On Saturday 2nd April and Sunday 3rd April, the first (and hopefully not the last) York Life Festival took place on Parliament Street in the centre of York. It was free for all residents and visitors and was organised by Make It York. Activities took place for up to ten hours each day and included music, poetry, theatre workshops, instrumental workshops, face painting, comedy, and dance. Sadly I only made it for the last part of the second day but I couldn’t let it go unnoticed by With Just A Hint Of Mayhem. I arrived just after the magnificent Hyde Family Jam finished their set on Sunday. The turnout was pretty big, despite the somewhat chilly temperature. It was nice to see all of York’s fabulous range of music venues getting some good promo with posters and handouts throughout the weekend; The Fulford Arms, the Crescent Community Venue, the Vaults, the National Centre for Early Music (NCEM), York Barbican and Forty Five Vinyl Cafe. The crowd contained a veritable who’s who of anyone who is involved in the York music scene. Firstly three of the key players behind this event were there, obviously, Simon Pattinson (Northern Radar), Chris Sherington (Fulford Arms), and Harkirit Boparai (The Crescent), and I bumped into all of them! As well as meeting many of the band members of the Sunday performers (Trueman and the Indoor League, Bull and the Howl and the Hum) I also ran into Pennine Suite (who had played the previous day), Chloe (Please Remain Calm), Zac (Heartsink and Fulford Arms ace doorman), Andy and Paula (PERCY), Nathan (rock photographer extraordinaire) and many others. The incredibly cold temperature meant that I didn’t take my usual copious notes, however here are my recollections of the three bands that I did see.
First for me were Trueman and the Indoor League. Fronted by the titular Sam Trueman this band gets better every time that I see them. They really put on a show in almost a revue-style akin to the E Street Band. Regular readers will know that I have referred to them as like a pound shop E Street Band, but that was meant as a compliment. With more of the blood, sweat, and tears they put into their performances and some lucky breaks I can see them playing arenas one day. Next up was another fine York band, Bull, who released their wonderful debut album ‘Discover Effortless Living’ last year. As well as selections from that first class platter the band treated us to a few new songs, one of which suggested that Bull have hidden talents as an ace party band! The headliners on Sunday were perhaps York’s greatest band, although there is plenty of competition. I am talking about the Howl and the Hum. They played an amazing set at the iconic Minster last year which is available on most streaming platforms and frankly it is a scale above awesome. Their set was out of this world with the whole band firing on all cylinders. The new tunes bode really well for the sophomore album when it materialises. The highlight for me though was perhaps one of the best songs ever written, “Hostages”. This festival definitely needs to be an annual event going forward, where do we sign up to make that happen? We need to know! Bring on York Life 2023!
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