Haggard Cat at The Crescent

Friday was a night for dynamic duos at The Crescent as Haggard Cat, the country-rock two-piece formed of half of Heck came to York as part of their national Challenger Tour. They were joined on the night by three local duos, Dead Drummer, Push and The Snakerattlers.

By Graeme Smith

Photos by Chris Mackins

Opening the night were witty acoustic duo Dead Drummer. Consisting of guitar and double bass they lit up the venue with their own brand of lively gypsy folk. They didn’t rest of tradition though, packing their set with hard rock growls and modern day satire as they played. Manic, bonkers and thoroughly enjoyable there couldn’t have been a better way to start the night


Next up were hard rocker Push. The guitar/drums duo fit the description of angry young men pretty well, screaming their lyrics into cowering mics and getting the audience’s blood up. It felt as if they had a rich tapestry of influences from which to draw, including elements of Radiohead, Death from Above 1979 and At The Drive In. It will be interesting to see where Push goes as their sound develops. They are certainly ones to watch.


The Snakerattlers have previously featured on York Calling as one of the eight punk bands you need in your life, though it’s a bit of a stretch to call them punk. The husband and wife duo played loud, in-your-face rockabilly. By in-your-face, I mean guitarist and singer Dan spent most of the act in among the crowd eyeballing unsuspecting audience members as he played, all while Naomi thrashed her stripped-down drum kit. A great act to catch live.


Last but by no means least, headliners Haggard Cat took the stage. The Nottingham duo are formed of Matt and Tom, half of the hard rock band Heck which unfortunately met its demise last year. A loss of Heck fans was a gain for Haggard Cat. Formerly a side project, the guys have been able to give it their full focus, releasing a second album, Challenger, this year.


Predictably, the set focussed on material from Challenger. Their anthemic singles The Patriot, Boneshaker and latest Bad News (Travels Fast) all featured during a rip-roaring performance. There was a single call back to their first album Charger for long-time fans in the form of Alligator Tightrope. All in all, the gig was everything you’d expect from these two, full of passion, energy and talent. The Deep South country of Haggard’s Cat sound somehow feels authentic coming from two lads from the Midlands and is definitely more accessible than the hardcore nature of Heck. If you haven’t already got on the Haggard Cat bandwagon, now’s the time.

Dead Drummer, Push, The Snakerattlers and Haggard Cat played at The Crescent on Friday 27 April 2018.