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The JD Set is a well-established part of the music calendar. This year there was a difference as the bands taking part visited a rudely-named cave to knock out a racket. Olaf Tyaransen caught up with headliners The Vaccines...
Olaf Tyaransen, 01 Nov 2012
It’s a pleasantly autumnal Saturday afternoon in Sheffield and, as our coach pulls out of the Holiday Inn car park, your Hot Press correspondent tweets the day’s plan to his followers: “Heading to the Devil’s Arse cave in the Peak District to meet The Vaccines #JackDaniels.” Within minutes, Irish author Declan Burke has tweeted back, “Sounds like dystopian sci-fi!”
While it does sound like something out of a JG Ballard novel, what’s actually happening is we’re going to a most unusual birthday party in a most unusual place. The party is for the late American distiller Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel, who passed away in Tennessee in 1911 from a blood infection caused by kicking his office safe. The PR legend has it that, thanks to a courthouse fire that destroyed his birth certificate, no-one is exactly sure of his exact birthday. All that’s known is that it was sometime in the middle of September 1850. Not wanting to miss the big day, the good folk at Jack Daniel’s spend a full month celebrating, culminating in the Birthday JD Set, billed as “the ultimate birthday celebration.”
Usually the JD Set happens at the distillery in Lynchburg (previous years have seen the likes of Flaming Lips, Patti Smith and Hugh Cornwell play). But this year they decided on something a little different. Actually, something quite a lot different. Our coach is full of competition winners and media types, and we’re en route to the small Yorkshire village of Castleton in the heart of the Peak District.
Castleton is home to the Devil’s Arse cave. It’s one of the largest naturally formed caves in Europe (going back more than 20km), with the biggest entrance in the UK, and is so colourfully named because of the flatulent noises that occasionally emit from its depths. Any such noises will be drowned out this evening by the amplified guitars and drums of the three bands chosen to, em, rock the cave out – Tribes, Mystery Jets and The Vaccines.
Our arrival at this rather unique venue is perfectly timed. The Vaccines have just finished sound-checking and, sitting comfortably at a table by a picturesque babbling brook, frontman Justin Young and bassist Arni Hjovar are free for a chat.