With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Cowgirl (Fulford Arms 6th Birthday gig) – Fulford Arms, York – Friday 10th January 2020 February 2, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 5:33 pm
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The Fulford Arms is such a great venue and it really feels like it has been here for a long, long time. But remarkably this show was in celebration of the Fulford Arms’ sixth birthday and it was a pleasure to be a part of it. It was a proper bargain too, five acts for £5. First up was Miles with an excellent solo set using a £30 guitar and a free phone app as his only backing apart from his wonderfully ethereal vocals. New song “Well” was very classy and “The Gap”, which Miles admitted he dropped earlier into the set than usual, was epic. But the highlight for me was “Aspirin” I really love that tune. Thank you, Miles, for a wonderfully chilled kick-off to the party!

Next, it was the turn of metal power trio Redfyrn. Imagine Kate Bush fronting a punk-influenced very heavy metal band with an added sprinkle of early PJ Harvey that is just one description of Redfyrn, but there are so many more. They are a band with great songs, none more so than “Silent Water”. This is a band that deserves to be heard. Their whole stage persona comes across as a little understated but they pack a hell of a punch, especially drummer Leo. This is definitely a band to keep an eye on.

Percy, another of York’s finest took the stage next and this would be the third time that I had seen them in just over a year. They have a new album coming out later this year and judging from the live takes on some of the new songs and the demo versions that I have heard it will be darned good. Their last album, ‘Sleeper’s Wake’ from 2018 was excellent, I reckon the new one will see them step up their game once again. If you like the Fall or anything Mark E Smith was involved with then you will love this lot, in fact, if you love your music with a punk attitude, a pinch of prog and at times political then you will adore Percy! The highlights for me, as expected, were the Brexit related tunes; “Unicorn” and “Will Of The People”. I can see the latter getting played a lot during 2020.

Probably one of my favourite current bands are My Wonderful Daze. Their appearance on the bill at the Fulford Arms on 10th January marked the fifth time that I had seen them in six months! They played at my first ever gig promotion at the Crescent just a week before this show. I was really pleased to see that vocalist Flowers a.k.a. Chloe’s voice was back to full strength after the cold and sore throat at the Crescent. Not that there was any dip in the quality in the previous weeks set mind you. The played some pounding versions of the tracks from their recent EP, ‘Guilty Party’. One of the many things that I love about this band is their overpowering energy, they don’t build to a crescendo, they start with one and keep it at that level for their whole set. Chloe showed great personality when dealing with tonight’s technical issues too; faulty microphone and a broken bass string! I don’t know when the first My Wonderful Daze album will appear, but I am so looking forward to it and to seeing them on stage plenty more times too!

Headliners were another rather excellent York band, Cowgirl, tonight was the third time that I have seen them and in fact the second time in just a few weeks. Their scuzzy, dirty and sometimes feedback-driven garage rock is reminiscent of the Jesus And Mary Chain, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and one of my favourite US bands, the Detroit Cobras. Many of their songs have an underlying electric blues feel, but one that is distorted with punk attitude and noise. I also see a young and more vibrant Velvet Underground in Cowgirl’ swagger and stage presence.  Small sweaty venues like the rather excellent Fulford Arms were made for bands like Cowgirl. Check them out now, that is an order!

 

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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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Presents A Gig For SASH – The Crescent, York – Friday 3rd January 2020 January 7, 2020


This is not really a review in the truest sense, more of a little tale as to how, as With Just A Hint Of Mayhem, I promoted my first gig. The idea gelled quite a while ago, I had wanted to do something to celebrate my own 60th birthday (1st January 2019) and the tenth birthday of my With Just A Hint Of Mayhem blog (9th February 2019). But for various reasons I took a lot longer to get things moving so, in reality, I suppose the gig celebrates my 61st birthday (January 1st, 2020) and the blogs eleventh anniversary next month (9th February 2020). One decision I made early was that this first, and possibly only, gig would be for charity. Mostly because I felt that if it went belly up then people might be more forgiving. I chose SASH as it is a charity close to my heart for far more reasons than I have time to go into here. SASH is a youth homelessness charity that works across York, North and East Yorkshire. They provide invaluable help to young people aged 16-25 who are facing homelessness.

