With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Seagoth – Fulford Arms, York – Thursday 11th November 2021 November 13, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:16 am
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I am so loving the return of live music, I think that might be the single thing that I missed most during all these Covid lockdowns. Tonight was a headline slot for Seagoth, an act that is new to me, what did I think of Seagoth? Well read on dear reader, I need to tell you about the support bands first. Kicking proceedings off was Seattle On The Mantle, band names are definitely getting stranger and more surreal these days aren’t they? I really thought I wouldn’t like this lot, first impression, unfairly based on the way they looked was Mumford and Sons who I am not a fan of. Then the first tune seemed to be an amalgam of so many identikit provincial indie bands from the early noughties. But to their absolute credit, Seattle On The Mantle definitely grew on me and won me over. Their songs are most definitely story songs, seemingly about everyday life. At times the lyrics teetered towards cliche but quickly stepped up to be clinically clever, and I mean that in a good way. Musically it would be very difficult to fault them. The sound is jangly indie with a 60s pop sensibility. You have to love their wonderfully weird and warped sense of humour too. Dedicating songs to “living legends” such as John Lennon, Dennis Wilson, David Bowie, and Leonard Cohen was darkly hilarious. Now I really need to check out this band’s recorded output.

Next on stage were Honeytrap who are getting a fair amount of hype and exposure at the moment. I reckon I can sum up their performance in just two words, fucking awesome! However that would be lazy on my part, so I won’t, although I stand by the sentiment because Honeytrap is a fucking awesome band. They Channel the Verve at their early ‘Mad Richard’ peak and vocalist Kell Chambers’s voice hits the highest rock peaks with apparent ease. As well as a Richard Ashcroft influence I sensed the rawer vocal aspects of Kurt Cobain in there too. The songs seem to be sad laments, but delivered with forceful emotion and set to some howling, high-class rock music. Guitarist Will Daniels is clearly a talented guitar player and he also uses his effects pedals wonderfully. For me, Daniels’s talent is akin to that of the magnificent Bernard Butler in his Suede heyday. I felt he even added a prog injection at times. There were many high points in this set, but I must single out the immaculate performance of “Candles” which is a stunning, atmospheric, anthemic rock masterpiece of a song. You need this band in your life right now!

Unless you are familiar with Seagoth, and I wasn’t until tonight, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was something to do with the Whitby Goth weekend, but it isn’t. Seagoth is singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Georgia Ochoa. Is this the finest dreamy, psyched-up, indie, dance pop in the world? Probably. Georgia is a true musical genius and she has surrounded herself with a supremely talented band. They are all good but the bass player (apologies, I can’t find her name anywhere) is off the scale good. I have seen some great bass players over the years; Flea, Bootsy Collins, Stanley Clarke, Lemmy, Tina Weymouth, Peter Hook and Bernard Edwards to name just a few and this lady definitely goes into the list. She treats her bass like a proper instrument and not just a supporting tool! I have a little rant I need to make too, why do people come to a gig and disappear after their mates band has played? So many of you missed a fabulous set from Seagoth who in my opinion will go on to play much bigger venues, especially festivals. Melvin Benn are you reading this? The new Seagoth EP is pretty special too, click here to check it out on Spotify.

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‘All In’ – Apollo Junction November 11, 2021


For so many bands the sophomore album is often difficult, patchy and never lives up to the promise of their breakthrough release. However Apollo Junction smash that theory into a centillion pieces. This is an outstanding album and if it doesn’t feature in all of those best album of 2021 lists in the next few weeks I will be very surprised and incredibly disappointed. Seven of the eleven tracks (twelve tracks on the vinyl release) have been released as singles which might suggest that the remaining five tracks might be pure filler, but they most certainly are not, every song here is an absolute masterpiece. Apollo Junction certainly know and appreciate their rock history and they have what might be described as a dark glam sound, which not many other bands can match. It is clear that Jamie, Matt, Jonathan, Ben and Sam have used this awful Covid driven 18 months really well. I loved their first album, ‘Mystery’ from 2019, but frankly while that was a very good album, ‘All In’ is a truly great album that we will still be listening to in many years.

