Issue five Friday 10 May 2013
Live at Leeds 2013 Interviews Playwright Joanne Hartley, Artist Shane Green Pet Sounds Vets in Guiseley play music to relax pets Opinions Is music going through a mid-life crisis?
Visit us online at leedsnorthern.wordpress.com/features
The YV team Editor
Sallie Gregson Contributors
Jon Cronshaw @Jon_Cronshaw Sallie Gregson @Salliex
Kate Russell @littletinykate Tom Swain @tjoswain
@Yorkshire_Voice In this issue: Page 2 Opinion
Page 3 Playwright Joanne Hartley Pages 4-5 Live at Leeds Review Pages 6- 7 Artist Shane Green Page 8 Music for pets
Wolf People Fain
Released: Out Now on Jagjaguwar
Is the Top 40 having a mid-life crisis? Live at Leeds inspired our Yorkshire Voice team to debate the state of the Top 40.
I went to the doctors recently. While sitting in the waiting room a local radio station was piped in through the surgery at an ungodly volume. I waited for almost an hour to see the doctor as the surgery continued to pump out the deluge of musical sewerage. I realised that I was out of touch – I don’t get pop music. I don’t want to be one of these grumpy old men in their faded Status Quo t-shirts whining about how they used to write ‘proper songs’ – but the stuff I was hearing was horrible, homogenous, Auto-Tune soaked bilge. It’s not about preferring old music to new – I still seek out emerging artists and innovative music. I just feel somewhat alienated from popular culture’s low standards. I’m not the kind of person who will take a disliking to something because it’s popular – I’ll take a disliking to something if it’s not very good. The charts are clogged up with a slew of vapid, commercial music that is transitory and artless – its value merely fleeting. Is it so wrong that I want music to be something that people care about beyond the superficial and the economic? I prefer music to be something lasting and beautiful , something challenging and innovative, something that is meaningful. I’m not going to tell people what to like, but I don’t want to be subjected to this rubbish when I’m waiting to see a doctor – or anywhere else for that matter.
Sallie Just look at the top 40 this week, it’s brilliant! Obviously I don’t love every song on there. For example, Chris Brown can leave music altogether thank you very much and Psy at 18 is perhaps a little too generous, but most of the songs on that list are actually fantastic pop records. Ever since I can remember the radio in our kitchen has always been on, tuned to Radio 1 or whichever local music station. When we got Sky TV the music channels were the most exciting thing to me and my sisters. Forget Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon, we wanted to watch the video for Sisqó’s Thong Song on repeat (big song in our house). Upstairs in each of our rooms you will hear Radio 1xtra, Capital or BBC 6 Music, but in the kitchen or car, it is Radio 1 – and we love it. Despite a difference in tastes and disagreements over many songs, it’s music that has brought us closer than anything. And that is what music is about, bringing people together. Whether it is at festivals, gigs or even just over the table, without the sense of community music would just be pointless. So let’s argue over what is good or not in the charts right now (Daft Punk feat Pharrell deserves to be number one definitely but Hey Porsche by Nelly is a little too ridiculous to be in the top 20) because music was made to enjoy. And who doesn’t enjoy a little arguing?
What do you think? Let us know tweet your views to @Yorkshire_Voice or comment on our website leedsnorthern.wordpress.com/features Turn to pages 4 and 5 to read our Live at Leeds review
The old adage that if something isn’t broken then don’t start tinkering with it is one the Londonbased four-piece Wolf People seem to live by.
Their 2010 debut Steeple had its roots firmly planted in the prog/folk scene of the late-60s/early-70s, finding influence in bands like Focus, King Crimson and Rush. With their Tolkienesque imagery, complex guitar riffs, and flute sections that could fit comfortable on any Jethro Tull record, it’s easy to dismiss them as throwbacks, but Steeple was a phenomenal album. Fain, is no different. The band is still mining the same era of history for their influences – but this is no bad thing. Indeed, originality can come by looking to pilfer where others have not. Indeed, Australian psychedelic rockers Tame Impala
have made an art of emulating the Beatles at their most experimental, yet are the darlings of the indie music press. Wolf People might not have shifted as many units as Tame Impala, but if Fain tells us anything, it is that Wolf People are superior song-writers. Tracks like Empty Vessels and Hesperus are built around delightfully twiddly electric guitar noodling. When the Fire is Dead in the Grate and All Returns harken back to the indulgent, driving rock that could only be heard at a biker festival during the early hours of the morning. Fain is the perfect album to blast out of your wound down windows on a summer afternoon whilst hurtling through the North Yorkshire Moors in a 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429. By Jon Cronshaw
Theatre on the edge Spotlight on playwright Joanne Hartley Dogs Land, the latest play by playwright Joanne Hartley, has just seen its debut performance at the Square Chapel Centre For The Arts, Halifax.
