Tyler James, Jess Mills, Angel - Republic, Leeds

Down Briggate in Leeds, a 20-foot-long inflatable rocket has landed on the roof of one of the buildings. Underneath, flailing green tentacles protrude from the windows, looming over huddles of well-dress people on the pavement below. Built by street artist Filthy Laker, the work has been commissioned for the grand opening of a new flagship store for clothing outlet Republic, a store that established its own humble beginnings as a market stall here in the city. Inside, chiselled models strut around the shop floor, whilst excited fashion bloggers mill around the clothes, taking photos and comparing outfits. Upstairs, Californian crew HIT + RUN are making t-shirts and tote bags, drawing in a small crowd with their live screenprinting and charming small talk.

At the front of house, a full stage and lighting system has been constructed, one that is to make a permanent residence within the store as part of the brand’s new ethos of combining music and fashion. Bringing a range of bands to Leeds through Republic’s partnership with Island Records, the collaboration starts tonight with performances from an assortment of the label’s signees. First up is Amy Winehouse’s bestie and runner-up of The Voice, Tyler James. After spending most of his time pre-performance milling around outside taking photos with over-zealous young girls, he swoons his way through a fleeting set of falsetto ridden ballads.

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Next up is Jess Mills, perhaps previously best known for her vocals on drum & bass producer Breakage’s 2011 Top 40 hit, ‘Fighting Fire’, and for a free fun fact, she’s actually also Labour MP Tessa Jowell’s daughter. Showcasing songs from her upcoming debut solo album, her songs are pared-down yet storm gathering, and will no doubt soon earn her comparisons with contemporaries Jessie Ware and Katy B. After a humble exit it’s over to R&B singer Angel, who after a Jackson 5-esque family upbringing, has also recently made the switch to solo artist after making his name penning songs for the likes of JLS, Cheryl Cole and Roll Deep.

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After making good use of the free bar, we’re whisked off to the afterparty at local haunt the Faversham, where we are entertained by the Jack White-protege Willy Moon, rapper Devlin, and birthday boy Tinchy Stryder, who, true to his name, is barely visible above the crowd. DJ Yoda takes over the decks to play us out into the early hours of the morning, before its time to jump in a taxi and rest those sore feet. You'd think someone would've invented a pair of properly comfy party shoes by now.

Last updated: 07/08/2018 00:48:57

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