This was my second Independent Venue Week gig for 2022, this time at the Victoria Vaults in York which had a fantastic overhaul during various Covid lockdowns. This night was put together by Trailer Park Promotions and it was great to meet the Head Honcho himself, Sam. The boy done good! Four bands in one night, does it get better than that? Maybe but not often! The opening act tonight was Pennine Suite who I saw for the first time in their current incarnation around two weeks ago. It is clear that the band in this expanded form has a much greater depth of sound and they use it incredibly well to showcase their canon of banging tunes. Lead singer Nick continues to build and develop his array of frontman skills. He owns it and totally understands his crowd. The band is on top form Louise’s keyboards add a sublime melodic wave to the sound. Harry proves himself to be an excellent guitarist, having switched from the bass. Meanwhile, Moses, who has only been playing the bass guitar for six months smashes a great groove. But there is clearly no stopping the band’s own nuclear reactor Louis on drums, he was insanely good. If I had to pick a highlight, and there were many, it would have to be “Impatience”, a real barnstormer!
Next up it was the turn of Silvertones who I have seen just once before, back in January 2019 when they supported the Receivers (who became Pennine Suite fact fans!) at the Fulford Arms in York. Silvertones are a power trio that puts the emphasis on power. There were moments when the guitar sounded like none other than Johnny Fucking Marr. The bass player’s vocals were reminiscent of Liam Gallagher back in the days when he was good. There was also that idiosyncratic nasal whine a la John Lydon. Their slower tunes suggested perhaps Cast or even Hard-Fi. Essentially this was an uplifting riff-laden set from a band who know their stuff.
A band that is new to me, Everything After Midnight, were next. This York five-piece was truly epic in sound and performance. Imagine Tori Amos if she took a much heavier direction with some added prog undertones, that is how Everything After Midnight sounded to me. The title track of their current EP “Still Sleeping” was majestic and at times was like a slowed-down Nightwish. Was that three guitars and no bass that I spotted? If it was then there was no negative impact on the sound. The chanty backing vocals were a perfect foil to the singer’s gorgeous, ethereal, enthralling voice. The band were tight and well-rehearsed, the drummer was a very classy player.
I first saw headliners Where’s Slater when they supported Tommyrot at this same venue back in August 2021. For that gig, they were missing two band members but still put on a great show. There is a huge 70s influence here, but they are also very much their own original band. This is a polished rock sound, made by a highly talented band. While there is a darkness to some of their songs Where’s Slater are a bunch of people that seem like they are having a hell of a lot of fun on stage. If you took the Ray Manzarek’s keys away from the Doors and added extra heavy guitar riffs then you might get closer to that Where’s Slater beautiful noise. Their cover of “Hey Joe”, a song which many people have claimed to write and which became a huge sixties hit for Jimi Hendrix, was masterfulIt wasn’t just a cover version, these boys took it and made it their own. Where’s Slater look more like a group of final year nerdy Uni students than rock gods, but when they perform they also transform into their rock n roll personas. This is a band with a bright future. Incidentally fact fans, did you know that a “slater” is also the german term for “feeling of two moments of time not colliding, staying far, far apart” (according to the band bio on Spotify anyway)
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