Sid's discovered Barnsley again...Parole
does wierd things to a man.
a stretch in the wilderness courtesy of Her Majesty, I thought
it was about time to catch up on what has been happening in
this tarn we call home. So once again I had decided to place
Barnsley under the microscope to see what sort of a state the
music scene is in.
There's a line of philosophy that states "Where there's cool
Californian sun - you'll find blandness personified. But where
there's poverty and deprivation - you'll find absolute creation".
It's a similar idea to Orson Welles's cuckoo clocks of Switzerland.
Well, was I surprised, there's an amazing amount of creativity
bursting out around the area. It's absolutely spawning with
life. Where better to start at the dawn of a new century, and
where stranger than with the past.
No more surprised than Bri Shaughnessy himself, the singer/co-writer
of the dearly departed Seventh Son,
who had called it a day in the 90s. However, a Metal revival in
Germany had found themselves back on the wanted list. So Y2K kick-started
with the album 'Dangerous Kiss'. An album of unreleased tracks
from the 1986-88 period. Also Bri was promising live appearances
and a Greatest Hits album later in the year. You just can't keep
not just another heavy rock band, but one of enormous promise.
They've been together since February '98, and although were currently
in the middle of completing their debut album, had managed to
fit in a support spot at the Leadmill with the Yo-Yos,
and a little later, a one off at Barnsley's Bodega Bar. Lee Storrar,
singer / guitarist with Sunlounger,
was pleased that their latest single 'Personal Services' had been
the 'Single of the week' by those lads at Front magazine. They
will soon be receiving the 'keys to the tarn' at this rate, from
the mayor no less. . . they're that good.
By the end
of January, King Palooka,
Indie Kids with Barnsley stalwart Dean Ormston (ex- Creatures
of Habit, Silent Scream) -
a veritable powerhouse on the drums, were to be found rocking
up a sweat at the Bodega Bar.
astral plane in February, Kate
Rusby, the folk phenomenon, was playing an extremely rare
date at the Memorial Hall. She is seen rarer than Haley's Comet.
Fortunately, she's more accessible by CD, and her second album
'Sleepless' has been described as 'Elogant austerity'.
came early for King Palooka, who
had managed to cause a delightful incident at Bodega's in March,
by being banned from playing. The gig poster was advertising 'free
sex and drugs', and so, the landlord was not a happy man . . .
those 'Palooka wags. Fortunately
the Fealty and Firkin stepped in at the last minute to rescue
the night. For the following month, their collective tongue had
been restrained and they were able to play at Durty O'Dwyer's.
In May, Sunlounger
along with Doncaster's own Groop
Dogrill rocked out at the Leadmill.
heartening to know that even in the age of CD, its heritage has
not been forgotten, as Junk Yard Dog
tentatively announced to the world their 3 track cassette demo
of Jazz, Latin swing beats. It was their taster for the forthcoming
appearance at Chunky.
Back Holiday brought its own festival for the town to show off
its diversity. Barnsley's Nick Fig
was doing what DJ's do best as part of The Deejay day at the Student
Union Bar. The college's own salsa band, Its
Salsa, were being very English by playing in the midday
sun. In the evening The Fealty and Firkin was host to 'Rock On',
a showcase event for the forthcoming Chunky Festival. Finally
Internationally renowned Trevor
was at the Central Library with his 'Electronic Experience', which
could best be described as the point where vocals and computers
met in stunning cacophonic soundscapes.
And in the
name of diversity, let's not forget The Barnsley Jazz Society
and its Jazz festival.
festivals go, the real surprise was Barnsley's very own music
2000 on the 9th June. Firstly it was funded via the Town
Council with some Millennium Project money - "Gawd Bless ya Ma'am".
The man behind it was Glen Sutton, the council's live music officer.
His aim was "To showcase the best local talent covering Rock and
Indie music" and "to bring everyone's attention to the original
talent in Barnsley", was serious about it. There were to be four
venues for 'day or evening wear': Mandela Gardens, Fealty and
Firkin, O'Neils and Durty O'Dwyers. Basically the Festival was
a HM, Punky, Folk, Indie, Jazz, Accoustic, Ambient dance sauna
with the dialled turned up
in the 'Garden were Groop Dogdrill
(pictured left), who are four years down the line and still
vital. Groop Dogdrill were currently
airing their latest single -'Every six seconds'. Other notables
worth name checking that day were the Urban
Dance Collective, Becci Taylor
and Sheffield's latest Indie starlets - Lioka.
The day went well and Glen Sutton was left to dream of an annual
gathering in the making.
Sunlounger's album 'Some Is Good,
More Is Better, Too Much Is Just Right' was released in September.
