With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

Damon Albarn – York Minster – Thursday 2nd December 2021 December 5, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 1:44 pm
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I have seen Damon Albarn on numerous occasions, three or four times with Blur, twice with the Good, The Bad and The Queen, and once with Gorillaz. But until now I had never seen him perform solo. I saw his streamed solo set at the Live From Worthy Farm a few months back and that, plus the release of his new solo album, was perhaps a precursor to what the shows on this short tour might be like. Firstly though I must mention this iconic venue, which was completed in 1472 and remains the largest cathedral of its kind in Northern Europe. I have missed out on a couple of contemporary shows here previously; Benjamin Francis Leftwich and the Howl and the Hum. Although the live stream of the latter was stunning.

After a 30 minute wait outside in a freezing York, we were finally ushered in for the 6:30 show, a second was planned for 8:30. The Minster setting was spectacular, particularly after the main lights were dimmed and it was then mostly candlelight. The stage was simple with a piano and seats for a string quartet. Yes, this was never going to be some kind of full-on band show. A rather unassuming Damon (my wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman said scruffy) took to the stage to the sound of the string quartet playing Darke’s “In The Bleak Midwinter”. The first song was “The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows”, the title track of the new album. Six more tracks from the new album followed of which for me the highlights were “The Tower of Montevideo” and “Particles”, both stunning in their simplistic beauty.

But it was the last few songs that really set the evening on fire. First, it was “Beetlebum”, a UK number one for Blur back in 1997. The original was a warped, psyched out, Beatlesy kind of tune whose lyrics dealt with Damon’s experience with heroin. But this string and piano-driven version was ethereal and otherworldly, such a phenomenal take on a great song. This was followed by “Lonely Press Play” from Albarn’s first solo album ‘Everyday Robots’ from 2014. The sadly very short set was brought to an emotional close with a gorgeous take on Blur’s “The Universal” to which we all sang along quietly. I was kind of jealous of the fans at the later show who bagged two more songs than us, “My Terracotta Heart” and “Under the Westway”, both Blur deep cuts. But putting that aside this was a truly incredible show and a never-to-be-forgotten experience!

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Mayhem’s – Top 20 Albums of 2021 December 1, 2021

I don’t often put together the best albums of the year list, but I do love a good list so here are my favourite albums of 2021. What were yours?

  1. ‘Delilah Bon’ – Delilah Bon – An absolutely sublime, sassy debut from Lauren Tate’s magnificent, impassioned alter ego. This has been my album of the year since I first heard it
  2. ‘Shout Out! To Freedom…’ – Nightmares On Wax The perfect late night chill album that you can listen to anytime
  3. ‘Blue Weekend’ – Wolf AliceAn album that proves Wolf Alice continue to grow and are becoming an iconic British band
  4. ‘All In’ – Apollo JunctionThese Leeds lads smash that difficult sophomore album myth out of the park with a total belter
  5. ‘The Myth of the Happily Ever After’ – Biffy Clyro – Biffy are for me perhaps the best band on the planet right now, yet another great release proves it
  6. ‘Happier Than Ever’ – Billie EilishA fantastically accomplished album from a talent that will be around for a lifetime
  7. ‘The Yearbook’ – Baby QueenNot many bands care as much about their fans as Baby Queen, but they are so much more than caring, they really are a stunning band
  8. ‘Chemtrails Over the Country Club’ – Lana Del Rey – Probably Lana Del Ray’s best album so far, I loved this after one spin
  9. ‘The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows’ – Damon Albarn – Uber polymath Mr Albarn proves once again how wide ranging his abundant talent stretches
  10. ‘Discover Effortless Living’ – BullA fine debut album with echoes of the best of 60s rock from one of York’s greatest bands
  11. ‘Carnage’ – Nick Cave and Warren EllisIt’s Cave and Ellis, what more does one need to say, a truly awesome collection.
  12. ‘Not Your Muse’ – CelesteJazzy, modern R&B, fabulous tunes and most of all a voice that encapsulates so many beautiful emotions
  13. ‘She Walks In Beauty’ – Marianne Faithful and Warren EllisThis has been essential late night listening for me, it is soothing, mindful and close to perfect
  14. ‘We Live Here’ – Bob VylanAn incredibly powerful political album from a band that has got this far without the backing of a huge corporation
  15. ‘21st Century Love Songs’ – Wildhearts The Wildhearts are back baby, with one of their best albums
  16. ‘Amazing Things’ – Don Broco – An album that captures everything that is great with current rock and is showcased by an underlying pop sensibility
  17. ‘The Crippling Space Between’ – Carol Hodge – Another flawless album from the supremely talented wonderful human being known as Carol Hodge
  18. ‘Passions’ – Thirst Dom White steps up from the drum stool to release a beautiful album that is grandly cinematic in its scope
  19. ‘Who Am I’ – Pale WavesIs there anyone that doesn’t love Pale Waves, this set establishes them as one of Blighty’s best bands
  20. ‘We’re All Alone In This Together’ – DaveSharp, passionate, caring, honest and with a large side order of vitriol, Dave tells it like it is expertly

