Indie and rock explosion in Yorkshire

Yorkshire’s indie and rock music scenes are positively thriving. With great bands and venues across key areas including York, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and Bradford, there is talent collectively busting a gut to be heard and seen.


Photo of Dom Smith: Jamie Mahon

New styles and sounds, open minded promoters

I wanted to speak to a few musicians from key areas in and around Yorkshire about why they love their city’s scene so much.

The biggest problem all regional promoters and bands have had in the past around Yorkshire, is getting people away from their computers into venues to check out theses awesome acts performing live. But that’s not really the case anymore!

Venues such as Bradford’s 1in12, The Cockpit and Nation Of Shopkeepers in Leeds, Stereo and Fibbers in York, Black Flag in Wakefield, The Riverside in Selby, Yardbirds in Grimsby, Corporation and The Boardwalk in Sheffield, The Dome in Doncaster, The Pavilion in Halifax, 1:22 Club in Huddersfield, Vivaz in Scarborough, The New Adelphi and Fruit in Hull and even the new Milton Rooms in Malton keep me constantly motivated and entertained on a very regular basis. I asked Ian Stockdale (Promotions, The Corporation, Sheffield) about the thriving scene.

There are a lot of new styles and sounds that quickly take off in this city, and there are many open minded promoters and musicians who are willing to put time and effort into both their music and events.

York punches above its weight

Tim Hornsby (Promotions, Fibbers, York) also says there is something special about the city.

York has punched above its weight for many years - it is still only a small city, a glorified town. Giants of all genres lurk amongst the walls. Shed Seven, Glamour Of The Kill and One Night Only to name but a few. On any night, you can find great live music of some feather or colour.

Newly politicised movement for affordable DIY music

For Jim Dog (Promotions, 1in12, Bradford), the current political climate plays a big role.

Once again, the 1in12 club finds itself at the centre of a newly active and newly politicised movement for affordable, DIY music in a city raging against the attacks on our social structures created under yet another aggressive Tory government. In many ways, the conditions now are remarkably similar to those that created the first wave of our scene back in the 80s and so there is a lot of room for optimism.

Increase in diversity and quality of local bands

Being off the major touring circuit means York’s home-grown talent is really taking off, says Mark Hall (Promotions, Fruit, Hull).

The city, lacking an Academy or O2, rather unfairly misses out on a lot of big touring bands which are routinely steered through Sheffield and Leeds or York; but this hasn’t stopped the live scene blossoming. Since opening Früit less than two years ago, I have witnessed a definite increase in diversity and quality emerging in the music of local bands including LIFE, Late Night Fiction and endoflevelbaddie all make it an exciting time to be running a venue in Hull!

Bands help each other

When it comes to bands, there’s some really stand-out new talent across the region including the Gary Numan-endorsed Officers (Leeds), Mickey Dale’s Talk To Angels (Bradford), Hey Sholay (Sheffield) and the Zane Lowe-approved Late Night Fiction (Hull).

Jamie Baker (Officers) says:

Leeds has given us the room to breathe and helped us establish who we are as a band and label we want to run. Anyone creative in the city seems to have an ethic in them to help each other and transcend the scenes and cultures and prejudice you might find in other cities.


Friendly scene

James Thompson (Late Night Fiction) reinforces that view - bands as comrades.

Just this underdog mentality that pulls people together. We love being part of one of the friendliest scenes going.

Late Night Fiction

Experimental legends and unorthodox technology

There’s also a history of trying new things out says Laurie Allport (Hey Sholay).

Whether it be the legacy left by experimental legends such as Derek Bailey, to the pure embracing of unorthodox technology such as ‘Harleylikesmusic’ - a new young musician who multi-tracks in a live situation using only two Nintendo Gameboys. Sheffield will always remain a true Alluvium for creatives.

Hey Sholay

Independent venues and promoters

The independence of venues and promoters is also a plus says Mickey Dale (Embrace/Talk To Angels).

It’s a vibrant place to live, around the city centre there’s a number of venues who still do things their own way and some truly amazing music is being performed. Bradford’s 1in12 Club, The New Beehive, Delius Lived Next Door and The Polish Club all put on regular live music nights featuring anything from Electronica, kraut-rock, folk, indie, shoe gaze, math rock, post rock and more.

Talk To Angels

Explosive year for Yorkshire music

There is so much opportunity now for you as a music lover to take advantage of; with all the venues listed above working hard to bring you the best in live music, from fresh-faced local talent to acclaimed acts. Dare I say it, 2013 may just be the most explosive year for Yorkshire music in the last decade or so.

  • Dom Smith runs alternative culture magazine Soundsphere, based in Yorkshire. Soundsphere spotlights local and international musicians.