After a Saturday full of fundraising and musical shenanigans over in Elsecar, Sunday was the turn of Dodworth to hold their own charity music extravaganza in the form of the Dodworth and District Miners Memorial Fund Festival. Catchy title aside; the event organised by Soundwave and Indiemand (Mark Oats and Ryan Thompson) is another chance to see quality local talent and to dip your hands in your wallets to help a worthy cause.
Originally planned to take place on the sports fields outside of the Dodworth Miners Welfare, the now waterlogged fields meant that both stages had to be moved into the club’s lounge and taproom. Although Alt.Barnsley couldn’t stay the full duration, we did manage to take in a lot of acts and here a just a selection of the ones we caught.
And so as the smell of frying burgers pierced the damp air; soggy folk flocked into the taproom to catch the opening act, K.B.E. Opening with a surf rock instrumental that sounded like it could have been a cover of the Russian folk song Korobeiniki (also know at the theme of Tetris). Their set which fused mod and the heavier end of indie was refreshing and anthemic and a great way to start the day. On the Acoustic Stage, curated by One Over the Eight, is THE BAR-STEWARD SONS OF VAL DOONICAN, who started their set by playing to just a handful of people. However, by mid-set, K.B.E. had finished their set allowing for a bigger audience and the wise choice of ending on Darn Tarn and Arse Is On Fire had the audience laughing; especially the ones munching away on their curries.
Two bands which were a real joy and a pleasant surprise to watch were the young and talented Exit Strategy and Northern Way. The first up, EXIT STRATEGY, describe themselves as ‘prog punk’ and with a lead singer/guitarist prone to spending just as much time playing in the crowd as he does on stage, they certainly have the attitude. Although sometimes a little shambolic, the band are exciting and likable and certainly have a pocketful of well written songs in the vein of Blink 182 and All Time Low; and in their singer a vocal that is perfectly fitting for that genre. They end their set on a high with a cover of Nirvana’s Breed. Next up are NORTHERN WAY and they kick things off with a very well done and faithful cover of Fake Tales of San Francisco. These guys must not be any older than sixteen but in Tom Hale, they have front man who sings and plays like he’s been doing it for years; he is modest and likable and is definitely one to watch in the future. Living in a Dream sounds like their own composition and leans more towards an Oasis style but the band are at their best when throwing down angular, punky riffs and understated northern swagger and it’s their song High as a Kite that slots perfectly in the middle of a set laden with classics by Arctic Monkeys and The Undertones.
Over in the acoustic lounge, INVISIBLE GREASE impress with a short set of covers (Pictures of Matchstick Men) and their own songs which come over as a mix between the guitar and lyrical rhythms of both The Libertines and more traditional comedy folk. And with the genius that is rhyming ‘freezer’ with ‘please her’ and ‘gravy’ with ‘baby, their Sausage Song is a sure fire future classic.
KIZIAH AND THE KINGS hits the main stage like a breath of fresh air; in a town that is swamped with indie and metal, having the chance to see a band that fuse funk and soul with jaunty indie guitar is one not to be missed. A set full of their own beautifully crafted songs such as the fantastic Baby Don’t Go is balanced perfectly with covers American Boy and classics such as Heard It Through the Grapevine and Proud Mary. They went down extremely well and they’ll be welcome back to Barnsley anytime they please.
Up next was Barnsley’s austerity king of punk poetry MARK JACKSON’S CRIMINAL WASTE OF TALENT. Mark’s short set of songs about pasties, being dumped by text, having a very bad day and shed-based machismo is backed by guitarist Steve Dalton who is one minute thrashing out a The Fall-like cacophony of mess and the next, shoe gaze on a shoe string psychedelia. However, playing to an almost totally unfamiliar crowd leaves half bedazzled and half bewildered.
Someone who isn’t unfamiliar round these parts is event organiser Mark Oats and here he performed with his band THE GLAVINS in a semi-unplugged set comprising of acoustic guitars, a cajon (that’s the percussion box for those that don’t know) and a whole manner of flanger and phaser effects. Vocalist Carl Stott is a traditional indie singer in the same vein as a more subtle Gallagher or Brown and he does it well and with the addition of Sameer on cajon, the set was inventive and full of eastern folk and Indian influences; reminiscent of The Stone Roses and The Beatles. Admittedly, I was unfamiliar with the band’s music prior to this set but now I’ll be making sure I catch more of them.
The last time I saw BLACK ECHO I was a little indifferent about their set. Here however, and this is despite a faulty microphone that made Terry’s voice sound shot, I enjoyed them much more. I admit I prefer guitarist Tom’s growl of a vocal compared to Terry’s as I have never been a fan of that over-emotional vocal that you seen in the more ‘emo’ leaning post-hardcore bands. However, their songs and their anthemic choruses are known to a good section of the crowd and got some good singalongs and even bad dancers. Breathe Out and Stars were definite set highlights.
The last band I saw were MAJORITY VOTE who played a set much improved on their last one over at Rocketball in May. The band was visibly enjoying themselves and that showed in their high-energy set of grunge tinged punk. Emily took lead vocals of a ramshackled and fun version of The Subways’ Rock N Roll Queen and although it is the songs from the Playtime’s Over EP that usually stand out as the best songs in the set; here Dia De Los Muetos is real highlight and matches the might of Clarity, their finest song to date.
Many other bands played the festival that I didn’t get chance to see but regardless of that, I had a fantastic time and judging from the great turnout, it sure looks like they made a lot of money for their charity.
And that is end of the start of what looks like a great festival season in Barnsley. Over the summer months we have BOMfest, Coalfields festival, the debut of Shindig Festival and also the Elsecar MADFEST folk festival. There will be many smaller festivals also taking place in town and we’ll be there to cover many of them.
Hit the following links to get more infomation on the bands:
The Alternative Elsecar Jubille started of life a couple of months ago as The Party In the Park; a fundraising event in Elsecar Park organised by the Hoyland and District Royal British Legion in a way to raise money for the local Poppy Appeal. Local musician and teacher Scott Heald (vocalist in Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican) was given the task of organising the live music by the chairman of the Legion after he had organised a number of smaller and similar live music events in the past for them.
A number of talented local singers, bands and also The Yorkshire [brass] Band of the RBL were lined up to play. However, after received a number of protests regarding rock bands being associated with the Legion, the formation of two separate fundraising events happened; one official and one not so.
Scott and now his sister Sarah (of local toy/accessory makers Gobo & Sock) took the newly christened Alternative Elsecar Jubilee to the Milton Hall; however after a tirade of abuse from local Councillor Franklin about ‘punks’ and the use of the name of the Legion, they were once again venue-less. Fantastic then to see a local uprising of support from local entrepreneurs, venue owners and people willing to donate their time, allowing the event to now take place in the much superior Fitzwilliam Arms. Steve the pub landlord did a sterling job in supporting a worthy course and local talent and also in donating fresh BBQ and pizzas for all!
Starting proceedings on the main stage was Sheffield five piece BIG STRIPEY LIES. Any band named after a Kate Bush song can surely do no wrong; opening with an instrumental and a song called This Is My Life that felt like a cover but surely it wasn’t the Shirley Bassey number? Whatever, this was perfect pop folk with hints of Steve Nicks and The Corrs but the real highlight was Full Circle; fusing the rhythms of Britpop, folk and skiffle.
In-between main stage acts were performers on the Acoustic Stage; first up CHRIS SAMMON who has the quality of a spoken word performer and tones of Billy Bragg (without the politics). Songs like Acoustic Tent and White Van Man gets the crowd singing along.
Richard Kitson is arguably Barnsley finest bluesman and here, flanked by Mynas’ Chris Scarfe and Agga Booth on bass and drums is THE RICHARD KITSON BLUES BAND; now with arguably Barnsley’s finest rhythm section as well. The group thrust onto us the sounds of Rory Gallagher, Hendrix, Cream and a number that has a vocal melody that sounds uncannily like Without Love by The Doobie Brothers; certainly no bad thing and Lay Down is a fine rocker of a number. Following them is GEORGINA GILMARTIN, whose nerves are evident but when she announced that the first song she ever wrote is certainly not her best, she actually had all the hallmarks of early Jewel and that fragile vocal on the last song about ‘life and a guy named Jimmy’ is just wonderful.
MYNAS are a slick beast of a boy/girl indie band. Seemingly influenced by 60’s girl groups and indie pop groups of the early 80’s; Sarah Evans voice has echoes of the beautiful Tracey Thorn and Del’s complicated riffs come from the Johnny Marr school of knocks. Sleep Tight, Bliss and the set closing latin tinged Wherever You Are Not prove that this band are indeed a first class indie pop pedigree. Following Mynas is a tough as but over on the acoustic stage is Lewis Ryan’s latest band THE ROLLING DOWNS, whose grunge-lite Americana comes over as a cross between Pearl Jam and Mumford and Sons, with Lewis Ryan being more than a little influenced by Eddie Vedder. Skinny Jeans and Speak When You’re Spoke shine and although the odd inclusion of The Verve’s The Drugs Don’t Work felt like an attempt at crowd pleasing, they definitely didn’t need it as Feelings and a brand new song called The Honey and the Bear had all the ingredients to be classics and certainly blew me away.
