With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Julia Bardo – Fulford Arms, York – Saturday 14th March 2020 March 30, 2020


This post is very late largely because the whole COVID-19 somewhat dampened my enthusiasm for writing. This is now the last gig for me and all of us for weeks, maybe months. So I feel a need to document it. It was another great looking line up from Simon Pattinson head honcho of Northern Radar. First up were Fawn, a musically talented bunch and the pet project of Ilana Zsigmond, a transatlantic singer-songwriter who moved to the UK a few years ago. Her band featured Crispin Halcrow who has featured on this blog before as a solo performer. Ilana reminds me of Linda Ronstadt in her early, in which case are her band a fledgling Eagles? Who knows? Crispin is more Glen Frey than Joe Walsh in style, so maybe! Ilana’s between-song banter was intelligent, amusing and frankly spot on. Her song about York (apologies I missed the title) was close to sublime while “Skin” was truly stunning, a really beautiful song. For me, it encapsulates perfectly that journey of understanding who you are and getting to know and understand yourself. Lyrically it is faultless, with my favourite line being ““But I still build forts and I still skip stones and I still haven’t read every book that I own”. That sums me up to a degree, although I probably need to start building more forts!

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Next up is the extraordinarily talented Kitty VR. I have seen her previously with a band and also solo acoustic, tonight was with a full band. In this environment, Kitty loses a little of her solo acoustic fragility. But that is more than compensated for by the deeper and more expansive sound that a band brings to her growing canon of great songs. “My Kind” is an open-hearted lament when performed solo acoustically. But here it felt like an amazing collaboration between Massive Attack, Portishead and the Cocteau Twins with Jimmy Page producing. this was not just a highlight of Kitty’s set for me, it was also the highlight of the night! Kitty, whether with band or solo retains that elusive Jeff Buckleyesque style that since Jeff’s sad demise I have only ever heard through Kitty and her supremely talented contemporary Laura Kindelan.

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This was the first time that I had come across Julia Bardo and I was pretty impressed. She has great songs with elements that sit on the softer side of Patti Smith and maybe a little Justine Frischmann (Elastica) and Louise Wener (Sleeper) seeping into Julia’s tonal quality. She has some soaring, heartfelt and soul pouring ballads in her powerful song repertoire. There is also a Stevie Nicks comparison which wasn’t apparent until Julia and her band launched into an awesome cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”.  But this was not just a carbon copy cover the song evolved into an extended guitar fade, jam, wigout that matched the Velvet Underground at their peak. Julia Bardo is well worth checking out if you like great music and classy tunes you will love her stuff! Interestingly given the focus on gender equality festival line ups all three of tonight’s acts were incredibly talented women. Festival organisers take note for 2021 (on the assumption that the 2020 festival season will be canned).

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After the gig, I went for a few drinks with the aforementioned Simon Pattinson and Jared, Joe and Jordan from Avalanche Party who were punters at the show. That is another band that I am looking forward to seeing again once this virus is history. Given that was my final pub visit before close down I can think of far worse people to spend it with. Simon, Jared, Joe, and Jordan thanks for a great night and I look forward to meeting up again on the other side of all this!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android 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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Avalanche Party – Fulford Arms, York – Thursday 5th December 2019 December 17, 2019


This gig was the 10th time that I had seen Avalanche Party. Regular readers will know I am a big fan of the band, but before I say anything about them let me tell you about the two support bands. First up was Pig Club. They are a York band and one that I had not seen or listened to until now. The first tune made me feel as though I wouldn’t enjoy the rest of their set, but oh boy how wrong was I? This lot splice classy jazz with prog, funk, and psychedelia. It is obvious that each band member is an incredibly skilled musician, but together they are definitely more than the sum of their parts. The guitarist played like a young Jan Akkerman (from Dutch Progsters Focus for you young ‘uns). Meanwhile, the keys wizard sounded at times like Herbie Hancock. Definitely a band worth checking out.

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Another great York band, the Black Lagoons were next to grace the stage. This was the fourth time that I have seen them in nearly four years and strangely the third time that I have seen them supporting Avalanche Party. They have got better each time and they are truly a force to be reckoned when playing live. They have an electrifying swagger and confidence about them, and they totally get their audience. There are definitely prog influences, but the engine room of the band is like Moonie and the Ox from the Who. They could step up as a younger version of the Stooges too if that is what Iggy needed. Their sound is hard to pin to a genre, but imagine Tarantino and Tim Burton directing a zombie vampire film set in the wild west. Well, there is no one other than the Black Lagoons that could soundtrack that movie!

