With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

‘Sinombré Volume Two: Broken Angels’ – Paul Miro September 10, 2018


How the hell have I not come across Paul Miro before? He is the front man of Apes, Pigs & Spacemen a band formed in Derby, UK way back in 1993. He has released a great collection of solo albums; Earthly Powers (2007), B.O.A.T.S. (2009), All Stripped Down (2009), Sometimes You Get, Sometimes You Get Got (2012) and Sinombré 1: All Hope Is Gone (2016). The latter is the first chapter which precedes his new record ‘Sinombré Volume Two: Broken Angels’. But it is not essential to listen to that to appreciate the new one. Miro is a busy man as he also produces music for radio, TV and film. This album is hard to slot into a genre. Some might say alt. rock and others might say alt. country. I feel that the heavier elements on display here steer it more in a rock direction. His voice on some songs has a resemblance to Michael Hutchence of INXS in His prime too. Notably on album opener “Nothing Left Here (Part III)” and “Give Something Back”. The alt.country element is perhaps at its strongest on “The Big Blowdown” which sounds how a collaboration between Robbie Robertson and Steve Earle might sound.

There is not a bad track in this stupendous collection of tunes. “Build My Gallows High” has tones of Paul Rodgers in his Free hey day and Nazareth at their mid 70s peak. There is an eerily undercurrent of menace on the weird and warped instrumental “Ghosthouse” and horror film soundtrack tune in the waiting “Dimestring” and the Germanic “Nichts Mehr Geben” (according to BabelFish translator that means nothing more giving). After a couple of listens “Blue Hour’s Red Light” is my favourite song here, but the competition is damned close, especially from title track “Broken Angel”. Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of Dan Lucas head honcho of Boss Caine, one of York’s finest musicians and an all round good guy. Well I think Mr Miro sounds very much like Mr Lucas on the sweeping epic that is “Dark Night Of The Soul”. Lyrically the record is deep and offers a highly accomplished use of language. The emotion evoked by “Too Late Now” and “Broken Angel” is palpable and sincere. Both songs left me feeling emboldened, empowered and hopeful. The guitar playing is diverse, powerful and ranges across every style of music. I totally recommend that you give this album a shot, if you love great music you will not be disappointed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latitude Festival 2018 Day 3 Sunday 15th July July 19, 2018


The third day of this spiffingly good Latitude Festival arrived way too soon. Black Honey opened the curtains on the Obelisk Arena Stage on Sunday lunchtime. This colourful and punky tribe pack a serious punch that could easily knock out some more established bands. With their début album due out some time soon they may well get the opportunity to be crowned champions. All too briefly the Lake Stage was a home from home for Caswell a Suffolk based singer songwriter who is a BRIT School alumni. She has a great band behind her and Caswell herself has a soaring vocal style that appears almost effortless. She croons every bit as well as Adele, although she takes a much more left field approach than West Norwood’s finest diva and another BRIT School alumni. The style is sophisticated and very classy R & B pop. This was apparently the largest crowd Caswell had ever played for and they totally nailed it.

Caswell

There was a fabulous vibe at the Lake Stage on Sunday, starting with Dylan Cartlidge. I reviewed his song “Scratch, Sniff” earlier this year for Northern Radar. (Click here to read it). What I said about that song then was ” If Beck was British this would be him. Weird, wonderful and deserves to be heard. Some vocal parts evoke Jeff Buckley and Hawksley Workman. A truly epic tune.” Now having seen Mr Cartlidge in the flesh it is clear that he is one very talented dude. As well as the aforementioned artists I felt a bit of Shuggie Otis in his style and songs. He has an immaculate talent for freestyling as well, not many other performers can freestyle as well as that, it was magnificent. I also had a brief chat with him later and that just hammered home what a great bloke he is. This was the first time that he had ever been to a festival. Given that he is only 22 I think he will be attending many more festivals as an artist rather than a punter.

