With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Billie Marten, Epilogues, Laura Kindelan – The Basement, City Screen, York – Tuesday 11th July 2017 July 12, 2017


This wonderful, intimate venue was home to a wonderful and intimate gig on Tuesday night courtesy of the talented Mr Simon Pattinson of Northern Radar. Mr P always puts together some excellent packages and I would like to congratulate him on his first sell out gig, may there be many more! Incidentally if you spot any gig promoted by Northern Radar give it a shot, Simon has never let me down in all the years I have known him.

Anyway tonight was a really chilled acoustic gathering kicked off by Laura Kindelan from York. For me Laura evokes what might have been had Jeff Buckley been female. This girl has so much soul in her voice and also a magnificently chilled and carefree style. She also has some great songs, “Sweet Tooth” is achingly, stunningly beautiful and I love it.

I first saw tonights second act, Epilogues back at this same venue in September last year when Mikey was supporting Jordan Mackampa. I liked him then and I still do. He said that he was nervous at the start of his set, but it really didn’t show. He has a great vocal range which is suggestive of both Thom Yorke in his softer moments and David Bowie circa 1969. The name Epilogues suggests closure but this fella has so much to offer that maybe he should become Prologues.

Billie Marten was the headliner tonight although she did say that she was blown away by the support. But whilst everyone tonight put in great performances for me Billie definitely shaded it. How many “Internet Sensations” (Billie came to prominence via her own YouTube channel as a young girl and then on a local YouTube channel called Ont’ Sofa) have true talent? I would wager that not many do, but Billie Marten has talent in spades. Her performance evokes a slight spirit of Joni Mitchell but she is also very much her own woman. “Cartoon People” belies the fact that Billie is only eighteen, it is a powerful song about Donald Trump and his daughter. It is a great song that would win over anyone in possession of a brain and a heart. This young lady will go far and she deserves to. She also shared some of her home baked cake with us and I can tell you that it was damned fine too.

 

Adam French, Sam Griffiths and Crispin Halcrow – The Basement, City Screen, York – Tuesday 26th January 2016 January 27, 2016


I haven’t been to the Basement at City Screen for sometime so it was good to be back. Especially as this was a show recommended by my good mate Simon Pattinson. He has never let me down with those recommendations and tonight certainly maintained his 100% record!

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First on start was Crispin Halcrow, although he seemed a little nervous at first he finished his set with confidence. I heard something of Teddy Thompson and Seth Lakeman in him. He certainly knows how to write a song, “Charcoal” is beautiful and it is about remembering. Crispin also introduced us to Phoebe the ukulele for a very well performed cover of the Mama’s And Papa’s hit “Dream A Little Dream”. This lad from Kendal is one to watch.

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Next under the stage lights was Sam Griffiths ably supported by Bradley Blackwell (I hope I got that name right). He kicked off with a song that he introduced as being a song about a Bob Dylan album, it is called “Blood On The Tracks“. Dylan got another mention later in the set when Sam suggested that he had ripped off the great Mr Zimmerman with a song called “Shelter Of The Storm”. That ripped off reference was very much tongue in cheek and I think the song is superb and given airplay I would say it has big hit written all over it. Sam’s songs are all well-developed and mature. In particular a song inspired by the David Lynch film ‘Lost Highway‘ called “Camera” which was my favourite from Sam’s set.

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The first two acts were damned good but Adam French took it to another level completely. The likes of James Bay and Hozier are indeed very talented but I think Adam knocks the socks off them. His songs are incredibly well constructed and given how sublime they sound in a solo setting I believe they would be even better with a band. Adam is a multi instrumentalist utilising guitar, keyboard and bass guitar. “Hunter” was accompanied by Mr French on bass guitar and worked so very well. Will Adam French write a classic song? I think he already has at least two in the haunting “Silhouette” and the gorgeous “Ivory”. I have been going to gigs for more than 40 years and this was probably one of the finest small club sets that I have ever seen. Forget about all that X Factor rubbish, if music has a future then it is in the hands of very talented people like Adam French. I urge you to check him out on-line or live when you get the chance. I sense that his days of playing small intimate gigs like this may well be numbered. He will, I am sure, be coming to you on a much bigger stage very soon. I would also like to add that he is a great bloke too having had a few drinks with him after the show along with his Mum and other friends and family.

