Live Reviews
Whitby Goth Weekend – October 2017, Abbey Wharf

Photographs by Zhaos Photography.
The Cat on the Wall crew™ is: Jordan Mooney, Matthew Sambrook, Kane Foster, Eddie Eales and Ross Eales.
With thanks to Rachel, Puss, Ollie, Jake and Antz.




It’s hard to believe that Whitby Goth Weekend has hit once again.

I wish I could tell you that, as if the year has gone blisteringly quick for your intrepid writer; but after an immensely stressful few months, WGW has been a particularly slowly approaching God send. With one of the strongest line ups in the event’s recent history on offer, it’s no wonder that there was a certain level of excitement in the vehicle as we finally crested over the moors and on towards Whitby Town centre.

Through a combination of numerous circumstances, Whitby Goth Weekend is becoming more important a trip every year; be it for our work among the festival’s staff and promotion, our personal interest in the music, our need for relaxation or our need to meet up once again with some of our nearest and dearest friends – those peers that have made WGW an event that simply can’t be missed: the community inside the Spa Pavilion on a Friday and Saturday night that makes up the warmest, most loving group of music fans I have ever met.

By the time we’re sitting in one of our favourite pubs (The Station Inn, if you’re curious) on the Wednesday night, that cathartic feeling of escapism finally hits and, with it, that feeling only the world’s greatest Goth Weekend can offer.

It’s a particularly beautiful thing that the WGW Team create every year; and while the surprisingly vicious micropolitics of Whitby have often tried to derail the UK’s finest Alternative Music Festival, it’s clear who reigns supreme in the little Seaside town on the Jurassic Coast. What is it that makes the weekend so important? Well, ladies and gentlemen, sit back with a pint of real ale, a Cuban cigar and a jar of pickled mussels. (what are you pulling faces for? It’s how we start every WGW!) It’s time to kick straight in; we’re heading to Abbey Wharf for a night of music. And the official warm up.


The Abbey Wharf Charity Fundraiser

The fringe event this year was practically built for a positive review from us; none other than our favourite band in the world dug their claws into Abbey Wharf’s premises this year. Slightly more unfortunate is that, by now, we have seen so many Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons shows, and are such good friends of the band, that it can be a touch perilous to review them without veering into repetition. This problem is compounded even more by the fact they’re playing a slot on the main Spa Pavilion line up in our next review!

Think of that as our disclaimer, for now, and let’s see how Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons did for a restaurant of Goths rubbing shoulders with families eating a meal…

The band’s interest in visual presentation, tight performances, an impeccable sense of humour and style in their songwriting – that’s a huge part of what makes Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons such a great show. And it all benefited Abbey Wharf immensely, particularly after our rather middling view of proceedings last April. How? Well, simply, they made the night feel like a sodding good gig.

I’ve often spoken of my feelings on Abbey Wharf; the place itself is perfectly fine, but between steep prices and sound limiters demanded by licensing, it doesn’t always feel like a good place for a night out. It is, in the end, a pretty high-end restaurant rather than a dive pub in Camden, and a lot of the audience is going to be meeting back with old friends after six months and chattering away instead of watching music.

However, thanks to what can only be dubbed pure spirit, (and probably a few spirits being poured for the audience) this time it felt like a ‘proper’ bar. A real nightspot. Whether it be due to the band’s superb attitude, Pussycat’s complete domination of every venue she enters, the genuine buzz from those getting a free admission show from a band on the ‘proper’ line up, or simply a change in tech chappy – the result was a show above and beyond the usual remit for Abbey Wharf’s atmosphere and created an amazing introduction to the one and only WGW this October.

Launching their filthy, loud, wicked new record, Ain’t No Pussy (review coming after WGW is fully written up!) it’s little wonder that Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons have settled even deeper into their unique form of crunchy, high octane and utterly irresistible fusion of dirty rock and roll – with killer riffs and a superb sense of humour. With her new outfit – her classic leopard print festooned with red leather –  an awesome presence, and an extended catalogue of great tracks, Puss and the band’s enormous reputation in Whitby isn’t the only thing capturing the audience in a vice grip.

I’ve often considered the band as continuously improving, and I reckon their audiences often get shocked by the band’s ability to top every single show they play, every time. Everything gets that little bit tighter, louder, more vicious and charismatic.

Raising money for the Northeast’s busiest lifeboat station, Pussycat and her filfy cronies gave it their all, and it blew the restaurant into orbit with a fantastic, punk-party atmosphere. If anybody was still having a quiet family meal, I have no doubts they’d have found them a wonderful distraction.


After a nice, substantial set of new and old Pussycat medleys, prowling the audience with that usual level of kickass, no-nonsense attitude, the party had truly started moving and soon changed into an excellent DJ/Club atmosphere with DJ Gadge, continuing until late that evening and long after the Johnson family had gone to bed!



It was the perfect way to kick off Whitby Goth Weekend – and with Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons, who have rapidly reached a perfect pedigree, there couldn’t be a better group to kick it all off. It’s now only a matter of time until the Spa Pavilion receives the same punishment.

As the audience filtered out late that night, with buzzing ears, big grins, and clutching an enormous range of merchandise, the cash buckets were filled with generous donations – reaching a fantastic number of £416.50!

Thanks to the likes of Magenta Moon, Andy Savage, Scouse Wag and, of course, Pussycat and the Johnsons, Whitby Goth Weekend once again proved itself as, simply, the best place to turn for a night out. And I’m yet to see that reputation ruffled…


But to where shall we go next? What other delights lay ahead? Don’t worry, my little chickadees. I’ll be taking you around the ranch soon enough…

ABBEY WHARFNIGHT ONE (coming soon!) – NIGHT TWO (coming soon!)


About the author

Compulsive hat wearer, eccentric, fan of all things audio-visual, part time Goth, historian, and railway enthusiast, Jordan is the closest you can get to everybody's weird uncle. Except he's less than 60 years old.

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