There was a grand turnout for Friday’s Independent venue week gig at Fibbers, part of a 7-day national celebration of the humble small venue. With some of the biggest names of the 90’s Brit pop era heading the bill, that was hardly surprising. But by the time Unfinished Drawings was part way through their set the place was already filling out, proving a good support for the local talent on offer as well.
By Graeme Smith
Photos by Chris Mackins
Unfinished Drawings is Toby Burras on guitar and vocals supported by Matt on double bass. They kicked things off with a fine acoustic set of beautifully percussive, self-described “scattershot pop”. The sound is best personified by the set closer Ciara Star, the title track of Toby’s recently released EP.
Next was York legend Boss Caine whose deep, booming vocals silenced the hubbub of the crowd from the start. His lyrical prowess was evident from the off as drew the audience in with a lonesome ballad, followed by the macabre Dead Man’s Suitwhere his voice almost took on a gruff Beetlejuice-esque quality. He was joined on stage at this point by Amy Greene, who sang harmonies on a new track and then the lively Smoking in my Backyard, beautiful tales everyday life. He closed on Leaving Victoria, a haunting, bittersweet song that has earned him national air play on BBC Radio 1 and 2.
Boss Caine with Amy Greene
A fan captures Rick Witter in action
The evening was then over to the headliners, a trio of Brit Pop’s most recognisable frontmen, Shed Seven’s Rick Witter, The Seahorses’ Chris Helme and The Bluetones’ Mark Morriss.
All three powered through sets of their classics, with wry nods to the good old days, grateful to their hardcore fans who still turn out and sing every word of every song back to them. Seasoned veterans, with countless tours together under their collective belts, it was as much fun to witness the banter between them as it was to enjoy their hits. Mark Morriss had to take the crown for comic interludes, busting out an acoustic cover of East 17’s Staywhich culminated into a farcical high note, a breaking voice and an abrupt finish.
Embedded into each performance on the night was the reminder of the vital role small venues play in the music industry. As Chris Helme put it halfway through a knowing set: “they’re not just for these young ‘uns coming up but for us oldies on our way back down. We need somewhere to play too!”
Unfinished Drawings, Boss Caine, Rick Witter, Chris Helme, and Mark Morriss played at Fibbers in support of Independent Venue Week on Friday 30 January 2015