Dylan Cartlidge

I stayed at the Lake Stage for the quirky and magical Girlhood. Two great female singers and a Vince Clarke/ Chris Lowe keyboard, beats, computer and synth boffin type dude. They have some absolutely impeccable songs which were perfectly delivered and they seemed to be having so much fun. I felt a faint echo of the Fugees about them. If you set out to dislike Girlhood I think it would be truly impossible. I took a more relaxing item in after my time at the Lake Stage, one of my favourite authors, Matt Haig was in conversation with Lisa Blower mostly about his new book ‘Notes On A Nervous Planet’. this was in the Speakeasy, he is a very warm, engaging and intelligent man. He clearly values integrity and has a wicked sense of humour. That book will be purchased by me very soon. The mighty Rag ‘N’ Bone Man was next up on the Obelisk Arena Stage. I had the opportunity to review his first album about six weeks before it was released last year and I played it to death. his songs and his outstanding voice are to die for. This is a blueprint for all modern soul singers. On top of that Rag ‘N’ Bone Man a.k.a. Rory Graham can rap in a very smart way and his ciphers are sharp. He delved into songs from his 2014 EP ‘Wolves’ along with the expected classic songs in the making from last years début album ‘Human’. Inevitably “Human” was probably the highlight for most of the swaying, adoring crowd and that is an amazing song. But already this guy has an exceptional collection of songs. “Hell Yeah” is explosive and hard-hitting and given the right production Rag ‘N’ Bone Man should be given the opportunity to record a Bond theme. I want to see him headline soon.

Girlhood

I returned to the Speakeasy after that spellbinding set from rag ‘N’ Bone Man. My wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman and I chanced upon Dickie Beau: A Pinch Of Notoriety Will Do. Dickie is a very open, very effeminate homosexual man. He is an Artist Research Fellow at the Queen Mary University of London and the Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre. His talk at Latitude focused on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Quentin Crisp’s landmark memoir ‘The Naked Civil Servant’ and explained in parallel with that the history of homosexuality, particularly in the UK. It was enlightening and fascinating even for an old straight bloke like me. Dickie will be coming to the big screen soon playing Kenny Everett in the upcoming Queen biopic. This was followed by a Salon London presentation ‘The Tao Of Jazz’ which featured Juliet Russell on vocals, jazz guitarist John Wheatcroft and philosopher Dr Julian Baggini. essentially it revolved around the performance of a number of jazz standards and how philosophy concepts lend themselves to jazz creation, performance and its iconic artists and performers. Our Latitude 2018 was rounded off by Rob Kemp’s ‘The Elvis Dead’. This show has won many awards since its first outing at the Edinburgh Fringe. What is it about? Well in simple terms it is a retelling of the 1987 horror movie ‘The Evil Dead II’ through the songs of Elvis Presley. It was beyond any doubt one of the cleverest and funniest things that I have ever seen. You have to see this if you get the chance. Sadly I missed one of the last performances of the weekend; Boss Caine one of York’s most talented artists at the Alcove Stage. An overdose of heat and alcohol meant that I fell asleep at my tent and didn’t wake up in time 🙂 But in spite of that it was another superb Latitude Festival and I am looking forward to next years already.

And it’s goodnight from me – Photo by Andy Golborne

 

Beans On Toast – The Crescent, York – Tuesday 8th May 2018 May 13, 2018


Having seen Beans On Toast a.k.a Jay McAllister at the Latitude Festival I knew that I would definitely take the opportunity to see him again. So as soon as I heard that he would be playing live in my adopted home city of York I was among the first in line for tickets. This gig at the Crescent was part way through a UK tour. The support for this tour is none other than Dan Lucas a.k.a Boss Caine, one of York’s finest musicians and songwriters. Boss Caine’s set was an understated masterpiece including songs new and old. He opened with “Ghosts and Drunks” an excellent new song, well new to me anyway. Perhaps my favourite was a little ditty about a friend with an addiction problem and how breakfast was with that person. It was called “Morphine And Marmalade” and it needs to be on the next Boss Caine album (are you listening Dan?). “Leaving Victoria” which Dan dedicated to Whispering Bob Harris is in my opinion one of Boss Caine’s finest tunes and it provokes so many emotions in me. While this was a Boss Caine solo acoustic set Dan was joined by a talented trumpeter for a rollicking romp through “Champagne” from his new album. This was a classic Boss Caine set that lined us all up nicely for Beans On Toast.

