HOME to the country’s most northerly commercial vineyard, Europe’s oldest Caribbean carnival and creator of impish pair Sooty and Sweep, the once great mill town of Leeds has always been a city draped in ethnic tapestry that refuses to wilt. I mean Christ, it even gave the world Marks & Spencers – what more could you want.

But not content on filling the bars of Cross Belgrave Street and Bramleys Yard, alternative sextet Fighting Caravans will be hitting the road to further broaden their minds as they visit regal England – and Winchester’s The Railway Inn.

“Being from Leeds, we all have amazing football skills,” frontman Daniel Clark tells Quenched Music.

Perhaps following the altercation Clark’s beloved Leeds United manager Garry Monk found himself in over the weekend, Fighting Caravan’s debut ep ‘Beasts of England’ could well be a metaphor.

Self-branded as “a tacky disco meets a Last-mile wake”, Fighting Caravans are a mammoth creature. With the group’s bold social commentaries – similar to Peckham post-punkers Fat White Family – given brash life through some Queens of the Stone Age riffs to blend against the shy country and jazz overtones, it’s a beautiful marriage.

“The more time we spend in the studio, the more we hone our sound and being in a relaxed environment really does ease the flow of creativity,” Clark continued.

Throughout the singles of ‘Tyrannosaur’ and ‘Blue Hearted Motel’, two of the raucous bangers which provided the band an opportunity to take on more folkish endevours across Europe before a debut appearance at Reading & Leeds Festival, the group have found their home. It’s aggressive, with a hint of subdued isolation – something that surely represents the group’s own name.

But it’s the inspiration of the group’s hardened roots that allow Fighting Caravans to continue striving.

“Up and down the country, there’s a huge number of acts on the ‘circuit’ who play week-in, week-out for the joy of it,” Clark concluded.

“However, being based in Leeds and being involved in one of the best music scenes around does have its benefits.

“There really is a buzz around the city at the moment and many of the bands that we see play on a regular basis are doing well on an international scale – which is a significant incentive.”

It’s the group’s first jaunt down on the south coast. Making promises for the “one or two fans down there that have been hollering for a show for ages”, March’s show is an opportunity to show how far they have come.

But as Clark duly notes “you really never know when it’s going to be your last” show. But coming from a city that is a pantheon of longevity don’t expect this to be the last you have heard of Fighting Caravans.

Words by Clive Hammond


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