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Public service announcement! The photos of Crispin, Sam and Bradley were sourced on line and those of Adam were taken on my trusty Nokia phone.

 

Grateful Dead – Fare Thee Well – Final Concert Ever – Cinema Simulcast – York City Screen Monday 6th July 2015 July 6, 2015


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I booked my tickets for this cinema show as soon as I saw them advertised. It would be unfair to say that I am a massive fan of the Grateful Dead but I have always had a kind of respect for what they have achieved and who they are. In my opinion the Dead are very much a genre defying band, it is very difficult to put them into a box. They take elements of west coast rock, jazz, psychedelia, soft rock, AOR and even prog. But ultimately they are the Grateful Dead and there is no band quite like them. Are they as good since the death of Jerry Garcia nearly 20 years ago in August 1995? They remain a great band but I believe they have evolved into a slightly different band without Jerry.

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The remaining original members all form part of the band for the Fare Thee Well shows; Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann, all of whom were in the Dead since 1965. Percussionist Mickey Hart joined in 1965. Trey Anastasio off of Phish is part of the Fare Thee Well band on guitar and vocals (he takes some of the Garcia vocals) The band is further augmented with Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti. The last show was the last of three dates at the Soldier Field American Football Stadium in Chicago. It was filmed for a pay per view audience and it was a slightly edited version of that which the cinema simulcast contained.

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The filming and cinematography was brilliant and at times stunning. The band was really on form and it is easy to see that the so-called ‘core four’ have been playing together for a life time. The band were on stage for more than three hours. When they played “I Know You Rider” it sounded like all 80,000 audience members were singing along to the somewhat appropriate lyrical refrain ‘I know you rider, gonna miss me when I’m gone’. My favourite songs from the show were “Throwing Stones” and “Mountains Of The Moon”. But you can’t ignore “Truckin'” which includes the line which for many Deadheads sums um the band. That line is; ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been’. Trey Anastsatio’s playing was phenomenal, for me particularly so on “Terrapin Station”. The last song before they returned for a two song encore was an audience rousing version of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away”. The encore consisted of “Touch Of Grey” and “Attics Of My Life”. At least I think that was the title of the final song, if I am wrong please let me know.

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Not being a full on Deadhead myself I have never seen the Dead play live. I have seen lots of footage of them playing live though. This film is a great testament to a great band and you should go and see it if you get the chance.Even if you don’t consider yourself a fan there is no denying that this is a classic concert movie. Is this really an epitaph for the Grateful Dead? Time will tell, but personally I believe that it is. Remember what Don Henley said in the song “The Boys Of Summer”? ‘Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac. A little voice inside my head said, “Don’t look back. You can never look back”. If you have seen the film I would love to know what you thought of it.

©Jay Blakesberg

©Jay Blakesberg

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Hello Operator, Avalanche Party, Broken Skulls, Wildlife – Fibbers, York – Saturday 23rd May 2015 May 24, 2015


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I am back at Fibbers again just a few days after Julian couldn’t Cope. But there are no diva shenanigans tonight, Mike and Simon have created an excellent line up for what will sadly be Mike J’s final promotion. Kicking events off were the York and Leeds based Wildlife. I believe that this band would have easily fitted into New York’s late 70s post punk scene alongside a fledgling Talking Heads. But they are not revivalists of that era they are very 21st century too. They have great songs, great stage presence and a good rapport with the audience. They handled a little power outage problem with aplomb. Apparently all the songs are about the singers cock, well apart from “Like A Racehorse” anyway! Whether you like songs about cocks or not you should check them out.

