With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Journey & Def Leppard – Madison Square Garden, New York, USA – Wednesday 13th June 2018 June 17, 2018


Well thanks to a business trip to New York this blog is about to give you its third gig review from the Big Apple! I was only in New York for three nights but I thought I would check out who might be playing only to find joint headliners Journey and Def Leppard appearing at the iconic Madison Square Garden venue in the heart of New York City. Until now I had never seen Journey and the last time I saw Def Leppard was in the early 1980s, so this was one I was really looking forward to. I was joined by my brilliant boss Shannon and how good was the show? Well dear reader you will need to read on to find that out.

Journey formed in San Francisco way back in 1973 by some former members of Santana and an US psych band known as Frumious Bandersnatch (which if you wondered was the name of a character from that immortal Lewis Carroll poem, “Jabberwocky”. Sadly Journey have operated without original lead singer Steve Perry for some time now, he was replaced by Arnel Pineda. While Arnel has a great voice he will never be Steve Perry, although his stagecraft is pretty darned good. The only ever-present member of the band is guitarist Neal Schon, although bassist Ross Valory was there in 1973, but he left for a several years from the late 80s. I am convinced Journey are one of the finest rock bands that the US has produced and their songs are testament to that. From opener “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” through to the magnificent encore of “Any Way You Want It” (in my opinion one of their greatest songs) they were great. Although there was a lot of focus on Neal Schon’s guitar prowess, something which has been criticised in earlier reviews of this tour, there is no denying that he is an ace axeman. But surely if you see a classic band like this guitar solos are expected, right? The pre-encore set closed unsurprisingly with “Don’t Stop Believin'”, the Journey song that everyone knows, and yes it brought the house down. For me though the highlight was “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'” from 1979’s ‘Evolution’ album and Steve Smith’s amazing drum solo which seemed almost effortless.

I believe that the bands have alternated the order of their appearance on this tour, but tonight it was Def Leppard, one of Sheffield’s greatest and most successful rock bands to hit the stage last. The excitement was stirred by a big screen countdown clock highlighting exactly when Joe and the boys would appear. They opened with a magnificent two punch combination of “Rocket” and “Animal”. Stunning and storming versions of “Let’s Get Rocked” and “Armageddon It” were hammered into us in the first half of a set that made it clear just what a collection of great songs this band has. They chose an early 70s UK chart hit to cover mid set and for me the choice was a little surprising, it was David Essex’s first hit “Rock On” which Def Leppard made their own. In their hands it became ten times heavier and it seemed to go down incredibly well. There was a soulful and emotional acoustic rendition of “Two Steps Behind”. Rick Allen’s drum solo in “Switch 265” was astounding and it looked like he was loving it. In fact the whole band seemed to be enjoying themselves. Joe Elliott and Rick Savage have been with the band from the start, while Rick Allen joined in 1978. “Hysteria” and that wonderful rock sing along “Pour Some Sugar On Me” closed the set before an encore to die for; “Rock Of Ages” which after this gig is now my new favourite Def Leppard song, and “Photograph”. This show was well worth the admission price and if you get the chance don’t miss it. I would love to hear from you if you have seen any of the shows on the tour.

Public Service Announcement: Pictures discovered via Google and videos via YouTube. If you want me to credit you in this post if any of these are yours then please let me know.

 

Enter Shikari – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC – Friday 2nd February 2018 February 4, 2018


After this blog’s first taste of a gig outside the UK  late last year I felt that it might be time for another. So while I found myself in New York for a business trip I thought I would lighten the tedium of work and get myself over to Brooklyn to see one of my favourite bands, the magnificent Enter Shikari. The Music Hall of Williamsburg is a 550 capacity venue so this was probably the smallest crowd I have seen Enter Shikari play to. I think this is probably the eighth or ninth time that I have seen them since catching them at Download in 2006 (at least I think it was then!). They are a band that seem to have bags of energy and I was really excited to see this displayed on a smaller stage to a smaller crowd. But before I tell you about Enter Shikari let me tell you about the two rather fabulous support bands.

First up were Milk Teeth all the way from Stroud in Gloucestershire in the UK. If you like your rock punky, grungey and hard-hitting then look no further than this tight and talented four piece. Becky Blomfield has the potential to become one of the finest female vocalists of her generation and Oli Holbrook is an outstanding drummer. The layered guitar attack of axemen Chris Webb and Billy Hutton underpins British punk at its finest. Then of course there are the songs, any band that can mention cats and swear jars in their lyrics gets an extra vote from me.

