With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Holy Holy – Barbican, York – Friday 8th February 2019 February 10, 2019


I had wanted to see Holy Holy for a long while but I have never been in the same place at the same time. But this time I made it! For those of you who are unaware Holy Holy is a band with the backbone of two David Bowie stalwarts; Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey a former Spider From Mars and Tony Visconti who produced many of the Dame’s albums and contributed bass on ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ The vocalist is Glenn Gregory off of Heaven 17. Are they a Bowie tribute act? Not in the wonderfully theatrical sense that Absolute Bowie are I see Holy Holy more as a band that is keeping the legacy alive through people who were there and were a part of the whole Bowie phenomenon. But more of Holy Holy in a bit, there is the support act to consider first and this was a solo acoustic set by none other than John Bramwell off of I Am Kloot. This was apparently his first support gig in sixteen years since I Am Kloot supported Turin Brakes. His between song chat was hilarious, John is a true raconteur who speaks eloquently and intelligently. That eloquence and intelligence is a strong part of his lyrics too. This was the first night of the tour and John regaled us with the fact that he had forgotten his guitar stands and that he had left his merch in the car. He also explained why he always talks to the audience while tuning his guitar, at a gig some years ago while tuning he overheard a comment from the audience where someone said “I don’t like this new one!” Bramwell is a very talented singer songwriter who knows his audience and wins people over with wit and very classy songs. I reckon he had quite a few new fans after tonight.

In the past I was never a great fan of bands playing a whole album from start to finish at a gig, but I have grown to love it over the years. Tonight was a fabulous night with not just one Bowie album played in its entirety but two. First came ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ followed by ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’. It takes a good band to do these two LPs justice and this is a great band. Along with Woodmansey on drums, Visconti on bass and Gregory on vocals there are two guitarists; James Stevenson and Paul Cuddeford. Berenice Scott on keyboards and the multi instrumental Jessica Lee Morgan on acoustic guitar, saxophone, percussion and vocals. Glenn Gregory as the singer in this band is an inspired choice, he doesn’t try to be Bowie but he handles all the songs powerfully and tastefully. He certainly knows his rock god shapes and poses too. Hearing these two albums again in this environment made me think how fresh, new and different they must have sounded to fans back in 1970 and 1972 respectively. The explosive power and sheer bombast of set opener “Width Of A Circle” should have given Sabbath and Led Zep a run for their money but ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ album never really took off until after Ziggy Stardust exploded into being. The band really showed their full on hard rock credentials during this epic track and it set the scene for a great night. As a part of this blogs recent 10th birthday celebrations I posted my top ten Bowie songs, I did say that it changes regularly and after this Holy Holy gig I really need to find a space for the magnificent “All The Madmen”. When I first bought the album on cassette back in 1972 that was always my favourite song. Tonight all those teenage memories were brought to the fore again with an immaculate run through of this classic treatise on insanity where the only sane people are those in the asylums. Glenn Gregory and the band were firing on all cylinders for the first album of the evening and the crowd were singing along with most songs. Especially the title track and the “oh by jingo” refrain from “After All”. Obviously the first part of the show ended with “The Superman” on which Gregory’s vocals reached a new peak.

Now it was time for what many see as their favourite Bowie album, “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars” to give it its full title. Incidentally my favourite Bowie album is ‘Diamond Dogs’. Woody Woodmansey’s understated drum sound on “Five Years” still sends shivers down my spine coupled with lyrics of hopelessness in a world that is dying. I don’t believe that Glenn Gregory quite captured the sheer emotion in Bowie’s delivery on the record but he still did a great job. “Moonage Daydream” was probably the point where many of the crowd left their seats to dance, that song blew the house down and I reckon Mick Ronson would have been more than satisfied with the guitar skills on display. As expected no one stayed quiet for “Starman” especially the “la la la” part. Interestingly, and perhaps to give Glenn Gregory a well deserved break, Jessica Lee Morgan (who is Tony Visconti’s daughter) sang “Lady Stardust”, this woman is incredibly talented. Has there ever been an album with a better closing four tracks than this? “Hang On To Yourself”, “Ziggy Stardust”, “Suffragette City” and “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide” tore the house down and put the roof into orbit. The only thing that could possibly have made that better would have been David Bowie actually being there. A spectacular band had just played two of Bowie’s finest albums, did they have anything left? Well yes they did, after a short break they were back for an encore. They kicked off their four song closing part with a wonderful surprise, not another hit from 1969 to 1973, but the beautiful and emotionally charged come back single from 2014, “Where Are We Now”. The band did not put a foot wrong and Glenn Gregory gave his finest vocal performance of the night, possibly not a dry eye in the house! This was followed by two classics from ‘Hunky Dory’, “Changes” and “Life On Mars”. The showed closed with the sing along sonic assault of “Rebel Rebel”. At the end Woody said a few words about being a part of this experience and being back in Yorkshire and then it was all over. It took me a while to come down from this high after getting home. I will definitely be seeing Holy Holy again!

