Saturday, 18 June 2011

Yorkshire Music Collective's weekend out at Rock and Rail

I've not been on Keighley Worth Vally Railway since I was a child so I thought the engines might seem small now but they are still huge! I arrived at Keighley station about 5 - the platform stage was already set up and I was waiting for the first music train to arrive. It's raining and cold and I'm feeling pretty glad that the Keighley stage is covered and the rest of the events will be indoors. The first acoustic performer of the weekend was Tim Moon. I really enjoyed this  collection of folk songs accompanied by an array of string instruments (I'm a bit too ignorant to know the names of them all) - it's so strange to be sitting on a train with live music. I am sitting in the performers coach next to the Jubilee bar and the music is piped all the way down the train. I'm thinking it might be a challenge for some performers, playing on a moving train with the speakers wobbling in front of you and jerks and stops at the stations. Not to mention a few tunnels that leave you in the pitch black dark!

I got off at Oxenhope, exchanged my ticket for a wristband and headed into the trainshed mainstage. I had been a few weeks before to see this location, it was full of trains then and I am totally blown away by the fantastic set up now in place. I'm listening to a sound check and the sound is amazing, its a real festival sound. 

First performance I catch here is a stripped down set from Ti Amo, with the lead singer Christy on acoustic guitar and vocals, backed by the drummer, Will. Its great to see that State of Error have come up to watch their friends before they head off back to headline the Keighley stage. 

Next up The Marmozets, great energetic set from this young five-piece band. Looks to me like they have a great future ahead of them.

Then a difficult choice you often face at festivals as you can't be in 2 places at once, do I watch The Mexanines or hop on the train with Ben Peel and The Wool City Folk Club? I watch a couple of  songs by The Mexanines and opt for the train, mainly as I am intrigued to see how all 8 of the Wool City Folk club are going to play their set on the small carriage. In good spirits and squashing together, they deliver a lively set to the delight of everyone on the train. 

Ben Peel & Wool City Folk Club setting up on the train

I make it back to Oxenhope in time for The Sharp Darts headline set, great performance from a band who look totally at home on the big stage. 

Sharp Darts Headlining Oxenhope Stage
Back on the train again, reaching the Keighley stage in time to catch the last couple of songs from the headliners State of Error. The crowd there are delighted with the Calderdale pop punk band who have played for an hour and a half. And so ends a really good first day.

Matt Bentley

Early start Saturday, I'm on the train at 12.30 to see Matt Bentley, who delivers a great set, accompanied by his father on a few songs. 

Mr. Gary C.

Next up is Mr. Gary C, who is joined for one song by his 5 year old son, though a little stage fright takes over. Maybe next year! I chatted to both performers when we got back to Oxenhope and they were both thrilled to have played a set on a train, or as Gary C put it, its every boys dream to play a guitar on a train.

Jack's Attic
Off into the train shed to see Jack's Attic who impress the local crowd with their psychedelic rock. I have been given a backstage pass today, the performers are being well looked after backstage, there's a buffet wagon and a carriage to chill out too. During the set changeover, I chat to You Had Me At Hello, a young Keighley band who have played earlier in the day and were thrilled by the experience.

Kath and the Mighty Menace
Next up Kath and the Mighty Menace, Leeds three-piece band. Another great performance, unfortunately the bassist is taken ill during the show, but Kath manages to finish the set by herself. Next up is Club Smith, I had seen them a few days previously in a small venue and enjoyed their set a great deal on the big stage. 

Kava Kava

The one of the acts I've most been looking forward to as I've never seen them live, Kava Kava. No disappointment here, fantastic set great funky sound, loved the live version of Bank Job one of my favourite Kava Kava songs.

I popped back stage for a quick chat with Louise Distras who has also enjoyed playing on the trains, Middleman are doing a photo shoot on one of the carriages, I'll be watching out for those. I bumped into the lovely people from Jam on Top studios who are organizing the Keighley stage. I decide I will try the fudge cake that everyone is raving about but before its my turn Middleman start to play, well worth missing out on cake for, great performance, I love Middleman, I've only seem them in small venues up to now, great to see them on the big stage too.

Jasmine Kennedy

During the changeover Jack's Attic said they were hopping on the train as they'd had an text saying there was really good band playing, so I decided to join them. There was indeed it was Silverlode who were going down a treat on the train. Caught the last part of their set and then it was Jasmine Kennedy's turn to play. I love seeing people's reaction the first time they hear Jasmine Kennedy sing, she has such an amazing voice.

Silverlode, on the train

Steve Craddock
 I didn't make it back in time for Operator 6, which was a shame as I had been looking forward to seeing them. Headline act of the Saturday was Steve Cradock, he asked for the barriers removing so everyone could get close to the stage, so it was really quite an intimate gig, finishing just in time for the last train to Keighley, with live set from Tom Hingley. Loved this bluesy set from Tom Hingley.

I start Sunday on the trains again, to see Miranda vs. The Crok, who as everyone are delighted to have played on a train. I get off for a bit at Keighley station and manage to catch a few songs by Andy Doonan and The Lightwalks, was very impressed with this set, hopefully they'll be playing in the area again soon. Back up to Oxenhope, which is a rock/punk day today, I've just missed Propane Penny and get there in time to see Sounds of Swami, who played a great set. Next up is The Yalla Yallas, I've seen Rob Galloway doing solo sets a few times and I really looking forward to seeing the whole band. Great set, cracking frontman! Last set of the weekend is Anne Marie (Skeletal Family) - brilliant set to close the weekend events.

Everything is in place to make this a great a event next year, it was the first year so attendance wasn't great, but everyone who went had a great time and all the performers were thrilled by the set up. More publicity and word of mouth should see this event grow in years to come, its such a unique idea it should be repeated.

Michelle Dalgety, Yorkshire Music Collective