The Receivers – Picture-Copyright – Charlie Kirkpatrick

After that all I had to decide was which bands I wanted on the bill, easy peasy, right? Well not quite, one band I was keen to have play agreed to be there and then had to pull out for logistical reasons, sadly the band broke up towards the end of last year too. So that left three out of four to secure for the night. A year ago I said to Rusty, the singer from Lost Trends that I was planning a charity gig, with no prompting he said: “we’re in!” With a stern straight face, I replied: “I haven’t asked you yet!” But obviously Lost Trends then became the first band to be pencilled in. Would I be able to secure the next two bands? Well, that part wasn’t too difficult and from initial conversations, it was clear that the Receivers and My Wonderful Daze were very keen to help and to play at the Crescent on 3rd January. After some advice from people who know their stuff (thank you Joe Coates and Simon Pattinson) I dropped my original wish of four bands on the bill to three. So now all was set and I embarked on a social media campaign of promotion. I was concerned that upfront ticket sales were low, but everyone kept telling me that there would be plenty of walk-ins on the night. Thankfully all those people were right and we had I think something like 80 – 90 people there on the night.

My Wonderful Daze – Picture-Copyright – Charlie Kirkpatrick

The running order was decided by online vote after the Receivers chose to open the show (they have a number of headline gigs coming up). In a close-fought vote, Lost Trends pipped My Wonderful Daze to the headline spot. So it would be doors open at 7:30, the Receivers at 8, My Wonderful Daze at 9 and Lost Trends at 10. I wanted to be there for all the preparation so I arrived at the Crescent at 4pm, before any of the bands ready and waiting to witness the soundchecks. Even that was exciting for me and by then I was running on pure grade adrenaline. All three bands were on top form at soundcheck aided and abetted by ace soundman Stu Bellis. The team at the Crescent were superb and I learned a lot from them for next time (yes I am sure there will be more from me!). Suddenly it was time for the doors to open and I stood by the ticket table waiting for the punters to flood in! It was more of a trickle at first but a relentless trickle which continued at quite a pace for the next hour or so.

Lost Trends – Picture-Copyright – Charlie Kirkpatrick

Before the bands came on Matt Messias told the crowd about all the great work that SASH do to help prevent youth homelessness. Every band played like they were headliners which made it a blistering night of fabulous music. The Receivers played crowdpleasers like “Saturday” and showcased a couple of new songs. Guitarist Alex had some instrument issues towards the end of their set but improvised with some maniacal Bez dancing. Flowers a.k.a. Chloe the obscenely talented frontwoman of My Wonderful Daze had an awful cold but did not let that deter her or the band from pulling off an incendiary set. The crowd had been up for a party and were wearing their bopping shoes and dancing trousers and showing their best moves all night. That culminated in the whole room grooving to those famous indie dance punkateers Lost Trends. It was a great night of punk, funk, psych, indie, metal, glam, and ROCK. It was LOUD and I loved it. Everyone that I spoke to loved it too. All three bands looked to be having great fun on stage as well. The Receivers and My Wonderful Daze offered much of their merch sales to SASH. I know that Lost Trends would have done the same but they are currently “the band with no merch”! So thanks to all the paying punters (many of whom gave their change to the charity), merch sales, all the bands turning down a rider and a discount on the venue hire fee we raised more than £400 for SASH. That is beyond my wildest expectations and it will fund 21 safe nights sleep to young people facing homelessness in our community. I cannot thank you all enough for what you helped us achieve. With Just A Hint Of Mayhem will definitely be doing more gigs!

Matt & Bill – Picture-Copyright – Charlie Kirkpatrick

As a postscript, there was an after-party of sorts at the Priory for shameless Karaoke. But while there were some true legends made into the early hours via Abba songs, Cyndi Lauper tunes and a couple of the Dame’s greatest hits, what went on at the Priory stays at the Priory. Although if you would like to pay me a fiver which I will give to SASH I will tell you as much as I can remember!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by Charlie Kirkpatrick of Kirkpatrick Photography please do not share or use without permission. You can find Kirkpatrick Photography here and on Facebook. There are a few more excellent pictures from Charlie just below the following public service announcement, including some great crowd shots. I recognise quite a few of those punters! Incidentally, the gig poster was designed and made 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. 

