With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“But what the heck, they’re not too bad, they talk to God” January 24, 2018


I am truly saddened by the death of Mark E Smith of the Fall. He was one of the alternative music scenes greatest talents. He passed away at home and according to his manager more details will follow in the next few days. He was hospitalised with significant respiratory issues on the Fall’s US tour last year and back in the UK he completed some dates in a wheelchair. At this stage there is no way of knowing whether any of this was connected with his demise. Mark formed the Fall after seeing the now infamous Sex Pistols gig at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1976, they became a fixture in British music following the release of their debut EP ‘The Bingo-Masters Break Out’ in 1978. The band released 32 studio albums from ‘Live At The Witch Trials’ in 1979 to last year’s ‘New Facts Emerge’. They issued a similar number of live albums and more than 40 compilations. Smith was the only constant member of the Fall, around 60 different people played in the band over the years. He was an influence on many, many artists including Brett Anderson of Suede, Tim Burgess of the Charlatans and Billy Bragg. John Peel was a great champion and fan of the Fall, he once said “They are always different, they are always the same”, that strikes me as a very fitting epitaph. RIP Mark E Smith, you will be sadly missed. My thoughts go to Mark’s family, friends and fans.

 

Billy Bragg & Joe Henry – Grand Opera House, York – Tuesday January 24th 2017 January 26, 2017


87-atxl

Almost a year ago Billy Bragg and Joe Henry travelled from Chicago to Los Angeles, a journey of nearly 3,000 miles where they got deep into the largely American tradition of railroad songs. Their new album resulted from this trip as they stopped off at famous and yet dying stations en route to record. In America the aeroplane has effectively killed off long distance rail travel. As Billy and Joe informed us, it is no longer to get a passenger train to Nashville. They played two sets tonight. The first had both showcasing songs from the album and ended with a few solo songs from Joe Henry. The second started with some solo tunes from Billy Bragg and then finished with the two of them singing together.

maxresdefault

The show kicked off with “Railroad Bill” a chugging little traditional tune. My favourites from the joint part of the first set were “John Henry” a brilliant traditional song with a great story in the lyric. They did not confine themselves to old traditional tunes though, there was also a marvellous arrangement of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain”. I had never seen this as a railway song, but listening to it at the gig and later it clearly is. The stories that Joe and Billy told between the songs were at times as entertaining as the tunes themselves. Both of them share an encyclopaedic knowledge of and passion for music and that makes the whole performance so meaningful.

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry perform live at the 2016 Non-COMMvention in Philadelphia.

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry perform live at the 2016 Non-COMMvention in Philadelphia.

I must confess that I knew little about Joe Henry before tonight, but I am most definitely a fan now. His own songs are incredibly good, especially “Trampoline” and “After The War”. But what really blew myself and my beautiful wife Catherine (a.k.a. Catwoman) away was his stunning cover of Allen Toussaint‘s “Freedom For The Stallion”. Joe was a close friend of the late, great Mr Toussaint which made this even more poignant. Williambloke took the stage after a brief interval to open the second set and he was on his usual top form politically. To showcase that he opened with a recently written take on Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changin'”. He added “….back” to the end of the title and the new lyrics are a very clever and very effective dig at the new orange president in the USA. Billy covered and Anais Mitchell song called “Why We Build The Wall” and that is one of the most thought-provoking songs that I have heard in a long while. He also did some of his own songs; “Between The Wars” and “Accident Waiting To Happen”

images

After that Billy and Joe came back together for some more railway tunes and stories. This included covers of Carter Family and Hank Williams songs “Railroading On The Great Divide” and “Lonesome Whistle”. There were also two Leadbelly covers, first with “Rock Island Line” which most people in the UK recall as a Lonnie Donegan song. The second of the Leadbelly songs was “Midnight Special” a song that I have heard many, many times but I never knew any of the history of it. Apparently it has its roots in the story of an US prison which was close to a point on the track where trains took a turn. If this happened at night the light of the train would scan across the prison and it was said that the prisoner who was bathed in that light would be the next one to be given parole. Now I don’t know whether that actually happened but it is a great story.

