With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Professor Elemental – Fulford Arms, York – Sunday 15th May 2022 May 17, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:35 am
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This was not a bad-sized crowd considering it was a Sunday night and I reckon everyone in the Fulford Arms enjoyed tonight’s gig, including the wonderful staff that always give the venue an extra pinch of music fairy dust! Interestingly there were no instruments on stage and while that might seem strange when you read about the performances you will see that it really didn’t matter. To be fair a couple of instruments, a Keytar and a recorder did make appearances later. First up was Matty Groove from Leeds who beatboxes like no one I have ever heard before. He is a true beatbox genius. How does someone develop a talent like that? He did techno, drum & bass, and a great take on “No Limits” the 1993 hit from 2 Unlimited. At one point he had five different noises going on at the same time. His Spotify bio simply says “i speak the groove and sample my mouth” and in a nutshell that is what he does, awesome!

Matty Groove

Next, it was A Short Dark Stranger, is he a musician, a performer, an entertainer, a full-on electro lounge singer, or a comedian? Yes to all of those actually! This really was a full-on performance by Mr. Stranger. Well, don’t expect me to give away his secret identity! Anyone who hates the Tories is a good person in my opinion and in at least two of his songs “The World Will Give You Cancer” and “Even Sharks Can Smile” are wonderfully witty and biting in their anti-establishment lyrics. “Pale Blue Dot” based on Carl Sagan’s observation of the insignificance of our planet was great. But perhaps my favourite for which the Keytar came out was “Hindenberg”, a song about the doomed dirigible in the style of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD). He even threw in the synth riff from “Enola Gay” at one point. I can’t pick out the reason, but at times I was reminded of Har Mar Superstar. I definitely hope to see A Short Dark Stranger again sometime.

A Short Dark Stranger

Finally, it was time for tonight’s headliner Professor Elemental. I knew this would be a good show for many reasons: people recommended it, I have listened to some of his stuff online, and he has comics and tea on his merch table. What other acts have that kind of merch? Dressed in his ubiquitous stage clothes of safari style suit and pith helmet, but this time in a rainbow style, Professor Elemental was keen to make this a really feel-good, happy show and he succeeded and in fact overachieved on that score. The costume was that of one of the great lost characters that should have appeared in that bloody awful remake of ‘Jumanji’. There is no one quite like Professor Elemental, certainly no rapper more totally old school English. The Wall Street Journal described him as “Chap hop’s leading exponent”. He has a huge following in the steampunk community and it is easy to see why. But that is not exclusive, there were clearly fans of all genres of music in attendance judging by the t-shirts being worn in the crowd. There are some great songs in his repertoire, I loved “Noise” during which the crowd kept Susan The Unicorn aloft for the whole track. She had been inflated with whimsy don’t you know! The sleazy businessman costume change for the businessman song was sublime satire. Then there was the amazing off-the-cuff rap accompanied by more amazing beats from Matty Groove. “All In Together” was another great tune that the Professor dedicated to the Fulford Arms team and all the punters. Audience participation was 110% throughout, every one of us did exactly what the Professor asked of us. You need to see Professor Elemental live, you will not be disappointed!

All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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Shezza’s Leaving Do – Fulford Arms, York – Saturday 7th May 2022 May 16, 2022


It took a while but Shezza’s Leaving Do finally arrived and it was shaping up to be really special. For anyone of my regular readers who has no idea who Shezza is he is one of the founders of York’s wonderful music venue the Fulford Arms. His real name is Chris Sherrington and he is moving on to do a whole range of other things including working for the Music venues Trust. If you don’t know who Chris is Brad from one of the bands on the bill at this show, the Howl and the Hum described him like this on social media “Chris is a rare kind of creature. A sort that I particularly love as a monomaniacal obsessive within the music industry. He has dedicated himself to music in a way that few do. People usually think about the bands (for good reason), but without people like Chris, bands can’t exist. He’s the good side of the ‘industry’. He has turned the Fulford Arms from a waining pub into a truly great music venue. It fills a special gap as a venue that I’d imagine is hard to maintain financially. It is small enough for your first gig but big enough for almost anyone to play on the right night. It sounds amazing, the lights are great, it has a dressing room, a shower, more than one toilet (including one in a wardrobe), a great bar with wonderful staff, and brilliant sound engineers. This didn’t happen by accident. It happens when people care. It happens when people dedicate themselves for years to a space and don’t give up. Not many do it. They don’t have the guts, and they’re not stupid enough to doggedly stay in music until things eventually work out. We are lucky in York to have a few people like this, all of which mean our band still exist. Chris by no means did all this alone, the whole team is amazing of course” I don’t think anyone could have said it better! Thank you Brad but absolutely huge thanks to Chris!

