With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Julia Bardo – Fulford Arms, York – Saturday 14th March 2020 March 30, 2020


This post is very late largely because the whole COVID-19 somewhat dampened my enthusiasm for writing. This is now the last gig for me and all of us for weeks, maybe months. So I feel a need to document it. It was another great looking line up from Simon Pattinson head honcho of Northern Radar. First up were Fawn, a musically talented bunch and the pet project of Ilana Zsigmond, a transatlantic singer-songwriter who moved to the UK a few years ago. Her band featured Crispin Halcrow who has featured on this blog before as a solo performer. Ilana reminds me of Linda Ronstadt in her early, in which case are her band a fledgling Eagles? Who knows? Crispin is more Glen Frey than Joe Walsh in style, so maybe! Ilana’s between-song banter was intelligent, amusing and frankly spot on. Her song about York (apologies I missed the title) was close to sublime while “Skin” was truly stunning, a really beautiful song. For me, it encapsulates perfectly that journey of understanding who you are and getting to know and understand yourself. Lyrically it is faultless, with my favourite line being ““But I still build forts and I still skip stones and I still haven’t read every book that I own”. That sums me up to a degree, although I probably need to start building more forts!

Fawn

Next up is the extraordinarily talented Kitty VR. I have seen her previously with a band and also solo acoustic, tonight was with a full band. In this environment, Kitty loses a little of her solo acoustic fragility. But that is more than compensated for by the deeper and more expansive sound that a band brings to her growing canon of great songs. “My Kind” is an open-hearted lament when performed solo acoustically. But here it felt like an amazing collaboration between Massive Attack, Portishead and the Cocteau Twins with Jimmy Page producing. this was not just a highlight of Kitty’s set for me, it was also the highlight of the night! Kitty, whether with band or solo retains that elusive Jeff Buckleyesque style that since Jeff’s sad demise I have only ever heard through Kitty and her supremely talented contemporary Laura Kindelan.

Kitty VR

This was the first time that I had come across Julia Bardo and I was pretty impressed. She has great songs with elements that sit on the softer side of Patti Smith and maybe a little Justine Frischmann (Elastica) and Louise Wener (Sleeper) seeping into Julia’s tonal quality. She has some soaring, heartfelt and soul pouring ballads in her powerful song repertoire. There is also a Stevie Nicks comparison which wasn’t apparent until Julia and her band launched into an awesome cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”.  But this was not just a carbon copy cover the song evolved into an extended guitar fade, jam, wigout that matched the Velvet Underground at their peak. Julia Bardo is well worth checking out if you like great music and classy tunes you will love her stuff! Interestingly given the focus on gender equality festival line ups all three of tonight’s acts were incredibly talented women. Festival organisers take note for 2021 (on the assumption that the 2020 festival season will be canned).

Julia Bardo

After the gig, I went for a few drinks with the aforementioned Simon Pattinson and Jared, Joe and Jordan from Avalanche Party who were punters at the show. That is another band that I am looking forward to seeing again once this virus is history. Given that was my final pub visit before close down I can think of far worse people to spend it with. Simon, Jared, Joe, and Jordan thanks for a great night and I look forward to meeting up again on the other side of all this!

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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Marsicans – Fulford Arms, York – Tuesday 3rd March 2020 March 9, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:10 am
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Another Northern Radar gig promotion hosted by the talented Simon Pattinson, this time at one of York’s great gig venues, the Fulford Arms. This was lined up as a pre-SXSW warm-up gig for headliners the Marsicans. Sadly as I am writing this review news has just come through that this year’s SXSW has been cancelled thanks to Coronavirus. This must be devastating news for the Marsicans and many other bands. My thoughts are with the Marsicans and all the other acts affected by this decision. In the meantime, I am here to tell you about the gig. So here goes.

First to take to the boards were Pool Room from York. They have a really cool USA FM Radio vibe about their sound but with much less AOR and more full-on ROCK edge. Pool Room also have a great jazz feel at times too, not like traditional or pure jazz but more like Steely Dan, but a much heavier sound. So as steel is not the heaviest metal in the world that is Osmium, then ladies and gentlemen let me bring you Pool Room a.k.a. Osmiumly Dan! This is a band of supremely or even obscenely talented musicians who seem to really know their rock history. Their cover of a Black Keys song was sublime. This was the first time that I have seen them, it definitely won’t be that last.