It was at this point that the jubilee weekend rain started and while the Main Stage got shifted into the shed-like marquee, a handful of acoustic acts took to the stage. First up was BRANDON GRAY. Now, the first time I saw Brandon was back in March supporting Mynas. You could see the potential then; the right songs and a really likable personality but in the end his nerves got the better of him. Here… it’s all change. The set list is stronger and his confidence has grown tenfold and with that comes not one ounce of arrogance but instead a cheeky smile and a very humble performance. Opening with a couple of Kooks numbers, a version of Under the Bridge and The White Stripes’ Conquest; each cover version is made his own but the real highlight was the inclusion of his own song called Progress; a genuinely catchy chorus and hopefully a sneak preview of things to come. SHANNON LASSU starts of well too, with a great cover of the amazing Kate Nash’s Foundations and even pulls off the southern accent, which isn’t easy for a northerner. In fact the accents go on to change with each song but she makes up for that with great selection of songs including Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and Train’s Drive By, which suits her perfectly. And it seems that the cover versions are there while she finds her own voice and if the closing self-penned Big Girls Don’t Cry is anything to go by, the wait will be very much worth it; and as her short but sweet set comes to a close, the main stage is now set up in the sheltered area way from the rain for POCKET FULL O’NOWT who are definitely not my kind of thing. My idea of a good comedy record is Peter Cook and Dudley Moore or Flight of the Conchords. These guys are about as far away from what I like as possible. However, The ‘Nowt’s sound today is richer, fuller and even heavier with the inclusion of ex-Housemartin’s drummer Hugh in the ranks but for me, Mike’s performance still feels too forced. However, despite my feelings, the second half of the bands’ performance really pulls in the crowd with the double whammy of Michael Jackson’s Doctor and When Did We Want It?; a rip roaring song about Thatcher that got the crown singing along.
I’d heard a lot of great things about THE SILENT GESTURES in just the last couple of months but this was the first I’d managed to see them and they didn’t disappoint one bit. Their impressive sound slots comfortably somewhere between Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes. Expectation is a great example of their wares; all angular rhythms and cool northern swag. Playing at the same time over of the Acoustic Stage was STEPH SHAW. She has fans aplenty and it took me a while to get round to seeing her initially but once I did I saw that she’s one of those Eva Cassidy types who easily pleases many but me being the eternal miserablist that I am, needed a little more than the cover of Kings Of Leon’s Use Somebody that you hear on ever episode of every talent show. I think Steph Shaw is better than that though, so it is great when she pulls out those lush tones of Suzanna Vega and when she sings ‘just don’t ask me how I am’, it’s convincing. But when she asks if there are any Rod Stewart fans in the audience and you just know she’s going to do The First Cut Is The Deepest, which is a little too predictable for me. She is however, for the masses and the set goes really well.
Festival organiser Scott Heald takes to the stage with his band THE BAR STEWARD SONS OF VAL DOONICAN and for those who don’t know them, their shtick is knitwear, wigs, taking popular songs and bastardising them into little tales about the ins and outs of Barnsley life. I’ve seen Scott do this and similar acts over the last fifteen years and it is very much an acquired taste, but I’ll give him this… he has new material practically every month and so keeping it fresh is never a problem. In fact, part of the fun for me is seeing how quick he can turn an audience. It usually takes a few songs for a new audience to understand what is happening to them and here in what is a very well selected setlist, Tarn Life (Blur), Avon Calling (The Clash) and a great number using The Monkee’s I’m a Believer to tear Justin Bieber to shreds goes down a storm. You Got To Fight For Your Pint In Barnsley is dedicated to The Beastie Boy’s MCA and the finale of Jump Ararnd really does get the floor shaking. A success by all accounts and this time he even bloody converted me!
I had been looking forward to catching headliner’s GOLDSOUL for sometime after seeing their videos on line and catching a great set from guitarist Mike Mulholland recently. Opening the set with their fantastic debut single Blood Red is a great idea but the amount of reverb on vocalist David’s guitar and voice is over the top, out of time and drowns out just about every other sound on stage. Even in-between song banter is rendered inaudible. It’s refreshing then when Mike sings with clean vocals and when they play their latest and actually very good single Kill All Love Songs, you can just about make out the great song that lies beneath the noise and how’s Brady’s back beat manages to keep in time I don’t know, but those fills are superb. I’ll look forward to catching them again in hope that the venue was partly to blame. In the meantime, do check out their single here, because regardless of the sound here, Gouldsoul are an incredible band.
Overall it was a fantastic festival and everyone was luckily to get a decent amount of sun. They also raised £660 for the Poppy Appeal, which is a fantastic achievement.
Check out everyone who took part below.
Barnsley’s This Condition are one of a number of indie band in town and when I got asked to check them out, I did roll my eyes a few times.
No need to worry; the first listen of their new EP was a corker. Crucified, with its droning, chime-like guitars and a nice Kasabian like beat are flanked by anthemic backing vocals. Sure, it’s darker than the usual indie fair but that is definitely no bad thing. Along with Barnsley’s Toba Caldera and Exit Calm, it’s nice to see that we have bands that aren’t afraid to step out of those sometimes strict indie Britpop boundaries. That slick 60’s illustration belays the psychedelic rock below.
Moral Panic takes that well trodden T-Rex guitar riff that Oasis built a career out of and takes it to that territory where Madchester collided with shoegaze with bands like Ride. Throwing Stones is definitely buried firmly in The Stone Roses’ back garden but that is no bad thing; they’re totally faithful to the craft of that sound and is definitely a credit a credit to vocalist Johnny Walman for holding his own and not really sounding like any particular vocalist.
Hide From the Sun follows the same pattern; a lush tripped out introduction of sea sound samples and a bass line a la I Wanna Be Adored or early The Verve. I’d happily lay in a field in 1994 listening to this with a beer.
Closing track This Tortured Soul doesn’t offer much different but nevertheless, it and the rest of the EP is done well.
This Condition are at their best when they tread the darker path; fusing a number of early 90’s genres in reverb and tripped out sonics. I’d love to hear more variation on future recordings but at the same time, I’d love to stumble across those bass lines in a sun drenched festival this summer. Cracking.
Rocketball has apparently been going for about six months now. How did I not know about this; beer for a quid fifty and proper bowling for a penny a game?! How do these guys make money? Surely the bands can’t make any money? Not when there are four on the line-up. Regardless, I was up for it and also a great chance to see one of my new favourite local groups; Majority Vote.
Okay, so one band pulled out very last minute. So, last minute they even pulled out while they were in the venue!!! So, first up is a new band called Indigo.
INDIGO (9) sound old beyond their years. Totally faithful to that early 90’s psychedelic grunge a la Blind Melon mixed with Kyuss-lite stoner rock; Looking back on it, it totally belied their sound but their cover of Beastie Boys’ Fight For Your Right was 100% note perfect in every way and was a joy to watch. Every single member of this band was technically superb. There wasn’t really anything to fault with this band and you wouldn’t believe these eighteen year olds had only been together month. If I was a total bastard, I’d say look like a band and stop wearing matching beige chino short; but maybe it was the heat wave that made them do it.
Definitely a band to watch out for; though it does seem that a twenty minute set is their maximum right now as they don’t have any more songs. I’d have loved to have heard them play more…
…unlike BLACK ECHO (6), whose set feels like it ran on for hours. Now I’m sure if you asked someone else, they’d say they were fantastic but they melodic poppy, post-hardcore bands are ten-a-penny and the whole genre for me is starting to lag and needs a shot in the arm with something original. It’s definitely not my thing. It also felt like the in-between song banter lasted as long as the songs did. But… despite my misgivings and the band are technically talented and the fans/friends enjoy it. There is even an attempt at starting a pit. A few numbers towards the end of the set even impressed me; especially Luke on drums doing a sterling job.
MAJORITY VOTE (7.5) have played here a few times now and already have over fifties gigs to their name. Their amazing debut EP, Playtime’s Over has just been released and it did a magnificent job of fusing vintage pop punk of last 70’s such as The Runaways with post-grunge bands such as Paramore.
Here they open with that title track; even slotting in a few bars of Daphne and Celeste’s Ooh Stick You for shits. There are timing issues with the drums and it sounds like the engineer can’t balance the sound at all.
