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 – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 16 October 28, 2020


Almost Halloween 2020, so I thought let’s have a monster singles round up with two in one week! This is our sixteenth singles round up of the year so far. This one features five great tracks, which were all fired kicking and screaming into the world in the past few weeks. These tracks are by acts from London (two of them), New York, Kansas and West Midlands (UK). Only one of these acts have appeared on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before; Earthquake Lights, and I am extremely confident that all of them will appear again sometime in the future. Get on these songs immediately!

“When I Am King” – Barking Poets

London punks the Barking Poets released the anthemic “When I Am King last month. It is a fiery, full-on punk masterclass. The riffs are monumental and the politicised passionate anger shines through. Hailing from London, Bristol, Dublin and Barcelona Barking Poets are for real and will be around for a very long while. “When I Am King” is one of the best debut singles in years! The line “And now we’re not gonna take any more, Driving your thorn into this lion’s paw” may become my new mantra!

“Quarter To Midnight” – Earthquake Lights

This is kind of jazzy, lo-fi and cinematic all at the same time. The yearning vocals exude soul and pure passion. The playing is sublime and the production is crystal clear. Is this a band at the top of their game? Possibly, but I hope they have the space to reach even further!

“Born Lonely” – The Casket Lottery

This single is a taster from The Casket Lottery’s first album in eight years, which is due out next month. This is a full-on heavy riffing barnstormer of a song. Such a shame we had to wait eight years but the Casket Lottery are back with a multi megaton bang!

“Level 3” – Le Junk

Le Junk mess with many genres and this cracking single mixes synth pop, pure pop, orchestral and punk. I was reminded of a strange hybrid of the Stranglers and Depeche Mode at times. The sometimes disturbing video takes its direction from ‘Fight Club’ and manages to enhance “Level 3” to many levels beyond!

“Turn Off All Screens” – The New Consistent

Synth-Indie with what feels like real life and very personal lyrics from the New Consistent. Great soft pop hook and lyrics that Mike Skinner would be proud of. I reckon the New Consistent has the potential to be one of 2021’s big breakouts, I certainly hope so. We need more originality and reality like this!

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 15 October 26, 2020


Heading towards the end of October 2020, is everyone else going to be really glad to see the end of this year? To ease these troubled times slightly enjoy our fifteenth singles round up of the year so far. This one features eight great tracks, which were all launched into the world in the last few months. These tunes are performed by bands and singers from Hamburg, Colombia, Austria, Stockholm, Los Angeles, South London, Washington and Brighton. Six different countries, three different continents! Only one of these acts have appeared on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before; Phoria, from Brighton and I am extremely confident that everyone of them will appear again sometime in the future. Get these tunes into your lugholes now!

“HOY” – Fatiniza Ft. República Cangrejo

Fatiniza has been around a while and hails from Colombia, but now lives in Costa Rica. This song has a fabulous Latin feel that makes you want to dance and to smile. It is the kind of tune that is needed to help lift the mood of a depressed world. Sadly I only speak one language, English, but thankfully music is a universal language. That means “HOY” works on every level, the title, I believe translates to “TODAY” and it is definitely a tune for today. The video depicts people all around the world helping to spread the happy message and that this storm will pass! I will definitely be listening to more of Fatiniza’s stuff.

“Anyone Awake?” – Chris Flyke

This is a rather excellent example of how to produce great synth pop. At times Chris reminds me of Howard Jones and Nik Kershaw. The song draws you in quickly with its tight and instantly memorable hooks. You should also check out the X-Ray Club Mix of the track, just make sure you put on your disco trousers first!

“Uranus – Live” – Manu Delago

Manu Delago is a highly acclaimed percussionist and this track was one of the first to be released from the new album ‘Circadian’. “Uranus – Live” is just the right side of chilled and Delago’s percussion wonderfully understated, but so effective. It might fit into a modern classical genre, but I also sense elements of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois.

