After a month during which pretty much the only live music I experienced was the evening entertainment in my holiday hotel, I’m keen to get back out and see some proper acts during September. Thankfully, there are some promising looking gigs coming up.
Dan Gott’s excellent round-up of York’s underground music scene, which started on YorkMix last month, has taken a bit of pressure of me putting together this column.
I’m fairly certain that it was obvious to many that the sort of bands he covered were often outside my musical knowledge and comfort zone. That doesn’t mean to say that I wouldn’t like them (well, perhaps some of them) if I saw them perform but it is safe to say that I am more of a fan of, if not the mainstream then at least some sort of middle-ground.
At the other end of the scale, you can almost guarantee that when Mr H starts making announcements about “must-see” gigs and “great names for York” that he has booked for Fibbers, there is a good chance that I, personally, am going to be less than overwhelmed by the eventual big reveal.
Sometimes that is through lack of knowledge, other times simply through lack of interest. There are two such gigs in this month’s list. First up, though, a mini-invasion from just down the A1079.
I’m not from… I’m from (close to) Hull
Yes, Hull – 2017’s UK City of Culture – is sending a few of its acts across to York to play for us this month, with a return match also taking place.
The Basement is hosting a night billed as “Tunes In Two Cities” on the 8th, and it sees Hull bands The Quicksilver Kings (country/folk/blues), Urban Rain (funky folk and cool vocal harmonies) and Happy Endings (acoustic pop/rock) join York’s alt-country duo Mulholland and acoustic-man-of-both-cities Vinnie Whitehead for what looks to be a mouth-watering evening of music.
The same line-up can be found at Hull’s Springhead venue on the 10th.
The following night, at the same venue, you can also see hard rock and blues duo Young Bulls. They hail from Market Weighton, which is almost exactly halfway between Hull and York and, therefore, close enough to include in this section, especially since support band Framework, who describe themselves as “subtle hardcore” – isn’t that a contradiction in terms? – definitely hail from Hull.
Also on the bill are local band Peach, whose influences include Death Cab For Cutie and Paramore.
Finally, Vale Radio’s Folk and Blues Club September offering at The Cottage in Haxby takes place on the 25th and has No Parking For Caravans as the headline act.
Again, not quite from Hull, but Beverley is closer to there than it is York. Their bio includes “sounds like a sinister Beautiful South”, which is enough to whet my appetite and could see me wandering down there. Remember, these evenings at The Cottage are free and are recorded for later broadcast.
You know what? I’m going to squeeze one more gig into this section. Page 45 are mainly from Bridlington.
I saw them play Fibbers a few months back, supporting The Rodeo Falls, and really enjoyed the set but shortly afterwards frontman Nick Tudor seemed to be struggling to get and/or keep the band together, with frequent requests on Facebook for people to play alongside him.
I seem to remember the band being billed to play York in the recent past and, with the addition of York bass-player Paul Teasdale, it seems that there may now be a stable line-up. Compared to The Small Faces and described as “channelling the true mod spirit of The Jam”, this trio can be seen supporting The English Beat at Fibbers on the 20th.
Perhaps a closer fit would have been for them to play ahead of The Jam Movement on the 8th.
There are a few more gigs that I’m either definitely going to attend, or try my hardest to attend, this month.
Kicking the month off in what I assume will be style is a double-headline gig at Fibbers on the 1st, featuring two bands I have heard of but have yet to manage to see play live.
Newcastle’s Holy Moly & The Crackers are loosely described as a gypsy folk rock band who say they want to make people dance but also play songs that are built around a narrative, hence the “folk” part of the label. That all sounds a bit like Blackbeard’s Tea Party to me, which can only be a good thing.
Buffalo Skinners appear to have relocated from Scarborough to Sheffield and are another crossover band, this time it’s folk-rock and roll. I’m not much of a dancer, but there’s a good chance this evening might see my toes tapping.
So far this year hasn’t been a great year to see prog rock acts in York and, to be honest, there doesn’t seem to be that much coming up. One definite for me, though, is Celestial Fire at Fibbers on the 9th.
Fronted by Dave Bainbridge (Iona) and featuring Sally Minnear (Lord of the Dance), Frank van Essen (Iona, Within Temptation), Simon Fitzpatrick (Carl Palmer’s Legacy) and Dave Bron this band plays Bainbridge’s solo work as well as tracks from Iona’s back catalogue.
