Monday, 21 December 2009

York Cafe

I'm not going to lie to you. Bristol is a city, and therefore does have its fair share of the homogenised predictable bull, the corporate money-spinners and the tired and tested. There are the international fast food holes and cheap chain stores. They're always going to be there, they're in every city, so you just ignore them.
But when you come across a hidden gem that's actually owned and run by local people who can give you good quality produce, you remember it doesn't have to be like that, and a city like Briz is big and clever enough to keep itself interesting.

Such is breakfast's best-kept secret: York cafe. Quiet and unassuming from the outside, this award-winning haven of builders and students is a British soap opera writer's dream - red Formica tables, a huge neon clock and the best fry-ups for miles around - and a personal favourite of mine. The lovely staff have got me through many a hungover lunch break with quick service and delicious grub.
It's never going to win Heston Blumenthal's prize for innovation, and describe themselves as 'trapped in a time warp around 1960-something', but they do all the classics from morning porridge to Shepherd's pie, mostly under a fiver.

Nestled just behind Broadmead on Bond Street - just around a bit further from the McDonald's on the corner - York 's moved from a place in Clifton two years ago, establishing loyalty with the Cabot builders, and now the Cabot staff! Not to mention the halls nearby, various department stores and so on.
I was in today enjoying a veggie bap and looking out at the snow, and nearly hit myself on the forehead for not thinking to mention them on here sooner. Hooray for the greasy spoon!!

It's been snowing!!!!

Bristol looked so lush in the snow last night! Sadly I didn't have any photo-taking capabilities a we wandered down Gloucester Road enjoying that weirdly blanket-like silence and peace that comes with the great white stuff, but much christmas-y merriment was had singing the pogues and the snowman theme tune.

In fact, at one point just by the Arches we turned and looked at a beautiful little side street undisturbed by human feet except for a couple kissing underneath a Victorian-style lamp post. SO LUSH!


Sunday, 6 December 2009

White Lies

@ Academy 02/12/09
Support: Asobi Seksu

I had to work later on Wednesday, so I could only get to a packed-out Academy half-way through the support set from the sublime and interesting Asobi Seksu.

A New York four piece fronted by Yuki Chikudate, who often sings in a combination of Japanese and English, giving their lushly textured rock an even dreamier quality.

Her naturally high range and tiny frame couldn't betray the rough'n'ready raw chords of guitarist James Hanna, and with Larry Gorman and Billy Pavone on drums, synths and bass, Asobi Seksu crafted a delicately cool slice of art-punk into the one of the biggest, crashing-est crescendos the Academy has ever seen.

After a quick, over-priced and watered-down pint from the soulless bar, we fought tooth and nail to get anywhere back near the stage for the main attraction. (Here would be a good point to apologize for the awful quality of the photos, but I was being jostled by that many tall elbows that just holding on to the camera was an achievement.)

As soon as the boys from Ealing took to the stage, all minor Academy irritations were forgotten. Launching hell for leather into Farewell To The Fairground, they proved immediate comparisons with Joy Division/Editors (dark yet strangely uplifting), though vocalist/guitarist Harry McVeigh, bassist Charles Cave and drummer Jack Lawrence-Brown had a stage presence that put them comfortably in their own league.

Harry's voice sent shivers down my spine, being technically note-perfect, sounding exactly as haunting and remote as on every track of debut album To Lose My Life.

You've probably guessed it already, but I find the Academy quite impersonal - a bit underwhelming as a venue - but White Lies suited that cold environment, took the cavernous black space and made it their own.

After a slightly pretentious double-encore, including a good cover of a Talking Heads track, the crowd were satisfied. I ended up enjoying White Lies so much I only took two photos during the whole set.
One of which didn't come out.