With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Graeme Clark – National Centre for Early Music (NCEM) – York – Wednesday 5th September 2018 September 6, 2018


Thanks to those excellent people at showfilmfirst myself and the wonderful Catwoman a.k.a. Catherine had the opportunity to see Graeme Clark off of Wet Wet Wet at the National Centre for Early Music in York for just a quid each! We arrived in plenty of time to see the talented Mr Finn Paul who was the support act. Finn has a self-deprecating, engaging personality and he also has some great songs. I sensed a few influences; maybe a bit of Hozier and on “Treat Her Fair” there was definitely a trace of Finlay Quaye. My favourite song from Finn’s set was “The Watcher” which is obviously very deep and possibly quite dark too. He also included a rabble rousing cover of “The House Of The Rising Sun” and an Eddie Vedder song from the ‘Into The Wild’ soundtrack.

Then it was time for the main man of the evening Graeme Clark, former bass player and songwriter from 80s and 90s Scottish pop Titans Wet Wet Wet. Graeme is not only a great singer songwriter and an excellent performer he also excels as a raconteur. His stories about how his songs came to be and his life with Wet Wet Wet were amusing, heartfelt and very honest. It is 31 years since Wet Wet Wet broke into the UK charts with “Wishing I Was Lucky” in 1987. Their debut album ‘Popped In Souled Out’ topped the UK album chart that same year. Graeme has just released a mini album titled ‘Radio Silence’ and he showcased most of the songs from that collection here. Everyone one of them was introduced with an origin story which had the audience captivated. “Polaroid Luv”, “Fall To Pieces” and “Caledonia Soul” are gorgeous songs but none can top the power and emotion of the emotional “Ghost” with the kind of lyric that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, in a good way. Graeme’s vocal style has echoes of Bono’s softer side and even a feel of Robbie Williams without the histrionics. A very special mention to the outstanding fiddle playing of Fiona Cuthill who added great depth to many of Graeme’s songs.

Obviously Graeme was not going to leave us without playing any of the old Wet Wet Wet hits and he began with “Goodnight Girl” a UK number one from 1991. If you thought you needed Marti Pellow’s blue-eyed soul vocal to make this song work, then think again because Mr Clark smashed it and all of us in the crowd were singing along at full volume. He told us about his love for Pellow his friend from school days as he introduced “Somewhere Somehow”. He believes that when the song was recorded it featured Pellow’s finest ever Wet Wet Wet vocal performance. I think you might be able to guess the song that Graeme closed the show with, yes it was 1994 mega smash hit, number one in the UK for fifteen weeks, “Love Is All Around”. For the record Clark said that he still loves the song. He invited the audience to join him on stage to sing along with him and about a dozen people did. It was a more than fitting finale for a really enjoyable and intimate show in a beautiful venue.

Public Service Announcement: all photos are from my cheap android phone from China. Videos are all found on YouTube. If you wish to be credited for any of the videos or would like them taken down please let me know.

 

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.

 

Isaac Gracie – The Crescent, York – Monday 16th April 2018 April 17, 2018


Another school night, another gig at the fabulous Crescent in York. Tonight was another excellent show from Northern Radar this time headlined by Isaac Gracie. But before I give you my opinion of Mr Gracie how about a big hand for the most amazing support act Matt Maltese. He has an album coming out in June and after seeing him play live that is a very, very exciting prospect. He is like a lounge version of Rufus Wainwright who wears his politics on his sleeve in 72 point bold font. “As The World Caves In” is an incredible song and a very worthy single, a copy of which I bought on the night. Matt’s between song bonhomie and sardonic wit is wonderfully original. I think perhaps that “Guilty” was my favourite highlight, but there were many, so that might change if you ask me again. I would unreservedly pay to see Mr Maltese again.

It would be somewhat of a cliché to say that I have seen the future of rock ‘n’ roll, let’s face it Jon Landau said that about Bruce Springsteen in 1974. However I have seen a very bright future for British music in the shape of Isaac Gracie. Twenty One year old Gracie is a former chorister with the Ealing Abbey Choir. He first came to the attention of the music industry after “Last Words” a song recorded on GarageBand in his bedroom was unleashed into the world in 2015. His songs are far more mature than his years and on top of that he comes across as wonderfully affable and self-deprecating on stage. For me he has all the finest qualities of a young Jeff Buckley. I had the privilege of seeing Buckley at the Reading Festival many, many years ago and Gracie has the same qualities in his songs, performance, raw talent, passion and demeanour. Check out his cover of Radiohead’s “No Surprises” and the Arctic Monkeys “Fluorescent Adolescent” on YouTube and see the ghost of Buckley made real. My wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman doesn’t come to many gigs with me, but she was blown away by this one.

His first album is a truly accomplished début “Terrified”, “Last Words”, “Reverie”, “Running On Empty” and “Silhouettes Of You” all feel like classic songs that have been with you your whole life and Isaac played all of them tonight. There was not a single dud song in his set, my particular highlights were “All In My Mind” and the haunting song of sadness that is “Darkness Of The Day”. “Was our love a work of art, before the painting fell apart”, is that not one of the best lyrical couplets ever written? It is almost 46 years since I attended my first gig and there have been hundreds since then, but this is without doubt one of the finest shows that I have ever seen. If Isaac Gracie does not become a world straddling star then there is something horribly wrong with this planet.

 

Kim Wilde – Barbican, York – Sunday 15th April 2018 April 16, 2018


Tonight I had the pleasure of seeing Kim Wilde perform live. It was the first time I had seen a this fabulous artist who let’s face it is a part of UK Pop’s aristocracy. Before I tell you what I thought of her show let me say a few words about the talented support act Lawrence Hill. He is an engaging performer who has some excellent songs of his own. He also played a George Ezra cover and a very smartly done cover of the 1993 Robin S chart smash “Show Me Love”. I think it is always tough for a support act on a tour like this with many of the audience only there to see the headliner. But he certainly had the vast majority of the audience with him. His looping skills are also a cut above many. Definitely a singer songwriter to look out for.