Second on stage were Flooded and this would be the third time that I have seen them. Both previous occasions were Northern Radar gigs at the Fulford Arms; February 2018 and January 2019. I hope it becomes more than an annual event for me. Flooded combine power pop, punk, light funk and blend them together in some epic pop and rock tunes. At times they sound like late 70s punk bands when they went beyond being one chord wonders and discovered melodies and pop sensibilities, like The Damned, Generation X and Siouxse and the Banshees. If Mike Skinner had taken a more punky direction then I believe that the Streets might have evolved into something like Flooded. This band writes youth anthems for the disaffected and downtrodden younger generation.  Edward has a very good voice, but maybe not a great voice, at least yet anyway. But that does not matter because he makes up for it by sheer force of personality. Tonight he proved himself to be one of the best frontmen around. You absolutely need to check this band out.

I can’t believe that I have only seen Leeds band Marsicans just once before this, that was at the Leeds Festival in 2018 on the BBC Introducing Stage. I liked them back then and having listened to them a lot since I bloody love them now. Their vocals and harmonising are close to immaculate. They played a lot of songs from their new album in readiness for the now sadly cancelled SXSW appearance. I hear that they are planning on going to Austin anyway, rather than lose money. I hope that they find some gigs out there and come home having kicked off a decent fanbase in Texas. The crowd was really up for this and the band clearly knew that and metaphorically slapped us in the face with one of the best headline sets that I have seen for a while. You can hear some stylish jangly indie guitars, some heavier riffs, a rhythm section on peak form (especially Cale on drums) and emotional, soaring vocals in their songs. In fact, all the songs have great hooks and choruses and this band knows how to write a perfect earworm. New single “Juliet” epitomises everything that is great about the Marsicans. I reckon the new album will take the music world by storm and they will definitely get another shot at SXSW.

All the photos apart from the gig poster and the shot of the Marsicans were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android phone. The picture of the Marsicans was taken by Simon Pattinson on his much more expensive 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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Wild Front – Fulford Arms, York – Tuesday 29th January 2019 February 7, 2019


Another night of Northern Radar fun was upon us. some bands I have seen before and some that are new to me. This is often the case when the talented Mr Pattinson puts a show together. I have been to many, many Northern Radar shows and Simon has not let me down so far. Will this gig at the Fulford Arms be the exception to that rule? Read on to find out dear reader. I should mention that this was a very important night in many ways, we were celebrating Independent Venue Week and the Fulford Arms would be visited by real radio royalty, Steve Lamacq! A bit more about him later, let’s get to the bands first. Taking the stage first in an already rammed venue were the delightful Neon Salmon, a great band that I saw quite recently. This is the bunch that wear Kimonos and fairy lights and they do that with style. I get a sense of the fun side of Edwyn Collins with Neon Salmon and also the quintessentially eccentric British sound of Stackridge. The latter struck me early on and was perhaps quite pertinent given that the Salmon boys bravely, skilfully and very successfully covered “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometimes”, a 1979 hit by the Korgis. Where is the pertinence in that? Well Any Davis and James warren were former members of Stackridge when they formed the Korgis. Neon salmon showed their skill at putting together jazz fused funky sounds with some supreme Flugelhorn overlay. On top of that you cannot deny that “Smoked Mackerel Cat” comes close to drowning in its awesomeness. They even had the audience moshing and crowd surfing, which is no mean feat in a small venue like the Fulford Arms. Get your arse of your sofa and take yourself along to see Neon Salmon, you will be properly entertained.

Cowgirl took to the stage next, they are hard bluesy with a whiff of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club about them. They have a perfect blend of garage punk and 60s slacker surf rock sounds. Vocally you can imagine this might be what Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground might sound like if they were much younger and were formed now. Since the show I have checked them out on-line “You’re Not There” and “She Picks Me Up” are great songs. I would pay to see Cowgirl again they have the perfect sound for a small, packed, sweaty venue like the Fulford Arms. Cowgirl are what the Kings Of Leon might have become if they still gave a shit!

There were four bands on tonight and the third of those was Flooded, now that is a somewhat risky name for a York band, but who cares they are a tight band that could use music to roll back a deluge. I believe that this former three-piece have added a new front man to their ranks and it was a great move as this dude has a fabulous voice. “Butterflies” is a stupendous and classy song, the crowd loved it. Flooded are a band that is abundant with wonderful contradictions; hard punky garage, jangly indie and some deceptively heavy riffage. Is it me getting older or are bands just getting younger? This lot is like a bunch of baby-faced Rock Assassins. You need some Flooded in your life.

