2nd January 2018 // Categories // Live Music // Local // Music // Whats On
Top Ten Picks For January
Not the Dickens novel set during The French Revolution, something of far more significance; The History Troupe tell the tale of Hull’s two Rugby League teams and their bitter rivalry, dating back to when the two Rugby Union teams split from the RFU in the late 19th century, and became part of the Northern Union, Hull FC being one of the founding 22 teams.
You don’t need me to tell you how important Rugby League is in Hull, as the River Hull is the dividing line between east and west. It’s Rugby that divides the two halves of the city in reality, and without it there probably wouldn’t be such animosity between the two halves of the city. It’s mostly good-natured, but, having witnessed many derbies over the years, the hostility can be brutal.
The History Troupe tell the tale of the two clubs, with music from The Hillbilly Troupe, along with new super-signing, and now permanent member of the Troupe, Hull FC legend, Sammy Lloyd. I really need to see this, having missed the previous ones, although I notice the story ends in 1980, which looks ominous as a lifelong Hull FC fan.
Boolin’ Prams – 11th January – Kardomah 94
It’s The History Troupe again, as they look to have a busy January ahead of them. I went to the fantastic InPort Stories and saw The Box, which is also on the roster for January (23rd), but I’ll be heading back hopefully to catch this. It’s a play centred around the fishing industry on Hessle Road, and tells the tale of two women, mother and daughter, living in the centre of this, once-bustling area, where there was a strong sense of community brought about by the industry. It’s set in the 70s, like The Box, which told the story of the Dockers’ difficulty in adapting to the modernisation and scaling down of the docks, so this look at the women’s lives as their men are away will show us a glimpse of the flip side, whilst also educating us about the history of the humming community.
Trios have a tendency for creating a massive sound in rock music; it seems like if you strip away the numbers, the bigger the noise, and Arcane Roots are no exception to this rule. Their brand of alternative rock, bordering on progressive metal, has proved popular with critics and fans alike; they’re known for their frenetic live shows, so Früit’s going to be jumping on this night.
Their second full-length album, Melancholia Hymns was released this year, and the title couldn’t be more apt; these are big-sounding anthems-in-waiting, and their rabid fan base has been going ape for them on their autumn ’17 tour. It comes after a four-year gap between albums, and showcases a new direction, incorporating more electronica and lyrics that are overtly political as well as deeply personal.
These boys are going places, drawing comparisons to Muse and Biffy Clyro, both of whom they’ve toured with, and their upwards trajectory means you probably won’t get another chance to see the whites of their eyes again, as they seem destined for bigger venues. Catch the whites of their eyes while you still can at Früit in January.
Big Lil Bilocca has straddled 2017 like the larger-than-life character she was, casting an enormous shadow over the City of Culture from day one. It has been her story that has seemed to dominate proceedings, and she’s rightly being celebrated this year, for her struggle to push for better safety measures after the ‘Triple Trawler Tragedy’ of 1968, which devastated the local fishing community.
12 Silk Handkerchiefs is a song-cycle, written and performed by folk singer, Reg Meuross, which will be staged as a multi-media show, narrated by Brian Lavery, author of The Headscarf Revolutionaries, and it will tell the story of the fishermen’s wives and their brave campaign.
Reg was fascinated by the story, and when he played in Hull this year, he did a bit of research, assisted by local legend Mick McGarry and Dr Lavery, and the fruits of his research resulted in this performance, which will no doubt be another excellent tribute to the brave women at the heart of this engrossing story.
They had me with the name, but this all-female punk quintet make a deliciously raucous racket, as their name would suggest, as they belt out old-school punk covers alongside a handful of original compositions with all the gusto of the originals. If anything, they sound snottier than the originals, and they know how to put on a show, all decked out in Uber-glam stage costumes, reminiscent of New York Dolls at their most camp.
It’s mainly the first wave of punk which gets the Dolls treatment; obviously, Sex Pistols get a big look in on their setlists, with all of their big songs getting multiple outings, alongside classics by The Undertones, The Clash, Ramones, Tenpole Tudor, Buzzcocks and Nirvana. They’re a refreshing antidote to the male-dominated rock music scene, rocking harder than the lot of them in these increasingly musically-safe times.
It obviously harks back to a time when music scared the shit out of your parents, which every generation’s music should do, but doesn’t. Visually arresting, and sonically slamming, and with names like Nancy Doll, Connie Rotter, Jilly Idol, Anna Key and Kitty Vacant, you know what you’re getting here, and it’s riotously great fun and fantastic escapism from the drab careerism of the modern music scene. They sold out Früit this year, so don’t miss out.
