With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Mike Garson’s “A Bowie Celebration… Just For One Day” – Saturday January 9th 2021 January 19, 2021


I have watched a few streamed shows since this awful pandemic kicked in and like many of us I don’t believe that this type of show can ever replace real gigs. But for now this is all we have so let’s use it. As a huge Bowie fan for nearly 50 years I was obviously looking forward to this show. It was curated by the Dame’s long term piano man Mike Garson and included a wonderful range of Bowie alumni and a stack of special guests performing songs (around 40) from across the Starman’s career. It was an “as live” stream but incredibly well put together. The behind the scenes crew deserve a huge round of applause, they clearly did an amazing job, which in turn helped to provide us punters with three hours of classy Bowie themed entertainment.

First up was Duran Duran with their version of the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ album opener “Five Years”, I have never been a huge fan of Simon Le Bon’s voice, but this was a staggeringly good version of an iconic song. Duran Duran really pulled this off with aplomb. Lzzy Hale off of Halestorm was aided and abetted by Tony award winning actress and singer Lena Hall for a wonderfully theatrical cover of “Moonage Daydream”, very much a star performance from Lzzy and Lena. I have been a Smashing Pumpkins fan for many years, so I was looking forward to Billy Corgan’s piano led take on “Space Oddity”. But I felt it wasn’t a great performance, I am really not sure that Billy’s voice suited the song in this setting. Sorry Mr Corgan! Perry Farrell took on “The Man Who Sold The World” partnered by his wife Etty Lau Farrell and it was a perfect spine tingling take on one of Bowie’s finest tunes. Next there was a bluesy run through a somewhat deep cut, “Bring Me The Disco King” by Anna Calvi. This was originally a track released as a part of 2003’s ‘Reality’ album. Regular readers will know that I am not a fan of Take That’s Gary Barlow, so I cringed a little when I saw his name on the list. But to be very honest the boy did good. Barlow didn’t choose an easy option and went with 1975’s “Fame”. A real Five Star performance from Mr Barlow.

Living Colour’s Corey Glover was spot on with his gorgeous run through of “Young Americans”. This was followed by one of my favourite songs from that period, “Can You Hear Me” performed by the obscenely talented Gail Ann Dorsey who played in Bowie’s band for many years. “Sweet Thing/ Candidate/ Sweet Thing (Reprise)” is a tough song to cover but Bernard Fowler, highly regarded backing vocalist who has supplied backing vox to the Stones among many others didn’t just cover the song, he owned it and frankly, blew me away. Possibly my favourite performance of the whole event. Charlie Sexton, a man who has played with an incredible number of music luminaries appeared next with a funky work out of the 1983 classic “Let’s Dance” the first of four songs by him on the night. Judith Hill, a woman who has worked with Michael Jackson, Prince and John Legend to name just a few was next with a haunting rendition of “Lady Stardust” backed by some beautiful piano from Mike Garson. “Changes” as reimagined by Macy Gray was epic, where have you been Macy, the world needs you. Kevin Armstrong who worked with Bowie in the 80s played a rather excellent version of the Mick Ronson arrangement of Richard Rodgers’ “Slaughter On Tenth Avenue” which was dedicated by Mike Garson, to the memory of Ronson, Bowie and all Bowie alumni that have passed away.

Jazz Singer Catherine Russell sang an arrangement of “Conversation Piece” from the ‘Space Oddity’ album that was completely unrecognisable from the original and for me that made it a perfect cover version, I loved it! Next up was the return of Charlie Sexton with a Stones style take on Bowie’s Stones pastiche “Rebel Rebel”. This is one of my favourite songs from Bowie and Sexton did a great job with it. Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot was on board for two songs and I was a little surprised at his first one, “Win” from 1975’s ‘Young Americans’ album. Surprised but definitely not disappointed, Joe’s voice was immaculate and accompanied by the kind of piano heaven we have come to expect from Mike Garson. For the second song in his brace of Bowie Joe Elliott rocked hard through a powerful performance of “Ziggy Stardust”. Taylor Momsen frontwoman of the Pretty Reckless had a film to accompany her rendition of one of my favourite Bowie songs, especially lyrically, “Quicksand”. She really did the Dame proud it was quite moving at times and I love the subtle touches of her film, and to finish having written Bowie’s name in the sand was special indeed. Charlie Sexton returned for two more songs “DJ” and “Blue Jean”. Both of them fine performances and in fact the latter has moved me to reappraise my view of Bowie’s 80s output which is in my opinion mostly his low point artistically. But on this evidence, perhaps “Blue Jean” isn’t so bad after all. I saw Michael C Hall in the lead role of Thomas Jerome Newton in the Bowie musical ‘Lazarus’ in London in 2016, he was rather wonderful in that and his incredibly moving version of “Where Are We Now” here was wonderful too.