The second support act were the Single Mothers from Ontario in Canada. If you like the Talking Heads, Jonathan Richman, the Stranglers and the Pixies then you will definitely find something to love in this band. They began a mosh circle mania and a spate of crowd surfing that became even more manic once Enter Shikari took the stage. Singer Andrew Thomson never stops moving and is highly skilled at interacting with the crowd. Thomson formed the band in 2008 and then left for a few years in 2011 to go and prospect for gold in a Ontario town called Swastika, who knew?

 

The stage lights are dimmed and for five minutes or so we are treated to ‘The Spark’ from the current album of the same name. This is skillfully interspersed with sound samples from what sounds like a British World War two film, this all drives the anticipation upwards and the excitement of the audience was so palpable you could almost touch it. After that it was the full on Enter Shikari juggernaut hitting the crowd full on, albeit with “Juggernaut” not actually getting and airing on the night. Particular highlights for me were the three songs in a row starting with “Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour…”, moving on to “Take My Country Back” followed by “The Last Garrison”. Then later “Anaesthetist” totally blew the crowd away. By this time there was a virtual sea of kids crowd surfing to the stage to stand by Rou and the boys before diving back into the audience. Rou left the stage twice to serenade the crowd, once from the raised balcony at the side of the stage and later from the upper balcony facing the stage. The encore was stunning, with a particularly stunning version of “Live Outside”. The night ended with a short solo rendition from Rou of the Beatles “All You Need is Love”. I left the venue with a smile on my face as I always doing after seeing Enter Shikari, who I believe are one of the greatest British bands around at the moment.

Public service announcement; the pictures of Milk Teeth and Single Mothers were taken with my phone. Pictures of Enter Shikari are sourced via Google and all videos were found on YouTube.

 

Pumarosa @ Baby’s Allright, Brooklyn, New York, USA – Tuesday 10th October 2017 October 12, 2017

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 8:24 pm
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I am proud to announce that ‘With Just A Hint Of Mayhem’ has gone international, well the following is a review of a rather outstanding gig I attended while on a business trip to the Big Apple. Which makes it the first non UK gig reviewed on this site. I am also really delighted that it features the barnstorming Pumarosa, one of the finest British bands around. But before I get to them let me tell you about the support band Homebody from Greenfield, Massachusetts. Ethereal and otherworldly singer Haley Morgan may have been created by someone splicing DNA from Bjork and Patti Smith with a sprinkle of Toyah Wilcox. At times she comes across like Kate Bush on speed, but in a very good way. Haley’s outfit was very ‘out there’ and appeared to have been created from net curtain or wedding veil material. The soundscape is provided by Eric Hnatow and it evokes the very early releases of the Human League. Eric maintains a stoic and serious face rocking like a bald Ron Mael off of Sparks. They have some first-rate tunes and frankly how could you not love a song such as “Tits To The Sky”?

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As for Pumarosa, well this is the third time I have seen them in the last 90 days; firstly at the Latitude Festival in July, the Leeds Festival in August and now in New York in October. I know that the band have supported Glass Animals on some US dates in the past, but I am not sure if this US headline visit (which also includes dates in Mexico) constitutes their first shows in their own right across the pond. But they sure as hell played Brooklyn like it was their first US headline show. Baby’s Allright is not an enormous venue (capacity 280) and it wasn’t totally full, although I reckon there may have been in excess of 150 people there, maybe even 180. Pumarosa blew the house down from the moment they hit the stage. To hear them play the soaring, immense tune that is “Priestess” live is rapidly becoming a spiritual experience. Tonight was no exception and I was captivated with the amount of locals in the audience that clearly knew a lot about the band as evidenced by them singing along and dancing for the whole set.

