With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Tom Robinson Band – The Crescent, York – Wednesday 18th October 2017 October 19, 2017


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The first and last time I saw Tom Robinson play live was back in 1977, until now at least. I had a great interest in the Tom Robinson Band back in the late 70s as I spent a few years at Senior School sitting next to original TRB drummer Brian ‘Dolphin’ Taylor. That original TRB line up of Tom Robinson, Dolphin Taylor, Mark Ambler and Danny Kustow was a hard-hitting, powerful proposition that took the audience with them on their incendiary journey. So now that Tom has put together another TRB to play the whole of the exquisitely stunning and still relevant ‘Power In The Darkness’ album on its 40th anniversary I was very thrilled by the thought of seeing him live again after all those years. Did the gig live up to my very high expectations? Well you will have to keep reading to find that out.

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Before I give you my thoughts on the current TRB let me tell you about the marvellous support act, Lee Forsyth Griffiths. Lee has just released his third solo album and is also a longstanding member of Tom Robinson’s main band. Unusually in my experience he was introduced by Tom Robinson and Tom stayed in the audience to watch the whole of Lee’s set. Mr Griffith’s songs are beautifully crafted slices of life that ooze passion and emotion. He sings like he really means every word and I am sure that he does. Lee’s sense of humour is sharp and very funny too, I loved the comments about Oasis (Lee also has a song called “Married With Children”) and Kanye West. He had a very strong fan base in the audience with one bloke even stepping in when Lee appeared to briefly forget a lyric. I now have a signed copy of his new album and I will definitely be checking out his earlier stuff as well. You should do the same, you will not be disappointed.
Now it was time for the main event at the fabulous York venue that is the Crescent; the Tom Robinson Band playing the whole of the ‘Power In The Darkness’ album along with some other TRB hits from 1977/ 1978. Album and set opener “Up Against The Wall” remains a phenomenally strong tour de force with a lyric that works as well today as it did 40 years ago. In fact the whole album still sounds fresh, especially played live. The current TRB is every bit as good as the original band and features Jim Simmons an exceedingly gifted keyboard maestro, lead guitar virtuoso Adam Phillips who has also played in Richard Ashcroft’s band, powerhouse drummer Andy Treacey from Faithless and obviously Tom himself on bass guitar. Tom gave us a story about the one track from the album that has never been played live before this tour; track two, side two (well it was originally a proper LP record), “Man You Never Saw”. Apparently that song took two weeks to record, largely because the bass part was very challenging, well it is clear that Tom has mastered it now.

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“Grey Cortina” and “Too Good To Be True” kept the crowd fired up and singing along. Tom’s performance belies his age, although maybe he takes a few more moments between songs than he used to, but hell we are all 40 years older now, right? “Long Hot Summer” and the “Winter Of ‘79” were early peaks in a mountainous display from a singer and a band on top of their game and clearly enjoying themselves enormously. Tom updated some of the lyrics to a couple of songs with more pertinent and relevant names, Rees Mogg (the despicable Tory arse) featured in one to bring it up to date. As an introduction to “Better Decide Which Side You’re On” Tom reminded us of part of the wording on the back of the original LP sleeve; “I got no illusions about the political left any more than the right: just a shrewd idea which of the two side’s gonna stomp on us first”. This remains a part of my world view and I suppose looking back it was bands like TRB and the Clash that sparked my interest in politics and made me much more of a political animal. The title track of the album was also the last track on side two and it still holds a forceful message about human rights and how extremists seek to take that away. As protest songs go this has to be among the best.

