With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Violet Contours – The Crescent, York – Friday 18th October 2019 November 3, 2019


It has taken a while to get this one posted, but here it is! Yet another night at that wonderful York venue, The Crescent. This time to see Violet Contours in action once again. Were they as good as the last time that I saw them? You will have to read on to find out because before them there was a marvelously eclectic selection of support acts. First up we were taken to acoustic heaven by Joh Hendrickx, She does cover versions, of mostly sad songs. This set, which was way too short included songs by Laura Marling, Matt Corby, and the Middle East. Her cover of the latter’s “Blood” was dripping with emotion and that performance convinced me to find out more about them. She included one cover version that I really didn’t see coming, it was “The Black Hills Of Dakota” originally sung by Doris Day in the 1953 film ‘Calamity Jane’. Ms. Hendrickx totally owned the tune! I believe that Joh has a lot more to offer and I am looking forward to seeing her again.

Joh Hendrickx

Scarborough’s the Feens were next, I last saw them in July and they are still a bloody good band. They come across very “Smithsy” on some songs, from back in the day when Morrissey mattered. Particularly Sam Dowling’s guitar playing. Bass player Adam Lodge has a stunningly powerful voice which complements co-lead vocalist Freddie Scmuck’s vocals perfectly. Lodge roams the stage like a young Peter Hook in the early days of New Order, albeit with his bass more sensibly strapped much higher up his body. Someone in the crowd described them as “easier listening indie”, while I get that I think it does them an injustice. Yes their songs could be described as indie and those songs are easy to listen to, but mainly because they are so damned good. I hear traces of Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend in their sound and that is no bad thing. The Feens are getting some strong and well-deserved airplay of late. Expect much more from this band, they have the power and the talent to make it huge!

Feens

Next, it was the turn of the Serotones, another great York band who I last saw more than two years ago. They were very good then and they are even better now. If you like Dinosaur Jr, you might well like the Serotones, but the biggest influence I can hear in their songs is perhaps the Stone Roses, but with better vocals (sorry Ian Brown). The lead singer has an immaculate stage presence and really seems to understand his audience. Great music must be in human DNA somehow as the Serotones contain two kids from Shed Seven members, Rick Witter and Alan Leach. The band played a lot of new songs and they have a new single out now featuring two rather superb new songs; “Death In Paradise” and “Into The Sky”

Serotones

Finally, it was time for the headliners, Violet Contours, yet another fabulously exciting band from York. This was the third time that I have experienced seeing them live and they get better every time. Their jangly indie dance style is definitely influenced by Vampire Weekend, largely because of that feel-good African guitar vibe. But I can also hear Talking Heads, or more directly the more pop styles of Talking Heads offshoot Tom Tom Club, formed by Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz. Ben Henderson’s voice is clear, strong and conveys emotion and soul when he needs it to. Niall, Daniel, Sam, and Ben have developed into a really tight, funky band able to recreate and magnify, magnificently their recorded sound. Their repertoire is growing in range and quality; “Pablo’s Hippo and “Airstrike” are two outstanding tunes and there are plenty more too. Violet Contours are undoubtedly a band that knows how to party and bring the audience into that party effortlessly. But they don’t just get up their and play, they really look like they are enjoying every moment immensely. If you haven’t seen them or listened to them yet what the hell is preventing you?

Violet Contours

The above Serotones video was filmed by David Butler of Wigwam Creative

All the photos apart from the gig poster 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. I am also happy for you to use any of my pictures, all I ask is for a credit 🙂

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“Pablo’s Hippos” – Violet Contours September 4, 2019


Violet Contours from York are about to bring their latest single into the world, on 27th September to be precise. I have been lucky enough to see them live a couple of times and in this new track, I reckon they have captured a large part of the essence of what makes them such an exciting live act. The song is called “Pablo’s Hippos” and it is about a small part of Pablo Escobar’s self-centered extravagances. Escobar, perhaps one of the most powerful drug lords that ever lived, illegally smuggled four Hippos into Colombia for his private zoo, he also had giraffes and other exotic animals. Wild hippos are only native to Africa, and their escape after Escobar’s death left Colombia with an unexpected problem. Some of the 40 or 50 Hippos now living wild in Colombia have relocated more than 100 miles from Escobar’s estate. This is having a massive impact on Colombia’s biodiversity. I hear that there is even a bounty on Hippos in Colombia now, whereby you get paid if you can get a Hippo ear. I don’t know how successful that has been as I also understand that there is a big black market trade in fake Hippo ears. the world certainly is very strange, isn’t it? I knew absolutely nothing about this until I heard “Pablo’s Hippos”, so a big thank you to Violet Contours for educating me.

It is an incredible story and a truly great song with a pop trance vibe with African style guitars used as effectively as Vampire Weekend did in their early days. It is three minutes of perfectly crafted pop heaven with an 80s dance feel, like a Duran Duran club remix from the latter part of the 80s, around the time of “Skin Trade”. This is one of those tunes that most people would find it impossible not to dance to, especially in the live environment. Violet Contours have released some excellent songs since they formed in 2016; “Airstrike” and “Pixar” are my favourites, but without a doubt “Pablo’s Hippos” take the boys to another level. This song deserves loads of airplay and success. Jericho Keys made it his record of the week on BBC Radio York. I can’t wait to hear it live again and I hope to catch them at the Crescent in York next month. Ben, Sam, Niall, and Daniel have knocked it out of the park with such a banging tune!

 

Pictures were all “borrowed” from the band’s faceBook page. Videos were sourced from YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like me to credit you or to take it down, then please let me know.

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