With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Blackwaters – Artist of the Week On Northern Radar April 25, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:23 pm
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Curator of fine music M.C. Rockin’ Simon P over at Northern Radar invited me to scribe an article for the Northern Radar Artist Of The Week feature. I most definitely drew the long straw with Blackwaters. Click here to read the article on the fabulous Northern Radar blog and when you’ve read it stick around and see what other delights await you!

 

Isaac Gracie – The Crescent, York – Monday 16th April 2018 April 17, 2018


Another school night, another gig at the fabulous Crescent in York. Tonight was another excellent show from Northern Radar this time headlined by Isaac Gracie. But before I give you my opinion of Mr Gracie how about a big hand for the most amazing support act Matt Maltese. He has an album coming out in June and after seeing him play live that is a very, very exciting prospect. He is like a lounge version of Rufus Wainwright who wears his politics on his sleeve in 72 point bold font. “As The World Caves In” is an incredible song and a very worthy single, a copy of which I bought on the night. Matt’s between song bonhomie and sardonic wit is wonderfully original. I think perhaps that “Guilty” was my favourite highlight, but there were many, so that might change if you ask me again. I would unreservedly pay to see Mr Maltese again.

It would be somewhat of a cliché to say that I have seen the future of rock ‘n’ roll, let’s face it Jon Landau said that about Bruce Springsteen in 1974. However I have seen a very bright future for British music in the shape of Isaac Gracie. Twenty One year old Gracie is a former chorister with the Ealing Abbey Choir. He first came to the attention of the music industry after “Last Words” a song recorded on GarageBand in his bedroom was unleashed into the world in 2015. His songs are far more mature than his years and on top of that he comes across as wonderfully affable and self-deprecating on stage. For me he has all the finest qualities of a young Jeff Buckley. I had the privilege of seeing Buckley at the Reading Festival many, many years ago and Gracie has the same qualities in his songs, performance, raw talent, passion and demeanour. Check out his cover of Radiohead’s “No Surprises” and the Arctic Monkeys “Fluorescent Adolescent” on YouTube and see the ghost of Buckley made real. My wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman doesn’t come to many gigs with me, but she was blown away by this one.

His first album is a truly accomplished début “Terrified”, “Last Words”, “Reverie”, “Running On Empty” and “Silhouettes Of You” all feel like classic songs that have been with you your whole life and Isaac played all of them tonight. There was not a single dud song in his set, my particular highlights were “All In My Mind” and the haunting song of sadness that is “Darkness Of The Day”. “Was our love a work of art, before the painting fell apart”, is that not one of the best lyrical couplets ever written? It is almost 46 years since I attended my first gig and there have been hundreds since then, but this is without doubt one of the finest shows that I have ever seen. If Isaac Gracie does not become a world straddling star then there is something horribly wrong with this planet.

 

Northern Radar – 10 New Tracks – April 2018 April 13, 2018


Click here to read my take on Northern Radar’s 10 new tracks for the month so far. Thank you to Sonic Boom Simon at Northern Radar for giving me the chance to say my piece on these delicious cuts of fine music! I have added videos for a few of the ten just to whet your appetite.

 

The Magic Gang – ‘The Magic Gang’ April 9, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:11 pm
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Click here to read my review of the new album from the Magic Gang for the Northern Radar site. A big thank you to Rockin’ Mr P and his funky, punky minions over at Northern Radar for seeking my thoughts on this release. Did it pass muster for me? Did it meet my expectations? Just click as instructed at the start of this paragraph to find out 🙂

 

Northern Radar – 10 New Tracks March 2018 April 8, 2018


Click here to read my take on Northern Radar’s 10 new tracks from a few days back. Thank you to Rockin’ Mr P at Northern Radar for giving me the chance to say my piece on these fine tunes! I have added videos for a few of the ten just to tickle and tantalise your ear buds.

 

Hello Operator, BlackWaters, Honours – The Crescent, York – 29th March 2018 March 31, 2018


I always enjoy a visit to one of York‘s top music venues, The Crescent, especially when it is a package of bands put together by the talented Simon Pattinson of Northern Radar. He has never let me down yet with a gig or band recommendation and frankly he nailed it again here! First up were a York band that up to now I hadn’t heard, Honours. They put on a powerful and energetic performance and in their DNA they have a link to some of the greatest British bands from the Small Faces through to Oasis. Although personally I felt that Honours have so much more personality and presence than Liam Gallagher has these days. Their guitarist’s style and journeys along his fret board shows hints of the best 70s rock licks and riffs. Do the honours and get yourself out there to see Honours!