Public Service Announcement: All photographs and videos were found on line. If any of them are yours and you would like a credit or for me to take them down please let me know.

 

With Just A Hint Of Mayhem is ten years old! Part 7 February 6, 2019


The 10th birthday celebrations for With Just A Hint Of Mayhem could roll on long than Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue at this rate. Today is day 7 and I am giving you a list of the ten greatest gigs I have ever been to. This was pretty damned tough, I could have listed at least 50 or more. Obviously this is in no particular order of preference, simply chronological.

Regular readers will know that so far I have shared with you top ten most viewed posts on the blog since it began back in February 2009, the top ten countries that have given With Just A Hint Of Mayhem the most views, rock/ music related books, biographies and autobiographies, my top 10 Bowie songs, my 10 favourite bands of all time and yesterday my top ten favourite male artists. (Click here, here, here, here, here and here to view those again). Stay tuned, there are still four top tens to come after this! What will they be? Well sign up, follow or just check out this site regularly to find out! What are your favourite male singers, be they current, ancient or no longer with us? Incidentally I can tell you that the remaining top tens will be my favourite female artists, my favourite albums and my favourite singles.

Don’t forget that you can also find us on Twitter  and FaceBook .

So without further fuss here is the list, strangely there are no 80s gigs in there;

Jackson 5 – Wembley Empire Pool – November 1972 – My first ever gig, the J5 were phenomenal and the support acts included Junior Walker and the All Stars and the Commodores
David Bowie – Wembley Empire Pool – May 1976 – My dad wouldn’t let me see the Dame in the Ziggy years so this was my first Bowie show and the Thin White Duke smashed it. Bowie even forgot the lyrics to “Life On Mars”
Ramones – Rainbow Theatre – December 1977 – This was a New Years Eve show, the night before my 18th birthday. Da Bruddas were brilliant and support was I think from Generation X and the Rezillos.
Millie Jackson – Apollo Victoria – November 1978 – I absolutely adore Millie Jackson’s voice, her soulfulness, her playfulness and her humour. This fabulous show with an amazing band was sadly the only time I saw her live, well so far.
Earth, Wind & Fire – Wembley Empire Pool – March 1979 – This was E,W & F in their full pomp with a pyramid stage set, pyrotechnics and teleportation. On top of that they were one of the finest soul and funk bands on the planet at the time and they were supported by the Emotions.
Oasis – The Old Trout, Windsor – May 1994 – With hindsight seeing Oasis in the sweaty backroom of a pub with a capacity of no more than 120 was truly incredible. I saw that at Knebworth a few years later, but this Windsor show topped that for me.
David Bowie – Phoenix Festival, Stratford on Avon – July 1996 – The second Bowie show in the list, well I did see him ten times. If I was pushed to say which my all time favourite gig was it would be this. The subdued start with “Quicksand” was stunning.
Foo Fighters – Reading Festival – August 2005 – I have seen the Foos at festivals many times, but for me this was their finest hour. A truly perfect live band.
Jimmy Cliff – O2 Academy, Leeds – August 2014 – possibly one of the most entertaining party style gigs I have ever had the pleasure of attending. Mr Cliff seems to have perpetual motion.
Kate Bush – Hammersmith Apollo – September 2014 – I didn’t see Kate in 1978 as I couldn’t afford I assumed that there would be another tour very soon, but there wasn’t But this was definitely worth the wait.

 

With Just A Hint Of Mayhem is ten years old! Part 4 February 3, 2019

Filed under: News,Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 8:31 pm
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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem 10th birthday celebrations continue with another top ten. Today it is my ten favourite songs by the Dame a.k.a. David Bowie. Regular readers know that I am a big fan of the former Mr Jones, who incidentally has been tagged on my blog more than anyone else. I would love to hear what your own favourite Bowie tunes are. This time. Regular readers will know that so far I have shared with you top ten most viewed posts on the blog since it began back in February 2009, the top ten countries that have given With Just A Hint Of Mayhem the most views and yesterday rock/ music related books, biographies and autobiographies. (Click here, here and here to view those again). Stay tuned, there are still six top tens to come after this! What will they be? Well sign up, follow or just check out this site regularly to find out!

