I seem to be favouring gigs in Leeds this year, which says something about the quality of the developing pub scene as much as the drawing power of 30,000 students. It might also reflect on the attraction of perfectly good Ibis Budget rooms for £25 in mid-week.
Kurt Vile at Stylus, in the mysterious rabbit warren that is Leeds Uni is a largish gig for me, in the sense that a 1,000 sell-out crowd indicates I might be watching someone more well known than usual. Anyway, it was a bit dull, however good the idea of Tom Petty with wah-wah and banjos might sound to you. Great sound, though the volume of chatter told it’s own story.
The highlight was the comparison between the Bulmers, Red Stripe and Tuborg “offer” to gig-goers to the frankly gorgeous beer range in the very pubby Old Bar next door.
To be fair I hadn’t just come for Kurt. The 2015 British Art Show is in Leeds at the moment, and I’d missed it on my recent visit due to forgetting our cities now close on Mondays. It’s the usual mixed media challenging collection, but not as challenging as what you’d see in, say, Glasgow. The social history in the newish Marks & Spencer museum is better, with a display of microwave curries straight out of Tate Modern.
The real star last night was Leeds. Despite the blustery rain, it looked the best I’ve seen it, and the Frankfurt Christkindelmarkt works very well. The City pubs were getting packed by 5.05, which suggests a healthy approach to work anyway. I saved them for my return in December.
Just the half at my one new pub at the top of Otley Road, and quite a find in Woodies, a specialist Greene King ale house. This is a Meet & East, not a Local Hero, and reminded me of GK pubs in Hertford and Pontefract that entered the Beer Guide this year.
Plenty of handpumps and keg pumps, but my Ilkley Ruby Jane was a solid NBSS 3.5 and plenty of other professional drinkers early afternoon.
Some beautiful seating in this Greene King house to complement those handsome Ossett and Saltaire pumps – a must to revisit, as is Leeds.