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The second band to tread the boards tonight were the two piece Broken Skulls. Imagine if the Strokes had more power, more balls and only two members. Can you do that? If you can then you would probably be imagining Broken Skulls. I would imagine that the two piece format leads many to compare them with the excellent Royal Blood. However they are more than a facsimile of another band. They are incredibly powerful performers, gifted instrumentalists and they write some terrific songs. They dedicated an old song to Mike this evening which was also the name of a former band of theirs; “Toy Radar”. I would definitely go and see these boys again and so should you if you haven’t already.

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Second on the bill this evening is a band that hardly need any introduction to regular readers of this blog, the magnificent Avalanche Party. Up to now they have had excellent reviews from me. Is that about to change? Fuck no! These lads rocked their socks off on Saturday. They played a barnstorming set and the audience would have eaten out of the bands hands had they been asked. Well the majority would have at least. New song “Money” was stunning live and Joe and Jordan’s crowd invasions, or should that be incursions, raised the excitement levels for the punters. I would like to thank Jordan for dedicating the mountainous (sorry for the cliché) “Mountains” to me. ‘This one is for Big Billy at the front’; I love it! The band will be launching their new EP in their home town, Middlesbrough soon. Sadly I can’t make it, so please put a copy aside for me chaps! But if you can make it then you bloody well should. This band mean big and should be big. They get better every time I see them.

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I didn’t envy the brilliant Hello Operator having to follow such a great set from one of my favourite bands of the moment, but they did follow and they followed bloody well. Hello Operator are a different kind of band to Avalanche Party but they are equally as powerful. They appear schooled in a different vein of classic rock and they know how to win over and captivate an audience. I saw them earlier this year at the smaller City Screen venue and they metaphorically blew the roof off. Frankly they did the same at Fibbers. They are and incredibly tight, talented and well rehearsed band. The guitarist has the flourish of Bernard Butler at his peak and as far as vocals go they have a singer who has one of the finest rock voices around. If you have never seen them then get off your arse and do so!

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I would like to thank Mike and Simon for a great night and also Joe Bell off of Avalanche Party for the vino. This was a truly superb night for everyone who came along. Four great bands in one night it can’t get better than that can it?

The public service announcement for today is that all the pictures were taken with my Nokia and the videos are courtesy of YouTube

 

Hello Operator, Boss Caine & Skinner – City Screen York – Saturday 14th March 2015 March 15, 2015


This gig was yet another excellent recommendation from my good friend Simon Pattinson. He’s never let me down yet and nor did he last night with a diverse and fantastic line-up. No pressure for the next one then Simon! I missed the first few minutes of Skinner‘s set but I am so glad that I was their for the bulk of it. How would I describe the music? Now that is difficult. But they band were well rehearsed and the sound was largely in an electro dance/ pop vein. But those vocals, oh boy can this girl sing. The songs were damned good too. I especially loved “Burn” and “I Don’t Care”. They are from Leeds and frankly if Skinner are on the bill at a gig near you then you will really be losing out if you don’t make every effort to go and see them. I am now very much a Skinner fan.

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Next up was Boss Caine who a number of people had recommended to me. It was an acoustic set with some added cello and guitar. The songs were incredibly deep and well written. The vibe evoked a 60s/ 70s US west coast vibe and that worked really well for me. The songs not only contained great melodies but also excellent story narratives too. It’s sometimes hard to believe that this dude is not American, but then he speaks between songs and sings about York. Americana redrawn and bettered; why is Boss Caine not playing even bigger stages? I will definitely be seeing Boss Caine again and so should you dear reader.

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Tonight’s headliner was Hello Operator from York and for all of you who have said or believed that hard rock is softening or dying go and see this band. They are living proof that rock is most definitely not dead. Very heavy and very loud they are, but they are so much more than that. Their sound draws on many influences in my view; Black Sabbath, Muse, Queens of the Stone Age and perhaps more. The vocals are the template for what good rock vocals should be. The lead guitarist has the potential to be a real virtuoso. The engine room of drum and bass underpins the bands sound and flow perfectly. Four top-notch musicians who come together to brew up some fantastic and melodic hard rock. Just when you thought that it couldn’t get any better they played a cover version, something they apparently don’t do very often. But was it a note for note cover of a hard rock anthem? No, it was a cover of the Black Eyed PeasBoom Boom Pow“. On paper it should never have worked, but who gives a shit about paper? The easily surpassed Will.i.am and the other Peas. The band was also joined on stage by Skinner for one song. This was a stupendous show from a bloody brilliant band. If this band do not go on to achieve greatness then something is wrong. In a world of worthless talent shows like X-Factor, the Voice and other such shite this is real music and real talent. Sell your soul, your body (but responsibly), your Gran, your shoes or your X-Box. Just do whatever it takes to see them!