Photo by Steve Riding

The album kicks off with “Light Up The Sky” and that is what this full on glam stomper does in a way that is unmatched even by the most explosive and expensive fireworks. The initial 20 second orchestral overture lulls you into a relaxed sense and then those massive drums kick in. It has some proper tasty funky metal overtones and elements of their signature electro sound. This song epitomises that dark glam description I gave in the opening paragraph and after a few listens to the album this is probably my favourite track, but only just. Slightly more in a Depeche Mode meets the Human League vibe is “Porcelain” which has anthem written all over it. In your face rocker “Two Car Family” hits you next and it is another thunderous banger of a tune. A thumping thumping, infectious glam rock beat that Don Powell would be proud of and some mostly upbeat positive lyrics. If this tune does not make you move then you need an appointment with your doctor. If you need to catch your breath after the last track then “Rooftops” will give you a small, ok tiny, opportunity to do that. Apollo Junction have a knack of producing sublime anthems and “Rooftops” is the kind of track that U2 would kill for. I sensed an Echo and the Bunnymen influence in “On The Ropes” although I think Jamie has a slightly more dynamic and emotional voice than Ian McCulloch. It is hard not to love “When We Grow Up” which is pure Indie Pop Rock at it’s best, with a chorus that Pete Wylie would be proud of. The multi tracked vocals towards the end make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. (Check the video out too, it features a host of Apollo Junction fans, including me)

“Sometimes” is New Order smashing head on into U2 while letting Brandon Flowers into the room as well. The lyrics feel quite deep and personal, but ultimately very positive. The funky, summery guitar opening, courtesy of Matt, of “Unknowns” has hit single written all over it. Matt’s bass is supremely powerful here and the lyrics are very clever. How can you not love this line, “like a dinosaur in the last disco”. “Borderlines” is a staggeringly good fast paced rocker with an 80s Simple Minds feel that you can easily imagine blasting out across festival fields all over the world. It is underpinned by more of that ace glam rock drum sound. This whole album feels like a greatest hits package and next up is “Forever” which I once described as close to being a perfect lockdown anthem. I stand by that description 100%. It is upbeat, has a happy vibe, and a great singalong hook. There is a more acoustic, very slightly slower feel to “Are You Happy” which is a more understated anthem than the preponderance of banging tunes that precede it. The “hidden track”, “Our Goodbye” which I think is only available on the vinyl release has a John Lennon influence in the keyboards, lyrics and vocal phrasing. Earlier Apollo Junction asked “Are You Happy” I can categorically state that I am ecstatic, this is a stunning album and you need to get your hands on it as soon as you can! It is officially released tomorrow, Friday 12th November on Shedload Records.

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This House Is haunted – Fulford Arms, York – Sunday 31st October November 9, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 8:28 pm
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Has there ever been a more aptly named band to headline a show on Halloween than This House Is Haunted? Maybe, but this York band was booked for Halloween this year! Before I speak of them I need to tell you about the three support acts. First to take the stage was Redfyrn, another fine York band. Cat is a great vocalist with a voice that is heavy rock bordering on operatic. Redfyrn have a monster heavy sound with boot-crushing bass and riffs that could split an atom. There are rich seams of jazz and prog in their sound and the drummer’s less is more approach comes across like a heavy metal Charlie Watts. This is the second time I have seen them and it won’t be the last.

Next up it was the turn of another local band, the Bricks. They have a supremely powerful post-punk sound with incredible energy levels, especially from singer Gemma. She is an excellent frontwoman and the band is really tight. I heard strains of early Siouxsie Sioux in Gemma’s vocals and occasionally maybe Lene Lovich too. Their songs are idiosyncratic and original, I particularly loved “Short Songs”. And a special mention for “Warburton” (at least I think that is the title), which can sit alongside just a small handful of other bread-related songs. You need to experience the Bricks live, I did and I will be back for more. Vaquelin came to the spooky stage next. If Led Zeppelin had sweaty, dirty, illicit sex with Bring Me The Horizon, Valequin would be the haunted offspring. Sometimes funky, but always heavy tunes with classy rock vocals prove that this band knows how to rock. The guitars hit you stylistically like Slash but so much heavier.

This House Is Haunted is a hellishly accomplished band. In keeping with Halloween, the band took to the stage dressed like Squid Game participants, although the heat meant those masks didn’t stay for too long! Every member makes a 100% contribution to what are clearly some staggeringly powerful rock songs. Dom proves what an exceptional drummer he is. Zak hits a perfect sweet spot showcasing his fine rock voice and he also supplies some first class nuclear-powered guitar riffs. Bass player Jenn keeps the band’s engine finely tuned and purring like a top-of-the-range Rolls Royce. The world needs to hear more of this band. If they ever haunt a venue near you then do not miss them.