However, Sell Out is much rawer than the version on the EP but is still a well rendered slab of grunge-lite punk. The band dish out versions of their earliest songs and Visitors even has a an element of Offspring to it and despite this, a great song that has a Stooges like beat to it and a great cover of The Subways’ Rock ‘n Roll Queen, bad sound and out of tune guitars plague the set.
Clarity, the final song from their EP is their finest and most mature piece of song writing to date and here it ends the set and through the ramshackle noise there is a fine band underneath there who can really pen a great song and also two girls with just as much balls as the boys.
The crowd call out for more and as they throw themselves into Territorial Pissings, it’s like tuning never even mattered and I’m still looking forward to hearing the band play again at the Miner’s Festival next month.
So this is my final day covering the IMMOVABLE block. Today will feature many of the performers and local people that have been involved in this weeks intervention.
I’ve managed to speak to a lot more people today including both performers and facilitators. First up is Chris who is 37 years of age and is one of Mind the Gap’s actor/performers.
Chris was on top of the block this morning. He described how he sat on top the block in a wheel chair. Chris isn’t a wheelchair user but many of his friends are and so he says the message is the same regardless. ‘Many people stopped and watched and some even came up to me and chatted. A couple of kids shouted “are you going to get arrested for being up there”, which was funny. I played along with their perceptions and pretended I didn’t know how I got up there. Lot’s of people took photos and I really enjoyed performing up there for everyone.’
I asked Chris what kind of message he would like to get across to people by being on top of the block. He explained, ‘I have a learning disability and I hope that anybody that also have a disability will think that they can do anything on that block; like when the people ask how someone in a wheelchair got up here… Well why can’t someone in a chair get all the way up there?’
Chris has travelled down from Bradford daily to be here. Chris has been a member of Mind the Gap for around seven years. Originally he wanted to go into engineering but couldn’t because of his disability. His social worker introduced him to the group and since then has completed work experience and training in all aspects of stage production and has also taken part in a number of productions, including Animal Farm. He goes on to say, ‘Mind the Gap has taught me skills in public speaking; I now go into schools and talk about the group. I’ve been so much more confident now since I came to Mind the Gap.’
Another person I have really wanted to speak to was Dave Searle. Backstage Dave is the Production Manger for Mind the Gap. To the audience, he is one of the manager Shifters wandering around his in cap and brown workcoat. Dave doesn’t usually perform and is more often than not backstage but because this is such a big production with many interventions, this was the best way to be in the middle of the action.
Dave had just been helping group performer Alan Clay off of the block after a second performance this week of him playing in an inflatable paddling pool on top of the block. This time round he was much more adventurous in splashing the many passers by. It was absolutely hilarious.
Dave has been with Mind the Gap for just over three years now. Dave controls every technical aspect of Mind the Gaps productions. he explains that ‘all of the Shifters that you see here work for Mind the Gap. All of the people involved in our interventions are either that of the theatre company or on the student training course.’
I asked Dave how he originally got involved with Mind the Gap. ‘I was originally a freelancer and had a job for Mind the Gap. I thought the place was amazing but cheekily told them that they really needed a technician. Two months later I was working with them’
'How often do you do shows outside of Bradford?' I asked.
'Well, me are nationally touring company. We tour once or twice a year. Last year we toured our productions of Of Mice and Men and Stig of the Dump.'
'Other than IMMOVABLE, what other projects do you have lined up for the Cultural Olympiad?' I asked.
'Immove sponsors us and they are a Yorkshire based initiative that is part of the Cultural Olympiad. Irresistible which is Immovable's sister show, which you will see part of later, will be shown at the Unlimited Festival which takes place just before the Paralympics. We'll be performing at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Soutbank, London and also at the performance space outside of the National Theatre.'
At that point Dave had to rush off and prepare the next performances. What followed was a number of staged interventions that all featured Mind the Gap performers. A couple sat on top of the block and had a romantic meal, Alison Short did a horticultural based performance(!) and the Shifters one again attempted to solve the knitted Rubik’s Cube; this time with company actor Susan sat on a bench on top of the block knitting away new squares.
After the performance, I got a few words from Shifters Howard and Amjad. Howard 44, has been with Mind the Gap for three years, and is currently on a four year training course in theatre production. As well has performing, he and the many others on the course, get the opportunity to learn stage craft, film making, confidence building in areas such as communication and working in groups and support in other practical skills such as using computers and travelling independently. Amjad is 26 and is also playing the part of a Shifter and has been with the group for one year now. He had done a little acting before at school but being a part of the group has allowed his confidence to grow in a way it may never had before
The final performance of the week saw every Mind the Gap actor and performer present take to the streets to accompany Jez Colborne’s production Irresistible. Jez is an actor and musician and has a learning disability called Williams Syndrome and has very sensitive hearing. However, that hasn’t stopped him composing a symphony of songs using air raid sirens! Here we got a taster of a show that will be playing, not only at The Cow & Calf Quarry Theatre in Ilkley next month but also at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s Southbank in September as part of the The Unlimited Festival in the Cultural Olympiad for the run up to the 2012 Paralympics. The performance was a great achievement, not only in song writing but in bringing a smile to everyone who saw it.
And is the end of IMMOVABLE. I’ve really enjoyed it and have found it both humbling and enlightening. I’ve met many very inspiring people from Mind the Gap and many people from the local area who have contributed their ideas and talent and time.
When I started Alternative Barnsley six months ago, I was hoping to cover as much art and theatre and music and unfortunately there hasn’t been enough to compete. However, this week has seen a plethora of street theatre, yarn-bombing, surrealist comedy and some fantastic painting.
Hopefully, there’ll be another project soon.
CHECK OUT THESE LINKS FOR MUCH MORE INFOMATION…
also read my previous blogs about IMMOVABLE, featuring interview and images:
Throughout the last week, Cressida Dimmock, Corporate Responsibility and Community Manager at ASOS.com has been running a Get Started in Fashion programme the program at The Civic. She has been running similar courses in London for three years now. Since, she has developed the program and brought it to Barnsley, where they are now the second biggest employer; second only to BMBC.
She said that ‘here, ASOS have created a program that shows that there are many sides to fashion; not just being a model or a photographer. We wanted to show that young people can get involved in the industry through many different ways. We run the program via ASOS Marketplace which is almost like a fashion ebay; where people can sell their own designs or upcycled clothes.’
Throughout the week, the team of young people learned how to produce mood boards and each member sourced an item of clothing from a local charity shop with a budget of £10 and upcycled them; changing the garment in to something completely new a saleable, by adding trims, reshaping or embellishing. Following this, the group also learned how to photoshoot the garments and load them on ASOS Marketplace enabling them to sell them and produce copy sheets for on-line sales and advertising.
Another day course involved a trip to ASOS and a module on CV writing and demonstration of the variety of jobs there is on site. There the team met a guy who worked his way up from a ‘picker’ to a team leader in just five months.
The course which was funded by ASOS, took place in The Civic and was run in conjunction with The Prince’s Trust, whose aim is to support those who are unemployed or not in education or training and to move them forward into a positive outcome; either via various courses or with development mentors.
Steph Shiel’s works with the Trust and has helped facilitate the course throughout the week. She explained that ‘one way that we do this is to work with Expert Delivery Partners such as ASOS, to be able hold these kinds of programs and help these young people move forward.’
She went on to say that ‘following the course, each person here will be paired with a mentor and will get progression support for up to three months and we will provide continuous advice and development throughout that period.’
Each of the young people who attended the course came from different backgrounds. Some had already had prior experience in fashion; one was in the middle of starting up her own business and all were unemployed and between the ages of 16 and 25 years.
Sarah Heald had already worked briefly within the fashion industry but found herself unemployed as of late last year. Since then she has started producing knitted and sewn accessories and toys with her mother with the idea of selling then online in the near future. Of the course she said, ‘the course is a great way of engaging young people in fashion and the idea of it as a potential career.’ When I asked her what she got from the course, she explained that ‘the course made her realise that she likes working with people and that the work that The Prince’s Trust does has inspired me to work with young people and become a Young Ambassador for them.’
Sadie O’Connor is already developing her own line of hand-painted fashion and accessories inspired by rockabilly culture and she found that the course helped her developed her public speaking. She said that ‘now I hope that I will go on to sell my fashion online and I’m going to attend a Prince’s trust Enterprise Course in July.’
On Friday 18th, Dan Jarvis MP and Shadow Culture Secretary was present at The Civic to give the team their Prince’s Trust Awards. As well as thanking ASOS and The Civic for their work in supporting the young people of Barnsley he also said of the work The Prince’s Trust, ‘thank you for doing some incredibly valuable work across the country and in Barnsley. It is a very difficult time to be a young person at the moment. It is a very difficult labour market and equally as difficult to find a job. The reality is that in places like Barnsley, young people don’t always get the best start in life. The Princes Trust helps them in a way that is valuable and important.
