With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

Madam Misfit And Her Carnival Of Chaos – Fulford Arms, York – Thursday, February 23rd 2023 March 1, 2023

I have seen many gigs at one of York’s finest venues, the Fulford Arms, but never have I experienced anything close to Madam Misfit and her Carnival of Chaos. David Bowie once sang the line “turn and face the strange” and that night we certainly did face the strange. This show wouldn’t have been out of place in one of the weirder episodes of American Horror Story, notably ‘Freak Show’ (series 4 from 2014). It wasn’t just a gig, although Madam Misfit did perform a few tunes, it was more like a travelling carnival sideshow from the US midwest in the 30s. There are a number of different types of carnival sideshows in the USA, one of those is the Ten-in-One which would offer a program of ten sequential acts under one tent for a single admission price. It might include a freak show, but would definitely include “working acts”, Madam Misfits carnival was most definitely built on those working acts. The master of ceremonies was Adam Washington, sporting a red frock coat suit and knee boots to appear just like the finest ringmaster you could imagine, a top hat would have made the outfit perfect. Adam kicked off proceedings with a rendition of “Pure Imagination” from ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’, it was a performance that was fit for a London Theatre Stage. He introduced a fine magical, medley of madness delivered by the campest magician in the world, Magic Adam, juggler extraordinaire Ed Mondo, daring, dangerous, and dynamic duo the Safety Last Side Show, and of course the Empress of Chaos herself, Madam Misfit.

The Safety Last Side Show team is a married couple the Indestructible Man and the wonderfully named Velocity Bollocks. A mat of broken glass was arranged on the floor and Velocity proceeded to walk over it barefoot, yes absolutely no shoes were harmed in performing this feat, to be fair I don’t believe her feet were harmed either. Later Ms. Bollocks lay on a bed of nails, which is something that really didn’t look too comfortable to me. The Indestructible Man (or should we call him Mr. Bollocks?) did everything he could to prove his invincibility. He ate a light bulb, I sure as hell didn’t want to be around when that came out at the other end. He deliberately trapped a finger in a rusty old animal trap, he barely winced at this, meanwhile paper cuts make me cry out in pain. Finally, he undertook a couple of daring feats of sword swallowing. The second attempt using a sword with no handle, but attached to a rope which he said he needed to anchor before he swallowed it, a few wags in the audience suggested that he might anchor it to his todger, to be fair he did say it was too small for that. But how he did anchor it was a strange and painful to behold, a surprise to the audience, and indeed shocking for some. He used a staple gun to attach the anchor rope to his torso. It was a brilliant piece of weird theatre, I have one question, apart from did it hurt, how the hell do you practice and rehearse that?

Magic Adam, is certainly magic and also manages to raise the campometer to a mercury-breaking level. He comes across as a larger-than-life Vaudevillian Villain. the trick where he offered £1,000 for simply picking the right number from five, which was very clever indeed. Has he ever had to pay out the grand? I suspect not. Meanwhile, Ed Mondo wowed the crowd with a staggeringly good juggling act which consisted of him juggling up to five bowler hats. He used hands, knees, feet, elbows, and his head and made it look easy. Madam Misfit made a few appearances throughout the whole show and she was there to close proceedings by showcasing some of her rather splendid chap hop tunes. The plentitudinous, evocative, mountebankery that is the new single “Chu Chi Face”, a cover of the old song from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. My particular favourite was the splendiferously performed “Skin You’re In”. The evening was closed with the whole troupe returning to the stage for a pizazz-fuelled take on the Monty Python classic, “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”. This was not just another great gig, it was a staggeringly great show! Huzzah to Madam Misfit and her cunning and courageous courtiers. The Arctic Monkeys once sang the line “four stars out of five”, they certainly weren’t singing about Madam Misfit and her Carnival of Chaos, if they were then they would have sung five stars out of five!

All photos, apart from the show poster, were snapped by the titanically talented Neal Rylatt.

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Mayhem Singles Round Up Part 1 2023 February 15, 2023

It has been way too long since our last singles round-up. So here is the first for 2023, it includes twelve songs that have been passed on to me or recommended during the previous few weeks and months, there are some really classy tracks here. This is quite a Yorkshire-centric list, but I have lived in Yorkshire since 2007, so why not? Let me know what you think of them! You will find a YouTube link to each song in the title and a link to the artists website or Spotify page if you click the artist name. You can also find the link to a Spotify playlist of all these songs by clicking here.

Chu Chi Face” – Madam Misfit

Feeling down? Feeling blue? I know exactly what you need to do! Just listen to “Chu Chi Face” by the frankly incomparable and obscenely talented Madam Misfit. This tune is a 21st Century (or 19th Century) take on the song originally featured in the 60s children’s classic film ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang‘. Madam Misfit does her Electro Swing Thing with it and takes it to another funderful dimension. Watch the video and if you are not smiling by the end of it get your face muscles looked at. The only gripe I have is the dunking of chocolate covered biscuits……why?

Rebound” – Millie Manders and the Shutup

A cracking single from a cracking band, this bigs up their pop-punk chops, a song that needs to be all over the radio!

Green Eyed Ocean Smile” – Honeytrap

This has the feel of a classy chilled 80s synth track with a real 21st Century vibe. For me, this is HoneyTrap’s finest song to date. It was released as a single last year and is now a part of their recently released EP, ‘Fenêtre Forming’

Glue Song” – Beabadoobee

Bea gives us a truly gorgeous love song, which will be perfect for chilling in the garden, the park, or at a festival this summer

The Cvlt Song” – Astrology For Men

This is a band that includes Luca from Vaquelin (more of them later) and it is a soft loud and frankly stupendous metal anthem in waiting.

Scottish Snow” – Pennine Suite

York’s Pennine Suite are back with yet another great single. The way Nick and Louise’s vocals intertwine make this song linger in your head for ages, and I do mean that in a good way. If Bananarama did perfect jangly indie songs, this would be one of them.

By The River” – Apollo Junction

I love bands that produce great music and seem to get better with every release. This bodes incredibly well for album number three from one of Leeds’s finest bands. Instrumentally the band is on fire and Jamie’s vocal pulls out all the stops. This has left me dreaming of the finest alternative 80s hits!

On My Own” – The Kut

Possibly the hookiest, catchiest rock song in ages. I love all the “whoa whoa” backing vocals. Expect to hear your postman whistling this tune! If you love this, and why wouldn’t you, check out the earlier release “Fun When You’re Winning

Social Cyanide” – Vaquelin

Those Vaquelin boys are back with a really bluesy slab of classic rock. It has some softer-sounding moments, but even they have razor-sharp edges. The riffage is ace and can I hear strings low down in the mix or is that treated guitar. Album number two will be something very special indeed!

Hazel Frustration” – Kindelan

This is the latest release from Kindelan, following hot on the heels of the rather splendid, “The Other Side”, these tracks will eventually form an EP. “Hazel Frustration” is a song of relationships and heartbreak, Kindelan styles it in a wonderfully softer modern R & B style. I have been a fan for quite a while and she continues to get better with each release.

Reset” – Wolforna

What a fabulous slice of heavy rock this is, filled with gargantuan riffs and softer moments that evoke the less hard side of Led Zeppelin. The vocals are outstanding.

Fatal Flaw” – Thrillhouse

This opens like a skilful take on peak New Order and moves on to draw on the likes of OMD and Eccho and the Bunnymen. A tremendously good pop scented rock track which is so joyful to listen to.

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