Top Picks For March

9th March 2018 // 2018 // Live Music // Local // Music

Skid Row – 12th March – The Welly

Yes, this is the Skid Row, not a tribute act; the massive metal band that began life in the mid-80s, enjoying massive success in the late 80s and early 90s. Their first two albums, Skid Row and Slave to the Grind were huge, both going multi-platinum and sitting pretty atop the Billboard album charts. They were quite simply one of the biggest metal bands on the planet for a few years. Three of the founding members are present on these recent run of tours, only original singer, the ludicrously named Sebastian Bach is the most conspicuous absentee, but having had the misfortune to catch him at a festival in a Beijing, it’s no great loss; current vocalist ZP Theart, is more than up to the task of filling his shoes, and presumably with half the ego. It’s always difficult replacing a lead singer, but AC/DC, New Order and even Queen did so with varying degrees of success, but judging by audience reception, Skid Row are still being as rapturously received as they were in their heyday. If you love your hair metal, get yourselves down, it promises to be an evening not to be missed.


New Position @ The Onion Club – 10th March – The Polar Bear

Pete Robbo’s Onion Club night has been a mainstay of Hull’s nightlife scene since the early 90s when his love of all things funky and groove-based prompted him to fill a gap in the market. It was mainly house and rave back in those days, but Hull has always been more about diversity, so the virtuoso trombonist decided to take matters in his own hands and cater for the more esoteric and downright funky demand in the city. It coincided with the Acid Jazz boom, so it was a case of perfect timing; it started its life on a Tuesday night at the now defunct Room 1795, progressed to Blue Lamp, then Adelphi, before Blue Lamp reinvented itself as Lamp, where it was a mainstay for the best part of ten years. It’s testament to Pete’s vision that its popularity has endured and, at new home Polar Bear, it continues to thrive, producing monthly nights of the highest calibre, where Pete and Mr D serve up a heady stew incorporating Latin, funk, soul, beats, world music and hip-hop amongst its eclectic playlist.

Pete consistently books fantastic bands, and this month is no exception; New Position will make their debut in what promises to be an unmissable affair. They’re an 8-piece collective who reimagine compositions by such revered heavyweights as J Dilla and Prince, but their fearlessness matches their virtuosity. With eight members, you’d be forgiven for thinking their sound would be dense and complex, but in fact their strength lies in the directness and accessibility. It’s not bloated and showy-off, it’s a concise sound that, despite its 3 singers, lodges itself squarely in the collective psyche, and they strive to get the audience dancing, whilst either laughing or crying, such is their emotional clout. They blur the lines between 80s RnB and 90s hip-hop, but all deployed with a freshness which is very much of the now. Quite simply unmissable.

We Are Scientists – 1st April – Welly

We Are Scientists’ rise coincided with my ten years in China. If you were internet savvy, Limewire was your mate. I wasn’t in 2002, so the long, arduous process of Amazon shipments to China and the eventual arrival were greeted with the ecstasy usually reserved for, well, ecstasy. I’d just managed to blag my way into a bar as a DJ, having never DJed before, so it was imperative I had all the latest indie releases. With Love and Squalor was the big one. Banger after banger, it was a classic of its era, and still sounds as fresh today as it did when I banged on The Great Escape every week in Yugong Yishan. It got the Chinese moving, so there must’ve been something special about these merry pranksters. There was always a sense of humour about them and a desire not to take themselves too seriously, which is always a winner in my book. I always kept an ear open for them, and they rarely disappointed, Barbara being another high point to equal With Love…Their uncanny knack for a melody and sense of fun have clearly contributed to their longevity where many bands of that era have long since fallen by the wayside. They bring their energetic live show to Welly in support of their forthcoming record, Megaplex, and it’s sure to be a surefire hit for the nostalgia crew and the young uns alike. See you down the front. Well, probably nearer the bar…but I’ll be at the front in spirit.

From Liverpool With Love – 9th March – Kardomah 94

The brainchild of local legend, Russ Litten; anything he’s involved in is worth the price of admission alone, but you invariably get all that and more. He’s curated a cross-cultural event that aims to showcase the very best of comedy, spoken word and music from our spiritual cousins at the other end of the M62. With a keen eye for detail, bordering on obsession, you can guarantee that the very best talent will be on display. The emphasis is on the finest up-and-coming talent from Liverpool, and it’s both a stroke of genius or an extreme act of altruism whichever way you look at it. You know it’ll be quality if Russ has had input, I’ve never been to one of his events without coming away having learnt something or been thoroughly entertained, but don’t take my word for it, go see for yourselves. Just trust me. And trust Russ.

