As far as alternative club nights go, Leeds has always been pretty awesome at providing a fantastic range of non-mainstream floor-stompers to attend.
From Saturday nights at the legendary Bar Phono, the supposed birthplace of gothic two-step regularly frequented by Andrew Eldritch, to hugely popular nights at the now-defunct The Cockpit, Leeds has been a mecca for alternative music of all genres for decades.
Times have changed, but Leeds is still host to an impressive array of alternative choices for all your raving, moshing and body-jerking needs. Here's what you need to know.
Bunker 13 is a phenomenal industrial/EBM/aggrotech night that's been running for over 10 years. Initially a Whitby Gothic Weekend fringe event at RAW nightclub, it recently moved to a new location at the fantastic Eiger Music Studios. DJs Amanda Lee and John Bland work tirelessly to bring you the best music, spinning tracks from Nachtmahr, Combichrist, Suicide Commando and more. If you're looking for a night of latex-heavy outfits and brilliant people, you need look no further.
For years, The Library pub has been infamous for its association with gothic club nights. As a spooky student I regularly went to Flock!, a night of post-punk, goth and industrial music hosted by Phono Paul. Flock! closed its doors in June 2014, but thankfully for us macabre lot, a new club night quickly arrived to keep the spirit alive (or undead?) – Carpe Noctum. Run by the lovely Howard Rickards, who promoted Carpe Noctum in Bradford and DJed at Flock! for years, this monthly club night plays an excellent array of old favourites and obscure tunes, and also features some great live bands.
Part of what makes Remedy such a good electro night is its location at Beaver Works – a renovated Victorian bed factory featuring four rooms of incredible sound and light systems. Not only are drinks cheap as chips and the staff as friendly as puppies, it's one of only a few venues in the UK to be fitted with Infra sub-bass bins, so the sound is pretty intense. Remedy plays a mix of electronic and rave sub-genres, is open till 6am, and is the only place where I've seen so much self-expression in the way of glow-sticks, neon body paint, and alien-like cyber gear.
Photo by Andreas Andrews, http://andreasandrews.com
After the closure of the number one Northern alternative club night Wendy House, the Leeds University Union was left with a huge, goth-shaped hole at its heart. But that void was recently filled with the opening of new night Cyanide, which plays a range of rock, metal, post-punk and EBM. Cyanide celebrated a successful launch party with Yorkshire-based rockers Bad Pollyanna kicking things off. Expect big things from this flashy new night.
This is a renowned night of indie and rock 'n' roll that's been going strong for years. Once hosted at the O2 Academy, it recently moved to The Attic, a fantastic little locale with heaps of personality and great interior. Drinks are cheaper now, too, and the doors are open for longer. For more information check out their Facebook page.
Fuel is a great Friday night out for students and non-students alike, particularly if you enjoy cheap booze and lots of space to windmill. Located in the union building of Leeds Beckett University, F*U*E*L boasts two huge rooms that play a congenial concoction of metal, hardcore, pop-punk, and cheese. Really, there's something for everyone here, including pyrotechnics, burlesque dancers, and circus performers. They also hold weekly prize giveaways and and themed dress-up events.
Once staged at the beloved Cockpit, alt-rock night The Garage has found a new home at shiny new venue, The Key Club on Merrion Street. The Garage plays anything and everything from old-school punk, indie, nu-metal and heavy classics to the most popular, recent music on the alt-rock scene. It's one of the few places where you can jam out to Fall Out Boy one minute, Slayer the next. Open every Saturday.
Slam Dunk used to be every Tuesday at The Cockpit, but like its sister night it's been moved to The Key Club. Slam Dunk is an ace night for everyone; if you’re like me, you'll get all nostalgic over the pop-punk and ska, while trendy youngsters will love the contemporary metalcore they play. Slam Dunk is so good it spawned a festival. This year, bands will be playing in various venues across Leeds, including Millennium Square.
Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages is an independent heavy-rock night that takes place on the fourth Saturday of every month in varying locations. In the past, it's been held at the Leeds University Union and The Library. Featuring live music as well as fantastic DJs, expect to hear stuff like AC/DC, Metallica, Whitesnake, Mötley Crüe and Judas Priest. Perfect for your essential monthly fix of air guitar.
Resurrected is another marvellous EBM/industrial night, but this one tends to branch out into post-punk, goth, and general alternative music too, making it a great night for people with varying tastes. It began a few years back in the cellar bar of The George but has recently relocated to Mook, in Leeds' Call Lane area. DJs EskimoBlue and RichHybrid play a rich mix of dark oddities, including tunes from Love and Rockets, Pixies, Colony 5, Gary Numan and Cabaret Voltaire.
More music on Time Out Leeds.