Ian Massey looks forward to a month busting out all over with great music
As the weather gets warmer and the days longer many bands eschew gigging indoors, preferring instead the lure of sun-drenched festivals. York’s big two venues don’t have a single live music act on during the month of June, but that’s not to say that there isn’t a wealth of choice elsewhere in the city, including a couple of mini-festivals for which entry is free – a Yorkshireman’s favourite price.
A festival of talent
On the 6th, 7th and 8th, the Black Swan on Peasholme Green hosts the 2014 Folk Weekend. A glance at the programme (PDF) shows a wealth of acts, many local and many that could be described more as acoustic than folk, performing in the marquee and the Wolfe Room across the weekend.
Storytelling, poems and guitar workshops (among other things) can be found in the Oak Room and “all day musicians’ sessions” take place in the Bowes Room on Saturday and Sunday.
Great live music and real ale with no entry fee. What’s not to like?
Later in the month, York’s Little Festival of Live Music sees the music marquee in Parliament Street hosting a diverse range of acts.
Part of the Food and Drink Festival the music starts at 5pm every day between Saturday the 22nd and Friday the 28th (except Tuesday).
Each evening sees four bands perform, with the last act taking the stage at around 8pm.
The aim is to showcase established performers and introduce new and upcoming musicians. Again admission is free, but donations to York Against Cancer can be made.
With more than 60 acts performing at these two events, they are a great way to experience some of the superb talent that York has to offer in a family friendly way.
My personal recommendations would be Dream of Apollo, Pelico, Boss Caine, Blackbeard’s Tea Party, Union Jill, Sarah Dean, Holly Taymar & Chris Bilton and According To Eve because I know from experience how good they are. The other acts, I’m sure, will be equally worth seeing.
Slightly more expensive but no less worth attending is the second Apollo Festival at York Sports Club on Shipton Road on the 21st. Admission is by ticket only – they cost £12 (£1 for under 12s).
There will be more than 30 acts, including Beth McCarthy, A Joker’s Rage, The Supermodels, We Could Be Astronauts, Chris Helme and headliners Reverend & The Makers, appearing across three stages, as well as a variety of stalls and attractions.
Gates open at 11am and the festival finishes at 9pm. This year the festival is supporting The Smiley Riley Fund.
Better known as…
What would it take to get you to a gig? Somebody whose output you know doing something slightly different?
Or perhaps somebody you don’t associate with music performing in York? Answer “yes” to either of those and it looks like June could be a good month for you.
On the 16th The Duchess plays host to Nick Oliveri, the somewhat controversial bass-player and vocalist for Queens Of The Stone Age until his sacking in 2004.
Part of his acoustic tour, part of which will see Oliveri headlining the acoustic stage at this year’s Download Festival, tickets are £10 in advance or £12 on the door.
There’s more acoustic rock 20th, when Tony Wright brings his Acoustic TV project to the Basement for a set comprising Terrorvision classics done differently, as well as tracks from Laika Dog and new material written specifically for the project (£12.50).
You might have seen singer/ songwriter Andy Jordan on Made In Chelsea. On the 23rd you can see him performing at The Duchess (£8).
But one singing star we won’t be seeing is Macaulay Culkin, whose band, The Pizza Underground cancelled the rest of their tour dates including the one at The Duchess on the 2nd.
From the streets
While many bands are moving outside for the summer, three acts regularly seen busking the streets of York are moving indoors for celebratory gigs this month.
Beth McCarthy – if you haven’t caught her busking you might have seen her on a certain big-name BBC TV show – celebrates her 17th birthday at The Duchess on the 20th, with support from another great local line-up comprising The Ratells, La Petite Mort and Asios Eyes (£5 adv/£7 otd).
Have you seen the busker outside Café Rouge or perhaps Blacks, singing chilled out acoustic versions of Californication and Up All Night?
He doesn’t generally advertise himself but that’s Toby Burras. On the 26th, as Unfinished Drawings, he will be releasing his EP at the Basement (£5 adv/ £6 otd).
There are plenty of other chances to catch local bands in June, starting at The Duchess on the 12th when Time To Waste play their debut gig. Their pop/ punk/ rock style is influenced by the likes of Green Day and Fallout Boy.
The Basement kicks off three consecutive nights of local diversity with Bored Housewife playing lo-fi punk/ folk songs inspired by everyday life on the 13th (£5) while the funk/ pop/ rock sound of Montego Bay can be heard on the 14th (£4 adv/£5 otd).
According To Eve complete the run on the 15th. This trio’s songs range from soul ballads to upbeat and funky (£3 adv/£4 otd).
While all that’s going on you can also catch rock youngsters The Valmores at The Woolpack on the 13th.
My gig of the month, though, has to be Cloud Atlas at Fibbers on the 28th.
A little bit of an unknown quantity in that, although this is the launch of the band’s debut album Beyond The Vale, only a brief teaser of what is on it has been released so far. There has been at least one acoustic gig but I didn’t get to it.
Yet the pedigree of this band, which features Heidi Widdop (ex-Mostly Autumn, Breathing Space and Stolen Earth), Martin Ledger (ex-Stolen Earth) and Stu Carver (ex-Mostly Autumn), along with Neil Scott and Dave Randall, suggests good things and, I suspect, the band have a ready-made audience of prog rock fans.
Tickets for this are £10, half of which will be donated to charity.
If it’s something from further afield that you crave, there are plenty of opportunities, starting on the 1st when The Woolpack hosts French post-punk trio Plaisir.
Otherworldly Liverpudlians Bird bring their beautiful, haunting music to The Basement on the 9th (£6 adv) while Scarborough’s The Buffalo Skinners (more former buskers) mix folk, skiffle and Sixties rock and roll at The Duchess on the 13th (£5 adv/£7 otd).
Southerners and BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominees Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker play The Black Swan on the 19th, ahead of the July release of their new album, Fire And Fortune (£9).
I have been following Bradford blues prodigy Chantel McGregor since seeing her play The Roman Bath a few years ago.
Now headlining her own tours, appearing at numerous festivals and regularly being nominated for and winning British Blues awards, her talent with the guitar is nothing short of breath-taking. Catch her at Fibbers on the 20th (£12).
The prize for the furthest traveller, however, goes to Louisiana guitar man Tony Joe White, who will be playing a mix of county blues and R&B at Fibbers on the 24th (£22.50).
North Westerners Jaywalkers provide some bluegrass at The Black Swan on the 26th (£8).
Norwich may not be as far away as Louisiana, but it can seem like it when you are trying to get there. Nevertheless, The Burning Crows will be making the opposite journey on the 27th to bring swagger, style and old-style rock to The Duchess (£7 adv/£9 otd).
Blast from the past
Brit-poppers Dodgy aren’t really that old, having been active for most of the Nineties.
Still with all three of the line-up that found fame back then, their third incarnation kicked off in 2007 and they play songs from their back catalogue and new album at Fibbers on the 13th, as well as providing open mic slots of two songs each for five support bands.
It’s a fantastic idea which gives local talent a shot. If you are going down, make sure you get there early enough to hear them.
As usual, these are just my picks from the list of gigs available. There are plenty more. If nothing above takes your fancy, try one or two of the others.