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Now for the public service announcement. The pictures in this post were taken by me but the videos were gathered on-line from YouTube

 

The Social Network October 15, 2010


Last weekend I accompanied the beautiful Catwoman to a free preview of the new film ‘The Social Network‘ at City Screen in York courtesy of the Guardian. It is based on the book ‘The Accidental Billionaires‘ which recounts the story of the birth of Facebook.

The script is tight, pacey and at times very, very funny indeed. The film’s strap line is ‘You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies’ and this is the focus of much of the film, particularly all the legal wranglings about whose idea it was. This largely focuses on the relationship between Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his former partner Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and his other battle with the Winklevoss brothers who he refers to rather amusingly as the Winklevi.

I never realised the part that Sean Parker, the guy who created Napster, played in the early days of Facebook. He is played incredibly well by none other than former Mickey Mouse Club star Justin Timberlake.

I suggest that you get yourself off of Facebook right now and go and see this movie, you won’t be disappointed! I can also confirm that JUSTWILLIAM1959, WITH JUST A HINT OF MAYHEM and CATWOMAN all ‘Like’ this movie.

As usual this is indeed a music blog so let’s mention some of that. The actual soundtrack was composed and performed by Trent Reznor (off of Nine Inch Nails) and Atticus Ross and it works really well. There are some excellent songs used during the film and you can find a few of them below;

Dreadlock Holiday” – 10cc

Ball And Biscuit” – White Stripes

Like A Bad Girl Should” – Cramps

California Uber Alles” – Dead Kennedys

Crazy Baldhead” – Bob Marley & The Wailers

Baby You’re A Rich Man” – Beatles (although I think it’s a cover version used in the film)

 

Soft Toy Emergency – York City Screen 23/2/2009 February 24, 2009

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 5:23 pm
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OK people here is the second in a series of reviews of gigs that I happen to have turned up at. Last night I was at the City Screen Basement Bar in the city centre. The headliners were the excellent ‘Soft Toy Emergency’, but more of them later. Let me start with the three support acts, all very different in their own way.

First up was ‘Going Backwards Forwards‘ and they were very good with some great songs, particularly “Casino Royale”. The singer has a great voice too

Next was ‘Kasima‘ for me these guys were like the bastard offspring of an unholy union between Razorlight, the Kings Of Leon and Bruce Springsteen. I mean that in the best possible way too, they were excellent!

A Man Is Slapped‘ was second on the bill. Now on paper I really would not have believed that this would have worked, but it did……..and how! This guy using synthesized vocal loops recorded live to build up his own electro wall of sound was truly excellent. Even his MySpace/ Facebook plug was clever

And so onto the headliners, ‘Soft Toy Emergency‘. In 1974 Rolling Stone journalist and critic Jon Landau saw Springsteen and was moved to write “I saw rock and rolls future and it’s name is Bruce Springsteen” Last night I didn’t see rock and rolls future in the wonderful ‘Soft Toy Emergency’ but I certainly saw it’s present, it’s now! This band certainly have a great future. Somewhat unfairly compared to the Ting Tings by some they are quite a different animal. Electro + Pop + Rock + Punk + Party + Disco + Style + Fun = Soft Toy Emergency a band that know how to excite an audience and do so with massive energy and an aura of cool. If they appear near you in the future do whatever you can to get tickets; sell your mother, your pets, your car, your house or your pants! Just make sure that you see them!

Soft Toy Emergency

 

 
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