With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“I Hate Boris” December 9, 2019

Filed under: Rants — justwilliam1959 @ 7:37 pm
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You might have heard that there is a General Election in the UK this week. It is perhaps the most important General Election in my lifetime. The current Tory government is becoming more extreme by the day and I fear for the future of my country if they win a majority this time around. They will destroy the very fabric of the UK; poverty will rise, homelessness will rise, the rich will get much, much richer, human rights will be marginalised, racism will become more rife, the NHS will be broken up. We cannot let this happen, help get the country off of life support and vote on Thursday. The UK is divided and the Tory Party have no chance of bringing us together. Vote with your conscience, vote with your heart, vote for future generations, vote tactically if that will help in your constituency. But please, get off your arse and vote, apathy allows the extremists into power!

This is a music site, so here are a few relatively recent protest songs for you to get in your head before Thursday. Featuring two of West London’s finest bands, hailing from Uxbridge, Boris Johnson’s constituency no less. Can Johnson be unseated? Anything is possible, just vote! Those two bands are The Tuts and Colour Me Wednesday by the way. Then there is an excellent solo song offered by the insanely talented Nadia one of the three sassy, smart and powerful women that are the aforementioned Tuts. Then there is the incredible slow burn psychedelia of London band Glass Peaks with “Architect” their scary dystopian vision and wonderful put down of the British Government. There is a great track, “Vote For Me” from the Specials ‘Encore’ album and you will hear from the rather clever Captain Ska. Finally, it is Madness with “The Bullingdon Boys”. There was me thinking the Nutty Boys had become a bit establishment, but this proves that they haven’t! I won’t patronise you by telling you who to vote for, but it is probably obvious from this post who I won’t be voting for and probably who I will be voting for!


Millie Manders and the Shutup – Fulford Arms, York – Saturday 30th November 2019 December 4, 2019

There was a lot of music going on in York on 30th November. I had whittled my way down to two choices; The Men They Couldn’t Hang at the Crescent or Millie Manders and the Shutup at the Fulford Arms. I chose the latter, as you will have guessed by the title of this post, but it was a tough choice indeed. I went for a band that I had never seen or heard before, why? Well, that is how I roll! Anyway, before the talented Ms. Manders appeared on stage we were treated to two fine support bands. First up were the Platitudes, eight-piece ska-punkers from Leeds. They are a really tightly honed band and Kristina’s vocals are not typical ska punk style, she has a great voice and a real pop sensibility. Their songs are all very good with some truly great tunes among them, notably “Man With A Plan” and “Bomb Song”. Cramming eight people onto such a tiny stage takes some doing, getting them to perform so well and for them to produce such an electric, exciting set is purely down to the band themselves. They prove the old adage that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” See the Platitudes once and I guarantee you will want to see them again, I damned well do!

The Platitudes

The second support act was Dead Beat At Dawn from Thirsk who almost defies putting them into a genre. But I would describe them as ska-punk with extra added punk, metal and rap. Yes, you heard me right, rap! Imagine the Beastie Boys reinvented as a 90s ska-punk band, then you might have a chance of understanding what Dead Beat At Dawn are. They are frenetically energetic, incredibly funny, self-deprecating and bloody talented musicians too. Their sampler let them down, but they didn’t lose anything by that, they just threw themselves into their set twice as hard. Their own songs are quite unique in a great way, especially “180 (The Theme From Dart Squad). They also performed an incredibly fun cover of Madness’ “Baggy Trousers”. This lot will make a stalwart festival band, I will certainly be seeing them again.

Dead Beat At Dawn

Millie Manders and the Shutup, just how good are they? Well, they’re not just good they are a true tower of greatness. Millie is a supremely talented frontwoman who empathises with and supports her audience. Their music has a conscience, which comes across very powerfully in “Right To Life” and “Lollipops”. The latter of which is one of the best politically angry songs to emerge in the last few years. “Teddy” is lovingly weird and perhaps scary at the same time. They showcased a few new songs, a couple of which dealt with mental health issues, something which Millie was very open about. Always remember people, sometimes it’s ok to be not ok! Millie Manders and the Shutup are a great ska-punk band, that is certainly where their music probably resides. However, in Millie they have a singer who at times sounds like Pauline Black or the ghost of Amy Winehouse. Then just when you relax into that kind of vibe she hits you with a nu-metal growl that would put some metal singers to shame. The band had us eating out of their hands as we sang along to “One That Got Away”. Their cover of the Jam’s “Pretty Green” was for me both unexpected and delicious. I should mention the individual talents of the band too, especially the drummer who plays like he is the Energiser Bunny with perpetual motion. I am without a doubt a committed fan of Millie Manders and the Shutup now. I spoke very briefly to Millie at the end when I bought the band’s three EPs on CD. People say that Dave Grohl is the nicest bloke in rock, well I reckon Millie is a contender for the nicest woman in rock! You might not know it yet, but you need this band in your life!

