The Yards at York Duchess, Saturday 28th November 2009
By Steve Rudd
Appropriately dubbed The Last High by the band, this gig in York sadly constituted the final-ever gig to be performed by The Yards. However, it wasn't a sad affair in the least. To the contrary, it provided scant excuse to mourn the band's passing, instead being the perfect opportunity to celebrate all that the York-based outfit achieved in seven years of writing, recording and playing as a unit.
Charismatically fronted by Chris Helme, there was something different about The Yards from the get-go. In no way did the band lazily regurgitate tried and tested approaches to writing music.
Instead, they consistently sought to fuse all manner of different elements, thereby bringing surges of Blues, Jazz, Americana and Rock to the boil, ensuring that their songs appealed to as broad an audience as possible.
Keen to commemorate a breathtaking sweep of material from the band's critically acclaimed albums, they sauntered onto the stage in the wake of The Federals, eager to please the huddled masses that had poured into the recently-opened venue (formerly a snooker club if you can believe it) from the bitterly cold night.
Wisely splicing their epic set into two halves, they proceeded to treat their fans to a bittersweet set of mellow tunes first and foremost, during which they reinterpreted the truly beautiful Superhuman (which Chris dedicated to fellow York-anchored musician David Ward Maclean), Minus A Million (which is 'about being broke and not caring less' according to Chris) and Last High .
The captivatingly crafted might of Cold Shoulder further highlighted both the tightness and passion of each and every last member of the band.
Looking as dapper as ever, Chris suavely introduced Shed Seven drummer Alan Leach to the fray for a couple of numbers, even if the stage resembled something of an obstacle course given the amount of gear spread across it. Nevertheless, Alan made it to the front of the stage, where he promptly pounded out a multitude of beats on bongos to sate the music-loving Yards devotees in his midst.
Come Act Two, Chris & Co. conspired to 'rock things up', charging through the likes of Cars, California and the disturbingly dark On The Inside with invigorating abandon.
There's little wonder that the band was once upon a time compared to Iggy & The Stooges, especially since
The Devil is Alive and Well and in D.C. is nothing if not a full-bodied rock anthem which couldn't be more removed from the band's more tender tunes.
The Yards has always been a band of many contradictions, and proudly so.
While they regularly smouldered in a similar vein to London-based boys Hey Negrita, The Yards couldn't
be compared to any of their musical contemporaries. That fact in itself is testament to the songwriting talents
of all involved.
Coolly incorporating a string section, not to overlook Andy Stones on tambourine, the scene genuinely was set for
a musical extravaganza in which raw emotion surfaced in every song.
Playing for a solid two hours in order to thank the loyalty of their fans, The Yards eventually bowed
out with a heart-attacking version of Fireflies.
Had the walls of the venue been constructed of flimsier material, such a performance really would have brought
the proverbial house down. It was almost too much to bear.
Thankfully, Chris has confirmed that he will be pushing on with his solo career in the wake of the band's demise. If it's any consolation to anyone, rest assured; The Yards and their music proved to be life-enhancing while it lasted.
Music Reviews - Saturday 25th July 09 - The Talks, Counting Coins and The Bron-Yr-Aurs at The Adelphi Club, Hull By Dick Spring Photos By Cilla
This was a most eagerly anticipated show by hotly tipped Hull band, The Talks following a couple of low key impromtu local gigs including closing the Springboard festival in Cottingham, and a once more packed Sesh at the Linnet and Lark, where they tore the hot sweaty roof off the place.
They have also been playing some high profile shows opening up for two-tone ska legends, The Specials.
This was their first headline show back in Hull for some time and with the numbers that were packing into the Adelphi, it did not disappoint.
Music Reviews - Friday 29th May 09 - Moonbeams Acoustic Evening at the Bell Hotel, Driffield By Steve Rudd
In light of the fact that it was the final Moonbeams before summer, organiser Leila Slater had gone all out to arrange the greatest line-up imaginable, managing to replace Hayley Gaftarnick with Edwina Hayes at the last minute when Hayley unfortunately came down with tonsillitis.
