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The Abbey Shines As The Crow Cries....

A first visit to one of Leeds' most rural pubs, followed by a re-arranged gig from one of the best of the new wave of bands coming out of South London....

With there being another Saturday of industrial action affecting Northern Rail, I had no option other than to drive over to Leeds for the evening's re-arranged gig at the Brudenell Social Club from rising Sarf Landon indie band, Goat Girl, whose original date back in April had been postponed due to drummer Rosy having had an accident hours before they were due on stage.

So on the way I decided to visit one of the pubs in the Leeds area that I had not visited before. I thumbed through the Good Beer Guide and spotted the Abbey Inn at Newlay, which was only a mile or two away from the Brudenell. The pub is situated at the end of Pollard Lane, about a mile off the B6157, as it runs through the west Leeds suburb of Bramley. Pollard Lane starts off with houses on both sides, but then open country appears as you drop down into the Aire Valley. Then a few more houses, a narrow bridge over the Leeds-Liverpool Canal with traffic lights, and then, over the hump, you drop down and the pub is on your left, with the river Aire behind the trees beyond.

I parked up, with dusk descending, the Abbey brightly lit and welcoming. It was originally a farmhouse as befits the rural surroundings, and I wandered inside to be greeted by a warm, friendly atmosphere with clusters of early-evening Saturday drinkers dotted around the pub. A small room to the right, a larger space to the left. I wandered up to the bar and ordered a Kirkstall Pale, one of 8 beers on hand pump which included beers from the likes of Leeds and Butcombe. I found a table, and sat down to enjoy what was an excellent pint of beer and study the day's sport on my phone. The clatter of pool balls broke from another room to the left of the bar as I saw that England had just gone behind against Spain in their inaugural Nations League match.

Soon though it was time to set off to the Brudenell, so I supped off my pint. I have to say I really enjoyed the Abbey, great atmosphere, good beer, and well worth making the trek. I suspect it takes its name from Kirkstall Abbey, situated a mile or two down the valley, but I am not sure. Whatever its origin, it is a great pub, although next time though I will make sure I go back in the daytime so I can explore the local surroundings....

Welcoming: The Abbey, Newlay, Leeds 
15 minutes later, I was parking up on Queens Road, just down from the Brudenell. It was busy, reflecting the fact that 90's American punk-metal band Ugly Kid Joe were also appearing there, in the Community Room. So when I walked in, the place was busy to say the least. I wormed my way to the bar where I bought a half of Phoenix Spotland Gold whilst spotting a poster behind the bar advertising Sweet Water Beers, a beer I enjoyed quaffing several years ago when I visited Atlanta, but of which I had not seen hide or hair since. I found a space to sit down, near to one of the TV screens, with England now trailing 2-1 to Spain.

I finished my half and went next door to the Main Room, and managed to go to the front just before Goat Girl appeared. Now the original Goat Girl was a character in a Greek fairytale, but whether it is where the band take their name from, I just don't know. I had first heard them in 2017 when their single 'Crow Cries' was doing the rounds. This was a spiky, slightly Middle Eastern-sounding tune with a mysterious video which seeped its way into your head like all the best growers do. Their tour had been announced early in the year, so I ordered one for their gig at the Brudenell, which as mentioned earlier, had been delayed until tonight.

I surveyed the stage. It featured all the usual paraphernalia - guitars, drums, laptop, keyboard, mikes, set list on the floor, bottles of water, cans of San Miguel - but what marked this one out the were the effigies and what looked to be papier-mache heads of imagined goats scattered around. One upstanding character at the side of the stage wouldn't have looked out of place in Monsters Inc. The band emerged to loud cheers and much clapping. I had been expecting a quartet, but this evening Goat Girl comprised 5 girls and a bloke, as well as the aforementioned retinue of 'goats'.

They started with one of the tracks off their eponymous debut album, which is packed with some excellent tunes. Tracks like 'Cracker Drool', 'Creep', recent single, 'The Man', and 'Viper Fish'. The band are tight, squeezing the best out of each track. A violin - courtesy of GG5 - adds a bohemian, slightly primeval touch to the proceedings as Rosy Bones hammers away on the drums, smiling all the while. Front person Clottie Cream, aka the more prosaic Lottie Pendlebury, leads from the front, her smoky, sultry tones adding a layer of mystique to each tune. Hints of Chrissie Hynde, Siouxsie Sue, and Sharon Spiteri. Her guitar rings out, with echoes of Marc Bolan and Hank Marvin. Wonderful stuff.

I thoroughly enjoyed Goat Girl, there was a great vibe running through the place. As they played 'Crow Cries' I made my way to the merchandise stall, looking for a copy of their CD. None were available, so I bought the album on vinyl. This did allow me though to appreciate the superb cover artwork by Miguel Casarrubios. Listening to it the following day, I have to admit it is a great album, one of the best of the year. Goat Girl are a band in the ascendancy, so I urge you to check them out as a matter of urgency....

Meanwhile, it finished England 1, Spain 2....

Acting The Goat; tonight's band

A trio of Goat Girls

Rosy doing her stuff

Spot the goats....

And here are Goat Girl, performing 'The Man'....







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