Live Review: Live At Leeds: In The Park, Leeds  28/05/23

*Photos of Maximo Park by Huw Williams

Following on from a punk-rock filled night on Friday with headliners NOFX, Saturday saw a change in genre with Live At Leeds: In The Park taking place on Saturday at Temple Newsam in Leeds. Returning for a second year following a successful first year, Irish indie band Two Door Cinema Club headline coupled with sub-headliners DMA’s and The Hives.

The sun is out which has certainly turned up the temperatures setting the scene for a perfect festival experience. Kicking off the day at The Cockpit Main Stage is Wakefield band Skinny Living. After a brief hiatus in 2020, the band are back under their original moniker and bring their blend of indie and soul music. Lottery Winners are currently riding high celebrating their number one album, Anxiety Replacement Therapy and are the second band to grace the main stage. After taking to the stage, lead singer Thom Rylance mentioned the band’s recent achievements and swiftly left after joking that the crowd didn’t applaud enough and returned to the stage to a greater eruption from the crowd. Opening with ‘Worry’ from the recent album and for what is a fairly early stint in the day, the band draw a decent crowd.

Over at the DIY tent is English youtuber turned musician, James Marriott. Playing to a packed tent, Marriott opens with 2022 track ‘Grapes’ with most of the set consisting of songs from his 2022 EP release ‘Bitter tongues’. James completed a headline tour back in February and also supported Lovejoy in March – it’s clear that this experience has polished his performance skills. 

Black Honey have been around for almost 10 years, but it was the breakthrough self-titled album in 2018 that saw their stock rise. Blending a mix of indie rock, garage rock with some pop influences thrown in for good measure, it is music that spans multiple genres. With a wealth of festival appearances under their belts, it’s a seasoned performance and Izzy is captivating, commanding the stage with her charismatic presence.

Playing the Rolling Stone stage is New Zealanders, The Beths. With what appears to be a giant inflatable fish on stage, the band suffer a few initial technical difficulties, but the effervescent personality of frontwoman Elizabeth Stokes ensures this is only a minor hiccup on what is otherwise an enthusiastic set. Back over on the main stage and bringing her blend of indie and pop music is English performer, Kate Nash. Sixteen years later, hit track ‘Foundations’ from her 2007 album ‘Made of Bricks’ still proves to be popular with the crowd. Wigan collective The Lathums are another band who are recently celebrating a number one album in the shape of ‘From Nothing To A Little Bit More’. With regular radio airplay they have seen recent commercial success, but the live performances are where this band shine with a smooth balance between the emotionally driven ballads and the upbeat, energetic tracks.

Following their support slot with My Chemical Romance last year, Crawlers have gone from strength to strength and garnered a loyal following. While original guitarist Amy Woodall isn’t here for Live At Leeds that didn’t stop lead singer Holly Minto from delivering yet again another energetic performance. Before taking to the stage, Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline blasts though the speakers before the Liverpudlian band take to the stage, opening with 2022 track ‘Too Soon’.

Tipped as one to watch by NME, Panic Shack steal the show as they headline the right side of the Dork Presents stage. The Cardiff rockers easily score the biggest crowd of the day for the Dork stage and even secure a mosh pit for closing track ‘Who’s Got My Lighter’. Cavetown are the chosen headliners for the DIY stage and it’s no shock to see a bursting tent since the band are renowned for having a super dedicated fan base. Frogs and flags are a theme of the set and scattered throughout the crowd. ‘Lemon Boy’ is clearly a fan favourite and the set closes with ‘Devil Town’ as the crowd passionately sing along.

Australian sub-headliners, DMA’s, a three piece band (coupled with three touring musicians), open with their recent album’s title track ‘How Many Dreams?’. Like the Lottery Winners and The Lathums, the Australian unit also achieved a number one with their new album, so it’s no surprise that the band include a few new tracks within their set. However, mid-way into the set the band change their tone and opt for a cover of Cher’s 1998 dance/pop hit ‘Believe’ to crowd applause. Ending their set with ‘Everybody’s Saying Thursday’s The Weekend’, the band perfectly warm up the crowd ready for headliners Two Door Cinema Club.

Headlining the Rolling Stone Big Top stage is Swedish indie-rock band, The Hives. From start to finish the set is chaotic and energetic with the lead singer, Pelle Almqvist, covering every aspect of the stage and frequenting the barrier on multiple occasions. With the band set to release a new album in the summer for the first time in over a decade, it’s no surprise that the band feature their latest single, Bogus Operandi, in the set. Beginning their set with a bang (or rather a jump!), the band dive straight into the gig with their new single ‘Bogus Operandi’ and to huge applause and cheers. Almqvist is already climbing on anything he can reach –  a speaker was stacked and jumped off of as well as railings to the side of the stage being used to connect with audiences to the side of the stage by the entrance/exit. With the band set to embark on a UK/EU tour as support to Arctic Monkeys coupled with festival slots these are a band definitely worth checking out. Perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly to those fans already in the know, The Hives deliver by far one of the most exciting sets of the whole day.

In a similar vein to last year’s event, the timings of the stages have been planned in a way that facilitates everyone being able to watch headline act Two Door Cinema Act. A staple band in the indie festival scene with several huge hits, they are a somewhat more subdued set off the back of the energetic The Hives, but with the back catalogue they have they are in the privileged position of being able to let the music do the talking. Fan favourites ‘What You Know’ and encore track ‘Something Good Can Work’ ensure all the crowd leave with a huge smile on their faces.

LAL: In The Park is a pretty chilled festival with a reasonably sized crowd to create enough of an atmosphere but not too busy that it becomes a nightmare for parking, food or toilets. There’s a real family feel with plenty of younger children here with parents and on a day like today, it provides a perfect opportunity for a bit of old school family time with some solid music to boot. Tickets for next year are already released for those who want to get in early, and there is also the city event to look forward to on the 14th October. Tickets for both events are available to purchase at

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