“Swoon” – The Color Red

The Color Red is the brainchild of Pontus De Wolfe who has initiated an artist and producer collective in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the second release and it features vocals by Sarah Von Reis. It is an instantly accessible and catchy dance pop tune and Von Reis’ voice is at times reminiscent of Leigh Nash (Sixpence None The Richer). A dance remix would elevate this great tune into something very special.

“Roots Enterprise” – Lucid Phase Ft. Sensi Trails

LA based Lucid Phase seem able to fuse blues, rock, dub, reggae and modern ska into a mix that creates such a summery vibe that this song could give you sunburn. I recommend listening to this with your volume cranked high, a cold can of Red Stripe to hand and a freshly rolled fat spliff ready to go!

“In Kilnsea” – Tim Eveleigh

South London folkie troubadour Tim Eveleigh has a relaxed, chilled acoustic driven sound and a very smart way with lyrics. Tim wrote this plaintive, yet beautiful, tune after a holiday in Kilnsea, a small hamlet in the East Riding of Yorkshire. This tune, and Tim’s other songs, have meditative qualities, that I believe many great songs have. It feels autobiographical too, but I will ask Tim to answer that!

“Catch Us” – Waking Bear

This kicks off as a rootsy folk instrumental and builds to a soft prog-like crescendo when Ivy Jordanne’s vocals kick in. She has that powerful and emotional style that Alanis Morrissette does so well and the band are incredibly tight with an apparent ability to play in any number of styles. Put simply this is a great tune, simply six minutes of heaven!

“Fairytail” – Phoria

This needs to soundtrack an epic film, it is a gorgeous, slow building modern classical piece. It is ethereal, haunting, majestic and uplifting at the same time. It might not be the sort of thing I would normally listen to but it is sublime and heavenly!

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“Darkness Falls” – Skylights October 15, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:52 pm
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One of the best bands ever to arise from York, Skylights, are back to light up that Covid darkness for us all! Strangely with a song called “Darkness Falls”. It starts like a mellow acoustic driven song that the Who have been known for but it builds in gorgeous layers into an inspiring anthemic crescendo. A real giant of a tune. The production, by Jonny G, throws everything, including a full orchestra sound and the kitchen sink into it, and it works, on an epic scale. Rob puts in his greatest vocal performance to date with a commanding voice that soars above the music on a wave of soulfulness. The rambunctious rhythm section marshalled by Jonny and Myles keeps things ticking perfectly while the guitar fills, riffs and especially the solos from Turnbull weave around the melody like a gold thread made from the great lost chord. I also love that this tune ends rather than fades. Not only that it ends with a great drum fill from Myles, reminiscent of the way the Manic Street Preachers closed “A Design For Life”. Write these boys off at your peril, they are here to stay. It’s a tough call but I believe seeing Skylights playing live once more will be more exciting than having Leeds United back in the Premier League! It is out on 23rd October, I have ordered my yellow vinyl 7 inch, have you? You haven’t? Well just click here and get your copy sorted.

After October 23rd I will edit this post to include some streaming links, I will leave you no opportunity to ignore this classic in the making!

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 14 October 14, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:36 pm
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How about that, it’s October and this is our fourteenth singles round-up of 2020. This one features eight great tracks, which made their merry way into this strange world during the last couple of months. These eight songs are performed by bands and singers from the North East of England, Leeds/ York, Cheshire, South Africa, Norwich, Malmo, New York and London. Two of these acts have appeared on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before; Victoria Owsnett (As a vocalist on Last Of The Fallen Angels current hit) and Alleyways (this is their fifth appearance here at Mayhem Towers) and I am confident that everyone of this lot will appear again sometime in the future. Get these songs into your life now!

“Strings” – Victoria Owsnett

Victoria is a talented singer songwriter from the north east of the UK. She is co founder of the exceptionally good electro band AXLS and you can hear her sublime vocals on the current smash “Phase IV” by Last Of The Fallen Angels. “Strings” is a well grooved dance track with ethereal heavenly vocals from Victoria. I was dancing round the room with my headphones on to this. It is every bit as good, if not better, than her previous single “Thrones”.

