Growing up in Yorkshire had its pros and cons, especially for a hardworking musicians learning their craft on the acoustic guitar….
Picture this: Its five years ago on a rain soaked, windswept afternoon in an O’ Neil’s pub in Blackpool. Myself and Kieran at the time, honing our skills as wedding singers, playing to the tea time drinking crowd consisting mainly of an Irishman (drunk) and his dog (also drunk). The said gentleman is keeping us on our toes by firing old Irish standards at us like a Wimbledon pro deftly thrashing the ball trying to outwit their opponent. To our credit we’re happily returning his serves and both parties enjoying the sport being made. At the end of the set the Irishman is pole-axed drunk (so is his dog) and almost half-coherently manages to tell us how much he’s enjoyed the music and asks us our names. “Well, I’m Dominic and this is Kieran”, I tell him.“Ahhh, good Irish lads know their music…”, he says as he stumbles off, one hand wafting over his head, the other winding in his dog lead, twisting himself and his dog into a human/canine maypole. Another happy customer wends his merry way into the blustery elements of The North-West, warmed only by his beer-jacket and the childhood memories of his homeland the tunes have evoked.The one mistake he made though, was the deduction of me and Kieran hailing from The Emerald Isle. Granted we both have names which carry some Irish weight and both my father and Kierans mother hail from villages a few miles from Dublins fair city, but that is as far as the connection goes. From the moment we both breathed our first breath, that air we breathed and continue to, for the most part, is Yorkshire air!Me and Kieran were brought up in Kirkburton, situated 5 miles from Huddersfield, on an easterly slope above The Yorkshire Pennines. A home for hardy sheep and the home also of The Emley Moor Television transmitter, once having the distinction of being Europes tallest man-made structure.After initially meeting at Middle school when we were 10 years old we quickly stuck up a friendship based around our love of The Beatles, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. To others of our age, our tastes seemed boringly out of vogue: they were listening to M. C. Hammer’s ‘Can’t touch this’. We were listening to ‘She loves you’, ‘Johnny B Goode’ and ‘Peggy Sue’. It was 1991 and little did we know the seeds for Rock My Reception wedding band, were already being sown!Over the years The Yorkshire town of Huddersfield has been the butt of jokes and for two lads heavily into the music scene in the early-mid 90’s we didn’t have the kudos of having Oasis, The Stone Roses or The Verve as our next-door neighbours. Nor did our parents go to school with Paul Mccartney or John Lennon; Roy Castle maybe, or if they were lucky Gordon Kaye from ‘Ello Ello’. We did and still do, however, have our fair share of musical talent born and bred in the region. Where would American 70’s hit-makers be without Pounding bass of Dave Hewitt or where would Ultravox’s ‘Vienna’ be without its signature keyboard work of Billy Currie- both proudly Huddersfield musicians, by the way!
Two examples of Yorkshires finest bands from the 90’s are indeed two of the only a handful of indie bands from that era still in existence. Huddersfield band Embrace have just realised a new album and Yorks finest Shed 7 are still playing to packed venues around the country. Perhaps Yorkshire folk really made of harder stuff!Speaking as a member of a wedding band, in Yorkshire our location also has many advantages. Our base is right in the centre of Great Britain so the furthest extremes of wedding we may get asked to play, I.e. Lands End to John O’ Groats, are more or less equidistant from Yorkshire. This cuts down travel time and minimises fuel costs.Our pride in originating from Yorkshire is deep rooted in a love of the culture and heritage it has to offer from Ted Hughes to Simon Armitage, Joe Cocker to Jarvis Cocker. The literature of the Brontes to the settings of current popular Television dramas like ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ and ‘Happy Valley’. The way both the main arteries of the country; the M62 and M1 pass through it’s rolling valleys and mountainous climbs providing vital connections to and from all parts of Britain. Even punk band The Sex Pistols chose to play their last ever British gig in Huddersfield.
Rock My Receptions Dominic and Kieran: Irish names-Yorkshire hearts!