Best Harrogate Fringe Crawl Day yet

Rufus, Joe and Nick of The Four 45s on stage at Harrogate Theatre Circle Bar for Fringe Crawl Day. (Picture by Tom Flanagan)
Rufus, Joe and Nick of The Four 45s on stage at Harrogate Theatre Circle Bar for Fringe Crawl Day. (Picture by Tom Flanagan)

Spare a thought for the hard-core metal and punk fans at a packed Rehab for NYHC and DJ Trev’s impressive line-up. The place was a sweatbox well before the point where Fringe Crawl Day became so busy that 5pm on Parliament Street in Harrogate looked a little like 11 or 12 usually does, writes Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers.

Or what about the band who were so loud at Vanilla Café that the venue temporarily emptied?

Things were quieter at first at the ‘acoustic’ stage I ran at Harrogate Theatre Circle Bar.

The excellent Angie Shaw opened proceedings with her intimate and nicely understated acoustic songs, a mix of all the rootsier sounds of Woodstock in one person, backed by the accomplished musicianship of James Kennedy (guitar) Dave Pawson (bass/double bass) and John Ross (drums/conga).

The talented and charming Lewis Fieldhouse maintained the high quality before things started to get busier with teenage sensations Purple Mafia, as incredibly inventive as ever, still basking in ITV’s coverage of their forthcoming recording trip to LA.

The first gig in 10 years by the impossibly fey and sophisticated Loving Palms led by founder members Marcus Wilson and James Littlewood, joined by Michael McLean and Alex Davidson, proved a relevation in front of a good crowd. Even the new songs such as Long Lost Summers of the Past and Sunday Street shone as brightly as Lloyd Cole at his 80s peak.

By now the circle bar was utterly heaving as The Four 45s made their way to the stage area at the bay window led by charismatic frontman Joe Flanagan and blessed with a great rhythm section, plenty of ideas and tunes and a prospective indie guitar hero in Nick Turner.

While people on the street below looked up or danced a little, this entertaining new four-piece, with three singers who all write songs, more than lived up to their billing as “a great British rock n roll band.”

As the Blues Bar kept up this annual music day’s momentum, at Monteys headliners Sulk, who had earlier posed for pictures at RedHouse gallery in front of classic Gered Mankowitz shots of the Rolling Stones in 1965, looked, acted and sounded like the best thing since the Stone Roses released their debut album. This ultra-cool London five-piece led by Jon Sutcliffe lit the venue up with rippling guitar melodies, a groovesome rhythm section and beaming optimism.

Earlier in the same venue Idle Maestro had played a brilliant farewell gig buoyed by a round of champagne brought to the stage while Japanese Fighting Fish made a good impression from Leeds. The spirit of what was another hugely successful Crawl Day was summed up by Harrogate’s answer to Mars Volta, Strangers in Paradise who were joined by rapper Tre to memorable effect at a ram-jammed Monteys.

The song titles by Steve Mosby and co said it all: “Mashup”. “Odyssey.” “Crosswire.”

Ideas. Creativity. Fringe