For anybody interested, I managed to get to 36 gigs in 2016, all in York.
That’s down on my average, not helped by a fair few that I wanted to see, but didn’t for various reasons (clashes, cancellations and I’m still smarting from not being able to get rid of an on-call night and having to miss Hope & Social for the first time in years).
That figure is sort of relevant because, as I look to start marking the calendar with the gigs I fancy this year, there doesn’t seem to be a lot happening at the moment.
Research for this month’s column turned out to me more along the lines of scouring the what’s on lists for gigs, rather than looking for gigs I could recommend.
I know it’s January, traditionally a lull period, but I don’t remember it ever being this quiet. I’m sure things will pick up as the year continues.
The best and the rest
I’m just going to take things in chronological order this month, starting at Fibbers on the 6th when acts from Selby make the short trip down the A19 to perform for your delight and delectation.
Headlining are Native City who, until earlier this year, were formerly known as Premonition.
Now with a new direction and leaning more towards catchy pop tunes, they are joined by acoustic duo Two Reasons Why, who return to our stages after too long away, and last year’s Selby Battle of the Bands winners Pura Vida, who describe themselves as “A new indie/rock band searching for our own place in the heavily crowded Music Industry”.
Also on the bill is Luke Pierce who, I have to admit, I can’t find any details about.
Over at the Fulford Arms on the 7th, there is a chance to catch an impressive number of local acts as the pub holds an all-day event featuring a mix of genres. There will be rock from The Black Hawks, hip-hop/grime from Matic Mouth, post-punk/new wave/surf from Glass Traps, grunge from Bloody Mango and stomping gypsy folk from The Bramble Napskins, the only band on the bill that I have seen before. There’s much more on offer, with a full line-up here and music from noon to 11pm.
If you had planned to see Martin Carthy at The Black Swan on the 12th, there’s bad news and good. The former member of Steeleye Span and The Albion Band, along with a number of other bands, is so popular that the gig is sold out.
However, he’s also so popular that a second night has been put on on the 11th.
Blow you away
Some of us start the new year with a walk in the country or on the coast, with the aims of blowing the cobwebs away. If that’s not your thing, there’s a chance to get rid of those pesky webs in musical style at Fibbers on the 12th.
I would normally be tempted along with the description of prog-metal applied to support band Oni, as long as it was more along the lines of Dream Theater than Mastodon.
However, stick “core” on the end of a musical genre and it’s probably going to be too much for me. Headliners Devil You Know are metalcore and feature Howard Jones (ex-Killswitch Engage) on vocals, so expect screams (from him, not the audience…).
In a month with so few gigs, the 19th sees two for music lovers to choose from. At the Grand Opera House you can see Elkie Brooks, at 71 not the oldest performer to play York this month.
Or head over to The Black Swan for their “New Roots” young performers double-bill, which this year features Jack Patchett, a 21-year-old singer/songwriter from Holmfirth and Sheffield duo Two’s Company – Alice Baillie and David Jenkinson who perform traditional and original songs with guitar, mandolin and flute.
Jolie Holland and Samantha Parton, two founder members of Canadian folk group The Be Good Tanyas, have come together for a worldwide tour which stops off at The Basement on the 20th.
With a sound mixing North Americana and outsider folk, the set-list promises a mix of new originals (the girls have a studio album due later this year) and songs from their various back catalogues.
Leeds based The Indigo Project will be bringing their big riffs and infectious choruses to the same venue on the 21st. These indie-rockers are influenced by the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Foo Fighters, Oasis, Muse and The Beatles. Well, two out of five can’t be bad…
If the metal-heads’ ears have stopped ringing from the Fibbers gig, they could do worse than head over to the The Fulford Arms on the 22nd for the ninth Northern Extremity promoted gig.
The line-up this time includes Trivax – an extreme metal band formed in Iran, avoiding the laws and restrictions against metal there before relocating from Tehran to Birmingham (ooh, that reminds me – I’m seeing Black Sabbath this month).
“Filling you with negativity and leaving you to die”: sadly not quite selling it to this more “old-school” rock fan.
