28. Leeds, England


Leeds has long been one of England’s most prominent music cities.  The city in West Yorkshire has seen a wide range of bands and artists spanning genres as diverse as art-punk, goth-rock, electronica and indie rock.

The influential art-punk collective Gang Of Four came out of the 1970s punk movement that thrived in the city, thrilling critics and audiences with classic albums Entertainment! and Solid Gold.

The Mekons have also prove influential, though the Jon Langford led band moved across the Atlantic to Chicago to continue their forays into alt-country.

Goth-rock proved a popular movement in the early 1980s, but the Mark Almond led electronica pioneers Soft Cell also emerged to shed some pop music light on the city’s music scene.

In the 1990s the anarchist collective Chumbawaba emerged into public conciousness, having a major chart hit with the incredibly annoying ‘Tubthumping’ before disappearing back into relative obscurity. The band are perhaps best remembered for a non-musical moment in early 1998, when lead vocalist Danbert Nobacon soaked then Labour deputy Prime Minister Labour John Prescott with a jug of water at that year’s BRIT Awards.

The late 1980s and early 1990s saw John Peel favourites The Wedding Present and Cud earn considerable acclaim if modest sales, with the influential BBC DJ hailing the Present’s David Gedge as one of the best songwriters around.

In recent years Leeds has seen several of its bands rise to national success, none bigger than the Britpop revivalists Kaiser Chiefs (named after the former club of Leeds United FC’s South African footballer Lucas Radebe), who bothered the top of the charts for much of the mid to late 2000s. Wild Beasts and the awkwardly named The Pigeon Detectives have also achieved commercial success.

Since 1999, Leeds has been the home of the hugely popular annual Leeds Festival (the northern leg of the world renowned Reading Festival), where the biggest acts from the UK and around the world arrive to rock the city over the late August Bank Holiday.

Associated acts: Gang Of Four, The Wedding Present, Mekons, Soft Cell, Cud, Chumbawamba, Kaiser Chiefs, The Sisters Of Mercy, Wild Beasts, Alt-J