Friday 19th February: After a day out around Malham it was a bit of a rush for me but, finally, the regulars are together for the first time this year. We are at Fibbers to see four bands.
Unfortunately, the aforementioned rush and bus times meant that I arrived after the first band and I didn't get their name. That's probably good as the short bit of their set that I did see (about a song and a half) did nothing for me - they were loud, shouty, discordant and the songs sounded a bit disjointed to me.
Disjointed is a word that could also be used to describe Wild Honey's set. In this case, however, it would refer more to the gaps between the songs rather than the music itself. Vocalist Luke Byrne did apologise for the somewhat chaotic changeovers saying that the band "didn't have as many musicians as they would like" but the gap before the final song stretched on for a good couple of minutes, during which some of the crowd seemed to be getting a bit restless. The set opened with an instrumental, which basically set the scene for the type of music we were going to get. Very prevalent was Luke Lunn's trumpet (or, possibly, cornet - I'm no expert) which gave the songs a definite Mexican feel. Byrne's voice immediately reminded me of somebody else and, after a few other suggestions (none of whom I'd heard of) Roj hit the nail on the head with Divine Comedy. To quote from the above link, "We are a group of musicians, using instruments from different countries and cultures to create a unique sound" - maybe not totally unique as the brass reminded me and Andy of The Littlemores but certainly different enough to be enjoyable.
Next up were 3 Foot Ninja and while I would try not to argue with the categorisation of a band, in this case I have to say that they aren't punk. They can't be. I don't like punk! The Ninjas reminded me a bit of The Mexicolas. Although, to be fair to them, that might just have been because there were three of them and they were dressed in black. Thrashing guitars and pounding drums are the order of the day, but with more of a rock vibe than an indie/punk one in my opinion. Good vocals and enough variations in the songs to keep up my interest. They may not have been the headliners tonight, but they did end up being my favourite act of the evening.
The headliners were, in fact, Surprise... Fire who, in another link to the gig where we saw the Littlemores, were the band that couldn't play that evening because they were snowed in. Now, this lot are highly thought of and have already played the Leeds and Reading festivals. For me, though, there was something lacking in the performance and I can't quite put my finger on what. Maybe it was just that I enjoyed 3 Foot Ninja. Maybe it was that the vocals were somewhat swamped by the (admittedly very good) music. It certainly wasn't the lack of energy in the performance - lead singer Joshua Finn made full use of the stage area (as well as the stage barrier and, at one point, the crowd) while the rest of the band played with a relaxed style, despite the rock sound. Maybe I need to listen to some of their recorded stuff to give myself a chance to form a more rounded opinion. Luckily, I picked up a copy of their new EP.
Afterwards, Andy and I headed over to the Roman Bath, where a Blues band were playing (again, I apologise, I didn't get their name). Andy had seen them before and pointed out that the lady playing bass was the wife of the lead-singer and that she usually played double-bass. He wasn't wrong as she switched to the bigger instrument a couple of songs after we arrived. I'm afraid I couldn't tell you whether they played originals or covers - there was certainly nothing I recognised, but I don't know much Blues. They were, however, very good. Hopefully, I'll stumble across them again one day.