Gig Scene: The Courteeners, Stax and more. . .

Liam Fray from The Courteeners.
Liam Fray from The Courteeners.

Gig Scene by Graham Chalmers

The best thing about the new Leeds First Direct Arena is the view, that and the sound; both are superb.

Even though The Cockpit can’t compete with this sort of major venue I’ve seen so many great shows there in the last 20 years it’s a special place to me.

The latest gig worth checking out at The Cockpit features Liam Fray from indie Brit rockers The Courteeners.

Appearing tomorrow night, Friday, it’s the second concert of an eight-date solo tour, and Liam is promising acoustic versions of Courteeners classics.

A ground-breaking music festival is launched this weekend linking up Bradford’s ‘underground’ scene with Leeds’ ‘underground’ scene.

Recon Festival not only features Leeds’ post punk legends Gang of Four, Penny Rimbaud of Crass, Skullflower and Vibracathedral Orchestra, it’s also a truly collaborative, independent event.

The Recon programme, which runs from September 22-29, aims to link live music with films and spoken word.

For more information, visit

Superb local singer Samantha Smith has launched a new band in the Harrogate area.

She’s fronting up seven-piece outfit Stax which also includes Tom Flanagan (guitar), Andrew Lock (bass), Alex Cromarty (drums) plus Howard, Charlie and Django on brass.

As the band’s name suggests, they specialise in classic Motown/soul/r’nb covers.

Primarily a functions band for weddings etc, there’s a chance to catch Stax at The Alexandra pub in Harrogate tonight, Thursday at 9pm.

More information at

One of Harrogate’s most atmospheric bars, The Hales Bar is the venue for a new weekly acoustic music night.

Launched by local singer-songwriters Ghostown Soldier and Ade Payne, the night is called Gaslight Acoustic@Hales bar and will also feature a guest act each time.

This Sunday night’s guest act will be Yeli Williams. Kick-off in this lovely Victorian bar is 7.30pm.