Made in collaboration with Mad Dogs Dance Theatre, Dogs Land is a challenging and exciting play that brings together the worlds of contemporary dance and experimental theatre. “Dogs Land is about relationships and the mistakes we make in love,” Joanne, 36, explained, “there’s some spectacular choreography. It’s raw, it’s emotional, it’s beautiful. Dogs Land isn’t a piece of work that’s designed to be read - it’s a piece that is designed to be felt.” Having been an experimental playwright for over a decade, it was surprising to find out that Joanne had never worked in dance before. Everyone involved found the experience to be incredibly challenging and rewarding. Joanne said: “It’s been an organic process that has taken us in all manner of directions that I couldn’t have foreseen. The choreographer and I have come at this project speaking a completely different language with completely different priorities. He’s got a completely different process to me, he’s highly attuned to movement and visuals, and a lot of what he does is by gut feeling and instinct. Whereas I come from a place with rules – story rules, narrative structures – they’re ancient and intuitive. “We’ve had moments in our process where we’ve struggled. There have been times when the actor’s process, the writer’s process and the choreographer’s process have been at odds. It’s taken quite a long time to take three separate processes and make them into one. But the bits that get lost in translation are actually the bits that are the most interesting creatively because it has forced us all out of our comfort zones.”
by Jon Cronshaw @Jon_Cronshaw
Working alongside Mad Dogs Theatre has led Joanne to examine what her priorities are in creating theatre. She said: “I’m interested in moving from an intellectual, wordy theatre into something more visceral – something that is experienced, something that is felt. When it’s designed to be experienced and not understood, it becomes more enjoyable for an audience.” Producing experimental theatre has its challenges for a playwright, especially when it comes to getting work shown in mainstream theatres. Joanne said: “I don’t think that the mainstream would embrace the kind of work that I make – that makes things tricky for me. I don’t think the work that I make wouldn’t be enjoyable or accessible to a mainstream audience. Perhaps it’s the way that’s sold, the way that it’s packaged, the way that it’s delivered.” Joanne’s relationship with the mainstream theatre is an ambivalent one. Although she enjoys and respects a lot of mainstream theatre, she feels that mainstream productions could benefit from exploring and embracing new possibilities. She said: “I’m frustrated by theatre that doesn’t push further than it could. Saying that, I’ve seen some really stunning mainstream theatre at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, particularly the Tennessee Williams play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that was on last season - I thought that was an absolutely astounding, beautiful work. But then I see a lot of theatre that just looks like more of the same. I think there are new things can be said in new ways, and I suppose I’m hoping to explore what that might mean and how that might work.”
“I think there are new things can be said in new ways, and I suppose I’m hoping to explore what that might mean and how that might work.”
Dogs Land will be showing at Stage@Leeds on May 14 (Box office: 0113 3438730).
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Local bands are an important part of the festival, we spoke to The Dunwells who love playing in their home city After an eight–week stint of touring and recording in the USA, Leeds lads The Dunwells touched down in the UK just in time for Live at Leeds.
Prodigal sons return The Dunwells are back in Leeds
Queues round the block: crowds gather early for wristbands
Guitarist and vocalist Joseph Dunwell, 25, said: “It’s nice to be home. This will be our first gig back in the UK – we’re really looking forward to it. “We’re signed to an American label so we’ve been focussing on the US – it’s gone really well, but now we’re back to concentrate on the UK. Live at Leeds is the main reason we came back when we did.” Formed in 2009 and signed to Playing in Traffic in 2011, the boys’ experience of the wider UK music scene is limited, but bassist Rob Clayton, 30, likened Live at Leeds to huge American 10-day festival SXSW: “It’s got a real buzz about it and it
by Kate Russell @littletinykate
seems to get bigger every year – more bands, more venues, people playing in the street.” And people playing in shops, too. Live at Leeds Takeover brought live music out into public places, like the shop Pretty Green, where Joseph’s brother Matthew Dunwell’s band City Lights played an energetic set. Joseph said: “It’s good that it’s not only music venues that are getting involved - it’s a really good way for new bands to get better known. These smaller venues can be the best ones – especially if you’ve gone in there not expecting much. It’s awesome. “The venues in Leeds get better and better – we love playing here. The Leeds scene has certainly done good by us, anyway!” The Dunwells’ new single Follow the Road is out 27 May.
Queues seemed to go on for miles, venues were packed and bars were impossible to get to. Saturday 4 May saw music takeover Leeds. Now in its seventh year Live at Leeds (LAL) had hold of the city on the Saturday, the festival went bigger and better with more bands than ever before.
