It’s a frequent complaint about Harrogate that, although we have the bands, we don’t have the venues. Granted, things aren’t helped by sad bastards who move next to places that have hosted live music for years and promptly complain to the council, but opportunities to establish regular live nights are missed. Therefore when somebody tries to break the mould we need to shout about it. Henshaws College, led by Rufus Beckett (of the Four 45s) are definitely breaking the mould with the Friday Night Mix. It’s early days yet but last Friday showed what could be a good template for regular events with young musicians opening for more experienced bands. Henshaws itself makes an attractive venue although I think we need the longer evenings to roll around in order to appreciate that.
I only caught the end of Red Ocean Nectar’s set, specifically their cover of Sweet Home Alabama (given Neil Young’s influence on music as we know it I do find it slightly ironic that the younger generation know him best from a group of rednecks slagging him off but I digress). Red Ocean Nectar appeared to be receiving an enthusiastic reception from the crowd and will be playing in the Battle Of The Bands on March 9th (in the metal heat apparently, even though they’re not a metal band).
`This is wierd shit … and it’s about to get wierder` – I think these were Petch’s words early into Pips’ set. I might have to start bringing a notebook to these things, if I didn’t look daft enough already. Anyway, Pips are familiar to readers of this blog, however it’s the first time I’ve seen them since their break last year and I can safely say that they remain as inventive, unique and (best of all) as fun as ever. A couple of observations; having followed this band for a while what was at first primarily the Petch show is now more a group effort and all the better for it. Secondly, a band needs an audience and Pips were well served by an unexpected moshpit which they fed with Justice – still the best five minutes of their act.
Set Sails are a band I don’t know much about, however I was quite pleasantly surprised to discover afterwards that this was their first gig and the songs (with the exception of an Evan Dando cover for the encore) were all originals. Every band has to start somewhere – it will be interesting to see how Set Sails develop.
One last thing. If there was some great music going on inside there was also plenty of activity outside; I overheard a mass singalong to Bohemian Rhapsody and Red Ocean Nectar’s fans clustered outside living for the moment reminded me of what is arguably rock music’s defining lyric; `the amusement park park rises bold and stark/ kids are huddled on the beach in the mist/ I want to die with you out on the streets tonight in an everlasting kiss`.* The charts may give the impression everybody is digging Sam Smith’s antiseptic garbage with its canned finger clicking but it was rock and roll that made this country great and at Henshaws last Friday the spirit of rock and roll was alive and well.
* Shame on you if you don’t know it.