With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Forever” – Apollo Junction May 6, 2020

Those delightful and extremely talented chaps known collectively as Apollo Junction released a new single a couple of weeks ago. It is called “Forever” and it is the first single to be taken from their yet to be released second album. It is close to being a perfect lockdown anthem. It is upbeat, has a happy vibe, and a great singalong hook. I dare you to listen to it and not end up with a smile or singing along. If you do manage to frown and not sing along with this fabulous tune then you probably need to seek help. “Forever” is another leap forward for the band after the success of their first album ‘Mystery’ released at the end of last year.

The song evokes the best of 80s and 90s pop-rock and the kind of songs that many of the best British bands used tow write with ease in their prime; the Kinks, Small Faces, Oasis, Blur, and many more. I love the jangly indie guitars and a bass line that James Jamerson would have been proud of. The song is accompanied by a great video filmed by videographers Yorkshire Folk prior to lockdown. The film features drone footage of many Leeds’ landmarks such as Kirkstall Abbey, Roundhay Park, Headingley Stadium, and obviously, Elland Road. Put Apollo Junction on your list of gigs to see post lockdown, you will not regret it, you may even see me there! Jamie, Matt, Ben, Jonathan and Sam, I will see you on the other side of this!

The pictures were found via Google if one of them is yours and you would like it removed or would like a credit please let me know.

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Apollo Junction (Acoustic) – Vinyl Cafe, York – Friday 21st February 2020 March 2, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:59 pm
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Another intimate gig at the fabulous Vinyl Cafe in York, this time Leeds band Apollo Junction headlined with an acoustic set. But more about them later as there were also a couple of pretty decent support acts. First up was singer-songwriter Toby Burton. He has a rich, almost baritone voice. His songs are story songs, almost exclusively sad stories. Highlights for me were “The Middle” and “Shining”. He has a new single, “All Night Long” out this month. In fact compared to all the other songs in his set this was moderately happy at times. He was also amusingly self-deprecating about his merch, which was CDs. He said that they made good coasters. I felt that I heard shades of another vocalist in his delivery and tone, it took me a while to think of who, but I can sense some Martin Rossiter vibes within Toby’s voice. I would really like to see Toby playing with a full band, I think it will give his songs greater depth and strength.

Next on stage were a band playing only their fourth gig, spookily enough I was at the third gig just the night before. I am talking about Grapefruit Eyes, a band that I can now genuinely say that I have seen 50% of all their gigs so far! Regular readers will know that I am a fan of this band and their previous incarnation, Neon Salmon. The music is built using samples, drum machine sounds, guitar, bass and for this show softer drums. George’s voice gets better every time and sometimes pitches towards Thom Yorke at his finest. Grapefruit Eyes certainly appear a bit more experimental than Neon Salmon. They fuse prog, dance, chill-out, and rock into their musical melting pot and from that they cook up a sound like no other bands around at the moment. They can move from slightly left-field Pink Floyd style to pre-commercial George Benson (around the time of “Breezin'”) in a heartbeat. I can also sense a bit of Edwyn Collins and Orange Juice in their vibe too. This will definitely not be the last time I see Grapefruit Eyes!

Finally, it was time for Apollo Junction to strut their acoustic stuff. I have never seen a five-piece band play this venue, so I was a little concerned as to how they would all fit in, but in the end, they did fit, a looked a bit cosy at times though. Jamie has a great voice that contains passion, soul and power. They did a cracking cover of the Who’s “Substitute” with some moderate audience participation, stronger from those of us who were around when that single was originally released! We had some real full-throated crowd singalong with an epic take on “Always Remember” which included Jamie wandering into the crowd. The band aired some new songs and judging from how they sounded on the night “Are You Happy” and “Time Is Coming Around” show great promise for the next Apollo Junction album. I should also publicly apologise to the band for not getting around to reviewing their first album, ‘Mystery’ when it was released late last year. But let me state categorically that it really is a fucking awesome album that you need to check out! It is full of pulverising (in a good way) choruses and hooks, they take the best of the likes of New Order, Depeche Mode and ABC and make it their own The band’s “In Your Arms” currently soundtracks the BBC’s Football Focus show which is a proper achievement, not every band gets that kind of exposure. This was an amazing set by a truly talented band. Apollo Junction are heading upwards at speed and on the evidence of tonight, they will definitely be going much further!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android phone. Except for the Grapefruit Eyes picture, that was taken by my wife Catherine on her 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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Tom Hingley and the Karpets – Fibbers, York – Saturday 3rd November 2018 November 11, 2018

