Beacons Metro, the festival grown from Beacons near Leeds, now resides in the city centre for over a week bridging October and November. The organisers have cleverly not planned any events for Halloween night, the Saturday before (Halloween party time) and bonfire night, thinking ahead that people will have other plans most likely. The event takes in some of the best venues in Leeds (sadly the Brudenell Social Club is missing though).
Playing at Leeds University Stylus along with Dinosaur Jr, are Local Natives, rounding up the festival on November 7th. The Belgrave Music Hall plays host to the most, with Fucked Up, Diarrhea Planet, Ghetts, Frisco, Elf Kid, AJ Tracey, Lady Leshurr, Anna Meredith, Let's Eat Grandma and Novelist all playing the interesting triple story venue.
Headrow House, a former textile mill has been made into a beer hall and event space and welcomes Boxed In, TVAM, Actor, Shells, The Invisible, Babeheaven, Jamie Isaac, Shock Machine, Drones Club, Lao Ra, Kllo, Krrum, Ekkah, and Salute, Margaret Glaspy, while the Holy Trinity Church houses the Hookworms and the Howard Assembly Rooms have Cats Eyes on show. A limited number of Season passes at £50 will gain you access to all these events between October 26th and November 7th (be aware a couple do clash so chose your favourite first!), plus a goodie bag. The single shows range from free to £20, with the average price being £10. Not bad at all.
Tonight's opening party sees rockers Dinosaur Jr line the stage with J Mascis' huge array of guitar cabs and really start the party. Now onto album 11 with this year's release 'Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not', J, Lou and Murph are no strangers to Leeds, playing this venue last in 2013 with Little Barrie. Bassist Lou Barlow still has the most energy of the band, with J Mascis making that guitar cry buckets through all that wattage. Nine mighty Marshalls of wattage to be exact.
Ashtray Navigations open up the opening party with their experimental sounds. Their droning guitars over synth beats are not for everyone but there's nearly a full house here to hear it all and they are very appreciative.
However the night here belongs to Dinosaur Jr, masters of the guitar solos and catchy LOUD music since 1984. Did I say it was LOUD? Along with the T-shirts and LPs on sale at the merch table there are earplugs, and with all the comments afterwards of ringing ears you can safely say the Massachusetts trio like it loud. The distorted sound that comes from the sound levels at this height is supposed to be like that. Plus the three bass amp stacks and wall of nine guitar amps look cool as fuck.
J Mascis' low unassuming drawl over the songs is also a distinct Dinosaur Jr sound. Bassist Lou Barlow also has vocal duties on new track 'Love Is…' and helps along with backing vocals throughout. Not that you can make them out much with all the distortion, but again that's the way it is. Stay at home and listen to the albums if you want the cleaner vocals! While Mascis stands still and shreds, Murph keeps the pace and Barlow jumps around enough for all three of them, shoeless and hair a-flying. The musicianship of these American rock legends is astounding. 'Pieces' from 'Farm' is a standout track, more chuggy then most of their tracks. 'Green Mind' first track 'The Wagon' has always been my favourite song because it's catchy basically! 'The Lung' from 'You're living All Over Me' is also a great crowd pleaser, as is 'Freak Scene' from 'Bug'. New track 'Tiny', as with most of Dinosaur Jrs newer songs, fits in with the older tracks like they have been best friends for years. The setlist spans most of the bands eleven releases.
The accompanying purple, green and occasional blue lighting goes great with the bands running theme of well, purple and green! The lighting also hits the mosh pit and looks great from the all round balcony in the Stylus venue.
The band head for the Liverpool Music Week tomorrow, and return to sold out shows in Manchester, Bristol and London in November, such is their pulling power, even after all these years. Lets hope they come back soon!
Tickets for the Beacons Metro Festival are still available so be sure to snap them up, as this was a fine taster of what is to come this following week and a half.
Bulbs Of Passion
Watch The Corners
Feel The Pain
I Walk For Miles
latest on this festival
Beacons Metro 2016 review
line-ups & rumours
including F**ked Up, Cats Eyes, Lady Leshurr, Boxed In, Lets Eat Grandma, & more