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yorkshire rarebit

first published on the leeds innscene

Blimey, Chris, what another steaming night.

You can say that again, Torps, that certainly was a session Gazza and ĎFive Belliesí would have been proud of.

Do you mean a drinking session or a musical session?

Give us a break, Torps, the fat midfielder isnít exactly known for his boozing.

Gee, Chris, itís good to see you havenít lost your sense of humour after all this time.

Well, Torps, Iíll leave it to you to explain our collective absence from the ĎInnsceneí, since it was your fault.

Cheers my dear. Well, were do I start? Iíve been working in America for a while, as an erm... as a record producer in fact. Yeah, Iíve been mixing Jennifer Rushís new album "The Power Of Love - The Best Of Jennifer Rush". It features no less than fourteen new versions of her hit single "The Power Of Love".

No you havenít, you lying get. You were working in America alright, but as an Ďau pairí.

Yeah, alright, I was working as an Ďau pairí. I am probably the oldest Ďau pairí in history, but the couple asked for me expressly.

They were desperate, and they knew you were cheap.

Chris, I prefer the term "competitively priced". But yes, there hasnít been a "Rabbit Stew" for a while because I was working as an Ďau pairí in America for a month, OK?

But, Torps, there hasnít been a "Rabbit Stew" for over a month.

Well, the contract was for a month, but I had a little trouble with the courts afterwards.

Enough said. Right, to work. Where were we this week then Torps?

Well, Chris, we were lucky enough to be invited along to see three bands at the ĎDuchessí - Seratone, The G-Men, and Undersee.

And did they let you in this time, Torps?

They certainly did, the only reason I didnít get in last time was because it was my wifeís birthday and they didnít want her upsetting.

Who could possibly be offended by your presence?

I was a bit the worse for wear. You know, Jimmy Riddled.

Arenít you always?

Not necessarily, anyway, on with the show, as they say. The "Duchess Of York" really needs no introduction, show me a drinker who hasnít been in and Iíll show you a liar, so Iíll talk about the bands.

Go on then , who was first up?

First up were North East band Seratone, apparently Seratone is something to do with brain chemicals. They are a 4-piece, with a reputation for upstaging less confident bands they are meant to be supporting, and, luckily for us, they write their own songs, so we were in for something a bit different. Which is nice.

Torps, did you notice something missing from their line-up?

What you mean the non-existent drummer?

Yeah, they play with a drum-machine, making their sound a sort of thrash meets punk meets electropop.

Sort of like Blip-Blop version of "God Save The Queen" by MegaDeath.

Cor, Torps, your musical knowledge is quite astounding.

I like to keep my finger on the pulse, Chris. By the way, whatís this Ricky Ashtell like?

Ricky Ashtell? Do you mean Rick Astley?

Astley, Ashtell, it doesnít matter how you spell his name, is he any good?

Yeah, he rocks, Torps. Right now, somewhere in the world, thereís someone grooviní on down to Ricky.

Good, Iím thinking of buying little Harrison a copy of his album for his birthday.

Oh dear. Next up on to that famous stage were The G-Men, who are a 5-piece of the, I hope they donít mind me saying, older generation blasting their way through Saxon, Judas Priest, AC/DC, ZZ Top, that sort of thing. And doing it very well, itís always a good test of a band when you, Torps, think itís the Jukebox playing.

That was the Jukebox.

So The G-Men were just miming then?

Well, OK, I made a mistake, but Iím not senile yet, I can still give you young journalists a run for your money.

Go on then, give us the benefit of your Ďexperienceí.

Alright, I will. Unfortunately, Chris, I felt they they were playing in front of the wrong crowd, that they werenít appreciated by the younger element of the audience. Put them on stage at the annual music event in Myrtle Park, Bingley, and the crowd would be loving it. Bobbing away to the beat. You might even get someone "stage-diving". In fact they made me feel like I was in a time warp, revisiting my hedonistic days of non-stop drink and drugs. A strange and distant time when I only had two ex-wives.

That must have been a while ago, what is the latest score? Four? Five?

Only three, but I was married to Cassandra twice.

I think thatís enough of your sordid life. Now we come to the headline band of the night, Undersee. What did you think, Torps?

Well, again, isnít it nice to see a band who have they confidence to play their own songs?

Yes, itís lovely, Torps. Carry on.

Undersee are another 5-piece, Saz, Simon, Bryan, Steve, and Eddie, who are obviously influenced by Youthís doyens, Oasis, not that that is a down point. They seem to have harnessed the raw power, but without the obnoxious, self-centred attitude, thankfully.

Their influences seem to range, much like Seratone, and the soon-to-be-famous local band PC World, from one extreme to the other, encapsulating a bit of thrash metal, a bit of eighties rock, and a bit of Ocean Colour Scene. And it all comes together to sound a bit like the Smiths, but that may be partly due to the singerís vocal inflections.

To me, Chris, it was like another trip down memory lane, and my lane is longer than most, so bear with me. Yes, it reminded me of when I used to live in The Village.

What Otley?

Nope, Greenwich Village, USA. I used to watch a little known American band playing in the local venues, the sorts of places they called "Milk Bars" in my day, except lots of arty types used to hang around them at this time. Anyway, I donít know if youíve heard of the band before, three lads and a lass on drums, they called themselves "The Velvet Underground", and they sounded not unlike Undersee. And to be honest thatís not a comparison to be taken lightly, since they virtually invented alternative rock.

For once, Torps, I think you may be right. They seem to have the same sense of drama, since they had to borrow a guitar string from Seratone before taking stage. And the way their songs had the story telling element Lou Reed would have been proud of.

And itís not that they just write good songs, they canít half perform them aswell.

Anyway, Iím sorry to have to cut you off, Torps, but weíve reached that point of no return again, the Rabbitís verdict.

Before we find out what itíll be, Chris, can I just thank all three bands for a cracking night, it was up there with the best.

Right, Torps, are you excited, our first contact with the Rabbit for a while.

Yeah, Chris, what will it be?

The Rabbitís Verdict: itís good to be back.

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