Summer’s here, and the living is easy on the ears. Grace Clarke picks out some top gigs for June – and scroll down for her Spotify playlist
I think it’s summer now. Break out the shorts. It’s about time mind you – it is June after all. And once again this month there are plenty of gigs coming up to provide the soundtrack to our long evenings.
If you’re as cheap as me – I recently spent four hours shivering at King’s Cross because I refused to buy a ticket allowing me to travel at my leisure – you’ll be pleased to hear there’s a few really great free gigs coming up this month.
The Woolpack are putting on a free night every Friday which is already getting some brilliant local bands down, and Vinnie Whitehead is being joined by a different act every Wednesday at The Snickleway.
On June 5 it’s Sam Griffiths (Videotapes), who is currently my favourite face at open mic nights. Honest, heartbreaking folk music – if you’re familiar with my all time favourite face at open mic nights, Edd Barlow, then you’ll love Sam.
The Slip Inn brings us another free night on the 2nd, featuring a plethora of performers. Mark Wynn with his self deprecating Yorkshire story songs, Alex Golisti with his Tom Waitsesque vocal and captivating guitar playing, the unavoidable Boss Caine, and Andy Gaines, who despite my best efforts I have never heard, and can only find access to his wedding photography, which incidentally, is rather wonderful.
On June 3, Ben Marwood plays a sold out show at The Black Swan promoting his latest album Back Down, which, I think, is a musical and lyrical step forward into maturity. You should have heard of Ben in his own right, but you may know him as a faithful friend to Frank Turner. He manages to create a sound that I can only describe as angry yet delicate folk. It’s sold out for a reason.
Former Coral man Bill Ryder-Jones plays The Duchess on the 9th. I like musicians to have Mancunian accents, and his Warrington tinged vocal is good enough for me. His latest album A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart is a melancholic piano driven piece. I’ll probably spend this gig weeping behind a pillar.
Probably the most recognisable name this month is Ed Harcourt who plays the National Centre for Early Music on the 10th. He describes his latest album as the album he’s always wanted to make, and it’s the album we’ve always wanted to hear. It’s thirteen years since his Tom Waits-inspired first release Maplewood, and we’ve still got that underlying piano. But his lyrics are more mature as he shares the life lessons he’s picked up over the years.
Another act I’d certainly consider checking out are hillbillies Hayseed Dixie at The Duchess on the 25th. With their unique (and hilarious) take on classic rock albums, a quote on their website pretty much sums them up: “If loving the banjo is wrong, we don’t want to be right.”
And finally, on the 26th at Fibbers is the eternally under-appreciated Evan Dando of Lemonheads fame. Definitely worth the £15 ticket price to hear him and his dark lyrics in such an intimate setting.
So there’s plenty to do, and plenty to see, and there’s plenty more than I’ve listed here! I’ve made a playlist that features all of the acts in this piece and some others that are playing in York this month. Have a listen and if you want to book tickets you can do so via the Fibbers and Duchess websites.