With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Clutch – Leeds O2 Academy – Thursday 19th December 2019 December 28, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:38 pm
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This gig review was written by Phil Marsland

I had so been looking forward to Clutch at the O2 Leeds. Tickets were bought months ago, for me and my oldest school mate (both now 53!) and a pre-Christmas spectacular was planned. Two days before I got flu. Disaster. Massive fever, delirium, and doom pending massive disappointment. But I don’t let folk down. I would do everything within my power to be dosed up and present. This was probably foolish, but we made it there. Walking in during the support Graveyard to face an absolute wall of bodies and heat. I now understood the depths of my foolishness. Standing with Deano at the bar, I asked for a coke. First gig sober. Graveyard may have been good NWOCRers, but my review can’t do them justice as I was adjusting to the heat and noise and trying to stay upright. The last 2 cold and flu tablets were taken to hopefully get me through. We sidled our way to 6 back from the stage, just left of centre, and as it turned out, within bumping distance of the mad mosh.

Clutch was on, roaring “Rats” as an opener. The crowd went wild. These guys are hard southern rockin’ masters with a huge chunk of storytelling and a slice of funk. Clutch were formed in 1991 in Maryland and are 12 albums in and a real crowd favourite. Next Summer they will complete a UK festival first by playing 3 different sets at Ramblin Man in Kent. Back to the show. Neil Fallon, on lead vocals, sometimes guitar and one-time cowbell, is a crowd master. A master storyteller, performer, and actor. A southern rockin’ latterday Shakespearean performer. Never better than on “Army Of Bono” or “In Walks Barbarella”. You may choose others, and indeed there were many Clutch classics missing from their short set. But they did cram in 15 in just over an hour, including “A Shogun Named Marcus” which lit the blue touch paper in the mosh! Their encore contained their number one Spotify streamed “Electric Worry”, and the Southern classic “Fortunate Son”. And that was that. Much anticipated and much appreciated and left me wanting more. Rock n roll adrenalin got me through the flu, at least for a few hours. Onwards into 2020 and their triple set in Kent, along with a little known band called Lynyrd Skynyrd.

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken Phil Marsland. The videos were all found on YouTube if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know. 

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Albums Of The Year – 2019 December 26, 2019


Well, that’s nearly it for 2019. The world has gone even crazier, but underneath all the chaos there is and hopefully will always be great music. So along with almost every other publication, website and blog I have compiled my top ten albums of 2019. It was a tough choice and putting them into a sequence has been even tougher, especially the top 2 which have switched places a lot. I would love to hear about your favourite albums of the year.

  1. ’24 Carat Diamond Trephine’ – Avalanche Party – Possibly the best debut album in rock history.
  2. ‘Ghosteen’ – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – is it possible to get more gut-wrenching and thought-provoking emotion in one album.
  3. ‘End Of Suffering’ – Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – As a fan of Frank since his Gallows days I believe that this is his finest moment…. so far!
  4. ‘I Want The World’ – Hands Off Gretel – Easily one of the most exciting and exhilarating live bands to emerge in the last couple of years.
  5. ‘Renaissance Men’ – The Wildhearts – This band is well and truly back, not just with a bang but with a mega explosion.
  6. ‘Encore’ – The Specials – Who believed that the Specials had a new album in them, let alone one this good?
  7. ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ – Slowthai – no one has summed up what the UK is like now much better than Slowthai did on this stunning release.
  8. ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ – Billie Eilish
  9. ‘Tough Crowd’ – Nervus – Better than their last album and probably not as good as their next, this band gets better and better!
  10. ‘Kind Heaven’ – Perry Farrell – an eclectic mix of styles that perhaps only someone of Perry’s talents could pull off. This was one of my most listened to albums on Spotify this year apparently.