Trueman And The Indoor League

It was an early start and sadly I missed Chris Sherrington performing with Petrol Hoers who according to their social media play digital horsecore. But I did get to see Chris as the set ended and now I probably need therapy! He was wearing pants and an animal mask (Zebra I think) as was his partner in Petrol Hoers crime. I definitely need to see them play at some time though. After that, it was time for a band that I have now seen six times, including on the date that was originally scheduled as Shezza’s Leaving Do. For me, one mark of a good band is a band that enjoys themselves on stage and this lot clearly does. Bearing in mind Trueman was suffering from an eye infection and went off to hospital straight after their set this was still an awesome set. The saga of the broken g string (you probably had to be there) was superb performance art! The new tune “Judas The Messiah” is one of the band’s best songs to date. Was there really a Frankie Valli and Postman Pat reference in there or did my ears deceive me? “Playstation Dreaming” without guitar was pure and classic Trueman. Can this bunch be the UK performers at next years Eurovision, please? (I did write that note on the night and therefore well in advance of Sam Ryder’s epic showing on May 14th).

The Howl And The Hum

The Howl And The Hum played two sets and the first was billed as a “normal” set, more of their second set later. But for this one, it was a classic outing for probably the greatest band ever to arise from my adopted city, York and the competition is fierce too. The highlights for me were “Hostages” and “The Only Boy Racer Left On The Island”, the latter was eloquently dedicated to Mr. Sherrington. Every one of the band was playing at 110% tonight and it showed. Do they usually have support from a backing vocalist? I am not sure, but bloody hell it worked, she was great. For a band that describes themselves as “a miserable disco who write Bond themes” the comment about playing at Chris Sherrington’s wake was classy comedy. Next, it was the wonderfully named Pat Butcher, a real 21st Century punk powerhouse of a band who write incendiary modern-day stories, just like the Bards of old, but with added sonic assault. If Samuel Pepys was around today I am sure who would be writing stuff like “Race Day Wankers”. Is this one of the best, and truest, songs about York and probably any other city that hosts big horse race meetings? They have songs about nosy neighbours, angle grinders, and council workers to name just a few subjects. The guitarist is like a satanic cross between Angus Young and Kevin the Teenager and he fuels the songs stupendously. Is this the first band ever to use a mandolin in a punk style? (That was a mandolin, right?). In the most true sense of the phrase, this band really is 4 REAL!

Pat Butcher

Flat Cap Carnival is another band that I had not seen before tonight. How the hell would all of them fit on the Fully Arm’s intimate stage? I’m not sure, but they did. Who knew York could do Latin music so well? This abundantly talented 7-piece is an incredible party band that it is impossible not to shake your arse to. Their original songs are perfect, but their covers take them to another universe completely. “All That She Wants”, “Careless Whisper” and “Spice Up Your Life” were masterclasses in how to cover a song. They made each one their own and allegedly Chris Sherrington requested the Spice Girls cover. Their social media tag describes them as “a Latin-infused Skanival band from York. Dancing is compulsory.” I definitely can’t argue with that! Now it was time for the second set of the evening from the Howl And The Hum, described on the bill as a party set. How would these self-confessed purveyors of miserable disco perform a party set we all wondered? Singer and frontman Sam did ask for forgiveness before they started, but frankly, forgiveness is not required. This was a covers set like no other and it proves that this is a band who could turn their hands to anything. Kicking off with a stomping “Highway To Hell” the band mesmerised the audience and we were all up for a party. they followed with a funky version of Prince’s “Kiss” which for me took the song back from that awful Tom Jones version of it from a few years back. They did a marvellous cover of Jone’s “Delilah” later in the set too. “Psycho Killer” was very special indeed and if you shut your eyes you could imagine it was Talking Heads playing in a small sweaty venue. “These Boots Are Made For Walking” works so well when performed by a rock band, the mighty Avalanche Party used to include that in their set back in the day. My least favourite song ever is probably Robbie Williams’ “Angels” and to be fair the Howl And The Hum even made that sound ok. Although it was a covers party set the band closed with one of their own songs, the sublime “Godmanchester Chinese Bridge”. A second set from such a great band was a fine way to end a really great night.

