New line-up/new video for The Birdman Rallies

The new line-up of The Birdman Rallies. (Picture by Jonathan Sillence)
The new line-up of The Birdman Rallies. (Picture by Jonathan Sillence)

By Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers

Of all the 1,000 or more local acts I’ve written about in this newspaper since I produced my first Gig Scene column in 1992 (when Chris Wilson was the Gig Scene Editor ), the single local band in all that time which most deserves to be heard far and wide beyond those boundaries is The Birdman Rallies. In my opinion.

Led by the multi-talented musician/singer/songwriter Daniel Webster, (a one-man band in himself) this offshoot of previous local bands Tigerbomb and Nothing by way of Flowered 3d, The Rallies are both experimental and pop, both oblique and accessible.

To these ears, they’re better than, say, Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective or a dozen other famous alt-indie pop bands beloved of Mojo.

Constantly inventive, melodic, clever and listenable, Harrogate’s answer to Vampire Weekend meets Gruff Rhys, have slowly and deservedly built up a national reputation of sorts through airplay on BBC Radio 1 and BBC6Music, as well as regional radio stations. But I’m wandering. . .

I bring The Birdman Rallies up for two reasons.

Firstly, after the recent departure of bassist John Davey they’ve acquired a new member – Ash Johnson who joins mssrs Webster, Adam Wester

Spotted recently at Harrogate’s Blues Bar - the one and only Richard Hawley who’d turned up to watch hot swamp blues act Congo Faith Healers the other Sunday night.

Finally, I didn’t go big on the recent break-up of the talented but volatile Four 45s, the best Brit indie rock band Harrogate had produced since Britpop itself because I didn’t trust them not to change their minds! The great news is, they have, and the boys have secured a great gig at the VW Festival at Harewood House next month.