Opening proceedings, resident barman at The Bell, Joe Pickering,
Music Reviews -Monday 19th May 09 Musicians Night featuring Disaster Radio New Zealand, By Michelle Dee
Annie, budding stand-up comic from The Willows women's centre begins a night where it seems the strange and the stranger have come to congregate in the Adelphi. Annie has an old style ghetto blaster on which she is attempting to record her homework.
Was she funny? Yes, but it wasn't easy to pin down why. A bizarre opening to a night that was to get steadily more fantastical.
Music Reviews - Tuesday 12th May 09 - Silent Revolution Magazine Presents 59 Violets, The Shadow Cops and Kill Youth Culture at New Adelphi Club, Hull By Michelle Dee
Barton's 59 Violets have been busy writing and recording new material for their forthcoming album.
The band remain a four piece with Lee Drinkall on vocals/guitar and Matt Cade
on drums alongside Digsy
vocals/guitar, and John Amos (known as Bill to his friends) on bass.
The new material sounds more considered with Lee taking on some of the vocals from Digsy; on one number
Digsy was just doing backing vocals and chorus.
Music Reviews - Wednesday March 25th 09 The New Beautiful South At Nottingham Rescue Rooms By Julia Grant Live Pictures By Dave Cowan
I wasn't planning on going to see The New Beautiful South. From the moment I heard about the band reforming without guitarist/co-songwriter Dave Rotheray, bassist Sean Welch and most importantly, without lead singer/songwriter/band leader Paul Heaton, I thought that it was an awful idea.
As much as I liked the remaining band members, I just didn't ever think they'd be able to pull it off.
I have to
Music Reviews - Saturday 21st March 09 - Jody McKenna And Friends At Adelphi Club By Michelle Dee
Jody has just headlined a fine musical programme watched by a spirited crowd numbering fifty or so. Tonight was to be reggae artist, Finley Quaye's second gig at the Adelphi club but he has
cancelled last minute and left Jody somewhat in the lurch. However, his friends and supporters
rallied to put together a varied programme, featuring some of the artists that I'm sure will benefit
Music Reviews - Thursday 26th March 09 - Daisy Riots And GST Cardinals At Kick Out The Jams Nags Head Hull
By Michelle Dee
I hear you went to Kick Out the Jams at the Nags Head on Newland Avenue how was it?
It was good; loads of people there. Saw Marv and Rachel, Alfie, Carlos and Uncle Dave, Flo, Maddy, Laura and Brum too ... Brum bought me an NBA, he is a good egg.
So who was playing, were they any good?
It was GST Cardinals with a bunch of new songs and a new band member called Ryan.
Music Reviews - Saturday 7th March 09 - The Kings Of Lyon At The New Tower Nightclub, Hull
By Michelle Dee
After the success of The Beards (2nd HDM Talent Trail 07) and multiple successes with The Riffs (Global Icon TV Winners!, Channel 4's 4unsigned, Radio 1's One Music, Tune Tribe, UK Undiscovered Radio and Live and Unsigned UK) Newly formed Kings Of Lyon KOL tribute band were ready to rock the Saturday night Hull crowd.
Described as..."the most astounding, vibrant tribute to the Kings Of Leon, playing the best music
Music Reviews - Tuesday 24th February Silent Revolution Magazine Presents New York Alcoholic Anxiety Attack Plus Special Guest Joolz Denby With Support from 5-7-5 At Adelphi Club By Michelle Dee
Tonight's event by dissident fanzine Silent Revolution run by local artist and
is another example of a
artistic venture that remains unsupported, unfunded and ignored by the established
creative sector in the city.
Adelphi Club on De Grey Street provides the perfect setting to host this auspicious convergence of
spoken word and live music, seeing that the club and Proprietor Paul JacksonRead more...
Music Reviews - Saturday 6th December 08 - Love Music Hate Racism at Hull City Hall By Michelle Dee
Saturday was going to be a busy day. I had offered my services to Arts Development Worker Stewart Baxter the driving force and helmsman behind the
Hull LMHR event at the City Hall. Through hard work he had gathered support from many different groups including the local City Council to stage the LMHR event in the town centre.