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Rick Astley – First Direct Arena, Leeds – Thursday 29th October 2021 November 8, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 1:05 pm
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Regular readers might think a Mr. Astley gig is a strange choice for me, but I have never been averse to a blast of decent pop music as long as it is good. Was it good? Well, you will find out later in this review, but first I need to tell you about the wonderful stellar support act, KT Tunstall. Earlier this year KT cancelled her summer shows due to concerns about her hearing, but she is most definitely back now. Armed with a guitar, effects pedals, and supreme looping skills (her faithful loop pedal even has a name, “Wee Bastard”) she won the crowd over quickly and we stayed with her for her whole set, clapping, singing, and dancing throughout. All the hits were on show including two particular highlights for me in “Suddenly I See” and “Black Horse And The Cherry Tree”. She also stormed through a haunting and emotive cover of the late, great Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”.

This gig has been a long time coming, thanks to Covid. I bought tickets as a Christmas present for my wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman for Christmas 2019. The show was, like many others, rescheduled, postponed and rescheduled a few times. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely, Rick is a perfect performer. He is comfortable with his pop past and his newer songs show the depth and real soulfulness of his voice. A huge shout out to his fabulous band and the amazing backing singers. Obviously all the early hits were there, including a double dose of “Never Gonna Give You Up”. He kicked off the show with a softer, jazzier excerpt from it and then, as expected, closed the encore with a full everybody on their feet and dancing version. “Keep Singing”, “Beautiful Life” and “Cry For Help” were highlights for me and really showcased what an incredibly talented vocalist Rick Astley is. Meanwhile his cover choices were inspired, “When I Fall In Love” (which was expected) and a superb and authentic rendition of the Temptations classic, “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”. But to top both of those Rick did a a gorgeous and at times ethereal cover of Harry Styles “Watermelon Sugar High”. Not only is Rick Astley a great singer and performer he also comes across as a really decent bloke. If the opportunity arises I will definitely see him again!

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A Slow Education – Day 2 – The Crescent, York – Saturday 23rd October 2021 November 7, 2021


Three bands down after Day 1 just seven to go on Day 2 of the rather marvellous A Slow Education mini Festival at one of York’s finest venues, the Crescent. Perspex took to the stage first and it is always good to have such a lively band to kick off proceedings at the start of what looked like a great day of music. Perspex have a tank full of energy and probably a whole bunch of jerry cans full of the stuff too. At their peak, they sound like prime time Clash with vocal phrasings like Steve Harley. Who doesn’t love Perspex? I was lucky enough to review Cowgirl’s eponymously titled first album a couple of months back so I was looking forward to hearing some of the new songs played live and they did not disappoint. If Carlsberg made garage rock it would probably sound like Cowgirl. This band is an MC5 for the 21st Century. The Lounge Society were next and lounge is not something they do. This is psyched up, punchy, funky rock with a hard edge, definitely not music for a relaxing night in your lounge. It is music made to make you move around maniacally while balancing like a crazed high wire walker on that fine line between genius and madness. Bands are definitely looking so much younger to old farts like me these days, but lead singer Cameron Davey belies those youthful looks with just the right measure of rock-star swagger and menace. The Lounge Society are truly a band for our age.

