Posts Tagged ‘The Vaults’

Christopher Nosnibor

Seems like gigs at the Vaults are cursed when I go. Just as headliners Witch of the East cancelled the last time I was down, so PAK40 have had to bail due to Covid. Yep, over two years on and it’s still having a significant impact on live music. But the good news is that REDFYRN are worth turning out for, as previous outings have shown, and even prior to PAK40’s withdrawal, it had the air of a double-header.

It’s fucking melting. I mean, I’m drinking cider, it’s that mafting. And I’m sweating it out faster than I can drink it. My skin is like a sieve or muslin bag. It must be absolutely punishing on stage.

Openers Beswick get off to a bit of a ragged start. But then, it is their first gig in three years, and they’re not looking like the kind of band who get tour-tight. It would be wrong to complain about the lack of guitar definition with a black metal band, and they lean towards the lower, slower end, where everything slips into a sludgy mid-range mesh, thanks to the five-string bass and seven-string guitar and the most fuckedest cymbal I’ve seen in use in a long time.

Bes 1Bes 2

Beswick

The main vocalist has three distinct styles: a penetrating, shivering squawk, a low growl, and a cleanish, atonal punk snarling shout, which actually works at least half of the time as they swing towards a dingy punk style at various points during the set. They do seem like a band in a bit of a stylistic quandary as they slither hither and thither, but they’re solid entertainment. The final song is a nod to their previous incarnation as Tokechamber, and sees the set conclude with billowing drone doom chords and feedback. I would have happily watched that for an hour.

REDFYRN start as they mean to go on, bringing the riffs slow and steady, with more five-string bass groove through an immense effects rack. The bassist has bounding energy, smashing every note with fists and feet, and the weighty guitars contrast with the soaring vocals. Big brave but stoner with a bluesy twist, chunky gritty riffs.

Red 1Red 2

REDFYRN

The solos aren’t overdone, and showcase the fact Cat Redfern is an excellent guitarist on a technical level as well as being a heavy hitter. She plays with only a handful of pedals, but a lot of crunch and a big dense sound and big volume.

A big hairy moshpit happened during the last song, and the half dozen beardy guys going crackers down the front was enough to bring the band back for one more, and they encore with ‘Unreal’, to an even more vibrant response. For a hot Thursday night when people would have likely been lured to a beer garden to toast the announcement of the Prime Minister’s departure, albeit at some time in the future, and for a stand-in headline slot, REDFYRN delivered a commanding performance and owned the night. Having only recently found themselves in headline slots, REDFYRN look ready to take it to the next level.

Christopher Nosnibor

With neither band having previously played in York before 2022, it’s three months to the week since Healthy Junkies and Yur Mum last played in this very room, and on the same lineup as part of the Lips Can Kill Tour, and it’s the third time here for Healthy Junkies, who supported The Kut here in January. And it’s great to have them both back, and although it’s a bit of a standard York on a Wednesday night turnout, those present more than compensate the small numbers with their demonstrations of appreciation, getting going down the front.

It is a while before things get going. Sure, I’m here to write about the music. But a long wait for the music when I didn’t think to bring a book makes for some tedious downtime. Scheduling and communication do matter, as the time I missed the headliners because they were due on around midnight, a full half hour after the last train back to York from Leeds illustrates perfectly. These things are ok if advertised in advance, but can be problematic if not. Opening doors at seven but not having a band on before nine without advertising stage times – or the fact that the headliners have pulled out – beforehand wasn’t the absolute worst, but sitting around on your tod for an hour and a half when you’ve got stuff you could have been doing is a bit of a chew, and midweek, I’d take an early finish over a late start any time.

Still, there’s decent beer on tap at fair prices, and supping a couple of pints of Oakham Citra while they spin some decent tunes over the PA is far from the worst way to kill time. And the bar staff are great, and the bands are without doubt worth the wait, and one thing about the Vaults is that the sound is spot on – and at a volume appropriate for the bands.

One thing that probably doesn’t get much comment is the fact that Yur Mum – Anelise and Fabio – are both great musicians. Anelise plays bass like a guitar and cranks out some monster sound, while Fabio plays the whole kit all at once. They’ve both got outstanding presence – Despite singing and playing, Anelise manages to be pretty mobile around the stage, and Fabio has an exuberant style that goes the occasional stick-spin. Above all, though, they play with chemistry and energy, and the intuition that comes with hard touring. The slower gothic tones of ‘Black Rainbow’ stand out in a powerful set that features a piledriving rendition of ‘Sweatshop’ as the penultimate song.