Music Reviews - Friday 28th November 08 - Flossie Malavialle and Dave Dave & Zoe Bottomley at Moonbeams, The Bell Hotel, Driffield By Steve Rudd
For the final Moonbeams of 2008, Leila Slater - the organizer and promoter of the
Acoustic nights - had pulled out all the stops to ensure it was an unforgettable
night of superb music.
First up, a local lad called Jeremy wowed the crowd with two delicately finger-picked
numbers which were both rapturously received. Having previously performed at this
summer's Kelk-FestRead more...
Music Reviews - Saturday 29th November 08 - Scouting for Girls at Bridlington Spa By Caitlin Middleton
There's a cinematic countdown and blinding strobe lights as Roy and co. take to the stage assuming god-like
status to the sea of screaming teenyboppers. After two long hours, a somewhat confused Sam Beeton and
relatively generic The Days and Scouting for Girls are finally on stage warbling on about
being James Bond.
Music Reviews - Tuesday 25th November 08 - DVA Studios Showcase featuring Timmy D, Frank Johnson, Alex Stork, Jamie Gray, Telenovela, Great Northern Hotel, Day In The City At Sharkeys George Street By Michelle Dee
Last night Dave Abbot of DVA Studios held his second showcase of artists
he has been working with supporting and recording in his home studio.
Dave set up DVA in order to support new musicians give them access to a studio do
early demo recordings in order to give them something solid to market themselves with.
Look out for a DVA Sampler CD from DVA Studios featuring some of the
musicians from tonight's showcase event.
Music Reviews - Sunday 16th November 08 - Guillemots at The Plug, Sheffield By James Marsters
The venue was small, the crowd was quiet and the songs were surprisingly new but that didn't
stop The Guillemots from rocking out Plug in Sheffield on a freezing cold Sunday night.
Opening with a new song may seem like a daring thing to do to a rather sedate crowd but it
definitely set the tone for the rest of the night. Playing many fresh tracks interspersed
amongst several from their first album,
Music Reviews - Tuesday 11th November 2008 ... HYRMC01 at The Sesh. By Michelle Dee
The live music in the evening of HYRMC 01 came from a high spirited GST Cardinals
and possibly the hardest working band in the city right now namely The Cliques.
Also on the swollen bill down at the Sesh hosted by DJ Mak were singer songwriter
Jody McKenna, Jesus Stole My Girlfriend and The Gang.
Jody opened proceedings with some highly listenable
Music Reviews - Thursday 23rd October 08 - Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip With Supports Kid Carpet And Mr. Beasley By Michelle Dee Scroobius Pip Photographs by James Rogers Others by Michelle Dee
An hour after interviewing Mr Scroobius Pip (coming soon on thisisUll.com) I was
ready for the live stuff, Mr. Beasley with Bob doing some wicked things with beats and Sarah snaking
and shimmering on the stage, her sonorous voice so entrancing. Some people say that the childlike
quality or tone defers from the enjoyment, but I'm a fan for sure.
Shame they opened the set with Right as Rain the new single released digitally
Music Reviews - Friday July 25th 08 - Thisisull Live with Alison Angus The Clauberg Opera Santa's Buggerboyz. By Michelle Dee
In July we had a thisisull live gig but as yet no report on what happened. So here it is...
Alison Angus were first up promoting new tracks from their Satis E.P.
Unusually the two
piece band set their kit up on the floor of the Adelphi in front of the stage, this was
due to the fact the headliners had all but filled the stage with their equipment.
They played their unconventional style of hard edged sculpted metal escapism, with drums,
Music Reviews - Thursday 7th August 08 - Glen Williams and the Ullbillies at The Square Spring Bank Hull By Michelle Dee
The Square although still much in its infancy, has been a venue for Spoken Word,
lounge style Alt Piano and other assorted DJ and Alt music nights including the
upcoming Tegleg Records Night 9th October. Tonight however The Square played host
to an altogether different sound, the critically acclaimed Country and Bluegrass
artist Glenn WilliamsRead more...
