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 October 2021
Jitney. You can catch Jitney at Leeds Playhouse this weekend and be taken to the Pittsburgh Hill District in 1977. You’ll follow a group of men making their way in the world by becoming unlicensed ‘jitney’ cab drivers. Get ready for an exploration of race, brotherhood and war from August Wilson in this trailblazing modern classic.
BDRMM. It’s been a good 12 months for BDRMM. Ryan Smith’s bedroom project has gone into overdrive, turning into the finest 5-piece to come out of Hull since The Paddingtons. Head to Belgrave Music Hall on Friday night to check out the lo-fi shoegazey sounds of their debut album ‘Bedroom’ as well as new tunes from the impending follow-up.
Leeds Shine Night Walk 2021. One of the most inspiring events taking place in Leeds this weekend, you can join Cancer Research UK on a 10-kilometre night walk through the city to help raise money for the charity. The Leeds Shine Night Walk 2021 starts and ends at Millennium Square but will see you zig-zag the streets from the universities down to Leeds Dock.
Turin Brakes. It’s been 20 years since Turin Brakes made their breakthrough with the Mercury Prize nominated album ‘The Optimist LP’. It quickly achieved gold status in the UK and has become their canonical work, which they’re going to play in full from start to finish at Leeds University Union on Friday night, followed by a few greatest hits.
Gender Roles. Another fast-rising band coming to Leeds this weekend, Gender Roles are taking their Rock Refresher UK tour to Brudenell Social Club. The Brighton 3-piece make a wonderfully chaotic din – it’s raw and full of fire, exactly what you want from your DIY punk bands. Support comes from Public Body and Regal Cheer.
My White Best Friend. It’s time to explore the personal and political things we don’t say to start the weekend at The Holbeck. A series of letters written by black and ethnically diverse writers from across the North will be performed by actors who will have only just seen the texts on the night, alongside Rachel De-Lahay’s original and acclaimed letter, ‘My White Best Friend’.
Bernstein Double Bill. There’s nothing like the buzz of opening night at Leeds Grand Theatre, especially when it’s a double bill of well-loved musicals like this one. ‘Trouble in Tahiti’ explores the dark side to the American dream in 1950s suburbia, while the ‘Symphonic Dances from West Side Story’ brings mambos, waltzes and cha-chas to the stage.
Sonny Fodera. Aussie DJ Sonny Fodera is one of the most in-demand producers in the world right now. His party-starting blend of groove-driven house and heavyweight dance floor anthems makes any night with Sonny a big one. He comes to O2 Academy Leeds on Friday for a mega party until 3am, with a few special guest sets.
The Acid Jam. A brand new club night launches at The Warehouse this weekend. The Acid Jam 001 brings some of the biggest DJs around to play hard-hitting house bangers until 5am. The star attraction on the first line-up is superstar DJ Mason Maynard who’ll be joined by a stellar supporting cast in Ryan Resso, Harry Unsworth and Sam Curran.
The Mysterines. They’re one of the most talked about new rock bands in the UK and you might not get a chance to see The Mysterines in a venue as intimate as The Key Club for a long time. That’s where they’re playing on Friday as they show off singles like ‘Take Control’ and ‘In My Head’ as well as cuts from their debut album ‘Reeling’.
Triple Cooked. A collective of artists, musicians, and creatives travelling the length and breadth of the country since 2015, the Triple Cooked crew are taking over Beaver Works this weekend. The old Victorian Warehouse will be transformed into a weird and wonderful landscape across five rooms playing everything from disco to techno, house and drum & bass.
Fascinating Aida. They’re back! Dillie Keane, Adèle Anderson and Liza Pulman are heading to Leeds Town Hall on Friday so you can spend a night with Britain’s finest cabaret trio. From classic songs like ‘Cheap Flights’ to their seriously rude Christmas number, you’ll soon see why they’ve bagged three Olivier Award nominations.
Saturday 23rd October 2021
Carmen. Opera North’s first major production since the start of 2020 comes to Leeds Grand Theatre on Saturday night. Their brand new production of ‘Carmen’ will spirit you away into a world of full-blooded desire and forbidden passion, soundtracked by Georges Bizet’s iconic flamenco-inspired score. This is opera at its very best.
Last Time Out #6. This monthly celebration of jazz, soul, funk and world music returns to The Wardrobe on Saturday night. Last Time Out #6 sees a star-studded bill come to the city – Leeds’ own The Sun Kissed Child and r&b singer Jasmine Oakley kick things off before the synth-fuelled sounds of Master Soul Boy round off an incredible night.
12 Last Songs. You can catch a world premiere of a new durational work from Quarantine and Transform on Saturday. From 12pm to 12am, you can enter the Quarry Theatre at Leeds Playhouse for ‘12 Last Songs’. It offers a fleeting view of modern life, a live exhibition of people and an epic performance that shows the monotonous rhythms of everyday existence on a new scale.
Fontaines D.C. Fresh from an intimate show at the Brudenell last month, Dublin post-punks Fontaines D.C. return to Leeds for a huge gig at O2 Academy Leeds. They’ll take you through the biggest tunes from their new album ‘A Hero’s Death’, as well as cuts from their much-loved first album ‘Dogrel’, like ‘Big’, ‘Too Real’ and ‘Sha Sha Sha’.
