York’s Live Music Scene: Forty Five Vinyl Cafe

The York music scene may not seem as extravagant as those cities such as Leeds, Liverpool or London. But, that is not the case. Our small antique town holds tons of hidden gems that, like the Austrian hills, do come alive with the sound of music. Since coming to York, my journey to find appropriate music scenes that satisfy my earbuds has been a long one full of trial and error, and some really foreboding pubs. Though like a musical fairy god mother, I will not turn your Halloween pumpkins into a new car, but I will turn your rag of local music knowledge to riches. You’re welcome, Cinders.

If you really take a journey away from the clubbing side of York you will find a multitude of Open Mic nights and even Live Spoken poetry, which happens the first Tuesday of every month at Dusk. Although, some places hold organised events that host local artists and small artists from around the country and even the globe. It can really become something of a niche dining experience. Stripping down artists to their most basic and vulnerable state on stage exposes their talent and makes you really appreciate true talent with no distractions. And the smaller the location the cosier the gig and the more you can truly learn about your musical surroundings.

I secured this fact after a free gig at the beautiful venue at Forty Five Vinyl Café. The café can hold around sixty people with enough room for around thirty people to sit at your table and hold a drink; whether that be their brilliantly own-brewed coffee, or their local wines and beer. Doing what it says on the tin, the café has a wide range of records for sale, something I have found a rarity in York as many places only sell certain records. High-street shops only selling the latest records, charity shops selling a mass of Barbra Streisand with the occasional hidden gem, and old book shops selling classical and jazz records that almost feel like they come with a curse. It is always more secure to buy your records from the appropriate places where they have been graded and listened and cared for, as new records can certainly be a total mess of polyvinyl chloride – as I found to be the case with many Catfish and the Bottlemen records worldwide. As a saying I found in the café goes, ‘records are for life, not just for fashion’, and this café offers all your sweet music needs.

The evening I had here was truly wonderful, a night of brilliant young acoustic acts, this including University of York’s very own Jess Jayne, followed by Dom Patrick and headlined by C.W. Lawson. Although the acts where very much on a level playing field in quality of written music, lyrics and performance.

Jess Jayne is a brilliant lyricist and finds inspiration in events that occur around her, for example, her song ‘Bad’ analyses a relationship with someone who did her wrong – I will say no more as I strongly recommend listening to the track that gave me the craziest chills of the evening. This was followed by the beautifully haunting voice of Dom Patrick. Dom Patrick is a very skilled guitarist matching his music to his voice perfectly to produce original pieces that could be listened to all day. His use of acoustic music makes for a very relaxed feel, yet his voice resonates something that we have all felt. The headlining act, C.W Lawson, couldn’t be closer to the singer-songwriter, James Morrison, with very similar tones in their voices, reaching similar ranges, and paralleling his guitar playing on the level of Morrison. Lawson was well experienced for the gig and very well-rehearsed, with his performance residing to a very professional standard. His original songs did not share the same emotional backgrounds as the previous artists, yet his variety and original spin on his cover tracks highlight the musical skill he possesses. Each artist captured the audience and myself very well, a very relaxing evening in a very tranquil setting.

Forty Five Vinyl Café’s set up for these events is simplistic yet very effective, with a performance area based on a Moroccan rug, surrounded in fairy lights that casting light on the performer and subtly around the celebration of art, music and coffee that the café embellishes. Although this isn’t the only live event that the lace has produced, and other nights besides acoustic sets do occur, yet the night I attended was a sparkling tranquil cider filled acoustic musical experience that I would be more than overjoyed to send my evenings doing again.

And not to mention it is dog friendly in the day times…

One comment

  1. Great review – beautifully written and hopefully this great cafe will become a ‘regular’ meeting place to catch some superb music. Hope you get chance to go to Music Bingo – its really good fun!

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