With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Absolute Bowie – Fibbers, York – Saturday 26th January 2019 January 31, 2019


Regular readers will know that as a die-hard, life long David Bowie fan it took ages for me to finally cave in and see a Bowie tribute act. That particular tribute act is Absolute Bowie and 2019 marks the third year in a row that I have seen the magnificent spectacle of an Absolute Bowie show. When I first came to see them at Fibbers back in 2017 I was determined not to like them, but I bloody loved them and still do. The show is empathetic, sympathetic and a stunningly well put together tribute to the late, great Dame David. This show was very special as it featured not just the usual two Bowie’s from my experiences, but no less than four different Bowie incarnations. Obviously Ziggy and the Spiders was first, kicking off proceedings with an explosive “Watch That Man” followed by many Ziggy period classics including another from ‘Aladdin Sane’ that I hadn’t heard for a while, “Panic In Detroit”. There were many highlights in that first set particularly the perfect rendition of “Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)” including the warped jazz tinged Mike Garson piano licks from the supremely talented Alex Paolillo. When Bowie (John O’Neill) picked up the 12 string guitar I knew a treat was in store and I was not wrong, first a great version of my favourite Bowie song “All The Young Dudes” and then a crowd pleasing take of “Starman” which had the crowd singing at full volume.

After a brief interval the band returned in full Serious Moonlight mode and smashed 80s Bowie with rousing and authentic early 80s anthems; “Let’s Dance”, “Ashes To Ashes” and “China Girl”. The 80s was never my favourite David Bowie period, but it is impossible to deny that some of the songs are guaranteed party starters and the audience agreed and threw themselves into singing and dancing with gargantuan glee and amazing abandon. I am sure there were plenty of sore throats and aching muscles the next day. John O’Neill left the stage as 80s Bowie while the stupendously talented band carried on before he returned as a 90s Bowie and wowed us with “Hallo Spaceboy” and what you might call a deep cut, “Look Back In Anger” from the 1979 David Bowie album ‘Lodger’. I was intrigued about what the encore might be after the band left the stage. I was blown away. They kicked off the final three songs with a note perfect recreation of “Black Star”, a song that the real Bowie never got to perform live. O’Neill looked the part wearing the bandage style mask with those eerie black dot eyes. Taking on that song was for me one hell of a brave move, but it paid off, it was excellent and beautifully performed. How could Absolute Bowie follow such a mountainous peak? Quite spectacularly actually. Firstly with another outing for the 12 string on “Space Oddity” and a very passionate and moving “Heroes”.

Absolute Bowie were very worthy and deserving winners of the ‘Best Bowie Tribute’ and ‘Best Tribute Band in the UK’ at the Agents Association of Great Britain Awards last summer. On tonights performance they must be in with a good chance of winning many more awards. I should mention the people who form this magnificent band too. Obviously there is John O’Neill as Bowie, Chris Buratti on Guitar and as a very credible and believable Mick Ronson, Alex Face drummer extraordinaire who would almost certainly make Woody Woodmansey proud, Fabio Cascio a bass player who knows his way around classic rock bass lines and the previously mentioned keyboard wizard Alex Paolillo. If you have never seen Absolute Bowie then I urge you to do so. Even if you are like I used to be; a die-hard fan who hated the idea of a Bowie tribute. This lot is well worth the ticket price. My beautiful wife Catwoman joined me tonight and she loved it as did our good friends Nikki and David. I am sure that all four of us will be back next year!

Public Service Announcement: All the pictures, apart from the tour poster, were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If any of the videos are yours let me know if you would like a credit or if you want a video removed.

 

Lower Than Atlantis – Fibbers, York – Sunday 13th May May 15, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:25 pm
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Last Sunday I had the absolute pleasure of going to see one of Watford’s finest bands, Lower Than Atlantis playing live at Fibbers in York. It was courtesy of those doyens of decibels over at 3 Songs & Out. Click here to read my review and feel free to stick around on 3 Songs & Out.

