Showcases for local music are always a valuable endeavour as they help talented musicians to find an audience, meaning that an event where many artists who are up and coming in the region get to show off their talents in varying fashions is particularly important. Millers Yard Party provides just that very platform, offering exposure and the chance for these up-and-coming artists to innovate and experiment with covers, sounds and different styles as they go.
The lineup boasts an eclectic mix and the venue, which is tucked away on Gillygate in York, provides the right space for the different styles to shine. Millers Yard boasts two rooms suitable as gig venues, its bottom floor comprising of a wooden-floored open room that allows for a larger sound as is used as such by the likes of Junk, whose sound filled the entire room as they played an adventurous covers set as a duo using just two electric guitars. Up some stairs you come to a cramped, intimate room that’s kitted out for maximum atmosphere and suits acoustic sets perfectly.
The transformation of what is normally a venue for therapy treatment and yoga classes in to a small but very pleasant music venue is no small achievement in itself, but the quality of the music is also very strong. Luke Saxton’s opening set is a highlight, punctuated with soothing guitar and his laid back, dulcet tones which makes the music easy to get lost in, so beguiling is its simplicity. The Wave Pictures, billed as headlining the event, also played a nice little show in The Inkwell, a music and book shop opposite the venue, where they set up at the front and played a number of tracks to a small but enthusiastic audience, giving a chance to those people, including us, to see them live before their sold out ticketed show later in the night.
Finishing up the night was a great performance from The Lungs, a local country/folk duo who match nice melodies with contrasting vocals from Theo Mason Wood and Bonnie Milnes and a brand of sardonic wit that brings a smile to your face. This mix of clever lyricism and powerful guitar work that fills the room works very well, and the harmonising between Wood and Milnes is a revelation. The Lungs are probably the act of the whole day, keeping the crowd enthralled all through their half hour set, which acts as a teaser for future things to come.
Millers Yard Party is ultimately an example of the York music scene coming to life, a taster session intended to titillate rather than to fully satisfy, the day will have convinced many of those who came to give the bands they saw another look, and perhaps try to check them out as they go touring around the region. What York needs is to have more of these events to provide the artists here with more platforms to impress the public, so hopefully this inspires a succession of events that are equally well put together, and hopefully just as successful.