October, for me, is shaping up to be the best month of the year for live music. My wife has already said that there is barely a blank space on the calendar and I have yet to put everything I want to get to on there.
Hopefully, after two months of circumstances beyond my control, this month will see me actually getting out to more gigs. So, without further ado… (Oh, and I’ve nearly run out of ideas for musically inspired sub-headings.)
(or… hello, hello, is there anybody out there?)
The biggest local gig this month is also the cheapest.
On the 3rd, between 1.30pm and 10.30pm, York-based promoter Please Please You celebrates York’s musical talent with another Miller’s Yard Party.
Taking place across two rooms of the community centre just of Gillygate, this will feature, among others, the likes of Bull, Boss Caine, Katie-Lou McCabe, Martyn Fillingham, Muttley and Sam Griffiths the event promises to be an eclectic mix of styles that will give audience members an insight into the diversity of York’s musical talent.
The event is free, except for the culmination – a full concert by Steven James Adams, formerly of The Broken Family Band (£8).
The liveliest gig in this section is likely to be found at The Duchess on the 9th, when Blackbeard’s Tea Party bring their modern folk, tinged with rock, sound to the stage.
No doubt they will be playing songs from their latest album – Reprobates, released on the same day – as well as old favourites.
Fast-paced and entertaining, I have yet to be disappointed by one of their gigs and I doubt I ever will be (£5 adv /£6 otd).
York indie-electro-pop band Hello Earth are launching their debut album with a party at Fibbers on the 17th.
Squeezing in a support act, if only to justify the heading above, you can also see Hello Operator when they open the evening for Manchester’s psych revivalists Blossoms, also at Fibbers on the 14th (£7).
It’s not York but Selby is only just down the road and two acts (at least, as far as I can see) from that town are at Fibbers on the 25th.
Headlining alternative rockers Premonition won Selby’s battle of the bands in 2013 and last played Fibbers a year ago.
Just like last time they are supported by Order Of The Elephants, “a small acoustic band from North Yorkshire” and there is a family connection – Premonition’s guitarist Ryan and Order Of The Elephants’ singer Jesse are siblings. Also on the bill are Luke Pierce and Spectrum (£5).
If you prefer something a bit quieter, head over to The Basement on the 27th to catch folk duo Union Jill, whose self-penned songs are inspired by events both historical and modern and there was, when I saw them last, a nice side-line in between songs banter. (£5)
The 29th brings forth potentially the loudest local gig when A Joker’s Rage and RSJ go head-to-head at Fibbers for a Halloween special, also featuring Beyond All Reason and One Way Street in a fully local line-up of rock, metal and pop-punk (£5).
You can also see the month out at the Basement when rock and rollers (although I don’t think I’ve come across another rock and roll band with a banjo…) Here Be Thieves and the lo-fi grooves of Freaks + Geeks take to its stage area on the 31st (£5).
Wish I was here
Along with some of the above this is my wish-list of gigs for the month. Some I will definitely be at, others are a possibility, one is a definite no, but only because it clashes with a definite yes.
Fibbers hosts Celestial Fire on the 1st.
This is the new band of Iona founding member Dave Bainbridge and the gig will bring together material from his solo releases and the music of Iona.
I’m in two minds about this gig. I’ve seen Iona and think their music is superb (I would, it’s soaring, orchestral prog-rock, filled with guitar and keyboards – just the thing I like) but the religious imagery contained in the lyrics slightly puts me off.
It’s by no means “preachy” and I have no problem with religion per-se, it’s just that I’m not religious myself. Having said that, I think there is a better than average chance that I will attend (£12).
Over at The Duchess on the 6th is one of my favourite live bands (and yet one that I don’t own a single CD by).
Hayseed Dixie seem to be constantly on tour and their annual visit to York is a highlight of my musical year.
For anybody who hasn’t come across them, they do perform some of their own material but their sets largely comprise of covers of heavy metal and rock classics done in American bluegrass style.
It really has to be heard to be believed and I recommend their versions of Bohemian Rhapsody and Ace Of Spades, among many brilliant others. Funny and highly entertaining, this will be a popular gig (£16 /£18).
A week later, on the 13th, I will be back at Fibbers for Wishbone Ash (yep, more prog-gy goodness).
There are two versions of this band doing the rounds at the moment, although rifts between former members now prevent Martin Turner from using the band name.
This one features founder Andy Powell on guitar and vocals and tours the UK infrequently so it is, for me, a treat to see them pitch up in my home town (£20).
Unfortunately, the word (up) is that I won’t be at The Duchess for Glaswegian rockers Gun’s return to the venue after over five years, but only because that is also on the 13th (£14 adv /£16.50 otd).
The Wishbone Ash gig was originally scheduled for the 14th, but was moved when somebody (who shall remain nameless) pointed out that it clashed with The Barbican’s Steve Hackett gig.
Hackett returns to the York a year after playing here on his Genesis Revisited tour, this time to play mainly material from his solo albums, from 1975’s Voyage Of The Acolyte right through to this year’s brilliant Wolflight (£30.80, £33.04 – I’d love to know how The Barbican works out their prices).
Fibbers again and, on the 23rd, another of my favourite live acts – and this time I own all their albums – will be gracing the stage.
Hope & Social are, quite simply, brilliant (and slightly mad).