Cowgirl
Bull

If you like your rock sharp, funky and angular a la Talking Heads then I have no doubt that you will love the majestic Treeboy & Arc. There are some heartfelt punky vocals across some outstanding tunes that tell of real life. Bass player James Kay is bloody good and must be close to the bass skills of Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. This is funk-punk for music maniacs. This band is not afraid to show off their skyscraping, jacked-up riffs that underpin some colossal, towering tunes. Next on stage were the band that I have seen more than any other in 2021, but thanks to these bastard Covid days that is only three times. I am talking about one of York’s mightiest bands, Bull. This was another stunning set from a band that is great on record and truly awesome in the live environment. The new songs take their sublime harmonies to another level, definitely to Beach Boys proportions. Not sure why, but I have a strange vision of Bull recording and acapella cover of They Might Be Giants’ “Birdhouse In Your Soul”. Also how about a Monkees style TV show featuring scenes from Bull mansions where the ban get into all kinds of surreal adventures and psychedelic japes. That needs to be made, right? Billy Nomates might genuinely have no mates and no band on stage with her but she has balls. To take to the stage with just a laptop and stun the crowd into a trancey submission so easily takes supreme skill and she has that in abundance. Her beats are huge and so is her social conscience. Vocally she scores 11/10 for me, I am now most definitely a Billy Nomates fan. Headliners Warmduscher was highly recommended to me and I had listened to a lot of their stuff before this show. The name “Warmduscher” is German and the term literally means ‘hot showerer’, which implies the idea of someone unwilling to step out of their comfort zone or do things that make them feel uncomfortable. It stems from a German myth that taking a cold shower is considered masculine. So is this a band unwilling to step out of their comfort zone, I don’t think so. This is a great bunch of musicians from Fat White Family and Paranoid London. Their post-punk sound is enhanced by some great tunes but I felt their performance was lacklustre and lacked sparkle on the night. Maybe it was the ridiculously long soundcheck or the heavy reliance on vocal effects pedals by vocalist Clams Baker Jr. Mate you have a good voice stop messing with all the effects stuff. The jury is out for me on Warmduscher, so I hope I caught them on an off night, but I need to see them again to confirm.

Treeboy & Arc

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A Slow Education – Day 1 – The Crescent, York – Friday 22nd October 2021 November 6, 2021


A two day mini-festival at the Crescent in York, now that was a proposition too good to miss, so I didn’t, I was there for the whole caboodle and now I need to tell you what I thought of the bands and artists that appeared. Missing Kids were first and they have some great guitar work and incredibly tight drumming. I found them to be a bit shoegaze but with much bigger beats, certainly at the start of their set, but the riffage towards the end was very Strokesy. This is most definitely a good band. The second band to take the stage was Bleach Lab who produce dream indie-pop straight from the DNA of Liz Fraser (Cocteau Twins). Their sometimes inward-looking songs are brought to life by their captivating and enchanting frontwoman Jenna Kyle. The bass was deep and thunderous at times with a dub feel akin to Jah Wobble.

Bleach Lab

Headliners for day 1 were Yard Act from Leeds, a band that on paper probably wouldn’t work, but on stage and on record there really is no stopping them. Instrumentally they have classic rock, prog rock, and a powerful and hypnotic Burundi style dual drummer sound, but with only one drummer. Guitarist Sammy Robinson is an understated axe genius from the same planet as Bill Nelson. Singer James Smith hits you like John Cooper Clarke on steroids. He makes the punky story tunes come to life and he has a superb interaction with the audience. Sir Elton John is a big fan too. Their debut album drops in January and based on this evidence it will be immense!

Yard Act

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Avalanche Party – The Crescent, York – Sunday 17th October 2021 October 27, 2021


Finally, real gigs are coming back and on a regular basis too. This was the first full-on Avalanche Party gig I have seen since Covid hit, although they did do a great socially distanced show at the Crescent last December. Anyway, it is now official that I have seen this great band more times than I ever saw David Bowie, but a couple less than I have seen Frank Turner. But before I say more about Avalanche Party there were a couple of great support bands. First up was the Hazy Janes who exploded onto the stage like a two-man Led Zeppelin. Drummer Bron and guitarist and singer Ellis formed during lockdown and are clear proof that some good things did happen during the darkest of Covid days. Very regular readers might recognise Bron from previous mentions of Hunter-Gatherer and Ellis from previous mentions of Freek. Bron’s drumming huge and Ellis’s guitar skills have a lineage back through classic British rock to the Yardbirds. Meanwhile, his voice could compete with Paul Rodgers, Robert Plant, and many more. Next, it was the turn of Trueman whose songs are soap opera kitchen sink dramas that cover topics like cold calls, Flares (the awful nightclub chain where your feet usually stick to the floor), and boredom to name just a few. The frontman is like a very angry Ian McNabb at times, and I do mean that in a good way. The band is an incredibly tight unit, but what stands out most are the great tunes, especially the lyrics!