Don’t forget that you can also find us on Twitter  and FaceBook .

This top ten of my favourite Bowie songs is definitely not in order of preference and if I did it again next week it would most likely be different. In this list there are seven songs from the 70s, one from the 80s, one from the 90s and one from the 21st century. I have also excluded “All The Young Dudes” which I consider to be the greatest song Bowie ever wrote. I left it out because other than a demo and live versions he never formally recorded it. So without further adieu here is the list and don’t forget to let me know your own favourites. Love on ya x

 

 

 

With Just A Hint Of Mayhem is ten years old! Part 2 February 1, 2019


Here we go with part 2/ day 2 of the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem 10th birthday celebrations. Regular readers will know that yesterday I gave you the top ten most viewed posts on the blog since it began back in February 2009 (Click here to view that again). Today I bring you the top ten countries that have given With Just A Hint Of Mayhem the most views. Don’t worry there will be plenty of music in the coming days including things like my top ten favourite singles, albums, bands and more stuff too! Don’t forget that you can also find us on Twitter  and FaceBook .

So on with the countries who have visited the site most often

USA 173,833

UK 116,030

Chile 27,682

Germany 26,344

France 22,616

Canada 19,208

Mexico 15,273

Spain 14,654

Australia 11,828

Brazil 8,475

Incidentally there are a handful of countries that have never visited With Just A Hint Of Mayhem, well at least not yet. If you can make it happen for Svalbard, Western Sahara, Bujumbura, Chad, Turkmenistan, Kosovo, Djibouti and unsurprisingly, North Korea. There are also thirteen countries with only one view each in 10 years.

So to celebrate how about a few world related songs? Don’t mind if I do 🙂

 

 

“As long as we’re together the rest can go to hell” October 4, 2018


As regular readers will know I am a huge fan of David Bowie, although I am not keen on a lot of his output in the 80s. But even in that period there were some gems. One of those is for me the single “Absolute Beginners” a Langer Winstanley production from 1986. I also pride myself in knowing a lot of trivia about the Dame. But I recently read some trivia about “Absolute Beginners” that I never knew before. Kevin Armstrong was Bowie’s guitarist at that time and had been since he put together a band to back him at the previous years Live Aid concert. Armstrong says that when they were recording the song Bowie said that he wanted a backing/ co-vocalist who “sounded like a shop girl”. Kevin said “my sister works in a shop” and from that history was made! The previously unrecorded, untested and I believe 22 years old Janet Armstrong recorded a counterpoint vocal that is definitely comparable to many professional singers! Janet if by any chance you are reading this may I say thank you and I would love to offer you the chance to be interviewed by this blog. 🙂

 

Absolute Bowie – Fibbers, York – Friday 19th January 2018 January 20, 2018


Regular readers of this blog will know not only that I am a massive David Bowie fan, but I am also a bit of a Bowie snob. I have never been a particular fan of tribute bands. I have seen many and a handful have been very good, but the majority were mediocre at best. However just over a year ago at the fabulous Fibbers music venue in York I reluctantly decided to go and see Absolute Bowie. This is an act that many in the industry refer to as the best Bowie tribute by far and many of the reviews bear that out. Click here to read my review of that gig. I loved last years York show so much that I had to come back again in 2018. This time I persuaded my good friend and fellow Bowie fan Simon Hernaman and his wife Marie to join me. Was last year a one off or is the magic still there? You should read on to find the answer to that question.

The first set was a Ziggy set with John O’Neill in fine form as Bowie’s earliest and probably most iconic character. The costumes, the mime driven dance moves and most importantly for me the authentic sounding Bowie vocals from O’Neill. None of this would of worked however without the support of the excellent band; Chris Buratti on guitar, makes an excellent Mick Ronson in the first set, Fabio Cashio a stunningly talented bass player, Alex Paollilo on keyboards and drummer Alessandro Ricardi. There were many highlights in the Ziggy half of the show and it sounded great from where I was in the crowd although there seemed to be some problems with at least one of the monitors. Particular highlights were “Moonage Daydream“, ” The Man Who Sold The World“, a truly majestic “Life On Mars” and  “Starman” which had everyone in Fibbers la-la-la-la-ing like lunatics. First set closer was “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide“, what else could it be? I do not believe that there was a single person in the crowd that didn’t sing along to every song with 100% passion.