 

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 🙂

 

Shining, Seep Away, Shrieking Violet – Fibbers, York – Thursday 7th September 2017 September 8, 2017


I had teased my colleagues and friends that I was going to see some Scandinavian death metal, but clearly that wasn’t quite the case, although Shining are a spectacularly good band. But more of them later. Let me start with the support acts. First on were Shrieking Violet. They certainly shriek well, very powerfully and in tune. But I suspect it was Violet’s night off. A damned good band though; head banging, ear exploding perfection!

Shrieking Violet

Seep away were next to take the Fibbers stage. Now that was a fucking performance. If you had walked in half way through Seep Away’s set there is no way that you would have imagined that they were the support band. They owned the sadly relatively small crowd tonight. Singer and ace front-man Jay Sillence spent most of his time in the audience. The band have some great songs of their own. Notably “Matchstick Man”. On top of that my view is that if you cover a song then you should make it different from the original. Well Seep Away’s cover of Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You” did just that. It was like one of Yorkshire’s finest hard-core punk, metal, thrash bands took the corpse of the song, ripped it apart and then put it back together in Dr Frankenstein’s laboratory. A truly bloody awesome band.

Seep Away

Shining, now it says on the metaphorical tin that these Norwegian’s are black-jazz pioneers who have created their own hybrid of jazz (with no boring jazz noodling) and extreme metal. Very much an industrial, metal band who know how to rock like demons. Their intro music was the sixties Zager and Evans classic “In The Year 2525”; who doesn’t love that song? Saxophone in a band as heavy as Shining doesn’t work on paper. But who cares about paper? This band takes jazz to a whole new plane. The played a few new songs tonight, set opener “Everything Dies” is a stunning tour-de-force which blasts you into surrender. Another new song, “Hole In The Sky” slowed the pace a little and showed shades of Ultravox and Biffy Clyro. “Animal ” was a tasty rock song too. Apparently Shining started out as more of a jazz band and this is writ clear in tunes like “Helter Skelter” taken from their 2010 album ‘Black Jazz’. It was a little challenging, but it was also brilliant and the work of musical alchemists. Apologies for the Scandinavian stereotypes but has York been invaded by hard rock Vikings? Did Asgard’s house band cross Bifrost the rainbow bridge to start rocking Midgard? It sure as hell felt like it. I left Fibbers feeling like my head and brain had been battered to a pulp by Mjolnir the mighty hammer wielded by Thor. Do not miss an opportunity to see this band they will, I am sure, blow you away.

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The Ska-talites – Fibbers, York – Tuesday 22nd August 2017 August 23, 2017


Now this is an opportunity that doesn’t happen too often. The chance to see one of the finest ska bands that ever existed, the Ska-talites. Actually in my adopted home city of York too. Anyway before I talk of the ska giants let me tell you about the support. Opener was the rather excellent ska DJ team Bangarang with some truly superb ska and reggae tunes to set the scene for the evening. The support band was the Magnificent 7, one of York’s finest young bands and purveyors of authentic, skillful and fun ska punk, ska, pop punk and hip hop. Well the latter is largely down to their excellent cover of the Eminem classic “Lose Yourself” which works really well with a ska punk arrangement. Their own compositions are pretty damned good too and oh boy did it look like they were having fun on that stage. On stage dancer of the night award should probably go to the trombone player from the Magnificent 7.

So now it was time for a band that originally formed in the mid 60s. Whilst there are hardly any original members left the spirit lives on and a band that had reggae greats Tommy McCook, Don Drummond and Roland Alphonso in their membership originally clearly has a great heritage. The Ska-talites are mainly an instrumental band and the first part of their set showed just how good an instrumental band they are with tunes like “Confucius” and “Latin Goes Ska”. Later in the set they were joined by reggae and ska goddess Doreen Shaffer on vocals for a few songs. Notably “My Boy Lollipop“, “Sugar Sugar” (not the Archies song), a very classy “Simmer Down” and one of my favourites “Nice Time”. The latter is a wonderful Bob Marley composition that I first heard via the Johnny Nash version in 1974. Doreen Shaffer must be over 70 now and she has aged incredibly well and she still has the vocals of a much younger woman. After she left the stage the band showcased their individual talents and frankly there is not a single weak link in this band. They closed with and amazing extended romp through their 1967 UK top 40 hit cover of the theme from the “Guns Of Navarone”. They closed with “Phoenix City” which was originally recorded by Roland Alphonso back in 1966. We also got to hear the Freedom countdown twice too. So if you didn’t get to Fibbers tonight why not? I expect a signed excuse from your parents or guardians in my pigeon-hole tomorrow. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ……… FREEDOM!