Musically, there is a strong influence from the likes of Yes and, while thematically there is a dose Christianity, the music is never preachy but always brilliant. This is a gig that is well worth catching if you are a local fan of Mostly Autumn and/or Stolen Earth.
Having said that, I’ve only seen each of them once and I have the chance to see them both again across two nights at Fibbers. Indie-rockers King No-One play first, on the 23rd, but it is A Joker’s Rage, with their blend of rock and metal, that should fit my tastes more completely and I think it was, perhaps, a degree of over-hype that stopped me enjoying their support slot for Toseland a couple of years ago as much as I should have done.
Having said that, headline slots are always usually better than support slots, aren’t they? They can be seen at Fibbers on the 24th.
I do like the sound of Manchester’s Shield Patterns, who play The Crescent on the 11th. Apparently this duo create “intensely emotive music full of light and shade that’s both melodic and incredibly detailed”. I’ve yet to attend a gig at The Crescent and this might be my first.
Those big names
So, what were the big name, must see gigs I mentioned earlier, I hear you cry.
First up is Sheffield’s Richard Hawley, whose gig at Fibbers was originally going to be during the afternoon of the 17th but has since been relocated to the evening of the same day.
I know that Hawley is a relatively big name and a respected singer/songwriter but I haven’t (knowingly) heard any of his output, simply because it doesn’t appeal to me directly.
Having said that, his previous full band appearances in York have been at The Barbican, so this gig, at which he will perform as part of a duo, is undoubtedly a coup for Fibbers.
As is the appearance of The Headhunters there on the 21st. Originally assembled by Herbie Hancock for his/their 1973 album Head Hunters, which went on to be one of the bestselling jazz/fusion albums of all time (and which features in the excellent 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die book – along with about 800 other albums that I probably won’t be listening to), this group are, apparently, one of the most innovative groups in history.
The thing is, jazz/fusion isn’t my thing, mainly because I know next to nothing about it, although I do like the Herbie Hancock track that accompanies the video full of automata. Does that count?
There is one really big name appearing in York this month. I quite like some of Ronan Keating’s music, but I doubt I’ll be going to his gig at The Barbican also on the 21st.
The best of the rest
Elsewhere there is a true melange of styles in which you can find award winning Americana from Danny and The Champions of The World at The Crescent on the 7th, psychedelic pop-punk in the form of Gaye Bykers On Acid at Fibbers on the 28th, urban punk from London’s Nova Twins at The Fulford Arms on the 27th and a full line-up of folk at The Black Swan, including Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar on the 1st, Hungrytown on the 8th, Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage on the 22nd and David Francey with Mark Westberg on the 29th.
The Black Swan have also teamed up with promoter Please Please You to put on a gig by The Damien O’Kane Band at The Crescent on the 16th, although I have to say the promotional photo makes O’Kane (husband of Kate Rusby) look more like a hip-hop DJ than the 21st century Irish folk act that he actually is.
And that is just about that. Unless you think I’ve missed something worth seeing, in which case comment below.
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 at Fibbers will cost a pound or two more.
On a smartphone? scroll horizontally to see all the info.
|1st||Holy Moly & The Crackers / Buffalo Skinners||Fibbers||£8|
|Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar||The Black Swan||£11|
|7th||Danny & The Champions of The World||The Crescent||£10 adv / £12 otd|
|8th||The Jam Movement||Fibbers||£7|
|Tunes in Two Cities||The Basement||£5 adv / £6 otd|
|Hungrytown||The Black Swan||£9|
|Young Bulls||The Basement||£4 adv / £5 otd|
|11th||Shield Patterns||The Crescent||£4|
|16th||The Damien O’Kane Band||The Crescent||£15|
|20th||The English Beat||Fibbers||£16|
|22nd||Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage||The Black Swan||£9|
|23rd||King No-One||Fibbers||£6 (£12 VIP)|
|24th||A Joker’s Rage||Fibbers||£5|
|25th||No Parking For Caravans||The Cottage||Free|
|27th||Nova Twins||The Fulford Arms||£5|
|28th||Gaye Bykers On Acid||Fibbers||£15|
|29th||David Francey w. Mark Westberg||The Black Swan||£10|