People often say that the best way to get to know a town is to talk to the people that live there, and if like us you’re quite partial to some live music, we reckon the best people to ask are the town’s local friendly rock band. So that’s we did!
We got Jake and Tim from Leeds based rockers Fizzy Blood to give us the skinny on what the best places to catch some live music in Yorkshire’s largest city are and what the venues mean to them. Enjoy!
Brudenell Social Club
Jake – Before I’d even moved to Leeds, I’d heard of the Brudenell. It was on every band’s tour poster and musicians spoke very highly about it being the best place to play in Leeds. When I eventually moved up and after a while joined Fizzy Blood, my sights were set on playing there. Luckily, they held demo sessions at my University where owners Adam and Nath came along, heard our track, and offered us a headline show out of it – our first in Leeds too! I will always remember that as a special night, we were so much better looking back then. After a couple years of spending nearly all my time there, I actually ended up getting a job behind the bar and seeing some amazing gigs, all while getting paid a tidy wage. I think my favourite was Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, only because they played ‘Caravan of Love’ though.
Jake – I can’t really remember my first memory of this place, but I have been a regular offender for a few years now. It’s great, a huge place and always has ace bands playing. The last time I went down I saw Wavves and Dune Rats which was a real nostalgia trip for 16-year-old me. It’s especially good to see loud bands in there because it really fills the room and just sounds massive. One of my fondest memories there will be NYE 2017, they held a Bowie vs Prince night which sounded great on the tin. Sadly, much to my surprise, Bowie has way more bangers than Prince and is definitely more party friendly, not that I have anything against Prince y’know, I just love Bowie. The entire room seemed to flood in and out as the DJ seemed play well known Bowie tunes and strange 8 minute long Prince deep cuts. Anyways, go check it out.
Jake – Another venue in Leeds where I’ve seen a lot of great bands. The standout show has to be White Denim, they were just so good and to watch that drummer side stage was absolutely mind blowing. Later that year, much to my surprise, we were offered the While She Sleeps tour and had a chance to play this venue for ourselves. It was really cool and the biggest venue we’d ever played in Leeds. Before this, the Brudenell main room was the biggest cap venue we’d played and that is completely Dwarfed by Stylus. However our mates were still stood at the front making it feel nice and familiar but instead of it just being them and another 10 people, it was another 1000 and is probably one of my favourite Leeds gigs to date.
Jake – There’s actually two venues in this big ol’ place, Church is obviously the massive room and then next door is the dainty chapel. I’ve had the pleasure of playing Chapel which used to be my favourite burger restaurant, they even had a magician that came round to your tables! Both great venues and they look and sound amazing. My first memory of this place was, sadly, before it was a venue and one of Leeds grottiest clubs called Halo, I only went the once – honest! However, it’s nice to see it rise from the ashes and turn into one of Leeds classier venues.
Tim – A close friend of mine was one of the first staff members at Headrow House when it opened in 2015 and became a manager pretty quickly so I have a lot of great things to say and thank this place for.
Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up (there are four floors). The restaurant, Ox Club, is one of the finest in Leeds, and pretty reasonably priced for what it is. There is also a beer hall which has more choice than you can shake a sour beer at. Moving up a floor, the gig room has a great backdrop and warehouse vibe, I remember seeing Boxed In there and it being perfect for that kind of music. Above that there is a cocktail bar and above that again there is a truly glorious roof terrace (who doesn’t love a roof terrace!?). We also did the hometown show of our most recent headline tour here which was pretty special for us all.
Tim – This is one of those bars you hear murmurs about for ages and try to find after a few too many lime and sodas, and never do. I eventually stumbled upon it after seeing some people disappear behind a door in a barbers shop in the early hours of the morning. This is a proper old-school speakeasy sort of situation with bands on until 2/3am (if I recall correctly, it could be later or earlier) which I love. I think it’s a real shame that, after 11pm, it’s hard to track down some music being played by humans in a city as vibrant as Leeds. Don’t get me wrong, I love a scabby warehouse as much as the next guy, but sometimes I want to feel like I’m in 1956 and have money – Domino is the place for that.
Tim – I walked past Sela a lot of times without even realising it was there but once I did, I spent a whole lot of time there. You come in off the street, go down a tight wooden staircase and emerge into a wonderful world of pizza smells, hazy candles and amazing musicians. Sela bar still holds the record for the most amazing feet of musicianship I have ever witnessed in the flesh. There is no way I will be able to describe it here but it was a drum solo by Sebastiann De Krom and it flawed me for about two weeks. You know when you realise that ‘be there or be square’ means that you won’t be ‘a-round’ – that kind of sense that your life will never be the same again? It was that, but times a lot. That’s what I love about Selar, it’s good crack anyway but there is always that off chance that you will see something that will blow your mind.
Tim – I very vaguely remember being crammed into the gig room in Oporto in my freshers week at university and for the five years that have followed it has been a pretty consistent part of my social life. I remember seeing the Canadian band ‘Weaves’ play there about a year ago and it was one of the best shows I’ve seen anywhere. Oporto is great because it really is like that romantic image of the crammed bar that has bands on right in the centre of the city. It is also on Call Lane, which, in case you don’t know, means that the party can go on for a very long time after the bands have finished.
Check out Fizzy Blood live this summer…