While we spend Jan­u­ary snug­gling under duvets lis­ten­ing to lash­ing rain and howl­ing wind, the night time econ­o­my takes a hit. One area that can’t afford to lie dor­mant is grass­roots music venues. Per­fect­ly timed, Inde­pen­dent Venue Week is an annu­al cel­e­bra­tion of these unique, inti­mate places and aims to entice music fans out with a week of tempt­ing line­ups. Musi­cal refresh­ment in the guise of sup­port­ing your local venues is a win-win. And per­haps you can even treat your­self to a bit of merch.

Inde­pen­dent venue The Trades in Heb­den Bridge wel­comed #IVW24’s ambas­sadors for the year, Eng­lish Teacher, on the Mon­day open­ing night. I last saw them when they bounced onto the Ris­ing stage at Green Man fes­ti­val two years ago, feisty front woman Lily Fontaine charm­ing­ly woo­ing an ever-grow­ing crowd. Tonight, catchy, clever pop tunes such as new tune The World’s Biggest Paving Slab rings out but there’s so much more to this band who can also pro­duce nuanced and nar­ra­tive-rich mate­r­i­al, such as Song About Love and Men­tal Maths. Vocal­ist and song­writer Lily Fontaine is from Colne and there’s an hon­est ten­der­ness that radi­ates from those lyrics about her home town. The band fin­ished with the beau­ti­ful Albert Road. If any song was made with love, this is it. 

Also appear­ing were Lit­tle Comets who had brought a raft of loy­al fans with them from their New­cas­tle home. Front man Michael Coles had plen­ty of sto­ries to share; he told us how the band had been think­ing of call­ing it a day after so many years togeth­er – for­tu­nate­ly, for us, they decid­ed to car­ry on. There’s a joy­ful qual­i­ty to their music, exud­ing a warmth and a gen­tle ener­gy that spreads around the venue, espe­cial­ly on those tracks with insis­tent riffs like A Lit­tle Opus and M62.

On Sat­ur­day, Splint take to the stage. The five-piece are a local band who emerged from the Calder Val­ley’s hotbed of post punk tal­ent. Head­ed by vocal­ist and gui­tarist Jake Bogac­ki, Splin­t’s sound is deep, intense and immer­sive. Jake’s steady, sonorous vocals intone the lyrics over a dense sound­scape. They close with a impres­sive new track, as yet unnamed, a riff run­ning through it that gets under your skin the more it repeats. Jake tells me this fledg­ling track is ready to be record­ed next time they are in the studio. 

Sun­day clos­es with Hinds, who are on the last evening of their tour. They are tour­ing with a rejigged line­up since the depar­ture of their rhythm sec­tion. The duo, Car­lot­ta Cosials and Ana Gar­cia Per­rote, are a high-ener­gy act who lead the crowd through a set of hits like Rid­ing Solo plus take plen­ty of time to talk to the crowd. And nat­u­ral­ly they have fall­en in love with the lit­tle town of Heb­den Bridge. 

The Trades Club, Heb­den Bridge
Inde­pen­dent Venue Week

Eng­lish Teacher / Splint / Lit­tle Comets / Hind

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