Millie Manders and the Shutup

All the photos apart from the gig flyer were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know.

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Mayhem Singles Round Up 1 – December 2019 December 3, 2019

Once again I am innundated with some rather special singles at the moment, Do you fancy five in a row? All of these are out now and available on most major streaming sites and also to buy. I would love to know what you think of them.;

Valerie The Vulture “James Dean” – “James Dean” is the first single from Detroit’s Valerie The Vulture the brainchild and alter ego of the Detroit scene Willa Rae Adamo. It is a sublime slice of slacker punk garage rock which is at times evocative of Garbage in their heyday. The video is properly ‘out there’ in a great way. I don’t believe that I have ever been scared of fingernails before this film!

Linen Closet “Warning Sign” – Linen Closet have been around since 2013 and for me,

the first I have heard of them is via current single “Warning Sign”. Adam Hilton’s angelic ethereal vocals are surely the work of a mad scientist in a music lab splicing the singing talents of David Byrne and the sadly departed Colin Vearncombe. The music is both lo-fi and cinematic at the same time while the rimshot percussion used in the tune sounds like a chilled and softer Adam and the Ants drum riff. I need more Linen Closet in my life now!

Eliza Shaddad “Girls” – This moody, emotional and slow funk burner from Eliza Shaddad tells the story of what it was like going through her formative years at an all-girls school. I can imagine the highs and lows she went through, the happy highs and the deep despair are almost palpable at times. Eliza has a clarity in her voice that proves her talent, a clarity that only great singers seem to possess. The production allows the music to build from something easy into a crashing crescendo of an ending. Eliza’s voice soars above it all like a finely honed bird of prey.

False Heads “Fall Around” – East London boys False Heads offer up some hard-edged post-punk vibes with powerful single “Fall Around”. The tune is a fuzzed-up riff-fest that deserves to be a massive hit. You will definitely be hearing much more from these lads, they count a former Ramones manager and Iggy Pop among their fans. There must be an album on the horizon, right?

WEEKS “Plastic Screens” – LA-based WEEKS serves up a buzzing, pulsating electro-dance tune that cannot fail to get even the most reluctant punter in a club dancing. The orchestration which I am pretty sure is synth-driven is marvelously bold and the bass element pumps through your whole body when you crank the volume up to 11. WEEKS said that he “wrote ‘Plastic Screens’ about [humanity’s] current obsession with only showing the perfect aspects of our lives. How we curate our social image to create the illusion of perfection and the crippling fear and doubts that must be underlying. Are we truly as happy as we appear?” I reckon this could be turned into a Black Mirror episode soundtracked by WEEKS!

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Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls – City Hall, Newcastle – Wednesday 27th November 2019 December 2, 2019

This was the twelfth time that I have seen Frank Turner live, fourteenth if I count one Möngöl Hörde show and a Million Dead gig. This was also the first time that I had been to any gig in Newcastle. I was accompanied by my wonderful wife Catwoman a.k.a. Catherine, she is also a fan of Mr. Turner. I was also lucky enough to catch up with top bloke and all-round decent geezer Scott, who I met through those nice folks at 3 Songs & Out. So from a social and personal perspective which looked like a great night, the venue was pretty classy too. So how was the music? The first support was Australian singer-songwriter, Emily Barker. She gave us a beautiful and highly accomplished acoustic set. She gave a towering acapella performance of a Sister Rosetta Tharpe gospel song and “Sister Goodbye” a song about Rosetta Tharpe from the perspective of a woman who might have been her lover, Marie Knight (more of Rosetta later). Emily’s own songs are particularly classy and very deep lyrically, particularly “No. 5 Hurricane” and “Sunrise”. Emily also covered the Boss with a sharp take on “Tougher Than The Rest”. I will be checking out more of Emily Barker’s stuff and I recommend that you do that too.

