Yours & Owls memories: My Little Underground

In the lead-up to Yours & Owls’ 2nd birthday party this weekend, we asked some of the bands playing the three-venue celebration to reflect on their memories of Owls; both as performers, and as regular gig-goers. The first off the rank is My Little Underground, who recently placed third in the UOW band comp and will be playing the Owls venue on Friday night. Guitarist Jonathan Tooke spoke to us about his memories of shows there:

What was your first gig at Yours & Owls?
The Huchi Muchi launch party, 29th of September 2011. Crazy to think that that was under a year ago. Kind of a game changer for us really, in the last year we’ve done a ridiculous number of Owls slots.

What has been the favourite show you’ve played there?
Either that Huchi Muchi launch party or the Thomas Covenant EP launch a couple of weeks ago. Both were fantastic nights, seeing an almost packed crowd each time really get into it was fucking cool and really fun.

Best memory of Owls?
The best memory I have would be a tie between seeing people really get into it at the Huchi Muchi launch and meeting new people there. That Huchi Muchi launch really was the first time we’d had people really react at a gig like that. Meeting new people has been great too, so many people I talk to very regularly I wouldn’t have met without Owls being there. So many bands as well that I’d have no clue about.

What are some highlights of your experience as a gig-goer at Owls?
Either Thomas Covenant at their launch night or Alkan Zeybek and the Lessermen. Two very different gigs, but both great in their own right. Thom Cov was a messy party vibe where everyone was crowd surfing and stuff – so fun. It was a pretty long lineup of bands and everything just kept building until Thom Cov started playing at it was fucking cool. Them ending with ‘You Got A Friend In Me’ too was actually a really great moment. The Alkan Zeybek gig was quite a strange one. It was a long lineup of touring bands, most of which I’d never heard before. We’re on 2nd and Alkan Zeybek and the Lessermen were on first. Playing to roughly 10 people, they fucking ruled. By the 2nd song Alkan, the frontman, had jumped from the top of the Owls stairs and was wiping blood onto the setlist. Also – their EP rules so hard, a CD I actually played into not working anymore.

How do you see Owls’ role in the local music scene?
They are the best live venue to see bands in the area. Without them, I can’t really see the local music scene being anywhere near as strong as it is today. I can’t really overstate it’s importance to local music.

Why do you think they’ve been to successful so far?
The high level of good vibes. Much of what I had heard about the heyday of the Oxford Tavern, the regular band nights and good vibes, has been definitely surpassed by my own experiences at Owls. I haven’t had a bad night there, and it’s the only venue around I can really say that about. Even a night which doesn’t go the best for us will still be a good night because of the people there and the other bands.

What expectations do you have for the birthday party?
I’m just hoping it’s a real big party. For it to be one of those really great Owls nights where everyone is just having the best time. Also, I’m fucking keen for This Mess, I’ve only seen them once before and I was really digging what they’re up to.

What band are you most looking forward to?
A toss up between Let Me Down Jungleman, This Mess and Totally Unicorn. The Jungleman dudes are great guys we get along with really well and they play in a damn cool band so we’re keen to see ‘em. This Mess, as I mentioned before I’ve only seen once before but I’m so keen to hear them again, just the depth at which their songs are written I really like. And Totally Unicorn – one of the best bands in the region and one of the few I haven’t actually seen before. Every night they’re on I had some unavoidable reason I couldn’t go so I’m really really keen for that

If you could buy Owls a birthday present, what would it be?
Real: An owl costume for each of the dudes. Imaginary: A ‘no-fine’ card, preventing the po-po from fining them again.

MLU play the Yours & Owls 2nd birthday party on August 31. The three-venue party will take over Owls, the Town Hall and Fever/Blue Note nightclub, with Totally Unicorn, The Walking Who Step-Panther, Alotta Presha, Let Me Down Jungleman and a dozen more playing throughout the night. For all the details, click here.

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