I would also like to take the opportunity to say thank you for reading and following this site, you inspire me to continue. Finally always remember those that are less fortunate than you, homeless people and those suffering in silence. Remember the people it would be easier to forget. It is ok to be not ok. “In a world that has decided that it’s going to lose its mind Be more kind, my friends, try to be more kind” (Frank Turner). I hope that 2020 is a great year for you and however it pans out look out for each other.

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The Darkness – Barbican, York – Tuesday 17th December 2019 December 24, 2019


I hadn’t seen UK modern-day rock legends the Darkness for many years so I was really looking forward to a full show from them at the Barbican in York. I was there with my friend and work colleague Paul Kennedy. First on stage were Rews, the brainchild of Irish rocker Shauna Tohill. Rews are heavy but with a quirky pop edge and their energy appears to be limitless. This is the first time that I have seen Rews and I believe that anyone at this show who saw their electrifying support set will have walked away as a Rews fan, many were already Rews fans. I am definitely a fan of this band now.

So now it was the time for the Darkness. They played two sets, the first of which was a complete run-through of their new album ‘Easter is Cancelled’. This record, released earlier this year, is a towering return to form and some of the songs appear to be tailor-made for playing live, especially “Rock and Roll Deserves to Die”, “Heavy Metal Lover” and “Choke On It”. There is not a duff track on this record and that is even more apparent as the band tore up the stage with a stunning showcase of the new songs. Justin is on particularly good form during the show and his brother Dan’s guitar work is on a par with so many great British rock guitarists. The set closed with a solo acoustic “We Are The Guitar Men” from Justin Hawkins. It is a great song, but the softer style did give us all a moment to draw breath before the full-on sonic attack of the second set. It was opened by a thunderous romp through “One Way Ticket” from their second album. For me the best moments were hearing the songs from the first album again; “Growing On Me” and “Get Your Hands Off My Woman”. But they, probably as expected, saved the best until last with a tune that Justin introduced as their most famous song, “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” which was greeted with such rapturous applause it might have registered on the Richter scale. Justin’s humour was well played, he even wore an “Aye Up” T-Shirt which seemed to please the predominantly Yorkshire crowd. The band actually played along to the “Yorkshire, Yorkshire” chant too. If anyone had told me that the Darkness might be a good choice to cover Radiohead I might have laughed. But their take on “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” was something special. They gave it a completely new lease of life and stamped their signature all over it. They also managed to include a few bars and lines of the Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. Is the world ready for a Darkness covers album? I think so. It was late December and there was always going to be an encore and I think most of us guessed that it would be “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)”. But what a stunning, singalong end to a night to remember. With the Darkness you don’t just get a gig, you get a show!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know. 

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The Big Boss Caine Annual All Star Festive Fundraiser 2019 -The Fulford Arms, York – Friday 13th December 2019 December 22, 2019


The Big Boss Caine Annual All-Star Festive Fundraiser has traditionally been held at the now sadly demised Fibbers in York, but for 2019 and hopefully many years to come it has relocated to the rather fabulous Fulford Arms. A huge thank you to Dan Lucas for putting this on and to everyone at the Fulford Arms who worked tirelessly all night and of course to all the bands taking part. This is the first of these events that I have managed to get along to and I am so glad that I did. This year’s charity was Kitchen for Everyone, York. who provide an amazing service, feeding the homeless and vulnerable in York, and there was also a collection of food and clothing on the night for those in need locally, as part of We Shall Overcome. The total raised at the gig was £522 at handover though there I believe there will be more to add to that from poster sales and whatnot. There was also a Land Rover fully laden with clothes, sleeping bags, hats, gloves, socks, dried food, sanitary/bathroom products, and mucho love! Dan Lucas will be continuing to collect each week at Busk @ Dusk if you fancy getting down there on a Sunday night. The gig was the day after the damaging and disastrous UK General Election which gives Britain its most far-right government in history. I was feeling pretty low about that and I drank an awful lot of wine that night. So before I tell you about the show can I just say sorry to anyone that I might have bored the pants off/ annoyed/ never stopped talking to/ leaned on/ offended (delete as appropriate) and I really hope it wasn’t the latter!

