“Wow!” I thought, looking at the list of I had put together from the nine websites I peruse every month. “That’s a lot of gigs! How am I going to narrow that down without annoying somebody?”
The answer, obviously, is that I can’t, no matter how hard I try.
There are simply too many bands playing York this month that I haven’t come across but who will have one or two (or, hopefully, more) local fans who think their appearance here is the best gig of the month.
And that’s why, every month, I encourage people to give a shout-out for anything I have missed and to, in turn, encourage other people to go to that/those gigs.
If one other person goes to see a band because of this column – directly or indirectly – I have fulfilled my purpose in writing it.
All I ask is that you, unlike one reader last month, read the article fully before berating me for missing a band.
This month we have sold out gigs, artistes stepping up to bigger venues (and others dropping to smaller venues), a whole slew of local bands appearing twice in the month, celebrations of EP and single releases and, for those who like combining bigger names with musical nostalgia, a mini wave of 80s revival across the city. So, where to start…?
A call to the arms
I’m going to kick things off with a venue that I am often accused of ignoring – The Fulford Arms. And, I warn you, I may end up being, at very least, controversial.
While, as usual, the bands listed as playing here are, for the most part, unknown to me, there are two gigs this month that I would have given serious consideration to attending.
Sadly both fall in my week of being on call. On the 26th you can catch a double headline gig featuring Arrows Of Love – a London-based alternative/grunge/post-punk (according to Wikipedia, anyway) band, one of those that I haven’t come across before – and The Last Internationale who, quite frankly I think are brilliant.
I saw them at Fibbers back when they fitted an appearance in between slots at Leeds and Reading, describing their music as “almost subversive protest-rock. Slightly political, very powerful and highly entertaining”.
That gig ended up in my top five of the year and their album, We Will Reign, would have easily been in my top five of 2014 if I had bought it that year.
Quite why they are playing a smaller venue this time around is beyond me, but the gig is highly recommended anyway.
Also playing, on the 24th, are rock band Hunter & The Bear and they also come highly recommended, via a friend and occasional gig-buddy.
He saw them just a few short months ago at The Lending Room in Leeds and was so enthusiastic about the gig ahead of time that I would have gone with him, except I already had plans for one in York.
He was equally as enthusiastic during (we exchanged text messages about our respective events throughout the evening) and afterwards, priming me the next day with the fact that the band had announced an upcoming gig in York as part of their tour.
He bought a ticket as soon as they were on sale, I grumbled that I couldn’t make it. Here’s the controversy… This gig isn’t listed on The Fulford Arms events page!
I have said it before and I will say it again (and I’m not the only one, despite the voices that will be raised against me for saying it) – this venue doesn’t do enough to advertise its gigs.
To be fair, until recently, it wasn’t the only one. If the people running The Fulford Arms don’t have the time and/or money to put together a proper website, that’s fine, but if your website basically pulls the events from your Facebook page, at least make sure that all the events are listed there.
Of course, there may be reasons for why they do things the way they do but, as a fan of live music, it makes it harder to pick out gigs to go to if venues don’t advertise them. Anyway, that’s enough about that and I promise I might not mention it again. Moving on…
I’ll be there
Let’s turn things around for a change and tell you, Perhaps not as briefly as I should, which gigs I will be attending and, therefore, recommending this month (that I know about so far) and those I would be at, if not for that pesky on-call rota, before moving on to highlight some others.
As I write this, my gig-going month starts with a gig at The Crescent where The Temperance Movement play on the 7th as part of their 13-date “Small Rooms, New Tunes” UK tour which, unsurprisingly, has completely sold out.
My first experience of this band was back in 2013 when one of York’s musicians messaged me to tell me that they were playing Fibbers, that I would probably like them and that he was making the trip back from London to be at the gig.
He wasn’t wrong – that gig was brilliant, as was their début album, released shortly afterwards. Being honest their second album didn’t excite me quite as much but a second gig, this time at Leeds University, was equally as enjoyable as the first.
Their music is a sort of Rolling Stones /Black Crowes mash-up and they are fronted by the incredibly-voiced and energetic Phil Campbell – my description of him as “cavorting like some mad scarecrow being electrocuted during a session of callisthenics” at the Leeds gig drew some amusement from the band’s Facebook fan page.
As you know, I tend to get a bit excited if a band which has been covered in Prog magazine appears in York, even if I have yet to hear their music.
On the 13th Syd Arthur are one such band. Formed in Canterbury – a place which was the base of so many prog bands back in the 60s and 70s that it spawned its own sub-genre – back in 2003 this band seem to have become more well-known fairly recently and released their fourth album last year.
It goes without saying that I’m looking forward to this.
