With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

LIFE – The Fulford Arms, York – Tuesday 29th October 2019 November 3, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 2:27 pm
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LIFE from Hull is a band that was on the fringe of my music radar before tonight. I had heard a few of their songs and liked them but I had never seen them live, until now. Did I find them to be a good live band? You will need to read on to find out because first there was the little matter of one of York’s best current bands, Faux Pas in support.  This was the third time that I have seen them live in the last twelve months and they step it up a couple of gears every time I see them if they continue at this rate they will be huge. It was a fast-paced, blistering set that showcased the power and poise that this band has in abundance. Ru’s vocals were at peak performance and equal to Brian Molko on his best days. The guitar work from Lewis was everything from Steve Jones to Johnny Marr with the Edgell stamp across it all. Super sticksman Joey sweated an ocean as he pounded the living daylights out of his kit. “That’s My Ego” was the highlight for me, but there were so many to choose from. If I was in a band I would not want to follow Faux Pas on to the stage.

But LIFE did follow them and they were phenomenal, touring to promote their monumentally stunningly good second album ‘A Picture Of Good Health’ they owned the Fulford Arms. If they wanted to they could probably have levitated the building with the sheer volume and energy that was emanating from the stage. Vocalist Mez is a real heart on his sleeve punk showman who looks like he loves what he is doing and he totally gets his audience. The crowd was totally up for this set. It was great to hear the cheers from the crowd when Mez shouted “Fuck Boris”, Fuck The Tories” and “Fuck Trump”. Mez ventured among the crowd a lot and we lapped it up. He ended the show on someone’s shoulders for the final song, no mean feat given how low the Fulford Arms ceiling is. As with Faux Pas, there were many highlights, but standouts for me were “Half Pint Fatherhood”, “Bum Hour” and “Popular Music”. I also have a confession relating to misheard lyrics a.k.a. mondegreen; I had not listened to “It’s A Con” before the gig and I was convinced that Mez was singing “It’s A Cunt”, rather embarrassingly I was wrong, but in my head that is how I will sing it forevermore! If any of you ever doubted that punk had a future, I can tell you that it definitely does, especially in the hands of bands like LIFE. Mez, Lydia, Mick, and Stew take a bow you were possibly the best band that I have seen in 2019 and there have been some great ones. LIFE, the best band to come out of Hull since the Spiders From Mars!

All the photos were found via Google searches. The videos were all found on YouTube. If any of the pictures or videos are yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove them please let me know. 

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Faux Pas – Vinyl Cafe, York – Friday 4th October 2019 October 8, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:08 pm
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This date was a part of the Faux Pas autumn tour which includes support slots with LIFE and a number of in-store shows. This show was obviously one of the in-store sets, given the wonderfully intimate setting of the Vinyl Cafe in York. Faux Pas are considered by many, including me, to be among the finest young UK bands around at the moment. Did they live up to that accolade at this gig? You will have to read on to find out as there were also a couple of great support acts on the bill before the main attraction.

Will Dreyfus

First up was Will Dreyfus, a York-based singer-songwriter who has a talent for writing story songs with a flow and narrative of very early Springsteen. Some of his tales are truly epic and ooze with an abundance of emotion. Another obvious comparison for me was a more folk-based George Ezra, but Will is also much more than that. He also displays a great self-deprecating humour and for me, he inadvertently came up with the best accidental phrase of the night; “Life is a learning curse”! The songs that Will performed at this gig were all sad songs of some degree, but I spoke briefly with him afterwards and he tells me that he does have some happy songs and having checked him out online that is absolutely true. I recommend that you give this bloke a listen.

Lily Honey

Next, it was the turn of Lily Honey, another talented Yorkshire based singer-songwriter. She has a voice that conveys soul, passion, and honesty. I don’t know if Lily has the octave range that Karen Carpenter possessed (not many singers do), but the clarity of her intonation is very Carpenteresque. According to Lily, her own songs are “down and sad”, although some might say poignant. Based on her performance tonight that might well be true, however, her songs are full of class and suggest a maturity in songwriting way beyond her years. Her cover of EnVogue’s 1996 smash hit “Don’t Let Go (Love)” was powerful and stunning in equal measure. I definitely want to hear more from Lily Honey.