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In previous reviews I have likened this band to Siouxse Sioux, Kate Bush and early Roxy Music (particularly given the occasional burst of Andy Mackayesque saxophone) but it is blatantly obvious that they are much more than that. Pumarosa are thrillingly original in performance, style and flair, their stage presence shows polish, elegance, grit and bravura. I have been listening to their glorious debut album ‘The Witch’ since I first saw them in July and while “Priestess” remains my favourite song in the words of Blink182 this album is most definitely ‘All Killer No Filler’. I absolutely adore “Lion’s Den”, a song which becomes far more than the sum of its supremely good parts when played live. Closer “Snake” rocked like a demon on speed and left us all wanting more. In my opinion Pumarosa are one of the best British bands on the scene at the moment and they are on the cusp of what I hope will be monumental success. I expect to see them higher up the festival bills in the UK next year and if they have not headlined a stage at Reading/ Leeds Festival by 2020 I promise to print this post out and eat it. If you have not yet encountered Pumarosa then do everything in your power to change that as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed!

 

Public service announcement. The Pumarosa pictures (obviously apart from the poster) were taken using my little mobile and the Homebody picture was taken by my friend and colleague Erik Futtrup 🙂 All videos were sourced from Youtube.

 

Hello Operator, Avalanche Party, Broken Skulls, Wildlife – Fibbers, York – Saturday 23rd May 2015 May 24, 2015


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I am back at Fibbers again just a few days after Julian couldn’t Cope. But there are no diva shenanigans tonight, Mike and Simon have created an excellent line up for what will sadly be Mike J’s final promotion. Kicking events off were the York and Leeds based Wildlife. I believe that this band would have easily fitted into New York’s late 70s post punk scene alongside a fledgling Talking Heads. But they are not revivalists of that era they are very 21st century too. They have great songs, great stage presence and a good rapport with the audience. They handled a little power outage problem with aplomb. Apparently all the songs are about the singers cock, well apart from “Like A Racehorse” anyway! Whether you like songs about cocks or not you should check them out.

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The second band to tread the boards tonight were the two piece Broken Skulls. Imagine if the Strokes had more power, more balls and only two members. Can you do that? If you can then you would probably be imagining Broken Skulls. I would imagine that the two piece format leads many to compare them with the excellent Royal Blood. However they are more than a facsimile of another band. They are incredibly powerful performers, gifted instrumentalists and they write some terrific songs. They dedicated an old song to Mike this evening which was also the name of a former band of theirs; “Toy Radar”. I would definitely go and see these boys again and so should you if you haven’t already.

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Second on the bill this evening is a band that hardly need any introduction to regular readers of this blog, the magnificent Avalanche Party. Up to now they have had excellent reviews from me. Is that about to change? Fuck no! These lads rocked their socks off on Saturday. They played a barnstorming set and the audience would have eaten out of the bands hands had they been asked. Well the majority would have at least. New song “Money” was stunning live and Joe and Jordan’s crowd invasions, or should that be incursions, raised the excitement levels for the punters. I would like to thank Jordan for dedicating the mountainous (sorry for the cliché) “Mountains” to me. ‘This one is for Big Billy at the front’; I love it! The band will be launching their new EP in their home town, Middlesbrough soon. Sadly I can’t make it, so please put a copy aside for me chaps! But if you can make it then you bloody well should. This band mean big and should be big. They get better every time I see them.

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I didn’t envy the brilliant Hello Operator having to follow such a great set from one of my favourite bands of the moment, but they did follow and they followed bloody well. Hello Operator are a different kind of band to Avalanche Party but they are equally as powerful. They appear schooled in a different vein of classic rock and they know how to win over and captivate an audience. I saw them earlier this year at the smaller City Screen venue and they metaphorically blew the roof off. Frankly they did the same at Fibbers. They are and incredibly tight, talented and well rehearsed band. The guitarist has the flourish of Bernard Butler at his peak and as far as vocals go they have a singer who has one of the finest rock voices around. If you have never seen them then get off your arse and do so!

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I would like to thank Mike and Simon for a great night and also Joe Bell off of Avalanche Party for the vino. This was a truly superb night for everyone who came along. Four great bands in one night it can’t get better than that can it?

