IN the late 1960s, promoter Bill Graham opened renowned New York music venue, Fillmore East, which hosted some of the best bands to have graced the planet.

Fast forward to old York, January 2011, and the debut of Fillmore Friday, the latest monthly live music night in the city, which tonight hosted some of the best Yorkshire musicians to grace the local, national and international music scenes at the moment.

Word had obviously spread as the night was a sell-out, and, with the calibre of musicians and intimacy of the venue, it was hardly surprising.

First up was Leeds songstress Hayley Gaftarnick, whose powerful, emotive voice and heartbreakingly-beautiful songs captivated the audience to the point that they could feel every word and who displayed a vulnerability that endeared her to the listener from the first lines of her opening song, Tired Eyes.

After a brief interlude with a cracking set of tunes from Andy Gaines on the wheels of steel, a treat was in store from Ryan Spendlove, playing his last York gig before jetting off to the States to record his debut album.

His vibrant performance took the audience from interesting covers of songs by several York artists, including an Andy Stones’ song played on the ukulele, to an exciting version of Over The Rainbow, followed by a set of his own spellbindingly magnificent bluesy songs – accompanied by a simply brilliant fiddle player – which showcased his smoke-tinged voice and unique guitar style.

Chris Helme doesn’t need much introduction in York, and this was a rare home gig for this brilliant singer-songwriter, who has been busy touring the country for the last year or so.

Appearing with a talented band, he played a set which included Yards favourites such as Last High and See The Lights, which included some mesmerising, intricate guitar playing from ex-bandmate, Chris Farrell; a cover of Marissa Nadler’s Yellow Lights, displaying gorgeous harmonies when accompanied by Ryan Spendlove; and showcased new material such as Planes, employing the vocal talents of Hayley Gaftarnick who provided a perfect foil for his rich voice, and current single, Set In Stone, which will no doubt appear on his second solo album, being recorded next month.

If Friday was anything to go by, then Fillmore Friday deserves to garner at least some of the reputation – certainly locally, if not further afield – that Fillmore East did back in its heyday.