Faux Pas

This would be the third time that I have seen those magnificent punky noiseniks, Faux Pas. The first time was last November when they supported the Blinders at the Crescent in York and the last time was at the Fulford Arms in York as one of their TV Made Me Paranoid Tour shows. Both of those gigs allowed Faux Pas to showcase just how loud, proud and talented they really are. So obviously I was expecting a lot of them at the Vinyl Cafe last Friday, especially as it is a very small, intimate venue for which the volume would need to be turned down a notch. My expectations were exceeded as Ru, Lewis, and Joey proved that they can perform in any environment and that their songs work in quieter as well us loud mode. It wasn’t a full-on acoustic set with Ru adding some decent guitar to some songs and Joey keeping the beat with softer sticks throughout, giving a rich jazzy feel at times. But they were never too far from their indie-punk signature sound, especially with new single “That’s My Ego” where Ru’s vocals might well have melted some of the vinyl albums on display. On “Golden” Joey proved that he is more than just a damned good drummer with some skillful tinkling of the ivories. Perhaps the stand out for me though was Lewis’ guitar work he weaved his punk-jazz licks around every song and added layers to them that takes them to a different level completely. His axemanship was as good as a young Johnny Marr or Steve Mason for Gene in their mid 90s peak. Faux Pas wear their punk hearts on their sleeve, they could be this generation’s Placebo and they are on the same groundbreaking pedestal as contemporaries Queen Zee (who sadly announced their break up while I was writing this review). But wherever their influences may come from they are most definitely original and there is only one Faux Pas! Everything that I have seen and heard from Faux Pas makes me believe that beyond a shadow of doubt they have what it takes to go all the way and I hope they make it! If you haven’t caught them yet on their autumn tour either in support of LIFE or in-store shows promoting “That’s My Ego” there are plenty of opportunities left, go on you know you want to, actually scrub that, you know you NEED to see them!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me. (There are a few more below) 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. I am also happy for you to use any of my pictures, all I ask is for a credit 🙂

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Faux Pas and Uncle Buzzard – split 7″ single September 25, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 5:54 pm
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Come Play With Me Records have just released a split 7″ single featuring two talented and wonderfully different bands; Faux Pas and Uncle Buzzard. Come Play With Me is a not for profit label set up to showcase and develop new music in the Leeds area. They have released some really classy split 7″ singles to date which have included tracks by Fizzy Blood, The Golden Age Of TV and Dead Naked Hippies to name just a few. If you would like to support Come Play With Me click here and help continue the great work they are doing. If you weren’t lucky enough to get a vinyl copy both tracks are available on major streaming sites.

Faux Pas’ contribution is “That’s My Ego” and the opening bars suggest maybe something lofi and then Ru’s vocals go stratospheric about 45 seconds in just as the riff attack ramps things up to 11. The song is full of despair, passion anger, and energy, which is appropriate given that Ru has said that “This song is about taking control of who you are and addressing the struggle of those who feel they cannot”. The band is perhaps this generation’s Placebo along with contemporaries Queen Zee. This is impassioned, caring and soulful punk as it should be. Faux Pas haven’t been around too long yet, but if they keep releasing stuff like this they most certainly will be. I have been lucky enough to see them live a few times and this is the first track from them that for me completely captures the power, magnificence and the essence of their live performance.

“Big Cat” from Uncle Buzzard is very different from the Faux Pas contribution. It is just as melodious but has a more psychedelic indie vibe running through it. The overall feel makes you want to chill out in the sun with an ice-cold beer, however, the lyrics deal with the demands of the patriarchal society we live in to “be a man”. Lead vocalist George describes the lyrics as; “The realisation of feelings of inadequacy and toxic masculinity. The lyrics long for the feeling of being this King of the Jungle, but instead reflect the feeling of someone who has spent their life as anything but. Someone who has spent the majority of their life in their imagination, but instead realises that they are out of their depth and needing to embrace reality”. Uncle Buzzard are a band on fire and in possession of an obscene amount of talent. The production on this song is close to perfect as are the Beach Boyesque harmonies, particularly on the blissful and heavenly fade out.

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Faux Pas – Fulford Arms, York 28th February 2019 March 8, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:49 pm
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Does anyone not love the Fulford Arms? You don’t well come and see me and let me educate you. This place is an awesome small, intimate venue where a fabulous range of great acts play. On top of all that the staff are a fab bunch too! Tonight the headliners in a show promoted by Under The Influence were the rather fabulous Faux Pas. But more about them later, first to take the stage were Pura Vida (my research tells me that this means pure life or simple life in Costa Rica) a northern powerhouse of a band from Yorkshire. It is just over a year since I last saw them play live and they are still incredibly difficult to pin down to a single genre. Tonight I had a great post punk vibe from them sprinkled with some Factory Records fairy dust. Some of the guitar work was reminiscent of John Squire at his Stone Roses peak they also performed an excellent cover of the Cure’s “Love Song” and they have some great self penned songs too. If you set out to not like this band you would fail, so don’t even try immerse yourself in a pure and simple life with the music of Pura Vida.