Beans On Toast has a habit/ tradition of releasing a new album every year on his birthday in December and this tour was to support the tenth anniversary of ‘Standing On A Chair’ his debut album from 2009. What? 2009? That’s not ten years I hear you say. Well Jay pointed out he miscalculated and hadn’t counted 2009 as year zero. But by the time he had realised everything had been booked. But 9th anniversaries are the new in thing aren’t they? As well as an incredible collection of amazing songs Jay provides some incredibly interesting between song stories. He opened with the delightful and very English “Afternoons In The Sunshine”. This was followed in quick succession by “Don’t Believe The Bullshit” and “Fuck The Smoking Ban”. Jay said that he had split the set into couplets of three songs but then he realised that couplet actually meant two not three. Self deprecation is a virtue and Beans On Toast has it in bundles. Incidentally he is now no longer in favour of fucking the smoking ban as he has given the nicotine up. He has a song about that too!

The song “Lizzie’s Cooking” (Lizzie is his partner) came about with an appearance on a German cooking TV show for which no one had told him that he was there to produce a meal from his recipe. Sticking with the culinary theme next up was “Eggs Benedict” which is in fact a song about sex with an older woman. He told a bloody hilarious story about a chant that began at a festival he had played, that chant was ‘get your dick out’. Jay tried that and almost dropped himself in it, but thankfully he lived to play another day and his tackle remained covered at all times! For me “M.D.M. Amazing” is one of my favourite Beans On Toast songs. Incredibly Jay revealed that some of the story in that song is bullshit. No way, surely  not! The magnificent Walker Sisters provided some excellent gymnastics to support the hilarious “Unlikely Gymnast”. “Nanny Mac” and “Major Oak” were poignant, beautiful and thought provoking. For “No Charlie” we were offered the chance to ‘make our own adventure’ and we chose for Jay to perform this brilliant slice of folky, acoustic reggae in a reggae voice. Bloody brilliant! I am a carnivore, but “The Chicken Song” does make you think how cruel meat processing is. Not many people have summed up the Royal Family in a song as well as Beans On Toast captures in “Harry In A Helicopter” about, yes you guessed it, Prince Harry. This was one of those wonderful gigs were I couldn’t stop smiling and singing for ages after leaving! My wonderful wife Catwoman a.k.a. Catherine absolutely loved the show as well! If you haven’t yet experienced a live set by Beans On Toast, you need to change that!

Obligatory public service announcement: all photographs were discovered via Google searches. If you are the photographer I am more than happy to credit them to you. All videos were found on YouTube.

 

The Big Boss Caine Album Launch Show – The Crescent, York – Saturday March 24th 2018 March 27, 2018


Earlier this month I was delighted to get the chance to review ‘Loved By Trouble, Troubled By Love’ the extraordinary new album from the mighty Boss Caine. (Click here to read that review) So given that I thought it was such a darned good album I was excited and filled with great expectations for the album launch show. Did I enjoy the show? Well dear reader you will have to read on to discover that. The gig was at one of York‘s finest venues, The Crescent and was promoted by talented and discerning promoter Joe Coates of Please Please You. First on the bill and all the way from London were the Swamp Stomp String Band an act that frankly it was impossible not to enjoy. They played some top tunes, many about booze and death, and had the audience a boppin’ and a rockin’ for their whole set. Their music is simple but oh so infectious and enjoyable, the between song banter is highly entertaining too. Essentially the Swamp Stomp String Band is two blokes, a Double Bass, a Guitar, A Banjo and a kazoo! You really ought to see them if you get the chance, I will definitely check them out again sometime.