Flatcap Carnival

It was great to run into so many people from the York music scene on the night too. Including band members, even those not on the bill, venue owners and managers, promoters, photographers, sound engineers and far too many to mention by name. But a truly wonderful bunch of people that make support York’s amazing music scene. Chris will be missed by the Fulford Arms but he will continue to do great things with the Music Venues Trust. To paraphrase Abba, Thank You For The Music, Chris and good luck with whatever you do next!

All pictures were taken by me on my cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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‘What You Are’ – Skylights May 5, 2022


The anticipation for the debut Skylights has been huge for a long while now. The band has slogged their way onwards and upwards to the point where they are selling out shows as far afield as Scotland and Ireland. They are clearly outperforming their beloved Leeds United too. As Leeds head for the Championship Skylights are heading to the top of the Premier League! Will this album cement them in the classic UK rock mantle? I think it might. The record kicks off with “Outlaw”, a mighty powerful statement indeed and in my opinion their finest single so far. What better way to kick off an album than with an absolute banger. It features Turnbull’s finest riffs to date and Rob’s vocal oozes a heady passion. “Nothing Left To Say” drops the intensity very, very slightly, but the sweeping chorus and haunting backing vocals from Jonny more than compensate. The guitar screams like a banshee on heat and Jonny’s bass would register on the Richter scale. “What You Are” makes it three anthems in a row. Then comes “Britannia” which doesn’t let up, Myles’ drumming is reminiscent of early Public Image Limited and drives the tunes, ultimately positive and hopeful, lyrics.

The acoustic take on “Darkness Falls” brings the power level down a little and is a truly sublime ballad. The string arrangements are classy and enhance the already great track. This is the band’s most complete and beautiful lyrics in my opinion. Rob’s voice has a yearning, soulful feel to it and you really do believe he is sorry as the words say. If you like post-punk “Enemies” has that kind of feel and once again features a riff-fest with the might of a neutron bomb. Just over halfway through the tune has a stupendous psychedelic feel and the chorus won’t let you go. “Breaking outta school cos we were high, Kicking down doors just a you and I, Enemies they’ve got to know, Dream those dreams don’t let ’em go” These lads have never let their dreams go and this album proves it. Next is perhaps the one Skylights track that everyone is surely familiar with, “YRA”. It is always a true highlight of their live set and it shows how far the band has grown when you consider that this great tune is not even close to being the best on the album.

“Lifeline” opens with the couplet, “I’m in the mood, I’m in the mood for grooving” and this is the Skylights track that is crying out for a warped dance mix, someone like the Chemical Brothers would blow this one out of the sky. It is already a force 10 funk gale with titanic tornado riffs. The whole band are on fire with “Take Me Somewhere” which is reminiscent of Green Day’s “When September Ends”, albeit a little faster. The album closes with “Driving Me Away” which has a Beatlesesque feel in the production and orchestration and shows just how versatile this band can be. Some versions of the release will include a commentary from Rob and Turnbull on all the tracks and they add a nice curio to the whole thing, although I think only Skylights fanatics will listen to them regularly. The album is an absolutely superb debut and without doubt a contender for album of the year! The vinyl and CD version of the album is out on 6th May and the digital release follows a week later. “Driving Me Away” will be the band’s next single and that comes out on 6th May. All on the rather splendid 42’s Records.

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2022 Part 3 May 3, 2022


This is the third singles round-up of 2022 which includes ten great songs released earlier in the year (yes we are still catching up!) from a group of artists from all over the world. Reading, New York (via Montreal), Buckinghamshire, Ireland (two of them), Berlin, Manchester, Hull, Canada and London. I think only Head Ballet have appeared on these pages before and while the rest are new to us I am 100% confident that their first appearance will not be their last appearance. It was also rather spooky and random that the artists at 9th and 10th in this list actually have 9 and 10 in their names, freaky huh?

“Laura” – Third Lung

This excellent track from Reading’s Third Lung reminds me of U2 at their best with its immense, soaring Bonoesque vocal and a barrage of riffs all underpinned by a huge rhythm section. Can someone let Third Lung play a set at Red Rocks please?

“I Was Made For Loving You” – Karine Hannah

Karine Hannah takes the classic Kiss power ballad and turns it into a steamy, sultry torch song. A truly magnificent cover version.

“Born To Rule” – Matt James

Matt James was the drummer and co-songwriter with one of the greatest British bands of the 90s, Gene. He left the music business for a while, but now he is back and based on this track, very much on form. This Latin-tinged, brass-driven beauty rolls over your ears nicely and bodes well for his first solo album, produced by Stephen Street, which will be out later this year.

“When I’m Not Awake I’m Dreaming Of You” – lullahush

This track from Ireland’s lullahush is, I suppose, electronica but a kind of dreamy, chilled, and at the same time dancey type of electronica. Vocally there is a folk-like element, which reminded me of Jon Marsh of the Beloved and the synth patterns are otherworldly, which maybe fits the dream subject perfectly. I love the contrasting female vocals towards the end.

“You, Me And Everything Else” – Friendmaker

This starts out as a soft lament and builds into a beautifully orchestrated crescendo, which evokes some of the great choruses produced by Semisonic back in the day. David Marron’s vocal performance is sublime and contains great emotional depth.

“Distant Shouts” – Donkey Kid

Berlin’s Donkey Kid’s songwriting for me compares lyrically, on this track at least, with Mike Skinner. But musically it has shades of some of the best alternative electro sounds from the early 80s. The sort of tracks that John Peel would have championed. I am now most definitely a Donkey Kid fan!

“To Know Yours” – Head Ballet

Supremely talented electro pop duo from Manchester Head Ballet were formed by Kiera Court and Danny Casio and with this single they have come up with another sublime stunner of a track. It refuses to leave your head after just a couple of listens. In a parallel universe this would be playing from every radio during a scorching hot summer!

“Eyes Wide Open” – Breeze

The opening to this rather fabulous ditty had me thinking of the Fountains Of Wayne at their peak twinned with the type of infectious hook and chorus that Noel Gallagher used to be good at back in the 90s. These Hullraisers can only get better, they have an average age that is just over 25% of my age! I am looking forward to seeing them live.

“That Was Yesterday” – J9

Janine “J9” Carter really is a very special talent. This track has everything from drum machine dance vibes, to dark electronic drone, androgynous vocals, a cinematic feel and a sweeping sound that would not be out of place on the soundtrack to “Blade Runner”. A bloody awesome tune! It also has a video that leaps right over the state line of Weirdsville!

“Demons” – 10 Guage

This is heavy, but not just heavy, we are talking FUCKING HEAVY! A tune that forces you to head bang along to its cascade of heart stopping riffs. Rob Jewson’s vocal performance is off the charts./ I will be first in the queue when the 10 Guage album hits the world and I hope they come and play up here in York soon.