Now it was the time for the headliners, Avalanche Party as a part of their album launch tour. If you haven’t yet heard ’24 Carat Diamond Trephine’ then get on it now! It is possibly my album of the year for 2019, although Nick cave’s ‘Ghosteen’ is also vying for first place. Regular readers of this blog know that I am a big Avalanche Party fan, I also believe that they are on the cusp of greatness. With a debut album that is among the best debut’s in rock history and a live show that has the power to match that of an ICBM with a plethora of nuclear warheads, they have proved that they have balls and frankly they are the dog’s golden bollocks! Opening with the psychedelic garage punk of “I’m So Wet” the band hit their full stride straight away and when Jordan fixed his maniacal rock star thousand-yard stare on the audience, well the whole place was transfixed, captivated and hypnotised by this magnificent beast of a band. I do wonder how they keep getting better every time that I see them, but they do. Will that ever end? I hope not. They had extra guitar courtesy of the singer/ guitarist from the Black Lagoons and some wild funky sax vamping from a mysterious masked cowboy (a.k.a Luke Marzec). Kane (drums) and Joe (Bass) power a rhythm section that has the might and the firepower to defeat Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet and the melodious, punk, psych interplay between  Jared (guitar) and Glen on keys is woven magically to underpin Jordan’s subtle rock scream vocals. Jared even managed to fit in some saxophone playing too. Highlights for me were “7”, “Rebel Forever” in which I believe that every single member of the crowd sang along when asked to and the towering, majestic glam stomp of probably the best Avalanche Party song to date, “Howl” has to be experienced to be believed. On top of all that we were treated to an outstanding “Porcelain”. Get the album, go and see them, you need Avalanche Party in your life!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me.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 🙂 You will find plenty more of my pictures just below this public service announcement!

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’24 Carat Diamond Trephine’ – Avalanche Party November 17, 2019


I have just counted up how many times I have seen Avalanche Party and it currently stands at eleven times in five years (soon to be twelve). I was also lucky enough to see a kind of early incarnation of the band when they were still 3 Foot Ninja, that was back in 2009. Back then I could see they had some great potential and every gig and every release since it has become obvious to anyone who has encountered this magnificent band that they are truly on the cusp of greatness. I believe their debut album ’24 Carat Diamond Trephine’ will take them there. It has been a long while coming but damned well worth the wait. It was recorded at Young Thugs Studios in York last December. The dictionary definition of trephine is “a small circular saw with a centre pin mounted on a strong hollow metal shaft to which is attached a transverse handle: used in surgery to remove circular disks of bone from the skull”. This album starts drilling into your skull from opener “El Dorado” an atmospheric, mesmerising and at times menacing track that oozes confidence and greatness. For me, there is a strong influence from Nick Cave on this song and that is no bad thing. The sonic feel shows a band that is not afraid to use the space between notes to great effect too. “Bugzy” smacks into you like the Doors but as if they had come together in the height of early 70s glam rock. Jordan’s vocals are every bit as good as Jim Morrison at his peak and “Bugzy” will become a live favourite. This is a song born from the blues and makes me wonder if Avalanche Party have visited that famous crossroads at Highways 49 and 61 in Clarksdale, Mississippi favoured by blues legend Robert Johnson where he allegedly sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for the return of his guitar. There have been four singles released from this record so far, including the third song in, “7”. This is a towering piece of funked-up punk or punked-up funk (delete as appropriate) Kane and Joe prove themselves to be one of the finest rhythm sections on the planet as they play like their lives depended on it.

