With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

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.

 

The Big Boss Caine Album Launch Show – The Crescent, York – Saturday March 24th 2018 March 27, 2018


Earlier this month I was delighted to get the chance to review ‘Loved By Trouble, Troubled By Love’ the extraordinary new album from the mighty Boss Caine. (Click here to read that review) So given that I thought it was such a darned good album I was excited and filled with great expectations for the album launch show. Did I enjoy the show? Well dear reader you will have to read on to discover that. The gig was at one of York‘s finest venues, The Crescent and was promoted by talented and discerning promoter Joe Coates of Please Please You. First on the bill and all the way from London were the Swamp Stomp String Band an act that frankly it was impossible not to enjoy. They played some top tunes, many about booze and death, and had the audience a boppin’ and a rockin’ for their whole set. Their music is simple but oh so infectious and enjoyable, the between song banter is highly entertaining too. Essentially the Swamp Stomp String Band is two blokes, a Double Bass, a Guitar, A Banjo and a kazoo! You really ought to see them if you get the chance, I will definitely check them out again sometime.

The Swamp Stomp String Band

The second and final support act were the Snakerattlers who at one point claimed to come from hell, but actually they are from York. This is the second time that I have seen the Snakerattlers and they are a potentially very exciting live band. Their new album ‘This Is Rattlerock’ showcases their sound well and it will be interesting to see how they are able to develop that in future releases. The almost menacing thunder of Naomi’s drumming and the rumble of Dan’s psyched up rockabilly style guitar seemed to really hit the spot for many in tonight’s audience. I think that this is a very good band with the power and ability to become something much bigger. However one thing that is lacking for me is the engagement with their audience. Dan did make a couple of audience invasions but for me spending most of your set with your back to the crowd or side on to them doesn’t help when looking to interact with the punters. But apart from that this is clearly a talented band who are worth checking out if you haven’t already.

The Snakerattlers

Finally it was time for the main event the first live showcase of what I believe to be the finest Boss Caine album to date, ‘Loved By Trouble, Troubled By Love’. I have lost count of how many times I have played the album since receiving my link for review a few weeks ago, but pretty much every song gains an even more expansive life and sound scape when heard live. “Champagne” pulled the crowd in from the off and we were all completely mesmerised by a stunning full band performance. My favourite song from the record is still “Lonesome Crow” in which the build to a wrought emotional crescendo which hits your heart and your brain in equal measure surely cannot fail to move even the hardest of souls. Second track on the album “Evidence” has, for me, some of the best lyrics in a song for some while. I have found that “Where Good Things Go To Die” leads me down a winding lane of memory back to the town where I was born and grew up. Listening to this tune seems to dredge up a new memory of my teens every time that I hear it and standing in the crowd Saturday night I was swept with more recollection of all those now long distant pangs, pains and dilemmas of teenage angst. Dan had all of us singing along with absolute gusto to album closer “Smoking In My Backyard”. While that song meant that the ten tracks from this fine collection had been handsomely put to bed there was room for a couple of extra songs one of which was the soulful lament of “Leaving Victoria” from 2010’s Boss Caine album ‘The Ship That Sailed’. Tonight’s performance was the perfect way to launch a great album with all the potential to become a true classic. For me and many of the other lucky folk in the crowd this gig will live long in our heads. Boss Caine bossed it!

 

John Murry – The Basement, City Screen, York – Wednesday 20th September 2017 September 22, 2017


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I chanced upon John Murry’s “Wrong Man” a few weeks back on a cover mounted CD probably from Uncut magazine. I listened to all the tracks but had “Wrong Man” on repeat for half of my journey home from Hull to York. Later I checked this very talented artist out on Spotify and absolutely devoured everything Spotify (other streaming services are available) had to offer from Mr Murry. So I was incredibly excited to find out that John Murry, courtesy of Please Please You (nice work Joe) would be playing a show in York. I booked my ticket immediately!

