With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

The Specials – Barbican, York – Thursday 9th May 2019 May 12, 2019


This was the third time I had seen the Specials, once back in the early days and more recently at this same venue back in November 2016. That 2016 gig was marred by the poor sound quality and a relatively short set from the band. Was it better this time? Well yes, it was, but before I tell you about that you need to know about the spectacularly talented support band the Tuts. Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of this all-girl punk powerhouse of a band from the area of west London that I hail from. They have rather skillfully rechristened themselves a three-tone band for this tour. A support slot like this doesn’t come along too often and it is perfect for the Tuts. I have previously seen them supporting Kate Nash and the Selecter and this is now the seventh time I have seen them play live since February 2014. They simply get better and better every time and I believe that they are still some way from reaching their peak. Nadia, Bev, and Harriet played a rabble-rousing selection of songs from the Tuts debut album ‘Update Your Brain’. Particular highlights were “Always Hear The Same Shit”, “1982” and “Dump Your Boyfriend”. But the song that really set the crowd alight like a Molotov cocktail in a firework factory was “Tut Tut Tut”. Bear in mind that when the Tuts were announced as the support for this tour almost all the shows had sold out so the girls had to win the audience over. They didn’t just win them over they thrashed them into submission to a point where they had no choice but become fans. The energy generated by this band could power a small city. We were given a choice of cover versions and the crowd chose the Clash classic “Rudie Can’t Fail” rather than the Spice Girls “Wannabe”. Personally, I would have been happy with either but the Clash tune won by a landslide and I am sure that the ghost of Joe Strummer was filled with pride by the Tuts version. The Tuts merch stand looked to be doing great business later in the evening with, hopefully, legions of Specials fans now also into the Tuts. I do know that my mate Simon Hernaman purchased the Tuts album on CD. If you have not yet seen or listened to the Tuts you really need to sort your life out and do it. I reckon they are probably one of the best, if not the best, bands in the UK right now. I do know that Nad Tut disagrees with me on that, she told me that they see themselves as the best band in the world and frankly who am I to argue with that! Go Tuts!

Finally, it was the turn of the Specials to take to the stage, they were preceded by a wonderfully exuberant and tasteful DJ set by Saffiyah Khan. The band opened at full pelt with “Man At C & A” with Lynval firing up the crowd from the opening salvo, although to be fair we didn’t need much firing up. There were some inspired selections from their critically acclaimed album ‘Encore’, notably “Vote For Me”, the Valentines cover “Blam Blam Fever” and an impassioned “Ten Commandments” which featured Saffiyah Khan. But the highpoint of the newer material was for me the reworked Fun Boy Three tune “The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum” which is still, sadly as highly relevant now as it was when it was originally released back in 1981. The three remaining original members of the band, Lynval Golding, Horace Panter (a.k.a. Sir Horace Gentleman) and Terry Hall were on top form. Hall’s laconic dry humour was on display on pretty much every occasion he chose to speak to the crowd. Special mention must be given to one of the UK’s greatest guitar players, Steve Cradock who added some intense rock sounds to every song. What I have always loved about the Specials is how when they do a cover version it really does become one of their own, particularly in the live arena. The crowd were full on skanking for “A Message To You Rudy” (originally by Dany Livingstone), “Do The Dog” (originally by Rufus Thomas) and it would be an understatement to say that the crowd went apeshit (no pun intended) for a riotously uncontained romp through the Maytals “Monkey Man”. It is the originals from the early days, though, that hit the highest heights for me. “Do Nothing”, “Rat Race”, “Nite Klub”, “Friday Night, Saturday Morning”, “Gangsters” and “Too Much Too Young” still retain nuclear levels of ska punk power. A nineteen song set took us to the inevitable encore and what a treat that encore was. It kicked off with a reggae instrumental jam, I have no idea what the title was. This was followed by another classic that is still as pertinent today as it was nearly forty years ago, “Ghost Town”. This mercurial performance from the Specials was closed with a Skatalites cover “You’re Wondering Now” which also featured Saffiyah Khan. This was a fitting end to a truly great show which proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the Specials have still got it!