An alternative to expensive major festivals Live at Leeds has built up a reputation of being at the forefront of UK metropolitan festivals. The streets were littered with people wearing orange wristbands, it seemed every other person in the city was on their way to the next gig. The LAL Takeovers were a new addition to the event that brought shops such as Pretty Green and Dr Martens on Briggate and the Everyman cinema in Trinity together with intimate sessions from a collection of bands and artists.
“There is the possibility that by wandering from room to room you might see something unexpectedly brilliant.”
The day started at Leeds Met Uni where The Concetines played a short but sweet set, it was good to start with a new band to remember what this festival is about; discovering new bands to love. After much running around at 2pm Jack’s Attic preformed upstairs in Pretty Green, one of the #LALTakeovers happening throughout the day which perhaps could have been better publicised, as the room was hardly brimming. Then there was time for a quick break to get a drink and head up to Leeds Uni Refectory to join the crowds gathering to see the much talked about Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs. Debut single IWatchYou released last year got the crowd singing along as the band found their feet towards the end of the set. The stages seemed to be organised to keep bands with similar styles at least near each other so audiences could see as much of each band they wished. But there is also the possibility that by wandering from room to room you might see something unexpectedly brilliant and discover a new favourite band. This was best displayed at Leeds Uni where Post War Glamour Girls (PWGG) played in the Stylus. A Leeds band through and through, lead singer James Smith took a break from playing to tell the huge crowd that had assembled they could see the all local bands playing LAL anytime, for free! Their set was that good it made me feel ashamed I hadn’t seen them before, the set was filled with raw energy and power which makes them exciting to see live despite the dark tone of their music. Back upstairs to see another treasured Leeds band Dinosaur Pile Up playthe Refectory, which was a disappointment as the much talked about band proved to be nothing exciting . Next it was the turn of the energetic and comical Castrovalva playing their home show downstairs at the Mine. Running all the way to the other end of town to Holy Trinity Church to find a massive queue waiting to see Londoner King Krule would have been infuriating if the weather hadn’t been so beautiful. When eventually allowed in he did not disappoint, his chilled, bluesy, minimal sound suited the spiritual venue and Saturday evenings warm weather. Down the road to The Cockpit to see The 1975 to see queues all the way round the venue and no room to breathe inside, for a band that do not even have an debut album out it was quite a big deal to fill The Cockpit room 3. Despite the squashed
by Sallie Gregson @Salliex
conditions, the venue suited their chaotic indie pop, only the people outside were left disgruntled after their performance. Next on at The Cockpit were brummies Swim Deep whose debut album Where the Heaven AreWe is due to be released in July and previous singles King City and She Changes theWeather being huge crowd pleasers. Finally, find of the day goes to Unknown Mortal Orchestra who were one of the accidental bands just over heard whilst having a pint that made ears prick up and take notice. Soulful singer Ruban Nielson transformed the early 70s psychedelic sounding tracks into something more beautiful and passionate. There is no doubt that Live at Leeds is great value for money; with such a variety of acts playing, finding something new to admire is easy. Putting up with the queues and running from venue to venue was all worth it to catch that one band that made the whole day feel worth more than £22.50. : The 19 Crowd-pleasers
Scream Castrovalanvad Shout: giving it th eir all
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The Still Life of Shane Shane Green is an art teacher at Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley, but is probably better known for his substantial wood carvings that can be seen all over the Chevin. He is described by some as a local legend, but a collection of brand new artwork is something a bit different.
For the month of May, Shane is displaying his collection at The Old Grammar School Gallery in Otley. The collection is made up of paintings created specifically for the exhibition, entitled The Still Life and Other Stories, and features abstract, cubist and colourist influences. Shane said: “The pieces are pretty traditional, but there’s other stuff like poetic lyrical dreams, and escapism.” He explained: “These paintings are influences by the first set of abstract artists really.
Shane Green at work on his collection of still life paintings Credit: Ben Statham 6
There are references to the cubism of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, and some of the dreamscapes are influenced by Marc Chagall and Franz Marc.”
“I’ve taken the idea of still life, but revisited it with child’s eyes.”
The exhibition features a lot of traditional still life work, but with an interesting subversion of expectation and perception. Many pieces focus on still life, but through the lens of a particular hue, and a particular angle of view. Shane said: “I’ve taken the idea of still life, but revisited it with child’s eyes. “I’ve played with the idea of scale and the
magic of objects and lightings and how certain objects can, with a twist or turn of the hand, take on new characteristics.” In a number of the pieces on display, Shane has looked at the same scene but from different perspectives. He explained: “It’s like pulling the rug from under your feet, to make you feel like you’re falling, so the viewpoint is always changing. “Quite a lot of contemporary art is premeditated, and the artist works in reverse. This exhibition, and how I’ve always worked, is a minute-by-minute dialogue with the material in front of me. “I think the looseness of these pieces, the incompleteness, is because I can’t stand still with them, I jump around while I work. But I think the incompleteness invites people to finish the piece themselves, and trigger their
What happens when an artist best known for his wood carvings is asked to put together an exhibition of hanging art for a local gallery? Tom Swain speaks to Shane Green to discuss the proposition. By Tom Swain @tjoswain
imagination. Connotations are hovering in the background.” But since Shane’s carvings are what he’s best known for, how will people react to him working with a different medium? The wooden carvings are robust and rigid, whereas the paintings in Shane’s exhibition are free-flowing and dynamic.
