig, and maintain the magic of a mutual love for music. This venue is popular with customers with a passion for Art, Music, Food or Drink, and welcomes you with a friendly and sociable environment to engulf yourself in these passions. The average customer can spend just under £10 for food and drink, and in such an attractive venue there is regular live music from acts such as Yuck, Admiral Fallow, Two Door Cinema Club, and many more. Situated in the centre of the City, it is easily accessed, and even fantastic for a pre-drink destination to catch some culture before you head to a club. The website for this venue is extremely helpful, providing customers snippets of artists songs before they decide to book tickets, and just echoing this passion for music in which Leeds accentuates so well.
This venue is extremely popular for many of musics big names, such as Vampire Weekend, Bombay Bicycle Club, Katy B and many more. A bigger capacity than the previously mentioned venues, O2 Academy has more chance for tickets, and bigger names, although it does not harbour the same intimacy as the other venues. Also in the centre of Leeds, this venue is surrounded by bars and clubs, and also has numerous bars surrounding the outskirts of the dance floor ensuring you are well hydrated, or always have a pint in your hand. The atmosphere when you walk in to the main stage area is extremely catchy, and if you are stood in the mosh pit it is hard not to join in with the maniac dancing of the crowd. This venue also holds many hugely popular student nights and therefore sometimes you can just stay after the gig and party on all night.
Leeds Metropolitan Student Union
Extremely popular with Leeds Metropolitan University students, this venue provides great acts such as Foals, The Guillemots and White Lies at a student friendly price. This venue is relatively low capacity, with the people at the back still being able to see exactly what is going on on-stage, aswel as hear it. While you wait to enter the main stage area you are welcomed in to the union with its usual comfort of couches, pool tables and a bar. With this venue being primarily for students, the prices for drinks are affordable, and the staff are always friendly. This venue also has a balcony area for the lucky fans who manage to fight their way through the crowd, and on to a level that looks over the stage, I once managed to get a spot on the steps leading up to such area, and spotted one of my lecturers drunkenly dance away to The Guillemots, it was a site to behold.
Although, due to the two Varsity Rugby teams of the Universities and the extremely popular Rugby match which this entails, there is an unspoken rivalry between Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University students, however, it is worth having a nights taste of humble pie to experience live music in their union. With student prices, everything is affordable here, and the crowds in which the acts bring are of a big capacity, although it is not as intimate a venue as Leeds Metropolitan Union (hmm hmmm) it is a great venue to check out, with captivating light shows magnifying the riffs of the guitars and the lulls of the vocals.
Written by Charlotte Owen, Leeds Metropolitan University.