Commoners Choir – The Chemic Tavern, Leeds – 18 July 2016

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The Chemic is one of those fantastic community pubs that are so rare to find these days. You can bring your tea in from the chippy next door or the curry house down the road, you can play scrabble or cards in the corner and you can hear live music in the back room most nights of the week. It was chosen as one of the venues for the ADP Riot Tour – an art installation in a container that’s travelling the country, stopping off at places where riots have occurred. The installation (a miniature town rioting that could be seen through peep-holes in the container) was made by ex-KLF money burner, Jimmy Cauty and started out life at Banksy’s Dismaland bemusement park.

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Along with the tour, the Chemic had a photographic exhibition of anarchists by Casey Orr (that haven’t been seen for 20 years) and different musical treats each night.

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Tonight was the turn of Commmoners Choir who I must admit to being a member of, so this review may not be totally unbiased. Instigated by Boff Whalley, ex of Chumbawamba (RIP), we sing songs about food riots of old (‘Ely & Littleport Riot’) modern Politicians (the ‘Jeremy Hunt rhyming song’ went down well) the refugee crisis (‘Three boats’) how London and the cuts are draining the Norths cultural heritage (‘Robin Hood in reverse’) how grouse shooting contributed to the flooding of Hebden Bridge (‘The peoples Armada’)…..you get the picture.

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The weather was hot, so we sang outside with the container as a backdrop, to an appreciative crowd – makes all the practice and sweating in black clothes worthwhile. The pub also ran out of beer by the end of the evening….. no riot ensued but there must be a song in that somewhere…

Thanks to Elaine for the pictures. You can see some footage of the evening at the Chemics Facebook page.

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Bob the Chiropodist

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