Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Milloy @ The Hop, 29th June

The Hop
29th June 2012

Go back 10 or 12 years, and there were three big players on the Wakefield music scene - Dugong, Pylon, and Milloy. Dugong and Pylon both unplugged their guitars four or five years ago, and tonight we witness the Wakefield stop on Milloy’s farewell tour. The last of the big three are calling it a day, and I for one am gutted.

Of these three bands, Milloy were my personal favourite. Even though Dugong had two of my old band mates in (two of my best mates!) and Pylon were the undoubted kings of catchy pop-punk, Milloy just had this power that you just couldn’t ignore. It was something that was obvious in their live performances, but also something they managed to capture on the numerous times they entered the studio. They leave behind a truly amazing back catalogue on Crackle! and Household Names Records labels.

The crowd at The Hop could have been pulled straight out of Players from 15 years ago, and for this reason I see very little of the support bands as I catch up with old friends. I see a bit of Matadors who I saw for the first time last year supporting Pylon at their reunion shows, and am again impressed. Really smart post-punk, the band always look like they’re having a right time and leave everyone in the crowd wishing they were in the band.

I miss Beverley Kills completely – sorry – but catch the end of the Leif Ericsson who are no strangers to Milloy. As well as releasing a split EP on Crackle! in 2003, they toured and gigged together on numerous occasions. It’s no surprise as these two bands are like peas in a pod, they also have the power of Milloy but turned down a notch or two. There’s a big contingent in from the Leeds punk scene - the biggest I’ve seen in Wakefield for years - and they are treated to a vintage display.

And so on to Milloy, and the current lineup of Jim McManus, Beefy, Bedi, Jimmy Islip and Wes take to the stage. Jim starts up the banter with the sound/light man, and demands the lights be turned to blue. The man in control duly obliges and we’re straight into the first song Breach. Duelling, driving guitars with a wondering bass line, all topped off with Jim’s powerful vocals, always the right side of a shout and with a definite Yorkshire twang.

The Hop is packed and getting hotter by the minute. The lights are changed from blue to red, and Milloy keep the songs coming at a blistering pace, there’s a lot to get through. Blank from the bands first EP Autodrivel seems to take the crowd up a notch, this was a song from the Players days, and The Hop has that atmosphere tonight. Something I’ve never felt in there before. Goodfellas is next up and the crowd finally erupts into more than a nodding head and a tapping foot, a bunch of sweaty men are jumping about, pushing each other about in a totally friendly manner. The age range is noticeable, 18 and 19 year olds next to men in their mid-30s, a tribute to the appeal of the band and their decade-plus career.

Jim – now with microphone lead noose-like round his neck – gives thanks to those present, and not present, to the Belly Crew, which then prompts the immediate disrobing of the aforementioned sweaty men. Beer is now dripping from the ceiling, from the lights (which are now green) and there is broken glass on the floor!
The last song is Blackjack, capping a proper ‘best of’ set, taking tracks from each of their releases, and the band leave the stage to huge applause and chants of ‘more’.

A minute later they return to the stage only this time with a new rhythm section. Brigga and Ian were the original drummer and bassist respectively, and left the band a couple of years ago. Pretty much everything the band recorded was done with Brigga and Ian and they are still held in high regard with the Milloy faithful here tonight, none more so than me. Brigga is a good mate of mine, and for me is one of the best drummers I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, and one of the nicest people I’ve ever known.

The snare drum intro to Propofol kicks the second part of the set off. The crowd resume the jumping about (I’m trying not to use the word ‘moshing’) as the end of Milloy in Wakefield is now in sight. There is a renewed energy in the crowd, as if they sense they must squeeze every ounce of enjoyment out of these last few songs.

Milloy play four songs in total with the original line-up, a real treat. Brigga and Ian don’t seem to stop smiling at all throughout these songs, and its as if they never left! They finally finish with Astro Zero, one of the bands slower songs that builds to a great crescendo. A perfect song to finish with and the band depart the stage once again. Brigga is lifted from the stage by the Belly Crew and passed above the crowds heads, catching his pint on the lighting rig as he goes. More beer and glass falls to the floor, and that’s that. Wakefield loses another great band.

Dan Stringer

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