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My Wonderful Daze “Guilty Party” EP Launch – Fulford Arms, York – Thursday 5th September 2019 September 10, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:59 pm
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Tonight was the third time that I had seen My Wonderful Daze in less than three months, the first time was also at the Fulford Arms for their Hands Off Gretel support slot back in July. Tonight was a show to let the band showcase their new EP “Guilty Party”. But before I tell you about their set there is the not so small matter of the support band, Freek. I first saw them in December last year, supporting Percy. Freek‘s roots can be traced back to Led Zeppelin and onward through to the White Stripes. Lead singer Ellis Best may, on the first impression, look like a mild-mannered Librarian, but then he unleashes blues-rock licks from his guitar which have the power to cause earthquakes in heaven and hell. But that isn’t all when he opens his mouth to sing out pops a voice that could match Roger Daltrey, Ozzy Osbourne, Paul Rodgers and many more. Best is one hell of a talented rocker. Drummer Christy Bloomfield is like the perfect rock ‘n’ roll metronome (and that is meant as a compliment.) He comes across as a well-controlled sticksman and then he hits those drums with a crazy, frenzied passion and you can imagine him being possessed by the spirit of Keith Moon and the wisdom of Ginger Baker. The highlight for me, and there were many, was “I Am A Weirdo” which is as close as you can get to the perfect rock song!

Just before 9 o’clock, the crowd was palpably excited as they waited for the imminent arrival of those weird, wacky and wonderful folk from Planet Daze, yes it was time for My Wonderful Daze to hit us with their best shot. Incidentally, their best shot is like being attacked by an artillery barrage of riffs, a rhythm section that could power a whole division of tanks and all this marshalled by Field Marshall Chloe Munt a.k.a. Flowers. This is a full-on shock and awe aural assault that either wins you over or forces you to surrender. They played the five songs from their new “Guilty Party” EP first. “Tommy” starts off quite soft and builds into a crescendo of dark passion backed by a band firing on all cylinders. The five-track EP is stunning and in the live environment the already uber heavy, riff-laden, hook-driven, eldritch tunes transform into something heavier, darker and psychedelic. At times they sound like Black Sabbath had Ozzy been replaced by Chloe.

My current favorite track from the EP is “God” and live it is an epic masterpiece. The crowd was up for this band in a big way. Chloe made a number of excursions into the audience and the crowd went into manic mosh mode towards the end. My Wonderful Daze lived up to a previous description from me “Imagine what band might arise if Florence and the Machine had been kidnapped by DC’s Suicide Squad and the Joker injected them with a mix of a large dose of heavy metal and Kurt Cobain’s DNA.” But they went even further than that tonight. In the week that ‘IT – Chapter Two” hit the cinemas there were plenty of Pennywise style red balloons with added black balloons to add a streak of goth. The second half of their set saw much fake blood, well at least I hope it was fake! This was streaked across the faces of the band and Chloe sporting red hair rocked a perfect Carrie White post-Prom Queen scene in a blood dripped white dress. This was not just a gig it was a show with some really theatrical moments, not many bands can pull that off, but My Wonderful Daze can do it with style and ease. There was a technical guitar hitch near the end, but a mighty and dynamic jam session from Mr. Jack Sparkle on bass and JoshQ6 on drums and Chloe taking it upon herself to dance with members of the audience entertained us impeccably while the guitar issue was resolved. For me, the mark of a great band or at least one with the potential to become great is how they handle a mishap like that. My Wonderful Daze handled it like seasoned veterans. They finished with a rip-roaring cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” closer to the White Stripes arrangement but with the heavy and dark turned up to full! You really need to see this band, but while you are waiting check out the “Guilty Party” EP by clicking here

All the photos apart from the EP promo 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.