Absolute Bowie – 20th & 26th January – Früit [NOW SOLD OUT]
When original Spider From Mars, and local legend, Woody Woodmansey says you’re ‘as close to the real thing that you’ll get,’ you know you’re onto a winner. With their cock-on tribute to the Starman, they’re coming to Hull as part of their brand new stage show, 50 Years of Bowie, a year-long national jolly.
There are dozens of Bowie tribute bands around, and all put their own unique print on the late singer’s vast back catalogue, and all the ones I’ve seen have been excellent in their own way, but this lot are full-timers, so have honed and studied the craft down to a tee. You get a professional show, with all the stage costumes, impersonations and presence of the original Spiders From Mars. Bound to be a sell-out, as tragically, Dave’s stock has never been higher, but this is a great way to celebrate the man and his peerless legacy.
The name Autobahn conjures up images of sprawling, wide open roads and space. In direct contrast to the claustrophobic, brutal sound of Autobahn the band. The five-piece hail from Leeds and it shows. In days of yore, Leeds was known for its gothic bands; both The Sisters of Mercy and The Mission, leading lights of the national scene, hailed from Leeds, along with Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, and Autobahn seem to be consciously following this tradition, also leaning heavily on the sound of Joy Division, the band that was a precursor to the Gothic scene, but was the template from which the scene sprung. There’s a foreboding darkness to them that’s thrilling and menacing at the same time.
Support comes from local leading lights Lumer and No Nothings, who are two of a handful of Hull bands who’ve toured extensively out of the city limits in the last couple of years, as our own brand of post-punk noiseniks take their sounds to the rest of the country. Lumer are coming off the back of a great year, as their blend of The Chameleons and Pornography-era Cure has seen them perform at Radio 1’s Big Weekend and make waves nationally.
No Nothings are another band that are a total assault on the senses, both visually and the sheer bloody noise that they produce. Onstage, the usually mild-mannered trio transform into what I imagine three ostriches trapped in my living room, would look and sound like, as they go a million miles an hour in a whirling burst of energy that screams ‘ATTACK!’ And their fast-paced speed garage punk will knock you out. Always a pleasure. Gonna be loud, this one.
I’ve always like The Cribs; they were one of the better bands that popped up in the wake of the early 00s ‘post-punk revival,’ spearheaded by The Strokes and Interpol, then Anglicised by The Libertines. They’re still going strong, and still inspire rabid devotion from their fanbase. My mate assures me I’ve got to go and see them. Apparently live, they’re something else, and it’s rude not to see such a big band when they’re on your doorstep, innit?
My band were The Roses, but the way people ten years younger than me go on about The Cribs, it’s like they’re their Roses. I’ve never seen them live, but when people talk about them with the same kind of hushed reverence that I reserve for The Roses, I want in. I love all that redemptive power of music, transcendental shit. I’m on a constant search to shed the jaded cynicism that comes with age, and for me, it usually comes in the form of a blinding gig, where I thank god my sense of childlike wonder hasn’t disappeared for good. If they’re that good, I’ll give it a bash.
On record, they tick all the right boxes, their West Yorkshire brand of lo-fi, indie garage rock is energetic enough to ensure that it’ll be a cracking gig. I love some of their songs, have their albums, play them regularly at Freak Scene; don’t really know why I’ve never checked ‘em out, but my mate’s rarely wrong when he forces me to watch a band. So, I will. I’m sure it’ll be a splendid evening.
I’ve seen Cabbage both times they’ve played Hull, first in The Polar Bear, then The Adelphi. This time they play their snotty, filthy punk at The Welly, which shows how far they’ve come in a relatively short time, and their star is definitely on the ascendant. They’ve been amazing both times and will be again.
They’re a band with a sense of humour; their lyrics reveal a surreal, scathing wit, not dissimilar to fellow Mancunian, Mark E Smith. Their sound shares the same abrasiveness of early Fall records too, with singer Lee Broadbent’s primal howl reminiscent of John Lydon. Those influences alone should convince you to check them out, but they are also singularly their own band. There are few bands around, flitting on the edge of the mainstream music scene that are as brave; their total refusal to water down their sometimes-sloppy sound is highly commendable. They’re a truly exciting prospect, and a top set of lads, who always stick around for a drink and a chat afterwards.
They’ve garnered quite an enthusiastic fanbase, and are critically lauded; Tim Burgess and John Robb being particularly vocal about the band. They’re literally brimming with ideas, and it’s all tossed off in a knowingly off-kilter manner, giving it an air of disorganised chaos, but it’s beautifully executed, and anything but. They’re also fiercely political, which is refreshing to see these days, with musicians afraid to go there in fear of career suicide. No such fear with these lads. You just will them to the top; their charming racket will reel you in and they’re a band to love in these beige times.