Over a thousand music lovers squeezed through the doors of the Brudenell two weeks ago to experience the wonder that was Gold Sounds Festival 2018. Highlights included some seriously good sheep impressions from the mesmerising Life, political statements from Strange Bones (balaclava and all!) all topped off beautifully with a moment of peacefulness from Phoebe Bridgers on Saturday night. The weather was glorious and, accompanied by a variety of indie food vans outside the Brudenell, the atmosphere was one full of lagers and laughs; not only because of this years incredible line up but also undeniably down to the fact Leeds got to finally see some sunshine.
Kicking the Saturday off were the likes of GRDNS and Dead Naked Hippies, both from up north and performing on the Gold Sounds stage for the first time. Absolutely owning it Dead Naked Hippies’ stand out performance bought a frenetic and much needed energy to a sleepy and sunny Saturday afternoon. Front woman Lucy entranced us with both her visual and musical performance, moving powerfully and armed only with a mic, as she belted the recognisable melodies of releases such as ‘I Wanna Know Ya’ and ‘I Can’t Wait’. In pure Gold Sounds fashion, this fine rock music was to later be contrasted beautifully by the Welsh lads of Boy Azooga, really highlighting the array of artists on the lineup this year. Following their recent Jools Holland appearance these guys definitely weren’t short of interest, with a great crowd forming by the time it was their turn to tingle our earbuds later on in the evening. With a sound nodding to the likes of Spring King and Cabbage, this lot also convey an incredible amount of likability and talent seen on and off the stage as they interacted with the audience throughout the day. Keep an eye out for where you can see them next as we’re tipping them as definite ones to watch.
As the night went on it’s fair to say the standard of Saturday’s line up got even higher. Graced by the presence of Phoebe Bridgers and the infamous Big Moon, music lovers really were spoilt for choice as some incredibly talented ladies ruled the stage. With a full band, Bridgers stole the show as she recreated tracks from her beautiful album Stranger in the Alps. Mesmerising to watch, her musical storytelling transported us all out of sunny little Leeds to her own make-believe world, and it’s fair to say most of the audience were reluctant to return to reality. But so we did, and got back on track for the power group that is The Big Moon. Experiencing slight difficulties with sound at the beginning of their set, but unfazed and energetic as ever, these gals really did justice to their headliner title, dancing playfully around the stage as they gave the audience the bangers they wanted, such as ‘Cupid’ and the genius that is ‘Sucker’. The first day of Gold Sounds was over, and boy what a day it was.
Opening the Sundays stage with a bang were ones to watch Talkboy. Think Alvvays with a dash of Arcade Fire and melodies that you have rolling round your head for days and that’s a pretty good description of this exciting new project. Bringing a friendly crowd early on in the day to the main room, the ball got rolling wonderfully as festival goers arrived to see the likes of City Calm Down and Anna Burch. Highlights for us included watching the stand in bassist for Life perform her first ever gig to a packed-out main room with the most endearing grin on her face throughout. An incredibly memorable performance, full of passion and power these guys did not disappoint and gained a new fan in us for sure. Another end to a sunny day at the Brudenell and all that was left to do was head in to see the last few acts of a packed and memorable weekend. Maybe not as memorable to Bully however, who somehow forgot they had even been to Leeds a total of three times! Alicia Bognanno’s vocals are that of a Cobain-like howl, filling the room and acting as a form of protest when heard in relation to her lyrics, and as a live performance Bully revved up the atmosphere in a way we hadn’t seen with any previous band that day. Impressive to say the least, they got the audience going for the final band to grace the Gold Sounds 2018 stage, Turnover. Feel good indie guitar riffs played us out of this years Gold Sounds perfectly ; accompanied by the smooth vocals of Austin Getz, Turnover truly delivered as the closing act of the weekend. Leaving everyone on a high with tunes such as ‘Sunshine Type’ and ‘Super Natural’ these guys made an impression on us all as we’d love to see them perform live again soon.
Thanks for the laughs, Gold Sounds 2018, we can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next year and do it all over again!
Image: Gold Sounds