With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

‘It’s Not This One’ – Not Now Norman January 10, 2023

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:50 pm
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This is an album I was looking forward to for quite a while after a string of stonkingly good singles from one of the UK’s finest purveyors of metal music, Not Now Norman. Taylor has a voice that knocks the spots off many of her contemporaries and is comparable to some of her musical heroes. The album opens with a short riff fest that also features a cockerel (not sure if it is the actual Norman or an imposter) and a siren which evokes the 70s pop rock classic “Blockbuster” by the Sweet. “Judas – RELOADED” showcases Zander’s block-rocking metal power chords and Taylor’s vocals are on fire here. Lyrically this is supremely good. We all love a good “stick it up your ass” phrase to sing along to, don’t we? The song is an updated take on the track from the band’s 2020 EP ‘The End Of The Day’. I am taken back to classy 80s or 90s heavy rock with “What I Want”, although this is not a facsimile, it burst with originality too. This is a band that seems to enjoy themselves and that is apparent in some of their songs, Notably, “Houston” it might not be a happy tune lyrically, but for me, it just has a good vibe. There are some guitar parts that underly the track that are reminiscent of Slade at their peak. “WHO ARE YOU” may be influenced by Evanescence and Taylor’s voice can certainly be compared to Amy Lee here. The pureness and harmonics of that voice come across like a hard rock Karen Carpenter. 2022 single “Save Me” It is a song about how humanity is destroying our planet and was inspired by the Australian wildfires and the talking shop of COP26 that ultimately achieved nothing. (Just the same as COP 27) It is a heartfelt message to humanity, especially the younger generation to do something. The riffs are drawn directly from heavy metal Valhalla and Taylor’s vocal performance once again is passionate, emotional, and in a nutshell fucking awesome. Added to that the whole band is at peak performance. The lyrics are simple but so very powerful, how can anyone ignore words like “Save me from our destiny. Save me from a time, where everything around us dies

If Adele wanted to cover a decent rock song to expand her style she should consider Not Now Norman‘s “Chasing Rainbows” and perhaps her Not Now Norman to back her on it. This is a sublime rock ballad filled with emotion and soul. One of the heaviest tracks on the album is possibly “RE-INTRODUCING” in which Taylor conjures the spirit of Janis Joplin. “Egocentric” has a different edge given the counterpoint supporting vocal from Scarred By Truth. The latter is a collective of rather ace artists from the North East of England, which is also where I think Not Now Norman‘s secret lair is located. “Little Frankenstein – The Franken Lee Remix” takes the 2019 original into a much harder riff-laden heavy experience and it makes an already good song great! The rather spiffing “Little Cheryl” has a real old-school vibe with a chorus to die for. Maybe reminiscent of the Go-Gos with a strong pop hook and melody, Talking of a chorus to die for, “Shut Your Mouth” is in that club too, it is a fully-fledged metal banger. The music has a classic 70s hard rock feel with shades of Thin Lizzy and Nazareth, and a screaming guitar solo worthy of Ritchie Blackmore at his peak. Once again Taylor’s vocals put the icing on the cake. The album ends with a remake of the title track from their 2020 EP, “End Of The Day -RELOADED”, and what a way to sign off a great album this is. There is no filler on this collection, every track is superb and left me no option but to play the album again and again. Get this band in your lugholes now and you will have no option but to become a Norminion!

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The Murder Capital – Oporto Leeds – Friday 11th November 2022 January 9, 2023

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:14 pm
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As a part of their almost secret acoustic tour, one of Ireland’s finest bands, the Murder Capital, stopped off at Oporto Leeds for a very intimate stripped-back show. It was just three-quarters of the mighty quintet on stage, James, Cathal, and Damian. It was a fabulous, albeit very short set, in a gig pulled together by Leeds Student Radio and Oporto. While this was only a seven-song set it was free, but more importantly, it enabled the lads to give us a preview of a few songs (five in fact) from their upcoming new album ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ (due out on 20th January). Recent singles “A Thousand Lives” and “Only Good Things” were gorgeous and I loved the haunting, “The Stars Will Leave Their Stage”, but the highlight for me was another song from the new album, “Ethel” that was monumentally sublime. I think it is clear that the Murder Capital has progressed, particularly lyrically, and that the new album will be a big step from their previous release and I think ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ will show the world that this band are not afraid of change and will be a force in music for a very long while!