‘Most importantly, I want to thank the young people involved this week for making a fantastic contribution and you have really made the most of this opportunity. I spoke to some of you before hand and have all said that you have gained a really useful experience out of this.’
This was apparently the first time The Prince’s Trust has run a Get Started course in Fashion in Barnsley and it has proven to be quite a success. Every young person involved is now inspired to start their own business, go into volunteering and/or going into full time education or work very soon.
Let’s hope there are more courses like this in the near future.
Well, it seems that over night, some attempt at anarchistic spray-painted sloganeering damaged our friend the Block. These hooded hoodlums couldn’t even come up with their own slogan and instead ended up only quoting one of Banksy’s.
Regardless, this poor attempt at spoiling fun for others coincided with a new version of the Rubix Cube. Over the last week, a number of local textile based community arts groups having been knitting and crocheting away various coloured squares. The reason…?
At 1pm this afternoon, the Shifters covered the block up with a black fitted, cotton coat. The Shifters, I have found out is the name for the men/performers in the workcoats. They’re a comical bunch and remind me somewhat of the kind of characters you’d find in a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film.
Regardless, the black coat was covered with velcro and the Shifters proceeded to attach the fabric squares to the cube. Each square had attached to it a tag with the makers name.
It turns out they were a couple of squares down and so the puzzle ended up taking a lot longer that it should. After numerous attempts, with an audience made up of local shoppers and people who’d come all the way from Mind the Gap in Bradford, they called it a day and packed up ready for the next performance.
As I sat and had a cuppa in the cafe, I watch a new group of folk turn the cube into a theatre set. The back of the cube was turned into a cottage and the front into the Emerald City. Suddenly, a gaggle of actors and actresses descended onto the cube dressed as various characters from The Wizard of Oz.
As Dorothy tried to not let Barnsley’s sudden gale force wind blow her gingham dress over her head, passers by stopped to see why suddenly, fifty or so people bellowed out the lines to We’re Off to See The Wizard. It was well acted and very funny; however, I definitely don’t remember the Scarecrow greeting the Tin Man with an ‘aye-up.’
My highlight was after Dorothy was reunited with Aunt Em; following a hug from her missed Aunt, she turned to the audience and said ‘I don’t believe her. She’s going to crack me one when you lot’s gone.’ Brilliant.
The street theatre group was called May Contain Nuts and is based at Mind in Barnsley. Mick who is a Senior Mental Health Worker there said, ‘we set up a couple of years ago. Since then, we have done a couple of productions at The Civic’s theatre, Kendray Hospital and Moorland Court. It really is a fantastic medium to help people recover from mental health problems.’
I asked if they were one of the groups that had known about the Block before hand. ‘Yes. We had known about it for just a couple of weeks. That helped us get a performance ready and rehearse.’
Mick runs both formal and informal groups at Mind; much of which is arts based. ‘We like to think we offer a range of different interventions that help and support people in the variety of ways that people need.’
This afternoon was another fantastic opportunity to see talented people showcase their abilities to an audience they may have never have had if it weren’t for our friend the Block.
So after enjoying myself so much yesterday afternoon, I thought I’d get myself on down to the Cube again and see what was going on. The live feed over on http://www.mind-the-gap.org.uk/immovable/ showed that throughout the morning, the cube was being cleaned for the afternoon’s performance.
Now it was inevitable that sooner or later the Cube would have to surrender itself to a tirade of street dancers. It can’t exactly run away from them I’ll be honest; I’m a much bigger fan of the idea of street dance rather than the dance itself. However, the upshot in the number of community dance groups is astounding and I love that it does no end of good for children’s confidence, community spirit and fitness.
I settled down to watch what seemed like a hundred dancers from Kingstone School descend on Kendray Street. I spoke to Bronwyn Milner, one of the school’s teachers and dance coaches. She explained that the children were really excited to be able to perform in front of so many people and that they had been practising for quite some time.’ It appears that the dance session was one of the few events to be based around the cube that were pre-organised.
There were a number of groups taking part; Street Kings who were a small group of young, male body-poppers, Kingstone Come Dancing and Kingstone Cheer; the schools’ cheer leading squad.
I have to admit, I was more than impressed by Street Kings; especially Jason, whose face seemed to do as much dancing as his feet. I chatted to him afterwards. Jason explained to me what he thought the cube was about.
‘It’s been put there by a theatre company I think. It’s about getting different performers to dance on it and raise awareness. My group is called Street Kings and there are five of us here today but there are more of us as well.’ I asked his where they perform. ‘Mostly in Kingstone. There isn’t really anywhere else.’ He told me he’d been aware of the cube for a while. ‘It was hard not to tell anybody.’
It was nice to see so much enthusiasm. Most of the children there, including Jason, must have only been between eleven and thirteen and every one of them was eager to perform on the open stage that was the Cube.
Working for Mind the Gab was a motley crew of stage hands dressed in the kind of work coats and caps that Arkwright used to wear in Open All Hours. One of them rode what looked like a metal staircase welded to a go-kart. This he rode into place, right up next to the Cube so that performers could climb on and off of it safely.
They prepared themselves for a great run through the well known Thriller routine and when those girls screamed in unison it was so much more ear-shatteringly scarier than that the original Michael Jackson video.
As well as a dance off, the final routine saw every single performer come together for really cool performance along to Ike and Tina Turner’s Proud Mary. The crowd loved it and so did I. It was genuine treat.
Amongst the people there in support was one of the girls’ moms. She told me that although she didn’t really know what the Cube was about she really enjoyed seeing her daughter being given a chance to dance with an audience; which for me, surely is just another valid an explanation as to what IMMOVABLE may mean; an equal chance to anybody and everybody to perform .
Following the dance acts, we were treated to a bit of surrealist, vaudevillian, performance art when one of Mind the Gaps’ performers climbed on top of the now freshly turfed block, took off his anorak to reveal a 1920’s swimsuit and sat inside an full inflatable paddling pool and proceeded to splash and blow bubbles at the crowd for half an hour. Needless to say, some people loved it and others were frankly bewildered by it. I thought it was hilarious; especially when some scaly thought he’d climb on top of the cube and take the piss a bit. But once he got up there, he didn’t exactly know what the hell to do with himself and kind of embarrassed himself as he got splashed. However, him and everyone else stuck around regardless and watched the rest of the performances.It’s very rare we get treats like this; never mind a whole week full of them.
Another great day. And as I type this up and watch that live feed; someone is camped out on top of cube in a tent while about ten kids paint it and as usuall, there is a throng of people watching.
God… I hate the word “throng”. It’s such a local paper kind of word.
Once again, thank you to everyone who stopped and chatted and posed for pics.
There are many more photos over on our facebook page.
All words by Jason White. Find me on twitter @gaston_nothing
Mind the Gap. They are an award-winning theatre company, which since 1988 has been working with learning disabled and non-disabled artists as equals.
Now the project itself
So, as I was watching the live feed when I got home, I saw what looked like a group of kids gift wrapping it. It also looked like a couple of people were giving them shit for it. So, I decided to get myself back on down there and chat to them.
As I approach them another group of teens had just crudely drawn a penis on the side of the Cube with a cheese biscuit. They told them off and said not to spoil it. It made me wish I was ten years younger. This close knit group of friends were scattered around the already gift wrapped cube and embellishing it with ribbons, bows, and a motif saying Celebrate Difference. I asked them if they were art students.
Surprisingly, they weren’t. One of the used to work for an IT company but was recently laid off, the other were students and six formers. When I asked one girl, Kelly I think her name was, if she was at college, she said ‘no, I’m doing A-Levels. My mum says I’m not allowed to be creative.’ When I asked her if she knew she was here with the Cube, she said she had an exam in the morning but she knew she was going to do fine with it so came here instead because she wanted ‘to make Barnsley look pretty.’ And the Cube definitely has been prettied up. Kind of looks reminiscent of Tracey Emin quilt.
I asked them about the man earlier with the roller. ‘He’s the cleaner. He must work for the Cube. He removed what had been put on it the day before to give others a chance to paint on it.’
‘So after they’ve removed your gift wrap, do you have any other plans?’ I asked.
She explained, ‘one idea is me and Crissy are going to paint it white and put on it different equality symbols.’
They were eager to show me photos on their phones of what they did yesterday. One lad showed me photos of the rubix cube everyone had been talking about. That was them too! Then I was told I should talk to Stefan, as apparently he was the one performing parkour on it.
Everyone was so eager to talk about what they had done and Stefan was no different. He said that ‘yesterday we made it into a giant rubix cube. People were puzzles by it and so we came up with the idea of actually making it into a puzzle.’
