With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Bull – The Crescent, York – Friday 24th September 2021 September 27, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:03 pm
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A sell out gig at the Crescent in York? Yes I kid you not, the first sell out I have been to since before Covid and it feels damned good to be back to proper gigs. This was a delayed album launch tour from local heroes Bull who released their fabulous debut album ‘Discover Effortless Living’. But before the main attraction there were a couple of support bands that I need to tell you about. First it was the wonderfully named Fat Spatula. They put on an intense and powerful performance and they are clearly a tight band. But what are Fat Spatula actually like? Well the recipe for me was a few ounces of Talking Heads from David Byrne’s oversized jacket peak, a couple of fried Devo stock cubes. a hugely rich Modern Lovers sauce all served with the funkiest condiments you could imagine. I guess it was all mixed nicely using a fat spatula, right? Anyway, I like this band a lot and I will definitely be queueing up for second helpings sometime in the future.

Next it was the turn of a Hull band who are clearly not particularly enamoured by vowels, they are called bdrmm. They are a kind proggy shoegazey style but with extra added industrial sound and drone at times. Maybe there was even a bit of a Cure influence in there too. I think bdrmm are clearly accomplished musicians and they also feel like the sort of band I might listen to while smoking a fat one! I particularly liked the drums, although the drums on one track were very reminiscent of Toni Basil’s “Mickey” (thank you for pointing that out Eddie P).

Finally it was time for the main attraction, Bull. They are a 21st century Byrds with a distinctly heavier psych vibe than Roger McGuinn’s gang. Bull are a band that really know what they are doing and they do it supremely well. This was a local crowd for them and we were captivated by every note. Someone that I spoke to before the show described Bull as ramshackle, I disagree, I would say intense and informal, while never hiding their sense of fun. If this band do not become huge then the matrix or the multiverse (pick your cinematic universe) is broken. They were joined by an awesome brass section towards the end of the set which included singer Tom Beer on trombone. Get out and see this band and buy or stream their debut album, you need Bull in your life!

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Tommyrot – York Vaults – York – Friday 6th August 2021 August 9, 2021


This was my first proper non-seated gig for 18 months and it felt great, a little weird, but great nonetheless. First on stage were Where’s Slater? These guys formed while at York University and on their social media they say that they “could be defined as a band, we prefer ‘search party'”. Personally I reckon they are a good band, I have no evidence to say how good a search party they are though. Although I think they were missing two band members so maybe they aren’t ready to be a search party just yet. Anyway they played a barnstorming set the forefront of which was the great vocals from their singer who has a touch of Kurt Cobain spliced with a pinch of Jim Morrison. They did some great covers including Nirvana and Queens Of The Stone Age. But the highlight for me was their quirky and brilliant cover of XTC’s “Making Plans For Nigel”.

Where’s Slater?

Unfortunately YouVee were unable to make it so their last minute stand in was Leeds band Flat Moon. The hit the stage like they owned it. The drummer is one of the finest that I have heard in a long while. That added to booming and choppy bass and Billy Whizz funky guitar made a sound like Parliament/ Funkadelic fronted by Nile Rogers but with a deep rock vibe. Their cover of the James Brown classic “Sex Machine” was off the scale and through the stratosphere. I loved the way they had so much fun with it, even changing it briefly to a funky love song about a washing machine! One of their own compositions, “Demise” I think was late night jazz club in style, and my good mate Eddie Parkinson remarked that the band could do a great take on the theme tune to any Pink Panther remake. Their Hendrix cover was hard heavy and oozed funky blues. So if George Clinton had P-Funk I reckon Flat Moon have F-Punk with their funk sounds supported by a punk attitude. I am now a huge Flat Moon fan!

Flat Moon

Pleasure Centre from Sacrbados were next and at the start I thought they sounded a bit proggy, but I mean that in a good way. I think the band have great potential but I don’t think they are quite there yet, not for me at least. The guitarist and the drummer are extremely bloody good at what they do. I felt the vocals were mixed a little low down tonight, which was a shame as it felt like the singer had a good voice, which was more apparent standing near the stage. and I need to explore some of the bands recorded output to get a better feel for them. I mentioned Prog earlier but maybe they are a bit shoegazey too. A hard band to put into a specific genre box.

Pleasure Centre

Finally it was time for Tommyrot who formed while at the Access Creative College in York. I have reviewed a few of their singles before and everyone of them has been great. They are a truly eclectic band who looked like they were having great fun while they were on stage. I once described them as “Weird, wacky, wayward, waggish, witty, wonky, whimsical, wonderfully eclectic, stylistic nut jobs” and having finally seen them live I stand by every word of that. They transfer their recorded work to the live environment incredibly well. The highlight for me was my favourite Tommyrot song “Drugs”, even if you don’t do drugs you need to do that song and you need to become a Tommyrot fan!

Tommyrot
Drummer Rhys focussing really hard while hand writing the Tommyrot set lists!