Tonights headliners were Wild Front all the way from Southampton and Andy, Josh, Jack and Mike smashed it. Their songs are emotionally driven anthems which stick with you long after the gig high starts to fade. “Make You Feel” is like a Beach Boys Stone Roses coupling but with much better vocals. This is a band that knows their stuff the musicianship is 100% spot on and the soaring vocals and harmonies take you to wonderful places. Wild Front are destined for much greater things I am sure. This is truly beautiful music from an absolutely stunning band. All the bands tonight were very, very good but Wild Front were simply the classiest band on a very classy night.

So what about Steve Lamacq? Well I had a chance to chat with him briefly while he talked Mr Pattinson and me through his journey into music. He is a proper top bloke as, of course, is Simon Pattinson who put this show together. So yes it was another great show from Northern Radar at one of York’s best gig venues. Support your Independent Venues people, they are the real lifeblood of the music scene!

 

The music force is strong with these two!

Public Service Announcement – All the photographs, apart from the gig poster, were taken by me on my rather snazzy new Canon camera. All the videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for me to take it down please give me a shout.

 

The Receivers – Fulford Arms, York – Tuesday 8th January 2019 January 15, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:58 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

A new year and my first Northern Radar gig of the year. Simon “Northern Radar” Pattinson never lets me down with his shows, did this one measure up? Read on to find out. Azera were first on, they have some really great and some ‘alright’ (their words) songs. They covered the Pixies and smashed it and smashed it again with a brave and brilliant cover of Radiohead’s “Just”. Some might say that a band with a singing drummer might be a bit of a novelty, not me though. This bloke is an ace sticksman with a bloody marvellous voice. I am not sure what their closing song was called but honestly if you closed your eyes you could almost imagine that it was Nirvana on stage.

The driving, punchy, punky riff fest that is the Silvertones were next up. This lot are in possession of some incredibly melodic and very, very rock sounds, especially in the vocal department. I felt that they were reminiscent of some of the finest post punk, new wave power pop from the late 70s, the Motors spring to mind. I also felt the influence of Blur’s Graham Coxon in some of the guitar hooks. The Silvertones are definitely a band to watch out for.

Tonights penultimate band was Neon Salmon, oh boy what a band! If you like your rock funky, jazzy (but not jazz funk), psychedelic a bit C86 and a bit Orange Juice then this lot are definitely for you. I blooming well love them! Their stage gear included kimonos and fairy lights which made them seem like a vision of Del Trotter at bedtime! Thank you to Simon P for that line 🙂 neon Salmon are the epitome of a good time party band. It looked like they were absolutely loving it. The chocolate fish prize for the most enthusiastic dancer was ace and was awarded to a very worthy winner too. This band deserves great success. Anyone who has a song called “Smoked Mackerel Cat” must be good, right?

Headliners were another great York band, the Receivers. This lot doesn’t only have balls, but a huge talent as well. The lead singer was sporting a Smiths T Shirt but they are so much happier and smile bringing than that miserable old sod Mozza is these days. Their sound is a bit grungey, a little jangly indie and has added all out rock vibes. They are an incredibly tight band and it felt like they were really well rehearsed. The guitarist never stopped moving and even made a couple of forays into a highly enthusiastic crowd. Their rapport with the audience was classy. “Rimshot” is a magnificent new song and despite the introduction I doubt that it is actually about pleasure in the nether regions.  Personally I wouldn’t have fancied following any of tonights support acts, but the Receivers didn’t think that way as they blew the roof off the Fulford Arms during the venues fifth birthday week.  Calling the Receivers in has always seemed so negative, but I would be very happy to call this lot in!

Public Serve Announcement: apart from the gig poster all the pictures are by me and taken on my rather spiffing Canon camera which was a birthday present for my birthday on January 1st (if you must know I am now 20 with 40 years experience) Also this is my first attempt at gig photography, please be gentle with me 😉

 

Latitude Festival 2018 Day 3 Sunday 15th July July 19, 2018


The third day of this spiffingly good Latitude Festival arrived way too soon. Black Honey opened the curtains on the Obelisk Arena Stage on Sunday lunchtime. This colourful and punky tribe pack a serious punch that could easily knock out some more established bands. With their début album due out some time soon they may well get the opportunity to be crowned champions. All too briefly the Lake Stage was a home from home for Caswell a Suffolk based singer songwriter who is a BRIT School alumni. She has a great band behind her and Caswell herself has a soaring vocal style that appears almost effortless. She croons every bit as well as Adele, although she takes a much more left field approach than West Norwood’s finest diva and another BRIT School alumni. The style is sophisticated and very classy R & B pop. This was apparently the largest crowd Caswell had ever played for and they totally nailed it.

