This would be the first time I have ever seen the same band play three times in one day and unsurprisingly the first time I have ever been on a band one-day tour/ pub crawl in a vintage bus. This opportunity came about because I purchased the Yorkshire special edition of Apollo Junction’s new album, ‘All In’ as well as it being limited, signed, coloured vinyl and with a tea towel it also came with a ticket to this very different way to spend a Saturday. The first venue was in Otley at an old hotel called the Black Horse. I briefly watched the band setting up in a relatively small function room on the first floor. All of the band’s kids were in attendance, and we came close to getting a set from the Apollo Juniors. This first set was an acoustic run-through of some classy tracks from their first album ‘Mystery’. Bassist Ben nailed his acoustic for that difficult opener. The band also added an acoustic stomp through “Two Car Family” from the new album. As it was December the boys played a Yuletide standard, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, towards the end Jamie admitted that they had spent time rehearsing it, but hadn’t confirmed how to end it! But they did it with style and aplomb. This was perhaps one of the most intimate sets I have been to, the band were even provided with chips by one of the punters.
After this Mr. Shedload Records himself a.k.a. Mick took us lucky lot to the vintage bus which would take us to the next venue. That was a great, but bloody cold, journey on which I was able to chat with quite a few more Apollo Junction fans. The second venue was the Bridge Inn at Kirkstall for another acoustic set, this one focussed on the new album ‘All In’ and many of the, so far, seven singles released from the album were included. Along with another take on “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. Jamie did his usual wander in the crowd while still singing, which is always something special. The venue was incredible a huge double teepee at the back of the pub exclusively for us. There were fires too and once again a really intimate set.
Then it was back on the bus for a shorter trip, just down the road to Kirkstall Brewery in Leeds. I hope I heard it right, but I think they have produced an Apollo Junction beer. This was the largest venue of the three and was the setting for a full-on electric set. The band was firing on all cylinders and finished the day with a stunning, entertaining, emotional set. This is a band that gets better all the time. A great bunch of lads, ace musicians, and oh boy do they know their audience. This closing set was very special indeed and if I had to pick a highlight it was the storming and emotional “Are You Happy” a great singalong anthem and possibly my current Apollo Junction favourite. “Light Up The Sky” was electrifying as well. This was to be my final gig of the year and if I count each set individually then I have seen this band four times in 2021! I reckon this bus and pub tour should become an annual thing, how about it lads?
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