“Rude” – Alleyways

Those chirpy funsters Alleyways returned with a classy slice of electro pop, “Rude”. It has a dancey, yet laid back vibe with a saxophone break reminiscent of Steve Norman from Spandau Ballet’s peak. I get a flavour of Haircut 100 in the Billy Whizz riffs. A fabulous follow up to the wonderful “Over It”. Music needs Alleyways and so do you, check them out!

“Northern Rain” – Tim Bowness

How on earth have I not listened to Tim Bowness until now? His career is star studded to say the least. He has worked with some staggeringly talented artists including a long time collaboration with Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree). His vocal on “Northern Rain” is wonderfully warm, and has the resonance of George Michael at his best. The music is sparse and haunting and melancholy, but good melancholy. This is truly a song for our current times. When I have finished this singles round up, I’m off to check out Tim’s new album ‘Late Night Laments’!

“The Unfamiliar” – Anna Wolf

This is dark, disturbing, haunting and beautiful all at the same time. Anna is a unique talent in the way that Kate Bush and Bjork are. Her songs tell stories which draw you in and leave you wanting more and more. Ace production from Pop Morrison. I hope there is an Anna Wolf album on the horizon.

“Close” – The Islas

The Islas are the best band to emerge from Norwich for ages, perhaps ever! This is a solid slab on pop driven indie. It reminded me of Apollo Junction at times. The hooks, riffs and emotion drive this banger perfectly. It adds another great tune to the Islas canon. I am still singing the “wo oh, wo oh oh oh” refrain hours later! I want to see this lot live someday!

“Belladonna” – Spunsugar

This is shoegaze with a happy, electro psych feel. Honeyed choral like vocals soar over a driving beat and make you want to sing and dance like no one is watching. The underlying synth riffs are wrought from the darker depths of Depeche Mode. If the charts actually meant anything any more this would be a smash hit. There new album ‘Drive-Through Chapel’ is damned good too.

“Heartbeat” – Oceanator

This track is steeped in a deep appreciation for indie punk with the best jangly riffs on the planet and infectious vocals. Sometimes it’s like the Housemartins spliced with early Blur and a dash of the Strokes. As a taster for the album ‘Things I Never Said’, “Heartbeat” is perfect!

“Make Us Eat” – The Shining Tongues

The Shining Tongues is a new project from Daniel Knowler and Sam Mclaughlin of The Infinite Three and on first listen it is clear that they aimed at epic and hit the target, actually they didn’t just hit it they smashed it into tiny pieces! As well as wanting more of the Shining Tongues this tune made me seek out the Infinite Three again along with Jason Pierce’s finest moments. This song has an almost funereal feel at times and made me think dark thoughts, but wow what an aural experience. This is how to make great music!

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“Where My Girls At?” – Delilah Bon October 12, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:09 pm
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Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of Delilah Bon (alter ego of Hands Off Gretel frontwoman Lauren Tate). This woman is empowered and recognises inequality and misogyny and calls it out. Her new track “Where My Girls At?” is something that every young woman who feels threatened and put upon by the inherent sexism and patriarchy in the world should listen too. Not only is Delilah Bon’s message a powerful one, it also comes nicely wrapped in a great pop rap tune. To be fair white rappers have often been less than average (Vanilla Ice) but some have been truly sensational (Eminem) and I reckon it is time to add Delilah Bon to the latter category. “Where My Girls At?” is a classy, funky rap track that I think Lauryn Hill would have been proud of. If you thought Delilah Bon was just an angry, serious message bringer check out the video (wonderfully filmed by her Mum Helen Tate) to the end. The outtakes are hilarious, human, natural and clearly show that she has a great self deprecating manner. The Delilah Bon album will be a contender for album of the year in 2020 or 2021 whenever it arrives. If you have not listened to Delilah Bon yet I suggest that you get off your lazy arse and do it now! You will not be disappointed. Unless of course you are a sexist, creepy prick, in which case fuck off, I don’t want you on my site!

