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!

Fawn

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.

Kitty VR

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).

Julia Bardo

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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The Golden Age Of TV – Victoria Vaults, York – Thursday 20th February 2020 February 27, 2020


This looked like yet another great gig in York, presented by those wacky and wonderful folk from Vinyl Eddie Records. It was at the Victoria Vaults which is now in the top three York venues along with the Crescent and the Fulford Arms. There were four acts on the bill and it was all kicked off by the obscenely talented Kitty VR. This woman not only knows how to write a great song she knows how to perform a great song too. She gave us a lot more background than I have heard before about her composition “My Kind”. A true history of the song which mostly stems from her time living in a converted church. I loved the band version of “Whirlpool” when I first heard it, acoustically it is a different animal indeed, but still very beautiful but in a different way. Kitty was very nervous about doing one particular cover. It was a cover of Tim Buckley’s “Once I Was”, it is a song she first came across from a video clip of Tim’s son Jeff playing it at a celebration of his father’s life in 1991. I was lucky enough to see Jeff Buckley live once. I have been lucky enough to see Kitty VR twice now and I expect to see her play plenty more shows before I leave this mortal coil!

Next up were a relatively new band, this was their third ever gig, Grapefruit Eyes. They formed from the ashes of Neon Salmon, another great York band. They are a bit jazzy, a bit prog, a bit Radiohead with some proper funky guitar chops. I still get a sense of Orange Juice and Edwyn Collins in there, although perhaps a little less than I did with Neon Salmon. I really loved Neon Salmon, but this lot are even better. I am still not sure about the name, but frankly, the Beatles was a pretty crap name and look what happened to them. This band knows how to put on a show and dressed for the occasion with Finn the drummer in a sparkly glitter jacket while George and Isaac donned Kimono style drape jackets which had a kind of Showaddywaddy in the 25th Century. Not sure about George’s front mini man bun, but who cares, the music was bloody awesome!

York has some fabulous bands and the next one to tread the boards is no exception. I am talking about Pavilion, who are fine purveyors of very funky keyboard-driven indie dance. Keyboards provided by the daughter of one of York’s Royal Rock family, Shed Seven. This is a very good band, but the keyboard sweeps and fills make them a truly great band. They come across as a band that is really confident in what they do and so they should be. The music is really tight and the vocals soar mightily over a powerful soundtrack. Definitely, a band to watch out for. As an added bonus they also had Kitty VR on stage with them for a magnificent duet.

Finally, it was time for headliners The Golden Age Of TV from Leeds. This five-piece has been described as an alternative guitar band. I think that they are so much more than that, made up of punk, indie, funk, psych, and exultant pop tunes. Bea Fletcher’s vocal style is sometimes reminiscent of Siouxse Sioux in her prime but she has more range in my view. Some of their tunes are close to full-on funk a la Average White Band but played with a gnarly punk attitude. Their energy appears boundless. New Single “Me, You And A Dog” ticks all the boxes required of a great song; perfect hooks, rifftastic guitar work, great vocals which veer towards a hybrid of Chrissie Hynde and Kate Bush at times. This is a band that deserves much more exposure!

All the photos apart from the first picture (which was “borrowed” from The Golden Age Of TV’s FaceBook page) were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android phone or by Eddie Parkinson (a.k.a. Vinyl Eddie) on his far more expensive 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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Kitty VR ‘All In Her Head’ EP Launch – The Crescent, York – Saturday 17th August 2019 August 20, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:56 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

This was my third visit to the Crescent, one of York’s best music venues, in a week. I need to slow down! Anyway, tonight was a showcase for the launch of the new EP from Kitty VR, ‘All In Her Head’. More of the very talented Kitty later. First, there were two great support acts to talk about. The first of these was Laura Kindelan and tonight marked the fifth time that I have seen her play live and I hope there will be many more. Laura kicked off her set with a new song, “Over Nothing”. This tune is sparse, electric blues that simply oozes with mood and emotion. I have made this comparison before but this was very wonderfully Jeff Buckleyesque. She played her only love song “Fingertips”, which was actually written as an assignment! Fact fans may wish to know that the Brit Pop era band Mansun actually had a song called “Mansun’s Only Love Song”. The divine, atmospheric “Sweet Tooth” was given a rare but stunning airing as it is one of Kitty’s favourites. Laura closed her set with a powerful run through “Toxic” which had the crowd a moving and a grooving!

Laura Kindelan

The next act to take the stage was the Silver Reserve (Solo) a.k.a. Matthew Sturgess. This guy knows how to do songs of emotional introspection which he delivers supremely well. I heard elements of Bon Iver in his tunes and at times the tonal quality of his fragile vocals were reminiscent of both Thom Yorke and Guy Garvey. He is an incredible talent when it comes to looping guitar riffs and vocals too. His take on this seemed effortless and faultless. He might not have any happy songs, but everything he played begged to be listened to.

Silver Reserve a.k.a. Matthew Sturgess

Finally, it was time for Kitty VR to rock the joint with her excellent band. This must have been close to a full house and the air was electric with excitement and anticipation. Her songs are incredibly well developed and Kitty performs them with great style and soul. Her band is frankly shit hot! Tim Downie is a guitar genius who seems to be able to play in any style required from funky chops to a softer sound and everything in between. The rhythm section of drummer Farai Kuudzadombo and bassist Jack Welsh are a highly polished pair who underlay Kitty’s songs with a smooth driving backbeat. The highlight of her set was for me a towering take on her single “Whirlpool” on which the band hit a psychedelic peak. Sometimes the best cover to do is perhaps a difficult one and in my view, Kitty’s choice of Erykah Badu’s “On And On” was a very brave choice. Kitty didn’t just nail it, she smashed it through the floor as she conveyed the emotion and soul of a truly classic song which she made her own. I felt that her vocals were at times as ethereal and ghostly as Beth Gibbons and if I was not mistaken I believe that was a haunting cover of Portishead’s “Glory Box” near the end. Kitty VR’s EP is something special and this show proves that she has so much more to offer too. Check her out now if you haven’t already.

Kitty VR

All the photos apart from the EP cover art were taken on my cheap 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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