With a wealth of independent music venues, record shops and home to the Leeds College of Music, Leeds is one if the finest cities in Europe to catch a gig. Combined with the diverse, creative and affordable culture of the city, we can’t imagine a better place to sit and let some sweet sounds, soothe your soul. Here’s a few Art Hostel favourites of the many regular nights in town, all of them free!
When: Last Monday of Every Month
Where: Hirsts Yard (Call Lane)
Hidden down an alley just off call lane, is Hirts Yard, a tiny bar of a venue for such a huge event. Standing (and barely breathing) room only, Re:Soul describes itself as neo soul, hip hop, jazz jam with local bands bellowing out some big tunes. After a set from the guest artist, the in-house band lead a jam, providing a platform for the huge wealth of musical talent in Leeds to get involved and show the city what they’re made of. The venue fills out as soon as the bands kick off so get down there for about 9pm. Soul Rebels at The Wardrobe is a pumped up version if you’re looking for a proper night out once a month, definitely worth a couple of quid.
What: Sunday Joint
When: Every Sunday Night
Where: HiFi Club
With live music followed by a club night there’s no reason to dread mondays anymore as you’ll be too buzzed from the night before to even remember you’re supposed to go to work (or uni, or the gym, or your nan’s). Definitely worth getting down by 10 45pm as otherwise you’ll miss the live band and have to queue as it’s a popular night. Backbeat Sound System recently played an awesome set and crashed with us here in the Art Hostel afterwards. Jazz, latin, reggae, salsa from the bands followed by funk, soul, reggae and hip hop from the house dj’s, all mixed together with a glass of Rum and Ting.
Preceded by Memphis Soul Stew on the Tuesday night, Smokestack is a great bar with customers ranging from students getting their boogie on to working folk kicking back with a mid week beer. Dancing is more than acceptable, so is having a sit and a chat. With a great atmosphere and live music, Smokestack is a great wednesday night (or any other night) out.
What: FRAM Live Sessions
When: Most Thursdays
Where: Friends of Ham
Cheese, ham and chill with a drink and a live acoustic set at Friends of Ham most Thursdays. The open kitchen means you can watch the expert chefs carve your salami and tell you the origins of your cheese. A truly high quality dining experience, FRAM is a wonderful place to escape from the city and catch up with a friend.
What: Resident and International DJ’s
When: Every Friday and Saturday
Where: Outlaws Yaght Club
Past DJ’s including Moonboots, Alexis Le Tan, Tropical Jeremy, and Nightmares on Wax, Outlaws is a relaxed European style café/bar, exhibition space, record shop & creative hangout. With a great range of board games, beers and cocktails it’s a great place for anyone from coffeeshop bookreaders to creatures of the night. The staff are wonderful and friendly and there’s plenty of sofa space for everyone!
What: Sofar Sounds
When: At least 2 dates throughout the month
Where: Secret and Unique Locations
Describing itself as ‘a global movement which brings the magic back to live music’, Sofar began in response to a lack of respect for artists and their music and gigs and has now spread to 274 cities across the planet. Providing intimate and peaceful gigs, the location is emailed to you the night before and you have no idea who’s playing until they step onto the stage. Leeds venues have included the Corn Exchange, White Cloth Gallery and the Holbeck Underground Ballroom, and this November the Art Hostel hosted 3 brilliant acts in the newly available basement space. Sign up via their website and fingers crossed you manage to get a ticket: www.sofarsounds.com.
What: Sunday Session
When: The First Sunday of every month
What: Open Mic Reggae
When: Every Wednesday
Where: Sela Bar
Live music, spoken word, open mic, Dj’s – Sela Bar has it all the first Sunday of every month.To make the experience complete, this tiny little downstairs venue carrys a huge range of beers with pizza to compliment. Reggae band Mojah are also on every Wednesday for a bit of brightness mid-week. In truth, Sela bar makes for a great evening of music any night and is a favourite hangout of Art Hostel staff and guests alike.
Words by Thea Flindall