The gig got moved fairly late from the Zanzibar for an undeclared reason.
I first came to District when it was known as the New Picket, seeing Ian Prowse in May 2009 for the tenth of twenty times to date, this time playing as Amsterdam, and then Billy Bragg (fourth of six times) in November 2011.
This was only my third show since the venue had changed its name. I saw a band promoted as the Greek answer to The Fall (The Callas) as part of Liverpool Psych Fest in September 2015, as reviewed here.
This was a very rare concert for me in that I had a proper gig companion in the form of one of the hosts of the always entertaining Trust The Wizards podcast (and its Robert Pollard’s Guide To The Late 60s offshoot).
I managed to make a dignified exit from my in-laws’ golden wedding anniversary celebrations we were hosting in just enough time to get to the venue ahead of the support act coming on.
I located the aforementioned wizard (with the other remaining sorcerer sadly a no-show), acquiring a bottle of Marstons’ Shipyard IPA and catching up on a variety of music and football-related topics while we had the chance.
Nuha Ruby Ra started off with a song dominated by squeals, which made me think of Laurie Anderson, an artiste I probably know too little of to make that comparison.
There was certainly a kinship with Yoko Ono too, but with a very contemporary EDM edge.
She was using two mikes, either one at a time or both at once as she added her vocals to the pre-recorded backing music, which immediately reminded me of the late Mark E. Smith, though her singing was certainly much more traditionally tuneful!
Another song really recalled Suicide, while Liar contained the excellent line “God, how I’ve learned to hate guitars and every prick who holds one.”
Her set closed with the lengthy Run Run, leaving the audience probably a little bewildered.
Yard Act again plundered their debut album The Overload for most of their set, playing seven of its eleven cuts, with one of the missing ones (Rich) having been performed at the Arts Club when I saw them before.
That means, maths fans, that there are still three numbers off that record I’ve not seen them do live – The Incident, Quarantine The Sticks and 100% Endurance.
This time they also played all four songs off the Dark Days ep.
They kicked off with the fine “ba ba”s of Land Of The Blind with the packed venue loving it from the get go.
A full-on mosh pit developed during Pour Another, being regularly revived throughout much of the show.
The song that was probably most responsible for the buzz about them, Fixer Upper, came next with its angular guitar work by Sam Shjipstone.
The main set closed with the title track of the album, which is one of the highlights of the record.
As the band were returning for the encore there were the now seemingly traditional chants of “fuck the Tories” from the crowd, followed by another related Kop song “Maggie’s in the mud”, which greatly impressed and entertained singer James Smith once he had the words relayed to him clearly.
The band was joined by an extra person on sax for Dead Horse with the stage being invaded by someone doing some pretty terrible dancing, who seemed to stop just as he was getting going.
The very final song was The Trapper’s Pelts, which they dedicated to the producer of their first single, Bill Ryder-Jones.
And so ended another great gig from Yard Act.
I wore my pale blue Wire Pink Flag t-shirt due to their slight similarity with the headline act. There were a few other band tees in evidence, including on my companion, such as Idles, Public Service Broadcasting, The Leaf Library, Fontaines D.C., The Strokes and Motörhead. I’ve noticed The Strokes popping up more often recently, not sure why, though.
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Here is much of the music from the day on Spotify: