De La Soul and Julian Cope Tour Leeds in February
26 January 2017
Pick Up Your Feet to the Edgy Beat of Psychedelic Rock, Old-School Hip-Hop and New-Age Indie
With Leeds music scene currently celebrating the big-heads of commercial music, we head deep into the underground to preview the city’s hottest gigs this month – which includes performances from the legendary De La Soul and Julian Cope.
Julian Cope Plays Rare Intimate Show
Brudenell Social Club (Friday 3rd February)
Often in our era of mainstream overexposure, and disposable fame, even some of the most talented musicians can be forgotten about. Julian Cope, however, has succeeded in delighting fans and packing out venues across an impressive thirty year career. On Friday the 3rd of February you can see him at Brudenell Social Club, where Leeds gets the rare chance to witness the Wales born, UK-based legend kick start his long awaited tour of Drunken Songs.
Cope’s enduring career in the rock business is thanks to his innovative vision, and borne out by his time as frontman for the Teardrop Explodes in the 70s and 80s. His showmanship effortlessly legendary, and his musicianship flawless. Despite his absence from the gigging scene, Cope’s song writing is still intense and this incredible set will find the Arch-Drude in the favoured role of psychedelic storyteller.
2017’s Drunken Songs LP will feature heavily in the set list on 3rd February: its songs contain six winter warmers to enliven the dark gloomy days, six stories of cantankerous drunkenness as it plays out in scenes across the British isles. Once Cope takes to the stage, expect an elaborate saga drawled out in those rich tones about how he nearly didn’t make it here, including accounts of motorway turn-offs and crossing the Yorkshire dales, before opening with a tune from Drunken Songs. Cope is always in his stride on stage, striking down any would-be hecklers with urbane wit and stark observations.
The visionary drinking song As The Beer Flows Over Me was the inspiration for the entire project. Written by Cope for his own funeral, it celebrates our own northern comforts, and implores you to dismiss the southern lands of the grape in favour of beer and lager. Whilst Don’t Drink And Drive, is a reminder that Cope has an innate humorous sensibility. Throughout the show, you can also expect to hear him playing an epic song or two from the Teardrop Explodes and his extensive solo back catalogue.
Only Julian Cope could make a performance of drinking songs sound like a fun-loving escape from troubled times: as poetic as previous medleys but with a humorous twist, and poignant commentaries. As the Arch Drude himself says, “I don’t want to be venerable. I want to be bad!”
De La Soul Bring UK Tour to O2 Arena
Leeds O2 Arena (Tuesday 28th February)
Grammy award winning hip-hop superstars De La Soul are touching down in Leeds at the end of February and you’ll need to be prepared for the ticket rush. Formed in New York’s Long Island back in 1987, the group’s ‘3 Feet High and Rising’ made them instant hip hop royalty and have enjoyed god-like status ever since. Back with a new album, ‘and the Anonymous Nobody’, the trio are set to show an arena full of screaming northerners an array of intelligent rhymes and clever beats.
Always innovating, the new album offers up a range of exciting collaborations, including ‘Snoopies’ with David Byrne and the old-school inspired ‘Whoodeeni’ with 2 Chainz... whilst the urban tale, ‘Greyhounds’, which echoes Stevie Wonder’s ‘Living for the City’, with Usher on chorus, is a reminder that De La are often more powerful when they’re being less goofy. And, as will be displayed on the night, when these fellas MC to a live band you will see straight away that their greatest strength is not limiting themselves to the well-paid confinement of commercialisation.
Expect a more ‘grown-up’ choice of outfits than their original peace T-shirts, as they get the whole crowd on to their feet with preacher-like musings, non-traditional break beats and stomping vibes. Look closely and you’ll see where the influences of N.W.A, Slick Rick, Run-D.M.C and Big Daddy made their mark, before the trio went on to pay it forward to Mos Def, Arrested Development, Common, OutKast, Kanye West and Jurrasic 5.
In one night, De La celebrates the creative era, when rap was all about being artistic, raw and appreciating music. Their arrival in Leeds is a huge coup for the city, and shows just how having an internationally-renowned major music venue can get the biggest and brightest to perform ‘dope’ songs that come from the soul.
Loud In Your Face Rock n Roll
The Library (Friday 24th February)
Straight from the talented moors of West Yorks, The Young Amphibians will be taking over the Library this February. The loudest indie rock band in Leeds of recent, their late 60s blues influence with modern indie sprinklings make the perfect pairing to the Library’s Rock n Roll type atmosphere.
‘They're returning to our stage after a string of successful gigs’, The Library says, as they tease their release of their latest EP, ‘Junked Up Heart’ on 24th February. The lead song, ‘End of Today, Start of Tomorrow’ has been described as “tasty licks, hard hitting drums and a guitar solo to get lost in”, that leaves behind a trail of “death and destruction”.
The Young Amphibians’ way of performing live feeds off animated crowds, head-banging and sing-alongs. Audience participation is key to an epic night for young bands such as the Amphibians, who are currently in the process of building a fan base. This bleeds into their lyrics, as the front man Thom P Smith says about the record, “I wanted it to become a piece that anyone could relate to, no matter what background you are from or what age you are, I knew that it needed to resonate in the listener's heart long after the record had finished.”
It is a given that people like to dismiss the innovation of new music in favour of nostalgia: a penchant for the past, and lust for a golden age that couldn’t possibly be beaten. However… if you find yourself spinning from this commercial cynicism and yearning for something new, head to the Library to see the Young Amphibians live, and get a taste of tomorrow’s golden age, today.
Image by Matti Hillig is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
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