Supporting the local music scene can be as frustrating as it is rewarding, and I’m not just talking about the local acts seemingly becoming rarer at some venues.
While, for me anyway, it’s not possible to like every band or musician, every so often one comes along that grabs your attention, blows your mind, makes you want to shout their name from the rooftops. Or, at least, use this column to tell everybody whenever they are playing.
And then the unexpected happens.
Regular readers might remember that I had mentioned the band Everlate more than once, noting them as one of York’s more mainstream bands and relating them to Snow Patrol. The last time I mentioned them was to draw your attention to their album launch at the Basement last year.
This album was one I had been looking forward to and ended up being one of my favourites of last year. And then, on Friday the 13th no less, the band announced that, after three years together, they were splitting up.
It’s a shame – here was a band that, in my opinion (but what do I know?) who could have gone places – but it’s a familiar story. Locally, bands come and go, line-ups change and, sometimes, genres are switched.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish the various members of Everlate luck in whatever comes next and to thank them for the music.
Of course, there is still plenty of talent dotted around the city. Plenty of more bands to see and gigs to attend.
Having said that, my personal gig-of-the-month recommendation for February doesn’t feature a local band. Not only that, but I won’t actually be attending it…
Being a prog-rock fan (I might have mentioned it before), I should be taking the opportunity to see Mike And The Mechanics at the Barbican on the 17th.
After all, it’s the closest I will get to seeing Genesis in York (or perhaps anywhere) unless somebody finally invents time travel and I go back to the university in the early 70s.
Mike Rutherford’s side project may be more pop/rock than prog-rock, but I still like their output. However, with no new music for this tour, and having seen them at the same venue in 2015, I can’t justify the ticket price this time around.
The Mechanics’ current lead singer is Andrew Roachford, who you might remember from his number four hit Cuddly Toy. Coincidentally, both acts released albums called Word Of Mouth, but I doubt that’s why he got the job.
He does good justice to the band’s songs but, again in my opinion, Paul Carrack was the band’s best vocalist. The Yorkshireman with the golden voice can also be seen at the Barbican this month, getting his gig in a few days before his old band, on the 12th.
One gig I will be attending, assuming I can get somebody to cover my on-call, is The Brew at Fibbers on the 2nd, for two reasons.
Firstly because the Grimsby-based headliners are described as “proper British rock” and “bearing the classic blues-rock badge”, which appeals to my musical tastes and secondly because support is from local blues act The Dead Cats, who fans of that style of music may have already seen opening for King King and Marcus Bonfanti when they played York.
I’m also keen to be at the Basement on the 15th for Patch And The Giant.
Again, I haven’t come across the headliners, a folk quintet from London whose debut album is due out just days before this gig, before but I have yet to be disappointed by a gig put on by Please Please You and I know that I like the support acts, both from York.
The Bramble Napskins’ brand of gypsy folk had the majority of the crowd at the (admittedly cold) Crescent up and dancing when they played there late last year.
Stillhouse were also on that bill and even though I missed half their set (having realised that I had left something at my pre-gig pub) I heard enough of their progressive acoustic music to know that they are going to be a favourite of mine very soon.
I have seen the former a few times and both their albums can be found in my collection (although the first is located in the “P” section – they had to change their name from Parade to avoid a clash with a girl group. Guess which one has lasted longer…) Her Name Is Calla are celebrating a decade together and, while I haven’t managed to catch them before, their description of “emotional guitar rock” is another that appeals to me.
February normally sees Fibbers play host to an end-of-the-Viking-Festival gig featuring Viking metal bands.
I have been to the last two and they were both well-attended, so it was a bit of a surprise to see nothing on the venues listings for this year with the Fulford Arms having, apparently, taken over on the 24th, although the line-up is more local than the previous Fibbers gigs.
I seem to remember being intrigued by yet another sub genre of country music – red dirt – although I can’t remember which proponent of it was playing and I know I didn’t manage to the gig. There’s another chance to sample the genre at Fibbers on the 7th when The Turnpike Troubadours pop over from Oklahoma as part of their first UK tour.
Amongst the quieter and quirkier side of music this month you can catch Gaelic Singer of the Year nominee Kaela Rowan and her band (another Please Please You gig) and London-based alt-Americana/country duo Worry Dolls, both at the Black Swan on the 12th and 23rd respectively.
I was also going to mention Steve Knightley, another Black Swan Folk Club gig at the NCEM but, if you haven’t got a ticket already you aren’t going as it has already sold out.
I’ve got to fit in another mention for prog-rock and Flying Machines at the Basement on the 17th. It’s just one of their listed influences, which also include jazz, pop and metal which the band blend together to produce what is said to be a unique and modern sound.
Finally for this section, mention of a couple of charity gigs at the Basement. On the 22nd there is an evening of acoustic music from Lily Bell Penny, Seb Byford, Serotones and the highly-regarded Faux Pas as they raise money for Martin House.
The following night there is a celebration for LGBT History Month at which JJ Langley, Waifs and Strays, Izzy Isgate and Jess Gardham will perform.
Best of the rest
If you like musical mash-ups, with metal as a base, Fibbers on the 8th could well be the place for you.
That’s when Welsh band Skindred will be taking to the stage to combine metal riffage with hip-hop and reggae grooves, electronics and pop.
With a list of influences as long as your arm and including Led Zeppelin and riverboats, Nina Simone and late night trains, BB King and Lake Superior, Brooklyn’s Big Thief appear at the Crescent on the 7th. Fellow Brooklyner, singer songwriter Sharon Van Etten is a fan, describing their work as “some of the most compelling songs I’ve heard in a long time.”
Choro is an instrumental Brazilian music genre originating in the 19th century. Eternal Choro are Carlo Filipe, a Brazilian guitarist engaged in a PhD in music at York and Cristina Rodriguez, a Chilean pianist who recently gained a Masters in piano performance from York. The duo come together at the Basement on the 21st to unveil Latin American genres.
And those are the gigs that have caught my eye. It’s not an extensive listing and there will be things I have missed that you might want to draw attention to – that’s what the comments section is for.
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
|6th||Big Thief||Crescent||£10 adv / £12 otd|
|7th||The Turnpike Troubadours||Fibbers||£12|
|12th||The Kaela Rowan Band||Black Swan||£11 adv / £12.50 otd|
|Paul Carrack||Barbican||£33.60, £43.12|
|Her Name Is Calla||Crescent||£7 adv|
|15th||Patch and the Giant||Basement||£6 adv / £8 otd|
|Mike & The Mechanics||Barbican||£36.40, £42|
|22nd||Unplugged for Martin House||Basement||£3 adv / £5 otd|
|23rd||Do Us Proud||Basement||£6|
|The Worry Dolls||Black Swan||£9 adv / £10 otd|
|24th||Old Corpse Road||Fulford Arms||£6|