You can’t beat a gig showing four bands for four quid can you? Especially when it is at the Fulford Arms in York and even more especially when you know and love three of the bands playing; thank you Glass Traps, Honours and Tax! The gig was set up to launch a new York record label, Safe Suburban Home (SSH). The label specialises in releasing exclusive seven-inch vinyl singles by up and coming bands. This gig was to support the launch of the first SSH single by Maltese band the Velts. It is a shame it wasn’t a local band, but I am sure that will come. But before the Velts hit the stage there was the little matter of three fabulous support bands. Before I tell you about them I have to air a little gripe; the sound and mix at times was utterly atrocious. Was it atmospherics caused by the extreme heat or was the sound man having a particularly bad day? I am not sure what the sound was like from the monitors, but I got over the worst of it by standing closer to the stage.
First up were the Glass Traps, they are quite a young band and they have tons of potential. At times a little Beatlesesque and Byrdsian with a smattering of Tom Petty. The Beatles thing was compounded by the bass player using what I think was a Hofner bass, but not just that, he was also left-handed like Macca! The Glass Traps have some excellent songs, but like all of tonight’s bands the sound let them down a little.
The second band to take the stage were the mighty Honours, without a doubt one of Yorks finest young bands. Even with the issues with the sound this bunch were fucking awesome. The sound was definitely better closer to the stage, perhaps we got a bleed from the monitors. Honours have the potential to be their generation’s Oasis, only better. Jordan has more stage presence than Liam Gallagher as a front man. Meanwhile Struan’s guitar playing at times hits the majesty of Mick Ronson at his peak. “Freedom” and “Duchess” are outstanding tunes and “Higher Than A Mountain” is heading that way too. It doesn’t matter whereabouts on the bill Honours are, they always play like a headliner!
I had the pleasure of reviewing the ‘Averageism’ EP from another great York band, Tax, back in January. So I was looking forward to finally seeing them play live. It feels like their sound has developed immensely in those few months. Not just Space Cadets, but proper spaced out cadets! There is definitely a whiff of Tom Verlaine and Television about them while the Mark E Smith influence is also clear. But they are influences and Tax are very much a band mining their own eccentric seam of great music.
Headliners were the Velts from Malta here for the launch of their exclusive seven-inch release “Rollercoaster” b/w “Rattle The Cage” which is also the first release on Safe Suburban Home Records. It was a real shame that the bulk of the crowd had disappeared by the time the Velts arrived on stage. Those that left early missed a treat, well apart from the poor sound mix which never really improved the whole night. The Velts are to me what the Beatles might have been like if they had arrived on the scene in the late 90s with a fully formed more modern take on ‘The White Album’. George Harrison would have been proud of some of their left field wig outs! Both tracks from the single were played and they have some other great songs too.
So in summary this was a good gig that might have been great if the sound was better and the crowd was bigger. I hope the safe Suburban Records is a very successful venture and maybe they should try out a few releases from local bands in the next few months. I feel pretty sure that would pull bigger crowds and more sales. But I am the very proud owner of the single, mine is numbered 11 of 250!
All photos were taken by me using my cheap Chinese android mobile phone, hence the quality!