Now I’m not really a fan of battle of the bands, writes Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers, despite having judged, or reported, on a million of the things over the years from the Little Wonder in Harrogate to the Town & Country Club in Leeds.
The only two I’ve ever actually enjoyed being involved with, truth be told, are the AMP Awards, which is held in Harrogate’s Royal Hall each February, and the Bright Young Things, which used to be held in the now demolished Duchess in Leeds.
The rest, in my opinion, are a sort of necessary evil.
On the plus side, battle of the bands competitions do bring bodies into a venue and let fans experience different music.
On the negative, the right band never wins. Famously, Shed Seven came third in a battle of the bands in York in the 90s before gong on to achieve a string of big hits.
But I do trust DJ Trev, the man behind Harrogate’s longest-running rock night, Bottom of the Bottle to do a good job with a new battle of the bands he’s helming at the town’s Rehab club shortly.
Starting on Sunday, February 3, the prizes are good, the line-ups strong and each heating leading up to March’s semi-finals and Easter’s grand final will be followed by a free club night afterwards.
Trev told Gig Scene: “Rather than just a selection of random bands from Wakefield or wherever, I’ve only opened it to Harrogate and the immediate surrounding area. I’ve vetted the bands and made sure that each heat has a good range of music, (rather than, say, four bands who think The Kooks are the new Led Zepp!) so, hopefully, each heat will function as a good stand alone gig in its own right.”
It was a real pleasure to meet Barry Corbett and the Mustangs and Ricky Fenton and the Apaches outside the Royal Hall before Christmas.
They were reuniting for the first time in nearly 50 years to mark the anniversary of their appearance with The Beatles in the Harrogate venue in 1963.
The actual date was in March and the celebrations will also include a special concert at Scotton outside Knaresborough on March 16 with leading tribute band The Fab Beatles.
As well as being a great gig, proceeds will go to the village hall roof fund. Tickets are on sale now at Pear Records on the High Street, Knaresborough and are reportedly going fast already.
I also hear that the Royal Hall Restoration Trust are hoping to stage a fundraising concert to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles.
I hope to bring you further details in next week’s Gig Scene.
As well as The Animals featuring Stax legend Steve Cropper, local promoters have just announced another coup for fans of old skool r’n’b and blues-rock.
The appearance of the mighty Animals at Ripley Town Hall on February 8 is followed on July 13 by Mud Morganfield who just happens to be the eldest son of one Muddy Waters!
Former Harrogate musician/poet/psychogeographer Phil Legard, who has contributed his creative genius to a couple of events in Harrogate International Festival Fringe, is still producing incredible work from his Leeds base.
I was reading the Christmas issue of The Wire magazine when I came across a large advert for a new double CD compilation of slightly strange folk-based music called Hail Be You Sovereigns, Lief and Dear: Dark Britannia III.
Included is music by Xenis Emputae Travelling Band, Phil’s long-time musical troupe.
Fans of Smokie can catch the band behind Living Next Door To Alice and a dozen other hits in the 70s and 80s at Frazer Theatre in Knaresborough shortly courtesy of Kula promoters. Now called the Spirit of Smokie, sadly, I made a mistake in last week’s Gig Scene and got the date of this Frazer Theatre fundraiser wrong.
The concert will take place on February 17.