Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Keep Pop Loud Tour of Yorkshire - Part 3

The Keep Pop Loud Tour of Yorkshire may be a concept that's way past tired, but as an excuse to sum up the last few gigs of the year it's one that I'm sticking with. Don't worry; this time I'll keep it brief.

Firstly, I went back to the Harley in Sheffield (25th November) to see The Answering Machine, and their supports, whose names escape me at this precise moment in time. The Answering Machine are four young 'uns from Manchester and have made one of my albums of the year. Their Harley set put a massive smile on my face, especially seeing as I'd only found out that the gig was happening two or three days before it actually happened. I'll spare you any more details here, partially because I've already written it up 'proper' for This Is Fake DIY (follow the link to the review).

The main reason for this instalment however is the gig that took place in the Doncaster Dome on December 5th. Under the banner of The Cribs, and something of a homecoming gig for them (they're from Wakefield, so it's apparently near enough) with support from Sky Larkin, Los Campesinos! and The Slits. In other words there was plenty to recommend it. However, it didn't occur without it's problems. Being a sort-of-homecoming there was something of a 'local' crowd present. Of course, there's nothing wrong with the good people of Doncaster, but the crowd was comprised partially of closed-minded 'lads' of the type who would have been more comfortable at a sports bar.

Sorry for the stereotyping, but after a short but perfect set from Sky Larkin (the makers of another Album Of The Year) Los Campesinos! took to the stage. This vocal lad segment voiced their disgust that Los Camp! would dare to make music other than four-four jangle rock, first by making faces and later by throwing cups of water at the group. My blood was boiling by this stage and it was becoming difficult to take the lead band's advice and ignore the ignorant. Nonetheless, Los Camp! played a great seven song set, closing on personal favourite of mine: 'Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks'.

Next up was post-punk legends The Slits. The aforementioned twats in the crowd had decided that they didn't like The Slits before they even played a note, and as tools are warrant to do, they booed as soon as some forty-something women with dreadlocks walked onto the stage. It escalated from there with increasing booing from (and it has to be said) only a few in the crowd, and the throwing of more cups of drink. The Slits took it all and gave back as good as they got. Being feminists, and with a deliberately confrontational agenda, it was to be expected. The reggae influence of the group was a bone of contention for this segment of the crowd who voiced their disgust loudest when the band mentioned playing a reggae-punk number. Singer Ari Up told these twits that they were chauvinistic racists and once they finished their set she mooned the crowd. Feminists 1, Sexists 0.

Thankfully The Cribs set went much better, opening with one of my favourites 'The Wrong Way To Be' and including everything that I would have wanted them to play (bar the never aired 'You Were Always The One'). Whilst on record I feel that new member Johnny Marr detracts from The Cribs dynamic, in the current live arena he brings an air of utter cool to the otherwise chaotic nature of their shows.

It's ironic that the same idiots who booed the feminist Slits were singing along to the material off the latest two Cribs record which tackled the same gender politics: 'Emasculate Me' and 'Men's Needs' being prime examples. The band didn't take their own advice thankfully and the ignorant were chastised by Gary and Ryan Jarman from the stage. The message was basically “you're not welcome at our gigs again”. Well said.

Focusing on The Cribs set now though; highlights included a riotous 'Hey Scenesters!', bouncy classic 'Mirror Kissers', oldie (but goodie) 'Another Number' and of course 'Be Safe' which gives me goosebumps EVERY TIME. In other words it was great and shows that even though The Cribs latest album was, at best, hit and miss, here's a group that can weather bad records and will be around and strong for quite a long while.

And 'quite a long while', is exactly how long it feels that I've been stretching out the KPL Tour of Yorkshire for. There was plans to go and see Grammatics at the Harley yesterday (December 6th), as a nice, quiet little conclusion to the tour, but with one thing and another that hasn't happened. As such, the tour ends on a high note and a large scale and has, over the past eight weeks enabled me to see seventeen different bands (one of them twice) across five venues in four different towns/cities across Yorkshire. It's been a tiring and expensive couple of months, although sadly I've bought a pitifully small amount of merch....

Still, come back Keep Pop Loud over the next couple of weeks to see the End of Year round up where you can see my Favourite Twenty (or so) Albums Of The Year and my Top 50 (ish) Tracks Of 2009 along with some commentary and summary on the twelve months past.

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