If the weekend has caught you by surprise and you still don’t have plans, fear not, because we’ve rounded up what’s going on this weekend in Leeds.
There’s always something to do in Leeds, so if you find yourself at a loose end this weekend, or any other for that matter, just whack Leeds-List in your search bar and find our guide to what’s on. From the latest shows to club nights and one-off events, we’ve got it covered.
Friday 22nd September 2017
Kick off your weekend in Leeds at the Corn Exchange for Leeds Rum Festival. You can try over 80 different rums across 20 different stalls as it returns for its second year. They also have cocktails, street food and masterclasses, too.
The city’s theatres are also busy, with two big shows at West Yorkshire Playhouse this weekend. The Kite Runner comes to Leeds after a successful West End run, with a heartbreaking tale of friendship set against a backdrop of impending war in Afghanistan. You can also catch Woke at the same venue, which follows self-confident rapper and world-record-holding beatboxer Testament, who has to deal with his own prejudices after the birth of his daughter.
Elsewhere, Howard Assembly Room is home to India’s Children: Partition, a hard-hitting performance that commemorates the 70th anniversary of the partition of India, exploring its impact and legacy through music, dance and visual art. In Otley, the Courthouse welcomes Fringe legend Pip Utton for Playing Maggie, in which he takes on the Iron Lady’s persona and examines her long-lasting impact on the country.
There are absolutely loads of gigs on Friday night to get your weekend in Leeds going. You’ve got two huge tribute acts to catch as Oasis-esque group Definitely Might Be run through the Britpop icons’ back catalogue at O2 Academy Leeds and Pure Whitney performs the biggest hits from Whitney Houston’s career at Elland Road.
Over at Brudenell Social Club, you have two gigs on offer – indie supergroup The Surfing Magazines, featuring members of Slow Club and The Wave Pictures, or Belgian hardcore supergroup Supergenius, made up of members of Oathbreaker, Beecher and Blind to Faith. The Key Club is home to former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero and the Patience, The Wardrobe welcomes hip-hop producers The Mouse Outfit and The Library sees The Elephant Trees headline, with support from The Dark LP and The World Keeps.
If you prefer heavy music, there’s plenty to enjoy on Friday night. Polish punks The Analogs are at Eiger Studio, the UK Slam Fest pre-show featuring Why Everyone Left is at Temple of Boom and Halfway 2 Nowhere sees the likes of Rival Bones, Feed Them to the Forest and Elastic Waste at Santiago.
Maybe you like music of a more left-field nature? You can delve into the world of Flamenco de Leeds as Natalia Garcia-Huidobro, Jose Almarche and Javier Macias play at Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton. Up in Headingley, HEART has a special screening of Scott Walker – 30 Century Man, which charts the life of the cult 60s crooner with live music from Ric Neale, performing some of the great man’s tunes. Over at Wharf Chambers, Beyond the Horizon is a night of international music and art with performances from From East to East, Rory James Scammell and Jethro Bagust.
Looking for a late night party? Duke Studios have a very special version of The Friday Residency as Eddy Temple-Morris and Marshall Hackett man the decks. One Night With… is back at Wire, with an extended set from one of the hottest house DJs around, Mall Grab. If you’re a student, don’t miss The 2017 Leeds Freshers Neon Glow Rave at Tiger Tiger.
Saturday 23rd September 2017
Why not spend Saturday exploring Leeds’ galleries? There are a slew of exhibitions finishing up this weekend so don’t miss them. Comic art showcase Zarjaz! An Art Tribute To 40 Years Of 2000 AD comes to an end at The Gallery at 164, and there are two finishing up at Kapow! Coffee – Lee Ford and Jon Eland’s Big Apple photos in We ❤ NY and the anatomy drawings of Pawel Bastkowski in Bastek.
It’s also your last chance to see (After) After at Leeds Arts University featuring Laurence Figgis’ drawings of historical melodramas and Dialect of the Deep at The Bowery, which showcases photographer Debbie Harman’s emotional documentation of her mother’s cancer battle. There are two exhibitions coming to a close at The Craft Centre and Design Gallery too – see Come Dine With Me and Dress Code Glamour before it’s too late.
There is one brand new art show to check out this weekend. The One Who Looks comes to Colours May Vary is a chance to see new risograph prints which explore line work in contemporary drawing. Curated by Yuck, you’ll get to see the work of the likes of Jason Murphy, Aaron Jupin, Gizem Vural, Loic Movellen and Jonathan Calugi.
Or why not flex your own creative muscles on Saturday? The Inkwell is home to Paint Making: Learn to Make Your Own Oil Paints Workshop and Fabrication are putting on a Make a Blouse Workshop. There’s also a couple that the kids and teens can get involved in – Community Comics Power Workshop at Leeds City Museum and the Young Creatives Workshops at Leeds Arts University.
Both of those activities are part of the wider Thought Bubble Festival which is taking place across the city this weekend. Look out for a series of film screenings, meet and greets and exhibitions of sequential art all over Leeds. The main event, the Thought Bubble Comic Convention, takes place over Victoria Gardens and Carriageworks Theatre with guests including Gerard Way, Brian K. Vaughan and Jody Houser.