Caswell

There was a fabulous vibe at the Lake Stage on Sunday, starting with Dylan Cartlidge. I reviewed his song “Scratch, Sniff” earlier this year for Northern Radar. (Click here to read it). What I said about that song then was ” If Beck was British this would be him. Weird, wonderful and deserves to be heard. Some vocal parts evoke Jeff Buckley and Hawksley Workman. A truly epic tune.” Now having seen Mr Cartlidge in the flesh it is clear that he is one very talented dude. As well as the aforementioned artists I felt a bit of Shuggie Otis in his style and songs. He has an immaculate talent for freestyling as well, not many other performers can freestyle as well as that, it was magnificent. I also had a brief chat with him later and that just hammered home what a great bloke he is. This was the first time that he had ever been to a festival. Given that he is only 22 I think he will be attending many more festivals as an artist rather than a punter.

Dylan Cartlidge

I stayed at the Lake Stage for the quirky and magical Girlhood. Two great female singers and a Vince Clarke/ Chris Lowe keyboard, beats, computer and synth boffin type dude. They have some absolutely impeccable songs which were perfectly delivered and they seemed to be having so much fun. I felt a faint echo of the Fugees about them. If you set out to dislike Girlhood I think it would be truly impossible. I took a more relaxing item in after my time at the Lake Stage, one of my favourite authors, Matt Haig was in conversation with Lisa Blower mostly about his new book ‘Notes On A Nervous Planet’. this was in the Speakeasy, he is a very warm, engaging and intelligent man. He clearly values integrity and has a wicked sense of humour. That book will be purchased by me very soon. The mighty Rag ‘N’ Bone Man was next up on the Obelisk Arena Stage. I had the opportunity to review his first album about six weeks before it was released last year and I played it to death. his songs and his outstanding voice are to die for. This is a blueprint for all modern soul singers. On top of that Rag ‘N’ Bone Man a.k.a. Rory Graham can rap in a very smart way and his ciphers are sharp. He delved into songs from his 2014 EP ‘Wolves’ along with the expected classic songs in the making from last years début album ‘Human’. Inevitably “Human” was probably the highlight for most of the swaying, adoring crowd and that is an amazing song. But already this guy has an exceptional collection of songs. “Hell Yeah” is explosive and hard-hitting and given the right production Rag ‘N’ Bone Man should be given the opportunity to record a Bond theme. I want to see him headline soon.

Girlhood

I returned to the Speakeasy after that spellbinding set from rag ‘N’ Bone Man. My wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman and I chanced upon Dickie Beau: A Pinch Of Notoriety Will Do. Dickie is a very open, very effeminate homosexual man. He is an Artist Research Fellow at the Queen Mary University of London and the Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre. His talk at Latitude focused on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Quentin Crisp’s landmark memoir ‘The Naked Civil Servant’ and explained in parallel with that the history of homosexuality, particularly in the UK. It was enlightening and fascinating even for an old straight bloke like me. Dickie will be coming to the big screen soon playing Kenny Everett in the upcoming Queen biopic. This was followed by a Salon London presentation ‘The Tao Of Jazz’ which featured Juliet Russell on vocals, jazz guitarist John Wheatcroft and philosopher Dr Julian Baggini. essentially it revolved around the performance of a number of jazz standards and how philosophy concepts lend themselves to jazz creation, performance and its iconic artists and performers. Our Latitude 2018 was rounded off by Rob Kemp’s ‘The Elvis Dead’. This show has won many awards since its first outing at the Edinburgh Fringe. What is it about? Well in simple terms it is a retelling of the 1987 horror movie ‘The Evil Dead II’ through the songs of Elvis Presley. It was beyond any doubt one of the cleverest and funniest things that I have ever seen. You have to see this if you get the chance. Sadly I missed one of the last performances of the weekend; Boss Caine one of York’s most talented artists at the Alcove Stage. An overdose of heat and alcohol meant that I fell asleep at my tent and didn’t wake up in time 🙂 But in spite of that it was another superb Latitude Festival and I am looking forward to next years already.

And it’s goodnight from me – Photo by Andy Golborne

 

10 Tracks – May 2018 – Northern Radar May 30, 2018


A big thank you to those music muses at Northern Radar for inviting to review ten of this months hottest new tracks. You know the drill, click here to read my thoughts on those burning hot tunes! I have added videos of three favourites!

 

Northern Radar – Artist Of The Week – Queen Zee


Move over Liz and Phil, Wills and Kate, Harry and Meghan there is a new monarch in town who goes by the name of Queen Zee. I would like to thank those Arch Dukes of music cool over at Northern Radar for asking me to write an artist of the week slot for this excellent band from Liverpool. Just click here to read it!

 

 
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