With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Imelda May – Barbican, York – Tuesday 16th May 2017 May 22, 2017

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:30 pm
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The last time I saw Imelda May play live was at the height of her ‘Rockabilly Queen’ years at this very venue, York‘s Barbican back in November 2011. She was a powerful presence and explosive performer back then and frankly she still is, only now she has extra added diva power and so much soul. Her new album ‘Life Love Flesh Blood’ showcases just how great a vocalist she truly is. The fifties style dresses and skirts of Imelda’s past are replaced by a more sophisticated black number and that trademark pulled back, white streaked hair is now a gorgeous black straight style with bangs.

She recently reached a significant age that I passed many, many years ago and on top of that she is coming out of the break up of an eighteen year relationship. Has this played a part in how she pours her heart and soul into her new songs? Very likely I think. She opens the set with a delicate and sparsely backed “Call Me”. That and every track from her new album got an airing tonight which proves that she is not one to rest on her laurels. She obviously didn’t disappoint the longer term fans and delved into her back catalogue for rousing versions of “Mayhem” and “Johnny Got A Boom Boom” towards the end of the show.

As for the new songs it would be really difficult to find a dud, so I won’t even try. “Levitate” was stunning in this live environment and “Black Tears” I am sure brought tears to many an eye in the Barbican. Other highlights from the new record were, for me “Love And Fear”, “The Longing”, “Should’ve Been Me” and “How Bad Can A Good Girl Be”. I love “Human” and it is one of my favourite tracks from the album, but live it transcends its recorded version by a mile, a stupendous song.

The encore featured a fragile and beautiful acoustic version of “Girl I Used To Be” followed by a magnificent cover of the Shangri-Las “Remember (Walking In The Sand)”. Just when we thought the night had ended on a high the band powered into another new song, “Game Changer” and pretty much everyone was up and bopping to that. I hope that I don’t have to wait more than five years for my next Imelda May gig, because this lady gets better and better.

Just a brief word about the talented support act Irish singer songwriter Jack Lukeman. It didn’t take him long to have pretty much the whole audience participating in some great singalongs, a very brave move for a support act, but one that paid off incredibly well. His cover of Jacques Brel’s “Amsterdam” is one of the best that I have ever heard of that classic song. And finally a brief shout out to the sound in the Barbican, sometimes I have felt let down by the sound quality at this venue, but tonight I would give it an eleven out of ten.

Public Service Announcement – all the pictures were found via Google searches and the videos are all on YouTube. I took no pictures or video myself, because why would I miss such a stunning gig by hiding behind my phone?
 

The Levellers (Acoustic) – Leeds Town Hall Friday 27th February 2015 February 28, 2015


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How many times do you come across a band for the first time or hear them for the first time in ages or see them live for the first time and realise just how many bloody good songs they have released over the years? It doesn’t happen often for me, but the Levellers are definitely an exception to that. Whilst I had always been aware of them I had never been an avid follower. But tonight it dawned on me just how strong their repertoire is.

Levellers 2008 - 2010

I went to the gig with my beautiful and delightful wife Catwoman (a.k.a Catherine) and our friends Sarah and Kev. The evening started with a new documentary about the band and their history. Jeremy Cunningham the band’s bass player was one of the most vocal in the film along with his fabulous parents. The documentary was fascinating and included some great detailed information and insights into who the band really are. All the current and previous Levellers were very candid in the film, most notably Jeremy. They have stuck by their principles and despite having a run of seven platinum albums have never been an ‘establishment’ band; thankfully. The film covers their early days, first appearance at Glastonbury and even the turd that was sent to then NME scribe Andrew Collins. At 78 minutes it was close to being a little too long but I loved it. The film is called ‘A Curious Life’ and I believe that it gets a DVD release on 27th April.

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The film screening was followed by a Q & A with the director Dunstan Bruce (formerly front man of Chumbawumba) and Jeremy Cunningham. This was soon followed by a fantastic acoustic set from the Levellers. The venue was seated but people were agitating to dance and stomp from the off, although security were very quick to keep everyone in their seats. However about halfway through the show that thankfully became impossible and we were all up singing along and dancing. The atmosphere was electric; which is quite funny for an acoustic show isn’t it?

The Levellers

I don’t know all of the songs  but some that I do know were supremely performed; “The Boatman”, “Truth Is” and “Edge Of The World” are among my favourites. Whilst they didn’t play one of my favourites “One Way” it was still a storming set with the anthemic “Carry Me” being a part of the encore. Since getting home from the gig I have begun to work my way through all the Levellers albums on Spotify. They also have a greatest hits set available which includes collaborations with Bellowhead, Imelda May, Billy Bragg and Frank Turner. Would I pay to see the Levellers again some time? Fuck yeah!

As regular readers know that as I prefer to enjoy the show rather than look at it through the lens of my mobile phone none of the pictures or films were taken by me and many were not from the gig. That part has been a public service announcement 🙂

 

Imelda May – York Barbican Friday 11th November 2011 November 13, 2011


This was a night I had looked forward to for some time. Catwoman and I had booked the tickets to see Imelda May months ago and the day finally arrived last Friday. This incredibly talented woman was certainly no disappointment, but more of her later. I need to tell you about the superb support act; Big Boy Bloater. I have heard a few of his songs on-line before but they simply hadn’t prepared me for just how good he is in a live setting. The best support act I have seen in years and remember I do have a lot of years! Mr Bloater (I don’t know his real name yet, but I know it isn’t Duncan!) has retro blues style with a splash of contemporary sounds.