For something a bit more subtle and (I assume) a bit less doom-laden, there are a couple of gigs to choose from.
Off the rails
Billy Bragg and Joe Henry pop up at The Grand Opera House on the 24th, for a night of music inspired by the culture of American railroad travel – in March last year, the pair covered almost 3,000 miles of track between Chicago and Los Angeles, recording classic railroad songs in waiting rooms and at trackside as the train picked up passengers.
Alternatively, French-born but now North East England based Flossie Malavialle will be at The Black Swan on the 26th, performing songs from her vast repertoire, which includes old folk songs, jazz standards and blues.
Originally formed in 1983, Lancashire’s The Outsiders UK had been on hiatus for 15 years before reforming with three of the original members, to record Everything’s Gone Vintage – a four star rated album in R2 magazine – last year.
Now you can hear their rhythm and blues, influenced by Southern U.S. Guitar sliding bands as well as Mott The Hoople and The Faces, at The Basement on the 27th.
Gig of the month
Arguably the most important gig of the month also takes place on the 27th, at Fibbers, as part of Independent Venue Week.
Shed Seven’s Rick Witter and Paul Banks will be headlining in order to entice more people into York’s premier small venue – overall, it’s a noble cause and yet the cynic in me wonders where the people who will flock to this almost certainly sold out gig are for the rest of the year.
Supporting independent venues doesn’t just mean turning up for a single gig when somebody famous is playing, does it? Hopefully the rest of bill will go some way to showing that you can be talented without being famous – Boss Caine and Marck Whiley are superb singer/songwriters and I was impressed with the now solo Amy Humphries when she fronted rock band Four Stones Deeper.
There is a celebration of music and style at The Crescent on the 28th. Amongst DJ sets there will be live music from Yorkshire’s premier mod covers band, The 5:15’s, heavily Sixties-influenced pop-sters The Blueprints and The Chessman, also influenced by the sixties but bordering on psychedelia.
Finally, on the 29th, as part of the York Residents’ Festival, The Black Swan is putting on a Winter Folk Day.
Afternoon performances come from the likes of The Foresters, Judith Haswell and Paula Ryan, while there are evening shows from, among others, Leather’O, Bella Gaffney and Stan Graham. This is a free event for York Card holders, with a small charge otherwise.
The (usual) final word
Of course, that’s not everything that is happening in York music-wise. There are a whole host of tribute acts on show – everything from Paul McCartney and Elvis, to ELO and Jimi Hendrix.
I’ve listed them all below for those who might be interested. I can’t list all the open mics and free pub gigs, though – if you like music, search them out. You might just be surprised by the amount of talent on show.
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.
|7th||All-dayer||The Fulford Arms||£6|
|11th||Martin Carthy||The Black Swan||£14|
|12th||Devil You Know||Fibbers||£12.50|
|19th||Two’s Company / Jack Patchett||The Black Swan||£8|
|Elkie Brooks||Grand Opera House||£25 – £36|
|20th||Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton||The Basement||£15|
|Totally Tina||Grand Opera House||£20 – £22|
|21st||The Indigo Project||The Basement||£6|
|22nd||T.Rextasy||Grand Opera House||£25.75|
|Trivax / Repulsive / Naryana||The Fulford Arms||£5|
|23rd||The E.L.O. Experience||Grand Opera House||£25.90|
|24th||Billy Bragg & Joe Henry||Grand Opera House||£26.15|
|25th||One Night of Elvis||Grand Opera House||£27.50|
|26th||Flossie Malavialle||The Black Swan||£9|
|MACCA – The Concert||Grand Opera House||£23 – £33|
|27th||Rick Witter & Paul Banks||Fibbers||£10|
|The Outsiders UK||The Basement||£5|
|28th||Sundance play Hendrix||The Basement||£5 adv / £7 otd|
|The 5:15’s / The Blueprints / The Chessmen||The Crescent||£11|
|29th||Winter Folk Day||The Black Swan||Free with York Card / £3 otherwise|