Save the Arctic

Saturday saw three York based bands brought together at The Fleeting Arms by Jake Fisher (Gynoug and York Greenpeace) and ZiZ to raise awareness and donations for the Greenpeace International Save The Arctic Campaign.

By Blue Wilson

Photos by Andy Arygle


Straight in for a light hearted start to the evening, and fresh from the Cornucopia Festival that day, were incredibly exciting gypsy/Celtic folk rock/acoustic five-piece Leather’o. With full on fiddles and flutes, these guys and gals were high energy throughout. Far from flagging after a full day of performing, they were both brilliantly tight and incredibly vibrant, with their whistles, accordion and bodhran guitar.

They whisked you away to mountain tops, valleys (and ice caps?) with their eastern European violins in God Give Me Strength. The fantastic mandolin solo soaring you high above the clouds and down to little village squares full of dance and gossip. Calling us all to the floor then with frisky recorders came From The New Country. The room then in full swing, the accordion gave way to an extra Irish whistle for a magical Celtic lilt.


Then followed a musical interlude and awareness raising was provided courtesy of official Greenpeace speaker Malcolm Reid, who informed us of the very serious nature of the Save The Arctic Campaign and the work of Greenpeace volunteers.

He showed footage highlighting the plight of the Arctic and the dangers of the current oil drilling activity in this environmentally highly sensitive region.  A clip showing a homeless polar bear wandering the streets of London brought an emotional and thought provoking end to the talk and hopefully inspired the room full of listeners to support Greenpeace campaigns.

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With the room now full, on came experimental rock four piece Gynoug – Jack Woods, Jake Fisher, Callum Sierbien and Tom Gabbatiss, It was as though Martians had invaded the room’s collective eardrums, with echoic waves of seventies sci-fi, and psychedelic rock sounds reminiscent of The Doors.

Jake, with his remarkable whistling intro, set the scene with fixed, trance-like gaze, hypnotising the audience along with the revolving inky oil splot gobo as backdrop on the stage in this intimate setting. Rousing, thumping bass and drums, the kind that induce motion sickness, got the crowd cheering and it was clear that Gynoug had hard core fans in that room. We were transported one minute to a sixties Warhol-esque dope lounge with reverberating synthesized electronic vibes then next to nineties art rock and acid jazz chillout, with Jake’s Lewis-Taylor-meets-Thom-Yorke vocals. Angsty wailing turns into demonic heavy metal rock growls and shouts for When Beauty Fails To Satisfy and relentless drums with sporadic vocals demonstrated the versatility and multifaceted talents of this band in Count Bachelor.  Imagine the soundscape of Twin Peaks, The Exorcist and Magic Roundabout combined and projected forth with Joy Division drum riffs while Jake winds the microphone cable artfully around his neck. At that point someone teased “and he seems such a nice boy”. Massive Attack style sampling, riotous drums, synths, bass and guitar brought a screaming end to this powerful set.


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Malcolm Reid

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With a new EP to celebrate on came ZiZ (formerly THC), a three piece progressive experimental psychedelic rock band. Hayden Tomkinson, Callum Sierbien and Tom Gabbatiss have been playing together since 2009, influenced by Gong, Nektar, Pink Floyd, jazz, noise, no-wave and krautrock. It wasn’t long before there’s much furore and the floor fills again to this stonkin’ deep, head nodding fusion with much dancing and swaying and tongue in cheek heckles of “we want THC”.

Hayden’s Lenny Kravitz like humming then howling soulful jazz vocals and chants conjured up notions of strange hedonistic pagan rituals and wilder seventies festivals. Echoic buzzing, cymbals and bass with Hendrix-esque guitars provided an improv, heady, arthouse sound. Funkin’ smooth bassline and jumping beats switched tempo with seamless shifts between songs. Out came the tenor sax and more recurrent rolling drum riffs before a quick costume change for lead singer Hayden.

On they played with music for rainy city nightscapes filled with hazy headlights and dreams. This was truly awesome musicianship from this mainly instrumental trio, bringing power to the flower and peace to this green event. If only we could save the arctic with the power of music alone. These three bands sure as hell tried tonight and mucked in to help run the show throughout. It was a great turnout for this truly worthwhile cause.


ZiZ, Gynoug and Leather’o played at The Fleeting Arms as part of the Greenpeace Save The Arctic Campaign on Saturday 26 September 2015