Live nights start at iconic pub

David Rybka and the Victorian Dad Band
David Rybka and the Victorian Dad Band

ONE of Wigan’s best-loved rock pubs will get in touch with its softer side at the launch of a summer season of live gigs.

The John Bull Chophouse, on The Wiend, will kick off its new programme of Friday night live gigs with an intimate acoustic performance from Victorian Dad singer and songwriter David Rybka.

The introduction of live acts marks a major new development for the iconic pub, which is famous among Wigan music fans for having one of the most comprehensive collections of tracks in the borough on its jukebox.

The new programme of live performances will see bands taking to the stage on the first and last Fridays of each month, with some of the borough’s finest acts being selected to play by promoter Baz Robinson and landlady Victoria Clark.

Baz said: “I’m hoping to put some relatively big names on. It’s always been a music pub and there’s a great atmosphere in there.

“I’m hoping to put some bands on for the Diggers Festival in September as well, and together with the regular gigs I want to make it a bit of a hub for the town centre.”

David, who is best known as the frontman for folk-rockers Victorian Dad, will take to the stage at the John Bull to showcase his sound, influenced by everything from his hometown to his travels in Mexico and his interest in music from around the world.

Victorian Dad released their debut full-length album This Thin Thread last year, which included a tribute to Wigan called Old Coal Town.

While David’s acoustic sound may be something of a departure from the more thunderous sounds which are more often associated with the pub, landlady Victoria promises the line-up of live artists will firmly fit within the pub’s long-established traditions.

Future live gigs will include punk band Kiss This, who will play on July 12, prog-rockers John The Baptist and the Second Coming, and a seven-piece reggae and ska outfit.

Victoria said: “Although we’re best known for rock I think we’ve been pigeonholed a bit, the jukebox is really diverse and has loads of punk, ska and reggae on it.

“The feedback so far has been really good, and I will listen carefully to what people want because we have a very faithful following who have been very good to us.

“Most of the acts we put on will be quite loud as it gets busy in the John Bull on a Friday evening, so smaller acts might get lost. The music’s always going to have that rock feel about it. The atmosphere of the pub is not going to change, but we are going to provide a platform for some really good local talent to play.”

David Rybka will play at the John Bull Chophouse, on The Wiend, tonight from around 8pm. Entry is free.

For more information about forthcoming gigs, visit the pub’s Facebook page.