The first of my three days of live music was spent in York, with some wandering around the Jorvik 10th Century Traders tents, and a mini pub crawl including a trip to Valhalla, a small bar down a side street near the Shambles which is decked out like a small mead hall, with a selection of ales and mead.
As with (nearly) all Northern Extremity gigs, the venue was The Fulford Arms, a fairly small pub with a stage at one end and a bar at the other. There’s also a big outdoor area when it’s not February and in single figures in temperature.
The first band to grace the stage was Sköll, a folk metal band from Devon. They had a female vocalist, Matilda, who had a brilliant harsh vocal as well as clean vocals. The drummer Kai was brilliant, his style of drumming is so fluid. The crowd took a little while to warm to them, but they were a great opening act. They also played an Ensiferum cover, which everyone seemed to love. They sadly won’t be playing live for a while, but I would love to see these guys again, and I have my first addition from the weekend to my battle vest!
Valafar were the second band on, they are a Viking/pagan themed death metal band, with very heavy Amon Amarth style elements. This time I was actually able to watch them rather than the backs of heads like I did at Warhorns Festival in 2017. I was headbanging for most of the set and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I couldn’t see any patches so wasn’t able to get one, but I will be on the lookout!
The main support for this gig was York-based Sellsword. I have seen them many times before, but it had been around 4 and a half months since I last saw them live. They definitely didn’t disappoint! They put on an absolutely stellar show, there was the signature Swordophone, and a mass of foam swords thrown into the crowd. As a lovely gesture, they dedicated Hardrada to a local re-enactor and friend of some band members who sadly passed away recently. It was an amazing set though and the crowd loved it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad set from them. I would have bought a patch, but I already have one!
The headliners were Isarnos, a band who I saw in 2016 at Warhorns Festival for the first time. This gig was their first headline show, and it was brilliant. I didn’t stop moving the entire set. The lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Oliver, had brought along his tin and low whistles, his bouzouki and bodhran (all pictured above). The change between vocals and instruments was seamless. They also had a guest fiddle player, Iona, who also had a guest vocal part.
They had such a great energy on stage, and they really did embody their band motto of Peace, Love and Folk Metal. Of course I had to buy a patch, these guys are right up my street!
Northern Extremity never fail to put on amazing lineups of underground and unsigned bands, and this night was no exception. The venue is great, the drinks are cheap, and the music is always amazing. If you ever find yourself in the York area, or find yourself in the vicinity of a gig featuring any of the bands at this show, I would highly recommend checking out these bands or checking out a Northern Extremity gig soon!
The next folk metal based show in York (by Northern Extremity) is Grimner, supported by Haerken and Atorc.
Northern Extremity: https://www.facebook.com/NorthernExtremity/
Grimner York show: https://www.facebook.com/events/124934788203297/