Elsewhere, head to the Immaculate Heart Church in Moortown for the Art Treasures Found Under the Bed Fair. North Leeds artists like Gary Crowder, Gillian Holding and Nick Claiden are clearing out their studios to give you the chance to buy original art. Vintage fans should make a beeline for Holy Trinity Church for the Blue Rinse Vintage Fair or you can swap your old threads for some new ones as the September Clothes Exchange takes place at Woodhouse Community Centre.
Looking for a family-friendly day out? The Skelton Grange Open Day features an arts trail, bushcraft classes and woodland walks for the kids, as the grown-ups enjoy real ales, a local food market and campfire cooking. Or you can see a Dr Seuss classic come to life at Moor Allerton Library, as Sponge Tree blend interactive storytelling with laughter yoga exercises at Moor Allerton Library in Mr Brown, Can You Moo?
The Friends of Temple Newsam Beer Festival returns this weekend, with 18 cask ales from 12 local breweries at The Walled Garden Marquee. It will also have a range of ciders, prosecco and street food vendors with children’s entertainment to boot. Vegetarians and vegans have a treat in store as Veg Out Festival returns to Sheaf Street Cafeteria – there will be food and drink from ItalFresh, Manjit’s Kitchen and Ruby’s Street Kitchen, as well as craft stalls, live music and art.
If you’d prefer some theatre action this weekend, Leeds Grand Theatre has the second weekend of Opera North’s Little Greats series, where you can see two incredible performances in one night. Pagliacci is first up and it’ll take you into the rehearsal room, as the opera company prepares for a performance – but all does not go to plan and it erupts into chaos and violence on stage. Next up is L’enfant et les sortilèges, a surreal tale of singing cats and inanimate objects come to life – you’ll have to see it to believe it.
Elsewhere, Manchester’s queer performance outfit Mother’s Ruin come to West Yorkshire Playhouse with their riotous cabaret evening Hot Queer Smithy and Buglight Theatre takeover Seven Arts with Marching on Embers, tackling issues of radicalisation in the 21st century in Northern Ireland. Sunny Bank Mills’ Trouble at the Mill evening returns on Saturday – enjoy a curry and craft beer while taking in a performance of Eamonn Fleming’s Confabulation! starring Grace Savage.
Fancy a gig on Saturday night? You’re not short of choice, especially if you’re a fan of up-and-coming indie bands. Manchester post-punk group DUDS headline Wharf Chambers, Bedford four-piece The Wholls bring their Sony Records-signed alt-rock to The Library and Sheffield rockers RedFaces play Church. The big indie gig of the night is over at Headrow House – Glasgow favourites Baby Strange are in town to show off debut album ‘Want It Need It’.
If you prefer something a little bit heavier, London-based punk rockers Ghouls are at Bad Apples and St Albans punk-pop group Trash Boat headline The Key Club with support from Broadside and Homebound. There’s a whole day of hardcore punk at Temple of Boom as UK Slam Fest takes over and heavy metal aficionados can spend the day at Summer Meltdown at The Fenton.
Americana duo Michael McDermott and Heather Horton bring their country-tinged rock tunes from Chicago to All Hallows Church in Hyde Park for a rare Leeds show. Jazz fans should spend the evening at HEART in Headingley with the James Beckwith Trio.
Clubbers have a trio of huge nights to look forward to on Saturday. Students should make the most of The Big Freshers Sesh at The Old Red Bus Station, which is one of the more respectable freshers’ parties – expect quality DJs, live bands and street food. Over at Church, Trippy Visions blends house, techno and bass music with spectacular light and laser shows. At The Wardrobe, Hot Dub Time Machine come to town with a night of some of the best party anthems ever, played and mixed in chronological order.
Sunday 24th September 2017
If you’re looking for a relaxed Sunday afternoon with the kids, take a trip out to Alwoodley Community Association for the Alwoodley Children’s Book Festival – the little ones can pick up some new reads, take part in giant games and enjoy three interactive storytelling shows. Want to get arty? Chirpy are hosting their Learn to Love Your Sewing Machine Workshop, Leeds Print Workshop are putting on their Collagraph and Monoprint Workshop and The Bowery have their Concrete Planters Workshop.
The LS6 Freshers Fest is at LS6 Cafe on Hyde Park Corner, with live music all day from the best local acoustic and alternative talent – not that you need to be a student to attend. Other live music events to end the weekend with include rap superstar Machine Gun Kelly, who’s performing cuts from his latest album ‘Bloom’.
Elsewhere, Californian psych rockers White Manna headline The Library, Bristol garage band Van Zeller come to Oporto for their first Leeds headline show and LA riff kings Here Lies Man play Brudenell Social Club. At the same venue, Cotton Jones frontman Michael Nau plays a solo show with support from The Saxophones. If you’re into a bit of shoegaze don’t miss Leeds band Jellyskin at Santiago with Feed Them to the Forest and punk fans can enjoy Milestones’ show at The Key Club with Gospel Youth as special guests.Credit: Tristram Kenton