It’s fair to say that a few months back, underground music haunt Stereo looked a little unsteady on its feet, having unexpectedly closed its doors over the course of a few nights amidst unclear circumstances.
For a short time it looked like York’s finest alternative music venue was on the ropes. How things can change. More than ever now, Stereo feels like the hub of York’s music scene, bringing together several of the more vibrant strands of the city’s DIY music community in a cosily familial environment. The last month has represented something of a Renaissance for the venue, with the arrival of affable manager Sid McQuilliam complementing the independent spirit already fostered by the bar’s inimitable founder and sound technician Andy, whilst a move away from in-house promoters has radically transforming Stereo’s approach to planning gigs and club nights.
This change has thrown the floor open to local promoters (albeit within the compass of Andy and Sid’s approval), which has galvanised a plethora of local gig bookers, bands and music lovers into putting together a slew of fresh and exciting events. Over recent weeks there’ve been sets from the likes of Wet Nuns and Manscreams, shows put together by seasoned promoters like Please Please You (including a special visit from some of our Atlantic cousins, Wussy), bar-ravaging installments of staple dance clubnights Freakin and Hijacked and some special, bespoke events such as The Mad Hatter’s Hi-jack which saw the space transformed into a nest of pastel loveliness with antique teacups and out-sized cardboard mushrooms.
The future’s looking bright for Stereo, whose staff are facing the very real prospect of making it all the way to Christmas with fewer nights off than you can count on one hand. At times the venues upcoming listings read pretty much like a ‘who’s who?’ of today’s underground rock bands, with some truly exciting acts including Wot Gorilla?, Ice Age, Bo Ningen, Succioperro, La Bete Blooms and O Children all set to take the stage over the period of a few weeks with much else going on besides.
If for whatever reason you’re out of the habit of visiting this bar, or if you’ve somehow managed not to go there whatsoever, you’re urged to do something about it, pronto. Stereo is a proper live music venue, by music lovers, for music lovers. Find your way there and hear some of the picks of the UK’s underground music scene, alongside York’s own burgeoning family of acts.