Stefan found out about IMMOVABLE after walking past it on Monday. He instantly decided to start doing back flips off it and attracted a crowd. He later looked it up on the internet and has been tweeting updates to Mind the Gap since. ‘With the rubix cube we came up with the idea of using chalk and tape. No paint. That way we don’t permanently damage the cube and it can be washed off. We respect the cube! Today I just came down to help out my friends who’ve done this. I was meant to be meeting up with someone to talk about this cube for an inteview but they never turned up. Apparently there is a big event on Saturday; maybe Sunday, which is when I think the Cube is removed.’
I asked him ‘have you got any more ideas?’
‘We submitted an idea on the Mind the Gap’s website about taking the Rubix Cube idea further and making it into a dice or into a Question Mark Cube like on Super Mario. People think the cube is mysterious, so it’s a play on that idea.’
‘Did you see the mouse that was washed off it earlier this morning?’
‘Yeah… that was my friend Janna. She tweeted it on-line. I thought it was pretty cool. She used chalk too.’
I asked him if he had seen any of the negative feedback on We Are Barnsley?
‘I know people are complaining about the taxi rank but it’s a waste of time. Why can’t they see that it’s bringing such creativity out of people? And look at this enthusiasm. The market and this area will be knocked down soon. It’s so bland here and I think the block represents Barnsley.’
I told him about my idea of IMMOVABLE being people’s unwillingness to accept change, difference and new ideas.
‘I agree’ pointing to the Celebrate Difference motif on the cube. And at that point someone came to tell us that ‘the guy who put the block here has turned up.’
So, this gent, Tim Wheeler of Mind The Gap, was one of the people that had plonked the block into the middle of Barnsley. He greeted Stefan and told him that he enjoyed watching the footage of him leaping off of the cube and at that point some elderly fella with one of those big red beer noses barged in. ‘Who’s bloody idea was this? Well, ah tell thi wha’… it’s put ninety bloody pence on my taxi fare this bleeding thing. It’s disgusting. If ah’d a bomb ‘ad blowing the fucking thing up.’ And then he trundled off.
Tim explained, ‘The gift wrap will be removed this afternoon and a group of people with learning disabilities will be coming to do a performance. So, hopefully you won’t mind us removed the wrapping paper?’ And in unison, they all agreed that that’s why it was there; for everyone to use.
And suddenly he got a barrage of questions about what’s inside it, when is it moving, is there a prize for the best idea of what to do with the block and the only question he was willing to reveal anything about was what the stone is made from.
‘Where’s the fun in giving everything away. I’ll tell you what it’s made out of. It’s made out of Yorkshire stone. It’s quarried nearby here and it was in a quarry up until just before Christmas. The stone is over twenty million years old.’
Someone asked, ‘What’s inside the stone. Steel?’
‘I have no idea,’ he knowingly laughs.
I told him it looked suspiciously like West Yorkshire stone and not South Yorkshire; the kind Bradford is built on.
He laughed. ‘No, no. Bradford is millstone grit. This is sandstone. I’m a stone nerd. I know, this southern Yorkshire stone is much smoother.’
Tim went on to photograph the group before their contribution was removed.
I said goodbye to everyone and I was still pleased at how friendly and excited everyone was about the project and I hope everyone else will be too.
I think the project is fantastic. Yes, it encourages the usual debate, blah blah blah, but anything that encourages the kind of enthusiasm and outpouring of creative energy and ideas that these young people had, well… we really should think twice before being too negative about it.
They even asked Tim if the Cube could be moved to The Civic’s Mandela Gardens after the project was finished, so they could keep on using it.
In ways, IMMOVABLE reminded me of Antony Gormley’s installation The One and Other on the 4th plinth at Trafalgar Square, wherein he invited members of the public to do absolutely whatever they wanted for an hour at a time. Some protested about a particular cause, some performed, some stripped. Even one of our own Barnsley residents took a trip on down to That London to spend an hour raising awareness about breast cancer in front of an audience of many from all around the world.
This is the kind of project Barnsley needs and we should definitely encourage this kind of participation.
TOBA CALDERA live @ THE LUCORUM.
As soon as the first notes come alive, Toba Caldera show that their sound has just as much in common with Black Sabbath and Doom Metal as they do the usual indie fare that is offered up by Burn Down the Disco every week. It’s like some Black Sabbath Motorcycle Club. In fact, I actually came across this band while looking for Doom Metal on bandcamp.com; totally unaware that they were from our humble hamlet of Barnsley. I was amazing by what I heard – and that was just their demos.
The Three of Me is a bass driven, feedback ridden, nasty bugger and a much more ferocious beast than the version on their Demo #1… which I highly recommend. On record it is swagger. Here it’s a tank and is louder than half the metal bands in town… and better… and darker.
Darkest Kind, with the line “can you feel it in your skin”, utilises both vocalists; one much more gruffer than the other. Together, they’re like Richard Ashcroft and Tom Meighan’s been brought up on a diet of Electric Wizard. Both songs are definite set highlights.
A shame though then that there were a few tech problems. And at one point vocalist James shouts ‘Can we have more reverb please?’ and it reminded me of a friend, who of Toba, said “don’t like them. Too much fucking reverb.’
Well, I love it and on a week that saw the release of a totally reverb drenched new Richard Hawley album, finally reissues of the My Bloody Valentine catalogue, I am very pleased to see a band flying a banner for some dark, psychedelic rock.
CF BUNDY live @ THE COURTHOUSE
The Courthouse is a weird place to have live music. It can’t be a paid venue and you always has a variety of locals in there. It’s also very light and any atmosphere has to 100% come from the band and the audience alone; so they got to be good.
This is the first time I’d actually got round to see them outside of a festival. A couple of songs in to their set and front man and growler Brett says “those first few were just to warm up the bar-staff. Now we get nasty.” And it is at that point that they really do knock it up a gear, including vocally and their set kicks in.
As a band, they are technically pretty slick and Brett keeps up the dirty vocals without fault. Their sound is a mix of those steam roller grooves that Slipknot churn out so well and vocally, at one point Brett even had a tinge of Burton C Bell doing Death Metal .
They, along with RedMist Destruction are probably one of the heaviest bands in town and CF Bundy definately are the nastiest. NB: They certainly aren’t the nastiest band in the world though (that honour I give to Captain Three Leg – check them out). Grebbing on The Courthouse carpet does no end for the deco and the finer songs in the set such as Visions of War, Fisted By the Lesser Known Chuckle Brother and Enemy do just as much for The Courthouse’s foundations.
And just a quick mention of Tom Prendergast… It’s only when you peel your eyes away from James’s gurning that you catch a glimpse of just how fucking good this guy is. Although drumming here, he rips it up in various bands of various genres on various instruments and sweats it just as much in any of them.
If you like you metal as loud and as dirty as possible; CF Bundy will never fail you.
BOTH BANDS CAN BE SEEN ON THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT THIS SUMMER.
TOBA CALDERA will be headlining the Noise Delays Stage at Coalfield on Saturday 14th July.
CF BUNDAY will be playing The Extreme Marquee at BOMfest on Saturday 28th July.
…and of course check out both bands pages for more local gigs.
Opening with local singer Brandon Gray, this night of live music at what was Paddy McGinns and is now Who Knows What starts off well. The pub it pretty packed and the poor choice of beer is flowing.
Coming across like a more soulful Frank Turner; we get covers of The White’s Stripes’ Conquest, Lana Del Ray’s Video Games and Mumford and Son’s Cave among others. Although there was an abrupt ending to his set, I’ll look forward to catching him in the future and hopefully hearing some self-penned tunes.
Hoyland’s Mark Jackson has recently returned to the live circuit playing support to many; now with guitarist Steve Dalton in tow, they are now known as Mark Jackson’s Criminal Waste of Talent and play a wonderful blend of austerity shoegaze. It seems everyone but my girlfriend loves Mark’s spoken word, half sung half gobbed songs. Set regulars Long Day and Greggs, people now know words for word and are as enjoyable as ever. I even saw that miserable twat behind the bar raise smile on the latter. Tonight they debut two new songs, Dumped By Text and These Things I’ll Do For You; the first is fantastic ode to the pro’s and con’s on social media and getting chucked in a modern age but the latter feels a little overlong. Mark pulled out one of those harmonicas that no-one can play on Hole In My Trouser Knee and the finale… Real Men Have a Shed is triumphant; a singalong about modern masculinity, plant pots, wooden slats and falling asleep watching shite. It’s a gem and always is the perfect way to end a set.
Now, I’ve never really heard Mynas before and despite them having numerous line-ups and incarnations and this month seeing their return to the live scene after a wee break, this one is my breaking-in.
I was expecting to hear some kind of St Etienne or Belle and Sebastian kind of lark, but instead, it appeared that each member played to their skillset, bringing in all kinds of influences. Del brings in a Marr style of guitar, while Chris definitely has some funk in his bass and the keyboard brings in a 60’s psych feel to proceedings. It’s a great mix which sometimes sounds indie, sometimes even latin pop. It’s original… or at least for Barnsley it’s original.