The band’s lively alternative pop/rock, feel-good music with a heart, could be said to sometimes intrude on between songs stories, laughter and traded insults.
There hasn’t been a Hope & Social gig that I haven’t laughed during, and sung- along to. Nor has there been one that I haven’t walked away from smiling.
I hope to be at The Duchess on the 25th for the fourth Hawklords gig in as many years. Although their first at this venue.
If I’m honest, I don’t think the Hawkwind spin-off’s last two albums maintained the same quality as their debut (or, at least, second debut – the original line-up released an album back in 1978) but their live performances remain impressive slices of pulsating space-rock.
Finally, it’s back to Fibbers on the 28th when Glenn Hughes will be joined by Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake and DIO).
The former Deep Purple vocalist, bassist and songwriter will be performing songs from his long career, from solo songs to the back catalogue of Trapeze, Black Country Communion and the aforementioned Deep Purple.
A true rock legend in the heart of York. (£20)
I rarely research the music of new-to-me bands before going to a gig and often get tempted along simply by the write-ups on the various what’s on listings. These are the gigs, big and small, that have piqued my interest in that way this month.
The NCEM has two very interesting sounding gigs this month (incidentally, I’m not a fan of the new listings format on their web site).
The first takes place, ironically, on the 1st when you can experience the sounds of the Jaltarang, an Indian percussive instrument played on water filled bowls, as part of a concert of Indian classical music (£13)
At The Basement on the 4th it looks as though you can witness a band without seeing their faces.
It appears that We perform while dressed identically and with their heads obscured by black boxes as they transform songs about individuals into songs about plurality – think WE Want To Hold Your Hand and WE Will Always Love You – changing the meaning and tone of the lyrics in the process (£4 adv/£5 otd).
On the 5th Reeves Gabrels & His Imaginary Friends play Fibbers.
Gabrels has been a member of The Cure since 2012 and worked with David Bowie between 1987 and 1999, but it is the “one of the most daring rock-guitar improvisers since Jimi Hendrix” quote that caught my eye (£10).
Namvula draws on her Zambian heritage for a concert of Afro-folk at the NCEM on the 6th (£13, but includes a free ticket to another concert at the NCEM in November).
My pick of the concerts at the Black Swan this month is Harpeth Rising on the 8th.
Three young ladies from Kentucky, playing York for the first time, they are described as weaving together ideas drawn from folk, bluegrass, rock and classical music, playing violin, banjo and cello and utilising three part vocal harmonies in deftly lyrical original songs (£10).
Japanese shoe-gaze music isn’t something I have come across before and Piqnic might be the first time I experience it when they play The Basement on the 29th.
The write-up describes their music as gothic dark but also references Sigur Ros.
On a rare visit to the UK, Piqnic will be joined by West Felton’s Furrow and two York acts – Wolf Solent and Muttley.
The best of the rest
As ever I can’t list everything, nor am I tempted to go to some gigs, even some featuring big names. That doesn’t mean that those gigs wouldn’t tempt other music fans, though.
Rap and hip-hop is one genre I have no interest in – if you have, you might want to head down to Fibbers on the 24th to see Jehst (£8).
There’s a Cyrus in town on the 15th when Miley’s brother Trace brings his band Metro Station to Fibbers (£12).
And punk is, sort of, represented by a solo acoustic gig by The Subways’ Billy Lunn at The Duchess on the 1st (£8 adv /£10 otd).
Simon and Oscar from Ocean Colour Scene play there on the 20th (£22.40) but any fans of The Proclaimers who don’t have a ticket will have to walk further than to The Barbican, although perhaps not five hundred miles (groan…) as the Scottish twins’ gig there on the 25th has sold out.
A final word
There is, as always, more – I haven’t listed every gig, couldn’t find anything listed for The Fulford Arms and can’t even begin to cover the pubs and bars that put on live music.
Below, after a comment on last month’s article, is a chronological listing of the above. It is worth noting that different venues list their ticket prices in different ways.
The price against Fibbers gigs is the advance cost and paying on the door will add a pound or two, while both the NCEM and Black Swan also have cheaper prices for concessions. All details are correct at the time I put this article together.
Quick gig guide: October 2015
|Vibes of Varansi||NCEM||£13|
|Billy Lunn (The Subways)||Duchess||£8 adv/£10 otd|
|2nd||Amongst Thieves||Duchess||£6 adv/£8 otd|
|3rd||Various||Millers Yard||Free (except end)|
|4th||We||Basement||£4 adv/£5 otd|
|6th||Hayseed Dixie||Duchess||£16 adv/£18 otd|
|9th||Blackbeard’s Tea Party||Duchess||£5 adv/£6 otd|
|Bullet For My Valentine||Barbican||£24.64|
|Gun||Duchess||£14 adv/£16.50 otd|
|16th||New Model Army||Fibbers||£20|
|17th||Hello Earth (album launch)||Fibbers||£6|
|20th||Simon & Oscar (from Ocean Colour Scene)||Barbican||£22.40|
|21st||Spear of Destiny||Fibbers||£14|
|23rd||Hope & Social||Fibbers||£9|
|The Hawklords||Duchess||£12 adv/£14 otd|
|The Proclaimers||Barbican||£31.92 (sold out)|
|29th||A Jokers Rage vs RSJ||Fibbers||£5|
|Piqnic||Basement||£6 adv/£7 otd|
|31st||Here Be Thieves||Basement||£5|