Random Hand w/Support @ Stereo, York

Random Hand, The Talks, Beacon Street
Stereo, York
23rd October

In a dark dark town, with a dark dark street, there was a dark dark club… Where for tonight punk and ska lived!

Yes, punk and ska were the theme of tonight’s gig at the Stereo in York, and the packed back room proved there was a thirst for it; as well as for the cask ales and specialist ciders that were in ready supply. Having missed Lyon Estates (aptly named after the future site in back to the future) due to a mix up of venue, we were eager to discover what was on offer, and we were definitely not disappointed.

Beacon Street, a six piece band from York, played an eclectic mix of punk, folk and rock; which strangely worked! The band themselves joked about how they were impossible to find online, as they shared their name with a No Doubt fan club, a girl’s school and a 1960’s psychedelic rock band – but all of this was in hand due to the building of a new website. Violinist Jo Wherry and acoustic guitarist and vocalist Elliot Partridge played a stunning rendition of their song Moonpie and Pennywhistles, which switched from a mellow acoustic sound, to one very reminiscent of a Flogging Mollyesque vibe including the rest of the band; and the effect, was instant! After playing a select number of songs, which Elliot pronounced as having names that were too long to remember, it was apparent that the crowd were won over. Their unique sound ensures that these are a band to watch out for in future.

Suzyska Photos

Next up were Hull’s very own, The Talks.  Formed in 2006, they’ve had a hard road – Suzyska Photos.travelling the UK and Europe tirelessly, as well as playing Leeds/Reading Festival, and Glastonbury in the not so distant past. They also possess a number of celebrity fans on the circuit; and it is easy to see why as soon as they begin to play.

After borrowing Suzy from ska band Copasetics to play trumpet for them, they launched into a set of bouncing ska beats, and the room descended into a skank fest.  Tracks such as Can’t Stand The Rain and Killer Sinner ensured that the dancing kept coming, and the cheers got louder and louder as the set went on. It’s  really unclear as to why this band aren’t massive on a wider scale – their tight playing style hardened by long touring, flows with apparent ease and each song was brilliant. They rounded off their set with a cover of The Specials’ song Skinhead Moonstomp inviting the crowd to join in; to which they gladly obliged. They left the stage after rapturous applause, leaving a hyped up crowd to meet the arrival of the next act.

Not long after, the boys from Random Hand took to the stage. Formed in Keighley in 2002, the band has embarked on relentless tours of the UK, Europe, Russia, The USA and Canada and they show no signs of slowing down. Following the departure of guitarist and a founding member Matt Crosher in April this year, many wondered if the band would still have the same stage presence as before. Any suggestion they wouldn’t was quickly quashed.

Suzyska Photos.

Launching into a blistering set of hits including Play Some Ska, Bones, Anthropology, Anger Management and many more, it’s very clear that the band still have the magic formula that other bands lack. Throwing in a hefty amount of Yorkshire humour along the way from Robin and Joe, including a request for “one of them circle pits that Kerrang are always on about”, the crowd loved every second, and the room kept moving. Having played Leeds Suzyska Photos.and Reading Festival before, it’s obvious that playing to small intimate crowds is what they relish – and because of this, it’s easy to see why these guys are so popular with a huge mix of followers.  The end of the gig culminated in a miniature crowd surf, where the very sweaty Robin Leitch was held aloft by the crowd for all to see.

So how do I sum up this gig? In this very sweaty dark corner of York, I can confirm that punk and ska are very much alive. Hopefully one day it will make a comeback, with the bands described here leading the way.

Charlotte Taylor

Photos by Suzyska Photos.

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