Skip to main content

A Night in Bury with O'Hooley & Tidow

Went to Bury a few days ago. Famous for black puddings and its market, it also houses a great local concert hall, the Met. My reason to be there - the chance to see rising Huddersfield folk stars, Belinda O'Hooley and Heidi Tidow on the tour to launch their excellent album 'The Hum'.

Checked in to the Premier Inn - minutes from the town centre - and headed out for some pre-gig food. Within minutes I came across the Art House. What a place, a lovingly restored art-deco cinema now part of the Wetherspoon empire. Now I am not a fan of all of their properties, but this one is excellent, with balconies, velour curtains and bags of nostalgia.

Thursday night, Curry Club, so opted for the Flaming Dragon(the one with 5 chilli symbols) with free pint for £5.99. It hit the spot, so fed and watered I headed a few minutes round the corner to the venue.

The Met is a classic local town theatre and concert venue, the sort we need to support. A great benefit of the Met is its Good Beer Guide bar, the Automatic. Whilst I had been there before, I appreciated it far more this time. 4 different real ales, including house beer Silver Fox(brewed by Outstanding) and ale from the Silver Street Brewing Company(new to me on the night, but brewing at the Clarence in Bury - looks like I'll have to check it out). 

A couple of pints, then into the gig. It was held in the smaller of the two rooms. This is an intimate, plush venue with around 80 seats including tables at the front, with a small stage, and a great setting for what followed.

Belinda and Heidi duly emerged and immediately launched into the title track of their new album, 'The Hum'. This tells the tale of a couple who decide they don't want to buy a house because of its proximity to a factory, and the noise it emits. The couple - Jennifer and Wayne - miss the fact that we need the sounds of industry as it means people are working.

From there on in, we were mesmerised. Two exceptional musicians, with Belinda's outstanding keyboard work, entwined by excellent singing from both. We were taken through a fantastic set of great songs on vastly varied themes, far removed from the traditional popular view of folk music but yet which reflect the world around us. These included real ale (Summat's Brewin'), suicide bombers (Peculiar Brood), adoption (Two Mothers), emigration (Come down from the Moor), even Russian punk protestors Pussy Riot (Coil and Spring). And that's just from the new album, which I have to say is my favourite of 2014 so far.

Try to catch O'Hooley and Tidow on tour, you will not be disappointed. Visit for more information. 

A couple more pints after the gig, at the other, more standard Wetherspoons, the Robert Peel, then back to the Art House before returning to the hotel.

The following morning I wandered into Bury seeking cheaper food than at the Premier Inn, and guess what, it was back to the Art House for a Wetherspoons breakfast. I then wandered round the town and famous market for a while in the sunshine, picked up a few bits and pieces, including the obligatory black pudding!

I have to say I like Bury. It is a friendly place, and whilst close to Manchester it has its own character and feels like its own entity. And with a great venue like the Met and pubs like the Art House and Automatic, plus the promise of the Clarence and Silver Street Brewery, I will be back soon.

And here's 'Summat Brewin', which quite rightly is becoming something of a classic with loads of airplay....

And this is 'Gentleman Jack', from the previous O&T album 'The Fragile'....


Popular posts from this blog

The Town That Thinks It's A Village....

My time has been a bit limited recently for venturing too far afield, so last weekend I made the short journey to Elland to check out a few of the town's pubs and bars. Here's what I found.... Elland is a small market town in West Yorkshire, located between Halifax and Huddersfield beside the River Calder. It goes back a bit, being recorded as Elant in the Domesday Book of 1086, and over the centuries the town grew as a result of the woollen industry, with the town becoming home to several large mills. The coming of the Aire and Calder Navigation and the railways further helped the growth of the town. The subsequent decline of the woollen industry in the town meant that there were a number of empty mills left standing, and those that didn't burn down were put to other use, such as the home of Gannex, the now-defunct textile company whose raincoats were worn by the rich and famous, including former Prime Minister Harold Wilson. More recently, several mills have been converte

First Trip to The County....

The County in Huddersfield has just been taken over by the Beerhouses Group, whose other pubs include the West Riding Refreshment Rooms in Dewsbury, the Buffet Bar in Stalybridge, and the Sportsman, also in Huddersfield. So one evening last week I went over to check it out and look in on a number of other places in the town.... The County is situated in a quiet area of Huddersfield, just off the precinct below Wilkinsons and opposite one side of the town hall. It is one of those places that has never been on the real ale circuit and has just quietly seemed to have got on with its own business over the years. I had certainly never been in it before and so I had absolutely no pre-conceptions of what to expect when I visited. The County is blessed with a narrow frontage at the end of a solid row of buildings on a slightly sloping street. The Beerhouses livery is on the signage, with freshly-painted white steps, and an old John Smiths lamp by the door and the Magnet design etched in the wi

New Team Breathing Fire Into Elland Brewery....

I paid a visit to Elland Brewery recently to meet the new team there who are aiming to build on the brewery's heritage and develop the business. Based in the West Yorkshire town of the same name, here's what I found..... There is a buzz about Elland Brewery these days. That was evident when I called in to see the team recently to find out some of their ideas for moving the brewery forward over the coming months and beyond. The brewery, much loved both in the local area and beyond, had been the subject of speculation over recent months as added to the fact that the erstwhile owners had gone their separate ways, other members of the team had left, consequently setting off rumours about the business's future.  The roots of Elland Brewery can be traced back to the Barge and Barrel pub, across town by the side of the canal. In the 1990's a brewery had been set up by the avuncular John Eastwood in the former children's playroom, where he developed beers such as Nettle Thr