Get us in your inbox


Recon Festival: the lowdown

Written by
Jed Skinner

This October sees Recon Festival return for another series of intriguing and inspiring musical and artistic performances across Leeds and Bradford. 

The diverse line-up features performances from Warp Records electronica pioneers Plaid and Clark, Leeds locals Hookworms, legendary US street musician The Space Lady, and lots more. 

The festival begins on October 4, as the experimental 'noisepop' group Xiu Xiu perform their interpretation of the 'Twin Peaks' soundtrack at Leeds’ Howard Assembly Room.   

Sadly, this event has long sold out, but for those lucky enough to have tickets, it promises to be dark, disturbing, noisy and dreamy – rather like 'Twin Peaks' itself. 

On October 10, the action shifts to the Leeds co-operative club and DIY venue Wharf Chambers for Warm Digits. Buzzing guitars, whirling synths and cyclical drums combine into what the band describe as ‘krautophonic blizzard-wave’.   


Support comes from the hypnotic and propulsive dual-drummered Nope, and Leeds mask-wearing surf-freak outfit Los Pecadores

The Brudenell Social Club plays host to the next show on October 15, with the legendary Plaid. Having collaborated with the likes of BjörkGoldfrapp and Massive Attack, this is a much-anticipated Leeds performance for a group that has had a deep influence on the development of electronic music. 

They’ll be supported by Galaxians, Leeds’ very own 1980s New York boogie-influenced drums and synths duo. Also on the bill will be Golden Meat, featuring analogue audio and visual noise electronics by James Islip from That Fucking Tank

On October 16 at Belgrave Music Hall there will be an event with another Warp Records artist, Clark. As well as working as a remixer and collaborator with BroadcastBattles and Depeche Mode among many others, he is also known for creating complex electronic pieces live with hardware. His latest album 'Flame Rave' gives a nod to '90s-style jungle jams.  

Also on the bill will be MumdanceHelm and Wanda Group. Mumdance is grime artist Jack Adams. Discovered in 2008 by producer Diplo following a remix of the Black Lips track ‘Veni Vedi Vici’, he went from being a bedroom DJ to a world tour within a year. His show for Recon will be hardware-only, stripped down to a drum machine, sampler, two decks and a mixer. 

Helm is Luke Younger, an experimental musician mixing musique concrete, industrial music and hypnotic drones. Wanda Group is a project of Louis Johnstone. His work has been described by The Quietus as 'beautiful, decayed landscapes of tape crackle, hiss and distortion'.

Also on October 16, is the intriguing Notes From Technotopia  art exhibition launch at Gallery II at the University of Bradford, with a series of new works by a range of internationally-recognised artists and researchers.

Futuristic dreams and ideas of utopia and obsolescence will be probed through a combination of old and new technology, fragments of video, music, old computer screens and thought-provoking performances.  There will even be robot football.

On October 17, new Leeds venue Headrow House hosts Leeds locals turned international rockstars Hookwormswho will be headlining their first of two Recon performances with a special collaboration with renowned producer Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Darkstar, Ghostpoet). Expect modular synths, new material and soundscapes. 


The bill will also feature ContainerKaren GwyerNeil Cambell (Vibracathedral Orchestra), XAM, Game_Program and Moon Gangs

Also on October 17 at Wire in Leeds will be the infamous Subdub. Now in its seventeenth year, Subdub play reggae, dub, roots, D&B, dancehall, dubstep & jungle via the massive Iration Steppas Soundsystem.  

The final event of Recon will be on 18 October at Bradford Playhouse. The venue will play host to Out There – a special day of family-friendly, unique performances. Topping the bill, and with their second performance of the festival, will be Leeds’ Hookworms. This time with a twist, as the performance will be a special early matinee kids’ gig. Earplugs are recommended for the little ‘uns... 

Also appearing will be The Space Lady, aka Susan Dietrich, a US musician renowned internationally for her otherworldly covers and original pieces for effected Casio keyboard and voice. She will be joined by Japanese artist ICHI, a musician and inventor who magically integrates steel drums, ping-pong balls, tape-loops and theatrics into gripping and hilarious live performances.

The line-up also includes The Incredible Niblo, Eric Boros, London duo Tomaga, Survival Skills and Mia La Metta – Kathy Grey from Leeds bands Beards and Ygrec creates wonky-pop using guitar and synth. 

Recon Festival

There’s a hell of a lot to be going on with. Festival pass tickets are now sold out, although tickets for individual events remain. 

Recon Festival. Various dates and venues, October 4-18. Find out more and buy tickets at the website and follow @ReconFestival via Twitter. 

Find more music and nightlife events in Leeds.

Latest news