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At time of writing there is a week left of August and I have yet to attend a gig.

That’s a combination of family commitments and a relatively quiet month for music, nothing to do with the quality of what was on offer.

September sees me with a different problem – there is so much good stuff to choose from that I’m going to struggle to get to a fraction of what I want to see.

This month there is – almost literally – something for every musical taste, from the easy-listening, more cultured end of the spectrum.

There’s The Drifters (the Barbican on the 17th, £29.12/£28), South African jazz-pianist Tete Mbambisa (NCEM on the 9th, £12) and The Military Wives choir (NCEM on the 10th, £25 as they help raise money for the Walk Of Britain team).

And it goes right through to punk as Fibbers’ Summer Of Punk – a musical genre I’ve never understood – continues with an already sold-out gig by Public Image Ltd (on the 22nd, as a reminder for those with tickets), a not-yet-sold-out night with The Damned (16th, £20) and a night of covers from my favourite band name this month, when the Sex Pissed Dolls play the same venue (on the 4th, £12).

My own tastes cut a fairly broad swathe between those two extremes and, with a lot to cover this month, I apologise in advance for the length of this column and for the amended lyrics used in my section headings.

Music for nothing and gigs for free

There is a wealth of talent available for a Yorkshireman’s favourite price this month as York’s Little Festival Of Live Music once again teams up with the York Food And Drink Festival to provide live music across seven days in Parliament Street.

Each day will see four acts playing between 5pm and 9pm and organiser Ellen has, again, worked hard to put together a reasonably diverse line-up, including some acts that are regulars at her events and others that are not only new to the festival but also new to me.

A lot of the acts are acoustic singer-songwriters – the likes of Sam Griffiths, Laura Kindelan, Dan Webster, Zak Ford and David Ward MacLean.

But there are also full bands such as King Courgette (bluegrass, folk and hoedown), Leather’o (Gypsy and Celtic), Barcode Zebra (pop-funk) and the slightly more edgy Surf Sluts (surf punk).

Last year I managed to see all but two acts on the festival’s bill.

It is happening later in the year this time round and work means that I won’t get into town early enough to see the start of the evenings, but I’m going to try to get along to as much as I can.

Sadly, I doubt I will get to see Flora Greysteel, a band I’m looking forward to getting to see in the future, based solely on seeing one of Emily Rowan’s previous performances a few years ago.

There are no acts on the bill that I would avoid but personal favourites include Boss Caine, According To Eve, Pelico and the superb, quirky and like-nothing-else-out-there Vesper Walk.

The full line-up is:

  • Friday 18th – Sam Griffiths, Vesper Walk, Gobbledigook, According to Eve
  • Saturday 19th – Barcode Zebra, Laura Kindelan, Dan Webster, Kymberley Kennedy
  • Sunday 20th – King Courgette, Sarah Dean, Leather’o, Zak Ford
  • Wednesday 23rd – Ellie Holmes, To The Blue, Lion Papers, Pelico
  • Thursday 24th – Rachel Croft, David Ward MacLean, Bull, Alice Ostapjuk
  • Friday 25th– Flora Greysteel, Analog Bombs, Indigo Bones, Surf Sluts
  • Saturday 26th – The Rusty Pegs, The Bronze, Boss Caine, Lost Trends

This is a great opportunity to see some of the best of the local music scene without having to pay for a ticket, although there will be collection buckets around as the festival aims raise money for York Mind.

Talking of which they need volunteers to do the collections.

If you can spare some time to help out, please contact York Mind fundraiser Holly Pollard by email.

I don’t usually mention The Roman Bath, despite spending many a good evening there just a few years ago.

As far as I know they still have music on most, if not every, night but there is one gig there this month that I want to highlight.

Morpheus Rising is one of my favourite local bands. I’ve been following them since before their first gig and genuinely believe they should have a bigger fan base.

The likes of Iron Maiden and Saxon were what I listened to during my formative years and you can definitely hear their influences in Morpheus Rising’s music, both in their live shows and their two (so far) brilliant albums.

If you are a fan of NWOBHM you could do a lot worse than head down to The Bath on the 19th as the band plays what I think is their first gig in what could be called its spiritual home – if only because founder Pete Harwood was a regular there with Freeway.

It’s another free gig, although I assume the bar staff would prefer it if you bought a beer or two.

It’s a hard choice

The final band of the festival line-up above will be the first to take to the stage at The Duchess on the 4th.

Lost Trends recently received nationwide coverage when one of their tracks – DJ – was used by Channel 4 during coverage of the Ebor race meeting, great news for them.

This gig will see them opening proceedings for a night of local rock which also features Harrogate’s The Violets, plus Broken Skulls and The Blue Dawns, both from York.

(Tickets are £4, and there is a free Jack Daniels and mixer for the first fifty people through the door as this is a “Jack Rocks” gig.)

One of my regular gig-buddies has recommended US country soul band The Delines at The Duchess on the 7th.

As yet, I know nothing about them apart from the one thing that jumped out at me – one of their members is also in The Decemberists (and I’ve only heard of them…) Still, he has seen them before and I trust his judgement (£12 adv/ £14 otd).

