It’s very difficult when you’ve spent a good portion of time somewhere, and you have so many good memories, to go away for a lengthy period (about two years) and come back to try and write an objective article is a little hard…fortunately, we think that we’re up to the task as we return to our old stomping ground The Hub.
Ziggy’s as it was then referred to, acted as a sanctuary for a couple of members of team SPHERE alongside notable York-based dark and alternative music acts including The Screaming Banshee Aircrew, Idle Jack And The Big Sleep, Testtone3 and Digicore before it closed its doors on the regular alternative night that was held there, effect leaving a void that arguably no other night that has emerged since has been able to fill.
At the time of writing the Asylum rock night has been open for three weeks. The night is run by York University’s established alternative society ‘The Fringe’ who took on the brave and very daunting task of trying to put together a night catering for fans of mainstream alternative (your classic pop-punk and rock) and extremely niche black metal and Industrial. On first impressions it seems to be going pretty well and the Fringe have seemingly risen to the challenge and the massive expectations that dominate York’s incredibly picky and slightly under-appreciative rock crowd.
As an alternative ‘zine we haven’t once stepped foot in Club Z / The Hub since the rock night closed – we’ve’never really fancied avin’ it large with York’s hardcore dance crowd in the years that have passed, that and for the most part we have grown up a lot.
Indeed, as we step through the big white doors of the club on Micklegate (for the Halloween special…of course), we are immediately transported back to our student days because we realise that nothing much has changed. Yes, The Hub has a new name but it’s still the same beaten up house of debauchery it always was and no, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “If it ain’t broke…” and all.
So any way, we are greeted by some lovely people upon our arrival and we are taken down in to the basement where the DJs are rocking some quality Industrial tracks that we’d never hear anywhere else in York or the rest of the North on a weekly basis like Modulate, Faderhead and VNV Nation and Angelspit. What’s also very cool is the diversity that’s available downstairs – where the heck else are you going to get a thumping EBM track played before Dimmu Borgir and Static-X? We think that’s cool. Did we mention the jugglers? Well yes, there are jugglers and poi experts (all very talented volunteers) and they serve to make everything in the downstairs area that little bit more bright and aesthetically pleasing – good work and a smart move to make the dancefloor a little less lonely for those who love the really niche dark-electro and Goth stuff. It’s our hope now that people appreciate the value of the unique Goth, Industrial and black metal genre mash-up that makes up the bottom floor’s playlist.
Next we mission up the long flights of stairs to the top floor and are greeted with some classic Iron Maiden, then some Sabbath along with a touch of Dragonforce – definitely a solid mix and the crowd are jumping and thoroughly enjoying a good ol’ headbanging session…always essential. The first thing we notice though is how bloody cramped everything feels. Back in the day, all of the rock and metal stuff was downstairs, as that room is much larger and there’s just so much more space to allow for the mass dance-offs and fist-pumping. It’s our opinion that the only change that really needs to be made to the Asylum night soon is to switch rooms and bring the more”popular classic, power and alternative rock sounds back down to party with the jugglers. Just so there’s no massive, sweaty squashing sessions…’till after-hours any way. [ed’s note: We’ve just recieved word that the rooms have been swapped and will remain this way from November 3, 2009].
Our only other major worry is that, (and listen up Yorkies…) people will take this night for granted. People will go, get used to it and not support it until it falls and then complain when it’s not there. It happened last time, remember? York city is a great hub (no pun intended) for alternative sounds and events like this act as a great catalyst for all of that culture. So, go as often as you can, rock your heart out and dance like nobody is watching. Without trying to sound cheesy (though we inevitably will…), your city needs you to get out, get drunk and have a great time in the name of rock. Can you do that for us?
To finish, if you give this a chance and go more than once, for more than an hour, this night has everything you need to satisfy your nearly insatiable sonic needs. It’s like the near-perfect hybrid of The Junction’s Darklands and The Duchess’ Blackout playing the tunes you never hear along with the songs that you just can’t get enough of. Celebrate and enjoy otherwise we’ll send this lot after you…
For more information visit the official website. The venue is located on 53-55 Micklegate, York, YO1 6LJ. The club runs every Tuesday during term times.
* Thanks to everyone who let us snap them!