Sunday, 15 January 2012

8 gigs that happened in Wakefield, in 2011

I guess I should have got this list together for Christmas shouldn’t I? Or published it 00:01, Jan 1st. Clogged up the twitter feed – look at my list! Of things!

Yeah well, I was having some fun and taking it easy. But as I returned to work and a face full of tedium, looped and slowed to the pace of an ice age, I started thinking about some of the cool gigs that had happened in Wakefield over the last year. It’s not definitive, but it’s the ones that stick out in my mind. I think it shows what a cool and diverse range things have happened, if you bother to come out and give something different a try. So, in no particular order:

23rd April
The Hop

Part of the enjoyment here was that I got to help promoter Chris Morse out with general hosting skills. So, I helped serve up Morseys infamous slow cooked chilli to them out on the rooftop. I ran the merch stall too and got some records for my trouble. And on top of that I got to interview Marc Riley who’d popped over from Manchester to watch one of his favourite bands.

But the gig itself was great too. One of those great times when a band have clearly been booked just before a mass of praise and press has swept them way above the level that would usually come to Wakefield. The room was packed and well up for a good time. The band sounded so good and it was just a joyous night, probably the sweatiest night I’ve ever encountered in The Hop.

Darwin Deez
11th June

Obviously Long Division was a biggy for us. So many great bands, yet I can really only take everyone else’s word for it. The most I saw of any band was 2 or 3 songs, tops. The stand out moment for me was Darwin Deez in Mustangs. I mean, that alone is pretty mental in itself. What a strange clash of cultures, the NME cool list into Mustangs, home of the kind of people and crowds we actively work against.

But as I walked in, to witness choreographed dance moves I wandered what the hell we had done. I looked around and saw the joy on everyone’s faces, people moving around, smiling, laughing, clapping. It felt great, a sense of spectacle, a real event that we’d made happen in Wakefield. It felt special, and kinda summed up the joy I felt for Long Division as a whole. A great day.

8th July
The Hop

SO LONG I had waited for this! Pylon split in 2007, cancelling their ‘last ever gig’ that year. I’d forgotten until I found an old poster the other day, but they were also meant to play a gig for me whilst I was promoting gigs in Leeds as Geek Pie a couple of months before. It had become a sad series of similar stories over that last 6 months. I had just wanted to see them ONE MORE TIME.

And so in July, we did. I guess it would be hard to appreciate if you didn’t love them the first time around, but I can honestly say, the family tree of Rhubarb Bomb and the bands it loves and supports can be traced all the way back to them. The gig itself was wonderful, every song a pop gem, the crowd bouncing and singing along. The ‘hits’ just kept coming. I don’t know how many times I can say this, but really, if you don’t know owt about Pylon GO LISTEN NOW, then come back, and we can talk properly.

Freschard / Stanley Brinks
28th September
The Hop

Their third time to Wakefield; the first due to On The Ride (Hooray!) and the second for Long Division. The third saw them play at The Hop as part of their european tour. It was a different kind of night, with tables, candles and chairs laid out in the upstairs room. It was a quiet one, but a great one too. It had something that a lot of the gigs their can lack; atmosphere. And a sense of occasion too. Stanley and Freschard were in good spirits; once again I popped upstairs to see them and found them eating Morseys chilli – they were thrilled. It’s nice when people are glad to be in Wakefield. This happiness came across in both their at ease sets, with sweet asides and it sticks in the memory for being a lovely SOCIAL evening, sat with friends, enjoying good music. Doesn’t happen as much as it should.

The Spills
28th October
Chantry Chapel

Launching their ace debut album ‘Occam’s Razor’, The Spills hosted a lovely evening at Wakefield’s hidden gem of a venue, Chantry Chapel. ‘Above Us The Waves’ were the best I’ve ever seen them and ‘Yard Wars’ (Mike Ainsley and Tim Metcalfe) played their first gig (I think…). But The Spills themselves were great and the whole night had a sense of occasion, camaraderie and community that seems to have been lacking in recent times. Rammed full, people singing the words back, and basically a wave of goodwill from audience to band. Everyone knows The Spills have been working so hard for so long – I think everyone was just so pleased that they repayed the faith by busting out a top notch album. The fact it was BYOB, and I brought plenty, might have helped too…

Zoey Van Goey
5th November
The Hop

Personal highlight for me. I love this band and have been to Scotland to see them a few a times, so it was lovely to get them down. They are such lovely people and it was great to once again play host and see people have fun visiting our city. The set was special too, with a remix, full on dance conclusion to the evening. As the audience left, we had our own Indie disco (about 8 of us), then went to Inns for a few more, called in at the Pie Shop, then back to ours til about 4am. Top night.

28th March
The Hop

What do I recall about this? I’m not sure. I can’t even remember who the support band was. I just have a memory of sitting and watching Spokes, with about 7 other people at the end of the night. The crowd had vanished, as it often does at the end of a Hop night. But those who stayed saw wonderful understated set by a great band. One of those special moments when you feel you are ‘in on the secret’ whilst everyone else is off getting pissed and been stupid.

Mike Ainsley / Mi Mye
25th February
The Hop.

Now, this was A LONG TIME AGO. I might be getting confused. I know Mike Ainsley, launching his album, played a great set with a full backing band. A great set, another great atmosphere and sense of kinship. The part I’m not sure on is whether this was the first time I saw the newer Mi Mye lineup. I reckon it was. The first time we saw the 3 piece Mi Mye was a bit of a revelation. EVERYONE loved the old band. But ALMOST EVERYONE loved the new one a little more. It was emotional and personal and, well basically the songs shined.

Honorable mentions (i.e. I couldn’t make it)

Babies, Spills, Fur Blend
November 20th
The Hop

Reports informed me this was AMAZING, Spills on top form, Fur Blend outstanding and Babies, another great booking by Morsey.

The Lovely Eggs / Wave Pictures weekender
Dec 3rd / 4th
The Hop

On The Ride again! What a double whammy of a takeover. Bringing back some of the great bands from Long Division paid off with some cracking gigs.

Willy Mason
18th May
The Hop

Why didn’t I make it to this one?! I cant remember!

26th March
Balne Lane WMC

Complete sellout gig, a great accomplishment. Great use of Balne Lane for another large scale gig. Well done Chris Morse.

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