The gigs to see in York this month – September 2017

Heather Findlay – part of a strong line-up at York's Little Festival Of Live Music
1 Sep 2017 @ 6.46 pm
| Entertainment

Once again time has caught up with me, so it’s straight down to business again with no partially-related commentary.

After the relative doldrums of August, this month sees a much bigger and (arguably) better choice of gigs across the city, with some great chances to see a multitude of local acts as well as a couple of bigger names, at events both small and large, free and ticketed and even some that are raising money for charity.

Little Festival, big talent

I’m probably always going to mention York’s Little Festival Of Live Music first in any listing.

I know how much effort the organiser puts into the event which once again takes place alongside the Food Festival, in the Music Marquee in Parliament Street. It’s completely free, but expect there to be plenty of people wandering about with collection buckets as the festival will once again be raising money for York Mind.

This is a great way to see and hear local bands, as well as some not-so-local, across seven evenings – from Friday the 22nd to Saturday the 30th (with no music on the 25th or 26th).

There are four acts every session, starting at 5pm and finishing around 9pm.

As usual, the line-ups include some of my favourites – including Gracie Falls, Boss Caine, Flora Greysteel, Dan Webster and Joshua Burnell.

But it also throws in some new acts and others that I haven’t managed to see live yet – the likes of Toni Bunnell, Smith n Wallace, Kymberley Kennedy, Supermoon, Fiona Lee and Slack Habits.

Thursday’s line-up is, for me, one of the strongest the festival has ever put on, with Edwina Hayes, Mulholland, The Bronze and Heather Findlay all performing.

That’s a line-up I would pay good money to see. My only regret is that the early start, combined with the fact that I work in Leeds, means I miss a large part of this event.

Fulford and Dunnington live

For a completely local line-up you should head to the Fulford Arms on the 2nd for, appropriately enough, their second Fully York Festival.

It’s another free event, which kicks off at 12:30pm and, across two stages – one indoors, one outside in the lovely summer weather – includes acts such as The Howl and The Hum, Boss Caine, Borderline, The MallRats, Segregates, Snakerattlers, On The Ropes and …And The Hangnails.

There’s also a host of other bands that I haven’t even heard of (let alone seen perform) but which probably indicates how strong York’s “underground” scene is, even if too many of the bands have “punk” in their descriptions for my liking.

Dunnington Live takes place on the 3rd, rounding out a busy weekend of big events.

This is another two stage event, taking place on the Eastfield Showground in the village. It is a ticketed event, but under 16s get in free, and it’s another chance to see a host of bands.

One site I have seen lists 25 acts, including Boss Caine, Lion Papers (who were extraordinary at the Barbican’s B-Fest in August), Minster Conspiracy, Rachel Croft, Kirby Howarth, Van Der Neer and Hello Operator. Gates open at 11, with the first band on at 11:30 and music going through to around 8pm.

Bigger names at Yorkfest

If it’s bigger names you want, then it’s the other end of the month that might interest you.

On the 23rd, YorFest will return to the Knavesmire (which I believe is big enough to host both this and the annual beer festival…) with headliners, brilliant English country-duo The Shires joined by indie icon Badly Drawn Boy, North-East folk-pop band Cattle and Cane and the dub/reggae/electronica of Dreadzone on the main stage – obviously not at the same time – while more local acts such as Kitty VR, Lily Eve and Kell Chambers can be found on the Access to Music stage and the likes of Apollo Junction, Adelphi, Hellbound Hearts and Minster Conspiracy will be on the tented stage.

Full line-ups of these festivals can be found on the links attached to the event name.

More local music

It’s not just at the festivals that you can catch some cracking local acts this month. There’s also plenty of York bands popping up at the various regular venues.

Foremost of those, in my opinion anyway, is Faux Pas headlining Fibbers on the 2nd.

This will be the energetic youngsters’, who have impressed me every time I’ve seen them, last gig in York before they move – en-masse, I believe – to Manchester. It’s also the first night of a 13-date headline tour that sees them travelling the country from London to Glasgow. Support for the evening comes from La Bete Blooms, Violet Contours and Dusk.