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‘Employee Of The Month’ – Stephen Evens October 10, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 6:29 pm
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This album is the first time I have experienced the wonderfully and puntastically named Stephen Evens. ‘Employee Of The Month’ was released at the end of August and it doesn’t take many listens to really grow on you. Proceedings kick off with “Dustbin Man” a manic post punk celebration of one of our unsung heroes the dustbin man (probably trash can man in the USA). Is this the first decent ode to that particular key worker since Lonnie Donegan’s “My Old Man’s A Dustman” from 60 years ago? Second track “Push Yr Thumb In Yr Eye” seems to include everything but the kitchen sink musically and hits a great messy punk groove. The driving riffs of “Claude” make you want to move and you almost have to sing along to Mr Evens’ off kilter bordering on beserk vocals. Do you like vaudeville and old school style piano ballads? You do? Well get “Freak Show” deep into your lugholes then. The instrumentation is sparse and incredibly melancholy. This is not a feel good lyric, but a real take on life for many. “One lucky scratch coupon away from retired” is a lyric that will resonate with many of us living a wafer off of destitution alley. This song will haunt you long after you have finished listening to it.

The menace present in “John Snow” is palpable, the occasional happy piano motif is in stunning contrast to the dark lyrics. Words which really make me believe that evil is indeed lurking underground. A great song, but not one to listen to on headphones in a dark room on your own! “George And Kathllen” is the only tune on the album not written by Stephen Gilchrist a.k.a. Stephen Evens. This was written by George Bixley and Kathleen Riddick, so I assume they writing about themselves. It is a love song for the 21st century, beautiful and slightly warped. If you set out to not like this song you would fail. Perhaps the strangest piece on the album, for me anyway, is “I Hate Shop (I Am Shop)”. The wordsmithery owes a debt to Mark E Smith, but this is not anything that merely apes the Fall, it takes things in a very specific Stephen Evens direction. It has a danceable almost funky fuzzy beat to it and Gilchrist sounds like he is enjoying living the lyric.

“Career Criminal” has an almost fairground quality to its instrumentation, I like this tune, but at just 57 seconds I felt I wanted more of it, but the stark ending works well. I can hear the looser, esoteric elements of Blur in “The Crystal Palace”, in fact I would love to hear Graham Coxon cover this eerie, dreamlike, maybe even nightmarish, emotional song. After maybe five or six play throughs of this classy album this track is probably my favourite, for now at least. The album closes with “The Day I Burned My House Down” which feels like a great lost Ray Davies song, more dark lyrics but strangely uplifting. ‘Employee Of The Month’ is a great album and very different to much of what I have heard recently. If you like this then check out Stephen Evens 2017 album ‘Bonjour Poulet’ as well. I think Stephen Evens live will be a proper mad, mental, manic event and I can’t wait!

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“Post Mortem” – AP Tobler October 1, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 6:41 pm
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AP Tobler featured in our Mayhem Virgins series a few months back, click here to check that out. She is back with a very dark, but stunning new tune, “Post Mortem”. It has a grungey blues feel to it with what I believe are some her best lyrics to date. How can you not be impressed and moved by lines like “In a labyrinth of my own demise Your cold gaze It brings me to my knees“? If you put Kurt Kobain, Patti Smith, Muddy Waters, and pinch of Planet Covid into a metaphorical blender this song is what you might get out of it! AP once again plays all the instruments herself and the video produced by TypeItDown Productions is rather tasty too! I am already an AP Tobler fan, if you’re not, then you will be after listening to “Post Mortem”.

Click here if you want to stream or purchase this future classic!

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“Taking It Slow/ Memory” – Heartsink September 28, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:37 pm
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Those cheeky pop punk chaps Heartsink are back, not with one single, but two! Back to those golden days of the double A-Side. You young folks need to ask your grandparents what an A-Side was. York’s masterful pop punkers create a relative riff storm with added lightning drums on “Taking It Slow”. It does not do what is says on the tin as it rocks at a rifftacular pace and made me want to dance from the first bar. It has an excellent singalong quality which will feel so damned good when gigs return. Bryn’s vocal oozes rock class.