As I am to seeing Toseland again on the 14th.
For anybody who doesn’t know, this is former motorcycle racer James Toseland’s venture into rock music, but it’s in no way just a passing fad.
I first saw the band at Fibbers back in 2013 and I think they have been back twice since (on dates I couldn’t make) and the band have released an EP and two albums.
There are musical connections throughout James’ life – he took piano lessons as a child, achieving Grade 6, and is married to Katie Melua.
At the gig back in 2013 there seemed to be a huge crossover audience, with as many, if not more, biking jackets in evidence as (cliché alert) band-patched denim.
Beth McCarthy is one of those artistes who is stepping up to a bigger venue this month.
Previous headline shows have all, if I recall correctly, been at the Basement and I haven’t yet managed to catch her live. On the 25th she will be gracing the stage at The Crescent.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that this falls in he middle of the two Fulford Arms gigs I mentioned so it’s another gig I can’t make. Hopefully next time…
There are two gigs I fancy but that I’m not sure I will be able to make yet. There is a two and a half hour show by The Icicle Works at Fibbers on the 4th and, having seen Ian McNabb there last year, I came to realise not only how many of their songs I knew and liked but also what an incredible live performer that man is.
I might also venture down to The Crescent on the 27th for the Peggy Seeger and Family concert.
At 82, Peggy could be described as a doyenne of folk music and this appearance will see her and family members playing songs from her 60-plus year career, as well as those of late husband Ewan MacColl. There will also be readings from Peggy’s recently released memoir.
Close to home
Part of the raison d’etre of this column is to draw your attention to local bands and there are a lot playing this month.
Most of them are ones I have heard of but are yet to hear. There are some that, due to their choice of genre, I’m unlikely to see.
Here’s a round-up of where and when you can catch them. Warning – because of the number of times some of these bands are playing, this section is going to jump around more than a neglected vinyl record.
I enjoyed alternative rockers Serotones when I saw them in a support slot recently.
They have their first headline gig at Fibbers on the 2nd, when they launch their EP with support from three other local bands – indie-rockers Dvsk, post-punk/new wave/surfers Glass Traps and the alternative/grunge of The Mallrats.
Also on the 2nd, at the Fulford Arms (and, yes, advertised as one of their events) the highly-regarded rattle-rock duo Snakerattlers and “old time vegetable string band” King Courgette will be supporting cult skiffle cow punk band Terry & Gerry, who counted John Peel as their biggest fan.
Originally formed in the Eighties, I hadn’t realised that they could also be counted as part of the aforementioned 80s revival.
There’s a rare mention for the NCEM in this column as young singer-songwriter Laura Kindelan plays there on the 4th, with a gig to promote the release of her single Sippin’ Whisky.
I’ve seen Laura a few times now and she has elevated herself from normal acoustic singer-songwriter acts by making her music just a little bit more (for want of a better word) experimental. Support this evening comes from another local singer-songwriter, Zak Ford. I haven’t seen him for a couple of years now, but enjoyed his music on the times that I did.
Zak also turns up at the Basement on the 24th, as one act in a gig which aims to raise money for York Mind.
Reb Ferguson will also be on hand to perform folk tales which, the listing states “are all entirely true (in a manner of speaking…)”
Dvsk will also be playing at The Basement on the 29th as part of a fully local bill which also includes Honey Smugglers and more indie-rock from headliners The Televangelists, who are also one of the support for the Toseland gig.
Similarly, Glass Traps are part of a local line-up at the same venue on the 23rd, this one including further support from rock/punk band The Sunset Radio, more indie from Crybaby and the “British American Britpop” of headline act Bull.
The Mallrats themselves also headline a Basement gig on the 10th, where they will be supported by local band Alleyways and Leeds-based Sounds Like A Storm, both bands describing themselves as “indie rock”.
Back to Fibbers and back to earlier in the month and fans of grunge rock can see Part Time Miserables on the 3rd when they open for North-Eastern band Vant on their “The Last Days of Punk” tour. Further support comes from Newcastle’s Sam Fender.
The Miserables are back at Fibbers twice more this month. On the 16th, you can see them supporting Belfast/London duo Rews, a sort of high-energy, all-female White Stripes line-up performing alternative pop-rock.
Opening the evening will be what I assume is a very new York act in the form of duo Proxy Love, who describe themselves as a “Louche, disco glam-ability group doing sleazy Lou Reed style pop”.
Meanwhile, on the 20th, the Miserables open for Ducking Punches a folk-punk quartet who are making the long trip from Norwich to grace the Fibbers stage with a hint of Frank Tuner style music. Also on the bill is fellow folk-punker We Bless This Mess and his live band.