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Millie Manders And The Shutup – Fulford Arms, York – Saturday 29th October 2022 January 8, 2023


Yet another fabulous show at the Fulford Arms would be the third time I have seen the beautifully boomtastic Millie Manders and the Shut Up at this very same venue. This was also a pre-Halloween fancy dress night where some rather scary costumes were on display. Personally, I donned my scary clown mask, which scared one punter immensely, although nowhere near as much as the person dressed as Michael Myers did. Incidentally, I know who dressed as Myers that night! But before I tell you what MMATSU were like I must speak about the rather stunning support acts. First up it was Eryx London, who rather weirdly are not from London, but Nottingham. Their set was, in a word, incendiary. In a few more words it was akin to the smashing of atoms using Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. “U Don’t Like Your Girlfriend” was a highlight among many highs for me. I suspect this bunch will go on to much greater things, they seem to have the talent to do it.

How do you follow a band as on fire as Eryx London, well it seems you follow them with Bristol’s own, Cosmic Ninja! This band is loud and passionate and not afraid to speak out for what is right. I love that their website has an ethos section, where among other things they mention that they are “members and allies of our LGBTQ+ community” and “We recognise our deaf community and have participated in SIGN GIGS in our local city“. The latter is something really special which I never knew had been done before. It was a funky, punky, and frenetic set with no let-up in energy. “Parasite” is an incredible song. Another great band on a magnificent bill!

But the icing on the cake for this wonderful show put together by Steve “Ska” Laurence of Northern Ska Face Promotions was an electrifying set from Millie Manders and the Shut Up. Millie is an extremely, talented and powerful frontwoman who knows her audience perfectly and displays an aura of empathy and support for every one of her fans. Millie is clearly passionate about her music, but also supremely passionate about life, injustice, mental health, the environment, and many other things. Their music has a huge social conscience. The band, as usual, were stunningly tight and well-rehearsed and Millie’s vocals at times evoked memories of Pauline Black, but Millie’s range is phenomenal. Many people might describe Millie Manders and the Shut Up as a ska punk band, that might have been true in their early days, but now they are simply a great rock band who regularly defy inclusion in any specific genre box. Highlights tonight were “Poor Man’s Show”, “Not Okay” and the mighty “Panic”. If this band is not yet in your life then give your head a big wobble and sort it out!

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‘Aida’ – Maïa Barouh December 30, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:06 am
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The latest release by Maïa Barouh French-Japanese rap artist on Saravah Records crashed with a bang into my inbox last week. ‘Aida’, meaning ‘between’ in Japanese, deftly straddles a number of genres. She expertly demonstrates her talent in producing an album filled with French rap, Tokyo underground, electronic, tribal, and some very folksy sounds. She is also a classically trained singer and a flautist to boot. I sensed straight away that I was in for a musical treat…and I was not wrong.

The album kicks off with a catchy and toe-tapping track, “Tokyo Ondo”. Sung in Japanese, we are introduced to a beautiful earthy-sounding flute, crisp pounding bassline, and Maïa’s traditional Japanese folk sound using pentatonic scales. We get a rare musical delight where Rap meets Japanese folk. For you music geeks out there, the Tokyo Ondo has been used by the Tokyo Yakult Swallows (Professional Japanese Baseball team) as part of their ‘Umbrella Dance’ tradition every time a player scores a home run!

Next up is “Hafu” (the last track is the same – but in English). In true AIDA style, this track is sung in French. Hafu, a Japanese word meaning of Japanese parentage and something else, in Maïa’s case, French, bursts into life with a deep and punchy bass together with some fired-up rap vocals. A touch of Little Simz style to start, but then into her familiar and energetic style. The chorus is edgy, seamlessly fusing orchestral instruments with electronic, giving us much more of a taste of what’s to come.

“Ringo (apples or apple petals)” follows next in what is a complete contrast musically. It’s like Japanese folk chillout rolled into one or ambient cinematic music. The vocals have a beautiful Japanese wispiness and Maïa demonstrates this using the traditional singing technique of Amami, a southern Japanese island. Her father, Pierre Barouh, the French writer-composer-singer, is sampled on the track. It glides in a surreal way, capturing her youth and memories, and only until you watch the video or if you understand Japanese, do you get the real meaning behind the lyrics.

“Sushi” returns to Maïa’s familiar style, electronic pop with a quirky sound. This track is sung in French, following the ‘Hafu’ pattern of one in Japanese followed by one in French. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it! Sushi is about feminism and racism – ‘Having a rather typical physique, I often felt uncomfortable in front of sentences like “Are you Japanese? I love Japanese women!“, “Asian women are so feminine…” I wanted to denounce this in my own way…’

“TAIRYO”, continues with the cinematic, trip-hop style and meanders for a very peaceful and reflective 3 minutes. Constantly being reminded of how fabulous this mix of flute, Japanese French rap and traditional folk really is. The danceable “ChinXoise” explodes with a fun, quirky Tokyo sound whilst “Nuage Nu” and “Take The Boat” are still very danceable contenders with some nuanced drum and bass elements. Exit opens with former PM Theresa May’s immortal words “Brexit Means Brexit” and then goes on to ask if you want to “brexit with me” in a song full of danceability, threaded through with quieter moments of concentration. Maia uses the flute on this track to great effect. “Hanakasa”, is a truly powerful piece of music. Tribal pounding drums, melodic flutes, and masterful French and Japanese vocals ebb and flow from the frenetic to the quiet and serene. The closing track is the English version of “HAFU” but I think the French version seems to carry more weight. You decide!