the fact that his works might not be the complete package. Shane said: “I feel they’re a bit unusual – people might ask ‘what’s the purpose of them, what’s the meaning?’ If one of my students did this, I’d say ‘it’s not enough, what’s the political context, what’s the social context?’”
Shane explained: “I think there will be general surprise at this exhibition, because the general public have seen what I’ve done on the Chevin.” But Shane remains self-aware, pointing out
Zack Whitehead, gallery manager at The Old Grammar School, is excited to be hosting such a renowned artist, and in only the fifth month of being open. He said: “He’s the biggest artist we’ve dealt
“I think the incompleteness invites people to finish the piece themsleves, and trigger their imagination. Connotations are hovering in the background.”
with, he’s so well known, and I’m sure lots of people will come and see this exhibition out of curiosity.” But exhibiting Shane’s work does represent a departure from the norm for Zack. “It’s interesting because everything else we’ve had here at TOGS is what I like and what I would choose, but I’ve not really had a say on what Shane has done for this exhibition.” Another aspect to the story is that Zack was once a student of Shane’s art department at Prince Henry’s Grammar School, and it is interesting that the two should meet again in this new artistic capacity. Visit www.togs-gallery.com for more information on The Old Grammar School Gallery. Shane Green’s exhibition The Still Life and Other Stories runs until May 31.
Part of Shane Green’s The Still Life and Other Stories exhibition on show at The Old Grammar School Gallery in Otley
Cool for Cats (and Dogs)
Stressed pets have one less thing to fret about. Kate Russell finds out how White Cross Vets are taking the worry out of visiting the vets.
Chilled out pup
Visits to the vet can make for scaredy cats and doleful dogs, but a Leeds-based veterinary group are taking the stress away by playing specially composed chill-out tunes to their four-legged friends.
Patients at the White Cross Vets in Guiseley are some of the first in the UK to hear the ground-breaking new sounds, aimed at speeding up recovery by reducing nervous behaviour in pre- and post-op pets.
“It’s a bit like what you might hear at a spa, but with almost a purring sound over the top”
And it’s not just some dreamy soft-touch stuff – the music has been designed based on the findings of pioneering research into how dogs’ nervous systems respond to sound. It tunes in to key trigger points in cats and dogs and is twice as effective as traditional classical music in keeping creatures calm, says clinical director Craig Harrison. He explains: “By implementing this forward thinking development we are taking another step that will enable the much loved pets in our care to be
Nothin’ but a hound dog
more relaxed. The calmer a pet is then the less likely they are to become distressed in a new environment and the smoother their recovery process will be.” The music for dogs was written by a psychoacoustic expert, who is also an expert in dogs, and it sounds a lot like classical piano music but slowed down and lowered in tone. The cat music was composed using a specifically designed sonic computer program in collaboration with the Japan School of Music Therapy and Azabu Veterinary University and “sounds like what you might hear at a spa, but with almost a purring sound over the top” says marketing manager Justin Phillips. “We often have six or seven cats in here at a time, and if one of them starts making noise the others soon join in which can add even more stress. The aim is to reduce vocal stress behaviours like barking and whining and to have more restful behaviour.
“At the moment, it seems to be having the right effect.”
“At the moment, the only evidence we have from our practice is anecdotal, but it seems to be having the right effect.” Tess, a six-year-old Golden Retriever, seems to agree – she hasn’t had her appointment yet, but she doesn’t look like she’s worrying about it much. She’s very calm, neither concerned about nor especially interested in the new people that have come to see her. And Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Finbar, also six, is able to sleep in peace while he recovers from his dental operation – no barking, no whimpering, just blissful, uninterrupted, healing sleep. But, as anyone who has had the radio on around Christmas time will know, hearing the same songs over and over again can be extremely annoying. “We put the CD player on shuffle and keep changing the CD,” explains Justin, “otherwise it can become an irritant.” The original practice in the now eleven-strong chain, Guiseley White Cross Vets makes do with a CD player each in the separate dog and cat wards. But newer buildings can expect to have speakers built into the walls, turning each ward into a real chill-out room. So perhaps it’s not barking mad, after all.
Issue 5 of Yorkshire Voice has a review of Live at Leeds, Interviews with artist Shane Green and playwright Joanne Hartley . Also we look at...