 

Strawberries, the Howl & the Hum, Naked 6 and Violet Contours – Fibbers, York – Wednesday 19th April 2017 April 20, 2017


How can you go wrong with a ticket price of £5 (£7 on the door) for four bands? Well you can’t really can you? At Fibbers too. This was another gig recommended to me by the talented Mr Simon Pattinson, pity our poor communication meant he didn’t make it though because it was a proper pedal to the metal, balls to the wall rock night.

Violet Contours

Up first were Violet Contours with their jangly indie pop that carries a great northern edge. At times they channel Kings Of Leon and Orange Juice. “Electric Bodies” is a phenomenal début release. It is rich, vibrant and hangs around in your brain much longer than lesser songs.

Naked 6

Now Naked 6 is a band that I first saw a few months ago at the Crescent in York and I thought they were darned good then. I bought my ticket from the band’s bass player extraordinaire Caleb tonight. What a top bloke! Do you like your rock hard? Do you like some funk in your rock? Do you love a band that knows how to rock out and I mean really rock out? Well look no further than the mighty, magnificent music machine that is Naked 6. This is the 21st century Led Zep. How the fuck do three people make so much noise? They made my ears bleed, but in the best possible way. To top it all off I swear that their very metal version of “I Wanna Be Like You” is like nothing that you have ever heard before.

The Howl and the Hum

I must confess that I have never come across the Howl and the Hum before. What are they like? Think Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, the Doors without Manzarek and maybe the Villagers then you are part way to understanding this complex band with simple songs that sound like stunning and sharp icicles of left-field rock. They know how to build a song from a soft, laid back start into a pile driving crescendo. I reckon this lot could be the house band in David Lynch‘s ‘Twin Peaks‘.

The Strawberries

Now for the main attraction, how on earth could the Strawberries follow such a powerful line up? With aplomb, power, guts, swagger and some pretty tasty tunes. They are clearly one of the finest bands from Leeds at the moment. I’m gutted that I missed them on the Jack Rocks stage at the Leeds Festival last year, let’s hope they will be there again this year. They draw on the most psychedelic aspects of Primal Scream and they take the audience by the scruff of their dirty necks and slap them into submission with some amazing tunes. “Caramel Eyes” was a particular favourite of mine. This is the band that Oasis might have become had they not blown it after the first two albums. I bought the Strawberries EP with its individually hand crafted cover and it is a super charged 15 minutes from a band with a great future.

You really need to get out and catch any of these four bands playing live. You will not be disappointed whichever one you choose!

A public service announcement – all the pictures are from my nifty little Chinese phone and the videos are all courtesy of YouTube.

 

Martha Reeves & the Vandellas – Fibbers, York – Tuesday 13th December 2016 December 21, 2016


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I last saw Martha Reeves many years ago, maybe late 70s or early 80s I guess. Probably in some cheesy nightclub in Luton or Dunstable. No doubt it was accompanied by chicken in a basket. While my memory of that night is not too clear I do recall that her singing voice was superb. So the opportunity to see her again in my adopted home town was not one that I was going to miss, especially at Fibbers which is a fantastic little venue. But before I talk about the magnificent Miss Martha Reeves let me tell you about the very talented support act. Eve Simpson is a singer songwriter from Newcastle with a collection of heartfelt, heartwarming and powerful songs. She sang them beautifully accompanied just by her acoustic guitar. I was captivated by this exceptionally bright performer. She put on a great show in spite of some of the audience being more interested in talking throughout her set. I always find it strange when people ignore a support act, but hey to each their own. Those talkers missed a treat! I was lucky enough to speak to Eve and her Mum and they are both lovely ladies. I bought a copy of Eve’s EP ‘Shelter’ and I have played it at least a dozen times already. You really need to check out Eve.