billy-bragg-joe-henry-shine-a-light-field-recordings-from-the-american-railroad

Mr Bragg and Mr Henry left the stage briefly before returning for the obligatory encore. “Gentle On My Mind” a song made famous was first. This is yet another song that I never saw as a railroad song until tonight. Bob Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” was nicely arranged and played. The show closed with a magnificent Woody Guthrie cover from his dust bowl years; “Ramblin’ Round”. This in many ways was more of a relaxing show than a rousing and loud one. But I bloody loved it and I urge you to go and see Billy and Joe if you get the chance, or at least get yourself a copy of their ‘Shine A Light’ album.

 

Latitude Festival 2016 Day 2 Saturday 16th July July 26, 2016


latitude_festival_2016_-_line_up_poster

I think I enjoy camping, and camping it up as well, obviously! The lack of a shower over this whole weekend was not something I looked forward to, but one lives with it and let’s face it, it is very much a first world problem. After another delightful breakfast with the gang we set off to the main site where I started the day with a delicious Dirty Chai. If you haven’t read my previous posts I should point out that this is nothing perverted, it is simply a Chai Latte with on or two shots of Espresso added to it. Many of us kicked the day off in the Literature tent for an overview of ‘The Life Project’ by Helen Pearson. It is about a study that began in 1946 that included all the babies born in a particular week in March and staying in touch with them to understand their development throughout the years. The exercise was repeated every twelve years with two notable exceptions; 1982 and 2016. The reasons for those gaps in the study seem largely to be the Thatcher government and current austerity measures respectively. Nonetheless this remains the biggest study of its kind ever.

Oh wait? Did I not tell you that Latitude has pink sheep? (Photo courtesy of my delightful, delovely wife Catwoman a.k.a Catherine)

Oh wait? Did I not tell you that Latitude has pink sheep? (Photo courtesy of my delightful, delovely wife Catwoman a.k.a Catherine)

After that I thought I needed a musical interlude so I wandered off to the Sunshine Arena for Pumarosa. They delivered a very festival friendly summer sound. A kind of dreamy hypno-trance. Is that a new combo genre? I really don’t know. But if you want a reference point I found them musically reminiscent of the Beloved. Pumarosa’s lead vocalist is a supremely talented singer and a musical whirling dervish to boot. I look forward to seeing this band again some time. Being British the next thing I did was very stereotypical. I saw a queue near the Alcove stage and joined it thinking I was lining up to go into the Alcove. However I was wrong I was one of the lucky folk to visit the DIY Den for a brilliant acoustic set from the singer and mainstay of Frightened Rabbit. A really intimate set, I loved it and I think I might have become a Frightened Rabbit fan as a result.

frightened rabbit

I popped into the Comedy tent next where I caught a proper laugh out loud Aussie comedienne, Felicity Ward. But it was time for more music after that so I dashed across to the BBC 6 Music stage where I was hoping to see Ratboy, however the programme timings were wrong so I missed him. I did see the DMAs though who were bloody good. They offer a sunny indie pop sound with some great earworms in their sing along choruses. Back to the Sunrise Arena which I do believe is my favourite stage. Here I saw The Very Best. Now if you call your band The Very Best you either have to be very confident in your abilities or stupidly arrogant. This lot are most definitely not stupidly arrogant. Are they as good as their name suggests? Definitely and possibly even a bit better. They are made up of Swedish, British and Malawian musicians and as a result they take the best of Swedish Pop, the best of African music and they mix it up with an inherent ability to party. They handled a brief loss of sound immensely well with a quick switch to acoustic delivery. I loved their song “We Okay” which in my opinion deserves to become a festival anthem.