Those magnificent, sumptuous, unmatchable, mighty, matchless, sublime, peerless, resplendent, swanky, clinquant delinquents of Avalanche Party, probably the best band on the planet right now, took to the stage with moody menace and the crowd was singer Jordan’s from the first note. To steal a quote from a good friend (thank you Simon P) “there ain’t no party like an Avalanche Party” and this was a spectacular call to arms from a great band. The boys tore the roof off the Crescent and left us all feeling happy and high. Jordan was on great form and no one does that 10,000 yard stare better than he does, if you think differently bite me! Every song was a highlight from set opener “I’m So Wet” all the way to “Dream Jonny Dream”. But if you forced me to pick the highlights it would have to be “Million Dollar Man”, “Rebel Forever” and an absolutely glam storming version of “Howl”. In a parallel universe “Howl” has been at the top of the singles chart for three years. The sophomore Avalanche Party album when it arrives will be something very special!

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Live At Leeds – Saturday 16th October 2021 October 22, 2021


Finally after a long Covid driven delay Live At Leeds is back! Click here to check out my review for Soundsphere Magazine, along with some rather excellent photos from the talent John Hayhurst of Snapagig, some of which you can find below!

Dea Matrona
The Murder Capital
Dream Wife

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“Two Car Family” – Apollo Junction October 14, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:07 pm
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In advance of their forthcoming sophomore album ‘All In’ next month those talented lads of Apollo Junction release a new single, their third in 2021, and it’s another thunderous banger of a tune. It has a thumping, infectious glam rock beat that Don Powell would be proud of and some mostly upbeat positive lyrics. It is song that made me smile and want to dance, especially the chorus which has a solid gold hook. I was lucky enough to hear them play it live recently and this song will be one of the first on their set list for many years. As a harbinger of the new album it suggests that the future for Apollo Junction will be very bright indeed. They have played some huge support slots (Kaiser Chiefs, Pigeon Detectives) this year and a great set at the Isle Of Wight Festival too. Will 2022 be the year the world picks up on this great Leeds band? I bloody hope so. Check the new tune out, it’s released tomorrow, 15th October and get your order in for the new album, just click here and you’re nearly there! Click here to listen to “Two Car Family” on Spotify!

You can still catch them live in 2021, if there are any tickets left;

20th November – Blue Sky Café, Bangor
26th November – Preston Ferret
27th November – Leeds Warehouse
4th December – Jimmys, Liverpool
5th December – Aatma, Manchester
23rd April 2022 – Leeds University

The link to the new tune will appear here over the weekend!

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Bull – The Crescent, York – Friday 24th September 2021 September 27, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:03 pm
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A sell out gig at the Crescent in York? Yes I kid you not, the first sell out I have been to since before Covid and it feels damned good to be back to proper gigs. This was a delayed album launch tour from local heroes Bull who released their fabulous debut album ‘Discover Effortless Living’. But before the main attraction there were a couple of support bands that I need to tell you about. First it was the wonderfully named Fat Spatula. They put on an intense and powerful performance and they are clearly a tight band. But what are Fat Spatula actually like? Well the recipe for me was a few ounces of Talking Heads from David Byrne’s oversized jacket peak, a couple of fried Devo stock cubes. a hugely rich Modern Lovers sauce all served with the funkiest condiments you could imagine. I guess it was all mixed nicely using a fat spatula, right? Anyway, I like this band a lot and I will definitely be queueing up for second helpings sometime in the future.

Next it was the turn of a Hull band who are clearly not particularly enamoured by vowels, they are called bdrmm. They are a kind proggy shoegazey style but with extra added industrial sound and drone at times. Maybe there was even a bit of a Cure influence in there too. I think bdrmm are clearly accomplished musicians and they also feel like the sort of band I might listen to while smoking a fat one! I particularly liked the drums, although the drums on one track were very reminiscent of Toni Basil’s “Mickey” (thank you for pointing that out Eddie P).

Finally it was time for the main attraction, Bull. They are a 21st century Byrds with a distinctly heavier psych vibe than Roger McGuinn’s gang. Bull are a band that really know what they are doing and they do it supremely well. This was a local crowd for them and we were captivated by every note. Someone that I spoke to before the show described Bull as ramshackle, I disagree, I would say intense and informal, while never hiding their sense of fun. If this band do not become huge then the matrix or the multiverse (pick your cinematic universe) is broken. They were joined by an awesome brass section towards the end of the set which included singer Tom Beer on trombone. Get out and see this band and buy or stream their debut album, you need Bull in your life!

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