dav

I love being close to the speakers 🙂

Tom broke a bass string and while Lee Forsyth Griffiths went searching for a replacement we were treated to a magnificent and rousing version of “Martin” which certainly gave the best crowd participation of the whole evening up to that point. “Martin” is such a great story song and retains a sense of poignancy and humour. After “Martin” the crowd singing just continued to grow with loud and stirring stomps through “Don’t Take No For An Answer” and “Glad To Be Gay”. A couple of times during the evening requests for Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” which were strongly rejected by many in the crowd. Personally I would not have minded hearing it, but it certainly did not detract from what was an amazing show. Mr Robinson asked if we would mind if the band didn’t leave the stage and come back for an encore and just roll straight into the encore. Most of the crowd, including myself were of the generation that clearly understands the needs of us older folk. I bet you can’t guess what the encore was can you? Tom introduced it as “a medley of my greatest hit”. It was of course the classic “2-4-6-8 Motorway” which became a medley of sorts with brief diversions into Sly and the Family Stone’s “Dance To The Music” among others. This was without doubt an incredible gig which made me reminisce greatly about my lost youth, but in a very good way. I even got the opportunity to have a very brief conversation with Tom and I apologised for leaving such a long gap between seeing him live; he told me that it was better late than never! I don’t plan to leave it so long again, largely because if I did I would be 98 and Tom would be over 100. There are still a few shows left on this tour (take a look below) and I urge you to get yourself a ticket, in fact I won’t take no for an answer! Sadly the 100 Club shows in London appear to be unsurprisingly all sold out.
Friday 20 October 2017 – The Leadmill, Sheffield, UK
Saturday 21 October 2017 – HOME, Manchester, UK
Tuesday 24 October 2017 – 100 Club, London, UK
Wednesday 25 October 2017 – 100 Club, London, UK
Thursday 26 October 2017 – 100 Club, London, UK
Saturday 28 October 2017 – Riverside, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
Sunday 29 October 2017 – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, UK
Friday 08 December 2017 – Nell’s Jazz & Blues Club, London, UK
If you have been to any dates on this tour or are planning to I would love to hear what you thought of the show.

dav

 

Pumarosa @ Baby’s Allright, Brooklyn, New York, USA – Tuesday 10th October 2017 October 12, 2017

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 8:24 pm
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I am proud to announce that ‘With Just A Hint Of Mayhem’ has gone international, well the following is a review of a rather outstanding gig I attended while on a business trip to the Big Apple. Which makes it the first non UK gig reviewed on this site. I am also really delighted that it features the barnstorming Pumarosa, one of the finest British bands around. But before I get to them let me tell you about the support band Homebody from Greenfield, Massachusetts. Ethereal and otherworldly singer Haley Morgan may have been created by someone splicing DNA from Bjork and Patti Smith with a sprinkle of Toyah Wilcox. At times she comes across like Kate Bush on speed, but in a very good way. Haley’s outfit was very ‘out there’ and appeared to have been created from net curtain or wedding veil material. The soundscape is provided by Eric Hnatow and it evokes the very early releases of the Human League. Eric maintains a stoic and serious face rocking like a bald Ron Mael off of Sparks. They have some first-rate tunes and frankly how could you not love a song such as “Tits To The Sky”?

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As for Pumarosa, well this is the third time I have seen them in the last 90 days; firstly at the Latitude Festival in July, the Leeds Festival in August and now in New York in October. I know that the band have supported Glass Animals on some US dates in the past, but I am not sure if this US headline visit (which also includes dates in Mexico) constitutes their first shows in their own right across the pond. But they sure as hell played Brooklyn like it was their first US headline show. Baby’s Allright is not an enormous venue (capacity 280) and it wasn’t totally full, although I reckon there may have been in excess of 150 people there, maybe even 180. Pumarosa blew the house down from the moment they hit the stage. To hear them play the soaring, immense tune that is “Priestess” live is rapidly becoming a spiritual experience. Tonight was no exception and I was captivated with the amount of locals in the audience that clearly knew a lot about the band as evidenced by them singing along and dancing for the whole set.

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In previous reviews I have likened this band to Siouxse Sioux, Kate Bush and early Roxy Music (particularly given the occasional burst of Andy Mackayesque saxophone) but it is blatantly obvious that they are much more than that. Pumarosa are thrillingly original in performance, style and flair, their stage presence shows polish, elegance, grit and bravura. I have been listening to their glorious debut album ‘The Witch’ since I first saw them in July and while “Priestess” remains my favourite song in the words of Blink182 this album is most definitely ‘All Killer No Filler’. I absolutely adore “Lion’s Den”, a song which becomes far more than the sum of its supremely good parts when played live. Closer “Snake” rocked like a demon on speed and left us all wanting more. In my opinion Pumarosa are one of the best British bands on the scene at the moment and they are on the cusp of what I hope will be monumental success. I expect to see them higher up the festival bills in the UK next year and if they have not headlined a stage at Reading/ Leeds Festival by 2020 I promise to print this post out and eat it. If you have not yet encountered Pumarosa then do everything in your power to change that as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed!

