Spotted Cow, late 80s: Incinerators gigs

Band, gig, black and white photo

Incinerators, Spotted Cow, York, 1987

Earlier this year I spent some time making digital copies of various old cassettes from the ‘understairs cupboard archive’ — boxes of bits of York’s recent history. Photos, leaflets, bits of ancient 80s ephemera. One of the old tapes, a recording of York band the Incinerators, a quarter of a century old, had begun to disintegrate and had to be carefully and painstakingly stuck back together with sellotape.

Also from last century, but thankfully not rotted away, a few photos of the Incinerators playing at the Spotted Cow, in 1987/8. There’s at least one other person in York who remembers these times, and many remember the Incinerators, and the Spotted Cow as a venue, so I thought I’d share them. I don’t know who took the photos, so if you do, please let me know. Or if they’re yours and you’d like them back.

And here’s some music to go with these photos. Recorded at another fondly-remembered York venue, the Arts Centre.

Or on this link if that embed doesn’t work for you. Many more at

Sadly I’ve not found any photos of happenings at the Arts Centre, so here’s a couple more of the Incinerators playing at the Spotted Cow.

Band playing gig, black and white photo

Incinerators, Spotted Cow, York, 1987

In the photo above, in the audience, Mike Bennett, who died earlier this year.

Drummer and guitarist, gig photo, 1980s

Incinerators, Spotted Cow, York, 1988ish

Not far away, the Spread Eagle on Walmgate, which lured us in with free Yorkshire puddings, and live music, on Sunday lunchtimes, as this snippet from a local magazine records …

Ad, listings magazine, 1980s

Free Yorkshire puddings! – at the Spread Eagle, York (from YourKMusic, 1988ish)

About Lisa @YorkStories

Lisa @YorkStories is the creator, administrator, and writer of content on She can be contacted on this link or via Twitter, @YorkStories
To link to this page's proper location please use the > permalink


  1. Spent many happy nights gigging in the Spotted Cow in the 80s and early 90s. A real, proper gigging pub. Fantastic memories.

    • What were your other favourite venues Tim? I remember seeing bands in all kinds of places that no longer exist or no longer have bands on. Eg INL, City Arms, De Grey Rooms, King’s Manor …

      • Loads Lisa – all those you mention, plus Bonding Warehouse, Harry’s Bar, Keaton’s, Barnum’s, Corner House, front room of the Spread Eagle, Arts Centre, Five Lions, all the Uni colleges, St John’s, Bay Horse Gillygate, Lendal Cellars, the Barge – to name but a few! I’ll see if I can dig out some old photos for you. I should have loads somewhere!

    • Nick Cooper

      My band from Sheffield played there in 1995. Great venue

  2. david Bower

    I have just returned to work, the internet and Yorkstories after the Christmas break. I was interested to see a couple of articles which have a link. Firstly the mention of YourKmusic. This free newsletter was produced by Charlie Daykin who worked with me as a graphic designer at Anderton Overton Design. We were based firstly at 39 Low Petergate, and later above Oscar’s in Little Stonegate and latterly at Bootham Terrace. Charlie would produce the artwork for YourKmusic by hand on an evening after work, getting the text typeset at the Viking Press Tanner Row, and cutting and pasting both text and photo’s onto traditional page artwork. He would then hand deliver copies to venues throughout York. Charlie is still living in York and involved in the music scene as both a lecturer and musician.
    The link is to the series of advertisements from the old York Guide(s) you aquired from the Barbican Bookshop. I recognise these ads as I was involved in producing several of them, again whilst employed as a graphic designer at Anderton Overton Design. We worked directly for the department of tourism, and also produced a guide called ‘Eating out in York’ for the local hotel & restaurant association, and produced many Ads for local business’s. This was in the days of Letraset, Cow Gum and pen and ink, long before digital artwork. Seeing these ads from the early seventies has brought back a lot of happy memories.

    • The ads you mention – – they are all from one of the Eating Out in York Guides. I’ve added a credit at the end of the page using the info within the booklet. It was the only one of that guide available in the Barbican, but it is a 1970s beauty (complete with a full page colour ad for B&H on the back, classy restaurant scene with ‘When dining out, a little gold does you credit’, next to the gold-coloured packet of B&H fags. Oh, how things change)

      I started using computers just as the desktop publishing revolution was destroying the cow gum industry. Arranging it all on the screen and then printing out perfect camera-ready copy to send to the printers. But still having to print it all out. Ah, the old days.

  3. Played with Charlie in both the Desperate Men & Big Kick, late 80s & early 90s. A thoroughly great guy.

  4. Excellent read, didn’t get over to the Spotted Cow much to watch bands, but i do remember having my stag night in there in the mid 80’s, couple of comedians on and the landlord Tony Stilgoe got up and did his comedy piece , but do remember seeing the excellent Leeds band The Prowlers a few times but not at the advertised 11 of december gig :(

    Also who is on the drums in the colour Incinerators picture? doesn’t look like Mick Stewart?

  5. Robin Bowes

    Ah yes, The Incinerators – one of the highlights of my time doing sound in York in the mid-late eighties. I believe I even have a tape somewhere, maybe from the Winning Post? Happy days.

  6. Yes, great gigs at The Spotted Cow from The Incinerators and there is a “Best of” CD the band re-recorded a few years ago which shows the songs at their best.

  7. Irene Rawlinson

    Does anybody have photos of After Midnight?

Leave a Reply to Dave Levey Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Thank you for adding a comment. Please note that comments are moderated, but should appear within 24 hours.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.