The launch gig was at Bodega's, where they played alongside Purple
Sticky Punch (thrash punk) and Pearl
Mary (grunge rockers) in support. To their credit, Sunlounger
had just knotched up to an impressive gig at the Monarch in London,
and also were part of Kerrang's 'Week of Rock'. Furthermore Sunlounger
had their own Spinal Tap moment by replacing their drummer with
their former sticks man, Pete Williams. On a more sensible note,
Barnsley has been staging its own Carling Premier 'Search for
a Star' with the usual type of suspects. This time around a boy/girl
duo called N-Chanted seemed to be
getting some favourable attention. They used to part of a four
piece called Enchanted. Let's hope
they don't go solo. And whilst on the subject, could Barnsley
ever produce a 'boy band'? - makes your blood curdle just thinking
Mind you, that Ellie Campbell from Huddersfield's a bit nice...
of Utopia Music, the studio in Shambles Street announced an access
web site for unsigned bands, to record and upload their results
onto the excellent Vitaminic
site without great expense.As
winter approached, King Palooka went for a mid season transfer
by outing Gary Pollard, who was soon replaced by Greg Firth (ex-Party
Day). Is this a 'supergroup' in the making.
there was a flurry of activity. Those noisy lads Purple
Sticky Punch, Heroes for Sale
(Heavy Indie rockers) and Crudity 7
hosted a Christmas Party 2000 at the Firkin's Venue. Elsewhere,
college band The Daze (60s RnB/Primal
Scream'ish) went far-a-field to play The Cavern in Liverpool,
no less. And like a duck to water, King
Palooka were out and about again drumming up support at
ended with Seventh Son keeping their
word by playing their first gig since '94, and it was at the Arches
pub in Pit Street. Also they were armed with a new single from
the album of the same name, 'Dangerous Kiss'. Life was becoming
rosier for the 'Sons.
started the year as they'd finished it, in top gear, and were
continuing to grab more media attention. Music Week's article
Records had given Sunlounger
a favourable notice as 'hot property'. But not ones to rest on
their laurels, they were soon gigging again, this time at the
Casbah club in Sheffield with the band J*R.
released in March their promising debut CD single - 'Wellington
Street'. It being a 3 track delight reminiscent of the Cure and
who could definitely be described as hyperactive, were next seen
at the Casbah with Sherbert Burp
and Sheffield's Mine. PSP's lead
singer Jamie Silver has the vocal qualities of a gravel pit, and
visually, his sidekick Ryan is losing the battle with his Repunzel
sideburns. In April, they had the Fealty and Firkin all hot and
sweaty for the promo night of the latest Lockjaw compilation,
No.6 - 'Helping You Back To Work'. The CD features 19 bands and
obviously included the aforesaid spunky boys. Whilst on a roll,
they were then seen in Rotherham and then the following night
at Bodega's with This Girl and Heroes
For Sale. Which was swiftly followed by a further involvement
in the CD world. This time a compilation by Real Promotions with
its drab title of 'Sheffield Unsigned 2001'. Purple
Sticky Punch definitely want to be noticed.
Not to be
out done, April saw the release from Abuse Records, that of -
'Vol.3' featuring Sunlounger and
the track subtly entitled 'When She Comes Slowly'. . . PC in Barnsley?
returned with a more ambitious Chunky Festival
2001 set over 2 days, 8-9 June, which included: 25 bands,
numerous DJ's set around 3 venues. Glen Sutton had been busy.
The DAYTIME section at Mandela Gardens was a little tarnished
by the nasty wet weather, but not enough to dampen anyone's spirits.
It was estimated that throughout the day around 300 people were
in the 'Gardens, sampling the delights of the B-Movie
Heroes, Marie Lynch (whose
acoustic debut CD will be released shortly by Pearl Records),
King Palooka, The
Daze and the stunning Headliner - Sunlounger.
For the EVENING, the festival switched to the Fealty and
Firkin and the Union Bar for the hot sweaty delights of Purple
Sticky Punch (of course), White Trash(hip-hoppers),
Godstone (Thrash Metal) to name but
is now looking for some sponsorship and hopes to be back next
year with another Chunky. So come on Carling, Heineken or whoever
- Give a little joy.
had another release to celebrate, that of ORG Record's latest
compilation CD bearing the subtle title - 'Org Radio 16 - Smack
My Gorilla Head Off'. Can anyone stop them, but more to the point
- should they . . . and it's only June.Finally, for several months
now there has been a regular DJ contest at Browns pub on a Saturday
afternoon, which when I was there was full of energy and vitally.
And full of damn good grooves, so expect to see our very own 'Fat
Boy' sometime in the future.
So had the
new technology reduced everyone one to being bedroom 'Tech-eads'
as I'd thought previously. Strangely not. Although the bands are
more empowered thanks to the web. There's nary a band without
its own site. Also Barnsley seems to have more going for it today;
musically from thrash metal to folk whilst stopping off at all
stations in-between, and with so many venues too. It warms the
cockles of my heart to see that there's more to the tarn than
Wellington Street. Finally, to quote Jeff Goldblum's character
in Jurassic Park "Nature finds a way" . . . well, I never said
I was contemporary! . . . and can you believe it, Goldblum and
Elizabeth Taylor - what's THAT about!