the city talking: music in leeds, vol. 2 — watch nowBack
The City Talking
The City Talking: Music in Leeds, Vol.2, is our second documentary about some of the stories we’ve heard about Leeds prolific music history.
While no documentary can tell every story of a city’s sound, we hope that what we’ve been able to share in this volume will contribute to the larger narrative of community, experimentation and independent ethics we explored in Vol.1, that has been integral to the music Leeds has made.
You can watch The City Talking: Music in Leeds, Vol.2 online now by clicking on the video player below.
In Leeds, art students have always formed bands, but in 1976, Leeds’ university-punk bands were charged up by the pub-rock-with-a-sneer sounds of The Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Clash. But these were all London bands, and in the violent grimness of seventies Leeds, punk meant much more than a fashion statement, or even an art form. Not all the members of Gang of Four, The Mekons, Delta 5 and Girls At Our Best! were musicians; but they had instruments, politics, and a loud three chord framework; Leeds gave them a stage and something to say.
In the late seventies and early eighties, weekly Rock Against Racism gigs brought punk rockers and reggae artists to the same stages, at Leeds Poly the West Indian Centre. Years later, the Iration Steppas soundsystem would shake the floors at SubDub. Dub sounds had a long history in Chapeltown, but it was SubDub that introduced that style to partygoers from the basements of Hyde Park, where bands like Gentleman’s Dub Club and Submotion Orchestra gave the music club and jazz twists. Musical growth and exploration kept all these groups tight together, and took them to a second home: Outlook Festival, in Croatia.
Since punk the route from audience to stage has been vital, and Leeds’ venues have made it easy to tie together. If you were a music fan in 2006, you might go to an all dayer at the Brudenell Social Club, or spend your night at The Fenton, The Packhorse or The Vine. From the every-dayness of music, rehearsals in basements and gig spaces, and good old friendships came bands like Mother Vulpine, Dinosaur Pile-Up and Pulled Apart By Horses, and indie labels like On the Bone, criss-crossing currents of mates who can’t believe that they can still do now what was such a kick to do then.
The City: Talking: Music in Leeds, Vol. 2 is the fourth feature-length documentary from Hebe Works, and the second volume in our series Music in Leeds. You can watch the first here.
The City Talking: Music in Leeds, Vol.2 is made in partnership with the BBC, and supported by LeedsBID.