A Grand Day Out in Otley – preview from The Culture Vulture
Adam Nodwell has been putting on gigs under the guise of British Wildlife for the past six years. On August bank holiday he will be celebrating his 150th event (should be a pretty special one as well) but a little sooner than that is this weekend’s Grand Day Out, a mini festival staged at the Otley Courthouse. Featuring some of Leeds’ finest , GDO is a chance for Adam to venture forth/north from the venues of the city centre, circumnavigating the Brudenell all the way up Otley road in order to share his venerable music knowledge with the good folks of LS21. This won’t be his first jaunt away from the safe spaces of Leeds however; Adam recently braved the M62 to host an all-dayer the other side of the Pennines in that there Manchester. So what’s the deal Adam, are you thinking of leaving us?!
AN: [British Wildlife Goes West] was back in early June, I was kind of invited to do it, it went pretty well but there’s no need to panic, I’m sticking around! It kinda felt like starting all over again as I hadn’t really built a name for myself there. So you’ve been doing this promoting malarkey for a good while now, you’re an old hand at putting gigs on… is it tough being on the scene in Leeds, there always seems to be good nights on and clashes aplenty? AN: It just ups the ante, you have to make sure that you are the best, better than all the rest!
The Otley Courthouse website markets the venue as ‘an arts and resource centre for everyone’ but I’ve been wondering how a building more used to hosting yoga classes for children and brass band rehearsals is going to take to the likes of shouty synth punksters the Yugoslavian Boys… Not that the band themselves are adverse to utilising a bit of the old trumpet and trombone mind, I remember recent gig where each song was punctuated by the appearance of an increasingly enlarged brass instrument, culminating with a tuba and party popper ending… it was pretty sexual! On second thoughts I could have just imagined that although it seems a likely conclusion to a YB gig, a band whose stated intention is to “serve up an alternative to the boring emotionless live music scene this country is plagued with”. And not half, I’ve only seen a handful of their performances but I would recommend them very highly to anyone with a sense of fun and a tendency toward mayhem with OI! overtones.
So what of the other bands on the bill? How did you pick ‘em Adam? AN: With it being a new venture I’m keeping it cheap and cheerful, all the bands I booked (Juffage, T.O.Y.S., Post War Glamour Girls, Yugoslavian Boys) are quite close mates or regular gig goers. Talking of friends, and friends of friends, I know the members of the T.O.Y.S. outfit and have neglected to go see them thus far – yet another compelling reason for me to get my tardy arse to Otley this weekend. But what’s in it for you dear reader: another trio, another genre? Well three actually… T.O.Y.S. describe themselves as an “uptempo blend of lo-fi pop, krautrock and dancefloor indie” though I’d probably describe them more succinctly as ‘should be from NYC’ as they sound like a convivial mix of Pains of Being Pure of Heart, Interpol and The Strokes which is never a bad thing in my book*.
Making the rest of the line-up is Juffage and Post War Glamour Girls: the former of which is the alias taken by Jeff T Smith, a ‘sound artist’ and multi-instrumentalist from Leeds (via Chicago). Jeff/Juff does very clever things involving layering and looping and stuff I don’t understand so I’m not going to try and explain apart from to say: it sounds good and you should check it out. The PWGG have a really trippy website which I spent a good few minutes staring at trying to work out what the video footage under the signage was – it brings to mind a young River Phoenix being driven around Basingstoke in a Ford Capri by Peter Faulk to the sounds of cowbells… was that film ever made? If not, it damn well should have been! Back to the music then, Glamour Girls are part of the Futuresounds/Cockpit annual play-off, a competition to be added to the line-up of the Leeds/Reading festivals; and with a heady mix of post-punk sound and deep Nick Cave-esque vocals and lyrics they must be in with a chance surely?
So, the last few words from Adam then on his career thus far and the imminent special anniversary BW event he has planned: AN: I just started out by putting on a gig at the Packhorse when I was at Uni, I enjoyed it so much that my 150th gig will be taking place on Sunday 26th August at the very same place! It’s a bank holiday also so no need to get up for work the next day, more info will appear on www.britishwildlife.info very soon!
* I’m adding this here NB as a lot of the time I say to people ‘don’t you think someone looks like/sounds like such-and-such’ and I just get blank looks. What I mean to say is just check them out yourselves ok?! Don’t rely on my tired old ears.