With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Averageism EP” – Tax January 21, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 1:21 pm
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Sometimes you have to make a choice as to which gig you want to go to when there is a clash. Last Friday I went to see Absolute Bowie at Fibbers in York, sadly this meant that I missed a great line up put together by Northern Radar at another fabulous York venue; the Crescent. Who did I miss? The Televangelist, Dvsk, Tax and the Honey Smugglers, that’s who. But I did meet up with Northern Radar Head Honcho Simon Pattinson after the show along with some of Tax, including the drummer and Millie (with an i, e) who isn’t their manager but perhaps should be! Millie gave me a copy of the new Tax EP ‘Averageism’. I promised to take a listen to it and maybe review it for this blog. What some of you don’t know is that if any singers or bands give me some of their music to review I will always listen to it, but I will only review it if I like it. Personally I don’t think it is fair to lumber upcoming bands with a negative review. But this is most definitely NOT a negative review!

This five track EP is without a doubt, bloody awesome. It was produced by Liam Watson, and as many of you know his cv includes the White Stripes. Tax, from York, are refreshingly original, but in terms of influence I can hear some heavy punk and post punk vibes, the Adverts, PiL, the Fall, the New York Dolls and early 70s Glam Rock. The EPs title track is probably my favourite after the third listen, any song that mentions James Last, Ian Brown, Burt Bacharach and uses the words moron and twat in the lyrics is alright with me. Aside from the tightness of the band what really impressed me was the lyrics; “Out For Lunch” has a brilliant couplet in “I’ve got a handshake like an earthquake”, play the track loud enough and it might even move the gauge on a Richter scale recorder. “Clone” sounds like something the Adverts TV Smith might have recorded in the late 70s, very LoFi but with more balls than the usual LoFi sound. The EP is completed by the excellently titled “Piss” and “I’m A Presenter On The TV”. If you haven’t seen Tax or heard them then I suggest you do something about that right now! But careful how you search for them, you might end up reaching some pretty dull accounting sites! Click here to find them on FaceBook and click here to find them on Soundcloud. Personally I can’t wait to see this lot play live now!

 

 

Absolute Bowie – Fibbers, York – Friday 19th January 2018 January 20, 2018


Regular readers of this blog will know not only that I am a massive David Bowie fan, but I am also a bit of a Bowie snob. I have never been a particular fan of tribute bands. I have seen many and a handful have been very good, but the majority were mediocre at best. However just over a year ago at the fabulous Fibbers music venue in York I reluctantly decided to go and see Absolute Bowie. This is an act that many in the industry refer to as the best Bowie tribute by far and many of the reviews bear that out. Click here to read my review of that gig. I loved last years York show so much that I had to come back again in 2018. This time I persuaded my good friend and fellow Bowie fan Simon Hernaman and his wife Marie to join me. Was last year a one off or is the magic still there? You should read on to find the answer to that question.

The first set was a Ziggy set with John O’Neill in fine form as Bowie’s earliest and probably most iconic character. The costumes, the mime driven dance moves and most importantly for me the authentic sounding Bowie vocals from O’Neill. None of this would of worked however without the support of the excellent band; Chris Buratti on guitar, makes an excellent Mick Ronson in the first set, Fabio Cashio a stunningly talented bass player, Alex Paollilo on keyboards and drummer Alessandro Ricardi. There were many highlights in the Ziggy half of the show and it sounded great from where I was in the crowd although there seemed to be some problems with at least one of the monitors. Particular highlights were “Moonage Daydream“, ” The Man Who Sold The World“, a truly majestic “Life On Mars” and  “Starman” which had everyone in Fibbers la-la-la-la-ing like lunatics. First set closer was “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide“, what else could it be? I do not believe that there was a single person in the crowd that didn’t sing along to every song with 100% passion.