Catwoman felt that his music wouldn’t be out-of-place on the True Blood soundtrack next to Jace Everett. He has some great songs. I particularly liked “That Ain’t My Name” and “Big Fat Trap”. He also did a great version of the Platters “My Prayer” in a modern ska style. I met the man himself after the gig and got him to sign the two CDs I bought from the Merchandising stand; one for me and one for Catwoman (aka Catherine). If you’ve not heard him yet you really need to check him out, you will not be disappointed.

After a short break the wait was finally over as the Irish dynamo that is Imelda Mary Higham better known as Imelda May took the stage with her supremely talented band. Every song was a winner; “Love Tattoo“, “Sneaky Freak”, “Psycho”, “Mayhem” and “Johnny Got A Boom Boom” to name just a few. Boom Boom is currently my favourite Imelda May song. Catwoman and I also love “Inside Out” and had that one played after we signed the register at our wedding in September. Who would have thought that a song mentioning wobbly bits would work, but bloody hell it does!

She had the audience eating out of her hands, including us. If she told us to sing along we did, if she told us to clap we did. It’s pretty difficult to ignore an instruction from someone who is not just talented but clearly seems to love what she is doing. The audience participation probably peaked during “Proud And Humble” which she sang largely a capella with help from her audience. To do it all in those killer heels just adds to the admiration! The band was amazing, truly fuelled by rockabilly rocket power. But believe me if you see Imelda and her band as just rockabilly then listen again, you’re wrong. She played a beautiful new song “Gypsy” which I think will be massive. I could also imagine Elvis Presley covering it had he still been around.

The encore was pretty special too; three perfectly executed and well-chosen cover versions. First up was a sparse acoustic cover of “Baby I Love You” (originally by the Ronettes and well covered by the Ramones) accompanied by Al Gare on the ukulele. The whole band returned for their storming version of “Tainted Love” (originally written and recorded by Gloria Jones and made famous by Soft Cell). You can find the studio version on Imelda’s ‘Mayhem’ album. I would love to say that the title of this blog is drawn from that album, but I’m afraid it’s not. The closing number was one that she said she had been singing for years, it was one of Elvis Presley’s biggest hits, “My Baby Left Me“. A great way to close a stonking gig. We left the Barbican with massive smiles as we walked through the rain back to the car. In fact I reckon everyone who was there left in a happy mood!

Would I go and see Imelda again? Absolutely, positively, definitely yes! The same for the Big Boy too!

 

“We were born and raised in a summer haze, bound by the surprise of our glory days” July 17, 2011


Hello once again dear readers. I have a few delightful tidbits from the world of music for you in this post. Firstly did you know that Adele’s “Someone Like You” is the first million selling download-only single. Adele, or to give use her full name Adele Laurie Blue Adkins has broken quite a few chart records as well recently. Notably she became the first act to achieve two top five singles and albums simultaneously in the UK charts since the Beatles in 1964.

Check out Niall O'Loughlin's superb artwork here http://nialloloughlin.blogspot.com

Terry Chimes, (aka Tory Crimes) the original drummer off of the Clash is now a chiropractor. He runs two Chimes Chiropractic clinics,which are based in South Woodford and Waltham Abbey. If you live in the area and need some treatment click here for the website and get yourself an appointment. Chimes played with the Clash three separate periods between 1976 and 1983. He later played with Hanoi Rocks, Generation X and Black Sabbath amongst others.

I’m loving the new song from Mann, it features Iyaz and Snoop Dogg. It gets it’s title from the source of its sample. It’s called “The Mack” and samples Mark Morrison‘s excellent “Return Of The Mack” which was one of my favourite 90s songs. What do you thing of Mann’s song and of course Mark Morrison’s original from 1996?

This next video is wonderful, it’s a cover version of “Killer Queen” by a chap called Fredde Gredde, it appears that he also has something in common with Dolly The Sheep. But I think Brian May‘s hair would be closer to Dolly than Fredde Gredde. I’d love to hear whether you like it or not. I mean the song not the hair! For me a great cover version should be very different from the original and I believe that this one certainly is.

Catwoman and I will be going to see Gary Numan at the recently reopened Barbican in York next Friday. We also have tickets to see Imelda May at the same venue in November. So look out for reviews for both those shows in a future post. Many of you know that Catwoman’s secret identity (in this blog anyway) is in fact Catherine Lee, the head honcho of the brilliant Kaleidoscope Virtual Assistant Services. If you need a Virtual Assistant (VA) then click here to go to her site. So why do I need to mention Catwoman’s secret identity in this post? Well we are getting married in September and have been choosing music for various parts of the day. Whilst researching Pachalbel’s “Canon In D” I chanced upon this wonderful comedy piece from a bloke called Rob Paravonian. It’s bloody funny and made me see so many songs in a very different way!

And finally a brilliant clip of a cat getting down to Slayer, truly inspiring. It also got me thinking about what our cat’s favourite music would be. His name is Benny the Ball (did you get the Top Cat reference?) and he is incredibly camp. So we believe he would be a big fan of the Village People. What acts do your pets like or what do you think they might like?

 

 
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