Music In Leeds: The City Talking

LeedsBID was proud to support an historic and significant event that took place in Leeds on December 8th

LeedsBID was proud to support an historic and significant event that took place in Leeds on December 8th. After months of work Hebe Works (City Talking) premiered an outstanding film, about the history of music in Leeds, so influential on shaping the city’s cultural development and media sector to the present day. The film was premiered, supported by the LeedsBID, at a packed Belgrave Music Hall with many of the people who inspired and featured in the film in attendance including the Kaiser Chiefs, Utah Saints, Pigeon Detectives, the Sisters of Mercy and Bridewell Taxis.

No music documentary can tell every story, but the stories in Music in Leeds do show how artists such as Marc Almond, shaped fashions and trends out of Leeds would influence a generation and reverberate across the UK. By the early eighties, Leeds was unofficially known as the ‘City of the Goths’ inventing that particular musical genre in the process as it didn’t previously exist as a formal scene. Through the development of innovative new club nights and small gigs around the city, building a rapid and seismic buzz around several local bands, one particular standout being a band called the Sisters of Mercy. Leeds was fast developing into one of the capitals of new music in Britain and so it would go on…………………………………!

In essence, a key reason for this influence, came from the spirit, the ethos amongst Leeds’ young music-makers that has inspired so much of the great artistic independence that has flowed from the city: the listen-to-yourself and do-it-yourself philosophy that have been in the grain of the city’s music from punk clubs to nightclubs to international stages since the mid sixities.

The film is told from the viewpoint of those who were there, in it, doing it, living it, playing in it: dozens of people talking about their experiences, their tales and the highs and lows that made this city an incredible place to be a music fan. The themes and refrains began to emerge from all this historic noise, forming a vivid, rich and at times mind-blowing tableau of how music in Leeds really has shaped the musical world.

LeedsBID is committed to knitting together the most powerful elements of what makes the city of Leeds unique, stand out from the crowd and thus drive an increased and more commercially successful future for the city’s businesses and investors. The role Leeds has played in the British music scene over the last four decades, is a major part of this incredible narrative and this film we at Leeds BID see as the first chapter in a phenomenal story which will contribute to continued and beneficial profile for the city.

Now the film is available to watch in full at the BBC Music website — just click here to watch

Featured are the infamous excesses and tension of The Bridewell Taxis and their charismatic frontman, Mick Roberts; the genre-defining club scene of Back to Basics and Vague, that launched the Utah Saints to whirlwind, worldwide success; the rollercoaster of the new millennium, as independent label Dance To The Radio fought to hold its grip on ¡Forward, Russia! and the Pigeon Detectives’ runaway popularity.

Amid all the comments we heard at the premiere, one stood out: ‘Leeds makes cool scenes’ a perfect summary from one viewer of how important music in Leeds really is!

The City Talking: Music in Leeds, Vol.1 is made by The City Talking and produced by Hebe Works in partnership with the BBC; direction is by Lee and Stacey Hicken, and narration by Johnathan I’Anson.

The film is supported by Blacks Solicitors, Leeds College of Music, East Street Arts and the LeedsBID Company; and by everybody who watches it.