Just under a week later, on the 8th, indie-rockers The Televangelists headline Fibbers for the first time. I haven’t seen them yet, but have previously enjoyed two of the support acts – psychedelic rockers Aloe Veras and alternative rockers Serotones, whose frontman really knows how to work a crowd. Also on the bill is Olivia Britton, but I can’t find out anything about her.

Over at the Crescent on the 10th, promoter Please Please You brings another enticing act to our city when American singer-songwriter Margaret Glaspy headlines a bill that also includes The Howl and The Hum and Amy May Ellis.

There’s another York Music For Refugees gig at the Basement on the 13th. And, while the headliner – folk and acoustic singer Bella Gaffney – is from Bradford, the other two acts are from York.

Both Dan Webster and Holly Taymar are always a pleasure to see perform and if this evening is half as good as the last event at the Basement (at which Edwina Hayes was due to headline, but suggested that all acts performed on stage together), it will be special.

I’m a bit surprised that I haven’t come across The Receivers before. Their description of indie rock with hints of pop and psychedelia definitely appeals to my tastes.

The band play their biggest show to date at Fibbers on the 15th, with support from “The North’s” Vuromantics, who only formed a few months ago and yet have already released an EP and describe their sound as “dark pop”.

Also on the bill are York band Glass Traps and Yorkshire alternative rock band Foreign Lives. Like the above gigs, it’s another chance to see some local talent for just a few quid.

Mostly Autumn and more

My plan was to attend the aforementioned beer festival on the Knavesmire on the 22nd, but a gig at the Black Swan has grabbed both my attention and my ticket money.

Iain Jennings may be best known as the keyboard player for York’s prog-rock giants Mostly Autumn, but he has also released four studio albums under his own name or that of Breathing Space. A fifth, again under his own name, is on the way, and he will be launching it at this gig.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy finding out how to get hold of tickets – you have to dig deep through comments on a post on Iain’s music page on Facebook to find out that they are £5 and where to send the money via Payal ([email protected]) – but, once I had, I ordered straight away.

Iain has chosen the date of his gig with care. It’s the night before he will be on stage with the rest of Mostly Autumn at the Grand Opera House, giving travelling fans the chance to head to York early and catch his gig as well, reminiscent of past times when Breathing Space or other related bands often played the night before an MA gig.

The Mostly Autumn gig is one of three across the country at which they will play their latest album, Sight Of Day, in full along with classics from their back catalogue.

It will be an evening tinged with sadness for some because it will be the first York gig in recent history that the band’s biggest fan, who passed away just a few weeks ago, won’t be attending.

To counter that, though, it is also the first York gig since front-duo Bryan and Olivia brought new daughter Autumn into the world. Needless to say, with my proclivity for prog, I will also definitely be attending this one.

Rounding out the month Hello Operator will be headlining Fibbers on the 30th with their classic indie guitar rock sound.

It’s another mostly local bill, with indie/grungers Part Time Miserables, indie/psychedelics Nauseous Skies (playing their début hometown gig) and Harrogate band The Omega Era also taking to the stage.

All around the world

I have already mentioned one international act but there are more (and some very eclectic ones) to be found around York this month, starting at the Fulford Arms on the 5th, when Electric Six frontman Dick Valentine returns to York.

At Fibbers on the 7th, Norway’s Shining unleash their blend of jazz and extreme metal on the music fans of the city.

There are two more local bands on the bill – hardcore punks Seep Away and alternative metallers Shrieking Violet. (I just wanted to highlight the headliners away from the local section of this column).

Also on the 7th, the Black Swan hosts Canadian Eileen McGann, one of North America’s finest contemporary folk songwriters.

With family roots in Ireland, she is also described as an outstanding singer of traditional Irish songs, as well as those from Scotland, England and Canada.

Also with Irish roots, Enda Kenny has lived in Australia since the 1980s. He returns to the Black Swan on the 14th, after a debut appearance there when he stood in for an indisposed singer back in 2015, for an evening of descriptive story songs about his adopted homeland.

