The gigs to see in York this month – July 2015

Album launch… Halo Blind at Fibbers
30 Jun 2015 @ 9.25 pm
| News

I hold my hand up and admit to completely forgetting to mention the Apollo Festival, the biggest music event of the month, in last month’s round-up.

To be fair, though, because it is the biggest, I’m not too worried about forgetting it. On a local scale it would be kind of the equivalent of missing Glastonbury off a list of must-see summer festivals – pretty much everybody who is interested already knows about it and one article is unlikely to convince anybody to go.

My aim is to try to encourage people to go to the smaller events and support the local music scene, whether that means seeing established bands in local venues or taking a chance and supporting York bands – some of whom Apollo attendees may have come across for the first time as they soaked up the sun – in those venues.

If one person, on the back of one of these articles, decides to go to a gig they hadn’t considered before, I’ll be happy (for that month anyway). So, without further ado, here are my pick of the gigs for this month.

I’ll be there

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of progressive rock and two of the gigs I will definitely be at this month fall into that genre, at different ends of the “famous” and “longevity” scales.

Camel have been around since 1971 and, like many bands of that age, now only contain one original member, in this case guitarist and vocalist (and cancer survivor) Andrew Latimer.

I only own half of their 14 studio albums and, despite liking them they aren’t albums that have stuck with me. Unlike other bands there aren’t any tracks that have lodged in my memory, maybe because those albums don’t get played too often.

The fact that they are playing the Barbican on the 8th, though, means that I get to attend one of my “bucket list” gigs and see one of the most respected Prog bands. (£28 and £33.60)

At the other end of the scale is Halo Blind, a York band who released their first album, The Fabric, in 2009 as Parade.

They had to change their name when Parade was taken by a UK girl group in 2010 (and who split up in 2013).

The band was formed by well-known local musician Chris Johnson who, as well as being a longstanding member of Hazzard County and playing numerous solo slots has also played with Fish and is currently back in the fold with Mostly Autumn.

This gig, at Fibbers on the 17th, is the launch of the band’s second album, Occupying Forces – although it has been available for some time now.

The delay between albums was at least in part due to the difficulty of getting the original line-up back together, leading to Johnson eventually deciding to put together a new line-up which includes Gavin Griffiths (Mostly Autumn, Panic Room), Stu Fletcher (The Yards, The Seahorses, We Could Be Astronauts), Chris Farrell (The Yards) and Andy Knights (Chris Helme Band).

Support comes from Chris Helme himself.

And, even more exciting in my opinion, from Dave Kerzner (Sound Of Contact) and Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn, The Heather Findlay Band) as an acoustic version of Mantra Vega, a trans-Atlantic band which also features Johnson and Fletcher and who are currently putting the final touches to their debut album (£8).

Take a chance

Those are the only two gigs I am currently committed to in what is a busy month for me. As usual, though, there are others I am going to try to get to.

I bought Australian singer/ songwriter Gabriella Cilmi’s 2008 album Lessons To Be Learned on the back of the number 2 single Sweet About Me, loving the somehow innocent mix of pop, soul and funk. It’s not a bad album at all but I hadn’t heard much about her since.

She has now teamed up with younger brother Joseph as All Kings And Queens to produce what is being described as “majestic cinematic pop” and a blend of The White Stripes and The Carpenters.

The pair are playing a joint headline act with Leeds soul-popster Kymberley Kennedy at The Duchess on the 5th (£5 adv/£7 on the door).

The Duchess (who, this month, seems to have woken up as a live music venue again) has a fully local line-up on the 31st, featuring four York bands that I have yet to see live.

La Petite Mort headline with their musical dreamscapes, while support comes from Asio’s Eyes, Bull and Avalanche Party, promising a mix of psychedelia, rock and alternative (price TBC).

There’s another all-local line-up at the same venue on the 16th, this time featuring some York bands that I haven’t even heard of, with The Black Lagoons, Little Resistance and Lion Papers supporting The Filthy Piece.

I’d be tempted to head along, except that the night is being billed as UV Party and, this shy and retiring nearly-****y-year-old might just stick out like a sore thumb (£6 adv, £8 otd).