Click here to stream a playlist of all the above tracks on Spotify. If you have enjoyed this article feel free to follow the blog, or follow us on;

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‘IV’ – Letting Up Despite Great Faults April 18, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 6:53 pm
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This great new album from Letting Up Despite Great Faults, (great name by the way!), has all the hallmarks of classic indie music. Jangling guitars and low-key almost whispered vocals. What this band also have is fantastic songs with great hooks and superb production. “Kisses” is an excellent opening track with multilayered instrumentation. “Gorgeous” is more upbeat with well-balanced gossamer vocals. “New Ground” has a great instrumental introduction. “Gemini” opens out into a song with touches of The Cure and is more grandiose than the other tracks. Single “She Spins” has a good commercial feel and excellent hooks. “Curl” is a slower keyboard-led piece that breaks up the album nicely. “Self-Portrait” returns to the band’s calling card of jangly guitars and closes the album off nicely. A great album from a dedicated and skilled group of musicians.
Written by Paul Bamlett.

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Crow Black Chicken – The Crescent, York – Monday 11th April 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 6:31 pm
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Until this show, I had never seen Crow Black Chicken before, but I have seen both the support bands before. First up was Sweet May who I saw for the first time just over three weeks ago back in March. This is a power trio whose music comes screaming out of the bleeding, still-beating heart of 70s rock. Think Thin Lizzy, Free, Bad Company, and maybe even Rainbow. Will, Piers, and Al are supremely talented in their own right and they come to more than the sum of their parts as a sublime hard-rocking unit. I want to single out one of the band for a big shout out though. There are poor drummers, there are ok drummers, there are good drummers and every so often there is a great drummer. Step up from your drum stool and take a bow Al Perry, you really are a great drummer! Particular highlights of Sweet May‘s set for me were “Deep Space” and “Insane”. The latter had the power and passion to take the roof off the venue. Thankfully that didn’t actually happen and I am very pleased to say that the Crescent remains intact.

Sweet May

Next up it was Doghouse Derelicts, another band I was witnessing for just the second time, the first was just over four weeks ago. They sounded like early Doobie Brothers with Joe Walsh on guitar and some classy Eaglesesque harmonies at times. This really feels like a band at the top of their game, although I suspect they have a fair bit more in the tank too. “Wasted” and “Where I’m From” were early highlights in a great set. At one point the band introduced a rapper, Dandy, to join them on stage. Now on paper that combination really doesn’t sound like it would work at all. But on stage, it was a fucking masterstroke. Dandy enhanced a couple of already great tunes, particularly set closer “I Don’t Care”. Given that the crowd was quite sparse, well it was a Monday night, this was a banging, brilliant set from Doghouse Derelicts.

Doghouse Derelicts

Finally, it was time for the headliners Crow Black Chicken who gave us some ace fuzzed up, bluesy, swampy, funky, dirty US deep south rock. The band is in fact from the deep south …….. of Ireland! Think Lynyrd Skynyrd, Canned Heat, ZZ Top and Creedence Clearwater Revival with an undertow of Little Feat and that might give you a little of what Crow Black Chicken sounds like. Lead singer Christy O’Hanlon has a rough-edged, raspy, soulful voice that was made for blues-rock. His guitar work was incredible too. The band is a real live force of nature. Bassist Stephen McGrath gurns every note that he rips out of his bass guitar. He plays notes that many other bass players couldn’t. The way he partners seamlessly with drummer Gev Barrett in a rhythm section reminiscent of John Bonham and John Paul Jones is sublime. It really is hard to tell sometimes that Crow Black Chicken is not an authentic deep south US band, but that does not make them copyists. They really are a fine original band that knows how to rock. I loved the song about Oliver Cromwell and the tribute to Weather Report’s late great Jaco Pastorius. But my favourite of the whole evening was a tune about cults and in particular Jim Jones. Every song was a blinder though, Crow Black Chicken‘s set was definitely all killer, no filler! Check them out NOW people!

Crow Black Chicken

All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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‘Lagoons’ EP – Ruby Tingle April 17, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:08 pm
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It’s that time again. That time when you come across an artist of real originality and vision with music that just knocks you off your feet. Ruby Tingle is that artist, and with this EP she has created some magnificent tracks with depth and style. The opening track “Flood” has a dreamy Kate Bush meets the Cocteau Twins with a melancholy feel reminiscent of early Roxy Music. “Glasshouse” continues this theme with a beautifully constructed and fascinating layered instrumentation. “Coil” is slightly more upbeat with great texture. “Subkingdom” has a keyboard intro, with a touch of Lana Del Rey and a danceable rhythm. The hallmark of this EP is its mysterious labyrinth of sound. “Lagoons” itself opens with a curious subverted Madonna-style intro and uses Multiple voices. The air of mystery is very strong. The mysterious and off-kilter feel of this music marks Ruby Tingle out as a highly original artist with a clear vision for her music. Can we have the album now, please?