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Anyway so the main event is clearly what everyone was here for Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Martha was making music from around the time that I was born and had their first chart action when I was still only four years old. If I have half the energy that Martha has when I am 75 I will be ecstatic. She was on stage for around 90 minutes, with the Vandellas who are now made up of two of her sisters; Lois and Delphine Reeves. The band was a really tight and skilled unit too. Martha really knows how to work an audience and her between song chat was highly entertaining.

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All the classic Motown hits were on show including; “Come And Get These Memories” and “Nowhere To Run”. My particular highlight was a stunning version of my favourite Martha and the Vandellas song, “(Love Is Like A) Heatwave”. But “Dancing In The Street” was a very close second. To hear Martha sing that song live really exposes how embarrassing the Bowie and Jagger version was in 1985. The audience pretty much danced the whole night long, I certainly did, spending most of my time right in front of the stage. The song that brought out the best ‘dance like nobody is watching’ moment in me was definitely “Jimmy Mack” and their superb run through of the Jackie Wilson classic “Higher And Higher”. Their version of Marvin Gaye’s gorgeous “What’s Going On” was beautiful in its extended jazz jam style too. The most emotional point was, I think, the stunning and soulful “No One There” which was written by Johnny Bristol.

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At the end of the show Martha, Lois and Delphine came out to meet the fans and sign some photographs and CDs. Obviously I wasn’t going to miss that. I had them all sign the two CDs and group picture that I bought. I was also able to have a little chat with Martha herself. I thanked her for the show and told her how impressed I was that she was drinking a pint of Guinness. I also told her that I have always felt that her version of Van Morrison‘s “Wild Night” is in my opinion the best ever cover of a Van Morrison song. She gave me a big smile for that! I for one will definitely being going to see Martha the next time she tours in the UK and I suggest that you do the same. You will not be disappointed!

 

Buzzcocks – Fibbers, York – Thursday 6th October 2016 October 7, 2016

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:56 pm
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I love bringing people together at gigs especially my friends that haven’t met before. At Fibbers tonight I was joined by my good mates John Williams and Simon Hernaman for an excellent night of great music and punk nostalgia. I also got to meet a fellow blogger, a lovely young lady named Louise who wants to be a music journalist. Well based on her blog I think she has a good chance. Click here to check ot the marvellous stylusblog. La Bête Blooms from Hull were the support band and what a darned good warm up act they proved to be. Obviously with their name they are clearly from the posh end of Hull, well if there is one. But hopefully La Bête Blooms are a great pointer for what’s in store for Hull in its tenure as city of culture next year. they showed the influence of many great bands; Eddie and the Hot Rods, Magazine, Joy Division and even the Who. Their sound is a bit new wave, post-punk with a twist of more modern pop punk. The band’s engine room of drum and bass was a complete powerhouse and overlaid on that was the excellent vocals and guitar work from the other two band members. They really looked up for this gig and they seemed to be really enjoying themselves too. This is definitely a band to watch and one that I will certainly pay to see again. Click here to check their SoundCloud page out.

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Whilst the support were bloody good we were there for a punk band that has now been around for forty years. Does that make me feel old? Of course it bloody does, I was only seventeen when they formed. The band in question is of course one of Manchester’s finest, the magnificent Buzzcocks. I have only seen them once before and that was back in 1978 or 1979. For a band of this maturity you’d think that the energy levels might be a little low, but they were off the top of the scale. From when they hit the stage it was a relentless assault of many of their finest moments with no let up until they took a short pre-encore break after an hour of solid playing. The highlight in that first section for me was a truly dazzling rendition of “Autonomy”

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One thing that became very clear to me early on is that old punks never die, they just get older, dress like they always did and turn up for gigs like this. It really is a heart warming sight to see so many old school forty/ fifty something punks pogoing as if their life depended on it. While Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle are the mainstays of the band given that they have been around for so long it would be mean not to mention the excellent rhythm section of Chris Remmington on bass and Danny Farrant on drums. The pair have been with the band for eight years and ten years respectively and they underpin the excellent songs incredibly well. Like all of us who have been on the planet for so long Shelley and Diggle are definitely part of my generation, both are 61. But age does nothing to diminish their power and stage presence. Whilst Steve Diggle has aged incredibly well he seems to have morphed into a Postman Pat lookalike. (Thank you to John Williams for putting that thought in my head, now it won’t leave!)