I made my first visit to the BBC Introducing stage after that to catch an excellent set from Vincent Burke a highly recommend friend of Barbara (one of our festival gang). He even got a decent round of applause for his sound check. I loved his songs and he has a great voice. He seemed a little nervous but clearly won the crowd over. I doubt that anyone walked away from his set disappointed, I certainly didn’t. His songs are terrific. “He Paid To Have Himself Murdered”is a truly excellent and quirky story song. He also has a truly moving protest song in “Remembrance Day”. It feels like Vincent comes from a long line of great British singer songwriters from Cat Stevens, through Clifford T Ward, Billy Bragg and many more. Next it was a must see for me in the Film and Music tent. This is one that I had really been looking forward to. Cassette Boy vs. DJ Rubbish, a comedy disco that was clever, topical, political, entertaining and truly bloody hilarious. I danced solidly for more than an hour. Can Latitude ever top this? I doubt it. All together now “all the dinner ladies, all the dinner ladies”.

vincent burke

Rob Auton’s Sleep Show was a highly rated event in the Poetry tent. It certainly succeeded in sending me to sleep. Th first few minutes were okay, but after that it was like watching paint dry. Thankfully there was still the Cabaret stage to come. This time for a fabulous set from Johnny Woo – The Glory. This was alternative, comedy entertainment at its best, especially the death of Princess Diana sketch. So the further demise of Diana it was time for the sun to set on another excellent day at Latitude and back to our tent corral for cheese and wine. Yes this is a truly brilliant festival, albeit a tad middle class!

 

 

The Levellers (Acoustic) – Leeds Town Hall Friday 27th February 2015 February 28, 2015


10928998_10152966617686427_6959324915148610884_n

How many times do you come across a band for the first time or hear them for the first time in ages or see them live for the first time and realise just how many bloody good songs they have released over the years? It doesn’t happen often for me, but the Levellers are definitely an exception to that. Whilst I had always been aware of them I had never been an avid follower. But tonight it dawned on me just how strong their repertoire is.

Levellers 2008 - 2010

I went to the gig with my beautiful and delightful wife Catwoman (a.k.a Catherine) and our friends Sarah and Kev. The evening started with a new documentary about the band and their history. Jeremy Cunningham the band’s bass player was one of the most vocal in the film along with his fabulous parents. The documentary was fascinating and included some great detailed information and insights into who the band really are. All the current and previous Levellers were very candid in the film, most notably Jeremy. They have stuck by their principles and despite having a run of seven platinum albums have never been an ‘establishment’ band; thankfully. The film covers their early days, first appearance at Glastonbury and even the turd that was sent to then NME scribe Andrew Collins. At 78 minutes it was close to being a little too long but I loved it. The film is called ‘A Curious Life’ and I believe that it gets a DVD release on 27th April.

images

The film screening was followed by a Q & A with the director Dunstan Bruce (formerly front man of Chumbawumba) and Jeremy Cunningham. This was soon followed by a fantastic acoustic set from the Levellers. The venue was seated but people were agitating to dance and stomp from the off, although security were very quick to keep everyone in their seats. However about halfway through the show that thankfully became impossible and we were all up singing along and dancing. The atmosphere was electric; which is quite funny for an acoustic show isn’t it?

The Levellers

I don’t know all of the songs  but some that I do know were supremely performed; “The Boatman”, “Truth Is” and “Edge Of The World” are among my favourites. Whilst they didn’t play one of my favourites “One Way” it was still a storming set with the anthemic “Carry Me” being a part of the encore. Since getting home from the gig I have begun to work my way through all the Levellers albums on Spotify. They also have a greatest hits set available which includes collaborations with Bellowhead, Imelda May, Billy Bragg and Frank Turner. Would I pay to see the Levellers again some time? Fuck yeah!