A Stitch Drawn Workshop. Get your creative juices flowing this weekend at Sunny Bank Mills for A Stitch Drawn Workshop with Richard McVetis. He’ll lead you through a combination of traditional hand embroidery techniques, including how and why you do it, exploring the slowness, rhythms and versatility to create textures and patterns.
Leeds Black History Walk 2021. The final Leeds Black History Walk of Black History Month takes place on Saturday. Led by Heritage Corner’s Joe Williams, the trail will reveal unseen narratives and recent history to raise questions and positivity, inspire local people and to see how misrepresentation is linked to Leeds and the university campuses.
The Lancashire Hotpots. Ready for a party? Few do it better than The Lancashire Hotpots. The UK’s finest musical comedy band are back at the Brudenell Social Club on their Big Night Out tour with madcap music and laughs. Get ready for classics like ‘Chippy Tea’, ‘Shopmobility Scooter’ and ‘Has the Bin Mon Bin Mon’.
Children of Zeus. Belgrave Music Hall is the place to be on Saturday night if you’re a fan of alternative hip-hop and neo-soul. Manchester’s finest Children of Zeus are making their long-awaited return to Leeds fresh from the release of their critically lauded second album ‘Balance’. You’ll hear tunes like ‘Sunrise’ and ‘No Love Song’, alongside a few old favourites.
Discos For Grown Ups. Think you’re too old for a club night? Think again! Left Bank Leeds welcomes Disco For Grown Ups on Saturday night. Polish off your dancing shoes and snazziest threads for a night on the dance floor grooving away to the finest disco, soul and feel-good pop tunes of the 70s, 80s and 90s, all played on original vinyl.
The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club. If you haven’t experienced the epic party that is The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club yet, now’s your chance. He’s returning to The Wardrobe this Saturday, and it’s always a sell out. Expect a groove-worthy mix of funk, soul, hip-hop and jazz as one of the UK’s best DJs gets you moving.
The Hallé. Manchester’s iconic orchestra, The Hallé, return to Leeds Town Hall for their annual concert as part of the Leeds International Orchestral Season. Led by conductor Gemma New and including cello solos from Laura Van Der Heijden, you can look forward to four fine pieces of classical music, from Wagner, Walton, Mozart and Beethoven.
Beaverfest Meets Mood Swings. Two iconic parties are joining forces this weekend for one mega club night. You can party from 10pm to 6am at Beaver Works as the Mood Swings crew team up with their Beaverfest counterparts for five rooms of breaks, jungle, garage and drum & bass. Reach Up Disco Wonderland, Slamboree and Phatworld are on the decks.
Sunday 24th October 2021
Haunted Halloween Hunt.The ruins of Kirkstall Abbey are always a popular attraction around Halloween and this year, they’ve got a special family-friendly activity you can do at half-term. They’ve set up a free trail around the ruins and grounds so you can find creepy creatures, spooky statues and peculiar props with more than a few surprises along the way.
Spooky Streets Halloween. If the Kirkstall Abbey fun isn’t enough, pop across the road to Abbey Road Museum where you can experience its old Victorian streets decorated in all manner of spooky ways for Halloween. Keep an eye out for scary spiders, wicked witches and spine-tingling skeletons, before you pick up your killer craft pack.
Sinead O’Brien. Irish poet Sinead O’Brien has had a busy year. It started with the release of ‘Strangers In Danger’, a tender ode to the sound of soccer and plastic flowers in bloom performed in the Sprechgesang style. That’s just been followed by the release of her debut EP, ‘Drowning In Blessings’, which she’ll show off at Hyde Park Book Club on Sunday.
Luisa Omielan. Fresh from a hugely popular off-Broadway run across the Atlantic, Luisa returns to home shores with her ‘God Is A Woman’ show. Head to City Varieties on Sunday night to see Luisa tackle the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus and cunnilingus, all in one breakneck hour of wickedly surreal stand-up comedy.
Sculpture Show North. You can enjoy a dose of culture at Leeds Corn Exchange this weekend. Sculpture Show North will shine a light on the hand-made works of 16 local, national and international artists until Halloween. Using diverse materials like stone, wood, ceramics and metal, it’s your chance to see, and maybe even buy, incredible pieces of art.
Spooky Skeletons Trail. You can get into the spirit of the season at Lotherton this weekend with their half-term Spooky Skeletons Trail. You can download a map or pick one up at the house before you zip around the grand estate to seek out all the skeletons who’ve made Lotherton their home. Fancy dress is welcome and they’ll have fun craft activities to do too.
The Dunwells. Head to Yeadon Town Hall to end the weekend as local indie folk meets Americana band The Dunwells show off their soul-stirring songs. Led by brothers Joseph and David, acoustics guitars and electronica form the base for tunes that pack big choruses as seen on their acclaimed album ‘Blind Sighted Faith’.
Sukh Ojla. Having won huge acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019, Sukh Ojla is finally heading out on her UK tour, including a show at The Wardrobe on Sunday afternoon. ‘Life Sukhs’ sees Ojla tackle everything from mental health issues to moving back in with her parents, all while considering what to do when life doesn’t go to plan.
COBO Comedy Shutdown. The second stand-up show at The Wardrobe on Sunday nights comes from COBO’s Comedy Shutdown. To mark Black History Month, they’re bringing a stellar line-up of black comedians to Leeds. The quick-witted London comic Kane Brown leads the bill and he’ll be joined by the likes of Aurie Style, Kat B and Annette Fagon.Cover image credit: Richard H Smith.