In my lost post, I made much of the fact that we, as a group, had seen the same band twice running for what I thought was the first time ever. If it wasn’t the first time, it was certainly a rarity. Tonight, we saw the same band for the third time and, because they are so good, not only had we recommended them to so many people that there was seven of us out (even without Roj and Lynn, who had tied the knot the day before) but we had actually paid to get in.
We had decided to meet in the Black Swan for a couple of pint before venturing on to Fibbers so, unfortunately, we missed the beginning of the first act. Oliver Salisbury (I can’t find a link for him) is a man and guitar act but, unlike the majority of the ones that I have come across around York is less folk/Americana and more upbeat, slightly “poppy”. It was, to be honest, a little refreshing (not that there is anything wrong with the rest of them). Despite looking a little nervous and having to fill the opening – otherwise known as “try to sing above the talking” – slot, he showed that he had a good voice and a nice playing style. The set, which was at least six songs long (I’m not sure how many we missed) included Hey Mister, which was slower than the rest, In Your Soul, Fight The Good Fight and something I think was called Things That Remind Me Of You, which was my favourite.
The Robin Pierce Band hail from Manchester and a three piece comprising of Robin Pierce on vocals and acoustic guitar, Pete Lilley on keyboard and Rick Wilson on drums. It has to be said that the latter plays like a whirlwind, with so much energy and power that it is hard to take your eyes of him. On the negative side, the drums were mixed a little too high and for at least part of the set drowned out the keyboards. It was a little hard to pick out song titles as, between songs, Robin was a bit of a mumbler. His vocals were a lot more impressive, at least as the set went on. Going through the set, I think the first song was Where I Want To Be while the second, the title of which I didn’t get, ended up being my favourite. The third started slowly and quietly, with Rick playing just with his fingers, before speeding up and beginning to sound a little like Led Zeppelin, but that from the keys. Richard thinks it was Outkast’s Hey Ya, but I’m sorry to say that I didn’t recognise it. Coming Home featured the best vocals of the set, which ended with two strong songs that I couldn’t hear the titles of. Tonight’s headliners had played with this band in Manchester and had invited them to play tonight’s gig. They are certainly worth looking out for again. The songs were, for the most part, upbeat, cheerful and catchy. Very entertaining.
Paintings Of Ships are another band invited up by the headliners. Another three piece, this time from London, they are billed as Indie / Rock / Shoegaze, but were sounded, at least in places, a little more punk to us – references to The Skids and Magazine were made. Having said that their first song, also called Paintings Of Ships, had the guitar style of the Jam. It was Love Will Always Follow You… that garnered the Skids comparison, as the beginning reminded us of Into The Valley. The first two songs had a big sound, energetic without very much movement from the band, but Thoughts (I think that was what it was called) started out in a much more laid back manner. After We Only Talk About The End there was an impromptu drum and bass duet, while a string was replaced on the lead guitar and, because this took so long, the the band seemed to lose the audience a little (and, possibly, had a knock-on effect on the headliners’ set). Eventually, Fantasies In The Dark provided us with what was musically the most varied song of the set and was followed by two more songs, each of which topped the previous one, meaning a good end to the set. There’s no doubt that Paintings.. are good at what they do. Unfortunately, they are just a little too far removed from my musical tastes and I probably didn’t enjoy their set as much as the rest our group did. Sorry boys and girl.
In case you haven’t worked it out yet, tonight’s headliners were the incredibly good Dream Of Apollo. This was the final gig of a ten day, twelve gig tour of England and Holland, which included an impromptu gig on the ferry. The set was familiar, if slightly tweaked to work with the shortened length. There was no solo start from Vicki and the band launched straight into Regrets Of The Devil which, as usual, segued into Children Of The City. Hold Me, Leander, Someday, Anatole, the cover of Depeche Mode’s In A Manner Of Speaking, Too Lost Too Late, Free and Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues all followed. I’m not sure whether it was the perennial problem of Fibber’s sound system or whether the tour had resulted in a bit of fatigue, but it took a while for the vocals to sound as good as we knew they could be – the best vocals probably came during In A Manner Of Speaking. The playing, however, was as superb and tight as usual and it was nice to finally see Jamie taking advantage of a proper venue and playing with drum sticks rather than brushes. There’s not a lot more I can add to what I’ve said in previous entries – Dream Of Apollo are quite simply one of the best local bands around at the moment. Unfortunately, tonight the set came to a slightly embarrassing (for the band) end. After leaving the stage for a few minutes, they returned for what should have been an encore of the brilliant Sandman. However, the sound engineer had already turned off the feeds to their instruments and microphones, depriving us of what is a superb song. I think the band’s next gig is the Summer Sanctuary Festival – an all day charity festival raising money for Ryedale Special Families and the Alzhiemers Society, taking place at the Judge’s Lodgings on August the 20th. Sadly, I won’t be able to make it, but if you are in York on that day, look in on it and, perhaps, donate to the cause.