With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

With Just A Hint Of Mayhem is ten years old! Part 1 January 31, 2019

Filed under: News,Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 10:18 pm

Cast your memory way, way back through the mists of time to February 9th 2009, are you there now? Well that is the day that this blog was born and now it is nearly ten years old. I would like to thank Nick Horslen for planting the idea of blogging into my head and my long-suffering wife for putting up with me and my blog (especially the stats) all that time. As of now the blog has 1,698 followers, this post will be the 1,266th, there have been 885 comments and incredibly, more than 1.6 million views! I have big plans for With Just A Hint Of Mayhem in 2019, keep your eyes and ears peeled for what happens next. In the meantime and in the run up to the blogs official birthday I thought I would delight you with ten top tens. Kicking off with the ten most popular posts so far (nine of which are from that kick off year of 2009 and all ten of them have combined views of nearly 175,000);

“We are starlight, we are golden” 
“If you’re 555, then I’m 666” 
“We were barely 17 and we were barely dressed” 
“You wave your hand and they scatter like crows” 
“And when that rainbow’s shining over you, that’s when your dreams will all come true” 
“I wanna say, I wanna tell you, about the young ideas, but you turn them into fears”
“Like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown, this time I’m coming down”
“She’s really got a magical spell and it’s working so well I just can’t get away”
“just like Pagliacci did, I try to keep my sadness hid”
Imelda May – York Barbican Friday 11th November 2011

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Absolute Bowie – Fibbers, York – Saturday 26th January 2019


Regular readers will know that as a die-hard, life long David Bowie fan it took ages for me to finally cave in and see a Bowie tribute act. That particular tribute act is Absolute Bowie and 2019 marks the third year in a row that I have seen the magnificent spectacle of an Absolute Bowie show. When I first came to see them at Fibbers back in 2017 I was determined not to like them, but I bloody loved them and still do. The show is empathetic, sympathetic and a stunningly well put together tribute to the late, great Dame David. This show was very special as it featured not just the usual two Bowie’s from my experiences, but no less than four different Bowie incarnations. Obviously Ziggy and the Spiders was first, kicking off proceedings with an explosive “Watch That Man” followed by many Ziggy period classics including another from ‘Aladdin Sane’ that I hadn’t heard for a while, “Panic In Detroit”. There were many highlights in that first set particularly the perfect rendition of “Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)” including the warped jazz tinged Mike Garson piano licks from the supremely talented Alex Paolillo. When Bowie (John O’Neill) picked up the 12 string guitar I knew a treat was in store and I was not wrong, first a great version of my favourite Bowie song “All The Young Dudes” and then a crowd pleasing take of “Starman” which had the crowd singing at full volume.

After a brief interval the band returned in full Serious Moonlight mode and smashed 80s Bowie with rousing and authentic early 80s anthems; “Let’s Dance”, “Ashes To Ashes” and “China Girl”. The 80s was never my favourite David Bowie period, but it is impossible to deny that some of the songs are guaranteed party starters and the audience agreed and threw themselves into singing and dancing with gargantuan glee and amazing abandon. I am sure there were plenty of sore throats and aching muscles the next day. John O’Neill left the stage as 80s Bowie while the stupendously talented band carried on before he returned as a 90s Bowie and wowed us with “Hallo Spaceboy” and what you might call a deep cut, “Look Back In Anger” from the 1979 David Bowie album ‘Lodger’. I was intrigued about what the encore might be after the band left the stage. I was blown away. They kicked off the final three songs with a note perfect recreation of “Black Star”, a song that the real Bowie never got to perform live. O’Neill looked the part wearing the bandage style mask with those eerie black dot eyes. Taking on that song was for me one hell of a brave move, but it paid off, it was excellent and beautifully performed. How could Absolute Bowie follow such a mountainous peak? Quite spectacularly actually. Firstly with another outing for the 12 string on “Space Oddity” and a very passionate and moving “Heroes”.