PERCY

A massive shout and thanks to the extremely talented Kai West for producing such an incredible poster. I never got around to buying one of the limited edition copies on sale on the night, so if there are any left then I am still interested. Unfortunately the first of the six bands on the bill, French Exits, couldn’t make it. So the event was kicked off in great style by Percy. A York band that regular readers of With Just A Hint Of Mayhem will have noticed a few times before. They are a very left-field prog-punk combo. They are so different and ‘out there’ that they have the power to bring John Peel back to life; Percy would make an amazing collection of classic Peel sessions. The new songs that they showcased on the night are immense and bubble over with venom and anger, especially future classic tune in the making, “Will Of The People”. If you like Magazine, the Fall or even Half Man Half Biscuit you need to check Percy out. But comparisons aside Percy are very much original, so what the hell, check them out whoever you are a fan of they are well worth it! Also a big shout for Percy for being the first band of the evening to shout “Fuck The Tories”, they weren’t the last.

Cowgirl

Cowgirl, a great band that I saw for the first time back in January. If the Stooges had been fronted by Lou Reed and Jonathan Richman then Cowgirl would be the result. Their bluesy, riff-laden, psychedelic, feedback fuelled scuzzy garage rock is at times evocative of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the Detroit Cobras. Bizarrely, maybe through some nicely utilised feedback, I was also taken back to 1974 and the first time that I ever heard David Bowie’s ‘Diamond Dogs’ album via a late-night end to end playthrough on John Peel’s show a week before it’s release. Listening to that in the dark on headphones scared the shit out of me. I believe that Cowgirl might have the same effect in a darkened room. Someone needs to give them the opportunity to soundtrack a British horror film along the lines of ‘Eden Lake’.

Snakerattlers

The Snakerattlers have had a great year; an exhilarating new album, ‘All Heads Will Roll’ and this was their 71st gig of the year. They are now a live force to be reckoned with, a truly amazing live band. Dan’s stage presence is spot on and how the fuck does Naomi make so much noise from such a small drum kit? Their towering psychobilly based sound is ecstatic and energising. The now expected crowd incursions from singer-guitarist Dan Gott are special, not just for his Dick Dalesque guitar work but for his expert gurning and an evil stare that would fit neatly into the British Horror film that I want Cowgirl to soundtrack. Stuck for a Christmas present for your Gran? Get here the Snakerattlers album, it will keep her alive for many more years!

Nosedivers

After more than 20 years one of York’s finest punk bands is back together. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am talking about the Nosedivers. They come on like the snotty young brothers of the Clash with the swagger and poise of the Ramones. Dan Lucas’ vocals are rich, deep and sharp and very different from his Boss Caine work. The Nosedivers energy is off the scale and their anger is channeled into some fiery political comment. Changing the chorus of one song rather cleverly and topically to “Fuck the Tories”. The mountainous riffs and piledriving songs are carved from a punk mountain, on the scale of Mount Olympus but built from pure punk vibes. We need this band to stick around a while longer and I hope that they do. But even if they don’t it was a major blast having them back even for a short while.

Bull

The headliners and the perfect band to close this scintillating salmagundi of a gig was York’s very own Bull. If you know this band you will bloody love them. If you don’t know them yet then what are you waiting for, get on it now! They take the best of the Pixies, the Strokes, the heavier side of R.E.M, the retrospection of Elvis Costello and the pop-rock sensibility of Kurt Cobain and roll it into that unique Bull sound. Bull are supremely talented musicians and they owned the stage and deserved this prestigious headline slot. They are clearly on top of their game and I get the impression that they are still some way from reaching their peak. They are a band with the power to shred the shackles of King Kong. As someone once said, “this lot will just become awesomer and awesomer!” Get rid of the bullshit in your life with Bull!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android phone.The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know. 

