Leeds band Hope & Social to play 12 Gigs of Christmas

Hope & Social. Picture: Sodium
Hope & Social. Picture: Sodium
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LEEDS band Hope & Social have a reputation for turning concerts into an event for their fans.

On one occasion the six-piece treated followers to a Come Dine With Me experience in the crypt of a church; at Glastonbury festival they dished out 2,500 kazoos to the audience.

This summer they undertook a Tour of Infinite Possibilities, involving 160 community organisations in a dozen shows that they performed on a pedal-powered stage along the route of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France.

On Friday, December 19 they will be taking to various venues of Leeds in an event they’re calling The 12 Gigs of Christmas.

The event, which involves 12 shows in one day, coincides with guitarist Rich Huxley’s birthday.

“I would like to take credit for it but I’m not sure it’s entirely my idea,” he jokes. “It’s the usual Hope & Social approach – there’s a pun, it sounded funny, all our good ideas comes from puns.”

The 12 gigs start at a mystery location at 9.30am where, the band say, they aim to “draw the economic wellbeing of a fully functioning business to a temporary standstill”.

From there they will head to BBC Radio Leeds to do a session for Jonathan I’Anson. “He’s always lovely, always a pleasure,” says Huxley. Three people “from the licence fee-paying public” will be invited to join them.

Then they head for Leeds City Markets, where they previously staged their Bring the Happy event for shoppers and stallholders. “That was my birthday present to myself, it’s a gorgeous thing,” says Huxley.

After that they will pass through Trinity Shopping Centre – where they performed their song The Great Wide for the Grand Depart – en route to the Corn Exchange where they’ll be joined by a choir. “That’s going to be so cute,” says Huxley. “It’s a beautiful building.”

They then head for Leeds Train Station’s north concourse before a private gig at Leeds Children’s Hospital. “We were in there last May having our nipper,” says Huxley. “I went in there the other day and nearly had a cry. It felt really emotional.”

Gig eight will be on the Town Hall Steps, where Hope & Social performed their Snow Ball in 2011. The idea is to enlist 50 people in four pubs to come and sing harmonies with them. Afterwards they will head to a secret location nearby with an audience of seven.

More public gigs follow at The Tetley contemporary art gallery and Trinity Kitchen before a full one-and-a-half hour show at Holy Trinity Church, for which tickets have sold out.

“We’re had a really great year,” says Huxley. “It’s nice to do a stack of stuff that’s free. We worked out perfectly if we sold every ticket at Holy Trinity Church at the end of the day we would break even to the penny.”

The shows will also be filmed by Shot By Sodium and live blogged on the day.

For details and times of the 12 Gigs of Christmas visit http://www.hopeandsocial.co.uk/2014/12/08/12-gigs-christmas-lowdown/