DSC_3289DSC_3304

Yur Mum

Healthy Junkies are another band who tour relentlessly, and it shows – not because they seem jaded, but because they’ve got that tightness that comes from time on the road (their last album, Forever on the Road is appropriately titled). And unphased by the smaller crowd, they play hard and put on the same standard of show as if the place was absolutely rammed. They’re not just pros, they pour every ounce into every song.

 DSC_3333

Healthy Junkies

Nina Courson is a whirlwind of flailing limbs and hair, at times channelling Katie Jane Garside, and utterly compelling – to the point that sometimes you forget the songs, and the solidity of the band as a collective. Guitarist Phil Honey-Jones takes lead vocals on a handful of tracks, making for a nice contrast and highlighting the depth of the band’s talent. The rhythm section don’t do anything to draw attention, and do exactly what’s needed – keep it solid, and with drive. They wrap up with the fan-favourite cover of ‘These Boots Are Made for Walking’, and that is indeed what they do.

DSC_3325DSC_3335

Healthy Junkies

Any disappointment over the absence of Witch of the East – and I for one was disappointed, as I’d been looking forward, while I suspect other got word and stayed home – was compensated by the quality of the two bands, both headline acts in their own right.

Christopher Nosnibor

Having been rescheduled after last November’s booking was cancelled, The Golden Age of TV are back in York on the eve of the release of a new EP.

It’s not the most promising start to arrive to find the doors locked, and Sea Legs are still soundchecking when they open the doors 25 minutes late. Something isn’t right with the mic in the kick drum, and it’s creating huge crackling distortion. But a change of mic, a change of leads, and things are back on track, albeit with a slightly later start.

It’s pretty quiet to begin, too, so the time between soundcheck and the start affords a bit of time just to sup a pint of Timothy Taylor’s dark mild and see the venue properly. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed that there’s still a fireplace and mantelpiece at the back of the stage behind the drum kit. It’s even more of an anomaly than the huge great radiator at the side of the room. These are reminders that The Vaults may be a venue, but still a pub at heart, and I’m drinking my hand-pulled pint from a real glass. There’s something comforting and gratifying about this.

Sea Legs’ melodic indie/alt rock stylings are easy on the ear, and occasionally fade into waves of ambience in between. There are some nice bass grooves too, not to mention some detailed and textured lead guitar work. They’re tight and tuneful: to my ears they’re nice enough but a shade ordinary, although that means they’re also exactly the kind of band that goes massive with the right breaks.

DSC_2284

Sea Legs

Pavillion’s front man’s beige chinos and shiny paisley shirt are a bit of a distraction from the music, although that’s probably just me as I realise he’s dressed how everyone dressed when I was their age, down to the early 90s curtains. I also realise the place is suddenly a lot busier, and it’s a shame their fans / mates thin out again shortly after their set, not least of all because they seriously missed out. If I was being harsh, I’d say their song ‘Terrifically Ordinary’ could be their signature, but they show real songwriting panache, with hints of Squeeze, and they play well, even if the visual aspect of their performance isn’t particularly evolved yet. Their lyrical vignettes are poetic and evocative, and well-constructed.

 DSC_2289

Pavillion

All of this is just preamble, both in terms of the bands and the commentary. I’m here for The Golden Age of TV quite simply because the last time I saw them back in September, they absolutely blew me away with their sheer quality. Although they’ve been around a while, something seemed to have fired them up several notches during lockdown.

Tonight proves that their Long Division performance was not just a flicker post-pandemic exuberance, and that they really are a band who’ve achieved a new level of form. In a bold move, they open with the upcoming EP’s title track and lead single ‘Bite My Skin’ that merges motorik groove with choppy post punk and solid riffing.

DSC_2312DSC_2307DSC_2357

The Golden Age of TV

The energy they radiate is magical: they’re overtly nerdy in image, and they embrace it to the max. Rock god guitar poses (Ryan with glasses sliding off face, the guy plays every chord like it’s an absolute crushing stadium-blasting monster, Sam hard thrashing like he’s possessed) epic gurning and unashamed mum dancing, they are just so exuberant and joy to watch, and I keep finding myself grinning like a loon. Bea is a remarkably expressive vocalist with great presence. In all, they’ve got great tunes, tight and tidy with neat structures and finishes, and a great vibe. When a band are this into what they’re doing, it’s hard not to get caught up in it. The golden age of TV may have long passed, but their own golden age is now. Go see them: because recorded they’re ace, but it’s live where they really thrive.