Foo Fighter’s drummer Taylor Hawkins, ably supported by Dave Navarro played a lively and rambunctious “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide”. This segued into Corey Taylor doing “Hang On To Yourself” aided and abetted by Dave Navarro, Taylor Hawkins and Chris Chaney. But that segue included a nice little romp through “Little Fat Man” from Bowie’s appearance in Ricky Gervais’ ‘Extras’. Actor Gary Oldman was next accompanied by Mike Garson’s eloquent ivories for “I Can’t Read”. I liked that a lot! Jesse Malin’s “Jean Genie” really was top drawer, he aced it. The return of Gail Ann Dorsey brought with it a touchingly sublime take on “Srangers When We Meet”. The show then rocked out wildly with Peter Frampton on “Suffragette City” duties. This was followed by a brace of songs by a great friend and sometime collaborator of Bowie, Trent Reznor supported by Atticus Roos for “Fantastic Voyage” and “Fashion”. “Fantastic Voyage” which was never played often by Bowie was pretty darned good. Ian Astbury tackle “Lazarus”, he did well and put a lot of emotion into it, but I would also liked to have seen Ian tackle something more rock based, even a Tin Machine track maybe. YUNGBLUD poured his very essence into “Life On Mars” and it payed off in dividends, legendary keyboard player Rick Wakeman supported Mr BLUD. Long time Bowie fan Boy George was on top form for his medley of “Lady Grinning Soul”, “Time” and “Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)”. Mr O’Dowd, great respect from me, you nailed it. I was particularly looking forward to Ian Hunter’s performance and I wasn’t disappointed. He kicked off with his Bowie tribute “Dandy” and finished, obviously, with my favourite Bowie song ever, “All The Young Dudes”. I have never been much of a fan of Adam Lambert but there is no denying that he really did “Starman” well, perhaps enough to make me an Adam Lambert fan, time will tell. Judith Hill returned to support Andra Day as they cranked up “Under Pressure” into something even more anthemic than Bowie and Queen managed originally. Bernard Fowler closed proceedings with a highly charged “Heroes” which included some rather excellent drumming from Nandi Bushell.

The credits rolled with a rather decent “Ashes To Ashes” instrumental. Let us not forget the great band members and Bowie alumni that performed throughout the event too, Mike Garson especially, thank you for putting this together Mr Garson. Other band members throughout the evening, that I haven’t already mentioned, were, I think, Guitar: Earl Slick, Gerry Leonard and Carlos Alomar Bass: Carmine Rojas, Mark Plati, Tony Visconti, Tony Levin, Emir Kasan, Erdal Kizcilcay Keyboards: Richard Cottle, Henry Hey; Drums: Alan Childs, Zach Alford, Sterling Campbell, Matt Chamberlain, Omar Hakim, Mark Guiliana, John Lousteau, Gregg Errico, Andy Newark; Backing vocals: Gaby Moreno, Everett Bradley, Robin Clark, Emm Gryner, Ava Cherry, Simon Westbrook; Percussion: Pablo Rosario; Sax: David Sanborn, Clare Hirst, Stan Harrison. I am sure I have missed some names, but thank you to one and all this was a very special event and Mr Bowie would have loved it!

All the photos and videos were found online. If they are yours and you would like a credit or want them taken down please let me know

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Albums Of The Year – 2019 December 26, 2019


Well, that’s nearly it for 2019. The world has gone even crazier, but underneath all the chaos there is and hopefully will always be great music. So along with almost every other publication, website and blog I have compiled my top ten albums of 2019. It was a tough choice and putting them into a sequence has been even tougher, especially the top 2 which have switched places a lot. I would love to hear about your favourite albums of the year.

  1. ’24 Carat Diamond Trephine’ – Avalanche Party – Possibly the best debut album in rock history.
  2. ‘Ghosteen’ – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – is it possible to get more gut-wrenching and thought-provoking emotion in one album.
  3. ‘End Of Suffering’ – Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – As a fan of Frank since his Gallows days I believe that this is his finest moment…. so far!
  4. ‘I Want The World’ – Hands Off Gretel – Easily one of the most exciting and exhilarating live bands to emerge in the last couple of years.
  5. ‘Renaissance Men’ – The Wildhearts – This band is well and truly back, not just with a bang but with a mega explosion.
  6. ‘Encore’ – The Specials – Who believed that the Specials had a new album in them, let alone one this good?
  7. ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ – Slowthai – no one has summed up what the UK is like now much better than Slowthai did on this stunning release.
  8. ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ – Billie Eilish
  9. ‘Tough Crowd’ – Nervus – Better than their last album and probably not as good as their next, this band gets better and better!
  10. ‘Kind Heaven’ – Perry Farrell – an eclectic mix of styles that perhaps only someone of Perry’s talents could pull off. This was one of my most listened to albums on Spotify this year apparently.