Which Bowie would we get from John  O’Neill in the second set? It was Serious Moonlight Bowie; bleached blond hair, wearing a pastel suit, unfastened bow tie and braces. In terms of where these songs were drawn from it was a much wider period than the Ziggy set ranging from 1974 to 1983. This band match their talent with confidence, to open with “Station To Station” would not have been attempted by lesser tribute acts, but Absolute Bowie pulled it off completely and followed that with a mesmerisingly funky version of what in my opinion is one of the finest cuts on the ‘Station To station’ album, “Stay”. Whilst we are on funk I have to mention “Fame”, I think Mr Bowie himself would have enjoyed that. We were treated to “Ashes To Ashes”, Let’s Dance” and “China Girl” from the 80s. The encore was for me perhaps the finest part of an amazing night. We were hit with “Space Oddity” which was introduced with a blast of ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra” which was used as the theme to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey‘, “Heroes” and a stonking version of “Rebel Rebel” that may well have brought the ceiling down had it gone on any longer. If you have seen Absolute Bowie before then I know you will see them again, I certainly will. If you have never seen them before what are you waiting for?

Public service announcement – all videos found via YouTube but all the pictures are from the delightful Mr. Simon Hernaman’s mobile phone 🙂

 

“But you always really knew, I just wanna be with you” January 15, 2018

Filed under: Obituary — justwilliam1959 @ 11:57 pm
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I am sure by now that you have learned the sad news of Dolores O’Riordan’s death at just 46 years old. She was born in Ballybricken, County Limerick in Ireland and in 1990 she auditioned as a singer for a band call the Cranberry Saw Us who as you probably guessed went on to change their name to the Cranberries. From 1993 to 2002 the band released six albums including a greatest hits package in 2002. The band took a break in 2003 and then got back together with a tour in 2009. The band’s second and third albums ‘No Need To Argue’ (1994) and ‘To The Faithful Departed’ (1996) went top 5 in almost every country they were released in. My favourite Cranberries song is “Linger” and that broke the band in the USA hitting number 8 in 1993. Meanwhille in 1994 another magnificent single, “Zombie” went to number one in Australia, France and Germany.

I was lucky enough to see the Cranberries play live on at least four occasions. In London in 1993 and again in 1994 and then a couple of times at festivals after that. They were an incredible band and Dolores was an amazing singer and front woman. She will be missed by many. My thoughts go to her family, friends and fans across the world. RIP Dolores O’Riordan.

 

“We’ll build a glass asylum, with just a hint of mayhem” January 8, 2018


Regular readers of this blog know that I am a big David Bowie fan. This began in July 1972 when I witnessed that now iconic performance of “Starman” on BBC’s Top Of The Pops. I was lucky enough to see him play live ten times from 1976 to 2004 and I still buy every release, and to be fair there have been many since his death nearly two years ago. I recently received the latest in the seven inch vinyl picture disc series, the 40th anniversary release of the “Beauty And The Beast” single. It has a terrific version of “Blackout” on the B Side. Today would have been the Dame’s 71st birthday, I know to many of you that probably sounds old, but it is only 12 years older than me! Obviously like many fans I was saddened by his passing, but I am still somewhat freaked out by the amount of on-line Bowie fans that still speak of their despair at his loss, how they still wake up crying.

But enough of that morbidity, I do still celebrate the birthday of the late David Robert Jones. On a work day that means that I wear my David Bowie cuff links as I did today. I also received a few more David Bowie related books at Christmas, I think I now own around 70 in total. One of those Christmas presents was ‘David Bowie – A Life’ by Dylan Jones. Jones met and interviewed Bowie on many occasions and he uses that material along with old and new interviews with many people who were a part of the world of David Bowie. This includes the Spiders From Mars, Dana Gillespie, Bob Harris, Earl Slick, Mike Garson, Carlos Alomar, Peter Frampton, Nina Simone, Mick Rock, Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray, Bebe Buell and Coco Schwab to name just a few. The book is organised chronologically and is incredibly well put together. In my opinion it is beyond doubt the best Bowie biography for many years and easily the best to be published since his demise. It is tasteful and manages to unearth a few things that personally I had never read before; How he had tried to reform the Spiders From Mars in 1978 and how in the US in the early 1970s someone turned up at his hotel sweet and offered him a still warm, dead body to have sex with. In respect of the latter he was apparently visibly shocked and upset and turned the offer down. When he lived in Mustique at a property he used to own there he often referred to one drink from the cocktail menu in Basil’s Bar as a Penis Colada.