 

Public service announcement. The Pumarosa pictures (obviously apart from the poster) were taken using my little mobile and the Homebody picture was taken by my friend and colleague Erik Futtrup 🙂 All videos were sourced from Youtube.

 

In The Night EP – Vuromantics October 5, 2017

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:13 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I have just been sent a stream for the new Vuromantics EP ‘In The Night’. I must say this is a really refreshing listen. The title track is the Average White Band married to some slow Italian House piano. “Questions” is incredibly soulful and strikes me at times as maybe how a British offshoot of Parliament/ Funkadelic might sound. Vuromantics have a wonderfully quirky and different sound that I defy you not to like. This band oozes talent, “The Wave” washes over you like a soft warm sea and would fit perfectly in a classic chill out compilation. After three listens “Not Over You” is probably my favourite, at least for now, classic break-up pop. Over the course of these five tracks it is clear that they are steeped in the electronic and pop traditions and history of their home city of Sheffield. If you like the Human League, Heaven 17, ABC and Pulp then you should find a tonic for your ears in the smooth and heartfelt sound of Vuromantics. The vocal refrain from final track, the truly majestic “Glory” is ‘I wish nothing but glory for you’ and frankly I wish nothing but glory for Vuromantics. Remember the names Sam Christie (vocals), Jake Christie (guitar, keyboard), Callum Hall (bass,synth), Ben Rooker (synth) and Sergio Ali (drums) because they are Vuromantics and I will be surprised and shocked if we don’t hear a lot more from them.

The EP is out on Alya Records on 20th October. Buy it, download it, stream it, just bloody well get it! They also have six UK dates coming up so check them out live. I definitely want to see them on stage. I hope to be at the Leeds show on November 2nd.

 

2023 a trilogy by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu October 4, 2017


Ever since the hey days of those magnificent art terrorists Jim Cauty and Bill Drummond when they went under the various guises of the KLF, the Jamms, the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu and the Timelords to name but a few I have been a fan. When they made the statement that the KLF had left the building in the early 90s they pretty much stood by it. Apart from the odd release “Fuck the Millennium” was one we never really heard from them. I can’t say that I loved everything Cauty and Drummond did, with the exception of everything released by the KLF of course. But burning a million quid? Seriously what did that achieve?

Anyway the boys are back with a novel which was launched with a three day ‘happening’ in Liverpool back in August. The book is ‘2023 – A Trilogy by the Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu’. The blurb on the back cover describes the tale as “a utopian costume drama , set in the near future, written in the recent past”. It is clearly fiction and includes appearances from many people that you know, although not necessarily in the way they are portrayed in the story; John and Yoko, Banksy, Jonathan King, Extreme Noise Terror, Vladimir Putin, Michelle Obama, David Hockney, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Alan Moore, Aloysius Parker (off of Thunderbirds), Lady Gaga (or M’Lady Gaga), Azealia Banks, Will Gompertz, George Orwell, Lord Saatchi, Sam & Dave and of course Jim Cauty and Bill Drummond.

It is probably one of the weirdest books that I have ever read and I have read some weird stuff! There are some thought provoking moments and some proper laugh out loud elements. But it works and for me it works bloody well. Is it set in a parallel universe, an alternative future? Well yes and possibly. Was it worth the wait? Damned right it was. If I say much more about this book I will probably have to add some massive spoiler alerts. Is it the last we will here of Cauty and Drummond for another 23 years? I bloody hope not. Now go out and buy the book and listen to some classic KLF tracks.

 

“Well I know what’s right, I got just one life” October 3, 2017


Most of you probably know that we lost one of the greats yesterday with the passing of Tom Petty. I only saw him play live once and that was at the Rainbow in London back in 1977. I can’t remember much about that gig (probably due to the chemical intake, most likely speed given the year) but I will never forget the power and brilliance of “American Girl” that night. I had the offer of a ticket from three sources for his Hyde Park gig this summer and I didn’t take any of them. Hindsight is a wonderful thing! Speaking of wonderful Tom Petty left and amazing collection of classic rock songs to be remembered by including all the stuff with the Heartbreakers, solo and then of course the Travelling Wilburys. I love that Petty’s interest in rock ‘n’ roll was sparked when he met Elvis Presley in 1961. Tom was aged 10 and his uncle was working on an Elvis film set; “Follow That Dream”. He will be sadly missed and my thoughts are with his family, friends and his many fans across the globe. RIP Thomas Earl Petty.