Music Reviews - Friday 29th August ThisisUll Live Featuring The Last People On Earth,
The Bad Apples and Matt Thompson by Michelle Dee Bad Apples Photos by Dean Wilkinson, others by Michelle and Cilla
Quite simply the best band I've ever booked. The Bad Apples, just a hard working rockabilly group from Grimsby. Tonight is to be our last thisisull live show. After sixteen gigs down the Adelphi with different bands every month we are calling it a day with the live nights.
Thanks to everyone who has played for us, who has paid their three quid at the door,
who has mentioned our nights on a website or forum.
Music Reviews - Thursday 4th September 08 - So So Modern, Santa's Buggerboyz and Mountain Goat Frenzy at The Adelphi By Michelle Dee
It's Thursday. It's Adelphi and the return of New Zealanders So So Modern. To start with,
Mountain Goat Frenzy are tasked with getting the night off to a good start.
The prop driven four piece are made up of Joseph 'Danger' Avery on synth, keys and percussion,
Richie 'Rich' Bettridge vocals and keys, Math 'Mattics' Molson, guitar, vocals and A!A!A!ex Gower
on drums and cowbell.
Music Reviews - Thursday 24th July 08 ... Edwina Hayes at The London Bar, Driffield By Steve Rudd
The third night of its kind to feature live music in
The London Bar (local lads Chaser along with Blues prodigy
have both played there on previous occasions), Driffield's very own
Edwina Hayes performed two hour-long sets on what was a truly unique evening.
While the staff served exquisite four-course meals
Music Reviews - Friday 25th July 08 - Chris Helme and Andy Gaines at Helmsley Arts Centre By Steve Rudd
York singer-songwriter Andy Gaines is something of a revelation.
Confidently swaggering onto the stage in skintight jeans with a killer grin slapped upon his face,
his batch of acoustic gems sounded sublime in what is a truly beautiful venue.
Formerly a member of acclaimed York outfit Cardboard Radio, Andy also plays in a band called
The Runaway Sons when he isn't playing solo acoustic sets.
Music Reviews - Wednesday 20th August 08 - Tegleg Records Sponic Mesh Two CD Launch By Michelle Dee
The flyer described tonight as electro/ acid/ dubstep/ legnbass/ mashup/ techno/ breakcore/ dogstep/ glitchtronica/ mentalism and spasmodic stimulation. Not having a clue what to expect I wandered down. Diving straight in the sounds are reeling around the ceiling, a barrage balloon shake down with a hard and fast tempo.
Wired and weird images
Music Reviews - Saturday 19th July 08 - Party in the Park at North End Park, Driffield By Steve Rudd
Fast-rising sextet Divine Sinn have already managed to amass a loyal fanbase in the past
six months since their debut gig at The Winston Churchill. They are now on the verge of
releasing their second highly-anticipated album, The Seven Deadly Sinns, proving just how
determined they are as an outfit to make a name for themselves.
Kicking up a storm in the wake of ParkmoorRead more...
Music Reviews - The Who 'Live at Hull'- Monday 16th February 1970 By Malcolm Holt
I know that it has taken a long time to write a gig review from over 38 years ago,
but rest assured that the memories are just as vivid now as they were back then.
I was a young 17 year old and I spent 15s (that's 75p in real money) to see
The Who perform Tommy live at Hull City Hall on 15 February 1970.
The Who had released the double album in May 1969.
Music Reviews - Saturday 12th July 08 - Moonbeams Summer Gathering at Little Kelk By Steve Rudd
Who would have thought that a star-studded music festival in a tiny Wolds village could
rival the exhilarating splendour of festivals of Glastonbury's ilk? Very few, I'm sure.
But then how many people would really believe that an annual music festival of any sort has
taken place in Little Kelk for the past four years? Even fewer, I'm positive.
Music Reviews - Tuesday 15th July 08 - Chris Helme at Hull Lamp By Steve Rudd
Alighting in Hull as part of a glorious string of intimate UK tour dates in support of his
recently released solo offering Ashes, York troubadour Chris Helme had
the sizeable Hull
crowd in fits of ecstasy due to the strength of his voice and the intensity of the
emotions conveyed both through his music and lyrics.
Only a few days previously he had wowed the gathered masses at a private mini-festival