As they took to the stage, it was clear that the cosy setting of LEAF was a perfect backdrop to the Leisure Society’s intimate, yet unforgettable sound. With Liverpool being the final stop in their UK tour, members Nick Hemming (vocals), Christian Hardy (keyboard), Sebastian Hankins (Drums), Jon Cox (Bass), and Mike Siddell (Violin) each looked eager to perform as they took to the stage, kicking off the night with the track ‘You Got The Universe’, from their acclaimed latest album ‘Arrivals and Departures’. The band brought the room to life immediately, and as the night begun, it quickly became apparent that the acoustics of the group truly shone when played live. Hearing the extended notes and tremolos of the often buried violins, seemed to add a breath of new life into the well-known songs. The band followed the impressive opener with a favourite from the most recent album ‘A Bird, A Bee, Humanity’, what Hemming himself describes as an an ‘…ode to the healing powers of creativity and art’. The laid-back instrumentation, mixed with the crowds enthusiasm for the well-loved track, seemed to create a buzz of excitement in the air, which ensured that whatever the group brought next, it would not disappoint.
The Leisure Society’s skill to tell a story through their music has always been a defining feature of the band, and hearing Hemming’s expressive voice only enhanced the already moving songs. The next track in the lineup, ‘God has taken a Vacation’, was particular emotional standout, with the brashness of the lyrics made all the more apparent by Hemming’s raw vocals, all while mixing wonderfully with the eerie, yet cheerful backing. However, as the band got into their full swing, it was clear that they could balance their more poignant moments, with some tracks that would get a crowd moving. Upbeat standouts of the night included ‘Fight for Everyone’ and ‘Dust on the Dancefloor’, showcased the bands ability to work as a unit, handling the more fast-paced motifs of the tracks with ease, despite such a sharp change from the slow-paced song played earlier. It seemed that these songs in particular were where the band got to have fun; smiling with each other, and truly appreciating their final night on the road.
The band also made sure to pay homage to fans who had been following them from the beginning, with tracks from the groups now 10-year old debut album being showcased alongside the bands newer releases. ‘Last of the Winter Snow’ and ‘We Were Wasted’ were gentle reminders of the bands admirable history, and it was these tracks and particular that seemed to transform the crowds eagerness into a genuine appreciation for such a concisely brilliant group. This all accumulated to the bands final encore, closing the night by coming down into the crowd and performing ‘Arrivals & Departures’ and ‘A Matter of Time’. With the adoring audience gathered around the group, it almost seemed like a celebration rather than a closing of a show, ultimately making it a heartwarming and surprisingly inspiring end to the night. There are only a few groups whose music can truly transform when played live, and thankfully, The Leisure Society is one of them.