I’m not a fan of in-between song banter; especially in-netween song banter about song keys, but they make up for it in tunes and with only one cover in the set; a lush version of Noisette’s Atticus, most of the songs focus on Sarah Evans’ lovely vocal. Although her tone is a deep velvet, she can definitely hit the high notes too – a bit of a Tracey Thorn.
Bliss, Atticus and Sleep Tight were all highlights.The set flew by in no time and to be honest, I was left thinking it was a shame there wasn’t more.
The five members of Barnsley’s Majority Vote average at 17.5 years old and with around forty shows already under their collective belt they also very hard working.
They have just recorded their debut EP called Playtime’s Over and if I’m totally honest, I was a little dubious before my first listen. I know I shouldn’t be but too many young female fronted bands head down the sugar coated Avril path or the goth-lite Evanescence one rather than dirtied up rock.
I had no needs to worry really. The self-titled opening track starts with a guitar riff a la The Vine’s Ride and is perfect Pop Punk. It’s a well crafted song with spot-on vocals and very reminiscent of Riot-era Paramore; although the ‘hey hey’ hand-claps at the close of the track only just fall short of MCR and Avril territory.
Visitors opens with a riff that’s very much in the same vein of Manic Street Preacher’s 1990 EP, New Art Riot (don’t believe me? Listen… although Manics were aping The Clash), and there is nothing wrong with that. If every band had the attitude they had back then, there’d be a lot more better bands.
Both Visitors and Sellout have the same raw energy and urgency of Foo Fighters and Jimmy Eat World; though luckily Sellout ends before it stops before it starts sounding like like Papa Roach’s Last Resort, rather than Bad Religion. So far though, so good.
Last track Clarity is easily the highlight here; a totally different mood to everything that went before it. It’s much darker but also totally optimistic and both the mature song writing and Haley’s voice shines.
…and when Hayley sings the word Clarity, you know she really means it and it.
Each and every song here is simple and well crafted. If you only want blazing guitar solo; don’t bother. Majority Vote may not be the best musicians or the best singers yet (that will definately come with time), but they can write a damn good honest song. Majority Vote have what it takes to be fantastic.
Although they were brought up in a world of post-Nirvana pop racket like Paramore and My Chemical Romance, these guys have a much more vintage approach to song writing – think a grunge The Runaways.
The band could go in a number or directions. They have the ability to be a very polished pop act in the best or they could easily go down a darker route. I look forward to finding out which.
Download the EP for free here…
Or visit their facebook page here…
Why not try…
- Silverchair - Frogstomp (Murmur Records, 1995)
- Kittie - Spit (Artemis Records, 1999)
- Manic Street Preachers - Generation Terrorists (Columbia, 1992)
- Paramore - Riot! (Fueled By Raman Records, 2007)
Skindred + Therapy? + Black Spiders + Cavorts.
10th April 2012
For the full review of all four bands, hit this link…
They’re lucky to be in the north. If this was a London gig; they’d be playing to no sod at seven o’clock! The third full auditorium is lucky to see these guys. This is CAVORTS first show apparently, but those in the know, are aware that these guys have been going for some time both on a local and national level in various bands and incarnations since the late 90’s; Sunlounger, Purple>Sticky>Punch, Errander and most recently the quite successful G.U. Medicine. After, vocalist Lee departed last year, guitarist Ryan stood in and the whole dynamic of the band changed drastically.
Although each version of the band had been described as dirty, heavy, groove laden rock n fucking roll, Cavorts are much, much rawer. If GUM were dangling their rock and roll balls in your face, then CAVORTS are smashing your face in with them.
Each song takes the grooviest elements of Mastodon, the unrepentant rock and roll of Therapy? and the energetic technicality of Refused. ‘Say Something to Someone Else is a highlight; showing that only a few songs in that they can 100% turn an unfamiliar crowd, even if the sound mix wasn’t top notch.
All images courtesy of Mark Latham @ www.marklatham.co.uk
Still cutting their teeth on the local live circuit, MILITIA have only less than a handful of gig to their name. As their name and t-shirts’ suggest, they aim to have an early Metallica tinged metal.
Militia have a quite a following and in fact many of those who came to see these young uns leave before the headliners get up. This obvious support and good demand for more gigs means that next time we see them, they’ll be well improved because at the moment, there’s some tweaking needs doing.
Militia are not (yet) a thrash band; hey lean much more towards Speed Metal while Punk definitely looms heavy. They start off brilliantly with a version of The Misfits’ Last Caress, followed by the first of three original songs. Mankind’s Sorrow is very old-school Metallica mixed with a raw splash of early Motorhead and it comes off well. It’s when they launch into Iron Maiden’s Wicker Man that the flaws appear. The band are perfectly able to, with practise, play anything they want; although the few guitar solos there are, are a little rough around the edges. On top of that, vocalist Lee does not play to his strengths. Lee’s vocal range is far from suited to hit the notes that Bruce Dickinson does and his Dave Mustain impression fails to hit the mark on Symphony of Destruction (though I’ve always hated Mustain’s voice). However, Lee has time to find his voice and that will come with more gigs, but in the meantime, we’ll have to put up with the force faux-American banter and Hetfield vocal ticks.
They do have all of the right ingredients though and it surprisingly shows on their second original song which “is the most thrashiest song they’ve wrote.” It’s second half shows their true potential with its Pantera like breakdown; as does their cover of Metallica’s Four Horsemen.
The set ends with a Ramones medley they’ve titled I Wanna Blitzkrieg and an encore of Anti-Nowhere League’s So What and its here they are at their best.
Lee says towards the end of the set that his voice is shot; which shows he’s pushing it to do things it shouldn’t. If they wanna do Iron Maiden, any track from their first album would suit much better. If they want to be a Thrash band, maybe they can in time, but until they can get those notes, they should stick to their strengths, because when they are good, they are very good.
…and none of this is to be taken as a negative. I actually really like these guys and really enjoyed their set last night regardless. Back in February when I saw Beyond Driven for the first time; they too were a little rough around the edges; with the images of high tops and skinny jeans having just as much presence as the tunes, but just look at hpw they turned out.
In just two months, BEYOND DRIVEN have paid they dues and are strong enough to headline any stage. When singer Ryan hits the stage to introduce the band, he does so in a fake death metal voice and with a big smirk on his face. And that is the difference between the two bands. BD have the abilities to take the piss out of themselves.
One of the most of obvious things about their set is that fucking sheet metal symbol! At first unsure whether or not it is meant to be there, it takes some time to get used to it, but once you do, it add a new dimension to their drum sound; coming across like Shawn Crahan’s bin lid percussion on Slipknot’s Duality. Another great thing is the rest of the bands’ willingness to supply great backing vocals; something which now I think Militia lacked.
Younger, Lighter, Tighter has fantastic disjointed rhythms which they pull off with ease but a cover of Smoke On The Water is a stranger move. Although their thrash take on the classic is played note perfect, it’s the odd one out in their set. Although I think it was meant to come across as funny, I think maybe some old Queen may have worked better, such as Brighton Rock or Stone Cold Crazy.
At times you can hear elements of Machine Head, Metallic’s That Was Just Your Life and their original song Chaos Reigns is indeed built around a fantastic ‘fucking dumbass riff this c**t wrote.’ Brilliant.
Ending their set with a perfect version of The Trooper (this is how you should tackle Iron Maiden) and a hilarious version of Paranoid. Ryan doesn’t know the lyrics but it doesn’t stop them playing it with sick panache.
I would happily see BD again and would definitely recommend them. Give these guys a year and they can take on the world.
BEYOND DRIVEN 8.5/10
Saturday 21st April is International Record Store Day. I wanted to write a little something about my memories and how real records and the shops that sold them were important to me. I decided to open it up and invite people to contribute their memories too.
Below is a collection of various people’s memories of Barnsley record store past. Some passages lengthy, some short. All important and all mention memorable and influencial first singles and albums bought, favourite music shops and experiences.
It appears that the most memorable and influencial were Casa Disco and EGS and I have a great picture here, courtesy of Alan Guest.
Thank you to everyone who contributed…
I’d been interested in music ever since I can remember; whether it be singing I Just Called by Stevie Wonder into my Fisherprice cassette recorder or checking out my Dad’s collection.
must have been around ten years old and EGS Records on Albert Street behind BHS was my favourite place ever, apart from my Nannan Shepherd’s house. I was too young to buy anything myself but I remember being in awe of the place; being swamped by rows and rows of vinyl filled racks and so many cassette tapes. All the wonderful album artwork in there made a ten year old feel like he was in a gallery.
