The gigs to see in York this month: April, 2014

Long Island introspection: Laura Stevenson plays the Basement
31 Mar 2014 @ 6.43 am
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Long Island introspection: Laura Stevenson plays the Basement
Long Island introspection: Laura Stevenson plays the Basement

ian-massey-headshotYork has a lively month of music ahead. Ian Massey picks his highlights


Perhaps the biggest gig of the month sees electronic duo Goldfrapp take to the stage at the Barbican on April 5 to promote their latest album, the well-received Tales Of Us. Sadly for anybody without a ticket, this gig is now sold out. However there are plenty of smaller, but no less talented, acts playing across York in April.

Female vocalists

Continuing with female vocalists, Emily And The Woods are at The Duchess on the 1st (tickets £6.50 in advance/ £8.50 on the door).

Transcending the standard female singer/ songwriter role, Emily’s music has hints of electronics combined with incredible vocals that puts her, in my opinion, somewhere between Kate Bush and Ellie Goulding.

Support comes from two local acts – According To Eve with their multi-influenced pop and York’s own RnB/ pop princess Kymberley Kennedy.

Further down the road at Fibbers on the 3rd you can hear the livelier sound of multi-instrumentalist Emma Stevens on her first headline tour, promoting her debut album, Enchanted (£8).

Support for this one comes from Callum Rafferty, a 16-year-old singer/songwriter from London, and local girl Aimie J Ryan.

Finally for the girls, there is a sort of light introspection to the songs of Long Islander Laura Stevenson, who performs her indie/ pop at the Basement Bar on the 16th (£8).

Male vocalists

For those who prefer male vocalists, on the 15th the Basement Bar plays host to North Carolina resident Malcolm Holcombe and his gravel-voiced folk/ Americana (£8 adv/ £10 otd).

There is more local support, this time from the always intriguing Mark Wynn.

There’s more folk (or, perhaps, anti-folk) at The Black Swan on the 19th, when you can see Ben Marwood, who gets this month’s prize for best song title with Tell Avril Lavigne I Never Wanted To Be Her Stupid Boyfriend Anyway.

If you can’t make up your mind between male or female vocalists, this is the gig for you as support comes from two young local singer/ songwriters, Pip Mountjoy and Helen Chambers.

My personal choice in this category, though, is one of York’s hardest working musicians and ever-rising star, Boss Caine, who plays The Woolpack on the 5th.

Recently championed by Bob Harris on Radio 2, Boss Caine’s brand of Yorkshire Americana grabbed me from almost the first time I heard it and each new song seems to become a favourite of mine.

This is a “songwriters in the round” show and also features Little Rach, Sam Griffiths and Jonny Gill. Best of all, it is free and the venue sells decent beer.

Indie crackers

Unfortunately, Lanterns On The Lake, due at The Duchess on the 7th, have cancelled their tour. Their cinematic soundscapes and, at other times, understated music would have been a highlight.

Sola Virtus, from Leeds and appearing at the Basement Bar on the 23rd (£5 adv/ £6 otd) are, on the basis of their single Change, much more pop-py. Expect vocal harmonies and catchy melodies that get your feet tapping.

York based King No-One play their brand of math-rock at Fibbers on the 25th (£5).

With their Soundcloud page drawing comparisons to the likes of Two Door Cinema Club and Jimi Hendrix and some incredibly mature vocals, this band should have an excellent future and sound well worth checking out live.

I’m going to include the instrumental rock of Winter Isle here, simply because I can’t think where else to put them.

They are appearing at the Basement Bar on the 20th (tickets tbc), presumably to play, amongst others, the atmospheric tracks that make up their 2013 album Eilean, whose ambience can at times almost lull you to sleep before bursting back into energetic life.

Metal heads

For the metal-heads out there, two gigs stand out for me. At Fibbers on the 12th, York’s extreme-metalers RSJ (perhaps best known for the 2011 video for Collectively We Are Tall, which saw the band, along with many of York’s other heavy metal proponents, performing keep fit routines while dressed in Lycra) headline.

The bill also includes local boys InSpades, Newcastle’s We Are Knuckle Dragger and Evil Scarecrow from Nottingham (£4). Expect noise.

If your ears have recovered by the 15th you could return to Fibbers for Lostalone (£7), a more melodic but still quite heavy band from Derby.

Blues and rock ‘n’ roll-based bands are represented by The 45s at Fibbers on the 5th (£6).

Influenced by the likes of The Kinks, The Beatles, The Who, Chuck Berry and The Small Faces, there is something old-fashioned about this band from Carlisle, but if Wilko Johnson feels the need to perform with them when they are in town together, they must be doing something right.

Again, support comes from a local band – this time The Valmores.

The Puppeteers were the first band to play at the Leeds Arena and their brand of Blues Rock can be heard at the Basement Bar on the 9th (£5 adv/ £6 otd). The tracks on their Hurricanes EP vary between energetic and laid back but are never anything less than catchy.

Finally, probably the strangest gig of the month can be seen at Fibbers on the 23rd (£10). Bob Log III is a one man band, playing blues/ punk on the slide guitar and drums while dressed in a human cannonball suit and full-face helmet, sometimes with audience members sitting on his knee.

And apparently that’s not the weirdest part of the act. But I’ll let you check out his Wikipedia entry for that…