As regular readers know that as I prefer to enjoy the show rather than look at it through the lens of my mobile phone none of the pictures or films were taken by me and many were not from the gig. That part has been a public service announcement 🙂

 

The Tuts – Wharf Chambers, Leeds – Thursday 27th March 2014 March 28, 2014


tuts - wharf chambersThe Tuts are headlining their own exclusive UK tour in some excellent and intimate venues. I had the opportunity to see them play live again last night. The last time I saw them they were supporting Kate Nash at Fibbers in York back in early 2013. Things have gone well for them since then. They have another EP out next month and an album next year. I can hardly wait! On top of that they met the great Billy Bragg at Glasto last year and he has bagged them a slot on the left field stage for this years Glasto. If you’re there in June DO NOT MISS THEM! THAT IS AN ORDER!

jesusandhisjudgementalfatherAnyway more of the Tuts later, because they also had some great support. Unfortunately I only caught the last song from Elopes but they did sound pretty feisty. Sorry folks I’ll blame the train for missing your set. The other support band won me over with their name before they had even played a note. They are called Jesus And His Judgemental Father. How good is that name? Often when seeing a band for the first time, especially if I’ve not heard them before, I look for influences. I did that with Jesus And His Judgemental Father (I just felt like repeating that excellent name! For me there were shades of the Beat, Blink 182, 80s metal, the Pogues and I could probably come up with more. But for every small trace of influences they show they have stacks more originality. Harriet from the Tuts said that they sounded like the type of band that might appear at the High School dance in an 80s or 90s teen horror flick. That works for me. They are a really tight and very together band with a fabulously talented guitarist. The drummer showed support for Pussy Riot with the bright red balaclava. Given the chance I will definitely pay to see this band again and I bought their album last night too. It’s bloody good!

tutsandjenIt was fantastic to see the Tuts headlining at last. They are well worth that top slot. Fun, funky, punky and different they are the Tuts and there is no one quite like them. Their cover of the Clash’sRudie Can’t Fail” would make Joe Strummer proud. They were even joined on stage by Jen Doveton, Harriet’s sister from Colour Me Wednesday for one song. Their own songs top tunes. I was still singing “Tut Tut Tut” in my head when I woke up this morning and “Dump Your Boyfriend” has probably been number one in the charts for weeks in a parallel universe where there is no shit like the X Factor on TV. These girls ooze talent and charisma and if they don’t make it to even bigger stages and audiences soon then there is no justice. Harriet, Bev and Nadia good luck with the rest of the tour, Glastonbury and York in October. I need more details about the latter obviously! If the Tuts are playing in a venue near you just get off your lazy arse and go and see them. You will not regret it!

They might look like angels but they rock like fuck when they're on stage!

They might look like angels but they rock like fuck when they’re on stage!

Enhanced by Zemanta
 

“Did it rain or did sunshine attend out first meeting?” – Advent day 14 December 14, 2013


advent_14I hope you all got through Friday 13th without any disasters, especially the superstitious among you. Anyway it’s now December 14th which means you are about to get your next helping of the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Advent calendar number themed posts. You will have guessed by now that todays songs include the number fourteen in their titles.

Billy-BraggThe Bard of Barking brings the first song for today with “The Fourteenth Of February”. The track is taken from Billy’s 1996 album ‘William Bloke’ which made it to number 16 in the UK album charts. In 2008 at the NME Awards show Billy duetted with another great English singer songwriter and activist, Kate Nash. They played Kate’s “Foundations” and Billy’s “A New England”. I saw Billy Bragg play live in the 80s and I saw Kate play live in York and at the Reading Festival this year. In York she unleashed her storming support band, the fabulous Tuts!

beck01lgTodays second song is from Beck Hansen and is taken from his fourth studio album ‘One Foot In The Grave’ released in 1994. (Is Beck a Victor Meldrew fan by any chance?). The song is called “Fourteen Rivers, Fourteen Floods”. The album never charted because it preceded his big breakthrough. Beck’s mother Bibbe Hansen was part of Andy Warhol’s circle and she appeared in a few Warhol films. When Beck dropped out of school he took a number of menial jobs which included; Truck Loader and Leaf Blower Operator.

