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Holy Moly and the “XMAS” Crackers (SELLING FAST)

We are delighted to welcome back Holy Moly and the Crackers after their amazing sell out gig earlier in 2019. If you saw them last time round you won’t want to miss this special Christmas show which is sure to kick off your Christmas week in some style and put a huge smile on your face.

Holy Moly & The Crackers make riotous party music for the masses. Their latest album, Take A Bite, is concise, passionate take on folk, blues and indie rock. The sound of a band who have been searching and experimenting for several years; arriving at a place where they can say “this who we are and this is where we want to go”.

Formed in Newcastle in 2011, the group began as little more than a laugh, an excuse to busk through some foot-stomping folk pop. They developed from a four piece to a six piece, with Ruth Patterson on vocals/fiddle, Conrad Bird on vocals/guitar/trumpet, Rosie Bristow on accordion, Nick Tyler on electric guitar, Jamie Shields on bass and Tommy Evans on drums/backing vocals. “When we started we were a real ragtag folk band,” Conrad says. “We want to tell a different story now.”

To that end, while the violin and the accordion remain, the whole thing feels rawer now. Riff-heavy, even. With melodic choruses more in the vein of American rockers such as The Black Keys and Jack White, than the tweed and waistcoats of traditional UK folk. It reflects the diverse tastes of a band, comprised of six friends with six individual music tastes, who come together to make a sound greater than the sum of its parts. “We’ve kept an element of the folk side but just kind of fused it together,” Ruth explains. “We all listen to each other, we all share stuff, but the music’s less about storytelling in the folk tradition now. It’s more observational. More about real experiences.”

A turning point came when the band first met producer Matt Terry (Ocean Colour Scene/The Prodigy/The Enemy). “We’d started listening to things like The Gossip and Jack White and thought, this is really cool but we don’t know if it relates to us,” Conrad says. “Matt started saying, okay, I really want to make this type of music with you. This is how you do it.”

Decamping, for a month, to the historic VADA Studios on the Warwickshire/Worcestershire border, the band recorded their 2017 album Salem. A record influenced by an eclectic range of folk and popular music, it showed the band heading in a heavier, crunchier direction, with barnstorming lead single, Cold Comfort Lane, finding significant sync success, most notably over the end credits of 2018 summer blockbuster Oceans 8. “I think that opened things up for us,” Ruth says. “It was like, okay, they’re not just a band having a laugh. It gave us a bit more weight in a commercial sense.”

The traction meant that the band were able to tour the UK twice, taking their party-like live show to venues up and down the country, as well as making successful debuts in France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands. “For us, everything we do is to feed the live show,” Conrad says. And the success continued on the festival circuit, playing over 30 in 2018, including an acclaimed spot at Glastonbury.

“All roads lead to the stage,” Conrad continues. “The arguing, the loving, the making, the listening – it boils down into one manic, riotous party. That’s where we connect with the audience and with each other and that’s what we’re all about.” It’s an all-systems-go mentality. One that fed directly into the recording of Salem’s follow up, Take A Bite – released via their own label, Pink Lane Records, in April 2019.

“This album is asking the audience to take a chance on us,” Ruth continues. “Obviously we’ve got a bit of a daft name and we look a bit mad, but I think once people actually come to a gig, they’re always pleasantly surprised. We get kids, old people, Goths, hippies, whatever. Everyone’s invited, everyone’s part of it. And people seem to lose themselves. No one’s like, “Oh, how do I look?’ while dancing. They don’t care. It brings everyone together.”

It’s a refreshing kind of inclusivity. One that you can imagine comes, in part, from Ruth’s powerful position as a disabled front person. “I’m a wheelchair user,” she says. “And I think that’s something that always hits people. I think it’s where some of the closeness of the band comes from too, like some crazy dysfunctional family, zooming about Europe. Because it’s difficult to tour, there are hardly any accessible venues. So I think it comes across how much we look after each other.

“I’m sometimes quite shy, but I really come alive on stage, because it’s the one time I’m in control,” she says. “I’m leading the party. And I think that’s quite powerful as a wheelchair user.”

It’s not really something Ruth’s spoken about in the context of the band before. But the fact that she feels able to now speaks volumes about where the group is at: making their most authentic music in years, at a place where they finally feel able to be their most authentic selves.

“I genuinely believe that this album is really good,” Ruth says. “And I’ve never felt like that before. It’s nice to be able to say we feel confident that this speaks for itself, so therefore we can talk about other things.”

“We’ve not by any means finished our journey,” Conrad continues. “But we’ve arrived at a place here, with this album, where we can start the journey that we want to be on. This is who we are now; this is what we’re doing.”

He pauses. “You just have to take a bite.”

Book a table for pre-concert dining

Acapela Studio provides pre-concert dining between 6.00pm and 7.45pm from our wood burning pizza oven. To view the current menu visit here.  To book a table online, select the date of your event, number of diners and time you require table. The times shown are the only vacancies left.  Please complete your email and phone number as this is required to ensure your table is allocated. You will receive confirmation of your booking by email and text.

PLEASE NOTE THE VENUE RELIES ON THE INCOME FROM DINING TO ENSURE WE CAN BOOK ALL THE GREAT ACTS PERFORMING.

  • All seating at tables must purchase a pizza - so please do not book a table if not eating.
  • Please ensure that you arrive 10 minutes before the time slot allocated to order your pizzas prior to your booking time.
  • Tables not seated within 15 minutes of the allocated time may be lost and allocated to other audience members wishing to order pizzas.
  • If you wish to book a table for 8 or more please email info@acapela.co.uk

Please note that all of our pizzas are made fresh to order and cooked in an authentic wood-fired oven. It may take up to 45 minutes to be served during busy periods.

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