Written by Paul Bamlett.

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The Ukrainians – The Crescent, York – Saturday 9th April 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:09 pm
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This was a benefit for the refugees fleeing from Putin’s war and brutality in Ukraine and fittingly was headlined by the Ukrainians, an English band of Ukrainian heritage. They are the first band to fuse western rock and punk music with traditional Ukrainian Folk Music. But more of them later as there were some rather classy support acts on first. La Rissa was the opening act, on her own rather than the usual duo as the drummer was sidelined thanks to that bastard Covid. What does La Rissa sound like? Like the legacy of the early 80s Blitz Kids. The illegitimate offspring of Steve Strange and a post-Vince Clarke Depeche Mode with David Bowie acting as midwife. She has a great selection of simply gorgeous synth sounds which at times took me back to very early Human League. Her voice soars over the music and she has some rather excellent songs. The highlights for me were “Ultraviolence” and “A Man’s World”. But the track that topped even both of those was “Eat The Rich”, which definitely deserves to be described as awesome! Get La Rissa into your lives now.

La Rissa

Next up was 1919, a band who have a considerably lengthy timeline having originally formed in Bradford back in 1980. They went their separate ways in 1984, however, thanks to the birth of streaming their early recordings saw a hearty interest in 1919 maintained. This culminated in the band reforming in 2014 with most of the original members. They have released two albums since then and appear to be building up a great following. The band’s sound has so much in it. There is punk, post-punk, and goth amongst so much more. Imagine the Psychedelic Furs forming a supergroup with the Sisters Of Mercy but only playing punk songs with passion and supported by a guitarist who sounds like a fully punked-up The Edge from U2. 1919 have some staggeringly good songs in their canon. In particular “Caged”, “Dream” and “Anxiety”. Although, despite such great competition and quality, for me, nothing could top the towering splendour of “Cry Wolf”. If you love great music check out 1919.

1919

Finally, it was time for the headliners, the Ukrainians. These guys are a truly awesome party band fusing traditional Ukrainian folk with western rock influences drawn from classic rock, punk, and post-punk. They are a band that proves very strongly the point that music is a universal language. I only speak English, but did that stop me from enjoying a set in which all the songs were sung in Ukrainian? Of course, it didn’t! The super, super-fast workout out on the traditional Ukrainian folk dance number “Hopak” was truly immense beyond words. Everyone in the crowd, particularly the hardcore fans near the front, performed their own interpretive dance to it, as requested by the band. As for me I just performed a very light Frug near the speakers. The band’s cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Venus In Furs” with Ukrainian lyrics, which might have been about drinking, was a work of genius. During a short tuning break, one of the band read out the words to the Ukraine National Anthem. Very powerful and inspiring words which show up the UK National Anthem for the vile, dull dirge that it is. There was another cover, this time of the 60s Mamas and Papas smash, “California Dreamin'” and this was a total psych fest. They played one of the first songs that they ever wrote, which is about a soldier going away to fight for his country and asking his countrymen to pray for him. As the band said the world has come full circle since then. They wrote this song 30 years ago, around the time that Ukraine became an independent state back in 1991. перемога україни!