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Dweezil Zappa – Leeds Town Hall – Tuesday 10th December 2019 December 19, 2019


I was not lucky enough to have seen the legend that was Frank Zappa play live, but I have now seen his son Dweezil play two of Frank’s greatest album’s live. The first time was for ‘Apostrophe’ back in 2011 and nearing the end of 2019 I am delighted to say that I saw Dweezil and his band perform the whole of Frank’s 1969 album ‘Hot Rats’. That album is perhaps the one that really established Frank Zappa as an iconic major talent. It was dedicated to Dweezil, who was only a few weeks old when the original album was released. It was a perfect reproduction of the record, although interestingly the band opened with “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” from the aforementioned ‘Apostrophe’, that has always been one of my favourite Zappa songs. Then it was the business of ‘Hot Rats’ in its entirety, how groundbreaking must that album have sounded when it was released in 1969. It still sounds pretty fresh today with its “out there” jazz, prog, blues, weird mix. Every one of the six ‘Hot Rats’ tracks was superbly played, my personal highlights were “Peaches En Regalia”, “Willie The Pimp” (which originally featured a Captain Beefheart vocal) and “It Must Be A Camel”. The original album was just under 45 minutes in length, so obviously there was going to be more, and there was plenty more when the band returned to the stage after a short interval.

The second part of the show consisted of twenty or more tunes by my reckoning. Dweezil has put together a supremely talented and incredibly powerful band, which he referred to as his ‘Rockin’ Teenage Combo’. I don’t know the band members names but special mentions must go to the insanely talented saxophonist and a vocalist who seemed to be able to sing in any style he needed to, his Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson piece was something majestic to behold. There were many, many highlights in the second set, but for me “200 Motels/ Bogus Pomp”, “I’m A Beautiful Guy” and ” Who Needs The Peace Corps?” were real standouts. The band revived what in essence was an outtake in its original form, although clearly, it mutated into a few future Frank Zappa tunes. That track was magnificently titled “Twinkle Tits”. The magic word for tonight, chosen by the band from towns near to Leeds on a map in their tour bus was……. Scunthorpe. They tried, and succeeded, on many occasions to incorporate Scunthorpe into a song and even had the audience singing one of those Scunthorpe variations. Surprisingly, for me at least, was a barnstorming cover of the Knack’s 1979 US number-one single “My Sharona”. This was apparently a song that Frank Zappa liked to play. Some might say that this is just a tribute band, and in some ways, they would be correct, but believe me, Dweezil and his band are so much more than that. If you haven’t seen Dweezil plays his father’s songs live yet then take the first opportunity that you get! This was one of the best shows that I have seen this year!

As a footnote I was speaking to someone on the train on the way home who informed me that Dweezil is not his birth name, he was born Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa. It was also great to spend an evening with my good friend Andy Golborne and to catch up with another great mate, Adrian Caines.

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android phone.The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know. 

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Avalanche Party – Fulford Arms, York – Thursday 5th December 2019 December 17, 2019


This gig was the 10th time that I had seen Avalanche Party. Regular readers will know I am a big fan of the band, but before I say anything about them let me tell you about the two support bands. First up was Pig Club. They are a York band and one that I had not seen or listened to until now. The first tune made me feel as though I wouldn’t enjoy the rest of their set, but oh boy how wrong was I? This lot splice classy jazz with prog, funk, and psychedelia. It is obvious that each band member is an incredibly skilled musician, but together they are definitely more than the sum of their parts. The guitarist played like a young Jan Akkerman (from Dutch Progsters Focus for you young ‘uns). Meanwhile, the keys wizard sounded at times like Herbie Hancock. Definitely a band worth checking out.