The public service announcement for today is that all the pictures were taken with my Nokia and the videos are courtesy of YouTube

 

“Round the squares, huddled in storms, some laughing, some just shapeless forms” – Advent day 8 December 8, 2013


advent-day-8_2075493aIt’s the 8th December already. Is time moving faster at the moment? Is there something amiss within the space-time continuum? On top of that can you believe that it is 23 years to the day that John Lennon was gunned down in New York? Which brings me to the first song choice in todays number themed With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Advent post. I bring you a classic Beatles track, “Eight Days A Week”.

cartoon_beatle_santasThe song was I believe a first for rock music in that it began with a fade-in intro. It was taken from 1964’s Beatles For Sale’ album. Whilst it was never released as a single in the UK it was in the USA where it went to number one in 1965. It also hit the top spot in Canada and the Netherlands. Back in the 60s there was also an Extended Play (EP) chart and the ‘Beatles For Sale’ EP including “Eight Days A Week” went to number one on that chart in the UK in 1965. It wasn’t a popular song among the Beatles themselves. John Lennon apparently once called it lousy. The band never played it live, although Paul McCartney has played it on his ‘Out There’ tour earlier this year. It has been subject to many cover versions including; Procol Harum, Libertines, Joan Jett, the Supremes, the Runaways and Alma Cogan.

The+Byrds+The500ByrdsThe second song for today is another 60s smash hit. “Eight Miles High” by the Byrds. It was taken from their 1966 album ‘Fifth Dimension’ which was their third long player and was written by Gene Clark and Roger McGuinn. It went to number 14 in the USA and number 24 in the UK in 1966. Some American radio stations refused to play the song because they claimed it was laden with drug references. The band strongly denied that at the time but later suggested that there was some truth in the story. A drug that could get you eight miles high? Wow that might be worth a shot! Don McLean’s classic track “American Pie” refers to the Byrds song in its lyrics with the following line; “The Birds  flew off with a fall-out shelter/Eight miles high and falling fast”. It has also been covered by a number of acts including; Roxy Music, Husker Du, Ride, Robyn Hitchcock and Golden Earring. The latter recorded a 19 minute version of the song.

 

Reading Festival 2013 – Day 2 – Saturday 24th August August 25, 2013


We’ve made it to day 2 once again and so has the rain. But it wasn’t too bad when we arrived and we have never let the weather dampen our spirits before so we won’t this weekend either. We had earlier decided to spend most of the day in the NME/ Radio 1 tent; not because of the weather though. It was what looked like a great line up that drew us in. Was it a great line up in reality? Well you’re going to have to read on to find out aren’t you.

Sadly we missed Childhood (that’s the band and not our formative years). But we arrived in plenty of time to see the very fresh and very funky Theme Park. If you owned a giant blender that blended music you would need to add Talking Heads, Haircut 100, Fine Young Canibals and a dash of x factor to create this excellent band. I mean the true x factor, not the shit peddled by ITV in the disguise of a talent show. I can feel a Theme Park download or two coming on when I get home.

Then from New York we had the very original Darwin Deez. From their boy band/ Motown formation funky dancing routine interludes to their gutsy, funky, dirty rock sound they were tremendous. The crowd, including me and my good friend Nick loved them. If you have not heard them yet then you really should check them out because deez boyz are good. (Sorry I couldn’t resist that). Deaf Havana were the next band to arrive and oh boy did they arrive with a bang. Their lead singer told us at one point that they made honest music, i.e. without backing tracks. So for today these are my first  does what it says on the tin act. They have energy, funk (we have seen a lot of that this year so far), style, great songs and a really tight band. Their album comes out next month and I for one will be downloading it. Deaf Havana; not deaf, not from Havana, but for being such a great live band they deserve the finest cigars Cuba can offer.

Were Deaf Havana referring to Modestep when they talked about honest music and not using backing tracks? Possibly not but Modestep did use a lot of preprogrammed backing and samples. But let me clear this is not a band into lip synching. They had the deepest bass sound of the festival so far. It was so deep you could feel your internal organs start to melt. They were also incredibly loud. They really used the full power of smoke and pyrotechnic flame bursts too. For me they ought to be in the Guinness Book of Records for the most mentions of Reading in their interaction with the crowd. If I had to describe their sound I would say it suggest the kind of noise you might hear if the Prodigy had a bum sex orgy with Enter Shikari while being filmed by Lemmy Kilminster. Incidentally they seem to have a fanatically loyal following and the tent was packed very tight. Especially when the circle pits broke out. They were very good, but not the sort of band I would listen to outside the confines of a festival. But they probably had the most energetic crowd of the day too. Interestingly like many bands appearing in recent years they used to come to this festival as punters.