And other than the odd compilation bought for me at Christmas or birthdays I never had my own records to listen to. I was eternally envious of my friend Antony’s Appertite for Destruction and Bat Out of Hell LPs. He also had CDs (the first and only CDs I had ever seen) and Craig Thurman’s The Simpsons album and his 12 inches of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles single and Hale and Pace’s Comic Relief single STONK. And I’ll happily admit listening to New Kids on the Block’s Hanging Tough in his attic and doing the dance routines together before we had a game of Subbuteo.
But as much as I enjoyed listening to my friends’ records, I always wanted my own.
So to satisfy my needs, I always enjoyed looking through the few vinyl records my dad in his record cupboard. I adored the rich, dark artwork that decorated each one. Some of them I never even listened to but I would steal those records and for a few days and hide them in my bedroom, just so that I could look at the artwork.
Uriah Heap’s Demons and Wizards, the enormous demonic snake head with blood dripping from its fangs on the cover of their album Innocent Victim, the apocalyptic landscape of Rainbow’s Rising; AC/DC’s Powerage, Highway to Hell and the immense bloodied cover of If You Want Blood.
Some of the albums I later listened to when I started to be left in the house alone. We Sold Our Souls To Rock and Roll by Black Sabbath, was actually better than any of the studio albums and introduced me to the dark side or rock. Looking at that woman, laid in the coffin in the middle of the fold-out sleeve gave listening to the album a whole new dimension; as did that first Iron maiden album… still my favourite. You cannot get any better than those closing tracks on each side. Iron Maiden and Phantom of the Opera played alongside that artwork of that gaunt, shock haired zombie like creature, who I later found out was called Eddie.
And when I got though all of the rock albums, there was LA Woman by The Doors and Morricone’s soundtracks.
And then there were all of the singles; Madness, Ian Dury, The Boomtown Rats and for some reason lots and lots of cassettes of Queen.
And of my mum’s albums the horrid Bread, Diana Ross, Cliff Richard, Tina Turner, Bay City Rollers… only Gloria Estefan from her collection tickled my fancy.
It was these records and the hours sat in front of my first ever tape deck when I laboriously recorded the Top 40 from four ‘til seven every Sunday (minus the DJ’s commentary of course) and also the Radio One Rock Show with that God-like voice that was Tommy Vance.
I didn’t have my own money but when I did, I knew what I was going to do with it.
Although I loved all of the Now and Monster Hits compilations I got at Christmas and needed to build my own real collection.
EGS closed down for a bit and reopened in the new Alhambra Shopping Centre in around 1991. It wasn’t the same though and closed down as it really couldn’t compete with the new Woolworth’s shop.
Barnsley did however still had Our Price which was in the precinct and my new favourite shop - Andy’s Records which had recently opened. Every Saturday I would go there with my whole-foot-taller-than-me friend David Taylor and spend my paper round money on singles… two every week.
One week I would by Alice Cooper and Pet Shop Boys, the next it would be Janet Jackson and Metallica. Or some early Prodigy and Aerosmith.
This was how we would spend every Saturday. Buy tapes, get threatened by some big lads into stealing some jeans for them and getting a punched nose for it, then later off to practise in Ferrit’s conservatory with our newly formed band.
Without a name, I sang, David played a borrowed drum machine from school, Ferrit played the finest guitar I’d ever heard and Copley played a mean bass. We played Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Def Leppard and Metallica. Copley made me mixtapes of Warrent, Motley Crue, Motorhead, Aerosmith and the Leppard and inspired, we wrote our first song called Terrorizer about an old paedophile preying on local kids. I designed the band uniforms, logos and stage sets the size of Wembley.
I bust my balls trying to get the high notes and David realised he was better off as a groupie, while we recruited Alan; Copley’s cousin who had his own actual real-life drum kit.
So to avoid my bullies, we practised every lunch time in the music rooms. Girls would watch, infuriating their boyfriends even more and I’d run home to deliver more papers to buy more records and now sometimes on Saturday’s I’d even meet a girl. Once me and David even went on a double date with two lookers from Shafton; Sharon and Wendy.
One time though, I got real lucky and got a date with Heather; the girl I had a crush on for three years straight. She asked me to meet her at Our Price. She sang Weezer’s Surf Wax America to me while I pretended to know what it was. Needless to say she didn’t want to meet me again, so the following Saturday I bought Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes from Andy’s Records (not Our Price just in case she saw me) because it had Winter on it; a song that Heather sung in assembly once at school. I’ll always remember that as a better version than Tori’s.
CasaDisco was next to some discount shop called Mad Harry’s or something and opposite those underground toilets where I got touched up as a kid.
I’d like to think I started going into CasaDisco when I was much younger; but I’d be lying. I didn’t think I was cool enough to go in there but when I did for the first time after Mr Hunt and Mr Hardacker told me to, I found it the amazing place on earth. The shop itself was a work of art. I wanted to just stand there and look up at the ceiling for hours, but I’d look like a dick. Up there were posters upon posters upon posters. A whole collage of pop history. Siouxsie and the Banshees always stood out for me. What a woman!
Here my tastes change. Therapy? Placebo, Nirvana, Bush, Foo Fighters, Manic Street Preachers…
I wanted to ask the guy behind the counter for recommendations, though I would never speak to him or anyone in there; even though we’d always nod in acknowledgement. Even now, I can walk into a pub and see people I know (eg Sally Lomas. Sorry, I’m not really rude) and I will only smile at them. I’m just not one for talking to people. I’d end up going into Casa every week until it closed down. I also loved the Tuesday market and the music fairs in the library for all of the live bootlegs and old 12 inches.
I took part in Barnsley’s first ever Battle of the bands on a stage outside Woolworths in the summer of 1997. We played our usual Van Halen, Def Leppard and Metallica and came joint first, as the other winners’ alleged manager was allegedly screwing one of the alleged judges and threatened to cut off our new guitarist’s fingers if he pulled off a legendary solo that might outshine her young’n. How could they win anyway? Eric Clapton does not win you anything.
Well, it was there in the back room of Barnsley bank with the other judge where I met her nice and my future virginity thief and with her I would pluck up the courage to visit Our Price again and together we shared our new found love of The Doors and The Rolling Stones and my cassette, cd and vinyl collection grew even quicker.
I left the band and I started a new one with a boy name Moose at college. We played Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains but the band split up after a week allowing me and Fay a year of bliss.
My mum and dad split up. Fay joined a band. We split up too.
…but I still had my records.
And my relationship with those records grew. Each one found new meaning as I put them in order – Genre first; rock, pop, punk, metal, soundtracks. All in alphabetical order and then the mixtapes from Fay. Those old mixtapes Copley did me at school.
And over time, just like the girls, the record shops too would leave me too.
Andy Record’s closed and I had a brief affair with the new MVC upstairs in the shopping centre, while sputting sale labels onto new releases in the last few days of Our Price.
College came and went. So did Claire, Rachel, Helen and Sherine – but from them I gained Jimi Hendrix, Tool, Sex Pistols, Silverchair and Dead kennedy’s.
Then came Jen with her Suede and smoking and old school Manic Street Preachers.
And together, wearing eyeliner and we tackled bouts of depression with the finest record collection ever.
And like MVC, Jen too left.
I had the pleasure of working in Music Zone for six months in 2004. In there I tried to creative with the little we were given, the finest metal section in town. It was the most fun job. I made friends for life there on those themed afternoons; Punks Mondays, 60’s Tuesdays, Old school rock Wednesdays, 90’s Thursdays and Disney Fridays.
And now ten years later, my front room wall is decorated by over two thousand cd’s. My cassettes have long since disappeared (apart from those mixtapes) and have been replaced by an itunes library of 20,000 songs.
In them I find comfort and stability and growth and every emotion and experience I have had in the last 31 years.
Those record shops and girlfriends were as important as each other – each came with new records to treasure.
- JASON WHITE
Casa disco was so small and when busy, got rather intimate!! It always had a fab selection of alternative stuff!
I went in [Casa Disco] looking through all the cassette tapes of the rock music that I liked, they were always on the front counter and I used to spend all my babysitting money in there. :-) hahaha I loved the atmosphere in Casa Disco, it was quite dark and gloomy in there, but it felt ‘cool’ (how old does that make me sound).
I did my trident at Andy’s Records in 1995/6 and loved it. Just a shame I was a bit too young to appreciate all the different genres of music. The boss was ace; he loved Pulp. I used to buy from there, EGSW and Casa Disco too. My first record purchased was Billy Joel’s Up Town Girl and second record was Kenny Rogers’ and Dolly Parton’s Islands In The Stream. Hahaha… VERY uncool but even more uncool was my Keith Harris & Orville and Smurfs singles - I still have ALL my 7” singles.
EGS, Casa Disco and Our Price!!! Bought my first casette from EGS which was Rick Astley!!!!!! :-/ x
Andys Records………every Saturday afternoon me and my mates were in there with our spendo….in fact still got all my ELO singles I bought.