My favourite track at the moment is “Howl” the current single. It is a very Bowieesque slab of prime heavy riff-laden early 70s rock with a gospel-style chorus. If you are not moved to dance to “Howl” then you might well be clinically dead! This is possibly the finest song that the band have released so far. It is also accompanied by a fabulous video which features a cameo appearance on tambourine from the multi-talented Charlie Swainston! The track which proves how great a band Avalanche Party is is the psychedelic rock circus that is “Milk And Sunlight Is A Heavy Dream”. Vocals, backing vocals, keys, bass, guitars, and drums all align perfectly and the chorus will not let you go. James Aparicio has captured the essence of what makes Avalanche Party such a great live band in his production. From the massed Panzer Tank Division sonic assault of “HA HA” to the deeply mellow buzz of “Hey Misdemeanour” the former Grinderman and Spiritualized producer does not put a foot or a fader wrong. I can already picture a crowd incursion from Jordan during “Playing Field Blues” using his rock star evil stare to hypnotise his audience into becoming Avalanche Party‘s helpless mosh puppets. It redefines heavy, scuzzy garage blues into something very 21st Century. I never thought that I would see myself finding a U2 influence from Avalanche Party, but “Every Last Drop” is the kind of song that Bono would kill to have written. I can see the lighters and lit up mobile phone screens waving in the air at festivals to accompany this gorgeous modern, dirty power ballad. Dark menace runs through the veins of “Cruel Madness” and draws you into a dark, descent of a dream to a world that might be populated by all your fears and phobias. The album closes with “Rebel Forever” which opens and is underpinned with a warped fairground organ riff which gives the tune a Cockney Rebel feel and in many ways sums up Avalanche Party. They are rebels and I hope they will remain rebellious forever!

The band have been touring constantly for a long while now, honing their craft and doing whatever they need to do in order to reach their destiny as the future of rock ‘n’ roll. They have graced festivals across the UK and Europe and completed a prestigious slot at SXSW. At the start of the current album tour, they headlined shows in Los Angeles and New York. This album has anger, fear, the evils of capitalism, love, death and what it is like to live in the world today. The exquisite artwork on the cover features close friend and major influence of the band, Dale Barclay, frontman from the Amazing Snakeheads/ And Yet It Moves. Barclay passed away so tragically young last year. Here is what the band themselves had to say about the LP; “This is our debut album, we haven’t touched the surface before, and this is a glimpse into our bigger picture, our chaotic process, our commitment to us. There’s 5 people in this band with an equal passion, 5 different reasons to create, 5 different people with 200+ ideas each, that’s 1000+ ideas, 1000s of reasons we have to create. We had to make this now… mainly because we want to make a second one.” Jordan Bell, Jared Thorpe, Kane Waterfield, Joe Bell and Glen Adkins you should be well proud of this release as I am sure you are’. This record is already a contender for best album of 2019 and it is not officially released until November 22nd on So Knee Records. I love it already and now I am looking forward to Avalanche Party‘s sophomore release!

All the pictures in this post were found via Google and the videos were sourced from YouTube. If any of them are yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove them please let me know.

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Cabbage – The Crescent, York – Wednesday 11th April 2018 April 13, 2018


Well isn’t the Crescent turning into a fab venue. Tonight in a show put together by the talented Mr Dean Shakespeare of Under The Influence we had one of the most hyped bands in ages headlining ; those delightful lads from Cabbage. This would make it four times that I had seen them live, so what did I think of them this time? Well dear reader you will need to read on to find out, because I need to tell you about the excellent support acts first. The Grimm Twins took to the stage before anyone else and sadly the early crowd held back for far too long for such a stunning band. They are punk and post punk rolled into one. They contain a pinch of the Fall and a dash of the Buzzcocks which given that their DNA is close geographically, they are from Macclesfield, I am not surprised. Their song “Generation Z” is a venerable and honourable anthem for this bands generation. After hearing this I would be happy to hand over the mantle as my baby boomer generation have royally fucked things up. Their closing number “Theme Of The Grimm” is a top tune, it is deep, meaningful, powerful, special and anthemic. Definitely a band to watch out for.

The next band up were She Drew The Gun who to me appeared to be influenced by everything and nothing at the same time, this is no criticism they are a wonderful and truly original band. They are a band with a conscience and bucket loads of passion. Imagine Dick Dale backing a torch singer or Kate Tempest fronting early Roxy Music and this will give you just a small insight into exactly how good She Drew The Gun are. If you saw them at the Crescent tonight and you didn’t become a fan then I seriously believe that you need to have your musical taste examined!