BlackWaters are originally from Guildford, Surrey but are now based in Sheffield, but tonight they were here in York. I was bloody glad they were here as well. I don’t say this too often but this lot are potentially one of the best bands on the scene right now. John Peel would have loved them. Absolutely boundless energy, magnificent engagement with the audience. I heard shades of the Fall, the Pistols, the Clash and Cabbage. They don’t seem to bow to any scene or fashion and their playing is as punky as a punk band can get. I will definitely be seeing BlackWaters playing live again sometime!

The headliners tonight were one of York’s greatest bands, although the competition is fierce. Having just experienced BlackWaters I thought who the hell would want to follow that? But Hello Operator more than stepped up to the plate, they damn well broke it into a million tiny shards. I have seen them a couple of times before, but that was back in 2015. Back then they were oozing with talent and they have made mountainous growth in stature, power, presence and musicianship and since then. They opened their set under a standard lamp in the middle of the crowd. The punters seemed to love it and the band looked to be having great fun too. The highlight from tonight’s set for me was a rip-roaring “Oosh” which came close to bringing the roof down. Lead singer Max has a vocal that could compete with the best rock vocalists Britain has produced, from Paul Rodgers through John Lydon to Joe Elliott. Max also showed his climbing skills as he appeared on the top of the speaker stack toward the end of the set. Peter Greenwood’s guitar playing has the left field take of his namesake Jonny Greenwood and the subtle tuneful driven licks that John Squire is so good with. This was a titanic and stunning set from a band that I would love to see break very big and I really believe that they have it in them to do so.

 

Cape Cub – Fulford Arms, York Thursday 15th February 2018 February 19, 2018


York’s Fulford Arms is a quirky, eclectic, friendly and a bloody excellent venue. This show was another put together by Simon Pattinson of the rather fabulous Northern Radar. I have known Simon for quite a while now and up to now he has never let me down with any gig he has been involved with. But I guess there is always a first time. Will this be it? Well you had better read on to find out! First on stage was a young man with the clever stage name of Sundile. If you are a fan of chilled lo-fi sounds then Sundile is definitely the man for you. Whilst his Arctic Monkeys cover was good his own tunes are at times stunning. It was a shame that many people in the audience continued to talk among themselves during his set though, if that was you, then frankly you missed a good ‘un. I also felt that the sound was not at a great level for him, but I recommend checking him out.

Flooded, a York band were next, this is one powerhouse of a three-piece with what would seem to be a really eclectic taste in music. Not only are they purveyors of fine rock music with a nod to classic rock history from the 60s to now they also look like they are enjoying the hell out of what they do. I could hear the Small Faces, the Who, Oasis and Muse in there at times, but trust me this is a proper band, not a facsimile of others. The ‘About’ section on their FaceBook page says that they are ‘1 over-hyped drummer and 2 normal-ish boys from York’. Nathan Christy and Sam Curry are the two normal-ish boys, personally I reckon they veer more towards the ‘ish’ part of that. Both play bass, guitar and both of them sing too. Add the ‘over hyped’ drummer Max Mulrenan and you have a band that is a true force to be reckoned with. Mulrenan is a powerhouse of a drummer a slightly more in control Keith Moon. I will definitely be looking out for more shows by this lot!

Pura Vida are an immensely talented band with musicianship that is on a par with the best British bands. They are very hard to define from a genre perspective at times there are elements of indie blended with the softer side of prog and this seems to be underpinned by a punky attitude. Imagine, if you will, a band fronted by Johnny Marr and a less pompous Bono and backed by Echo and the Bunnymen with perhaps New Order and Joy Division producing. Can you hear that sound in your head? well that is the kind of sound that I heard. In Spanish Pura Vida means ‘pure life’ or ‘simple life’ and it is widely used in Costa Rica to describe a way of life. This band are pure rock and simply a great band. I will definitely be seeing them play live again sometime.

Headliner Cape Cub is the genius brainchild of Chad Male who hails from a small village, Marske-by-the-Sea, in north-east England. After forming Cape Cub in late 2014 his first big success came with “Swim” in 2015, he has been championed by Radio 1 and Radio X since then. He has also released some stunning music since his début. Including the staggeringly brilliant EPs from 2016; “Closer” and “6 a.m”. I am not yet too familiar with the songs but this was an awesome set, the band hit you with soft rolling sonic waves that mesmerize you as they build into small tsunamis of perfect sound. This is a band that to me sound like what Coldplay if Chris Martin’s boys were great and not just good. The sweep and depth of the songs and the emotion that they forge is incredible. The highest point of the set, and there were no low points,  for me was the new single “Come Around”. You still have a chance to catch the outstanding Cape Cub live on this tour; London – Thousand Island (22nd February), Sound – Liverpool (23rd February) and Newcastle Think Tank (24th February). If there are any tickets left for these shows then you need to buy, beg, steal, borrow or whatever other activities will get you one….. keep it legal though! Cape Cub are set to play an increasing role in British music in the coming years.

 

 

 

 
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