Student Union building nightclub and music venue that serves cheap drinks to a background of cheesy pop. Programme is diverse and sometimes features big acts.
Deep in the heart of the Student Union building at the University of Leeds is the cavernous Stylus, a nightclub that occasionally doubles up as a live music venue. On Friday nights during term time it’s the focal point of weekly student night Fruity – a veritable apocalypse of wasted freshers, cheesy 90s pop and Jägerbombs. It’s something to do once as a student and, quite possibly, never again.
In terms of live music, Stylus is one of several small-to-medium sized venues around the city, so it doesn’t see a great deal of regular action. It hosts around half a dozen concerts per month during the normal touring seasons (January to April and September to December), but in the past has hosted a diverse range of names, from Ms Dynamite and Public Enemy to The Kooks and Dinosaur Jr. It’s also one of the many participating venues in the annual city-wide Live At Leeds event, and the biggest act to play at Stylus were American blue-collar rockers The Hold Steady. The experience is often negatively affected by the venue’s three-tiered structure – the stage is on the middle tier overlooking the dancefloor, and below the entrance on the top floor, meaning your view is impeded if you’re at the back. The multitude of angles that the structure creates means that the sound tends to crash off every surface, and the quality of your listening experience greatly varies depending on where you’re standing.
However, Stylus really doesn’t profess to do anything other than it says on the tin: it’s a simple space for students to drink partially subsidised booze and have a good time in. Its ethos is also governed by the ‘not for profit’ nature of the Student Union as a whole, so it’s unfair to judge it by the standards of commercially minded city centre venues and bars. If you’re looking for something a little classier and less mass-produced, then there are plenty of places in the city catering to your tastes.
Leeds University Union