To The Cockpit, Thank You and Goodbye.

As readers of this blog will know, I hail from Yorkshire. So when the news broke around two weeks ago that the iconic music venue and club The Cockpit in Leeds was to close I was heartbroken. According to their official website the reason for the closure was “it is no longer viable to deliver you the level of service you deserve with the building in its current condition.” The Cockpit had temporarily closed over the summer for refurbishment but it sounds like the venue has a lot more work needed to it than previously thought.

Forever The Sickest Kids 2009

Forever The Sickest Kids, 2009.

Forever The Sickest Kids, 2009. All pictures are mine, unless stated otherwise.

The owner of The Cockpit, Colin Oliver spoke to The Yorkshire Evening Press and said that the venue would have to be closed for a year to do the work needed and it is not viable to work. As someone who works in a music venue/bar, every day the venue is not open , is a day not making the money it needs to keep running.  This means the venue will have to close and all the gigs planned there are being moved to other venues throughout Leeds, mainly The Keys Club.

Flyleaf, Lacey, leeds cockpit. 2010

Flyleaf, 2010.

During my earlier teens I frequently visited The Cockpit for gigs. My first standing gig was at the venue to watch The Blackout back in 2008. The popularity of the Slam Dunk nights at The Cockpit help give birth to Slam Dunk Festival which is running successful every year and only growing. Part of me can’t help but wonder why the city council cannot invest money in such an iconic place, they have just spent a small fortune on the city’s first arena. But small venues such as The Cockpit are slowing dying out and frankly that is upsetting. Fibbers and The Duchess in York have both had face lifts over recent years and are still going on, so why can’t The Cockpit. Leeds has had many closures of small venues such as Rio’s and The Well, is this a sign of things to come, I hope not.

Madina Lake, Matthew and me, 2009.

Madina Lake, 2010.

But then again the closure of The Cockpit should not surprise me. The venue’s sound system was never the best and it was a dingy place under the dark arches but it was well and truly loved. And that is why it has affected so many people. Queuing hours on end outside that venue, waiting at the back of the venue to meet your favourite bands (it was one of the easiest places to meet a band). And this to the fact that the venue was next to the train station, one of the most practical things (access to toilets you had to pay for and a McDonalds so you have no need to stray to the other side of the city to get some food). The memories I have of that venue will stay with me for a long time and I can say with much confidence that I never had a bad experience at The Cockpit.

The Blackout, Leeds. 2008.

The Blackout, 2008.

So thank you Cockpit, thank you for being a venue that despite its flaws always gave a good gig. Thank you for being such an integral part of the Leeds music scene, you will be truly missed.

Reading Festival 2014

Long time, no blog. Due to family reasons and general busyness, I could not find time to blog but back to normal now.

So as you can tell by the title I attended Reading Festival this year and yes I was there volunteering, which seems to be the case for the festivals I attend. This blog will contain brief details about my experience working at Reading however, the majority of the blog will be focused on the live music.

023All the photos in this post are mine. Sleeping With Sirens – Main Stage.

My volunteering experience this time round involved working with the campsite security; therefore, I will not be able to go into too much detail about what I did. I was in one of the campsites at Reading every night (yes, night shifts people!) and I was the logger for the security so if any incident occurred it would be down to me to input the incident in the relevant log. Let’s just say the campsites have a lot going on in them. For all five days, the shifts were gruelling. Mind you I learnt a lot of on hand experience. 

I wasn’t on my own in the logger journey. There were four others students from my university doing the same job as I was. The whole experience has rather scared me off the idea of public camping at festival. If I do go to a festival for fun, I will be volunteering again.

DSCN9877

Now onto the music!

Because I was working night shifts, I only got to see bands up until around 6pm but this meant I got to see a handful of bands. I am not going to go through every single set I saw but will mention two of my favourites. A few things before I begin though. I found the arena at Reading (where all the stages are) quite small, I thought it would be much bigger. Yes it did take around ten to fifteen minutes to get to the other side of the arena but the way people talked about the arena I thought it would be bigger. Another thing is that Reading and Leeds is becoming heavily popular for GCSE students and middle class children, this was just on observation but everyone seemed rather young to me.

ADTR Reading 2014A Day To Remember – Main Stage.

I had planned to see only half of A Day To Remember‘s set as I had intended on going to The 1975 signing. However, that was to be a waste of time – around 250 people were in the line half an hour before the signing started. The 1975 were only scheduled for a mere half an hour, so there was little reason to wait in line to be disappointed.  This meant I got to see the full A Day To Remember set and it put me in a great mood. In hindsight, I am glad that I missed the signing because the full ADTR performance reigniting my love for their music. Not only was it a great sing along but it reminded me of just how great they are live.

ADTR2 Reading Festival 2014A Day To Remember – Main Stage.

I think one of the best parts of their whole set was when Jeremy climbed into the giant opaque ball and went around the crowd. The last time I checked their full set was on BBC iPlayer, so go check it out for yourself if you can. In addition, because of watching all of ADTR, I finally got around to listening to their latest album, Common Courtesy, and I’ve been listening to it on repeat on Spotify. When I get some cash together I will be going to my nearest HMV (yes to buy CD’s) and pick the album up. If you get the chance to see A Day To Remember just go see them.

The Hives Reading 2014The Hives – Main Stage.

I was curious about seeing The Hives as my dad would always have them playing in the car when I was younger. I decided to phone said dad before I watched The Hives and he was a little jealous. He had every right to be. For me, The Hives were the best act by far at Reading (apparently, the headliners, Queens of The Stone Age, Artic Monkeys and Blink 182,  were good but I did not see them).  Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, the lead vocalist of The Hives is a showman and when you watch The Hives he takes you on this incredible ride where you have to join in. Pelle pushes the crowd to enjoy themselves and he does not want a half-hearted attempt! Pelle was in the crowd every other song and that is something I admire in a lead singer. It shows they are not pretentious enough to stay soley on stage, play the show, and then leave without a second glance (exception given to leads who have to play instruments).

Pelle The Hives.Pelle among the crowd. The Hives – Main Stage.

I’m not enough of fan of The Hives to know all of their songs, but I did know a couple and the other songs I heard I would be willing to listen to again. The band as a whole have this gang like feel, a gang you want to be part of and they let you in. The chemistry the band share is great and is reflected onto the audience. They were at the top of their game. I advise anyone to them live because if you don’t, you are missing out on something quite special.

Jimmy Eat World Reading 2014Jimmy Eat World – Main Stage.

So that’s it and festival season is wrapping up in the UK for another year. The two festivals I have attended this year make me want to attend even more festivals next year. Reading was hard work but enjoyable and I’d go back and volunteer again but maybe next year I might try Leeds because, after all, I am a Yorkshire Lass.