The Palma Violets were lively and punky and were clearly up for a good time and they gave us all a great time. Similar to Modestep these guys were festival goers who in fact met here four years ago at camp site Yellow 7. Is there anyone there this year who will be on stage in a few years? If they are this good then let’s hope so. You would n,t see this bunch as a blues band but I was interested to see that one of their vocalists was sporting a B B King t-shirt. You don’t get many of those at Reading do you? I would advise you to check out the Palma Violets, you won’t be disappointed. Can I ask who is Harry Violet please?

One of the acts I had been looking forward to this year was Johnny Marr, or according to a t-shirt I saw Johnny Fucking Marr. This was does what it says on the tin moment number 2 for me today. Although Johnny has a much bigger tin to draw from than many others. His new solo stuff sounds pretty fresh and vibrant. He also played a great cover of “I Fought The Law”. But of course this crowd was by far the most middle-aged of the day and there were mass outbreaks of Morrissey-like Dad dancing throughout the set especially when Johnny played a few songs from a band he once was in. You might have heard of them, they were called the Smiths! He played a number of Smiths songs including “Stop Me If You Heard This One Before”, “Big Mouth Strikes Again”, “How Soon Is Now”, “This Charming Man” and the set closer was a really heartfelt version of the delectable “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”. This had us all singing along at the top of our lungs. On the count of three now, ‘if a double-decker bus crashes into us…….’

How had the Imagine Dragons had passed me by up to now I do not know. But I am glad I have found them now. They could be the most percussive band on the planet right now. There are elements of Arcade Fire and the Killers in their sound. They are in fact from Las Vegas just like the Killers. Their songs are powerful, catchy and memorable. I may just have to download their album as well. I would definitely pay to see these guys again as you should! What can I say about Tame Impala? They certainly seemed to channel Pink Floyd with a blend of dance music. Their psychedelic screen shows were brilliant. Their lighting almost suggests that they don’t really want to be seen. Their sound is based around extended psychedelic wig-outs wer excellent but it does make you wonder how the hell they rehearse their stuff. A fab band though.

Someone else I was looking forward to seeing, having seen him in York earlier this year was Jake Bugg. He did not disappoint he played a great selection from his first album and a couple of new songs that will probably form a part of his second. His acoustic version of “Broken” was emotional and incredible. Was there anyone who was not singing along? I doubt it. He also played a storming cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey My My”. Which magnificently made up for Neil cancelling on me last weekend. I am looking forward even more to Jake’s second album even more now. If you have never heard Jake Bugg, then where the bloody hell have you been?

Just after Jake Nick and I were joined by a woman who we believe was very much under the influence of something; more likely substance than alcohol. Her name was Amy and she decided that Nick and I were her new best mates. Her 14-year-old daughter and her niece were also at the festival but she seemed to have no idea where and no idea as to how to contact them. Nick was going to stay to watch Alt-J (and incidentally he tells me they were fantastic, really energetic and the crowd loved them) and I was going to the main stage for Eminem. Amy wasn’t going anywhere on her own and I drew the short straw as she accompanied me to see Mr Mathers. In fact she stayed with us until we left the arena; we left her at the taxi rank. Amy we hope that you got home ok. Anyway back to the music. I missed the first part of Eminem’s set as it clashed with Mr Bugg. But what I did see was fantastic. When I saw him here in 2002 I was a little disappointed and I felt that he could have been better. He was so much better this year. All the hits were there; including a great version of “Stan” with an appearance from Dido to reprise her previously sampled vocal live. The pinnacle of Marshall’s performance though was the encore and closer “Lose Yourself”. How good is that song? So we’re now two-thirds of the way through the 2013 festival and it has been superb so far. Bring on day 3.

 

“Colder than the moon, feel my blood enraged” June 26, 2013


David Bowie in his music video for Where Are We Now?

The NHS in Britain recently used the services of a 66-year-old ex-pat pensioner living in New York to promote their National Blood Week from 10th – 16th June. How did they come to pick this mature ex-pat pensioner I hear you ask? Well quite simply really. he has used vivid blood-red make-up in the past and has also written some rather nice words that fit their campaign reasonably well with a subtle change. The person in question is none other than David Robert Jones a.k.a David Bowie. The slogan for the National Blood Week in the UK was ‘you can be heroes for more than one day’. Click here if you’d like to learn how to give blood in the UK.

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