Next were the staggeringly talented Lost Trends from York. Why the hell are this band not absolutely huge? They had a few months sabbatical but they are back with a bang that could be measured in megatons or on the Richter Scale. Their new EP ‘Time’ is a finely honed gem. Not many bands are able to combine the indie style with hard-hitting funky dance floor anthems while maintaining a punky attitude. One of the many things that I love about Lost Trends is that wherever they are on the bill and whoever else is playing they rock the stage as though they are the headliners, they never hold back. They treated the crowd to a towering version of “Time” which is a tune you have to move to, Peter Knaggs guitar on this track alone would run the Edge close. The highlight of their set for me was a floor shaking attack of one of their slightly older songs “DJ”. This is perhaps the fifth time I have seen them live and I hope it won’t be long before that runs in to double figures.

Now for the electrifying headliners Faux Pas, I first saw them late last year when their single “Shame” had just been released. They have a never-ending supply of power and energy. Ru Cowl is perhaps one of the finest front men around at the moment. While his image may draw on a punk ethos he is a complete original. The summer dress, badly applied lipstick and the word RUNT scrawled across his chest can only be pulled off by someone with courage and of course talent. Without talent it would be all image, but FauxPas have talent in abundance. Apparently the literal translation of Faux Pas from French to English is ‘false step’, as for Faux Pas the band there is nothing false about them, they are most definitely ‘4 Real’. This show is part of a tour to promote their current single “TV Made Me Paranoid”. The song builds from a slow almost menacing start into something akin to Placebo on steroids. If they are playing your town make sure you’re there, that’s an order!

 

The Blinders – The Crescent, York – Friday 2nd November 2018 November 9, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:40 pm
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Last Friday I had the honour and the pleasure of being at the fabulous York venue the Crescent for a headline gig by one of the best bands in Britain right now, the Blinders. But before I tell you about them let me spend a little time on the rather spiffing support bands. First up was York band Faux Pas. This lot are an absolute riot of energy, a bouquet of passion and posy of punk. They rip into your very being and leave you wanting more. Singer guitarist Ru Cowl wears a very big heart on his sleeve and has more balls than many singers by wearing a summer dress and the hand written ‘RUNT’ across his chest and laying down a passionate challenge to gender stereotypes. Their new single “Shame” was released last week and while it sounds good in its recorded form it becomes a towering behemoth of a song when played live.

 

Next to hit the stage were Brighton five piece White Room who look like they just dropped in from an early 80s Duran Duran video shoot via some kind of pop time travel gizmo. But this bunch are far more talented than Duran Duran in my opinion. For starters Jake Smallwood is a far better vocalist than Simon Le Bon. White Room plough grooves that are sharp enough to cut your ears as they enter your head. They have an immaculate sense of stage presence and how to play to an audience. White Room also have a new single out, entitled “Shoot” and back in the days when the charts really meant something it would be a key contender for number one.

Finally the time had arrived for perhaps the finest band in the UK right now. This was an electrifying set from this staggeringly good three piece from Doncaster. They are touring on the back of their magnificent debut album ‘Columbia’ which was released back in September. Vocalist and guitarist Thomas has a towering, menacing, piercing eyed stare stage persona which matches that of Blinders compadres Avalanche Party’s Jordan Bell. ‘Columbia’ is an incredible album and the songs when played live are moved from earth bound tunes to full on Norse God hymnals from Valhalla. I love a band that is well read and the Blinders are clearly fans of classic dystopian fiction by George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. “Brave New World” and “The Ballad Of Winston Smith” attest to that. Not every generation throws up a British band that could be called the band of their generation. In my opinion the Beatles were, as were the Sex Pistols, the Stone Roses and to some perhaps the Arctic Monkeys. I believe that this is what the Blinders are destined to become, the band of their generation. They have honesty, bravery, intelligence, extreme talent and on top of all that they play together like they were born to do it. Particular highlights from this pile driving set for me were “Hate Song”, “Brutus” and “L’Etat C’est Moi”. This is the second time I have been lucky enough to see the Blinders, I think there will be many, many more for me. I have a feeling that they will be around for a long while!

 

Public Service Announcement: – All photographs were taken and edited by me using my cheap android phone from China. All videos were found on YouTube. If one of the videos is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be taken down please let me know.

 

 
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