Finally it was time for the main attraction and one of your five a day, it is only the mighty Cabbage! This is the fourth time that I have experienced the band known as Cabbage and this was the first time that I had seen them outside of a festival. So this was very much their own crowd and oh boy did they whip us into a frenzy. Cabbage play punk, funk, pop, post punk and many other styles in between but they are nigh on impossible to drop into a genre. They are bombastic, lovingly chaotic and they carry off a healthy dollop of arrogance too. We were treated to some proper choice cuts from their new album ‘Nihilistic Glamour Shots’ and some of the finest songs from their ever-expanding repertoire. They were at their explosive best for “Arms of Pleonexia” and “Gibraltar Ape” was a towering masterpiece that shook the room, but to be fair I was standing right next to the speaker stack! From their earlier songs “Uber Capitalist Death Trade”, “Terrorist Synthesizer” and “Dinner Lady” were particular highlights for me. On top of that who can resist the genius that is “Necroflat in the Palace”. After seeing them at the Latitude Festival last year I made a prediction that they would headline a major festival in three years. I stand by that and hopefully it will be by or before 2020! Get yourself out to see Cabbage now before they start playing just the enormodomes!

It was also great to catch up with Simon P; kingpin of Northern Radar, Joe Coates; Head Honcho of Please Please You and Joe and Jared from one of my most favourite bands the rather awesome Avalanche Party! so as gig nights go this one was among the very best!

Public service announcement – all photographs emanated from by cheap little android phone and the videos were all discovered on YouTube.

 

“I’m So Wet” – Avalanche Party May 27, 2017


Regular readers will have seen me write often about Avalanche Party. Well here’s a bit more while this talented band are strutting their stuff and pumping out their rocking tunes all across Europe at the moment. Very successfully too by all accounts! One song that they will be playing at a gig near you soon will be “I’m So Wet”. It is a mighty powerful slab of soft to loud noise with a total psych crescendo as it heads to it’s end. It has melody, it has great lyrics it has a band that know their stuff and it will grab you by the short and curlies until it is over. Jordan’s vocal is immaculate and Kane’s drumming evokes the spirit of John Bonham.

You will be physically and mentally drained by the time the song has finished, but in a really good way. Personally I reckon that it is their greatest song to date and it deserves your attention. Download it, stream it on Spotify (other streaming services are available), click here to check it out on Soundcloud, but whatever you do listen to it. I will be very, very disappointed if you don’t

 

Avalanche Party, Black Lagoons, Unqualified Nurse Band, Moriacana – Fulford Arms, York, Thursday 2nd March 2017 March 3, 2017


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This was another fantastic line up and a great night presented by Behind The White Door at one of York‘s best gig venues. Yes another power packed show at the Fulford Arms. It was remarkably a free entry gig, but like others I did contribute to the band collection and bought some merch too. It was also great to catch up with good friends and gig veterans Mike Harrison and Simon Pattinson. Anyway it was one of the north east’s if the UK’s finest bands Avalanche Party that brought me out on a damp March night. In fact this was the sixth time I have seen them. But more of them later. The show kicked off with Moriacana who in my experience are possibly one of the loudest two piece bands I have ever seen. But this very talented drummer and guitarist/ vocalist aren’t just all about loudness. The noise that they make is grungy heaven. I am sure that this York band will be compared with the likes of ..And The Hangnails, Royal Blood and other similarly set up two pieces, however while that is all well and good it should be noted that Moriacana also bring their own uniqueness to the party.

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Next up was the rather interestingly named Unqualified Nurse Band all the way from Derby. They can do punk, they can do heavy, they can do grunge, they can do quiet loud quiet (à la Pixies) and they can even do some slowed down more intimate moments. Actually is there much that they can’t do? I don’t know, they certainly gave us a pulsing and thrilling set which was mildly reminiscent of the magnificent Biffy Clyro. I bought their EP and I have been playing it in the car today. Definitely a band to watch out for. The third band to take the stage were one of York’s finest young bands, the Black Lagoons. I have seen them once before just over a year ago and they were damned good then. Are they still damned good? Actually no they’re not ………… they are even better than damned good! they play a fuzzy, swampy and at times proggy take on garage rock. They do it with style and stage presence. The drummer sounds like a young John Bonham and I can only imagine that the Black Lagoons will continue to grow. Being local they also brought along quite a sizeable fan base. It was a shame that some of them left before the headliners.

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Actually if you’re a fan of the Black Lagoons then I am sure that you do or will love the head honchos from tonight’s gig. Yes it was a triumphant return to York for the mighty, majestic and magnificent machine that is Avalanche Party. Jordan Bell stalks the stage like Jim Morrison with a mastery of that menacing, hypnotic stare. His vocals ooze classy and classic rock be it psychedelic, punk or anything in between. The bedrock of the band is the awesome rhythm section of Joe Bell and his thunderous bass and Kane Waterfield who pounds his kit to death every set. Overlay that with the sublime and psychy lead guitar of Jared Thorpe and let’s not forget some excellent sweeping keyboard sounds from Glen Adkins. It was yet another stunning set from a great band who I first saw back in August 2014. My favourite songs of the night were “Money” and “Let’s Get Together”. With an appearance at Leeds and Reading festivals last year I feel sure that Avalanche Party have the potential to really make it big. If you haven’t seen Avalanche Party yet then where the bloody hell have you been? Get out from under that stone and seek them out, you will not be disappointed!