John Murry is an indie-rock singer/songwriter from Tupelo, Mississippi, who now resides in Kilkenny, Ireland.

With a biography that begs to be translated to film and which influenced his debut album, The Graceless Age, his gig at the Basement on the 20th feels like it could be intense, perhaps bordering on hard-going, but at the same time Q Magazine describes his music as “intensely beautiful”.

If metalcore is one of your genres of choice, you probably need no introduction to Arizona’s Blessthefall, who will be appearing at Fibbers on the 26th.

Blood Youth – a hardcore punk band from Harrogate (really?) with nearly 40,000 likes on Facebook (really???) are supporting.

There’s another, much-better known Irishman at The Barbican on the 29th, when former Westlife frontman Shane Filan will be appearing as part of his Love Always tour.

Finally, a couple of acts from Scotland (you never know, in a couple of years they might be classed as “international”…)

Siobhan Wilson is a Glasgow-based singer/ songwriter who has been championed by Lauren Laverne on BBC6 and has toured across Europe and the USA, performing with or supporting the likes of Willy Mason, Idlewind and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Catch her at the Basement on the 17th.

Also from Glasgow, Texas played a secret, last minute and (I believe) free gig at the Crescent a few short months ago.

If, like me, you missed that one they are back in York on the 21st, at the Barbican where you can, if you feel that way inclined, pay up to an eye-watering £106.40 to see them. I like them, but not that much…

The best of the rest

There are two other (non-tribute) gigs at Fibbers and I seem to have missed the acclaim around both headline acts. On the 16th you can see Londoners The Peckham Cowboys with their blend of trash blues and rock ‘n’ roll there, while Coasts call in as part of the tour to promote their second album, This Life, on the 21st.

The Fulford Arms has two gigs on the 3rd, Leeds-based romantic Goths Byronic Sex and Exile are on stage during the afternoon for a free gig, while London-based Italian/British combo Alien Vampiresare there later in the day for an evening of potentially offensive, “evil bloody music”.

Also at the Fulford Arms, you can see Polo on the 20th, Ming City Rockers on the 21st and Subhumans on the 27th.

If you were planning to see Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour on the 8th, though, I hope you already have a ticket, as it has already sold out.

There’s bound to be more. There always is, especially at other venues. As usual, the comments section is where to note things that I have missed, that you think should get a shout-out.


Here is the usual chronological list of the main gigs I covered above. All details are correct at time of putting this column together and ticket prices are as advertised. Paying on the door will cost a pound or two more.

Date Act Venue Price
2nd Forever Young Festival Grimston Court Care Home Free
3rd Dunnington Live Dunnington £8 adv / £10 otd
23rd YorFest Knavesmire £30 adults, £20 child
22nd to 30th York’s Little Festival Of Live Music Parliament Street Free
2nd Faux Pas Fibbers £5
Fully York Festival Fulford Arms Free
3rd Byronic Sex and Exile Fulford Arms Free
Alien VAmpires Fulford Arms £10
5th Dick Valentine Fulford Arms £8
7th Shining Fibbers £12.50
Eileen McGann Black Swan £9 adv / £10 otd
8th The Televangelists Fibbers £5
10th Margaret Glaspy Crescent £12.50
13th Bella Gaffney Basement £6 adv / £8 otd
14th Enda Kenny Black Swan £9 adv / £10 otd
15th The Receivers Fibbers £5
16th The Peckham Cowboys Fibbers £10
17th Siobhan Wilson Basement £8 adv / £10 otd
20th John Murry Basement £13
Polo Fulford Arms £4
21st Coasts Fibbers £8
Texas Barbican £31.92 – £106.40
Ming City Rockers Fulford Arms £5
22nd Iain Jennings Black Swan £5
23rd Mostly Autumn Grand Opera House £22.90
26th Blessthefall Fibbers £14
27th Subhumans Fulford Arms £12
29th Shane Filan Barbican £27.50
30th Hello Operator Fibbers £7