The Swamp Stomp String Band

The second and final support act were the Snakerattlers who at one point claimed to come from hell, but actually they are from York. This is the second time that I have seen the Snakerattlers and they are a potentially very exciting live band. Their new album ‘This Is Rattlerock’ showcases their sound well and it will be interesting to see how they are able to develop that in future releases. The almost menacing thunder of Naomi’s drumming and the rumble of Dan’s psyched up rockabilly style guitar seemed to really hit the spot for many in tonight’s audience. I think that this is a very good band with the power and ability to become something much bigger. However one thing that is lacking for me is the engagement with their audience. Dan did make a couple of audience invasions but for me spending most of your set with your back to the crowd or side on to them doesn’t help when looking to interact with the punters. But apart from that this is clearly a talented band who are worth checking out if you haven’t already.

The Snakerattlers

Finally it was time for the main event the first live showcase of what I believe to be the finest Boss Caine album to date, ‘Loved By Trouble, Troubled By Love’. I have lost count of how many times I have played the album since receiving my link for review a few weeks ago, but pretty much every song gains an even more expansive life and sound scape when heard live. “Champagne” pulled the crowd in from the off and we were all completely mesmerised by a stunning full band performance. My favourite song from the record is still “Lonesome Crow” in which the build to a wrought emotional crescendo which hits your heart and your brain in equal measure surely cannot fail to move even the hardest of souls. Second track on the album “Evidence” has, for me, some of the best lyrics in a song for some while. I have found that “Where Good Things Go To Die” leads me down a winding lane of memory back to the town where I was born and grew up. Listening to this tune seems to dredge up a new memory of my teens every time that I hear it and standing in the crowd Saturday night I was swept with more recollection of all those now long distant pangs, pains and dilemmas of teenage angst. Dan had all of us singing along with absolute gusto to album closer “Smoking In My Backyard”. While that song meant that the ten tracks from this fine collection had been handsomely put to bed there was room for a couple of extra songs one of which was the soulful lament of “Leaving Victoria” from 2010’s Boss Caine album ‘The Ship That Sailed’. Tonight’s performance was the perfect way to launch a great album with all the potential to become a true classic. For me and many of the other lucky folk in the crowd this gig will live long in our heads. Boss Caine bossed it!

 

‘Loved By Trouble, Troubled By Love’ – Boss Caine March 10, 2018


It has been a long wait but finally we have a new album from the mighty Boss Caine. The album is called  ‘Loved By Trouble, Troubled By Love’, and oh boy has Boss Caine main man Dan Lucas shifted up the gears on this release. He has never released a dud album and this one takes the quality to a mountainous peak. The songwriting here is among the best you will find in the current generation of British musicians. If the previous albums built the foundations of the distinct and wonderful Boss Caine sound this album completes and finely decorates the first couple of floors.

The lyrics here are beyond just sharp and clever they are stories woven into song. “Champagne” and “Evidence” open the record and draw you deep into Boss Caine World where you will neither want or need to leave before the album finishes. For me”Champagne” evokes the very best of Dr John’s finest deep south cuts. If you want an inspiring and heart-felt love song then look no further than “Star Crossed Lovers”. It totally encapsulates what it feels like to have that special someone in your life. Of all the albums I have reviewed over the years this is the first that my wife has really loved from the first play. While the style here has some of the best ingredients of alt.country, Americana and electric folk it is still a very British sound. This is most notable on the title track “Loved By Trouble, Troubled By Love” where Lucas shares vocals with Edwina Hayes.