This evening I have also dug out the magnificent Alan Yentob documentary ‘Cracked Actor’ from the mid 70s. It is a fascinating portrait of a talented man in a spiral of cocaine addiction and ensuing paranoia. In many ways it is a magnificent insider view of the transition from the Halloween Jack character of the post apocalyptic tales on ‘Diamond Dogs’ into the white soul boy of ‘Young Americans’. If you have never seen it, whether you are a fan or not you should check it out. From just the social history perspective it is truly fascinating. This is a bit of a Bowie ramble I know, but I haven’t done a Bowie post for a while, well apart from the specific one about the song “Andy Warhol” back in December. I don’t really need an excuse to play some Bowie tunes, but a 71st birthday and the impending second anniversary of his death works for me. Let’s celebrate the Dame’s wonderful recordings together, what is your favourite David Bowie song? My top three favourites are currently; “Quicksand”, “Young Americans” and “Lady Grinning Soul“.

As a footnote the eagle eyed readers and bat eared listeners may have sussed out where I took the title of my blog from, go on take a guess!

 

Avalanche Party – Fulford Arms, York – Saturday 30th December 2017 December 31, 2017


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What could be more fitting for my last gig of 2017 than an evening in the presence of one of the finest British bands of their generation Avalanche Party. They get better every time I see them, so did they improve yet again? Well you will have to read on to discover that. This show was the 100th that has been put together by those lovely folk at Behind The White Door and in addition to Avalanche Party they booked some proper humdingers.

dav

It all kicked off with one of the best young bands in York, the Black Lagoons. This is the third time that I have seen them and so far they have never failed to impress me. The fashion influence on some of the band is very rockabilly style. But this is not who they are musically. There is a tiny bit of that genre, there is a hint of prog and there is definitely a psych vibe going on. Can I narrow that down to maybe Psychabilly? But labelling bands is ultimately futile isn’t it? Unless that label is along the lines of good or bad and the Black Lagoons are bloody good. Link Wray would be proud of the lead guitarist and the rhythm section is akin to the Who’s powerful engine room of Moon and Entwistle. I think the band could interact with the audience a bit more, but that is easily fixed. If you get the chance to see them, then take it!

dav

The audience gets a Nosebleed!

Next up were Nosebleed from Leeds who gave us a full on punky garage onslaught. This trio may well have taken their stage wear style from the Hives and they are just as entertaining. They milked their audience invasion opportunities really well and their sound came across like Steve Jones in his Sex Pistols days multi tracking. Stand too close to the speakers with this lot and you might well get a Nosebleed. They are a well oiled and rehearsed band that seemed to enjoy every moment of their time on stage (or in the audience)!

dav

The Snakerattlers are Naomi and Dan who are also the funky, punky people who run Behind The White Door. A hard rocking duo with a boy and girl in the line up might often be compared with the White Stripes, but don’t. They are so very different. Their fast paced punk styled songs smack you in the face until you submit to their Snakerattler charms. I would love to know how Naomi got so much noise from just two drums and a cymbal. Dan’s guitar skills are well honed and powerful. I must confess that I didn’t really like their first tune but the rest of their set was stunning. They have a new album coming out in 2018 and I can hardly wait to hear it. Feel free to send me a copy for review guys! 🙂