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Record Store Day 2020 August 31, 2020


Well Covid-19 has just about fucked up everything this year hasn’t it. Record Store Day (RSD) 2020 was postponed from April to June and then when June was cancelled it was split into three ‘drops’: August 29th, September 26th and October 24th. The first of those was last Saturday and featured most of the big releases including David Bowie, Mansun, the Cure and Gene among many others. I had the honour of helping out in my fantastic local record shop, Vinyl Eddie’s on the day. My pay for that task was the sheer pleasure of doing it and the two Bowie releases!

The pandemic meant that it was a long way from a typical RSD, with only four customers allowed into the shop at any one time and persuading those customers to focus on just the RSD releases with no browsing options. I was outside managing the queue while Vinyl Eddie himself and his Dad, John made sure all the sales went without a hitch. We were also treated to a short set by ace local band the Receivers who had released their new single, “Only Human” the day before. Having expected an acoustic set I was more than pleasantly surprised to see them bring amps and the full band. They set up on the pavement with drummer Louis setting up his kit pretty much in the road! With a few plays of the new single, some other new tracks and some Receivers classics I am counting this as my first gig since March 14th. Sadly the video that I thought I had taken on my phone, didn’t work 😦

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who turned up and bought vinyl, to the Receivers for a great set, to Richard Saker the Guardian/ Observer photographer (check the Guardian RSD piece by clicking here, I was gutted my own picture didn’t make it) and most of all to Eddie and John Parkinson for giving me the opportunity to help them out on the day! While I am looking forward to RSD 2020 part 2 and part 3 I am hoping for big things and a degree of normality for RSD 2021. Long Live Vinyl and Keep The Faith!

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The Golden Age Of TV – Victoria Vaults, York – Thursday 20th February 2020 February 27, 2020


This looked like yet another great gig in York, presented by those wacky and wonderful folk from Vinyl Eddie Records. It was at the Victoria Vaults which is now in the top three York venues along with the Crescent and the Fulford Arms. There were four acts on the bill and it was all kicked off by the obscenely talented Kitty VR. This woman not only knows how to write a great song she knows how to perform a great song too. She gave us a lot more background than I have heard before about her composition “My Kind”. A true history of the song which mostly stems from her time living in a converted church. I loved the band version of “Whirlpool” when I first heard it, acoustically it is a different animal indeed, but still very beautiful but in a different way. Kitty was very nervous about doing one particular cover. It was a cover of Tim Buckley’s “Once I Was”, it is a song she first came across from a video clip of Tim’s son Jeff playing it at a celebration of his father’s life in 1991. I was lucky enough to see Jeff Buckley live once. I have been lucky enough to see Kitty VR twice now and I expect to see her play plenty more shows before I leave this mortal coil!

Next up were a relatively new band, this was their third ever gig, Grapefruit Eyes. They formed from the ashes of Neon Salmon, another great York band. They are a bit jazzy, a bit prog, a bit Radiohead with some proper funky guitar chops. I still get a sense of Orange Juice and Edwyn Collins in there, although perhaps a little less than I did with Neon Salmon. I really loved Neon Salmon, but this lot are even better. I am still not sure about the name, but frankly, the Beatles was a pretty crap name and look what happened to them. This band knows how to put on a show and dressed for the occasion with Finn the drummer in a sparkly glitter jacket while George and Isaac donned Kimono style drape jackets which had a kind of Showaddywaddy in the 25th Century. Not sure about George’s front mini man bun, but who cares, the music was bloody awesome!

York has some fabulous bands and the next one to tread the boards is no exception. I am talking about Pavilion, who are fine purveyors of very funky keyboard-driven indie dance. Keyboards provided by the daughter of one of York’s Royal Rock family, Shed Seven. This is a very good band, but the keyboard sweeps and fills make them a truly great band. They come across as a band that is really confident in what they do and so they should be. The music is really tight and the vocals soar mightily over a powerful soundtrack. Definitely, a band to watch out for. As an added bonus they also had Kitty VR on stage with them for a magnificent duet.

Finally, it was time for headliners The Golden Age Of TV from Leeds. This five-piece has been described as an alternative guitar band. I think that they are so much more than that, made up of punk, indie, funk, psych, and exultant pop tunes. Bea Fletcher’s vocal style is sometimes reminiscent of Siouxse Sioux in her prime but she has more range in my view. Some of their tunes are close to full-on funk a la Average White Band but played with a gnarly punk attitude. Their energy appears boundless. New Single “Me, You And A Dog” ticks all the boxes required of a great song; perfect hooks, rifftastic guitar work, great vocals which veer towards a hybrid of Chrissie Hynde and Kate Bush at times. This is a band that deserves much more exposure!

All the photos apart from the first picture (which was “borrowed” from The Golden Age Of TV’s FaceBook page) were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android phone or by Eddie Parkinson (a.k.a. Vinyl Eddie) on his far more expensive 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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