The acts booked for the event are Nick Ellis, with a typically Liverpudlian ear for a melody, singing about ‘streetscape narrative noir’ so expect beautiful melodies melded with acerbic observations on real, gritty street life. Ant Campbell is a comedian on the rise, recently selling out shows with the regularity of his quick-fire observations. He’s tipped for great things by those in the know. Mel Bowen, another musician whose oeuvre is deeply rooted in social injustice and the necessity to document the times we live in. As with most Liverpool artists, melody is king, but scratch beneath the surface and you’ll get biting social commentary. Completing the line-up is a mythical character called simply, ROY, whose tales of match day kick-offs, late-night pub skirmishes and frightening taxi journeys are the stuff of legend. He has cemented his position as one of Liverpool’s most celebrated raconteurs; whether his tales are rooted in truth or myth is immaterial, it’s essential stuff.

On what appears to be an inspired bill of performers, you’ll be certainly entertained and you’ll no doubt come away inspired. So it’s a win-win that’d you’d be daft to miss.

Of Allies – 10th March -Adelphi

Of Allies are fast establishing themselves as one of the UK’s best up-and-coming young metal bands. Hailing from Yorkshire and formed in 2013, they released their debut full-length album last year to unprecedented acclaim. They smashed a million streams of Night Sky on Spotify in the first month alone, which is impressive for a debut, and they seem to have smashed their way onto the metal scene with murderous intent. It’s not all balls-to-the-wall metal though; there are moments of tenderness and melodic prowess which showcase a band with a knack for turning their hand to the whole musical spectrum. The exposure they’ve gained through the metal press, such as Kerrang and Metal Hammer, amongst others, as well as extensive radio AirPlay ensures these lads from ‘the cold north’ have got a healthy future ahead of them. Catch them at the Adelphi before they go supernova.

Warehouse 90 – 30th March – Gate No5

Can you really ever reclaim that feeling? That time? This all took place in a time of political upheaval and the drugs were new. There’s no newness about the sensation now, however, we again live in a time of political upheaval and the desire to escape just for one night remains as strong as ever. I’ve been to a few of these retro house nights, and it’s great to hear the sounds of ’90 or ’89 and lose yourself in it for a few hours, but then you’re back to your families, mortgages and financial struggles. In 1990, there was a real sense we were changing the world, the possibilities were endless. If we can recreate that feeling again for just one night, it’s totally worth it. You see all the old faces, you dance like loons and for a few hours the possibilities are endless. You rekindle old friendships, reconnect with old flames and for a few glorious hours, you’re transported back to those heady times. And it’s a wondrous thing until the sun comes up. But for those hours, it’s totally worth it. And that’s what it’s all about.

And you’ve got Shades of Rhythm performing and doing a DJ set. They were always purveyors of the very best in uplifting club tunes before the scenes fragmented. Who doesn’t go apeshit to The Sound of Eden? Sweet Sensation? Extacy? They were the good time anthems of that innocent age. And if they can bring back just a little of that back to our jaded, cynical brains, then it’ll all be worthwhile. Gate No5 is the perfect setting too; we all loved the thrill of breaking into disused warehouses, setting up soundsystems in Little Switz, Cattick Tip and Everthorpe quarry. This time, you’re safe from the unwanted police presence, so the danger is eliminated, leaving you to have a pure good time. This song though:

Endoflevelbaddie – The Polar Bear – 31st March

The mask returns with a brand new set of tunes to rock the shit out of The Polar Bear. One of the most consistently brilliant live performers Hull has produced in the last ten or so years; his return to the stage after a hiatus and illness is one that we should all be grateful for. The lad knows how to get any room, field or party jumping. The last time he played Polar Bear, I thought the windows were going to implode, such was the intensity, never mind the low-frequency basslines.

It did seem for a time that baddie looked as though he was going to hang up his mask, but you can’t keep a good man down, and he will be gracing the stage with renewed confidence and armed with a new album’s worth of tunes which will be available very soon; it seems the break has done him good. He’s reassessed the situation and seemingly come back stronger. And that is a very good thing. I defy anyone not to go batshit crazy for this one. The prodigal son has returned, and as an extra bonus, Voodoo Dance Party, the brilliant prodigies, Eric Dimmack and Rob Moses will provide support. And that is also something to rejoice about because they are incredible too and definitely going places.

Incredibly unprofessional of me to include my own night, but it’s a definite highlight of March, so I absolve myself from any self-promotion. It’s all about the musicians.

Stewart Lee is also in my picks. But you should be going to that anyway if you have a pulse.

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