Constellations Festival 2010

By Megan Walker

On the 14th November 2010, Leeds University campus was host to Constellations Festival. Constellations Festival is a brand new concept to Leeds and includes live indie and folk music, whilst also promoting film and art.

The event, which is currently 18+ is primarily aimed at university students had 3 rooms with live bands such as Los Campesinos!, Chickenhawk, iLiKETRAiNS and Los Savy Fav, with genres ranging from rock to dance and indie to folk.

The first band on were ‘iLiKETRAiNS’, a post-rock band from Leeds. The band played the refectory, which was the biggest stage the festival offered. Playing to a small crowd, the band tried their best to engage the audience in banter. The band played a 5 song set and really kicked off the festival and proved they were worthy of their place on such a big stage in their home town. In previous years, the band have being hailed by the likes of NME and the Sun and it’s obvious why; they were truly great!

Next on the agenda was ‘Wingman’, playing the Mine, the smallest stage. The band from Leeds once again, had masses of energy that they transferred to the hundred person crowd. The band came across very tight on stage and got the small audience dancing along to the beats. Giving all they had, the boys seemed to be more than happy on stage, their vocals all perfectly in tune. The band added a nice touch to their set by including a song about being drunk – fitting in perfectly with the student lifestyle and audience of the festival. ‘Wingman’ admitted that this was the first gig they had played in around two months and they thought it was going really well, the audience supported the bands judgement on this, clapping along and showing their support.

Back to the refectory and it was time for ‘Esben and the Witch’, an indie rock band from Brighton. The band’s set started with the lights dimming and an array of coloured lights playing on the backdrop with an interlude. The band have a dance feel to their indie genre and used lots of strobe lighting to create this atmosphere in the room. The audience willingly participated by dancing around and watching intently. Singer Rachel Davie’s vocals were spot on throughout the set and she also helped add to the euphoric atmosphere.

The festival also held many opportunities for the crowd to relax from the madness of the music offering many seating areas, bars, hot meals and little stalls filled with band merchandise which to many proved the perfect way to spend the time between bands, browsing at the variety of music posters local artists had to offer.

Another band who proved worthy of their set in the festival were ‘Liars’. The band, who formed in 2000 and are from New York are not very well-known in the UK, yet put on a set proving they were not to go unnoticed at this years festival. The band played a thirty minute set and provided the first mosh pit the festival had seen all day. Lead man Angus Andrew really showed his enthusiasm throughout their entire set.

‘The Vaccines’ graced The Mine with their set and this was one band many people were eager to see. The band gave The Mine the biggest crowd it had seen all day. Their catchy songs proved a hit with the vast array of spectators, ranging from rock-lovers, to dance-lovers alike. The vocals provided by lead singer Justin Young were flawless and really showcased his talent off to a high. The band seemed to perform tightly together and had a great chemistry on-stage. Throughout the set more and more people came flooding in to The Mine, as if to see what the big deal was about. The Vaccines look set to have a great (and slightly busy) few months coming up, so make sure you catch them if you can at the NME Awards Tour. These guys have such a great future ahead of them!

‘Los Campesinos!’ played the headline slot of the Refectory and they proved during their set they deserved the place. The eight piece indie-pop group from Cardiff, who formed in 2006, took the crowd by storm at Constellations festival singing hits from their new album ‘Romance is Boring’ released early this year. The band also played many of their old hits which were more familiar to the audience. During their set, it was clear how versatile the band were, some members such as Ellen Campesinos! playing the keyboard, xylophone, flute and also singing all during one song! The band also are much more energetic and come across better live than they do recorded. Their top hit ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ proved the ‘song of the festival’, with everyone in the crowd jumping up and down. The band were given a forty minute slot due to the sheer co-operation and support the audience gave them. They were definitely the stars of Constellation Festival 2010.

Overall, Constellations Festival 2010 proved a great hit with the crowd at Leeds University. The small price of £22 allowed the students to see many bands that had played at Leeds Festival this year, such as ‘Local Natives’ and ‘Four Tet’, and on the other hand, the festival also offered the chance for many new and upcoming bands such as ‘Honour Before Glory’ and ‘Polarsets’ to gain some new fans and also have a taste of playing festivals. Let’s hope the organisers agree and put on another Constellations Festival in 2011.

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