It's a Hull of a town
Noel Gallagher has become enemy number one of the city of Hull. Last week, at a gig in Austin, Texas, he called it a “fucking shithole” and the residents of ‘the northern city were justifiably pissed off. The 3,500 capacity Hull Venue responded by inviting Liam Gallagher to open for them this summer. Ever the Godlike Genius, Liam said he’d love to. “I love HULL”, he said, and he’s got excellent taste. 2017’s City of Culture is, in fact, home of great venues and delicious grub. Let us count the ways…
1. The Welly Club
Hull’s alternative venue, Welly, has stuck around for over 100 years. Anyone who’s seen the queues on a Friday night knows it’s not going anywhere soon. It’s huge, and has a whole floor which seems to play Bring Me The Horizon and Kasabian exclusively. The Maccabees, Babyshambles and Kaiser Chiefs have all played its hallowed halls. Indie kids rejoice! They also serve a dangerously tasty cocktail called the “jelly baby”, made up of a yellow, blue and white VK. It costs three measly pounds. That’s one jammy night out.
The alternative venue, covering live music, stand-up and even film screenings – the Cult Cinema Sundays are a joy – opened up in 2010, taking its name from the former fruit warehouse in which it resides. Musicians such as Spring King, Jaws and Steve Mason have graced its stage, while stand-ups including Robin Ince and Josie Long have brought the comedy. Promoter Joe Hubbard tells NME: “We’re a cultural, creative venue. We end up with something every night of the year that’s completely different – FRüIT is for all audiences.”
This diversity, says Joe, is key to the venue’s identity: “There was nothing down our street before we opened; it was derelict. No-one had any reason to go that side of town. We couldn’t just do gigs because we had to drive people to the area.” In addition to FRüIT, he shouts out Zebedee’s Yard, an impromptu venue that pops up in a car park in Hull’s Old Town area and has hosted shows from The Flaming Lips and Primal Scream. City of Culture? Sounds about right.
3. Cheap beer in nice pubs
Welly’s old town is the stuff of cobbled street dreams. Museums, period properties and ghost walks abound – but the pubs are where it’s at. They’re cute, cosy and serve affordable pints. Special shoutout to Hitchcocks, an informal BYOB vegetarian pub which only opens when enough people have booked, choose their cuisine based on the first booker’s choice and serve all-you-can-eat dessert.
4. Awesome new bands
From unabashedly political punks Life to art-rockers La Bête Blooms (who’ve been putting records out through resolutely Hull label Adult Teeth) via folky Kate Spencer and the fabulously named metalcore dudes Sex Injuries, there are countless Hull musicians hell-bent on keeping the city’s good times rolling.
5. Cream telephone boxes
It’s probably been a while since you were even aware of your nearest telephone box, let alone entered one. But in Hull, you’d want to use them all the time for the sheer novelty value. Unlike the traditional red, Hull has cream telephone boxes in a nod to their independent, municipal telephone network provider, KCOM. Who cares why, though? Just enjoy their chic, retro glory.
6. Chip spice
It’s like peri-peri salt, but better. This delicious seasoning was first introduced to Hull by ‘Yankeeburger’ restaurant owner John Science in 1979, and the locals been addicted to it ever since. Which probably makes sense, given that the salt content actually had to be reduced to get in line with “sodium legislation.” You’d be hard pushed to find a fast-food joint in Hull without a tub of chip spice on the counter. Spend a weekend in the place and you’ll fill your pockets with the stuff for the devastating moment you leave.
7. Throbbing Gristle
As we’ve seen, Hull has produced its fair share of awesome musical talent – from The Beautiful South to Everything But The Girl – but this is perhaps the group that represents the outsider status that’s shaped the city. The experimental sound coined by Cosey Fanni Tutti and co. was resolutely uncompromising and wildly original – the band pioneered industrial music and tagged ‘The Second Annual Report’ as “industrial music for industrial people”.
8. The Deep
It could be the best aquarium in the world and that, my friends, is reason enough to love Hull.
9. Memories of the Arctic Monkeys at an ice rink
And Hull isn’t just about new acts and multi-discipline cultural venues. Back in 2006, the then-nascent Arctic Monkeys – a band you might be familiar with – played a legendary and unforgettable show at the Hull Ice Arena. Contrary as ever, they opened with the beautiful but hardly barnstorming ballad ‘Riot Van’, before tearing into ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ via ‘The View from the Afternoon’ and bowing out with ‘A Certain Romance’. At extraordinary show from an extraordinary band at an absolutely electric point in their career.
Write a round-up of the best things in Hull and don’t include Spiders and you’ll likely get lynched by locals. A beautifully debauched night club with a batshit website, it’s home to a million stories about bad, bad things that have happened within its walls. We’d call the place unforgettable, but if you can remember a single thing about a night at Spiders – you’re doing it wrong.