 

John Murry – The Basement, City Screen, York – Wednesday 20th September 2017 September 22, 2017


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I chanced upon John Murry’s “Wrong Man” a few weeks back on a cover mounted CD probably from Uncut magazine. I listened to all the tracks but had “Wrong Man” on repeat for half of my journey home from Hull to York. Later I checked this very talented artist out on Spotify and absolutely devoured everything Spotify (other streaming services are available) had to offer from Mr Murry. So I was incredibly excited to find out that John Murry, courtesy of Please Please You (nice work Joe) would be playing a show in York. I booked my ticket immediately!

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I was doubly pleased when I found out that the support act was to be the marvelous Boss Caine. Daniel Lucas (Boss Caine Main Man) played an acoustic set consisting mainly of songs from his upcoming album, which now looks likely to get a release in November. Based on hearing a clutch of songs from that album I really believe that it will be something special. Daniel asked us to imagine the brass and string arrangements that would be applied to the songs in the studio. Frankly I could imagine all of that, but these songs are so damned good they work really well in an acoustic format too. For most of the set counter point vocals and harmonies were handled by the exquisitely talented Amy Greene The acoustic duo set up was at times reminiscent of Paul Heaton and Jacquie Abbott, but with a Boss Caine twist. These songs are classy story songs and who doesn’t love a story song? Mr Lucas is a great storyteller via the medium of his songs. Check out Boss Caine, you will not be disappointed.

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As for John Murry, wow what can I say? Well back in the early 70s Jon Landau having witnessed Bruce Springsteen playing live said something along the lines of “I have seen the future of rock ‘n’ roll and its name is Bruce Springsteen”. Well John Murry isn’t Springsteen but he is a damned genius. If you like Nick Cave, maybe even Tom Waits, rock with a dark side and an immensely dry wit you will love this guy. The band is a bunch of highly talented musicians and it is set up in quite an interesting way. One of the keyboard players switches to drums on some songs and on those numbers the drummer switches to bass guitar. So not just a multi talented group but also a group of multi instrumentalists too. Murry’s guitar playing channels a power source from a parallel dimension where David Lynch is President of the USA.

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When I first heard John Murry I had no idea of his nationality. In my head he sounded a little Celtic, maybe Scottish or Irish, but in fact he hails from Tupelo, Mississippi. Although he now lives in Ireland. I am not yet familiar with all his songs but the previously mentioned “Wrong Man” was stunning. I also loved the psyched version of Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks Of My Tears” that was woven into the opening song. “The Ballad Of The Pajama Kid” taken from his first album ‘The Graceless Age” has a haunting, ageless, grace (apologies for that hint of plagiarism on my part) that hangs around in your head like a long lost friend. I bought John Murry’s new album ‘A Short History Of Decay’ from the merch stand and I have played it six or seven times already. For me this is a contender for album of the year. I urge you to check out John Murry if you haven’t already, in fact I don’t urge you, I bloody well order you to find him and check him out live, on record or both.

 

 

Maryland – After Hours Radio September 15, 2017


Ann Arbor denizens After Hours Radio have a new single out. it is called “Maryland” and it is a really hot pick for me. The band formed at the University of Michigan back in 2014.”Maryland” has influences from many areas of rock history notably the 90s alternative scene and maybe some vocal similarities with the Strokes and at times Brian Molko off of Placebo. The opening synth sound has a throwback to the 1972 UK number oneSon Of My Father” by Chicory Tip. Sure there are a lot of influences but this is a very much original band and off the back of this one track I bloody love them! Click here to listen to the track on SoundCloud and then listen to another couple of tracks by this rather excellent band.

I would like to thank those funky little elves at Noisy Ghost PR for giving me the chance to get an early listen of this fabulous track.

 

 
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