Pig Club

Another great York band, the Black Lagoons were next to grace the stage. This was the fourth time that I have seen them in nearly four years and strangely the third time that I have seen them supporting Avalanche Party. They have got better each time and they are truly a force to be reckoned when playing live. They have an electrifying swagger and confidence about them, and they totally get their audience. There are definitely prog influences, but the engine room of the band is like Moonie and the Ox from the Who. They could step up as a younger version of the Stooges too if that is what Iggy needed. Their sound is hard to pin to a genre, but imagine Tarantino and Tim Burton directing a zombie vampire film set in the wild west. Well, there is no one other than the Black Lagoons that could soundtrack that movie!

Now it was the time for the headliners, Avalanche Party as a part of their album launch tour. If you haven’t yet heard ’24 Carat Diamond Trephine’ then get on it now! It is possibly my album of the year for 2019, although Nick cave’s ‘Ghosteen’ is also vying for first place. Regular readers of this blog know that I am a big Avalanche Party fan, I also believe that they are on the cusp of greatness. With a debut album that is among the best debut’s in rock history and a live show that has the power to match that of an ICBM with a plethora of nuclear warheads, they have proved that they have balls and frankly they are the dog’s golden bollocks! Opening with the psychedelic garage punk of “I’m So Wet” the band hit their full stride straight away and when Jordan fixed his maniacal rock star thousand-yard stare on the audience, well the whole place was transfixed, captivated and hypnotised by this magnificent beast of a band. I do wonder how they keep getting better every time that I see them, but they do. Will that ever end? I hope not. They had extra guitar courtesy of the singer/ guitarist from the Black Lagoons and some wild funky sax vamping from a mysterious masked cowboy (a.k.a Luke Marzec). Kane (drums) and Joe (Bass) power a rhythm section that has the might and the firepower to defeat Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet and the melodious, punk, psych interplay between  Jared (guitar) and Glen on keys is woven magically to underpin Jordan’s subtle rock scream vocals. Jared even managed to fit in some saxophone playing too. Highlights for me were “7”, “Rebel Forever” in which I believe that every single member of the crowd sang along when asked to and the towering, majestic glam stomp of probably the best Avalanche Party song to date, “Howl” has to be experienced to be believed. On top of all that we were treated to an outstanding “Porcelain”. Get the album, go and see them, you need Avalanche Party in your life!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me.The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know. I am also happy for you to use any of my pictures, all I ask is for a credit 🙂 You will find plenty more of my pictures just below this public service announcement!

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“I Hate Boris” December 9, 2019

Filed under: Rants — justwilliam1959 @ 7:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

You might have heard that there is a General Election in the UK this week. It is perhaps the most important General Election in my lifetime. The current Tory government is becoming more extreme by the day and I fear for the future of my country if they win a majority this time around. They will destroy the very fabric of the UK; poverty will rise, homelessness will rise, the rich will get much, much richer, human rights will be marginalised, racism will become more rife, the NHS will be broken up. We cannot let this happen, help get the country off of life support and vote on Thursday. The UK is divided and the Tory Party have no chance of bringing us together. Vote with your conscience, vote with your heart, vote for future generations, vote tactically if that will help in your constituency. But please, get off your arse and vote, apathy allows the extremists into power!

This is a music site, so here are a few relatively recent protest songs for you to get in your head before Thursday. Featuring two of West London’s finest bands, hailing from Uxbridge, Boris Johnson’s constituency no less. Can Johnson be unseated? Anything is possible, just vote! Those two bands are The Tuts and Colour Me Wednesday by the way. Then there is an excellent solo song offered by the insanely talented Nadia one of the three sassy, smart and powerful women that are the aforementioned Tuts. Then there is the incredible slow burn psychedelia of London band Glass Peaks with “Architect” their scary dystopian vision and wonderful put down of the British Government. There is a great track, “Vote For Me” from the Specials ‘Encore’ album and you will hear from the rather clever Captain Ska. Finally, it is Madness with “The Bullingdon Boys”. There was me thinking the Nutty Boys had become a bit establishment, but this proves that they haven’t! I won’t patronise you by telling you who to vote for, but it is probably obvious from this post who I won’t be voting for and probably who I will be voting for!

 

 
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