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The Day the Loner Boogie Came to Town....

An evening last weekend in Huddersfield with some excellent beer and two gigs....
Pints with glasses case
The beer in the Sportsman was spot on.

I was in sat in this popular Huddersfield pub with our Tom. We had got tickets to see Cardiff band Boy Azooga who were performing later in the evening at the Parish, but, needing also to eat, we had first gone for a pint whilst we decided what we fancied. I ordered a pint of Bravo from the always-reliable North Riding whilst our Tom opted for a pint of Imposter Infiltrator from the ever-improving Wilde Child Brewing Company from Leeds. We grabbed our pints and headed for the cosy little room to the right of the bar. I posted the picture above on Twitter, and 2 minutes later one of my followers responded and asked if it was the place where they had the buttons on the wall that people used to use to call for table service. I replied...
Table service no longer available
The fire was lit, the place was not too busy, and we couldn't decide what we wanted to eat. Mexican? Indian? The Bravo was spot on and Tom was very impressed with the Wilde Child, so when I went back for the second pint I decided I too would give it a try. It was excellent, a 4.2% pale with Amarillo and Ekuanot hops with the characteristic Wilde Child unfiltered haze, definitely NBSS 4, and one of the best beers I have had over the past few weeks.

We decided we would go for a curry at La La's, but first we would go for a pint at the Kings Head. We got there just as our friends Rob and Jay were just coming out. They were going to see blues musician Scott Wainwright who was playing at Northern Quarter on Wood Street. Now I am a big fan of Scott's music, so it was a no-brainer to turn around and go with them. The curry could wait.

For those that don't know, Northern Quarter is situated in the former bar operated by the defunct Hand Drawn Monkey brewery. To say it has had a makeover would be a complete understatement, and, being my first visit in its new guise, i have to say it is jaw-droppingly different to how it used to be. It has been transformed from a quirky bar with junkyard-chic furniture, old Space Invaders tables, and a ridiculously high bar into a cool, trendy bar with warm-painted walls and subdued lighting. A stage and dance floor have been created on the left as you go in, with the bar straight ahead of you. On the bar there are 2 hand pumps, which on this occasion were serving a couple of Abbeydale beers, plus 4 taps. Tom and I opted for a pint of Alter Ego, which was very nice. Most of the tables were occupied, but Jay had spotted an empty one, which we claimed as guitarist Martin Rose was concluding his act with an excellent instrumental version of Biffy Clyro's Many of Horror.

I had a quick chat with Scott before he started and said we could only stay for a short while because we needed to get some food. However, as he played an instrumental set based on his latest album, Talking Backwoods, we decided we would stick around a bit longer, and we ended up enjoying it that much that we stayed until he finished, which also allowed me to get a quick half of Bristol Beer Factory's Milk Stout that I had spotted on the taps. Scott, who is from Barnsley, is an excellent blues guitarist and is well-known on the Yorkshire music scene, but is gaining a wider reputation, having recently been featured on the Cerys Matthews Blues Show on Radio 2. As well as performing both instrumental and vocal sets on his own, he often plays with his good mate Chris Martin, and the two are an excellent musical foil for each other, with much hilarious banter flying about. It was a very pleasant but unexpected treat, and I liked Northern Quarter. The beer was good, the staff very friendly, and the vegan-friendly pizzas must have been good as they had all sold out!
Scott Wainwright at Northern Quarter
Tom and I bade farewell to everyone, and with time moving on, we decided we would go to the local Spoons, the Cherry Tree, for some food, which, as well as most probably having quicker service than if we went for a curry, enabled our Tom to use his staff discount. We ordered a pint, and met Neil and Andy, who were on their way to see Boy Azooga. Our food came quickly enough and was pleasant enough, and the beer was perfectly acceptable.

The Parish is situated at the bottom of town, and has been hosting gigs for years, and has a separate annex where they are held. It tends to be more of a rock and heavy metal venue, so to have one of the rising bands on the indie guitar scene on marks a bit of a change for them. We went into the pub first though and ordered a pint. It is quite a large, friendly place, popular with student-types, and whilst it has several hand pumps and the beer is pleasant enough, I find it hard to warm to the place as a pub. The price is one thing, well over £4 for a standard-strength beer is ridiculous for a town like Huddersfield, and which is why I only ever go for a specific events and not for a casual pint.

We wandered through to the annex, handed in our tickets, and got our hands stamped. We spotted Neil and Andy, and it wasn't long before Boy Azooga wandered through the crowd and climbed on to the stage. They are an amiable 4 piece, with Davey Newington on guitars, Dylan Morgan on keyboards, Sam Barnes on bass, and Dafydd Davies on the drums. I had first heard their single, 'Loner Boogie', during the summer, and loved its energy and sawing guitar riff. They played mostly tracks from their debut album, 1,2, Kung Fu, but they also did an excellent version of The Table's Do The Standing Still, which used to feature guitarist Davey Newington's girlfriend's father. They were very good, although I was slightly disappointed with the sound when they played out on Loner Boogie, as the guitar seemed to me to be too far down in the mix, but maybe it was just my ears. It is a minor quibble though, and after the gig it was a pleasure to have a quick chat with Davey as the band came off stage. Leaving aside the price of the beer, as a venue, the Parish is fine, and with its location being easy to get to, maybe they are looking to broaden the scope of the bands and artists they put on.
'I've got the Loner Boogie and it's coming for you'
There had been a few unexpected twists and turns over the course of the evening, but we had had some top class beer and a couple of excellent gigs. Now that's what I call a good night....

'1,2, Kung Fu', by Boy Azooga, is out now on Heavenly Records. www.boyazooga.co.uk

'Talking Backwoods', by Scott Wainwright, is out now. www.scottwainwright.co.uk

Follow me on Twitter: @realalemusic

And here is some Boy Azooga....




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