I would also like to take the opportunity to say thank you for reading and following this site, you inspire me to continue. Finally always remember those that are less fortunate than you, homeless people and those suffering in silence. Remember the people it would be easier to forget. It is ok to be not ok. “In a world that has decided that it’s going to lose its mind Be more kind, my friends, try to be more kind” (Frank Turner). I hope that 2020 is a great year for you and however it pans out look out for each other.

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‘Kind Heaven’ – Perry Farrell June 9, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:18 pm
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US music legend Perry Farrell releases his first album of new material for many years and his first solo record since 2001. The new album is called ‘Kind Heaven’ and it is out now on BMG. The whole collection is upbeat and if you are someone who thought music might be getting a little stale for you, then this is definitely the collection for you. It kicks off with “(red, white and blue) Cheerfulness” a full-blooded feel-good rocker oozing with great riffs and hooks. I assume that “Pirate Punk Politician” is a brilliantly incisive put down of President Agent Orange. With biting lyrics like “Split your country down the middle. Break her open, kill the kiddos” it is most definitely on the money. Farrell has his finger on the pop-rock pulse among many other genres with this release. He is not bound by genres and for me, this album is his most eclectic collection of music to date. The group of musicians here is collectively known as the Kind Heaven Orchestra and the record was co-produced by legendary producer Tony Visconti. There are featured contributions from Dhani Harrison, Elliot Easton (The Cars), and Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) among others. Farrell’s wife Etty provides some superb counterpoint and lead vocals.

It is not the same song as U2’s but on “One” the vocal sounds very Bono like. “More Than I Could Bear” has a sweeping majesty to it and a psychedelic middle feel which Jimmy Page and Robert Plant would be very envious of. Perry Farrell is 60, but on the evidence of this album, he is giving far younger contemporaries a run for their money. It is great to see that he is still so fired up by his music.  Just when you think you know where this set of songs is going you get hit by an unexpected broadside of electro-dance-pop like “Snakes Have Many Hips” and “Spend The Body”. The latter is the sort of song that Madonna used to be so good at until she somewhat disappeared up her own backside in the last seven or eight years. Many of these tunes are built for festivals, whether that is intentional from the man who created Lollapalooza, I don’t know. But there is an epic vibe to many of the tracks here that had me moving and singing along. I used the record as the soundtrack to my run this afternoon and it works so well in that context. There is an inherent spirituality present which is most strongly felt in album closer “Let’s Pray For This World”. If ‘Kind Heaven’ does not feature on everyone’s album of the year list later in 2019 then something is wrong. It is a great album that I have listened to on repeat for six or seven times already. My only negative point is that it clocks in at just over 30 minutes. But buy it, stream it, borrow it, hell just find any way that you can to listen to it! I hope to catch him live sometime soon, see you there!

Kind Heaven tracklisting:

  1. (red, white, and blue) Cheerfulness

  2. Pirate Punk Politician

  3. Snakes Have Many Hips

  4. Machine Girl

  5. One

  6. Where Have You Been All My Life

  7. More Than I Could Bear

  8. Spend The Body

  9. Let’s All Pray For This World

 

“Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout Minister, Sinister, Banisters and Canisters, Bishops, Fishops, Rabbis, and Pop Eyes, Bye bye, Bye byes” October 9, 2010


Yet another smorgasbord of random stuff today, starting with a link to a rather spiffing website; Animated Albums. Most of them are quite subtle and many are very funny, especially a few of the Morrissey ones. I’d love to know what you think of them.

The NME has a report that Slash is moving into making horror movies. The former Guns ‘n’ Roses and Velvet Revolver Axe Hero is moving into Axeman territory. He says he wants to make horror movies as scary and thrilling as those of the 70s and 80s. I guess working with Axl Rose must have been like being in a horror movie at times. I hope he succeeds. Read the story here.

 

Slash has tea with Ozzy, that's not very rock n roll is it? But wait, who's that in the maids outfit? It's certainly not Sharon is it!

 

As part of the celebrations for what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday his widow Yoko Ono has done a number of things to mark the occasion. Firstly courting controversy among some Beatles purists by allowing Lady Gaga to pose next to Lennon’s white piano. She also held two concerts in LA billed as We Are Plastic Ono Band and including appearances by the following; Perry Farrell off of Jane’s Addiction, Japanese electronic auteur Cornelius, Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto, Tune-Yards, RZA off of the Wu-Tang Clan, Iggy Pop, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Mike Watt, Nels Cline, Sean Lennon, Carrie Fisher, Joseph Gordon-Levitt,Vincent Gallo and of course Lady Gaga. Yoko was joined by Gaga for a number of songs, including a version of Lennon’s “Give Peace A Chance”. Read the NME report here

 

Lady Gaga decided to try microphone swallowing before she committed to sword swallowing

 

 

Gaga sings Lennon.........what a cheek (or two!)

 

 

 
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