They may be new but Proxy Love also pop up at Fibbers on the 28th, when they open an evening dedicated to four student bands from York.
Wild Huntsmen are another duo, this time listing their genre as, simply, “rock” and citing influences like Black Sabbath, ZZ Top and Audioslave.
This evening is being put on by twenty3, a new company founded with the sole (and noble) purpose of giving grassroots bands exposure to a professional environment.
Latin Ska Fusion isn’t a genre you come across much in York, but Flatcap Carnival are a (possibly the only) proponent of it in the city.
They have are at Fibbers on the 7th, supporting “brasshouse” trio Too Many Zooz, who started their musical career busking at Union Square station before a passing stranger’s video propelled them into worldwide touring and an appearance with Beyonce.
At the Basement on the 26th there is a chance to catch two more highly-respected singer-songwriters in the forms of Dan Webster and Rachel Croft as they open for Bedford-based Americana singer Danni Nicholls.
I think that’s everybody local (if I have missed anybody, I apologise), except to mention that York’s biggest band Shed Seven have two, already sold out gigs at Fibbers on the 17th and 18th. Why mention them if they are sold out? Simply to urge you, if you have tickets to get down early. Not only will you get to the front but you will be able to see, depending on which evening you are there, one of two great support acts – either Serotones, who I have already mentioned, or Bridlington’s Nick Tudor.
The best of the rest
This month’s column is already longer than most, so I’m going to try to be brief as I wrap it up with some choice cuts from the rest of the month’s gigs.
As I’ve said before, promoter Please Please You generally brings interesting acts to York and I have yet to be disappointed by any of the ones I have seen. I only wish I had the time and money to get to more of them.
Those that look particularly enticing for November include Maryland singer-songwriter Katie Von Scleicher at the Basement on the 7th, New Zealander Kane Strang at the same venue on the 18th and the return of Rob Heron and The Tea Pad Orchestra to the Crescent on the 21st.
As usual, The Black Swan Folk Club is the place to be for both traditional and modern twists on the folk genre. The Peggy Seeger gig is a joint promotion between them and Please Please You.
This month they have 50-year veteran Martyn Wyndham-Read appearing at the Black Swan on the 2nd, Canadian James Keelaghan there on the 9th, US duo Dana and Susan Robinson on the 16th and a début appearance for the UK’s Georgia Lewis on the 30th.
But, for me, the one that stands out is all-female trio Lady Maisery, who the club are putting on at the NCEM on the 20th.
And what about that Eighties revival? Well, there might only be two tickets left for Banarama at the Barbican on the 16th (a gig I tried and failed to get tickets for).
Changing genres there is also the hard rock of Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction (formed in 1985) at Fibbers on the 24th.
Throw in tribute acts to The Pretenders, Simple Minds, ELO, Whitney Houston, David Bowie and George Michael and you have enough eighties music to fill a couple of editions of Top Of The Pops.
There’s more. There’s always more. But I’ve run out of time, space and knowledge. I urge you, once again, if you think I’ve missed something, comment below or drag your mates to whatever gig you think I should have mentioned.
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.
On a phone? Swipe left to see all the details
|Martyn Wyndham-Read||Black Swan||£9 adv / £10 otd|
|Terry & Gerry||Fulford Arms||£8|
|Midge Ure/ The Christians/ Altered Images||Grand Opera House||£32.65 to £34.65|
|4th||The Icicle Works||Fibbers||£17.50|
|7th||Too Many Zooz||Fibbers||£18.50|
|Katie Von Schleicher||Basement||£6.50 adv / £8 otd|
|The Temperance Movement||Crescent||Sold Out|
|9th||James Keelaghan||Black Swan||£10 adv / £11 otd|
|ABC / Kid Creole||Barbican||£36.40 to £166.88|
|10th||The Mallrats||Basement||£5 (£3 students)|
|Dana & Susan Robinson||Black Swan||£10 adv / £11 otd|
|Banarama||Barbican||£44.24 to £78.40|
|18th||Kane Strang||Basement||£7 adv / ££9 otd|
|Alison Moyet||Barbican||£28 to £55.44|
|21st||Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra||Crescent||£10|
|24th||Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction||Fibbers||£14|
|Hunter & The Bear||Fulford Arms||£9|
|26th||Danni Nicholls||Basement||£6 adv / £8 otd|
|The Last Internationale||Fulford Arms||£6|
|27th||Pegger Seeger and family||Crescent||£18 adv / £20 otd|
|29th||The Televangelists||Basement||£5 adv / £7 otd|
|30th||Georgie Lewis & friends||Black Swan||£8 adv / £9 otd|