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The Mayhem Monthly Top 20 Artist Chart – November 2021 (and October 2021) November 30, 2021

Thanks to a site called Obscurify. It claims to tell you how obscure your listening on Spotify is. Compared to the rest of the UK I am now supposedly 99% more obscure than other users in the UK, which has increased from a mere 90% in July! It also lists my most obscure artists, (the top three of which have been there since I began doing these posts) which currently are

Woke Up Dead


Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate


The Notorious Lightbulbs – this lot also made it to number 7 in the top 20 for November!

So who were the top artists for October (29th) and November (20th)? Check the full lists below, but I can reveal that Delilah Bon was the chart-topper in October, her second time at the top and her fourth appearance overall. Once again it was Dame David Bowie in November for his fifth time at the top. There are a few new artists in there, notably Dea Matrona, Joy Crookes and, Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton. I was pleased to see Apollo Junction, Emily Capell and, Nightmares On Wax making an appearance too. Also plenty of the usual classic acts, including Elton John, Amy Winehouse and, the Biffy Clyro. Regular readers know that as I share this Spotify account with my wonderful wife Catherine (a.k.a. Catwoman) a few artists finished much higher than they might have done if they were only my choices 🙂 Notably the Carpenters and Rick Astley. Give Obscurify a spin and let me know what your chart looks like and how obscure your tastes are 🙂

Mayhem’s Top 20 Artists on Spotify (November 20th 2021)

David Bowie
Nightmares On Wax
Damon Albarn
Rick Astley
Notorious Lightbulbs
Emily Capell
Biffy Clyro
Apollo Junction
Ima Robot
Bruno Mars
Millie Manders & the Shut Up
Bob Marley & The Wailers
Bunny Wailer
Norman Connors
Joy Crookes
Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton

Mayhem’s Top 20 Artists on Spotify (October 29th 2021)

Delilah Bon
Elton John
David Bowie
Steven Wilson
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Durand Jones and the Indications
Amy Winehouse
Emily Capell
Billy Nomates
Biffy Clyro
Strange Bones
T Rex
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
Counting Crows
Nightmares On Wax
Beans On Toast
Be Bop Deluxe
Dea Matrona

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“You’ve got a new horizon it’s ephemeral style” August 9, 2014

Filed under: Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 10:56 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

tumblr_mra6h1MCrK1r6d0sao1_500Damon Albarn is currently the only man to headline Glastonbury two years in a row. With Blur in 2009 and then with Gorillaz the following year. Now this made me wonder how many people have headlined the festival, or indeed any festival, with more than two acts. I guess it’s possible that Damon could also headline as a solo artist in the future too. I’m looking forward to your contributions here dear readers 🙂






“Walks around all day long singing this song” June 30, 2014

bobby womack 09

I realise that I’m a couple of days late with this post but I couldn’t let the passing of such a musical giant as Bobby Womack go without saying anything. The first music genre I really got into was soul music. I recall reading about the likes of Bobby Womack in Blues & Soul magazine in the early 70s. My lifelong friend Glen Voisey and me used to frequent an excellent, though long since defunct, record shop at Rayners Lane called The Bop Shop. They had racks and racks of second-hand vinyl and I remember buying Womack’s “Harry Hippie” and “Across 110th Street” on 7 inch vinyl without previously having heard either track. Initially I had just read how great the man was. I was not disappointed; “Across 110th Street” remains one of my favourite songs. How can anyone not love “The Poet II” album?


