The Nouse guide to live music in York

reflects on the surprising vitality of York’s underrated music scene

Source: Chris Mackins

Source: Chris Mackins

For me, music has always been integral to the places I’ve lived in. I’m very fortunate to live in South East London and despite the state of gentrification contorting the city and its inhabitants, I’ve been lucky enough to have been surrounded by one of the largest music scenes in the world.

Stretching from the psychedelic circles of Dalston pulsing with colour and haze to the ecstasy fuelled streets of Elephant and Castle that spill out soft-focus scenes of reverie and fast forgotten friendships under the covers of the Ministry of Sound smoking area, music is awash in the capital.

When I first arrived in York, I was apprehensive to be quite honest. It’s quite clear to most people, students especially, that York is the tranquil and sleepy medieval city that once prided itself as England’s second capital, but in comparison to the stereotypically (and laughably) ‘EDGY’ cities of Manchester, Leeds and Bristol it doesn’t quite cut the mustard with regards to a great musical nightlife. Please, if you think like I did, understand that you are quite mistaken.

Despite its size and stature, York guards an incredibly intimate and passionate music scene that burns brightly within its walls, and for someone to overlook this they are missing out thoroughly. One of the best parts about York’s musical landscape is the sheer variety. If your tastes feature thumping house and shuffling garage in a sweaty setting of intimacy and closeness then the underground brick walls of Mansion are your best bet, promoting York’s surprising dance and techno scene that easily rivals our neighbours Leeds.

For those into more experimental and ‘indie’ flavours, look no further than the bustling punk and noise-rock scene that has been gradually emerging over the past few years with fierce and fiery gigs regularly taking place in The Fulford Arms and Dusk.

Of course, these are only small and specific examples but if you’re looking for something different and interesting, then simply walk into either The Nook or Fossgate Social to indulge in a wide array of alternative open-mic events that promote a welcoming and easy-going attitude reminiscent of the surrounding city that clearly breathes music and culture.

Source: Fossgate Social

Source: Fossgate Social

Within the hallowed walls of York lies both musical power and depth

On the outside, York may appear to be a community based on tea-shops and pensioners but within the hallowed walls lie musical power and depth. With York hosting little trinkets like Earworm records which is a small cottage turned record store behind the hustle and bustle of Goodramgate and the enthusiasm that leaks out of The Inkwell on Gillygate, the city’s music scene shines brightly.

Like these stores, clubs and venues, York emerges strong against the aesthetic-driven facades of Manchester or Bristol which lack intimacy, tenderness and honesty.

As someone who thinks about music every waking second I was worried when I came to York, but now as an elderly third year I’m looking back and realising the idiocy that I wrongfully held.

The beauty of York is that if you look for greatness you will find it in abundance and with music that is certainly no exception. I wish you many happy, music-filled days and nights within this celestial city I love and will dearly miss.

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