If you’re a pop punk fan you are almost certainly already a fan of Heartsink, one of York’s best up and coming bands. They play like the mean it and I really believe they do. “Memory” reduces the tempo by a smidge, but it still stands as a very good tune indeed. It is full of passion and emotion and is that some anger and sarcasm I hear in there too. It’s a close call but I think my favourite is, at least for now, “Taking It Slow”. This is Heartsink’s second appearance on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem and I am confident it won’t be their last. Heartsink are Zac Roughton, Jake Roughton, Kiel Hodgson and Bryn Portas and they should be very proud of these releases, it is a portent to them getting even better in the future. Roll on the first Heartsink album!

Apparently heartsink means “a patient who repeatedly visits his or her doctor’s surgery, often with multiple or non-specific symptoms, and whose complaints are impossible to treat.” So I reckon if that is you, take a listen to these two tunes and you’ll be cured, you will never darken your doctor’s door again!

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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem – Singles Round-Up 2020 Part 13 September 27, 2020


Here we are with our thirteenth singles round-up of 2020. This one features five great tunes, which crept out into this currently horrible world over the past few weeks with a mission to make it better. These five songs include more great bands and singers from London, Bangor, Rugby (via West Lothian), Raleigh (North Carolina) and Canada . Two of these acts have appeared on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem before; Dying Habit and Eyeball and I am confident that everyone of this lot will appear again sometime in the future. Get into these great tunes right now!

“Mother” – The Dead Zoo

Jon, Gabby, Kaoru and Somrata are the Dead Zoo and this is their first single. It is a cover of a song originally by Puffy (aka Puffy AmiYumi a Japanese pop rock duo), an act completely new to me, as are the Dead Zoo. The tune has a real laid back 60s west coast feel with overlays of jangly indie guitar and an undercurrent of UK post punk. Kaoru’s hauntingly beautiful vocals wash over you and hypnotise you into a relaxed dreamlike state. She has incredible clarity in her vocal delivery. I assume the lyrics are Japanese, and I do not understand any of them, but it is such a classy track who cares! The video is nicely done using Zoom or something similar, as a bonus you also get to see Jon the drummer in a onesie! Regular readers know that my name is Bill, but the Dead Zoo are the only group of people in the world allowed to call me Helen! If I told you why I would have to kill you 😉

“Honestly” – Dying Habit

This is the third appearance at Mayhem Towers for Bangor’s finest rock band Dying Habit, to be fair they are also one of the UK’s best bands. This track came out a few weeks ago. “Honestly” is a hard rocking tune with a nod to pop sensibility. It showcases a band that really know their stuff and seem to work together effortlessly. I want to see them live even more now! The video gives the songs undercurrent of darkness a lighter touch with the two protagonists having some rather spiffing paint fun!

“I Love You, You’re The Worst” – Emily Burns

Now this is a stunningly well produced dark pop tune reminiscent of Lily Allen and Kate Nash lyrically. It is underpinned with a real classy modern R & B feel. It crept into my head and took up residence on the first listen. The video, with Emily playing a multitude of characters is rather splendid too!

“Paralyze (Theme for a Recurring Film)” – Eyeball

A marvellous instrumental piece of trippy, proggy synth which would fit perfectly on the soundtrack of the darkest David Lynch film. The sound is like an orchestral Giorgio Moroder inspired piece. Eyeball’s bio claims they are from North Carolina, I think that is fake news, I believe they have emanated from a bizarre parallel universe. A universe where proggy, synth rock is king and Eyeball are it’s royal family!