Here and Now are a space-rock band formed back in 1974.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything by them but the fact that space-rock (think Hawkwind) is often lumped in with progressive rock means that there is a very good chance that I’m going to like them and I will be trying to be there when they play Fibbers on the 11th.

York’s own Cloud Atlas, in acoustic form, are in support, as are the information-lite Beastfish according to the Facebook event page (Fibbers’ website still says The Dark Woods) (£10).

I can’t be in two places at once, which is the only reason I won’t be at The Duchess on the 11th when Laura Kindelan, Beth McCarthy and According To Eve come together for another gig to raise money for Jessie’s Fund (£5 adv/£7 otd).

Prog-rock, along with heavy rock, is also mentioned in the write-up for Idle Jack & The Big Sleep, a band I last saw nearly six years ago.

Yes, that means I missed their tenth anniversary show at Fibbers last year but they have been persuaded to perform there again on the 12th, giving me a chance to once again catch one of the few local bands to use a theremin.

Support this time comes in the form of Van Der Neer (£5).

That’s cheaper than going to the Barbican on the same day, when Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson will be performing his rock opera based on the life of the real life Jethro Tull, albeit reimagined as in the near future, complete with slightly re-written songs from the Tull repertoire (£35.84/£31.36).

The last time I saw Ricky Warwick he had just been invited to join Thin Lizzy.

Since then he has co-founded and fronted Black Star Riders. On the 15th he, along with the Riders’ guitarist Damon Johnson, will be performing an acoustic set of songs from both bands, as well as his original band The Almighty and others at The Duchess.

Boss Caine will be opening the evening, just as he did when Warwick supported The Union back in 2010 (£12 adv/£14 otd).

I saw local soft rock trio Little Resistance just a few weeks ago and was very impressed, particularly with Sophie Walmsley’s vocals, although the music overall was very good.

At the time I said I was going to keep an eye out for them. I have done and I have spotted that they are headlining The Basement on the 20th, with support from The Retrospectives, Corinna Jane and The Glass Traps – three acts I haven’t come across before (£4 adv/ £5 otd).

I don’t remember anything about The Icicle Works apart from their name but another friend has been singing their praises and I believe there was talk of him travelling a fair distance to see them when he saw they (or, at least, Ian McNabb as originally advertised) were playing Fibbers on the 25th (£15).

I was disappointed to be away when Robin Trower played York earlier this year, partly because he is on my bucket list of acts to see and partly because his support act was Joanne Shaw Taylor, who I have nothing but good things about.

Thankfully she returns to York, specifically Fibbers, to play the blues on the 28th (£20).

One last chance

Folk fans have a final chance to see American singer Debby McClatchy when she plays the Black Swan on the 3rd.

Retired already, this will be the 70-year-old’s final visit to York as part of her Last Solo Tour of the UK (£9).

The following Thursday, the 10th, sees the Black Swan Folk Club’s 2,000th recorded event, when folk legend Dave Burland will be performing (£10).

As well as the Ricky Warwick gig I have already mentioned, there are a few more familiar names in different guises appearing in York this month.

At The Duchess on the 10th you can see Tracii Guns, from L.A. Guns as he teams up with Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne and Whitesnake) to perform a night of classics from their previous bands (£15 adv/ £17 otd).

On the 19th The Basement plays host to Piano Wire, featuring Sym Gharial and Andy Huxley from The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster (£6).

While over at The Duchess on the 27th Ben Ottewell will be performing his solo songs, along with a few favourites from the back catalogue of Gomez, the band he was previously guitarist and singer for (£12.50 adv/ £15 otd).

If you want more more more…

There is so much more this month. Every gig has its own merits and will have its own fans.

If I haven’t already mentioned it, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth going to.

There are tribute acts a plenty with Off The Wall bringing the music of Pink Floyd to Fibbers on the 19th (£14), while the Complete Stone Roses play the same venue on the 26th (£15).

The Smiths Ltd are at The Duchess on the 18th (£14 adv/ £16 otd) and The Upbeat Beatles are at the Barbican on the 26th (£22.40/£20).

If local music is your thing the fourth Metal Massacre event brings together Forsaken, Stonewater, Us Amongst The Rest and A Joker’s Rage at Fibbers on the 5th (£5).

There’s Junk, Neon Dolls and Bull at The Basement on the 11th (£5 adv/ £6 otd).

Or what about Grinny Grandad’s tenth birthday bonanza, with support from Kymberley Kennedy at Fibbers on the 18th (£5)?

There are also an abundance of international acts, especially at the Barbican on the 27th when Bill Medley, Sheila Ferguson (The Three Degrees), Deniece Williams and Freda Payne are just some of the acts presented by David Gest during his (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life tour (£31.36, or £84 if you want to meet all the acts prior to the show).

The usual final word

That is still not everything. By my reckoning, there are at least another 18 gigs I haven’t listed, all of which will appeal to somebody.

And that doesn’t include the many free gigs and open mic nights around town.

The nights are getting darker, there’s barely anything worth watching on TV. Even worse, by the time September comes around, X-Factor will be back.

Get yourselves out and support proper music, whether it is somebody you have heard or somebody you are taking a chance on.

Ian Massey

Ian Massey

Thanks to his amazing and ever-expanding knowledge of the York music scene, Ian is a great guide as to the gigs to go and see