Scene Within A Scene: Ruminations On The State Of Live Music In York

I won’t claim to have a lot of time for York’s local metal bands, but I will say this about them: they seem to know how to stick together. It may just be that there are fewer stylistic differences between bands (certainly, the first five acts at last weekend’s metal all-dayer at The Duchess all sounded pretty much the same to my ears), or perhaps it’s simply the nature of the metal sub-culture that helps to foster a sense of community. But whatever the case, metal bands and their fans generally seem more likely to stick around and watch each others’ shows.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a lot of the city’s indie bands, and yesterday’s indie all-dayer was a prime example. People would show up for one band, then leave shortly after. One woman complained that 6 pounds was “a bit expensive for half an hour,” while another jokingly (I hope?) asked “Can I have a refund if I only watched one band?” – these examples are a sad indication of the state of live music in York. Perhaps the vague, nebulous nature of ‘indie’ itself is to blame, causing stylistically different acts to end up oddly juxtaposed on the same bill. Perhaps guitar music just isn’t cool anymore. But whatever the reason, there don’t really seem to be many bands who are making an effort to support one another. There are, of course, exceptions – spare a thought in particular for Please Please You promoter Joe Coates, who seems to be trying to foster a small scene around such under-appreciated gems as Missing Kids, Where’s Hollywood? and Fawn Spots.

Perhaps the problem is that there’s not really any one band for people to rally around – there arguably needs to be someone getting a bit of exposure outside of the city, or simply someone to raise the bar and get people really excited about live music in York again. Maybe bands will have to put aside their differences and start collaborating on shows to try and get more people on board. Surely I can’t be the only one who looks at the music scenes in places like Leeds and Manchester with envy? Unfortunately, it seems that that trying to push live music forward in a city like this is a thankless task – it does appear, sadly, that people in York as a whole are painfully averse to interesting music and wouldn’t know a good band if they were punched in the face by one.

Of course, you’re more than welcome to prove me wrong.



Filed under Live, Music

3 responses to “Scene Within A Scene: Ruminations On The State Of Live Music In York

  1. marck

    Often a scene takes someone to point out that there is a scene, and not to be shy or arrogant to it. The job of a writer, such as yourself!

    A good lil piece here and a damn fine magnifying glass as to how some genres work better together to an obviously higher level of success locally and why others don’t learn, from mistakes and examples.

  2. In reference to “Maybe bands will have to put aside their differences and start collaborating on shows to try and get more people on board” – check this link out below:
    This was a show I (guitarist of Where’s Hollywood?) booked, it went extremely well and I am repeating it on July 5th (again at the Basement); but this time with our friends in York hardcore band We Sleep in this Machine, one band from Sheffield and one from Middlesborough.
    Also thanks for the kind words!

  3. Sheffield band being Nai Harvest – new proper screamo outfit (formed out the ashes of Hello Dagger)
    & Middlesborough band (headliners) being hardcore band with spazzy/mathy tendencies; Rosa Valle.
    Both are extremely worth checking out!

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