Hurtling Through York’s Music Scene

Cavalier: Henry Anderson closing up with a first year band on the rise for SCENE.

(Image: Danny Adlington)

Music has always meant a great deal to me, but when I arrived at University last September as a Fresher, exploring band culture was never really on my agenda. But, with the encouragement of friends, the growing boredom of lectures and seminars, and just any excuse to have a drink and relax for a few hours, I found myself really loving music for the first time in a while. 

With a whole new year ready to play itself out, I have not lost that feeling. What started off as listening to a host of fresh albums and new genres with friends has progressed into attending live performances both in the University and outside. Thankfully, one band I can gladly say I intimately know have been along with me for much of the ride. 

It takes a lot of confidence and talent for a band of Freshers, strangers at the start of their time here at York, to take music opportunities by the scruff of the neck and produce something really special. 

Cavalier are just one band that demonstrate the myriad of musical skills we have here in the University, but are one I am glad I have really got to know. 

While they were formed back in December,  like many great bands, the groundwork for Cavalier was laid long before that. 

Way back in Freshers’ week in September, Callum Flatley, the bass player and principal songwriter for the band, met Freddy Gerada, the lead guitarist, at a block party and instantly bonded over their shared love for music. 

With Flatley sharing song ideas and Freddy suggesting interpretations, the partnership blossomed. As the weeks rolled on, so did the jamming sessions, with Callum’s lyrics coming to life and talk of forming a band in full swing. As they settled into University, they then met Nathan, the rhythm guitarist, and Harry, the lead singer, and Cavalier came into existence.

Cavalier’s first live performance happened at a Band Society Meet n Jam session. Whilst Callum could not make the performance, it gave the band a vital first opportunity to play in front of an audience and test the group dynamic. 

Like any new band, and with Callum’s absence considered, there were certainly issues with pacing and stage presence that needed to be figured out, but the potential was certainly there.

However, on the 15th of February, at the much-promoted Battle of the Bands, Cavalier really came into their own, showcasing some of their best songs like Hometown and Prodigal Son, and providing a shell-shocking performance to a packed Lounge in James College. Let’s just say you know a performance is good when the audience is singing along to songs they have only just heard. 

It was an electrifying performance that helped their star rise, with their reward being a chance to headline at the Fulford Arms on the 4th March. 

Watching this, it seemed everything was coming together for the band. Freddy and Nathan looked completely locked-in and composed, while Harry provided flair and electricity at front and centre, and Callum could not help but smile and smoulder at his sensational lyrics dancing before him. Having seen all of their performances, their improvement over this short period has been impressive. 

This swift rise is not as surprising when you understand the effort each band member has put in. Practising daily, they are always testing out new lyrics, rhythms, and structures for their songs, fostering an excellent band dynamic and an equal footing for band input. 

(Image: Henry Anderson)

Callum’s literally always writing new songs, for example one evening in Wetherspoons, when he sadly preferred to reinterpret Lions by Dire Straits than hold a conversation with me! Having spoken to the band, it seems where they need some permanence is in the drumming role. Whilst they have contracted some top drummers from across the University for their performances, such as Ivor at their most recent Fulford performance, they will likely be advertising for a long-term drummer. So if anyone reading this thinks they would be up for it, Cavalier’s Instagram DMs are open

So, what does the future hold for Cavalier? While a long way off, Battle of the Bands will recommence in September, and Cavalier will be there no matter what. There is talk of playing at the Northern Social’s Battle of the Bands at Pontefract in late March, which would be their first performance outside of York. 

Over the summer, the band will be performing in a few London pubs as well as busking, broadening their audience to the South as well as the North. Overall, the future looks bright. The boldness and endeavour of Cavalier speaks to the huge amount of musical talent at the University, especially the first year’s. I hope this talent burns bright for many years to come and that York’s musical community goes from strength to strength. 

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