Wrong Side of the River is like the band you love and don’t want to share, the place you’ve discovered and want to keep a secret. We want to promote it but keep it to ourselves, let everyone love it just as much as we do, but keep the magic of the intimacy, the secret indie scene York has desperately been missing.
We want to whisper to you slyly across the room about this great little place we stumbled upon, but also shout at you for not noticing it all along. We want to spread the word, but keep it ours. So here it is, a secret shared.
Tucked away amongst York’s winding streets, Wrong side of the river at Bar Lane studios presented Milk Maid, supported by David Mudie AKA Missing Kids, Fawn Spots, …And The Hangnails and Burning Fences. And what a line up it was.
Burning Fences played a tight set, with their punk influence described as “Spacemen 3 meets the Stooges” whilst …And The Hangnails provided a heavier dose of punk, with an impressive set from their debut album, No Time For Naysayers. These provided the sharp contrast from the melancholy lull of solo vocals and guitar from David Mudie.
Fawn Spots deliver every time, bringing electric punk energy, screaming vocals and fast paced beats and riffs. They’re a band who have as much fun as the crowd do, putting their absolute everything into their performance. Watching them alone is exhausting enough. The band are preparing to get their songs beyond the walls of York, playing gigs in London and Leeds in the next month and with gigs confirmed in Los Angeles. You can expect to hear some new material in the new year, with an EP in the pipeline. Remember the name Fawn Spots because they’re about to do great things.
Milk Maid stormed the place with an enthusiastic crowd and catchy pop rock that ignited the room. Turns out you can’t stand still to their tunes. You have to dance.
Their sunny indie pop songs feel like the sound track to a lazy summer, a welcome change from the winter blues. Front man Martin Cohen cites his musical influences as Big Star and Sic Alps and describes Milk Maid to be “somewhere in between those two”. He describes the band as “fuzzy pop” and loves the intimacy of the basement location for WSOTR. “I like things where people are close and you’re not just playing to an empty space most of the time. It always sounds better like this”. He spoke of his love of York and said he comes here “for the music really. And fish and chips. And I always end up at The Habit”. The band have done three short tours this year with new music ahead. “We’ve just started recording the second album…[it] should be out at about new year, that’s the deadline I’ve set myself, so we’ll see what happens…”
Cohen spent his early musical years playing bass for Nine Black Alps, leaving the band for new ventures. As a singer, songwriter and guitarist, he looks at ease, I found myself wondering why he hadn’t been doing this for years. It has seemed to be a natural transition from bassist to front man, as though he was meant to be here, not lingering in the back. Aesthetically, Cohen fits the bill for the lead singer of an alternative rock band, but the front man ego has yet to take hold. He is modest and quiet, calling Milk Maids “just another band” and although they have an impressive fan following and their album has received critical acclaim, it’s like he doesn’t want you to know it.
His inspiration to form the band? “Just time on my hands.” His transition from bassist to singer? “I’m kind of used to singing a bit more. I’m enjoying it now but I don’t like talking in between songs. Absolutely hate that.” He is humble and thankful for his fans, saying “It’s nice when anybody listens to the album and likes it. If they say ‘I really like this album’, that’s amazing.” When asked how he feels about the positive reviews of his album ‘Yucca’ he understates it saying it’s “really flattering that people will buy the album or actually come to a gig. So, whoever likes it, that’s good.”
It’s his modesty that is most charming, a trait we hope he won’t lose in favour of success. And if this gig was anything to go by, he will flattered into submission, because he is liked, he is admired and Milk Maid have proved themselves to be more than “just another band”.