Cover art by Scarlett Wilde

Kim Wilde is touring off the back of ‘Here Come The Aliens’ her first album in nearly five years and her first UK top 30 album for more than 25 years. I have listened to the new album quite a few times before this show and what is so great is that Kim is not just treading the 80s revival circuit. ‘Here Come The Aliens’ is a classy pop album and as good if not better than much of her competition in the pop arena. I believe that Kim set the template back in 1981 for the more modern female pop singer, she was a massive success before Madonna, Kylie and the Spice Girls.

Photo by Catherine Adamson

She has an excellent band, including two drummers, her brother Ricky on guitar and her niece Scarlett Wilde (Ricky’s daughter) on backing vocal duties. Kim rightly described them as a great rock band, which is exactly what they are. I should also mention Kim’s stage costume which was stunning, apparently she cleaned it in the bath the day before! They played some choice cuts from the new record; “1969”, “Pop Don’t Stop” and “Yours ‘Til The End” were particular highlights for me and my wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman. Kim also gave as a hard-hitting version of her cover of the Supremes “You Keep Me Hanging On” which really showcased just how good her band are. She played a softer take on one of the Gibb Brothers finest songs and previously a hit for Yvonne Elliman, “If I Can’t Have You”.

 

Obviously Kim was never going to do a show without many of her biggest hits and there were many “Cambodia”, “You Came”, “Chequered Love”, “View From A Bridge” and even her 1987 duet with Junior Giscombe “Another Step (Closer To You)” with Scarlett taking the Giscombe parts on with passion and soul. You can probably guess what the closing number was, it was indeed the magnificent “Kids In America“. Most of us in the audience had been on our feet dancing from quite early on, but “Kids In America” had almost everyone up and singing along. Kim comes across as a self-deprecating, caring and frankly lovely person. I have no doubt that I will be seeing Kim Wilde in concert again some day. If you haven’t then you really ought to, it was a great night out!

 

 

Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Crescent, York – Tuesday 15th August August 15, 2017


Having really loved Hurray For The Riff Raff‘s album ‘The Navigator’ on first hearing it earlier this year I was hoping to get the chance to see them live. Well that chance came around at a fabulous little venue, the Crescent, in my adopted home city of York. Were Hurray For The Riff Raff good? Well you will just have to read on to find out, but first let me tell you about the rather splendid support act, Alex Golisti. He played a great acoustic set including some of his own songs, one of which was an old banjo tune that he played on the guitar and had written his own lyrics for. He has a voice that at times shows similarities with both Tom Waits and George Ezra. He plays a style that evokes bluegrass and roots music with a modern twist. On top of all that he has a great self-deprecating sense of humour.

I was accompanied by my beautiful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman this evening as she enjoyed ‘The navigator’ too. We were both very excited to be here and from the opening salvo of “Life To Save” and “Nothing’s Gonna Change That Girl” we were not disappointed. The energy shown by Alynda Lee Segarra and indeed the whole band never let up for the whole night. There were plenty of highlights notably for me the haunting rendition of “Fourteen Floors” with Alynda on keyboard. Then just when you think it couldn’t get better the band hit us with one of Segarra’s excellent protest songs, “Pa’ lante”. It has vision, power, heart, soul, deep emotion and an uplifting message. I understand that it is Spanish slang and that it means to “go ahead” or “go for it”. Alynda is very proud of her Puerto Rican roots and that shows on the current album and in her stage performance. The encore included a rousing cover of Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” which had absolutely everyone on their feet. This is a band on top form and one who were really enjoying themselves. I will definitely be seeing them again! This was another great show from Please Please You, thank you Joe Coates.

 

Happy 8th Birthday to my blog! February 9, 2017


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Hello good people of the blogosphere and thanking you for coming to visit my blog. The With Just A Hint Of Mayhem blog is eight years old today, Thursday 9th February 2017. This blog is an Aquarius. So I was going to treat you to another numbers post (i.e. songs with 8 in the title) but then my wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman gave me an even better idea of which I will tell you more soon.

8th-wishes

Firstly though here are some stats for the eight years that this blog has been alive;

1,587,200 visits (most from UK, USA, France, Chile, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Spain, Brazil and Australia)

1,016 posts (including this one)

842 comments

1,019 followers

Most common subjects via tags (David Bowie 141, Beatles 132, the BBC 107)

The post with the most views (68,439 to date) was published when the blog was only 8 days old, click here to read it, it was titled “We Are Starlight, We Are Golden”.

Most searches;

lady gaga 96,870
pink floyd 57,082
kate bush 41,699
lily allen 34,810
eminem 34,675
slipknot 27,081
catwoman 21,443
beatles 16,794
pink 16,497
bjork 12,772

Many of you searched for naked artists and the most popular search there was 2,620 searches for Lily Allen Naked, you pervy bunch you!

Anyway enough of the stats! How about the birthday celebration idea that my wonderful wife came up with? Well how about some music from a selection of artists that were also born on February 9th? You want some of that? OK well here you go.

Carmen Miranda born 1909

Ernest Tubb Born 1914

Carole King born 1942

Major Harris born 1947

Holly Johnson born 1960

Travis Tritt born 1963

Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo (off of Daft Punk) born 1974

James Owen Sullivan a.k.a The Rev (one time drummer with Avenged Sevenfold) born 1981 and sadly died in 2009

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


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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.

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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”

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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.

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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.

 

 
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