Bobby was not only a great singer and guitarist (Jimi Hendrix was a fan of his playing) he was also a great songwriter. Other people recorded some fantastic interpretations of his songs. Notably for me is Millie Jackson’s version of “If You Want My Love, Put Something Down On It”, which he wrote with his brother Cecil. The Rolling Stones clearly valued his talent having a big hit in 1964 with “It’s All Over Now” a song written by Bobby and Shirley Womack and recorded by one of Bobby’s early groups the Valentinos. Womack was also a great interpreter of other people’s songs too, his version of “California Dreamin'” is testament to that. Bobby has recorded and released great music for more than 50 years. he has worked with the likes of Sam Cooke back in the 60s right through to Damon Albarn with the Gorillaz and his last solo album “The Bravest Man In The Universe” released in 2012. Bobby will be sadly missed and my thoughts are with his family, friends and his legions of fans. Bobby Womack RIP


“Look for advice, be told more than twice by people all around” June 16, 2014

zap_softDid you know that Keith Albarn; Damon Albarn’s Dad was once the manager of Soft Machine? No? Nor did I until now. perhaps we need to push for a Soft Machine/ Blur collaboration, what do you think?

Gorillaz Visits Fuse TV


“Take me away from this big bad world and agree to marry me” January 4, 2014

ArticleImage-51385Blur, who have been a little inactive on the new music front recently launched some new merchandise which you can buy on-line. Is it branded trainers, hoodies, t-shirts, baseball caps and the like? No, it’s a tea set, beer mats and flat caps. Better hurry up if you want a Blur tea set though, apparently only 300 were made. Click here to get yours. Blimey next they’ll be selling whippets named after the band members and maybe branded pipes and slippers. What other random merchandising can we expect? Cup cakes from Ozzy Osbourne, BingoWings.com on-line bingo from Madonna, X-Factor ear plugs made from Matt Cardle’s ear wax, Robbie Williams and One Direction toilet paper, Olly Murs manure? All your suggestions would be very gratefully received.


“It’s not my problem, it’s not my problem” – Advent post day 2 December 2, 2013

G7497_thumbpacksIt’s now just over three weeks until the big day when the bearded weirdo arrives at your house and drops down your chimney. Are you excited yet? If not then I hope that the two tunes with numbers in their titles that I have selected for day 2 get you at least a little bit revved up. So behind the colourful little cardboard flap today we have a couple of classics for singing along to when drunk.

Pull the udder one Damon

Pull the udder one Damon

First it’s Blur with an excellent if rather unimaginatively titled song; yes it’s “Song 2” from 1997. It came from an album which also didn’t need much creative juice when it came to choosing a title; it was simply called ‘Blur’. However forget the issue I have with those titles for me it remains one of the band’s finest albums. Sadly it only made it to number 2 in the UK charts, but it did hit the top spot in Canada. It has been covered by a wide range of artists, including; Avril Lavigne, Scooter, Robbie Williams and Vampire Weekend. It was also sampled by Pink on her song “Slut Like You”. “Song 2” has featured in episodes of Torchwood, the Simpsons and South Park. It is said that the US military wanted to use the song at the launch of a new Stealth Bomber, but Damon Albarn refused them permission. Rightly so in my opinion.

5032556118026The second song from day 2 is the wonderful “Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps Please” from Splodgenessabounds. The song was released in 1980 when it made it to number 7 in the UK charts. The B side was the rather excellently titled song “Michael Booth’s Talking Bum”. In a throwback to the early days of punk many of the band members gave themselves some rather clever stage names; including vocalist Max Splodge, guitarist Pat Thetic Noble and Miles Flat also a guitarist. The band still tours, often with Bad Manners and appeared at the Rebellion Festival for the 19th time earlier this year.




The Brit Awards 2013 (February 20th) February 20, 2013


It’s Brits time again and I will be typing live ready to publish later in the evening. It is opened spectacularly by Muse with an incredibly large orchestra and pyrotechnics. Although they were a long way from being Catwoman’s favourite I thought they were superb. It appears that James Corden is over the worst of the tonsilitis and back to present the Brits for the fourth time.