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This House Is Haunted – The Crescent, York – Friday 16th August 2019 August 18, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:23 pm
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One of the few things that I knew about this gig beforehand was that York’s magical, madcap musical adventurers My Wonderful Daze would be playing. This would be the second time that I had seen them. Previously I saw them at the Fulford Arms when they supported Hands Off Gretel back in July. Click here to read what I said about them then. Right now they are just weeks away from the launch of their first EP and if their boundlessly energetic stage performance combined with some supreme musical talent is anything to go by it will be at least bloody good, but most probably fucking great! The bands sound is a clever combination of punk riffs, glam stomp underscored by the sort of funky guitar licks that force you to dance even if you feel that you don’t want to. This is one hell of a tight band and Flowers’ singing show just how powerful a strong punk ethos can be. Highlights for me were “Glorious Day” and “Happy Now” (I hope that I got the titles right!). I had previously detected some warped similarities to Florence and the Machine, but their set tonight took me right back to the first time that I saw Siouxsie and the Banshees around 1976/77. When the My Wonderful Daze EP is available you need to do everything that you can to get your hands on a copy, obviously nothing illegal right? Shady but not illegal might work though.

My Wonderful Daze

Next up were another great York band, although they have now “emigrated” to Leeds, Amongst Thieves. This is a band that knows how to please an audience, in fact, lead singer Josh Nash spent the whole set in the audience. Prowling around with a maniacal stare and swing his microphone around lassoo style emulating Roger Daltrey at his peak. all of this rock theatre element simply added to what was a set of staggeringly great power. Amongst Thieves know how to rock like a bastard from Hell and everything was turned up to eleven or higher. There was punk, metal and classic rock among many other things. Nash’s vocals were hard and spot-on, the counterpoint growly vocal from Ricky Kwong was at times stunning.  This was their first York gig for two years, they really need to come back more often. I am definitely a fan of the band after this gig, I even bought their 11 track CD from 2017 and it has already been played three times. This is a band with the potential to become huge and I hope that they do.

Amongst Thieves

Headliners tonight were This House Is Haunted, another fabulous York band. This city’s great musical heritage shows no signs of slowing down. Apparently, this was only their fourth gig, that was extremely hard to believe for me. It was a polished and powerful performance from a highly talented band. They are as heavy as hell, but with some introspective moments akin to Radiohead. The bottom line though is that if you love great rock music you will adore This House Is Haunted. Zak Ford’s vocals are reminiscent of some of the great metal vocalists. Jenn and Dom are a formidable rhythm section that is the beating heart of the songs. For a three-piece, they make more noise than a band with twice the personnel. Dom’s drumming is super heavy and he must have some of John Bonham’s DNA in him. Their signature tune “This House Is Haunted” deserves to be massive. I will definitely be seeing this lot again!

This House Is Haunted

 

All the photos apart from the gig poster 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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Hands Off Gretel – Fulford Arms, York – Wednesday 10th July 2019 July 18, 2019


Until now I had missed every opportunity to catch Hands Off Gretel play live, so I had high expectations of this show. Did the band meet my expectations? You’ll have to read on to find out as there were also three other bands on the bill, starting with Witch Of The East. This is the brainchild and solo project of the mightily talented Aeris Houlihan, her sound is heavier than heavy, as grungey as it can get and definitely turned up to 11. Aeris has a blonde version of Marc Bolan’s iconic early 70s hairstyle which allows me to blatantly paraphrase Mr. Bolan and say of Aeris, “She ain’t no square with her corkscrew hair”. Her guitar playing is exquisite and her vocals are really special. Her singing voice is great on the new album ‘Queen Of Insecurity’ but live it goes beyond great. On stage, Aeris was aided and abetted by a drummer that could fit with Motorhead or the Muppets, he was that good! I am not yet familiar with all of Witch Of The East‘s songs, but Aeris gave me a copy of the album so it won’t be long! (Thank you Aeris!). I believe the opening song was “Silence” and my favourite from the set was “When You Fuck Me” which for me was how I would imagine Peaches sounding if she was more metal than electro. Ms. Houlihan made a really stylish and effective crowd incursion towards the end of her set too. I am now a confirmed fan of Witch Of The East and I can hardly wait to see them live again!

