With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Enter Shikari – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC – Friday 2nd February 2018 February 4, 2018


After this blog’s first taste of a gig outside the UK  late last year I felt that it might be time for another. So while I found myself in New York for a business trip I thought I would lighten the tedium of work and get myself over to Brooklyn to see one of my favourite bands, the magnificent Enter Shikari. The Music Hall of Williamsburg is a 550 capacity venue so this was probably the smallest crowd I have seen Enter Shikari play to. I think this is probably the eighth or ninth time that I have seen them since catching them at Download in 2006 (at least I think it was then!). They are a band that seem to have bags of energy and I was really excited to see this displayed on a smaller stage to a smaller crowd. But before I tell you about Enter Shikari let me tell you about the two rather fabulous support bands.

First up were Milk Teeth all the way from Stroud in Gloucestershire in the UK. If you like your rock punky, grungey and hard-hitting then look no further than this tight and talented four piece. Becky Blomfield has the potential to become one of the finest female vocalists of her generation and Oli Holbrook is an outstanding drummer. The layered guitar attack of axemen Chris Webb and Billy Hutton underpins British punk at its finest. Then of course there are the songs, any band that can mention cats and swear jars in their lyrics gets an extra vote from me.

The second support act were the Single Mothers from Ontario in Canada. If you like the Talking Heads, Jonathan Richman, the Stranglers and the Pixies then you will definitely find something to love in this band. They began a mosh circle mania and a spate of crowd surfing that became even more manic once Enter Shikari took the stage. Singer Andrew Thomson never stops moving and is highly skilled at interacting with the crowd. Thomson formed the band in 2008 and then left for a few years in 2011 to go and prospect for gold in a Ontario town called Swastika, who knew?

 

The stage lights are dimmed and for five minutes or so we are treated to ‘The Spark’ from the current album of the same name. This is skillfully interspersed with sound samples from what sounds like a British World War two film, this all drives the anticipation upwards and the excitement of the audience was so palpable you could almost touch it. After that it was the full on Enter Shikari juggernaut hitting the crowd full on, albeit with “Juggernaut” not actually getting and airing on the night. Particular highlights for me were the three songs in a row starting with “Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour…”, moving on to “Take My Country Back” followed by “The Last Garrison”. Then later “Anaesthetist” totally blew the crowd away. By this time there was a virtual sea of kids crowd surfing to the stage to stand by Rou and the boys before diving back into the audience. Rou left the stage twice to serenade the crowd, once from the raised balcony at the side of the stage and later from the upper balcony facing the stage. The encore was stunning, with a particularly stunning version of “Live Outside”. The night ended with a short solo rendition from Rou of the Beatles “All You Need is Love”. I left the venue with a smile on my face as I always doing after seeing Enter Shikari, who I believe are one of the greatest British bands around at the moment.

Public service announcement; the pictures of Milk Teeth and Single Mothers were taken with my phone. Pictures of Enter Shikari are sourced via Google and all videos were found on YouTube.

 

Pumarosa @ Baby’s Allright, Brooklyn, New York, USA – Tuesday 10th October 2017 October 12, 2017

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 8:24 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

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I am proud to announce that ‘With Just A Hint Of Mayhem’ has gone international, well the following is a review of a rather outstanding gig I attended while on a business trip to the Big Apple. Which makes it the first non UK gig reviewed on this site. I am also really delighted that it features the barnstorming Pumarosa, one of the finest British bands around. But before I get to them let me tell you about the support band Homebody from Greenfield, Massachusetts. Ethereal and otherworldly singer Haley Morgan may have been created by someone splicing DNA from Bjork and Patti Smith with a sprinkle of Toyah Wilcox. At times she comes across like Kate Bush on speed, but in a very good way. Haley’s outfit was very ‘out there’ and appeared to have been created from net curtain or wedding veil material. The soundscape is provided by Eric Hnatow and it evokes the very early releases of the Human League. Eric maintains a stoic and serious face rocking like a bald Ron Mael off of Sparks. They have some first-rate tunes and frankly how could you not love a song such as “Tits To The Sky”?

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As for Pumarosa, well this is the third time I have seen them in the last 90 days; firstly at the Latitude Festival in July, the Leeds Festival in August and now in New York in October. I know that the band have supported Glass Animals on some US dates in the past, but I am not sure if this US headline visit (which also includes dates in Mexico) constitutes their first shows in their own right across the pond. But they sure as hell played Brooklyn like it was their first US headline show. Baby’s Allright is not an enormous venue (capacity 280) and it wasn’t totally full, although I reckon there may have been in excess of 150 people there, maybe even 180. Pumarosa blew the house down from the moment they hit the stage. To hear them play the soaring, immense tune that is “Priestess” live is rapidly becoming a spiritual experience. Tonight was no exception and I was captivated with the amount of locals in the audience that clearly knew a lot about the band as evidenced by them singing along and dancing for the whole set.

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In previous reviews I have likened this band to Siouxse Sioux, Kate Bush and early Roxy Music (particularly given the occasional burst of Andy Mackayesque saxophone) but it is blatantly obvious that they are much more than that. Pumarosa are thrillingly original in performance, style and flair, their stage presence shows polish, elegance, grit and bravura. I have been listening to their glorious debut album ‘The Witch’ since I first saw them in July and while “Priestess” remains my favourite song in the words of Blink182 this album is most definitely ‘All Killer No Filler’. I absolutely adore “Lion’s Den”, a song which becomes far more than the sum of its supremely good parts when played live. Closer “Snake” rocked like a demon on speed and left us all wanting more. In my opinion Pumarosa are one of the best British bands on the scene at the moment and they are on the cusp of what I hope will be monumental success. I expect to see them higher up the festival bills in the UK next year and if they have not headlined a stage at Reading/ Leeds Festival by 2020 I promise to print this post out and eat it. If you have not yet encountered Pumarosa then do everything in your power to change that as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed!

 

Public service announcement. The Pumarosa pictures (obviously apart from the poster) were taken using my little mobile and the Homebody picture was taken by my friend and colleague Erik Futtrup 🙂 All videos were sourced from Youtube.

 

 
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