Written by Juan Brooks

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Bodega – The Crescent, York – Tuesday 25th October 2022 December 29, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 5:59 pm
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Well, this road to catching up on posts continues! Here is something that I reviewed on behalf of Soundsphere Magazine back in October. It was a rather fabulous evening in one of York’s finest venues, the Crescent for Bodega. Click here to check it out. The frankly excellent photos are by Mr. Snapagig himself, John Hayhurst!

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Live At Leeds – In The City – Various Leeds Venues – Saturday 15th October 2022


Well, this road to catching up on posts is a long one! Here is something that I reviewed on behalf of Soundsphere Magazine back in October. It was a rather splendid day out in Leeds a.k.a. Live At Leeds – In The City! Click here to check it out. The frankly excellent photos are by Mr. Snapagig himself, John Hayhurst!

This is Pale Waves from a show earlier in 2022, posted on YouTube by Darren Quinn!

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Delilah Bon – The Key Club, Leeds – Saturday 1st October 2022 November 30, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:14 am
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If you saw my post from 3rd November you will know that this lack of posting is not through general laziness! But the catch-up has begun! On 1st October I was lucky enough to witness the galactic talent that is Delilah Bon live. How good was she? I will tell you, but first I must mention the rather stunning support acts that graced the stage at one of the most compact and delightful venues in Leeds, the Key Club. First up it was Bizarrefae. This was full-on angry techno punk with 100% passion, to quote an old Sex Pistols song, “they mean it, man….”. We all sat down for the sad song too, that was pretty ace. It was a great set and for me “Pesky Pixie” and “Dwarfed” were magnificent highlights. Next, it was the turn of Trunc, arch loud noiseniks coming out of the northwest. Trunc have some mountainously good songs, “Zombies” was my favourite. Trunc do punky storytelling and spot-on protest with oodles of panache. Everyone in the audience was 110% behind the FUCK LIZ TRUSS chant (Oh man does that line age this post!)

Finally, it was time for Delilah Bon, an amazing and passionate artist that I have been following since those early dark days during the Covid lockdowns. Lauren Tate as her alter ego Delilah Bon has proved to be a force to be reckoned with, a force that grows more powerful with every release. But is the world ready for Delilah Bon live? Well, the world has begun to find out if it’s ready for Delilah Bon live, and much of the world is not ready yet, but it fucking needs to be! This show was towards the end of Delilah’s first-ever tour and that came off the back of a few magnificent festival appearances. Delilah is supported by her compadres of hope and passion, Ruena and DJ GOLDENAXE. While Delilah is the focus the show would not be the same without such incredible support. Delilah blurs the lines of genre into a thick fog, there are elements of rap, electro, and punk. But what shines throughout everything is how much she cares for her audience, women, and the LGBTQ+ community. Politicians often have better platforms than this but never use them, Delilah Bon is fearless, compassionate and on evidence to date a fine human being. The set was among the best shows that I have ever seen. This trio of fired-up feminists kicked off at 100 miles per hour and rarely slipped below that pace. “Freak of the Week” and “Chiquitita” were early high points. “War On Women” was full of righteous and justified anger. At that point, Delilah invites women, girls, and LGBTQ+ folks to move to the front and they do. But there were a couple of blokes who chose not to, but the crowd shamed them into moving back. As for the heckler, Delilah didn’t have to say much at all, because the crowd gave him a resounding “Shut The Fuck Up!”. “Chop Dicks” loosened the roof of the Key Club and then “Dead Men Don’t Rape” smashed the roof completely. For me, this track is Delilah’s finest song to date and clearly, the audience seems to agree. Back in 1972, David Bowie began performing as his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, the vibe at early gigs was good but venues and crowds were relatively small. Over just a few months a word-of-mouth avalanche sent Ziggy into the stratosphere. I can picture that happening with Delilah Bon, but given that we now have social media, this will be on a scale that Bowie as Ziggy could only have dreamed of. In years to come, many years from now, if Delilah Bon is not remembered as the voice of a generation I will return and haunt every one of the haters that tried to stop her! I was lucky enough to interview Delilah during her tour, sadly the audio is not great, but I am transcribing it and it will be posted soon!