The words on “Where Good Things Go To Die” seem to be a reflection on life and experience and maybe how you have found your way in your life. It certainly stirred up some sadly nostalgic feelings of my youth. If choosing my favourite track from the whole album was a life or death issue then I would definitely opt for “Lonesome Crow” which builds up slowly, adding layers of instrumentation and orchestration on its journey to a sanguine and deeply hopeful crescendo-like close. At times Dan Lucas’ bass-like gravelly vocals bring memories of Johnny Cash and on “Better Ways To Get Free” maybe even Tom Waits. In fact I can imagine an on-form Rod Stewart recording a brilliant version of this song. All the songs in this collection were written by Daniel Lucas apart from the jaunty and happy “Bright Young Star” which was written especially for Boss Caine by the Temperance Movement‘s Phil Campbell. Melancholy album closer “Smoking In My Backyard” is perhaps one of the finest songs ever written about smoking. I have never smoked, but I can picture myself smoking a fat one while chilling to this!

After a couple of listens this feels like a greatest hits package that is made up of entirely new songs. The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Isaac McInnis at his Crooked Room Studio just outside of York. The record was produced by Isaac McInnis, Bradley Blackwell, and Daniel Lucas. It is already available on-line and the physical copies will be available very soon. Click here to get your hands on a copy, I have ordered mine! So tell me; Do you like Americana? Do you like Dr John? Do you like great British music? You do? In that case you will bloody love the new Boss Caine album!

 

A Night To Remember – York Barbican – Saturday 3rd March


As the oft used recent phrase says ‘some heroes don’t wear capes’; Ian Donaghy a.k.a Big Ian is one of those heroes. He is the man behind the excellent musical variety gig ‘A Night To Remember’ in York. It has just entered its fifth year with an incredibly emotional and fun show last Saturday, 3rd March. OK so why is Ian a hero for putting on shows like this, because he does it to support some amazing local charities and since 2014 his initiative and passion have helped to raise more than £100,000 for some very worthy causes; St.Leonards Hospice, Dementia Projects in York, Bereaved Children Support York & Accessible Arts & Media. All the very talented roster of artists gave their time for free for yet another sell out show. I have no idea why Mr Donaghey is called Big Ian but it is certainly clear that he is a man with a really big heart.

Artists who gave some excellent cover versions on the night included Heather Findlay, Jess Steel, Chris Helme (off of the Seahorses), Graham Hodge, Boss Caine,  Beth McCarthy, Annie D, Kieran O’Malley, These Jaded Streets and the inimitable Las Vegas Ken. Backing them all was a superb band of musicians led by George Hall. Big Ian was a fabulous host on the night and he also gave us some top tunes himself. He had us all loudly singing along at the end of the evening to the Joe Cocker arrangement of “With A Little Help From My Friends“, but for me Ian knocked the ball out of the park with a stunningly soulful take on Rag ‘n’ Bone Man‘s “Human”. The night was kicked off with a rather amusing and very supportive video from Ricky Wilson off of the Kaiser Chiefs there was another brilliant video later from DIY SOS kingpin Nick Knowles. That one certainly had a number of the women around me swooning. But the best videos were from people who will benefit directly from the money raised; the Bereaved Children Support Group told us all about the impact made on their lives by the group’s founder Jo Cole. “I Just Love Maltesers” helped explain how we should treat people living with dementia, through what was an amusing and very emotional clip.