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I was doubly pleased when I found out that the support act was to be the marvelous Boss Caine. Daniel Lucas (Boss Caine Main Man) played an acoustic set consisting mainly of songs from his upcoming album, which now looks likely to get a release in November. Based on hearing a clutch of songs from that album I really believe that it will be something special. Daniel asked us to imagine the brass and string arrangements that would be applied to the songs in the studio. Frankly I could imagine all of that, but these songs are so damned good they work really well in an acoustic format too. For most of the set counter point vocals and harmonies were handled by the exquisitely talented Amy Greene The acoustic duo set up was at times reminiscent of Paul Heaton and Jacquie Abbott, but with a Boss Caine twist. These songs are classy story songs and who doesn’t love a story song? Mr Lucas is a great storyteller via the medium of his songs. Check out Boss Caine, you will not be disappointed.

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As for John Murry, wow what can I say? Well back in the early 70s Jon Landau having witnessed Bruce Springsteen playing live said something along the lines of “I have seen the future of rock ‘n’ roll and its name is Bruce Springsteen”. Well John Murry isn’t Springsteen but he is a damned genius. If you like Nick Cave, maybe even Tom Waits, rock with a dark side and an immensely dry wit you will love this guy. The band is a bunch of highly talented musicians and it is set up in quite an interesting way. One of the keyboard players switches to drums on some songs and on those numbers the drummer switches to bass guitar. So not just a multi talented group but also a group of multi instrumentalists too. Murry’s guitar playing channels a power source from a parallel dimension where David Lynch is President of the USA.

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When I first heard John Murry I had no idea of his nationality. In my head he sounded a little Celtic, maybe Scottish or Irish, but in fact he hails from Tupelo, Mississippi. Although he now lives in Ireland. I am not yet familiar with all his songs but the previously mentioned “Wrong Man” was stunning. I also loved the psyched version of Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks Of My Tears” that was woven into the opening song. “The Ballad Of The Pajama Kid” taken from his first album ‘The Graceless Age” has a haunting, ageless, grace (apologies for that hint of plagiarism on my part) that hangs around in your head like a long lost friend. I bought John Murry’s new album ‘A Short History Of Decay’ from the merch stand and I have played it six or seven times already. For me this is a contender for album of the year. I urge you to check out John Murry if you haven’t already, in fact I don’t urge you, I bloody well order you to find him and check him out live, on record or both.

 

 

Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Crescent, York – Tuesday 15th August August 15, 2017


Having really loved Hurray For The Riff Raff‘s album ‘The Navigator’ on first hearing it earlier this year I was hoping to get the chance to see them live. Well that chance came around at a fabulous little venue, the Crescent, in my adopted home city of York. Were Hurray For The Riff Raff good? Well you will just have to read on to find out, but first let me tell you about the rather splendid support act, Alex Golisti. He played a great acoustic set including some of his own songs, one of which was an old banjo tune that he played on the guitar and had written his own lyrics for. He has a voice that at times shows similarities with both Tom Waits and George Ezra. He plays a style that evokes bluegrass and roots music with a modern twist. On top of all that he has a great self-deprecating sense of humour.

I was accompanied by my beautiful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman this evening as she enjoyed ‘The navigator’ too. We were both very excited to be here and from the opening salvo of “Life To Save” and “Nothing’s Gonna Change That Girl” we were not disappointed. The energy shown by Alynda Lee Segarra and indeed the whole band never let up for the whole night. There were plenty of highlights notably for me the haunting rendition of “Fourteen Floors” with Alynda on keyboard. Then just when you think it couldn’t get better the band hit us with one of Segarra’s excellent protest songs, “Pa’ lante”. It has vision, power, heart, soul, deep emotion and an uplifting message. I understand that it is Spanish slang and that it means to “go ahead” or “go for it”. Alynda is very proud of her Puerto Rican roots and that shows on the current album and in her stage performance. The encore included a rousing cover of Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” which had absolutely everyone on their feet. This is a band on top form and one who were really enjoying themselves. I will definitely be seeing them again! This was another great show from Please Please You, thank you Joe Coates.

 

 
Lauren Abigail

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