Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Introducing the holy trinity; football, beer and music

Music and football have always gone hand in hand, with beer proving a readymade accompaniment. When Revie’s youngsters had just burst into the first team in the early-mid 1960s, and their youthful effervescence caused giddy flutters of excitement around the terraces of Elland Road, the sharp suits and slick, neat ‘short back and sides’ of Messrs Hunter, Bremner, Giles and Gray were modelled on the well-groomed, urbanity of The Beatles. The cherubic innocence of both Revie’s ‘family’ and Liverpool’s ‘Fab Four’, and the excitement at what each would soon achieve was clear to see. By the mid-1970s, Leeds had won everything but friends, and their chunky sideburns, long hair and nonchalant swagger mixed ruthless hard tackles, day-glo colour, sweaty glamour and cacophonous fun with the wild, uncultured abandon of Slade, T-Rex and Bowie.


Every era has its own soundtrack. The Wilko years were the perfect explosion of energy, positivity and euphoria to lift us full throttle out of the gloom of the mid-80s, just as The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and Acid House taught youth culture new moves and embraced blissful vibes as a flawless antidote to mark the end of Thatcherite Britain.

Somehow football images become a hedonistic feast when music adds another dimension. The most routine 25-yard half-volley becomes a life-affirming, epoch-defining, sea change point of consequence when a guitar riff, a stomping beat or an epic orchestral sweep adds to the sensory overload. Sometimes football and music combines like the stars have aligned and fate meant it to happen; like New Order and World in Motion in 1990 or Baddiel & Skinner doing Three Lions for Euro 96. You may even still find Tottenham fans who yearn for winning trophies rather than just Champions League qualification, and miss the inimitable accompaniment of Chas & Dave. For me, the most perfect combination of football and music is this montage that somebody at Leeds United put together in the early 2000s, choosing a quintessential but fairly obscure soundtrack in Andrew WK’s ‘Party Hard’, to put a breathless and exhilarating sheen on an impeccably edited thrill-ride through the halcyon decades which sums up exactly what it is to be ‘Leeds’.

Undoubtedly, music brings life to the party, and god knows we need some fun at Elland Road. And while we are pretty happy with the buoyant sense of adrenalin and pre-match positivity at the Old Peacock in the form of our tried and trusted matchday programme, in true Spinal Tap fashion we have decided to turn the dial up to 11, to guard against complacency and on the basis that nothing is ever enough.

We have quenched your thirst at the Old Peacock since 1826, and we have been filling your bellies with great food since Ossett Brewery started the special matchday menu in 2013, now we are going to be offering a treat for your ears. From September 10th and the visit of Huddersfield Town we will have free live music in our beer garden before every Leeds United Saturday home game. This is a unique venture that we hope will add a new dimension to the matchday experience for our many regulars, and will have all the Leeds fans bouncing with vivacity and confidence as they hop off to the ground to cheer on the Whites. Furthermore, we are insisting on only local bands climbing on our stage, so we are promoting both established and up-and-coming Yorkshire talent and giving them an opportunity to perform in front of hundreds of people, in some cases for the first time they have encountered such an audience. We know you’ll be gentle with them and we hope you’ll be dancing along in the build-up to kick-off.

All our bands will start at 12.30pm and will perform two 45-minute sets, with a short break in between, so we hope you can turn up early and support all of them. First up is a Mod/Ska band called The Snapp who perform covers of The Jam, The Clash, The Who and The Specials amongst others. We are confident they will put yet more zip into your Saturday and hopefully our live music venture will prove to be another successful addition to make matchday at the Old Peacock an all-consuming experience.        

Of course our parent company Ossett Brewery have a long history of supporting live music ventures through their chain of pubs, and later in September, on Saturday 24th, we will see the second Wharfest event in Granary Wharf. Our sister bars The Hop, Archies and Candlebar are perfectly placed to offer an all-day feast of free live music to suit everyone’s tastes. From 3pm all three bars have different acts performing a whole range of styles deep into the night, so even if you are at Elland Road for the Ipswich game beforehand, we guarantee you will reach the midnight hour tapping your toes to something. Wharfest 2 is absolutely free, and again, will be concentrating on promoting young, local talent, and as well as hearing great music you might just be catching an intimate performance from the little-known performer whose next Leeds gig could be in the O2 or even the First Direct Arena in a couple of years’ time. So grab the chance and see what takes your fancy at Wharfest2 on September 24th.

After a relatively quiet August in terms of home games, we have a hefty wedge of action in LS11 in the form of four games over a two-week period in September. Saturday 10th sees the aforementioned local derby with Huddersfield, followed by two consecutive Tuesday night encounters with Blackburn Rovers. Given the horrific midweek 2-0 defeat to our Lancastrian friends last season this might seem like some kind of sadistic plot, but following the routine league fixture on 13th we welcome Blackburn again a week later for a League Cup tie on the 20th. Live music will be back on Saturday 24th when Ipswich Town are the visitors, and if your foot is still tapping when you venture off to make the short walk to the ground, you can carry on to town after the game and check out Wharfest in Granary Wharf. Leeds are also at home on October 1st against Barnsley, so there is very little respite after a fairly tranquil start to the season at the Old Peacock.

So all in all it promises to be a very busy September. Keep your eye out for announcements on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on the latest bands to be performing in the beer garden for home games. Not so much a case of keeping your ear to the ground, but keeping it primed and ready to hear some fantastic live music in your favourite beer garden over the next few months. As ever, we hope you enjoy the ride.    

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