Well, there was no second support act as such because Frank Turner was his own second support act. Kicking off proceedings with an acoustic set of songs from his latest album ‘No Mans Land’. It featured more than half of the songs from the record and had Frank telling the stories behind each song in a truncated version of the podcasts that accompanied the release. The tales are of women who are either not recognised in history or certainly not given as much credit as they deserved. There are some wonderful stories in these songs, far too many for me to tell here, so click this link and take a listen to the podcasts. He kicked off with a rousing “Jinny Bingham’s Ghost” the story of a woman who resided in Camden hundreds of years ago and is said to still haunt the Worlds End pub and the Underworld night club. It has taken me a long while to warm to the ‘No Mans Land’ album but hearing the songs in this environment really made me appreciate them so much more. Particular highlights for me were “I Believed You William Blake”, “The Hymn of Kassiani” and “Sister Rosetta”, essentially the stories of William Blake’s wife, Kassiana the woman who turned down a King and very unsung guitar hero and pioneer Rosetta Tharpe. However the closing “Lioness”, about early 20th century Egyptian feminist leader Huda Sha’arawi and contains the awe-inspiring lyrical couplet “She isn’t going to hide her face anymore. She isn’t going to know her place anymore”. I think that “Lioness” is one of Frank’s best songs.

After a short break, Frank returned to the stage for a seated unplugged style set with the Sleeping Souls. This set was a mostly chronological walk through the Turner back catalogue giving the stories behind many of his well-known numbers and quite a few of the deeper album cuts. The twenty song set was mostly lively and upbeat, although the energy dropped a little for me in the middle. The band opened with a pair of songs that got the audience ready to rock and dance, although we all remained seated until very near the end, how polite are us British folks? Those songs were “The Ballad of Me and My Friends” and “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous” from 2007 and 2008 respectively. Frank told us a tale of first coming to live in London as a teenager and wandering around introspectively in a trenchcoat trying to be different but essentially looking just like every other teenage hopeful or chancer, that introduced the stirring and clever “One Foot Before The Other”. We were also treated to the best live performances of “Reasons Not to Be an Idiot” and “I Am Disappeared” that I have experienced to date. But for me, the best was saved to last and the faux encore which began with “Photosynthesis” which is a song that it is impossible to sit down to, so we didn’t, everyone got up for that. The first line of the chorus is “I won’t sit down”, how could anyone ignore such a call to arms (or should that be a call to feet). I don’t know why but “I Still Believe” always stirs me to tears, admittedly they are happy tears and both Catwoman and I gave ourselves sore throats singing along to it. Frank and the Sleeping Souls closed with perhaps one of the finest songs of their recent releases, “Be More Kind” a heartfelt message to those of us surviving this sad, mad, bad modern world. So whatever you do try to aspire to that song and “be more kind, my friend, try to be more kind”

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know.

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King Kurt – The Crescent, York – Sunday 24th November 2019 December 1, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:22 pm
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The 80s mental madcaps King Kurt are back together again! Originally formed in 1981 the band split up in 1988. There have been a few sporadic reformations since then, this one is quite special as it includes four original members. Do these Psychobilly monsters still have what it takes? You will need to read on to find out as there is first the little matter of a rather good support act to talk about. That support act was one of York’s best-known bands, the Snakerattlers, a psychobilly, garage, trash, thrash power duo with Naomi on drums and vocals and Dan on vocals and Link Wray style guitar duties. It is quite a while since I last saw them and believe me they have gotten so much better in that time. They are truly a live force of nature the way they attack their songs. Dan uses his sometimes comedic, often horror style of gurning to draw the audience in and frankly we were drawn in quite easily at this show. They have a couple of albums under their rattlesnake buckled belts and we heard a great selection from both. They have a great set of band themed songs too; “Do The Rattle Rock”, “Snake Rattle Rock, Snake Rattle Roll” to name just a couple. Dan and Naomi played a blistering set that had us bouncing around from the off. Highlights for me were “She’s Strange” which Dan dedicated to Naomi and a mountainous “All Heads Will Roll”. Another incredibly talented band from the fine city of York, my adopted home!

