Leeds seemingly became the centre of the universe for music
thanks to the chart success of the Kaiser Chiefs - local legends
the Bridewell Taxis were carrying the torch for the city at
the time of the Madchester scene. Their impact and success
was more remarkable than that of our current crop of leading
lights because back then, in 1989, the media was no way near
as powerful as it is today.
bands today are rewarded with far more media exposure than
most successful bands did back in the early 90's. If you compare
what the band achieved at the height of their all too brief
career with bands who can grace the cover of the NME before
they sell out tiny venues then you would have expected the
Bridewells to have had the same reverential treatment from
the media. A few column inches don't quite sum up the impact
the band made not just locally but nationally too. Just before
the band really hit it big, in true rock'n'roll style, they
imploded but anyone who saw them at the height of their sucess
will have plenty of happy memories of a band who really felt
like, one of us.
I used to produce a fanzine back then in Leeds called ESP
and from the very first issue the Bridewells were featured
in virtually every issue. They were a big thing back then
for the city. Their self financed singles on Stolen Records,
'Just Good Friends', 'Give In', 'Honesty' and 'Spirit' are
all quite collectable these days and their debut album is
a must for capturing all the many facets of the bands oeuvre.
For every bit of revved up, adrenalin fuelled anthemic pop
you could find a more melodic and softer side that could make
hard men cry, as with the gorgeous, soulful balled 'Hold On'.
That was then....
They came riding
in on the coattail's of the early nineties Madchester scene.
Playing prestigious support slots with the Happy Mondays,
Stone Roses and Inspiral Carpets. It wasn't long before the
Bridewell Taxis became local legends. A perhaps never to be
repeated, unique word of mouth cult saw six working class
East End Park lads fast become the darlings of the Leeds music
scene with the promise of becoming the next big thing.
epitomised the spirit of Leeds people by initially believing
back then that they could be the best thing since slice bread
and for a glorious couple of years that seemed more than a
reality as each independently released 12" single seemed
to take the band to another level. At their peak they could
comfortably tour the UK playing to packed houses whilst in
Leeds they would clock up one legendary gig after another
playing all the cities finest venues from the Warehouse and
the Duchess to the Town & Country Club and Leeds Town
Hall. The latter gig took place in 1991 in front of 800 adoring
Even in retrospect
their legacy should be applauded. Even if they didn't conquer
the world they did become the most successful band Leeds has
ever produced prior to recent success of the Kaiser Chiefs.
Back in the day, this band was the cool band to name drop.
Bridewells gigs were the places to be seen and where legends
would grow (the Hacienda in Manchester, La Locomotive club
in Paris and Jenks' in Blackpool). Everybody knew the Bridewell
Taxis. They united the city of Leeds- football fans, indie
kids, acid house fans and students alike. They dressed like
their audience and their fans (Leeds fans, Leeds people -
believers and dreamers, one and all) would soak up their pulsating
brass heavy music and terrace chic style. Even leaked demo
tapes would be passed around friends and fans desperate to
hear more. They put a lot of energy and excitement into a
frustratingly low key Leeds music scene that quite frankly
had never seen anything like it before.
Bridewell Taxis story should be a shining example to other
kids from the less prosperous but equally vital areas of Leeds
that you can get off your backsides and make a difference,
if you really want it.
..but this is now...
the Bridewells are back together, giving it one last shot,
with three original members, singer Mick Roberts, guitarist
Sean McElhone and drummer Glenn Scullion alongside two new
young recruits, twin brothers, Jools and James Metcalfe. Sadly,
the brass section has been consigned to pop history but the
band have replaced this with a beefier guitar based sound
and lead singer Mick Roberts defies the years that have gone
before him packing in as much emotion into his live performances
as he did back in the day. Their initial live homecoming gigs
have been well received and now the band are looking to tour
further and record new material.
more info check out the official website run by the band @
the Bridewells live...
2006 Tour dates
March 18 - York Fibbers
March 25 - Doncaster Camelot's
March 31 - Leeds Uni Stylus Bar
The Bridewell Taxis Live @ La Locomotive
Club, Paris April 1990