This night would mark my second opportunity to see the rather brilliant Skylights from York and also serve to remind me of just how old I am. Why the latter? Well I realised that the first time that I ever saw Tom Hingley was at the Reading Festival in 1990 when he was the lead singer of the Inspiral Carpets. They headlined that year and no doubt I also caught a glimpse, without knowing, of their guitar tech; a young Noel Gallagher. That is nearly 30 years ago! Anyway enough of all that reminiscing how about I tell you about this gig at the Crescent? Well first l I should apologise for missing the Feds who were first on the bill. The ticket said 8 p.m. and I got there just before that only to find that the Feds had hit the stage at 7:15. Oh well I will need to catch them another time. The second band on were Apollo Junction from Leeds and they are purveyors of fine, quality pop rock. The audience was not a bad size at this point but everyone was congregated around the two raised spaces leaving the main floor empty. However this did not deter Apollo Junction who had already suffered one setback as their keyboard player, Sam was too unwell to join them. Not only were they not deterred they were positively inspired with three of the band; Jamie, Matt and Ben coming on to the floor to continue their set. Drummer Jonathan was left on his tod on the stage. This is a band with a hell of a future. They are Gareth Bale’s favourite band don’t you know!

Apollo Junction

The immensely talented Skylights were up next to play what is possibly their last show in York for sometime as they will be operating out of Leeds going forward. So did they play like it was their last home town gig for a while? They sure as shit did, they totally owned the audience and shook Fibbers to its core. There is no slow build up with this band they hammer you into submission from the opening bars. They are able to do that for a number of reasons, first their songs are anthemic, memorable and sit in your head after the first listen. Secondly this is one of the tightest bands around. Myles and Jonny on bass and drums  are a powerhouse rhythm section with what seems like an innate ability to achieve perpetual motion. Meanwhile it is in the live setting that you really can appreciate what a latent talent Turnbull has as a guitarist. His riffing and soloing swirls over every song more akin to the contribution of Johnny Marr to the Smiths or Bernard Butler to Suede. Add to that the stylish and very British rock vocals and a stage presence that draws from Liam Gallagher (back in the days when Liam was great) from  front man Rob and you have a potent combination of potential greatness! “YRA” and “What You Are” were most definitely particular highlights for me.

Finally it was time for headline band Tom Hingley and the Karpets. I have been an Inspiral Carpets fan for many years but while I have seen them with and without Tom I had never seen Tom on his own. Mr Hingley’s opening statement was a heartfelt plea or perhaps more like a strict order to “GET TO THE FUCKING FRONT” over the sounds of “Commercial Reign” from 1990, and it worked, everyone moved forward as one. I suspect that everyone in the crowd was glad that they did move as well because that is the place to experience something as marvellous as this. All of the greatest Inspiral Carpets songs were aired; “She Comes In The Fall”, “Dragging Me Down”, “Bitches Brew” and “I Want You”. That last one made me realise how much the world misses Mark E Smith who contributed vocals to the original release. The set would have been incomplete with what is for me the greatest song the Inspiral Carpets ever recorded, “Saturn V”. I gave myself a sore throat singing along to that. There was an excellent cover of “Tainted Love” which was interestingly preceded by a few bars of the Joan Jett/ Arrows hit “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll”. The evening was brought to an emotional close with the emotional roller coaster of “This Is How It Feels”. A quick special mention to bass player Ste Pearce who kindly topped up my plastic wine bottle from his bottle of white wine from the rider. Tom Hingley is a supremely talented performer who knows his audience so very well. I met him briefly at the merch stand after the show where he kindly signed the book and CD that I bought. Based on the show tonight and that brief meeting I reckon Mr Hingley is a top bloke!

Public Service Announcement: – All photographs were taken and edited by me using my cheap android phone from China. All videos were found on YouTube. If one of the videos is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be taken down please let me know.




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