Back in the early 80s after original King Kurt member, Jef left the band they decided to give him a proper send-off by turning him into a cake by covering him in flour, eggs and shaving foam. The legendary ‘messy’ gigs that followed were a result of fans doing something similar at every gig. Nowadays all King Kurt gigs are clean unless stated otherwise. My good friend Ian and I were warned as we entered the Crescent that this was a clean gig. A small part of me was disappointed, however, I am glad that I didn’t go home covered in crap! The band took to the stage in a uniform of red onesies, the type with the button flap on the arse. Are there any other bands that would dare to play a gig dressed like that? Probably, but definitely not many. King Kurt is usually billed as a psychobilly band and while that is certainly a part of what they are, I believe that they are so much more. Their songs and performance also have power pop, punk, glam rock (in sound if not in appearance) and a very British humour that has its roots in the like of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Smeg’s vocals were first class and Thwack’s guitar rocked like a bastard. All the big songs were there in a set that felt like it was over way too soon, but that is because time flies when you are having so much fun, right? All the hits and favourites were there and my particular highlights were “Destination Zululand” and “Do The Rat”. Sometimes I see bands reform and think to myself, why did you bother, but with King Kurt all I have to say is welcome back and what took you so long?

All the photos apart from the gig flyer were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know.

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“Revenge and Regret” EP – The Shakin’ Nightmares November 24, 2019

‘Revenge & Regret’ the new EP from those brooding, moody, gothic sons of Redcar; The Shakin’ Nightmares dropped onto my mat a few weeks ago and it has been on a constant loop for most of that time. The music has its roots in a dark, weird twisted take on rockabilly, more ‘out there’ than standard psychobilly. They sing songs describing their life and human life in general and they do it with style. EP opener “(I’ve Got) The Shakin’ Nightmares” is a moody, broody slab of slow punk and would not be out of place as a major part of a horror film soundtrack. I also wonder whether that song gave the band their name or maybe the band gave their name to the song. Either way, there is a history of bands using their name in songs and song titles, so the Shakin’ Nightmares are in good company; Mott The Hoople, Motorhead, Atari Teenage Riot, Black Sabbath, and the Stray Cats have all gone down that road.

My favourite of the four tracks on this release is “Revenge” which oozes revengeful anger. Lyrics like “I’m gonna get my revenge when I see you in hell” says it all. On top of that though “revenge” is clearly a tune designed to make you move and it does that so well. Ryan Pilot’s vocals on this song really make you think that you never want to cross him, he is dead set on getting his revenge! “I Wish” hits you in the face at breakneck speed and after it has you in its grip slows down to a warped waltz beat to relax you then it once again takes off like an Exocet on speed with its sights on your brain. The EP closes way too soon with “A Little Death” which has guitar hooks aplenty and draws on the best of UK post-punk and the inner darkness of the Shakin’ Nightmares. The production is pretty hot throughout and showcases the talents of every band member. They operate on an ambitious, cinematic scale which they pull off so easily. I hear that they are a truly wonderful live band. They have supported some great bands including the Snuts, Rascalton, the Snakerattlers and perhaps my favourite band right now Avalanche Party. The EP is available on all major streaming sites, click here to check it out on Spotify. My purple vinyl-effect CD in a vinyl style wallet is pretty ace, get yourself a copy of that if you can! If you listen to this EP and do not finish it as a Shakin’ Nightmares fan then I fear for your future! I need to see the Shakin’ Nightmares live now, which is definitely on my gig list for 2020!

All the photos were “borrowed” from the bands website. The videos were all found on YouTube. If any of the pictures or videos are yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove them please let me know. 

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“Nothing Left To Say” (Video) – Skylights November 22, 2019

I first heard “Nothing Left To Say” from those Yorkshire scallywags Skylights more than a year ago. I seem to recall then that they were planning a video for it. Well, that video has finally arrived for what is yet another anthem from this rather excellent band from York. It is a song that is made for roaring out across a hazy hot festival field. The band are at the top of their game, playing as though they were the musical equivalent of Leeds United from 1974 a team that were by far the best in England at that time! The video is an atmospheric take on how quickly modern life can make a person fall into sad, bad times. The song gets better with every listen and the video deserves plenty of airtime too. I don’t know who filmed it, but whoever it was they did an excellent job! Check out the video below. I am pleased to say that I will be seeing Skylights playing live once again before the end of the year!

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