The second in Vulture Hound’s Guide to local music scenes, Zoe Williamson takes a moment to ponder what makes up Wakefield’s music scene.
Wakefield. Just saying it conjures up images of bright stage shows and world dominating bands. No? Well, fair enough. That stuff has so far evaded the city. However, there is a slight hint of a music scene emerging from Yorkshire’s forgotten district.
In terms of bands, there’s The Cribs. Right, well that was a nice full list. Time for venues.
Let’s start with the newest addition: Unity Works. Strictly speaking, this is not a newcomer. Once upon a time…and largely still now… the mention of the venue was followed by “Annie Lennox played there once”. As venues go, there could be worse. Of course, Leeds will always get first pick of the big acts but there’s a certain charm to the Works. Maybe that’s because they sell pies in the foyer before gigs. Make no mistake, Foo Fighters won’t be parking the tour bus around Westgate any time soon, but Frank Turner played there once.
Warehouse 23 has had issues with ownership over the years. No longer Black Flag and with fixed air conditioning, it has cast aside the reputation of a dreaded sweat pit where your favourite band can watch you pass out at the barrier. There’s still a pillar in the middle of the stage and a few amongst the crowd, though. While it is a great idea to keep the ceiling up, it would be more aesthetically pleasing if the support structure weren’t more prominent than the performers.
After that, the list of venues that would appear on Gigs and Tours has been exhausted. Leeds certainly does cast a shadow over its neighbour; boasting an arena, universities and various small venues scattered across the city. Like any self-respecting English location, there are pubs bands can go to if they’re starting out, but there’s no absolute go-to for the next big thing. Fortunately, this is a small island. If a band wants to make it, a less than prosperous city should present no barrier. Especially not when opportunity is 8 miles up the M1.