 

Public Service Announcement – all the pictures, apart from the tour poster, were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If you would like to be credited or have them removed please let me know.

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Vinyl Eddie Records Label Launch Show – Fibbers, York – Sunday May 5th 2019 May 11, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:19 pm
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Tonight was the launch party for the brand new label started by what is probably York’s finest Record Shop Vinyl Eddie. No prizes for guessing that it will be call Vinyl Eddie Records. The first two releases are from two fabulous York bands; The Receivers  with the six track ‘There’s More To The World’ and Violet Contours with a self titled four track EP. I now own both of these records, so you might already have a view of what I think of my view on the two bands who were co-headliners for the Fibbers gig. But before I get to them there were another two support bands before the main events. First up were York trio Fear and Loathing who showed absolute fearlessness and no visible loathing. They have a really chilled jazzy, bluesy guitar sound with the kind of hooks that can be found in Nick Cave’s more commercial songs. On the slower parts to their tunes the vocals, for me, showed elements of the best of Scott Walker interpreting Jacques Brel. Some of their tunes have an underlying tone of menace and when they rock out Fear and Loathing are bloody funky indeed!

Fear & Loathing

The Vedettes were next and they are yet another talented band from York. These boys make a mesmerising, frenetic and frankly, stunningly gorgeous noise. When they get their funky groove on the sound reminds me of early Spandau Ballet, circa “To Cut A Long Story Short” and “Musclebound”, before they went soppy with the likes of the sugary, insipid “True”. Kell Chambers vocals come across like he is fronting a punk band that knows how to create dance-able anthems and let’s face it that is what the Vedettes are; punky, funky and slamming dance all rolled into one. Can the Vedettes be contained in one genre? Probably not, unless that genre was Manic Hyper Disco Punk from another galaxy! Check them out and see and hear for yourselves.

The Vedettes

Next it was time for the first of the two joint headliners, the Receivers. This is an incredibly talented band who get better every time you see them. They are a well honed and incredibly tight band who have a knack for writing some great tunes across a range of styles. “Saturday” is probably their most mainstream and accessible song and it has some immense pop hooks and style. Add to that the unavoidable urge forced upon you to sing along to the chorus. Then they vent their anger in possibly the best way since the heady days of UK punk in “That’s What They Told Me”. The songs from the new release are close to perfect; “Leave The Right Marks”, “Rimshot” and a supremely emotionally charged “Grand Central” proved that and there was a palpable sense of delight and excitement in the crowd throughout the band’s whole set. But even the old songs are something special, “A Thousand Times” is an anthemic banger that makes you want to move your body, for me it feels a little like the Stereophonics at their peak. Nick’s vocals were spot on in this set and Alex is developing into one of the best guitarists around, he also seems to possess more energy than the Duracell bunny. But underpinning the whole receivers sound is the Rolls Royce of rhythm sections from Louis on drums and Harry on bass. The Receivers are definitely one to watch and I am looking forward to seeing them live again soon!

The Receivers

Completing the line up and showcasing more of what is great about the York music scene were joint headliners Violet Contours. Just like the Receivers they have a fabulous record to promote. They have an effervescent, bright and happy sound that has the power to get even the most lethargic people on the floor. There are Vampire Weekend influences in their African style guitars and perhaps some Stone Roses although Ben Henderson’s vocals are probably better than Ian Brown’s in a live setting. Their brand of indie with jangly guitars and funky bass inspired by Orange Juice are a treat for the ears. The band are a solid and tight unit although they have only been around since 2016. One thing I really love about them is how much they seem to be enjoying themselves on stage. I am not properly familiar with all their song titles yet, (although “Pixar” and “Airstrike” are mint) but as I travelled home my head was full of Violet Contours rhythms, melodies and the sheer exuberance that oozes from their songs. Vinyl Eddie Records are off to a great start with initial releases from two of York’s finest bands; The Receivers and Violet Contours. If we don’t here a great deal more from both bands then I might have to eat my hat. Check them out!

Violet Contours

 

 

 

Mayhem Virgins – Von Kaiser May 6, 2019

Filed under: Mayhem Virgins,Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:30 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

From Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA comes a band that is brand new to us here at With Just A Hint Of Mayhem and therefore entitled to appear in the Mayhem Virgins series they are called Von Kaiser and they are pretty damned good at what they do. What they do is classy synthwave that can just as easily grace a club, a film soundtrack or just listening. Last years “Dead By Dawn” I understand sets out to pay homage to supremely talented Director George A Romero. In the process it also shows, for me, how much Von Kaiser love Giorgio Moroder and to be fair don’t we all.

David M, Jake V and Kaylin H all contribute their skills on keys and vocals while David also plays some pretty decent guitar. Their new album ‘Landline’ is out now and it wears its pop-rock, synth, electro heart on its sleeve. It definitely has influences drawn from the second British Invasion which included Soft Cell, Duran Duran, OMD and Depeche Mode. But on tracks like “Jetpacks” (which is currently my favourite followed closely by “ETA”)  there is a touch of 80s AOR, while the vocals on “Armitage” could come from Panic At The Disco. But while I can hear a number of influences Von Kaiser are definitely an original band with a crisp, fresh sound that merits a wide audience. An earlier single and the title track from the album “Landline” has an almost spooky hook and makes good use of some telephone samples. The lyrics are very clever and “Landline” speaks of a massive snowstorm in which “The flakes look like falling stars, between the cars”. Is that not a beautiful use of words in a lyric? Genius! “Crystal Lake” might be a long lost OMD tune, but it is also of the 21st century.

Von Kaiser know their 80s stuff, the album has a strong 80s feel and their Bandcamp bio says “Von Kaiser is a collection of four musicians who don’t just want to remember the music and movies of the 80s, they want to celebrate it”. They certainly embrace it and celebrate it in style that makes you want to get out and party. The band were formed as recently as last year, which makes their new record even more of a great achievement. Listening to it I felt that this was a band that had been together a lot longer than that. I believe that Von Kaiser are one of my new favourite bands, can we get them to the UK sometime soon please?

 

 

‘Utopi’ – Vånna Inget May 4, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:38 pm
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Swedish band Vånna Inget  have just released a new album, ‘Utopi’ on the Gaphals label and judging by what I have heard on one listen it is pretty damned spectacular. As a typical Brit who only speaks one language I have not often been turned on by foreign language music. But this band transcend that for me and prove that rock ‘n’ roll is truly universal language. “Skuggor” has a hook that would catch a Great White Shark and Karolina Engdahl’s vocals are full of power and clarity. It is also supported by a moodily stylish black and white video which you can see at the end of this review. Meanwhile on “Främlingar” the guitar attack from Tommy Tift would stop the Night King’s army in Game Of Thrones within a couple of riffs. The massed choir-like vocals of “Allt Ska Bli Bra” make it feel like a classic 80s power ballad, although it is clear that Karolina is a better vocalist than Bonnie Tyler and her peers. Perhaps my favourite song from the collection so far is album opener “Eld” which perfectly showcases the undenied power of a rhythm section at the peak of its powers.

There is a Fleetwood Mac feel on “Murar” with Karolina giving it some proper Stevie Nicks phrasing. The vocal harmonies on this song are subtle but almost perfect. On “Mörkrets Barn” Vånna Inget  show their talent for writing great pop rock songs. “Spöken” has a real late 70s post punk appeal with some stunning guitar work. Perhaps the most commercial tune here is the title track “Utopi” which in my head I can hear ringing out across a festival field while everyone leaps up and down with complete abandon. The final song on the album “80​-​talsbarn” proves that the band can slow things down and inject a deep soulful passion into their music. Despite the language barrier I definitely want to hear more from these Swedish power pop heroes! I hope they play in the UK some time soon. Click here to check out this rather wonderful album on Spotify.

 

 

‘There’s More To The World’ – The Receivers May 3, 2019


This Sunday, 5th May sees the launch of Vinyl Eddie Records at Fibbers in York. A great record store promoting excellent music in York. One of the labels first releases is from the Receivers, a northern dynamo of a band from York. Their EP, available on vinyl, is called ‘There’s More To The World’. To be pedantic though back in the day a six-track release would most probably be called a mini album, but that is splitting hairs and I have none left to split. Is this a good release from this fine band? Well, read on to find out.

The record kicks off with “Leave The Right Marks” a pulverising rock song that arrives with colossal force and doesn’t relent for its full three-minute life cycle. Nick’s vocals are particularly strong on this one and the lead guitar work from Alex is exemplary. But the engine room of Harry’s bass and some full on Bonzo Bonham style drumming from Louis is like a finely tuned formula one car. It holds everything together on this delicious hard rocking opener. The next track “Saturday” is one you may have heard before as it was a taster release from the boys back in March. It takes the indie guitar sound to greater heights and has a late 70s post punk ambience about it. For some strange reason it brings to mind the Bluetones classic “Slight Return” for me, I have no idea why. The chorus is a sticky earworm that burrows into your head and refuses to come out.

The wave of pulsating power riffs that opens and underpins “All Your Friends” is compulsive, enthralling and after two spins convinced me that this is my current favourite Receivers tune. It has a feel of early U2 with guitar work that would make Dave Evans proud. Meanwhile “That’s What They Told Me” takes Nick’s vocals into the territory of Mark E Smith and John Lydon in his PiL peak. It is a discourse on modern life for the young, well that is certainly what it feels like to me. The next song is called “Rimshot” and for those dirty minded people reading this please note that a rimshot is a percussion technique used to produce an accented snare drum back beat. Anyway the song is redolent of Oasis when they were good and would compete well with almost anything from the first two albums from the Burnage Boys. The guitars on this track are very Noel Gallagheresque. This collection signs off with the nicely chilled majestic come down of “Grand Central”. A song that might have come from my favourite BritPop era band Gene with a vocal that is as good as anything Martin Rossiter ever committed to vinyl.

This is a damned fine release which will get the boys even more recognition and exposure and deservedly so. Word is getting out about the Receivers and they have been played plenty on local radio and feted by the local press. They have even had a spin from Steve Lamacq. ‘There’s More To The World’ heralds the start of what could be a great career for Nick, Harry, Alex and Louis collectively known as the Receivers. You NEED to own a copy of this record, so I suggest you do whatever you can to make it so. Most companies really fear having to call in the receivers, but York’s Receivers would and should be welcomed everywhere to ply us with their intelligent, thoughtful and frankly bloody marvellous tunes! If you miss out on a copy of the record then click here to take a listen on Spotify.

 

 

 

‘Persona’ – Lost In Kiev April 28, 2019


The phrase ‘Post-Rock’ was according to most sources first used by music critic Simon Reynolds in his review of Bark Psychosis’ album ‘Hex’, published in Mojo magazine in 1994.  He later expanded on that by saying he used the term to describe music “using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes, using guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures rather than riffs and power chords”. Apparently an American music critic used the term to describe Tod Rundgren, although the context was not the same. In my experience perhaps 65daysofstatic or even Fuck Buttons might fit into the Post-Rock genre. I should point out that I am not an expert in the genre, however I was given the opportunity to review the new album from Parisian Post-Rock outfit Lost In Kiev and it really piqued my interest. Generally this style of  music is largely instrumental but uses samples of sound taken from TV and film. However Lost In Kiev take that to the next level by recording all their own spoken word samples.

The soundscapes throughout ‘Persona’ are immense and majestic and using your imagination you can immerse yourself into a skyscraping tale of the future and Artificial Intelligence. Sometimes I find purely instrumental bands, Lost In Kiev have no vocalist, can become a little samey and predictable. But Lost In Kiev step way beyond that with this record, the music is hypnotic, thunderously powerful and very different to almost anything that I have heard in the last couple of years. There are no classic guitar riffs, they are simply not needed. Although “Mindfiles” has what sounds like a synthesised metronomic guitar riff motif peppered throughout. The massed choir of synths and the at times almost tribal drumming overpower the listener and take you on an intricate journey. In their live sets the band accompany all their music with specially produced videos. I haven’t experienced them live yet but I need to now. This album is a stand alone masterpiece from a band at their peak even without the benefit of film.

If you knew nothing of Post-Rock you might classify this album as Prog and no doubt that cap might fit too. The tracks all clock in at less than six minutes each apart from “Thumos” and album closer “Mecasocialis”. After a couple of listens I think the aforementioned “Mindfiles” is my favourite track on this collection, although the competition is huge. Can an instrumental album ooze and pulse with emotional range? Well ‘Persona’ certainly does by evoking love and anger and every shade in between. The band’s guitarist Maxime Ingrand when talking about the album said “The main challenge with this record was how to write more direct and shorter post rock tracks with the same intensity as our previous, longer compositions, and finding the right balance between traditional post rock, the addition of synths and machines and the texts for the film“. Have they acheived that? Most definitely with the music and I suspect that they probably have with the film element too, although I am yet to see that personally. ‘Persona’ is out now on Pelagic Records. Click here to check it out on Spotify.

 

Miles – Single Launch – The Crescent, York – Friday 19th April 2019 April 27, 2019


This day was actually Good Friday, but when you’re lucky enough to attend a gig like this then I would suggest we rename it Great Friday. This was the third time I have seen Miles, but more of that later, because there were some rather spiffing support acts on the bill too. First to take the stage was Rosalind, tonight made up of amazingly talented York singer songwriter Ellie Milne and Nina on backing vox and harmonies. (I hear that Nina has an EP out now). The pair was aided and abetted by Josh (a.k.a. Wounded Bear) and Mikey (from Miles) on guitar and backing vocals. Ellie’s self-penned songs are built on a tsunami of soul baring emotions and “Call This A Love Song” is a stand out tune. I saw Rosalind for the first time just less than two weeks ago and I am sure I will be seeing her plenty of times in the future. Ellie performed a scorchingly brilliant cover of Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s “Big Fish”. But the closing song which deals with domestic violence was one of the most haunting tunes that I have heard in a long while.

The second support act of the evening was Wounded Bear (a.k.a. Josh). He has a rich, deep voice which enticingly draws you into his songs, most of which weave wonderful stories through their sometimes intricately clever lyrics. The music scene in York is incredibly close and supportive and embraces everyone, so Wounded Bear was the beneficiary of some heavenly counterpoint harmonies provided by Ellie and Nina who we heard as a part of the earlier Rosalind performance. Wounded Bear has a really classy EP out now entitled ‘A Calm Night For A Bullfight’. Currently my favourite song from that release is “Angela”, an emotionally charged and heartfelt love song. But for me Wounded Bear saved his best song to last, Adrian Gurvitz once said in song that he was “gonna write a classic”. Well with “Civil War” Wounded Bear has indeed written a classic tune. Musically and lyrically it has nothing missing, the song borders on perfect and needs to be heard.

Finally it was time for the headliner Miles, I think this is the second time that I have seen Miles and twice more in a previous incarnation as Epilogues. I believe main man Mikey sets out to create music that is epic in scope and could adapt well to score a foreign film of love and loss incredibly successfully. The first few, rather moody masterpieces, are performed by Mikey on his own in a style reminiscent of early period Jarvis Cocker. After that we were hit with the extended band including a well-drilled rhythm section. The drum fills were often like ethereal jazz noodles floating over a rainbow river. Mikey’s vocal talents are at times wondrous and evoke the softer side of Thom Yorke for me. This gig was to launch the new Miles single “16: My Delightful Inheritance” which is shaping up to be his best yet. I must apologise for being so tardy with this review that the album of the same now is now available on Daddy Issues Records and most major streaming sites. Click here or to check it out.

 

Public Service Announcement – all the pictures, apart from the gig poster, were taken using my cheap Chinese Android phone.

 

 
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