Absolute Bowie were very worthy and deserving winners of the ‘Best Bowie Tribute’ and ‘Best Tribute Band in the UK’ at the Agents Association of Great Britain Awards last summer. On tonights performance they must be in with a good chance of winning many more awards. I should mention the people who form this magnificent band too. Obviously there is John O’Neill as Bowie, Chris Buratti on Guitar and as a very credible and believable Mick Ronson, Alex Face drummer extraordinaire who would almost certainly make Woody Woodmansey proud, Fabio Cascio a bass player who knows his way around classic rock bass lines and the previously mentioned keyboard wizard Alex Paolillo. If you have never seen Absolute Bowie then I urge you to do so. Even if you are like I used to be; a die-hard fan who hated the idea of a Bowie tribute. This lot is well worth the ticket price. My beautiful wife Catwoman joined me tonight and she loved it as did our good friends Nikki and David. I am sure that all four of us will be back next year!

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 any of the videos are yours let me know if you would like a credit or if you want a video removed.

 

Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven – The Sony Hall, NYC, USA – Sunday 20th January 2019 January 24, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:15 am
Tags: , , , ,

When I first came across David Lowery I didn’t know that he would develop into a musical genius. I had heard the rather weird Camper Van Beethoven track “Take The Skinheads Bowling” back in the mid 80s. I probably heard it on the John Peel show and it was weird enough for me to prick up my ears. That song has been covered by Teenage Fanclub, Manic Street Preachers and featured in Michael Moore’s ‘Bowling For Columbine. If I am honest I had largely forgotten about this marvellous band, there were too many other things going on ok! That song actually made number 8 in the UK Indie chart in 1986, who’d have thought? A work colleague introduced me to then new band Cracker via their two early 90s albums; ‘Cracker’ and ‘Kerosene Hat’ and I really liked them. I am pretty sure that I saw them at the Reading Festival around that time (1992?). But once again Cracker were off my radar just like Camper Van Beethoven before them. Not because they weren’t any good, but simply there was way too much music to enjoy. But I never forgot either band and on my latest US business trip there was an opportunity to visit the Sony Hall in New York City for a headline gig by Cracker, supported by none other than Camper Van Beethoven. I sure as shit was not going to turn down that opportunity was I?

Camper Van Beethoven

I hadn’t been to the Sony Hall in NYC before and to before this is only the fourth gig I had ever attended in the USA, all in NYC so far. The ticket suggested that I would be standing, but actually the whole place was set out like a cabaret/ supper club with waiter/ waitress service at the table. Was that a safe option for an ageing audience? Maybe, but who cares? It is a great venue and this was one hell of an enthusiastic crowd. A five piece Camper Van Beethoven took the stage just after 8:15. How many styles of music can this classic band often labelled as ‘alternative’ actually handle? Bloody loads, including psychedelic, reggae, heavy rock. Americana and so much more. Early in their set we were treated to a truly magnificent cover of Status Quo’s sixties masterpiece “Pictures Of MatchStick Men” (a cover they released back in 1990). Jonathan Segel’s violin on this track was worth the admission price alone. Obviously “Take The Skinheads Bowling” was given an airing, one in which the crowd went absolutely mental, well as mental as a middle-aged seated crowd can go at least. Then there was the kind of medley (described as a rock opera of sorts by David Lowery) which included Led Zeppelin (“Dazed And Confused”, “Kashmir”) and the traditional Israeli folk song “Hava Nagila” along with some Camper Van Beethoven original material. Lowery and the band gave it their all, knowing full well that three of them would be back for the Cracker set. I wouldn’t have fancied Camper Van Beethoven on to that stage, but then I’m not Cracker and David Lowery.

Cracker

Cracker played a wide-ranging career spanning set with barely a stop for breath, the crowd lapped up every last note and sang along with passion and gusto throughout. There was definitely something for everything with “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)” and “Mr Wrong” from their eponymously named first album from 1992 up to around four songs from Cracker’s 9th album ‘Berkeley To Bakersfield’. Lowery’s vocals were solid and beautiful throughout, especially as he had sung his heart out in the earlier support set. If I was forced under pain of death to put Cracker into a genre I would have to say Americana with strong country and West Coast rock elements. At times I felt that they could easily compete with the Eagles; notably on the Johnny Hickman sung  “California Country Boy” and “King Of Bakersfield”. Hickman’s guitar playing was sublime as was the heavenly slide guitar contribution on many of the songs, unfortunately I didn’t catch the slide guitarists name. There were many highlights from the bluesy rock out of “Low” and the fun and funky “How Can I Live Without You”. There was not a duff song or anything like one throughout the whole set they closed with “One Fine Day” and just when I thought it could never get any better the band returned for an encore in which for me they even topped the peaks they had reached earlier with a powerful, passionate call to arms consisting of “El Comandante” and perhaps the band’s finest song in my opinion, “Beautiful”. It was indeed a truly beautiful night which warmed me up against the very sub-zero temperatures outside. I smiled all the way back to my hotel and went to sleep smiling too. If you have never seen Cracker or Camper van Beethoven I suggest you kick off a late new year resolution to make sure that you do very soon!

