Live at Leeds in the City 2023 Review

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Wunderhorse performing at Live at Leeds in the City 2023

Last weekend, Live at Leeds took over Leeds’ city centre for a 150+ act festival which marked the closure of this year’s festival season. Spanning 14 venues across the city, this year’s festival boasted the likes of Shame, Wunderhorse, and the much-hyped The Last Dinner Party, alongside other hotly-tipped artists and bands in what could have been Live at Leeds In The City’s best year yet. 

Live at Leeds has been a keen observer of new talent since its launch in 2007. The festival has provided a platform for rising stars like Ed Sheeran, Marina and the Diamonds, and SOFTPLAY (formerly known as Slaves). This year’s event was no exception, with South London’s Shame headlining. The band has just returned from a successful tour across the United States and South America and has played iconic sets at prestigious events like Glastonbury this Summer. Shame’s live performances are known for their unmatched energy, as demonstrated by lead vocalist Charlie Steen’s crowd-surfing and sound desk-climbing antics, and the sheer energy of bassist Josh Finerty who bounced around the stage as if it was a gymnastics class, during their headline set at Stylus. An hour and fifteen minutes of pure exhilaration, Shame’s headline set was a non-stop party that cemented their status as one of the most exciting live acts in the post-punk scene.

Shame © Jacob Flannery

Earlier in the day, the band Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs delivered an exhilarating metal performance at Leeds Beckett SU. Some people might have doubted whether or not the festival crowd would be awake and ready to enjoy a show at lunchtime, but those who thought Pigsx7 fans would not be able to get into the performance were mistaken. Within three songs circle pits ensued, and didn’t stop for the remainder of the band’s 45-minute-set that led to the crowd being hailed ‘winners of the league’ by vocalist Matt Baty. 

Nell Mescal was then left enamoured by the amount of people who showed up to see her set at Belgrave Music Hall. Despite being relatively new to the scene, Mescal has already amassed a devoted fanbase that eagerly hung on to her every word. Accompanied by her band, she delivered a captivating performance that included previous singles such as ‘Teeth’ and crowd-pleaser ‘Homesick’. A fitting venue for Mescal, Belgrave Music Hall perfectly complimented her dreamy indie tracks, making for an unforgettable experience. 


One of the most hyped bands of the day, Wunderhorse, put on an electrifying set that had the audience begging for an encore. Live at Leeds marked the band’s live return from the cancellation of their US tour and festival appearances this Summer, with vocalist Jacob Slater announcing that it was ‘good to be back’. A delightful set that saw Leeds Beckett SU at capacity, the room was filled with fans old and new, chanting for unreleased tracks such as ‘Oprah Winfrey (Is This Love?)’ which were left out from the setlist. Yet still, Wunderhorse put on a powerful performance that made it impossible to notice that they had been away from the live circuit for a number of months, spanning stand-out tracks from their debut album, Cub, like ‘Teal’ and fan-favourite, ‘Purple’, whilst also treating fans to unreleased cuts such as ‘Midas’, ‘Arizona’, and ‘Cathedrals’. 

Live at Leeds In The City is a festival that can do no wrong and one that seems to be improving each year. Constantly succeeding in its mission to give a platform to new voices in the industry, whilst bringing people into local businesses, Live at Leeds In The City finds itself cemented as one of the inner city festivals that you must attend. 

Katie Macbeth

katie macbeth

Katie Macbeth is a freelance music journalist for Indie Is Not A Genre based out of Manchester, presenter of @drunktankthink, and post punk enthusiast.

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