All Hail Hyena + Fossils
Friday 2nd June 2017
@ The Ferret, Preston
This year I decided to make a new year’s resolution that I would actually want to keep. There are 3 out of town bands that I’ve wanted to see for ages, but keep putting off, so this year I decided to make a point of seeing them.
The first was Joe Bone and the Dark Vibes in Glasgow back in February. This time it was All Hail Hyena in Preston, Lancashire.
I first came across the lead singer, Jay Stansfield on Light Night in Liverpool several years ago. There are of course lots of singer songwriters with acoustic guitars around these parts, but his voice, songwriting ability, look and his distinctive glasses grabbed my attention.
When I learned he had a new band, I knew I had to check them out.
The Ferret is in the student quarter of Preston about 15 minutes walk from the train station. I’m told it dates back to the Madchester era in the 90s (the name taken from Mad Fer-it). It hosted everyone from The Stone Roses to Cage the Elephant.
The blinds have famous album covers such as Nico, Screamadelica and Unknown Pleasures.
Of course a pub in a predominately student area tends to be quiet when the students are away. Tonight was no exception.
Fossils are a post rock band from Chorley. They were formed from ex-members of Doubts and Elohymn. They played a polished, assured set to the delight of the small but enthusiastic audience.
Lead singer Francis Yates was a delight to watch as he ran out into the audience, it was hard to believe that this was only their 2nd gig!
Well worth checking out if you get a chance.
All Hail Hyena
So, on to the headliners!
I’m a recent convert to earplugs, I saw way too many, way too loud gigs when I was younger, and now I struggle to hear people talking above normal pub noise. The band sounded good in sound check but loud so I popped my earplugs in. Jay invited me over to their table after soundcheck. Whilst juggling my camera bag, shaking hands with the band and trying to take my earplugs out, I managed to get one of them stuck in my ear! Sods law, when I did manage to get it out, it went straight in my pint!
Still, it was a good ice-breaker and source of amusement! As was the band introducing me to one of the gunge wrestling girls from their “Man Up” video, I didn’t initially recognise her so one of the band quipped “you probably didn’t recognise her with her clothes on!”.
Aside from Jay Stansfield on vocals, the band is comprised of Tom Cross on bass and Rob Ashworth on drums. The band describe themselves as postpunkmathrockgaragepsych! Their influences are the likes of Cage The Elephant and The Pixies.
So far they have released 2 EPs, Damp Detector and Stickers – both of which are well worth checking out.
Playing the songs I’m already familiar with as well as a new one, they sounded great live, polished yet edgy and exciting.
As part of the show they handed out Lollipops (very welcome when I got back to the B&B with nothing to eat), flowers and all sorts!
It’s easy to see why they are developing a fan base and Louder than War has them as a “band to watch”.
The video for Sabbathtian is a Gilliam-esque masterpiece by Railton Lee Johnson. You need to check it out!
Traveling all the way to Preston from Liverpool for a pub gig may sound like madness, particularly as I had to stay in a B&B as the last train would have meant missing most of All Hail Hyena’s set, but despite the low turnout it was a great night and I can’t wait to see them again!
Let’s hope someone brings them to Liverpool, sooner rather than later!
Originally published on Urbanista Magazine UK
Words + Pictures by John W. King