After nearly three years here at York, it’s difficult not to feel a little nostalgic about the nuances of Fibbers. On this occasion, no sooner have I reached the door than an old, personal favourite emerges; for the third time in succession, the line of communication about guest-list places for embittered student hacks seems to have been lost before it reaches the door.
Fortunately, a second and somewhat more worrying tradition (the venue being half-empty) meant I was allowed in regardless, though at the cost of being overheard professing to being from Nouse by the manager of openers Beyond All Reason (“they’re a local band”, he said – not that anyone needed reminding that the venue could quite easily be transplanted to Royston Vasey). Unfortunately BAR had played and gone by this point, although a quick straw poll revealed general approval; I look forward to releases landing on the Nouse desk in the near future.
General approval, sadly, was not something that second band Hiding Place met with at all. Oh dear.
In comparison, thisGIRL couldn’t really fail, but from the start their set is somewhat spoiled by a crowd which is muted at best; given almost unanimously favourable coverage in the music press, the lack of enthusiasm for the South Yorkshire quartet leaves one to consider that the absence of any decent gig venue in York has more to do with simple lack of demand than any great conspiracy. Why come here when bands can play sell-out shows in Leeds and Sheffield?
Despite this, the Rotherham boys make an impressive showing. The last few years have seen waves of post-punk bands cascade onto these shores from across the Atlantic, yet it is only now with bands like Funeral For A Friend and tonight’s headliners that this influence has translated into success for home-grown British talent. An identifiably English collision between Finch and Thursday, thisGIRL play the game as well as anyone (right down to the adorably emo “handwritten” liner notes on display at the merch stall). In Manchester or Leeds the result would’ve been a mangled teenage mass of a mosh-pit, but here in York there is polite applause and two drunks throwing themselves about at the front; frontman Liam Creamer’s intense stage-act rivals even that of Finch’s Nate Barcalow (with the exception of the obligatory “slow bits” which leave him sounding worryingly like Thom Yorke), but the largely vapid audience leave him looking faintly ridiculous.
Next time, I’ll take the train to Leeds.