By Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers
Henshaw’s Arts and Crafts Centre in Knaresborough is turning out to be a great venue for live music.
The first of a monthly series of free gigs last Friday saw a strong line-up of four bands.
The turnout might not have been quite as healthy as the previous two shows Henshaws staff member and musician Rufus Beckett has put on there (Bedfest and Frightfest) but the quality of live music was impressive.
Newcomers Heaven’s Waiting Room kicked off proceedings with an assured set of acoustic covers in what was this Knaresborough duo of Nat Welsby (vocals/guitar) and Benny Wright (guitar)’s first-ever live gig.
Next up another teenage band from King James’s School in Knaresborough, the partially sensational Red Ocean Nectar.
I say partially because watching this promising new three-piece who formed barely six months ago is like watching two totally different bands.
When playing their own songs, Joe Brennan (vocals/guitar), Will McKenzie (bass) and Matt Alloway (drums) are an earnest and intense, sophisticated modern rock band, their ambition etched in the concentration on their faces.
When playing classic rock n roll covers, particularly I Fought The Law, Johnny B Goode and House of the Rising Son, they are an exciting, wild experience.
With pounding drums, aggressive bass and their be-quiffed lead singer’s cool and witty arrogance, they make these famous songs their own with an impressive swagger and a sense of abandon.
It would be a shame if Red Ocean Nectar lost this side of themelves as they become even more experienced and ambitious.
There’s no wildness about FOLD, the calm that follows the storm.
This experienced Leeds-based four-piece, who are favourites of BBC 6 Music’s Gideon Coe , know exactly what they are doing and make every tiny change in drum beat and bass tone and guitar sound matter.
Sounding a bit like Lemon Jelly with more emphasis on breakbeats, Kane Rattray, Ben Walsh, Josh Gardziel and founder Seth Mowshowitz are a class act, making a lot from little.
Amid a steady flow of intelligent, trip-hop gems, only the sampled vocals they employ in the absence of an actual singer border on the miserable.
Finally, headliners Modern Day Dukes struggle in the face of a dwindling crowd and a shrill sound mix, which may be the result of a dwindling crowd.
I say struggle, nothing about these young-ish old skool rockers is a struggle. It’s all fun. I’ve rarely seen such a hilarious band.
Dressed in the uniform of classic 70s rockers, denim, leather jackets and admirably long hair, these boys may know and love metal but their approach is pure Wayne’s World.
No wonder their female singer left them! (if I’ve got the story right).
I can tell their songs boast big choruses as well as classic guitar solos but it’s hard to tell just how good or not they are thanks to the sound mix – or have they turned their amps all the way up to 11?
One thing’s for sure, Modern Day Dukes’ inbetween songs banter is highly entertaining, more so, possibly, than their actual music. I like them but I don’t really know if I should.
The weekly acoustic Sunday Soundcheck night at The Alexandra steps up a gear this weekend with a great double bill.
Kicking off at 9pm on Sunday, December 8, talented modern soulstress Samantha Smith will be followed by one of Harrogate’s best acts of the last 25 years – the excellent Mr Rob Reynolds.
Young rock band The Gonzos, who went to Boston Spa High School, have their debut album out soon on iTunes, Amazon etc.
Called 1000 Words, the energetic teenagers will be launching it with a special show at The Wardrobe in Leeds before taking it out on the road for a short tour.
Tickets for the Album Launch event are available from Crash Records in Leeds or Seetickets, and Lunatickets online.
Top local DJ Rory Hoy who will be appearing on Saturday, December 7 as part of Knaresborough’s Christmas Market from 3pm approximately.