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As for the Buzzcocks encore, it was simply stunning consisting of “What Do I Get”, a magnificently rousing (please note that I said rousing and not arousing ok) “Orgasm Addict” and obviously they were never going to get away with not playing “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)”. That one came close to bringing the house down and many of us thought that perhaps it was all over for the night. But it wasn’t as the band laid waste to the audience with mightily stupendous version of “Harmony In My Head”. Fibbers is a great venue and the Buzzcocks remain a great band which makes a great combination for a great night!

Apologies about the evil, but thankfully dead, bastard who introduces the next video.

A brief(ish) public service announcement. All the photos apart from the first one were all taken on my shittly little Nokia Windows Phone. The first picture was helpfully supplied via a Goggle search and all the videos are courtesy of YouTube including the reasonably good quality adience recorded one from the actual gig!

 

 

 

The Damned – Fibbers, York – Wednesday 3rd August 2016 August 4, 2016

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 5:11 pm
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Wow, two Fibbers gigs in eight days. Not bad for an old bloke, well two old blokes actually as I was joined by my good friend Simon Hernaman for Ash (supported by Tax The Heat) last week and the Damned (supported by Dohnut) this week. Let me start with tonight’s very different and majestically magnificent support band Dohnut (formerly known as Eating Disorder). What can I say? Well if you like a bit of politics and a bit of an edge to your music then look no further. This band are true performers who seem to enjoy themselves immensely on stage. I’m not familiar enough to name all their songs but I have bought their album ‘Eat More Cake’ and on first listen that sounds bloody good, so much so that I am now really looking forward to their new album ‘I Scream You Scream’ due out in October. I also bought myself a Dohnut tea towel, how many bands have that in their merchandise collection eh? “We Are Dohnut” is a fabulous song with a resonance similar to Devo’s “We Are Devo”. It is a reworking of a Die Antwoord song and it works incredibly well. At times they reminded me of one of my favourite bands of all time, the KLF. You really ought to check Dohnut out.

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So on to the main event, the Damned, long running UK punk stalwarts. I first saw them in 1977 and last saw them in 1978. That was so long ago that I was still in my teens. For all the gigs that I have seen in my life I don’t believe that I have ever seen so many middle-aged men in a mosh circle. Incidentally that didn’t include me; not because I’m not middle-aged, just because I’m not sure I could take such a beating anymore! The personnel have changed since I last saw them. The only original members are Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible. Brian James and Rat Scabies left some time ago. But this really doesn’t diminish their power. They are a band who knows how to play really well and perhaps more importantly they know how to work their largely fanatical audience.

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All the old favourites were played, I especially enjoyed the early set rendition of “Love Song“. Then we had “New Rose” and “Neat, Neat, Neat” obviously, because how can they not play those two? Both songs have retained their power and freshness for around forty years. Their 1986 hit cover of Paul and Barry Ryan’s sixties classic “Eloise” is a phenomenal live attraction. Part of their encore was another sixties cover, this time “Alone Again Or” by the sublime Love, Arthur Lee’s little combo. The Damned make the song very much their own on the night. This is a band that in the case of the Captain and Dave Vanian have known each other a lifetime and that is very much apparent by their humorous on stage banter. But more recent members Monty Oxymoron on keyboards, Bass player Stu West and Pinch on the drums fit in perfectly and make them a really tight and well rehearsed unit. They took the Fibbers roof off with a stunning version of “Smash It Up” to close the show. It is clear that the Damned still have it and it was a great night for everyone there, even the woman who was a dead ringer for Theresa May. Except for a woman behind us who was disappointed with the show. Really? Personally I think there must be something wrong with her!

 

Tax The Heat (supporting Ash) – Fibbers, York – Tuesday 26th July 2016 July 29, 2016

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:12 pm
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Click here for a link to my review of Tax The Heat in their support slot for Ash a few days ago. Thank you to those lovely folk at subba-cultcha for giving me the opportunity. I hope that you enjoy the review but even more I hope you explore Tax The Heat a bit further. I am sure that you won’t be disappointed. It was also good to catch up with my old mate Simon Hernaman for the gig! Look out for the two of us old blokes at another Fibbers event very soon (The Damned next week!)

 

 
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