All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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York Life Festival 2022 – Saturday 2nd April/ Sunday 3rd April – York City Centre April 11, 2022


On Saturday 2nd April and Sunday 3rd April, the first (and hopefully not the last) York Life Festival took place on Parliament Street in the centre of York. It was free for all residents and visitors and was organised by Make It York. Activities took place for up to ten hours each day and included music, poetry, theatre workshops, instrumental workshops, face painting, comedy, and dance. Sadly I only made it for the last part of the second day but I couldn’t let it go unnoticed by With Just A Hint Of Mayhem. I arrived just after the magnificent Hyde Family Jam finished their set on Sunday. The turnout was pretty big, despite the somewhat chilly temperature. It was nice to see all of York’s fabulous range of music venues getting some good promo with posters and handouts throughout the weekend; The Fulford Arms, the Crescent Community Venue, the Vaults, the National Centre for Early Music (NCEM), York Barbican and Forty Five Vinyl Cafe. The crowd contained a veritable who’s who of anyone who is involved in the York music scene. Firstly three of the key players behind this event were there, obviously, Simon Pattinson (Northern Radar), Chris Sherington (Fulford Arms), and Harkirit Boparai (The Crescent), and I bumped into all of them! As well as meeting many of the band members of the Sunday performers (Trueman and the Indoor League, Bull and the Howl and the Hum) I also ran into Pennine Suite (who had played the previous day), Chloe (Please Remain Calm), Zac (Heartsink and Fulford Arms ace doorman), Andy and Paula (PERCY), Nathan (rock photographer extraordinaire) and many others. The incredibly cold temperature meant that I didn’t take my usual copious notes, however here are my recollections of the three bands that I did see.

First for me were Trueman and the Indoor League. Fronted by the titular Sam Trueman this band gets better every time that I see them. They really put on a show in almost a revue-style akin to the E Street Band. Regular readers will know that I have referred to them as like a pound shop E Street Band, but that was meant as a compliment. With more of the blood, sweat, and tears they put into their performances and some lucky breaks I can see them playing arenas one day. Next up was another fine York band, Bull, who released their wonderful debut album ‘Discover Effortless Living’ last year. As well as selections from that first class platter the band treated us to a few new songs, one of which suggested that Bull have hidden talents as an ace party band! The headliners on Sunday were perhaps York’s greatest band, although there is plenty of competition. I am talking about the Howl and the Hum. They played an amazing set at the iconic Minster last year which is available on most streaming platforms and frankly it is a scale above awesome. Their set was out of this world with the whole band firing on all cylinders. The new tunes bode really well for the sophomore album when it materialises. The highlight for me though was perhaps one of the best songs ever written, “Hostages”. This festival definitely needs to be an annual event going forward, where do we sign up to make that happen? We need to know! Bring on York Life 2023!

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‘It’s Been A Pleasure’ EP – Hazy Janes April 8, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 2:42 pm
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The long-awaited Hazy Janes EP arrived this week, it is titled ‘It’s Been A Pleasure’ and it is a swashbuckling, rifftastic, loud sonic assault on the senses. But this is a good assault! The title track kicks off proceedings and Ellis and Bron come on like a two-man Led Zeppelin or Free. This song oozes blues-rock power through a swamp rock sieve and Ellis’s voice is on fire. It has an undertow of dark menace and at times the riff sounds like a demonic metal view of the Dr. Who theme. Meanwhile, Bron’s drumming encompasses everything great about British Rock with some great glam and metal drum sounds. Next up “Loaded Gun” kicks off with some eloquent blues harmonica before moving into an excellent rollicking bluesy stomp. I love the chorus hook line of “I’ve got a mouth like a loaded gun”, I am sure that many of us can relate to that! Track three is “I Find It Hard” which veers towards an electric take on the classic blues of Robert Johnson through its slow-rolling swagger. Vocals from Ellis on this tune are at his most soulful. The collection closes with “Bernadette”, not a cover of the Four Tops classic, but a mountainous original rock epic. It owes a small debt to the Yardbirds during their Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page peaks. After a few listens this is probably my favourite song on the EP. I can see this becoming a real Hazy Janes anthem in their live set. The guitar licks and particularly the drumming on “Bernadette” took me back to Dr. Feelgood in their mid to late 70s prime. Channeling Wilko Johnson and John “The Big Figure” Martin perfectly. If you love great rock music, (and who doesn’t?) get this release and this band in your head as soon as possible, like NOW! Click here to stream the EP on Spotify. There are still a handful of dates left on their Spring Tour, check out the poster below.

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