Jess Steel put on her full Dusty Springfield vocals for a storming “Son Of A Preacher Man” and Ian’s daughter Annie showed her vocals could one day be a great match for her Dad’s with “This Is Me” from the current film ‘The Greatest Showman’. Boss Caine a.k.a. the very talented Dan Lucas interpreted two classic songs in a way that only he could. His “Tiny Dancer” was a great cover of a truly great song. Elton would have been very happy with that. Chris Helme was joined by Alan Leach off of Shed Seven on Drum’s for a chilled out sing along of “Que Sera Sera” and an electrifying “Never Tear Us Apart”, the INXS song. Chris Leach’s daughter was playing keyboards for them. We were also treated to a couple of songs from Archbishop Holgate’s School‘s production of ‘School Of Rock’. This had been postponed at the school by the snow, so Big Ian gave these lads and lasses a great opportunity to play to a massive crowd. Those kids took it well, I particularly enjoyed “Stick It To The Man”. Then of course how could Las Vegas Ken’s rendition of “My Old Man’s A Dustman” failed to have got you singing and dancing? I hurt my throat hollering that chorus. But my personal favourite highlight, and it was a close thing with so many excellent artists performing, was These Jaded Streets epic remodelling of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al”.

If you couldn’t make it on the night it is not too late to contribute to these fantastic causes, just click here and give whatever you can as Big Ian himself said on the night, don’t have that takeaway, give the pizza a miss and give a few quid here!

 

 

John Murry – The Basement, City Screen, York – Wednesday 20th September 2017 September 22, 2017


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I chanced upon John Murry’s “Wrong Man” a few weeks back on a cover mounted CD probably from Uncut magazine. I listened to all the tracks but had “Wrong Man” on repeat for half of my journey home from Hull to York. Later I checked this very talented artist out on Spotify and absolutely devoured everything Spotify (other streaming services are available) had to offer from Mr Murry. So I was incredibly excited to find out that John Murry, courtesy of Please Please You (nice work Joe) would be playing a show in York. I booked my ticket immediately!

Boss-Caine-750x500

I was doubly pleased when I found out that the support act was to be the marvelous Boss Caine. Daniel Lucas (Boss Caine Main Man) played an acoustic set consisting mainly of songs from his upcoming album, which now looks likely to get a release in November. Based on hearing a clutch of songs from that album I really believe that it will be something special. Daniel asked us to imagine the brass and string arrangements that would be applied to the songs in the studio. Frankly I could imagine all of that, but these songs are so damned good they work really well in an acoustic format too. For most of the set counter point vocals and harmonies were handled by the exquisitely talented Amy Greene The acoustic duo set up was at times reminiscent of Paul Heaton and Jacquie Abbott, but with a Boss Caine twist. These songs are classy story songs and who doesn’t love a story song? Mr Lucas is a great storyteller via the medium of his songs. Check out Boss Caine, you will not be disappointed.

John-Murry-1

As for John Murry, wow what can I say? Well back in the early 70s Jon Landau having witnessed Bruce Springsteen playing live said something along the lines of “I have seen the future of rock ‘n’ roll and its name is Bruce Springsteen”. Well John Murry isn’t Springsteen but he is a damned genius. If you like Nick Cave, maybe even Tom Waits, rock with a dark side and an immensely dry wit you will love this guy. The band is a bunch of highly talented musicians and it is set up in quite an interesting way. One of the keyboard players switches to drums on some songs and on those numbers the drummer switches to bass guitar. So not just a multi talented group but also a group of multi instrumentalists too. Murry’s guitar playing channels a power source from a parallel dimension where David Lynch is President of the USA.

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When I first heard John Murry I had no idea of his nationality. In my head he sounded a little Celtic, maybe Scottish or Irish, but in fact he hails from Tupelo, Mississippi. Although he now lives in Ireland. I am not yet familiar with all his songs but the previously mentioned “Wrong Man” was stunning. I also loved the psyched version of Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks Of My Tears” that was woven into the opening song. “The Ballad Of The Pajama Kid” taken from his first album ‘The Graceless Age” has a haunting, ageless, grace (apologies for that hint of plagiarism on my part) that hangs around in your head like a long lost friend. I bought John Murry’s new album ‘A Short History Of Decay’ from the merch stand and I have played it six or seven times already. For me this is a contender for album of the year. I urge you to check out John Murry if you haven’t already, in fact I don’t urge you, I bloody well order you to find him and check him out live, on record or both.

 

 

 
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