Public Service Announcement: All photos and videos were discovered via Google and YouTube. If any of them are yours I would be happy to credit you or remove them.

 

 

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ January 21, 2019


have never been a fan of biographical faction style films of musicians and bands, some have had their good points, while many have been dire in my opinion. So I really wasn’t keen to see the Queen/ Freddie Mercury biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, but I was torn as everyone I knew that has seen it said it was stunning. They all told me I might need tissues to dry my eyes at times too, more of that later, but I thought they were bluffing. Anyway these last ten days or so I have been on an extended business trip to the USA. On Sunday I found myself downtown when it started to rain, so I thought why not pop into the conveniently close cinema. As luck would have it the next film on was ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ so I thought what the hell, I’ll give it a go!

The film certainly feels like it captures what life was like for Queen in the early days and how their life changed as they became successful. The story is told largely as Farouk Bulsara a.k.a. Freddie Mercury’s life but the interaction with all the other main players; Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor, John Reid, Mary Austin, Paul Prenter and Jim Beach to name just a few is well portrayed and is full of pathos, humour and love. There are far too many highlights to mention all of them, you should see the film yourself if you haven’t already. But for me the gestation and recording of “Bohemian Rhapsody” is thrillingly done. The ongoing joke about Roger Taylor’s “I’m In Love With My Car” is hilarious. The Live Aid element, not just the concert but the lead up to it is heartwarming and highly interesting to us music anoraks. Finally the way Freddie tells his band mates that he has AIDS is so emotionally moving that yes I did need the tissues.

I never spotted it at first but EMI Executive Ray Foster was played by Mile Myers and perhaps more amusingly for Queen historians the guy in the truck stop scene who seems to be giving Freddie the come on is none other than Adam Lambert! The script, the acting, the production, the casting and the soundtrack are all brilliant. However the best thing about it for me is Rami Malek who so many times during the film made me believe I was watching a documentary. He had the emotional highs and lows spot on, especially in the highs and lows of his relationship with his family and his band family. Also the confusion of his long time relationship with Mary Austin. I am so very glad that I got to see this film and just sorry that it took me so long.

 

“To avoid complications she never kept the same address” January 19, 2019

Filed under: Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 12:50 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

As far as iconic band names go Queen must be right up near the top right? Well I think so, however they did consider other names, Brian May was apparently particularly keen on Grand Dance while Roger Taylor submitted Rich Kids. I wonder if Glen Matlock, Midge Ure and their gang knew about Taylor’s choice? Maybe the Rich Kids 1978 hit was all about Roger Taylor’s idea for a name. Who knows?

 

“Destination Nightmare” – Bryson Cone

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 2:24 am
Tags: , ,

Thanks to those rather nice people over at Noisy Ghost PR I have been given the opportunity to listen to the new track “Destination Nightmare” from Portland based Bryson Cone . It is a sublime slice of relaxing, jazzy, chilled-out funk with sweeping electronica overtones. I absolutely love the band’s interests as stated on FaceBook; “Cone is a state of transcendence provided to us through sub-conscious praise to Hydra”. How does one respond to that? In my view simply Hail Hydra and fuck off Steve Rogers! What do you think of this tune? For a song that has nightmare in the title I find it a bit dreamy and definitely evocative of space!

 

“Who Am I?” – Yallows

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 1:45 am
Tags: , , ,

Yallow is a derivative dialectical version of the word yellow. Well it is also almost the name of a rather talented heavy rock band called, you guessed it, Yallows. Yellow is often used to describe cowardice and Yallows sound like they have huge Cojones and not even the slightest hint of cowardice. They are from Kanazawa, Japan and frankly they fucking rock like a bastard from hell. Their latest release, “Who Am I?” is a bloody amazing riff tsunami. If dinosaurs still ruled the earth this song played at full volume would almost certainly wipe them out!

 

 
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