“The Social” – DJ Shub (feat. Phoenix)

This is an inspiring example of how to use your voice for good. It has some first class and very phat beats and a wonderful use of Native American chants. Vocally I was reminded of Lauryn Hill at her Fugees peak. Not only is this a great tune it supports Black Lives Matter and points out that Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Matter. All proceeds from this song will go to organizations benefiting these initiatives that are very dear to DJ Shub and Phoenix’s hearts. America needs this right now, hell the world needs this passion for life right now given the extreme racist regimes that exist on the planet today!

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Songs Under Skies – No. 6 – Elkyn and Fawn – NCEM, York – Thursday 17th September 2020 September 22, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:57 pm
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Thanks to this vile bastard Covid-19 I went to my last gig more than half a year ago on Saturday 14th March, now 187 days later I am finally got to another gig. It is the sixth and final in the Songs Under Skies series of acoustic shows in the grounds of York’s National Centre for Early Music (NCEM). I had planned to attend two earlier shows the previous week, but illness, not Covid-19 thankfully, put paid to that. These shows were masterminded by the NCEM, the Crescent and the Fulford Arms with support from the Music Venues Alliance. I would like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone involved, of all the things I have missed during lock down and beyond, it is live music that I felt the most. It was also great to meet up with so many great people from York’s fabulous music scene. Thank you Zac, Chris, Harkirit, Mikey and Marc to name just a few!

There were two acts on each of the six nights. Gates opened at 6:30pm and the first act was on at 7pm with a 30 minute break at 7:30pm while the final act took the stage at 8pm for a 30 minute set. My evening was kicked off by the delightful Elkyn with their weird, wonderful and warm folky sounds. Set opener “Seventeen” was built on Simon and Garfunkel style harmonies, soft acoustic guitars and a harmonic drone in the background. Is it even possible to have a harmonious drone? I don’t know, but this bloody well was! All of Elkyn‘s songs were quite special, “Change” was underpinned by a more harmonic almost orchestral drone. It is a new song that had never been played live before, it is a truly gorgeous melancolic chill out tune. They played the lead single from their new EP ‘Beech’ it is called “Yue” (I think). This sublime song, which rippled with raw emotion, was probably my favourite Elkyn performance. There was an extended guitar tuning session, which the band should have introduced as a strange avant garde classical guitar movement, we would have been impressed. After this we arrived at “Stupid World” which was overshadowed by the noise from the bottle bank next door being emptied. But Elkyn did not let that get them down, they are real troupers, and, wait for it, they didn’t bottle it! Lyrically the song is very powerful, with lines like “where can I go from here, I can’t flee from that” which for some reason made me think of the hardships so many of us have endured in the past six months. Check out Elkyn on Spotify by clicking here, you will not regret it.

In a rather nice twist of fate the second and final act tonight were Ilana and Crispin better known as Fawn. Why was that a nice twist of fate, well Fawn were on the bill at my last gig on March 14th. That was at the Fulford Arms where they were supporting Julia Bardo. Kitty VR was also on the bill that same night and she made her own Songs Under Skies appearance the previous week. Ilana’s vocals throughout were exquisite and very Joni Mitchellesque on the first song. “I Know Nothing” is a song all about making dumb decisions in your youth. Ilana’s voice carried a supreme range of emotion on this song, the same breadth and depth that a young Linda Rondstadt could do so well. In the middle of the set headless guitarist Crispin (he was a little tall for the small stage) left Ilana alone for a stunning, immensely beautiful song about uncertain times, a perfect theme for 2020. Her yearning vocal and deep lyrics took the evening to a real peak. “Romans, Vikings And Knights” is a song that Ilana wrote about her then home city, York. This was many years ago when she worked at the Fulford Arms. Crispin provided some spot on slide guitar on this track. Another song was an ode to another former hometown of Ilana’s, “Sleeping Giant” tells of a mountain near her old home town in the US. The story of this particular peak is that it is in fact a giant taking a very long sleep. The legend says that if the giant wakes up the world will end. But as Ilana pointed out despite the apocalyptic feel of 2020, the giant is still asleep. Click here to get some Fawn in your life, you know it makes sense!

All photographs were taken by the hugely talented Marc McGarraghy of Yellow Mustang Photography

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