Which Bowie would we get from John  O’Neill in the second set? It was Serious Moonlight Bowie; bleached blond hair, wearing a pastel suit, unfastened bow tie and braces. In terms of where these songs were drawn from it was a much wider period than the Ziggy set ranging from 1974 to 1983. This band match their talent with confidence, to open with “Station To Station” would not have been attempted by lesser tribute acts, but Absolute Bowie pulled it off completely and followed that with a mesmerisingly funky version of what in my opinion is one of the finest cuts on the ‘Station To station’ album, “Stay”. Whilst we are on funk I have to mention “Fame”, I think Mr Bowie himself would have enjoyed that. We were treated to “Ashes To Ashes”, Let’s Dance” and “China Girl” from the 80s. The encore was for me perhaps the finest part of an amazing night. We were hit with “Space Oddity” which was introduced with a blast of ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra” which was used as the theme to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey‘, “Heroes” and a stonking version of “Rebel Rebel” that may well have brought the ceiling down had it gone on any longer. If you have seen Absolute Bowie before then I know you will see them again, I certainly will. If you have never seen them before what are you waiting for?

Public service announcement – all videos found via YouTube but all the pictures are from the delightful Mr. Simon Hernaman’s mobile phone 🙂

 

“We’ll build a glass asylum, with just a hint of mayhem” January 8, 2018


Regular readers of this blog know that I am a big David Bowie fan. This began in July 1972 when I witnessed that now iconic performance of “Starman” on BBC’s Top Of The Pops. I was lucky enough to see him play live ten times from 1976 to 2004 and I still buy every release, and to be fair there have been many since his death nearly two years ago. I recently received the latest in the seven inch vinyl picture disc series, the 40th anniversary release of the “Beauty And The Beast” single. It has a terrific version of “Blackout” on the B Side. Today would have been the Dame’s 71st birthday, I know to many of you that probably sounds old, but it is only 12 years older than me! Obviously like many fans I was saddened by his passing, but I am still somewhat freaked out by the amount of on-line Bowie fans that still speak of their despair at his loss, how they still wake up crying.

But enough of that morbidity, I do still celebrate the birthday of the late David Robert Jones. On a work day that means that I wear my David Bowie cuff links as I did today. I also received a few more David Bowie related books at Christmas, I think I now own around 70 in total. One of those Christmas presents was ‘David Bowie – A Life’ by Dylan Jones. Jones met and interviewed Bowie on many occasions and he uses that material along with old and new interviews with many people who were a part of the world of David Bowie. This includes the Spiders From Mars, Dana Gillespie, Bob Harris, Earl Slick, Mike Garson, Carlos Alomar, Peter Frampton, Nina Simone, Mick Rock, Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray, Bebe Buell and Coco Schwab to name just a few. The book is organised chronologically and is incredibly well put together. In my opinion it is beyond doubt the best Bowie biography for many years and easily the best to be published since his demise. It is tasteful and manages to unearth a few things that personally I had never read before; How he had tried to reform the Spiders From Mars in 1978 and how in the US in the early 1970s someone turned up at his hotel sweet and offered him a still warm, dead body to have sex with. In respect of the latter he was apparently visibly shocked and upset and turned the offer down. When he lived in Mustique at a property he used to own there he often referred to one drink from the cocktail menu in Basil’s Bar as a Penis Colada.

This evening I have also dug out the magnificent Alan Yentob documentary ‘Cracked Actor’ from the mid 70s. It is a fascinating portrait of a talented man in a spiral of cocaine addiction and ensuing paranoia. In many ways it is a magnificent insider view of the transition from the Halloween Jack character of the post apocalyptic tales on ‘Diamond Dogs’ into the white soul boy of ‘Young Americans’. If you have never seen it, whether you are a fan or not you should check it out. From just the social history perspective it is truly fascinating. This is a bit of a Bowie ramble I know, but I haven’t done a Bowie post for a while, well apart from the specific one about the song “Andy Warhol” back in December. I don’t really need an excuse to play some Bowie tunes, but a 71st birthday and the impending second anniversary of his death works for me. Let’s celebrate the Dame’s wonderful recordings together, what is your favourite David Bowie song? My top three favourites are currently; “Quicksand”, “Young Americans” and “Lady Grinning Soul“.

As a footnote the eagle eyed readers and bat eared listeners may have sussed out where I took the title of my blog from, go on take a guess!

 

 
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