Damien Hirst has designed this years trophies. The first one presented this evening is for the best British female solo artist. It was given by Taylor Swift to the delightful Scot Emilie Sande. A very gracious speech too. Sadly we then switched to an at table interview of One Direction by Mr Corden. I really don’t like Boy Bands. Then to make matters worse Robbie Williams was the next live act. Regular readers will know how little I like him. Whilst “Candy” is not a bad song I dislike Robbie immensely. But the monochrome set and costumes of the dancers was very effective.

Next up it’s Best British group presented by Simon Pegg and a Bond Girl.The winners unsurprisingly were Mumford and Sons. At least it wasn’t One Direction. Some great British pride from the Mumfords too. It was the Best British Breakthrough prize next presented by Grimmy. I was expecting this to go to Jake Bugg Does anyone agree with me that James Corden is not particularly funny? A world exclusive by none other than Justin Timberlake was next to appear. It’s an ok song and whilst he wasn’t bringing sexy back his jacket was bringing shiny back!

Ed Sheerhan presented the best British male award to Ben Howard. Why no nomination for Jake Bugg when that Muppet Olly Murs was in the nominees? Now it’s time for the critics choice award and it goes to Tom O’Dell. Dermot O’Leary and Sharon Osbourne were introduced as man and wife (what a horrible thought) to give the Best International female statuette to Lana Del Ray. One Direction are on stage, will someone please kill me. How flat were some of those notes? A dreadful performance. Do this lot have any personality and stage presence? On this showing I think not. Bring back Blondie.

Coldplay won the Best British live act, strangely they are a band that I’ve not seen live, well not yet anyway. That is their 8th Brit award since they began. Tom Daley and Jonathan Ross (what a strange combination) gave out the best single prize to Adele for “Skyfall”. Sadly she wasn’t there as she is rehearsing for the Oscars. Thank god James Arthur or Olly Murs didn’t win!

Taylor Swift dressed as a wedding cake to perform between two braziers. Unlike Wand Erection though she can really sing. Losing that dress for the hot pants was a good move. Best International group was presented by a true rock god Dave Grohl. The award went to the fabulous Black Keys who sadly weren’t there, very worthy winners in my opinion. After winning two prizes so far Ben Howard was on stage to perform “It’s Only Love” which let’s be fair is a beautiful if somewhat sleep inducing song.

A brief interview with Mercury Prize winners Alt J by Mr Corden came up next. Now we have the best International male. Frank Ocean won it, what a damned good choice! The War Child charity won a new special recognition award. This is truly a great charity, a well deserved prize. Collected by Ben Knowles from Warchild and Damon Albarn. Mumford took to the stage for “I Will Wait” I saw them at the Reading Festival in 2011. They were bloody good, but I feel they peaked very early and that their second album was nowhere near as good as the first. I’m sure I won’t be the first to say that Mumford have become a bit dull will I?

None other than Byron Ferrari was on hand to present the Best British album gong to Emilie Sande for ‘Our Version Of Events’. Personally I love her voice, but I imagine she is a bit Marmite in that you either love her or hate her. Yet another Global Success Award was presented by Robbie Williams to One Direction; oh joy, two of my least favourite acts ever! What the fuck? Was this award invented just so that Wand Erection didn’t sob all over their school books? I bet that arsehole Simon Cowell was behind that! Emilie Sande closed the show  and yes she was good. But that Global Success award to One Direction has left a bad taste in my mouth. In fact it has turned a relatively dull Brits into something quite shit! Can we have some proper rock n roll edgeiness back next year please? Preferably a bit more edgy than Sharon Osbourne mentioning Harry Styles’ willy!


“I got a story I want to tell gather round me” December 9, 2012


The Guardian published an excellent Q & A with Bobby Womack recently. I won’t list the whole article, but if you want to read it just click here. There were a couple of interesting mentions of Wilson Pickett and Sam Cooke. Apparently Mr Cooke liked to wear Estee Lauder.


There was also a reminder about how recently segregation existed in the USA, certainly and sadly well within my lifetime. But two little things took my interest. One is that Bobby’s favourite word is love and his greatest fear is cats. Surely he has to record a cover of the Cure‘s “Love Cats”. Have you heard his award-winning album ‘Bravest Man In The Universe’ yet? You should have, what’s keeping you? But is it right that the bravest man in the universe is scared of cats?



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