With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Julia Bardo – Fulford Arms, York – Saturday 14th March 2020 March 30, 2020


This post is very late largely because the whole COVID-19 somewhat dampened my enthusiasm for writing. This is now the last gig for me and all of us for weeks, maybe months. So I feel a need to document it. It was another great looking line up from Simon Pattinson head honcho of Northern Radar. First up were Fawn, a musically talented bunch and the pet project of Ilana Zsigmond, a transatlantic singer-songwriter who moved to the UK a few years ago. Her band featured Crispin Halcrow who has featured on this blog before as a solo performer. Ilana reminds me of Linda Ronstadt in her early, in which case are her band a fledgling Eagles? Who knows? Crispin is more Glen Frey than Joe Walsh in style, so maybe! Ilana’s between-song banter was intelligent, amusing and frankly spot on. Her song about York (apologies I missed the title) was close to sublime while “Skin” was truly stunning, a really beautiful song. For me, it encapsulates perfectly that journey of understanding who you are and getting to know and understand yourself. Lyrically it is faultless, with my favourite line being ““But I still build forts and I still skip stones and I still haven’t read every book that I own”. That sums me up to a degree, although I probably need to start building more forts!

Fawn

Next up is the extraordinarily talented Kitty VR. I have seen her previously with a band and also solo acoustic, tonight was with a full band. In this environment, Kitty loses a little of her solo acoustic fragility. But that is more than compensated for by the deeper and more expansive sound that a band brings to her growing canon of great songs. “My Kind” is an open-hearted lament when performed solo acoustically. But here it felt like an amazing collaboration between Massive Attack, Portishead and the Cocteau Twins with Jimmy Page producing. this was not just a highlight of Kitty’s set for me, it was also the highlight of the night! Kitty, whether with band or solo retains that elusive Jeff Buckleyesque style that since Jeff’s sad demise I have only ever heard through Kitty and her supremely talented contemporary Laura Kindelan.

Kitty VR

This was the first time that I had come across Julia Bardo and I was pretty impressed. She has great songs with elements that sit on the softer side of Patti Smith and maybe a little Justine Frischmann (Elastica) and Louise Wener (Sleeper) seeping into Julia’s tonal quality. She has some soaring, heartfelt and soul pouring ballads in her powerful song repertoire. There is also a Stevie Nicks comparison which wasn’t apparent until Julia and her band launched into an awesome cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”.  But this was not just a carbon copy cover the song evolved into an extended guitar fade, jam, wigout that matched the Velvet Underground at their peak. Julia Bardo is well worth checking out if you like great music and classy tunes you will love her stuff! Interestingly given the focus on gender equality festival line ups all three of tonight’s acts were incredibly talented women. Festival organisers take note for 2021 (on the assumption that the 2020 festival season will be canned).

Julia Bardo

After the gig, I went for a few drinks with the aforementioned Simon Pattinson and Jared, Joe and Jordan from Avalanche Party who were punters at the show. That is another band that I am looking forward to seeing again once this virus is history. Given that was my final pub visit before close down I can think of far worse people to spend it with. Simon, Jared, Joe, and Jordan thanks for a great night and I look forward to meeting up again on the other side of all this!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know. 

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Jordan Mackampa – City Screen Basement York – Tuesday 20th September 2016 September 20, 2016


jordan-mackampa

Here I am at yet another gig put on by my good friend Simon Pattinson. He has never let me down yet, will he keep his 100% record? Read the whole review to figure out the answer. (No pressure Mr P!). This was a gig that the delightful Catwoman (a.k.a. my beautiful wife Catherine) joined me for and unlike the Gary Numan debacle from a few years ago she really enjoyed it, as did I.

First up was a young man called Mikey who appeared under the name Epilogues. He is a singer songwriter with some really good songs and an excellent and savvy use of technology including playing through his phone some elements that he had recorded earlier. He had some problems with his G String and before you go all Carry On Films on me I mean on his guitar. He overcame that and a slight bit of nervousness with aplomb and played a great set. To me he came across as a more folk based and influenced multi instrumentalist along the lines of Jack Garratt. Mikey also possesses a great voice, this bloke has a lot of potential. Incidentally I need to apologise to Mikey as I didn’t get a picture of him for this post, sorry mate!

crispin

Crispin Halcrow

Crispin Halcrow was next up, I first saw him supporting Adams French back in January at this same venue. He was good then and he has also improved too. He has some beautiful songs some of which are easily on a par with Billy Joel‘s “So It Goes” which he covered tonight. One of Crispin’ s compositions “Say Goodbye” (at least that is what I think it was called) was a wonderfully sad song that also contained great beauty. Maybe I’m mad here, but I reckon Rod Stewart would make an excellent cover of that song. Crispin from Kendal remains reminiscent of the likes of Seth Lakeman for me. He is most definitely an artist with great potential.

Amy May Ellis

Amy May Ellis

The next act to take the stage was Amy May Ellis accompanied by her ukulele. She is a great talent with a haunting and siren like voice which weaves the words of her songs with a soaring grace. I reckon she would be one of the few artists that I have seen that could also do her whole set acapella with no detrimental effect. She readily admits to being no comedian, but here jokes (one about a polar bear and the other about snowmen) were pretty good. As for the swearing song, was it called “Existential Life Crisis”? That was brilliantly and wickedly funny. Amy is a prodigious talent and someone that I would definitely pay to see again.

jordan

Jordan Mackampa

Now it was time for the main man, Jordan Mackampa on what was the seventh show of his first UK headline tour. He is a proper and very talented showman. Imagine how John Legend might sound if he sang behind a guitar rather than a keyboard. Jordan plays and writes supremely soulful and emotional folk rock music. I also really enjoyed those woo woo backing vocals he had us in the audience performing too. Catwoman and I harmonised really well, at least I think that we did! “Colours” is an amazingly poignant song. It brought tears to my eyes and made me think of two people very close to me that are currently battling that evil bastard of a disease known as cancer. You both know who you are and I want you to know that I love you and I will always be there for you. Jordan has some immensely inspirational songs which really touch our simple human emotions. I can see myself listening to him a lot in future.

 

 

 

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!

crispin halcrow

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.

sam griffiths

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.

adam french

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.

 

 
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