Our Spring magazine is finally here! Click here to view and read our new articles!

3 Local Bands That You Should See This Year

It would be easy to disregard the amount of music going on within your own university as a student.

After all, there’s no guarantee of quality, and most bands are not likely to be comfortable on-stage. However, there are a few examples of bands, right here in York, that are confident, classy and will give you a reason to dance.

Donkey Zoo

Formed late last year, it’s been some 2014 for jazz-funk fusion band Donkey Zoo. Led by Ben Turner and made up of music students from the university, you’re guaranteed a large serving of talent and movement at a Donkey Zoo gig.

Having already made an appearance at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival Donkey Zoothis early in their band-life, you’re unlikely to find a more professional and experienced student band around. This is reflected in the maturity of their EP, available here on SoundCloud.

On the band’s website, they claim to avoid the perception of jazz as “an ‘elite’ or exclusive style”, and the accessibility of their music is refreshing and telling. This is best presented in Indigo, a 7 minute epic that spreads a simple melody amongst the whole band without straying into territories likely to lose many listeners.


Many of the original members of Donkey Zoo have since graduated, but with new members, a new audience and no less drive, the Donkey lives on.

Jelly Roll Jive

Taking us back about 60 years, Jelly Roll Jive provide the nostalgia kick that you probably didn’t even experience the first time round.

It’s all very well to stand and watch the latest experimental offering from local avant-garde enthusiasts – there are times and places where there is nothing better. Sometimes, though, you just need to have some fun. With covers of songs like King Of The Swingers, All Shook Up and Hound Dog, it’s hard to deny that Jelly Roll Jive provide that fun.



Veterans of Fibbers, Duchess and other venues across the city, this is another band that has their names plastered all over York walls, and for good reason. Bringing with them a blues swing unmatched by other bands around, Jelly Roll Jive is another dancing band, and one with a high success rate.

Even if you don’t think you’re a fan of rock ‘n’ roll, Jelly Roll Jive will have a good go at changing your mind. Who knows, they might even persuade you to get a quiff.


In the description on their SoundCloud page, Pioneer ask 1980596_10152274409104255_317051066_nthe simplest of questions:

“A simple rock and roll band from North Yorkshire. What more could you want?”

It is difficult to argue with them. Formed in the beginning of 2013, Pioneer boast two music students, two music tech students and a whole lot of noise. Therefore the “simple” rock and roll the band produce has that little bit of gloss and tightness needed to succeed.

In debut EP “Paralysis”, they demonstrate the “simple” knack of writing a hook with apparent ease. Standout track Hold On has Pioneer at full throttle,                                                                                   threatening to spill over until a euphoric chorus takes hold.

When it comes to local gigs, Pioneer is a name you are likely to see all around, with many gigs at the likes of Fibbers and The Duchess under their belt. Moreover, most of the band are also involved in putting on their own gigs, such as Jamboozle Records and Saltlake Promotions.

Whether they’re onstage or backstage, you can always expect quality from these 4 University of York students.