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All Inn Tan Hill with Apollo Junction – Saturday 24th September – Tan Hill Inn, Richmond Yorkshire November 24, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:29 pm
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Firstly, and if you saw my post from 3rd November you will know that this lack of posting is not through general laziness! So onto those Apollo Junction lads! Following on from the rather excellent pub crawl at the end of last year one of 2022’s highlights from Apollo Junction was to play in the highest pub in England, the Tan Hill Inn at Richmond, Yorkshire. The ticket price included a coach from Leeds, an acoustic set and an electric set, and a rather nifty commemorative t-shirt. On top of that, we will also receive a live CD of the event too. I love what Apollo Junction do, yes they make great music and they are becoming a stunningly good live act. But they also challenge the norm by doing gigs like this one in the Tan Hill Inn. As I write this they are also scheduled to play a set at a haunted house in Derbyshire in November!

The acoustic set was wonderfully intimate with the Apollo Junction fan family lapping up every part of it. The highlights for me were the acoustic take of “On The Ropes” where the boys threw in a snatch of the 70s classic “A Horse With No Name”. The band also does a section where each member gets a chance to sing and play a brief excerpt from one of their favourite songs. So we were treated to snippets of David Bowie, Bob Marley, and the Pogues to name just a few. The boys premiered two new songs, one of which will already be available by the time you read this, it is called “Perfect Plan” and you will hear a bit more about that if you continue reading. The acoustic set ended with a fabulous sing-along of the James 90s classic, “Sit Down”. Incidentally, fact fans, while the song was a big hit in 1991 the original was released in 1989!

The full electric set in the evening was truly spectacular and featured all the great songs, frankly, this band doesn’t have any poor songs. “Two Car Family” was magnificent. We also had the privilege of being part of the filming for the video for the new single “Perfect Plan” which is an absolute belter of a tune and suggests that the new album may even top last year’s ‘All In’. The boys mimed through “Perfect Plan” twice while we were a fully fired up and excited audience, but that would have been the case whether this was being filmed or not. I have not been to see Apollo Junction yet where the crowd was less than mega-excited. I was going to describe Apollo Junction after these two excellent sets as a band on top of their game and they are, however, I still think they will continue to get better and better and the new album, which hopefully will be with us early in 2023 will be something very special. It will probably be among the contenders for Mayhem’s album of the year 2023! I always leave an Apollo Junction show very happy and with a huge smile and I know many others in the AP fan family are the same!

All photos and the T-Shirt design are the work of the wonderfully talented Justin Leeming

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“Flares” – Trueman and the Indoor League October 7, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:50 pm
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Trueman and the Indoor League have quickly established themselves as a stunningly good and enormously entertaining live band in just a short space of time. Their set is filled with songs of everyday life and kitchen sink dramas. I can see why they have often been compared to Pulp, but they are so very much more than that. There is immense talent in their performances and in the songs and lyrics. Now to add to their already legendary live performances this Pound Shop E Street Band (who said that?) have released their first single. It is one of their many live favourites, “Flares”. This is a great tune that evokes memories of shitty nightclubs with sticky floors across the UK. Lyrics like “Let’s go to Flares, It’s only fair, Call an au pair, Let’s go to Flares, Right now” are simple and yet sublime genius. Only a decent British band could record songs as great as “Flares”. The video to accompany the tune is rather ace and at times very funny too. If only MTV hadn’t disappeared up its own arse, this would have been a surefire MTV classic on regular rotation. If you haven’t seen Trueman and the Indoor League play live yet, then you need to rectify that NOW! I am really looking forward to the first Trueman and the Indoor League album. Can we also campaign for this band to write and perform the next UK Eurovision entry in Liverpool in 2023?

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“Liar Liar #TrussMix” – Captain Ska October 6, 2022

Filed under: Rants,Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:06 pm
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Tomorrow, 7th October, the fabulous Captain Ska release another take on their classic “Liar Liar”. It started with one attacking Gideon, Dodgy Dave, and Clegg, and the rapid merry-go-round of Tory Leaders since then means that there have also been versions of the tune directed at Maybot, Uber Liar Johnson, and the new one is aimed fairly and squarely at Thick Lizzie. To be fair it has been touch and go as to whether Truss would stay in post long enough for the new release, but it looks like she has. Although I suspect that Captain Ska will need to fashion yet another new version before the next election given the rather entertaining fighting and backstabbing that the Tories are doing at the moment. It is nice to see the Conservatives implode and what better to soundtrack that implosion than “Liar Liar #TrussMix” from Captain Ska. As usual, the video is excellent and, for me, it shows just how out of touch with reality and out of her depth Truss actually is. It is a great ska-pop tune and works for whichever hapless loser the Tories offer as their leader. Instead of M People’s Moving On Up” Thick Lizzie should have walked out to “Liar Liar” yesterday! Spread this tune around, let’s get it into the charts! Use the YouTube link below tomorrow to watch the video, download links will all be available tomorrow too.

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