 

“With your bonuses and expenses you shovelled down your throat. Now you bit the hand that fed you Dear God I hope you choke” January 3, 2012


I’d like to thank my friend Stuart O’Hara for suggesting the theme of this post. Edwyn Collins once said ‘too many protest singers, not enough protest songs’. Strangely that was a lyric from his 90s hit “A Girl Like You” which doesn’t seem to be a protest song itself. That dear reader is the thrust of this blog post; where are all the protest singers and protest songs? The world economy is collapsing, riot and revolution is rife, wars and indiscriminate bombings are commonplace and UK politics is at best inept and the USA is trillions of dollars in debt and dancing with the idea of electing an idiotic republican candidate far more stupid than even Dubya was. So where are all the protests from the music world?

Aside from the fact that a legitimate protest song would probably not get played on mainstream radio and would need to ‘go viral’ on-line, where the hell are they? Where are this generation’s Woody Guthries, Pete Seegers, Bob Dylans and Billy Braggs? OK I know there have been a few good attempts since the Specials summed up Britain in song in 1981 with “Ghost Town”. Notably “Killing In The Name Of” from Rage Against The Machine and perhaps “American Idiot” from Green Day. But what happened to the establishment/ ‘the man’ being scared of rock music? It’s all become too corporate and bland.

U2 and Coldplay have tried to use their muscle to protest against various wrongs in the world, but frankly are their hearts really in it? Radiohead have supported the free Tibet campaign amongst others, but could they do more? Dylan is getting too old, Bragg doesn’t have the fanbase size required (but is still flying the flag), Springsteen and Weller have been quiet of late on the protest front and Marvin Gaye, Marley, Lennon and Strummer are sadly no longer with us.

The environment must be right for a new movement to shake up the old order just like punk did in the 70s and rave and grunge did in the 80s and 90s. The charts are stuffed full of manipulated, impresario created pop muppets; Little Mix, Matt Cardle, Olly Murs etc. It is time to stand up and be counted good people of the blogosphere. We need some strong protest songs to unite all those fighting for freedom and change. Let’s shake up that complacent bunch of career politicians in Westminster and political ivory towers across the world. Frank Turner, Show Of Hands, Neil Young you can do this we need you now! Will somebody please step forward?

In the meantime here are some classic protest songs. I would love to hear your opinions of protest songs and singers;

 

 
Duplicate My Success

How to be successful in internet marketing.

Survival Minds

Learn How To Survive Any Disaster Situation

Small Songs With Feeling

A blog for small songs sung badly about important things.

MELODIES PHYSICS

Akshay Kumar Das

Sheila Renee Parker

Author. Paranormal. Romance. Fantasy. Follow Sheila on Twitter! @sheilarparker

The Adventures of Mister Undersnag

Text, music, drawings, and photos on this blog are created by Alex Markovich. Alex Markovich. 39 y.o. Russia. Scriptwriter, author, lecturer, SCI-FI THEATER director. A regular guest on “Radio of Russia” and “Radio Mayak”. MarkovichUniverse AT gmail DOT com

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

Westelle's Evie Vee, 22 years in UK (Vonckist)

Belgian Revolutionalist from the Brabant uprise / pro artis and focus / anti NWO

DJ OTENIO

I play we groove!

MovieBabble

The Casual Way to Discuss Movies

MovieBabble

The Casual Way to Discuss Movies

American / Unionist

Evenhanded insight on political, cultural and scientific affairs

Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

O' Canada

Reflections on Canadian Culture From Below the Border

Soul On Rice

A Prison Experience and Post-Prison Mentality

Wolff Poetry | Poems - Resources for Beginning Writers

Linda J. Wolff is poet & founder of Wolff Poetry. 75% Original Poems & the Go-To Source of Basic and Advance Writing Tools

MELODIES PHYSICS

Akshay kumar

%d bloggers like this: