REVIEW: Paul Rhodes’s verdict on Bobby Lee and Pascallion, The Crescent, York

Bobby Lee and drummer Ian McCutcheon: “Guitar-driven instrumentals with an expansive, filmic quality”. Picture: Paul Rhodes

CUTTING a dash is rarely a bad move when it comes to performing music. While none at The Crescent did so much as bat an eye to the retro chic figure enjoying the support act, once on stage, Bobby Lee, from Sheffield but in every other respect American, looked like a man made for the limelight.

In appearance recalling Lee Hazlewood in his late 1960s’ pomp, Lee’s guitar-driven instrumentals have an expansive, filmic quality. The backdrop was video from the 1960s and 1970s, and promoters Ouroboros’s trademark floor lamp also added a certain period glow.

The three piece locked quickly into place, dispatching 15 songs in a little over an hour. That was enough, as the circular riffs were starting to turn in on themselves and blur.

Pascallion, alias York musician Jack Woods: “Dour, Elliot Smith-like nihilism contrasting with nimble, beautiful guitar playing”. Picture: Paul Rhodes

There were a number of peaks in the set, however. Reds For A Blue Planet, the opener from his best album to date, Endless Skyways, was confident, bold and melodic. Lee wisely leaves space for his music, resisting the urge to play lots of notes, or attempt jazz rock meanders. Closer in spirit perhaps to Link Wray, or Lee Hazlewood’s original charge, Duane Eddy.

His bandmates were able accomplices, drummer Ian McCutcheon in particular laying down inventive patterns without steeling any thunder. There was just enough variety and showmanship to keep the evening afloat, mixing more atmospheric numbers, such as  Acid Flat Lands, with more riff-based tunes, such as Heavy Friends.

The world certainly seems to weigh down on Pascallion, the York-based opener. Information online is sparse about this musician (Jack Woods), but the set was wonderful – his dour, Elliot Smith-like nihilism contrasting with his nimble, beautiful guitar playing. If the John Martyn comparisons are hard to avoid, this was a set of songs deserving of a wider audience.

That both performers had in common.

Review by Paul Rhodes, 29/10/2023

Bobby Lee’s three piece locked quickly into place, dispatching 15 songs in a little over an hour. Picture: Paul Rhodes

Let’s talk about gigs, music culture and stories, mental health and The Twenty Seven Club at York Literature Festival

Harkirit Boparai: Taking part in tomorrow’s panel discussion

GIG-GOING: Live Music and Literature Stories will be the focus of a York Literature Festival panel discussion at the Fulford Arms, Fulford Road, York, tomorrow (24/3/2022).

This discussion and celebration of music culture explores how we document live music and the power of stories and publishing to unite music scenes.

Billed as “a must for musicians, reviewers, bloggers, promoters, photographers or anyone who understands the importance of music culture”, this 7.30pm event features a panel of Harkirit Boparai, Sarah Williams and Amy McCarthy.

Harkirit is the venue manager and concert promoter (for Ouroboros) at The Crescent community venue and a vital cog in the Music Venue Trust; Sarah edits Shout Louder, a webzine dedicated to the modern punk scene, and Papercuts, an independently published series of anecdotes about DIY culture; Amy is a PhD student researching music memoirs as part of the York Music Stories project.

The book cover artwork for Lucy Nichol’s The Twenty Seven Club

The panel discussion will be followed by a reading and interview with Newcastle author Lucy Nichol, whose debut novel, The Twenty Seven Club, explores mental health and the media through the 1990s’ music scene in Hull.

Lucy’s story begins with Emma hearing of the tragic death of Kurt Cobain, prompting her to ask why so many musicians died aged 27 [bluesman Robert Johnson, Rolling Stone Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse among them].

Lucy, author, freelance writer, PR and marketing consultant, mental health campaigner, flunked punk and addiction stigma buster, will be discussing her novel’s darkly comic journey of self-discovery, friendship, fandom and hope in conversation with Amy McCarthy.

On the bill too will be spoken-word contributions from Hannah Davies and live music from Jack Woods. Tickets are on sale at or at

Hannah Davies: Pearls of spoken-word wisdom