I worked in egs. Best time of my working life!
SARAH RILEY (the S in EGS?)
I remember the opening of EGS. I got my t-shirt signed by the guests of honour - BLACK LACE !! (My Mam went mental !)
EGS n Casa Disco n I can also remember goin n buy my concert ticket there. Noneof this this ordering over the internet. Best feelin is queueing and holding your tickets in your hand!! X
I think some of these may have been a little before my time but I spent many a happy hour looking for bargains in MVC in my student days. I may have been guilty of altering the charts ever so slightly and placing my favourite indie bands in the number one position. Before that as a kid, I’d spendOur Price vouchers on the latest Manic Street Preachers, Pulp and Space releases (on cassette). My first ever purchase was Pulp’s different Class. I was almost 10 at the time and I still listen to the album now (not the original that became unplayable some time ago). I suppose my most memorable purchase after that would have to be a Beatles boxset I got from MVC, bargain price of a tenner for their first four album, and that began my love of the fab four.
I used to go to EGS, Casa, Andy’s… My fave memory tho is the music dept at old Woolworths when it was on ground floor. I used to love traipsing through all the LPs n singles
Casa Disco was barnsley’s only real record shop. HMV and all the others only appeared when records were on their way out. I bought many a tune from Casa Disco. They didn’t have everything but they had a bit of everything. Mary’s Records upstairs in the market was a goldmine for ex-juke box tunes. She didn’t sell new tunes, just second-hand/unplayed shop stock. I bought most of my Trojan Records tunes from there. After years of CDs and MP3s, I’m now back collecting vinyl again. The concept of the “single” doesn’t really exist/work on CD/MP3
I was really intimidated by Casa Disco. Mostly because social interaction when I was that age was difficult! But it got me interested in more music and these days I have hundreds of CDs and vinyl. I live with a collector ;p
Casa Disco and EGS were fab shops. I got a few Iron Maiden picture discs from them \m/
I bought my first cd’s when they came out from Andys Records which was 2 Unlimited’s No Limit. But loved Casa Disco & EGS too.
PUNK CASADISCO PIC Alan Guest
Casa Disco in Peel Square. There was also second hand records at bottom of Graham’s Orchard for ex-duke box records and Woolworths but Neals in The Arcade was the true music shop where you could even buy new needles for your dansette!
Me and my hubby loved Casa. Steve was brill, knew all his regulars, and built up good relationships. I still have an Ozzy Osbourne promo cutout from Shot In The Dark that Steve gave us. We miss Casa!!
Andy’s Records and Our Price! I used to spend my £5 pocket money in there nearly every week! I would be gutted if HMV shut because that is the only shop in Barnsley now you can buy cds from! I’m not one for downloads, I prefer my albums on cd format!
I loved all the record shops, especially Casa Disco. I bought my first concert ticket for Michael Jackson at EGS and always bought my Northern Soul and Disco from Andy’s. What a great atmosphere all the shops had and I still have every single and LP I bought. Happy memories. x
I got my very first single, Return to Sender by Elvis Presley at Neals shop up Sheffield Road in the 1960s.
Spent many happy hours in EGS browsing n buying mainy 12” remixes. My first 7” bought was Words by Fr David from Woolworths and my first album was Dark Side of the Moon probably from Casa but my most treasured purchase was Michael Jackson 1988 Bad tour ticket and a 12” Limited edition advent calendar of Smooth Criminal; both from EGS. That shop was the business for music in Barnsley.
I bought my first record from hoyland market. New Seekers’ I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony) 1970/1972? It took a long time to save up for it as well!!!!!!
Aaaaahhh you young folk, you never had the pleasure of the juke box singles shop where I bought Crocodile Rock, John I’m Only Dancing, Slade, The Sweet, Gilbert O and t’others I can’t mention. All with removable middles. The shop was located where the Coop bank is now. A treat like no other on a saturday aft. Cost about 2 bob each. Other gems long gone. Neals record shop was for LP’s and located down The Arcade; right hand side, near top. Scene and Heard was where M&S is and there was also WH Smith and not forgetting the new Woolworths (the 9th wonder of the world) with the record section located at the then known centre of the universe. Ask Bri Shaunessy and The Black Lamps about Scene and Heard.
The first record I ever owned was a complitation called 25 Rock N Roll reats which was bought for me on Christmas Day 1972 along with a Bush record player. This record player was probably the most influential present I received in my life….
The first record I ever bought was Can the Can by Suzi Quatro. This was from Vickers record shop on Hoyland Common who used to stock chart singles but only one of each !!, so I would listen to the Top 40 on a Sunday night and if any glam stuff (Slade, Sweet etc) got in the charts I would go round after school and hope they hadn’t sold it.
I remember buying Spin The Black Circle” 7” by Pearl Jam from Casa Disco and at the same time as my best friend at the time, Jonathan Scaife bought a PJ and Duncan single and Wigfield’s Saturday Night single. We then went on that Hollywood fairground ride out side and nearly sicked up our Mc Donalds.
There haven’t been any record stores in Barnsley as long as I’ve lived here but I did buy Strangeways, Here We Come on the market for a fiver!! I remember visiting family here before I moved here for good and seeing that place [Casadisco] covered in the Mechanical Animals album promo poster but I was too young to have any money to spend there :(
November 5th 1991… remember clearly going into Casa Disco and rooting through their fine collection of ‘proper’ records. One definitely caught my eye just because of a) the cover and b) the price (a mere £2.99 and in mint condition too).
The album cover features a big Iron Man-esque robot on the cover, clutching the bodies of four clearly dead members of the band… Queen’s awesome 1977 effort ‘News Of The World’.
I always liked Queen, but had never seen or heard this album, and bought it for my steadily growing collection (I was 12!).
Remember getting home, putting it on, and getting to ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ before realising that in the year punk broke Queen didn’t give a shit and just did their own thing.
Less than 20 days later I remember the news announcing Freddie Mercury had died. Gutted is not the word. True story.
In a nutshell… My love of vinyl started when I was quite young. My dad used to work on the bins for South Yorkshire Country Council at Birdwell until Margaret Thatcher shut it down. He was a bit of a magpie in those days and foraged for 7 inch singles other people threw in the bin, mainly from the 70’s. Examples are: David Bowie, Sparks, Nazareth, Ian Drury and the Blockheads and the Sex Pistols. I still have them although many have seen better days due to them not having any sleeves and being played constant over the years.
I was mainly bought cassettes when I was aged 8 or 9 but the first record I purchased myself was Star Trekkin’ by The Firm in 1987 from EGS records. I was aged 10. At that time novelty records seemed to be the ‘in thing’ as my friend Tracy (who was 2 years older than me) had bought the Chicken Song by Spitting Image the year before.
The vinyl collecting started the following year in 1987 when Michael Jackson’s Bad album was released. I would shop in EGS and Casa Disco’s mainly. I bought all his releases on every format 7”, 12”, CD singles and cassettes. Every Saturday I’d go into town with my pocket money and spend time browsing through the racks. My favourite place was Casa Disco’s as the staff were really friendly and helpful. I would ask Nigel who worked behind the counter to put my name down for the big promo cardboard cut out displays. When he was ready to take them down he’d give me a ring to collect them. I would be a tad embarrassed walking through town to the bus station!
I was a serious collector a few years after that until my early teens. I went to the big VIP record Fairs at Ponds Forge in Sheffield and also smaller ones in Barnsley Library, Queens Hotel and the YMCA.
The most collectible item I have in my collection is the ET Storybook narrated by Michael Jackson and produced by Steven Spielberg for the motion picture E.T which was released in 1982. It was quickly withdrawn from sale after a contract dispute between Michael Jackson’s record company Epic/CBS and the film’s record company MCA. In 1994, MTV’s Coca Cola Report estimated it being worth $10,000 dollars but I think that’s vastly inflated. Not sure of it’s real value. I picked it up from Barnsley 2nd Hand market for £40.
In my mid-teens my music buying tastes broadened to match my altering musical tastes. I bought mainly Indie/Rock CD albums and singles from Andy’s records, EGS, Casa Disco and Our price. I also used to browse in the 2nd hand shop in the upstairs market.
I remember purchasing concert and coach tickets from Our Price to see the Smashing Pumpkins in Birmingham. Our Price used to have free promo stuff to give away with album releases, one example being Presidents of the USA T-shirt.
I used to get so into a band I’d buy all CD singles and different version of them such as CD1 and CD2 with different songs and versions of songs on them.
I stopped buying them as much when money increasingly began to go on beer, clothes and trips away. MVC was a bit of a turning point when I used to have more of an excuse to go in. I got loads of goodies such as promos and limited edition CD’s. I got box sets for Christmas and birthdays, of which I’d still like to receive but never do.
There are many great artciles and websites out there about old record shops and Record Store Day. Here’s a few…