dav

So now for the headliners, Avalanche Party were they better than the last time I saw them, well of course they were. This is now the seventh time that I have seem them live. In fact there are only two acts that I have seen more often; David Bowie (10 times) and Frank Turner (11 times). The band kicked off with a barnstorming “I’m So Wet” and never let up until they blew the roof off with an explosive and bombastic “Solid Gold” to close their set. Other highlights were “Let’s Get Together” and a new song, “Heaven’s Creatures” given its first ever live outing. Jordan Bell is now without doubt a seasoned crowd surfer and this along with his invading the crowd with mic stand guitar just adds to the showmanship that this band have developed over the past few years. The Yorkshire Post named Avalanche Party’s set at the Kazoopa Festival in Leeds as their gig of the year and no wonder. The show tonight was full on pomp, spectacle and exactly what great rock n roll should be. If you haven’t seen this band yet then why not? I order you to see them in 2018 and if you don’t then I will need a note from your parents telling me why!

Public Service Announcement – all the pictures, apart from the gig poster, were taken by my mobile phone (hence the poor quality!). The videos are all found via YouTube.

 

 

12 Days To Christmas – Day 12 – Father Christmas December 24, 2017


This is it Christmas Eve, day 12 of my 12 days to Christmas series of posts. The final one that brings you famous people from history featured in a song, obviously they have all been real and today is no exception. I bring you the bearded weirdy, the fat bloke in the red coat, yes old saint Nick or as I prefer to call him, Father Christmas. He is real ok, don’t let anyone hear you say otherwise! Father Christmas first appeared in the 17th century and until the Victorian age he was seen as a symbol of adult merry-making and feasting. It was around then that he became the bearer of yuletide gifts, especially to children. Santa Claus is an American traditional name for the Christmas figure. Father Christmas’ coat was depicted as green, brown and even blue. It was a big advertising campaign by Coca Cola in 1931 that switched to the now far more common red robes. As it’s Christmas I won’t be focusing on any particular artist today, but I have selected a diverse set of Father Christmas and Santa Claus songs. Finally I would like to wish all of my readers a very happy Christmas, or happy holiday, or a happy life, whatever floats your boat. Just be happy! If you would like to track Father Christmas’ progress in your area click here.

 

12 Days To Christmas – Day 11 – Grigori Rasputin December 23, 2017


This is the penultimate twelve days to Christmas post for the blog and we are clearly on day 11. Who is the famous character from history that is the subject of today’s song? well it’s the Russian mad, mystic monk known as Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin. He was born in January 1869 into a peasant family in Siberia and was assassinated by a group of disgruntled noblemen in 1916 aged 47 who were a tad unhappy with his close relationship with Tsar Nicholas II. This was not the first time someone had attempted to assassinate Grigori, a peasant woman tried to kill him with a knife in 1914, but he survived after surgery. In the early 1900’s he effectively became the leader of a small, but growing, religious cult. It is alleged that this is how he came to the attention of the Russian Royal Family. The Royals believed that Rasputin had healing powers which he practised on the Tsar. Rasputin’s daughter Maria once worked as a lion tamer in the USA. In one X-Men story Rasputin was revealed to be an ancestor of Russian mutant Colossus.

Mastodon had a song about Rasputin on their ‘Crack The Skye‘ album from 2009. He was also depicted on the cover of albums by Electronic and the Smashing Pumpkins among others. But none of those are the source of todays song, for that we are going back to 1978 with Boney M; a classic, kitsch Euro Disco band. The single “Rasputin” went to number one in the charts in Germany, Austria, Belgium, France and Australia. It made it to number 2 in the UK. I don’t know if it ever made the Russian charts. Bobby Farrell the male member of the Boney M four piece has a strange and coincidental link with Rasputin. Bobby’s death occurred on the anniversary of, and in the same city, St. Petersburg as, the death of the mad monk, albeit 94 years later. German music artist Frank Farian effectively manufactured Boney M after he began to have some success with his own recordings under that name. He put the band together to front his songs. They went on to become mega successful hitting number one in album and singles charts across the world from 1976 to 1979. The song was included on the band’s 1978 album ‘Nightflight To Venus’.

Boney M get festive!

 

 
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