Next up was My Wonderful Daze from York, their sound is deep, dark and almost menacing at times. Imagine what band might arise if Florence and the Machine had been kidnapped by DC’s Suicide Squad and the Joker injected them with a mix of a large dose of heavy metal and Kurt Cobain’s DNA. This was not just a simple rock music set it was also a real performance with the band using stage clothes, eccentric makeup and flowing movement to get their songs across. My Wonderful Daze owned the stage for the whole of their set and they captivated a largely spellbound audience. They also keep the punk ethos going by utilising some great stage names (well I am making an assumption that these aren’t their real names) like; Flowers, Eden, and Mr. Jack Sparkle.

As Sirens Fall were the only band without a female member, but they showed true solidarity with the other bands by wearing dresses, well some of the band at least. Singer Mikey Lord I believe will one day become a really iconic frontman. He is highly skilled at engaging the audience and bringing them into the fast lane currently occupied by As Sirens Fall. Mikey has something of Brian Molko about him with some Bowie thrown in for good measure, particularly his powerful on-stage presence. In their five years together the band have released two EPs, both produced by Romesh Dodangoda. Romesh has previously produced Bring Me The Horizon among many others. As Sirens Fall are heavy as hell served with a dash of goth and a shot of punk. They make My Chemical Romance look and sound like Westlife! I can state categorically that As Sirens Fall, have gone straight into my top five live bands! I came to this gig with my good friend Jari, who was here on a business trip from Finland. As Sirens Fall is his new favourite band!

Many bands reach the cusp of greatness but often never make it beyond that, never usually through things that they are able to control. I believe that Hands Off Gretel are about to take one small step for a band, but one giant leap for women in rock. This band has the passion, the skill, and the attitude to take it so much further. I am glad I got to see them at the Fulford Arms, a wonderfully intimate venue. They are surely destined to fill arenas next and who knows where after that. This show came just a few days after the singer and guitarist Lauren Tate’s open letter to the men who come to the band’s shows. It calls out all the misogynistic creeps who sexualise any female in a band or in the audience. What she says is spot on and finally, many more people are taking notice and are ready to do something about this. Ever since I went to my first gig in 1972 and my first festival in 1975 I have loved the camaraderie and care for others in most gig crowds, but sadly there are always exceptions. Lauren was right to call this out and let’s hope it flushes these arseholes out! If you haven’t read her letter yet, you really need to, click here to see it. The band showed great solidarity for this kind of movement. Lauren and Becky, the bass player sported expertly painted on facial hair. At times Becky’s rock god postures were reminiscent of Lemmy in his full-on Motorhead pomp and the added chest hair added to that picture. Guitarist Sean Bon sported a kind of scary red gimp mask, given the heat that night he must have sweated buckets! The band is currently promoting their sophomore album ‘I Want The World’ and most of that collections tracks got an airing tonight. Particular highlights for me were “S.A.S.S”, “Kiss Me Girl” and “Freaks Like Us”. Hands Off Gretel are like a well-oiled punk machine that hits you with grunge licks, heavy riffs, and classy tunes. Lauren’s vocals have been likened to Gwen Stefani before and I get that comparison, but I believe Lauren’s voice is far more at home on the harder, intense styles than Gwen’s might have been. This was a stunning, powerhouse of a performance, the venue was hotter than I had ever known it but the verve and excitement generated by this band drove the heat and energy to molten lava levels. Hands Off Gretel are a long way from their peak but their trajectory is steep and seems driven by the power of a Saturn V rocket. If you haven’t yet seen them, sort yourself out. You will not be disappointed! I would love to hear your thoughts on any of the bands in this review.

Witch Of The East – Pic was taken on my cheap Android phone

Public Service Announcement: All pictures, apart from the gig poster and the pic of Witch Of The East were taken by John Hayhurst of Snapagig (a.k.a this generations Mick Rock)! All videos were sourced from YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like me to credit you or take it down please let me know.

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