American singer/songwriter Shooter Jennings is at Fibbers on the 27th, having made his way up country from the Ramblin Man Fair in Kent, via Manchester.

Not only does his mix of outlaw and alternative country, southern and hard rock sound an interesting blend, but he is supported by one of my favourite local artists, Boss Caine, along with the relatively new local trio Van Der Neer (£16).

I’m a sucker for the female voice and there is a chance to catch Jolie Holland, another singer/ songwriter – this time in the rock/ country/ Americana styles – from across the Atlantic at The Basement on the 15th (£12 adv/ £14 otd).

Having attended the Black Swan Folk Weekend last month, I’m keen to get to more of their events (although fitting them in might be a problem).

Judy Dunlop, former member of The Albion Band, looked to be a good prospect on the 23rd, but illness means that her appearance has been cancelled.

She was due to be replaced by Serious Sam Barrett and David Broad but, continuing the jinx, the former has also cancelled due to a broken wrist, leaving Leeds-based Broad to pick up the reins with a mix of originals and re-workings of classic American folk, country and blues (£7).

The best of the rest

Having been taken to task last month for one of my sub-headings implying that bands weren’t worth going to see, I’m reverting to an old faithful one for this section.

It includes gigs that I can’t get to, some I might yet think about and others that, I personally, wouldn’t go to but which might interest other people.

July the 4th is one of those rare days of the year that I can’t attend a gig. (Well, if Led Zeppelin reformed to play a one-off show at Fibbers, I might try…)

That means that I won’t be at the Edstock Summer 2015 free all-day event at The Fulford Arms which not only features an array of musical talent.

It features York’s Hawkwind tribute Do Not Panic and, Herb Helpless and the Marijuana Brass and Parker Project.

Edstock also promises a screening of Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

It also means I won’t be able to see Soma Crew and Warhol Superstars supporting Akari at Fibbers (£5).

I will admit to having a bit of a crush on Elkie Brooks back in my youth and it came as a bit of a surprise to find that she is now 70.

I can only remember one of her songs, 1977’s Pearl’s A Singer, but I bet there will be more familiar tunes at the Grand Opera House on the 9th (£20.90 – £24.90).

Justin Hayward is another artist who should feature more in my album collection but, in fact, I only own two tracks – The Moody Blues’ Nights In White Satin on a Power Ballads compilation and his own Forever Autumn on Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds.

He will be playing new tracks and old favourites at the Barbican on the 9th. (£39.20)

There’s blues rock in the form of Will Johns at The Duchess on the 12th, with support from Steve Rodgers (son of Paul), who I missed last time he was in York, and Yorkshire singer/ songwriter Elaine Palmer (£6 adv/£8 otd).

The Spin Doctors’ Two Princes is another song from my younger years that has stuck in my memory. They aren’t playing The Duchess on the 9th, but frontman Chris Barron is, along with support from New York living legend and anti-folker Lach (£8 adv/£10 otd).

A final word

As always, the above isn’t a complete list and, even if I haven’t mentioned somebody, it doesn’t mean they aren’t worth seeing.

There is, after all, a legend of the music scene in York this month including Martha Reeves and The Vandellas (The Duchess, 13th).

And there’s a relatively big name that I didn’t even know had a connection to York – Snake Davis (Grand Opera House, 11th).

There are three tribute bands with The Illegal Eagles (Grand Opera House, 8th), Sack Sabbath and Hi-on Maiden (Fibbers, 24th, with support from The Dead White Doves).

Fibbers’ massively popular “Summer of Punk” starts on the 13th with The Stranglers.

Personally, only knowing Golden Brown, I struggle with their punk label. This gig is already sold out.

Of course, there are a number of other local bands, including an evening of folk featuring Ramblin’ Times, Joshua Burnell & band and Melthem (The Basement, 9th).

Look out too for the high octane rock of Grolar Bear (The Basement, 17th) as well as touring acts like New York Indie Rockers Augustines (The Duchess, 29th) and Massachusetts singer/ songwriter Jonah Matranga (The Basement, 16th).

If I’ve missed anything that you think is worth mentioning, you know what to do – add it to the comments selection below. If you do decide to go to a gig because of this article, let me know and make me happy.