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Public Service Announcement – the Avalanche Party pictures were taken on my phone, all the other pictures and videos are courtesy of that wonderful t’interweb!

 

La Petite Mort, Bull, Avalanche Party and Asio’s Eyes – The Duchess, York – Friday 31st July 2015 August 1, 2015


Yet another gig recommended by my good friend Simon Pattinson and yet another one that he has got absolutely spot on. I am sure that he might get it wrong one day, but he certainly didn’t this time. It was also good to catch up with Mike Harrison as well. Once again it was a bargain, no more than five quid for four bands. How good is that?

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First up were the magnificent Asio’s Eyes. Imagine Pink Floyd with a lot more punk and funk, perhaps joined by members of the original Parliament/ Funkadelic troupe, a couple of the Damned, add into this the Beatles at their most experimental, are you still with me? Good! Now all you need to do is add a massive dose of psychedelia. Stick all that in the blender, mix it with a few narcotics of some kind and you might well get Asio’s Eyes. Either way I have to say that this band is truly brilliant. It would be fair to say that I have never seen a more psychedelic band (perhaps until later into this gig at least!). I you have never seen them I suggest that you get off your arse and seek them out.

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Next up were a band that regular readers of this blog will be very familiar with, the majestic Avalanche Party. One day I will watch them play and walk away thinking that they were far better the last time I saw them. Today was most definitely not that day! How the fuck does a band manage to get so much better every time I see them? I don’t know the answer to that, you’d better ask the boys in Avalanche Party. They were ably assisted tonight by a very talented guitarist from tonight’s head-liners Le Petit Mort. The old classics like “Mountains” were there along with new classics like “Money”. They played a great new song (apologies guys but I didn’t catch the title) and Jordan made another of his excellent incursions into the audience. If you still haven’t seen the amazing Avalanche Party then you haven’t been listening to me. Listen now and get out and bloody see them. That is an order!

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Bull were on stage next and their membership includes two members of Worm, whose EP launch I saw at the Inkwell in Gillygate a few weeks back. Simon said that he thought that they sounded a little like the Strokes. He might be right but I saw much more than that. I think there are definitely elements of Frank Black and Bob Mould and even the more experimental R.E.M. tracks. A really exciting and punky band. I would definitely pay to see them again and I urge you to do the same. They are very tight with a really crisp sound and their musicianship is exemplary. Check them out now people!

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OK so up until this point Asio’s Eyes were probably the most psychedelic band that I had ever seen. But then came the amazingly bizarre La Petite Mort. When people describe a band or someone as being “out there” I don’t think that they truly grasp what they are saying. But trust me, if there is an “out there” thermometer then La Petite Mort would blow the mercury right out of the top of it. Even if I wanted to say something negative about this band (and I don’t) then I would have to lie. Their playing and their stage presence is something to behold. This is a band that would be perfect for closing the Festival Republic stage at Reading/ Leeds. Are you listening festival organisers. La Petite Mort pull out everything in putting on a show. Guitars, bass and drums obviously. But also saxophone and sitar. On top of that they were joined by members of Asio’s Eyes for a proper bonkers final couple of songs. They finally left the stage after the drums were kicked over and a guitar was hung from one of the lights. If you like your music psychedelic and your bands somewhat mad then La Petite Mort are right up your street. They are definitely on my street and frankly I would go and see them again tomorrow if the opportunity arose. Can I compare them to any other acts or can I slot them into a genre? Nope I don’t think I can. But I can say that they are easily among one of the best bands that I have ever seen!

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Finally it’s the public service announcements. None of the videos were filmed by me (all were available on YouTube) and all of the pictures were taken by me on my Nokia Lumia (can I have a new phone for the shout out please Nokia?). Also I had a chat with Tom, the bass player off of Asio’s Eyes and he is a top bloke. To the boys in Avalanche Party, sorry I didn’t get to spend a bit more time with you and where is my physical copy of the EP? 🙂

 

 
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