With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

Latitude Festival 2022- Day 2 – Saturday 23rd July July 31, 2022

I don’t think that there was a better way to open the Obelisk Arean Stage on Saturday than with York’s finest musical sons, Shed Seven. The band, formed in 1990 and named after a railway shed was the perfect choice for an early afternoon Latitude appearance. They are battle-hardened Brit Pop survivors who know their stuff and are still recording with a new album due out soon. The set was a definite 10/10, which is not bad for a band described on Twitter (by one David Callow) as a “shitty little band”. Segueing “Going For Gold” into “Suspicious Minds” worked very well. Note for Mr. Witter, the Elvis tune was released in 1969. The Sheds saved the sublime and magnificent, York City adopted terrace anthem, “Chasing Rainbows” until the end, closing a brilliant show! Rick Witter also gave his maracas as gifts to a couple of people, including a little kid that he had conversed with during the set. Next, it was back to the BBC Sounds Stage for relatively local lass Bessie Turner. She does soulful, folky pop and does it really well. It was a fresh, fun performance for a sunny afternoon. Apparently, her old teacher was in the crowd, I would have been proud had she been one of my pupils!

Shed Seven
Hamish Hawk

Now it was time for a quick dash to the Alcove stage for Scottish singer Hamish Hawk. The band is also called Hamish Hawk. This was an electrifying performance, a bit like early Ultravox but using more “organic” instruments, lots more emotion, and oodles of fun. There were some great songs, including one about ecclesiastical architecture. The closing track, “Caterpillar” gave the band the opportunity to completely wig out and they did it with aplomb and attitude. Hamish is an animated and passionate performer. His dancing style is totally original and feels like a Thunderbirds puppet after too many energy drinks. This is a great band, check them out now if you haven’t already. next it was back to the BBC Sounds Stage for Curtis Harding an extraordinarily talented soul singer which seems to display every emotion from ecstasy to deep pain. The band is superb and the set has the feel of a full-on Blues Brothers-style soul revue. Curtis is a great performer who works the crowd into a frenzy. He has a rich, soulful voice that comes across as a 21st Century Curtis Mayfield or Sly Stone. He and his band know how to party too!

Katy J Pearson

The Obelisk Arena was my next destination for the wonderfully named Los Bitchos. They supply Latin-tinged indie instrumentals, many of which could add something as a soundtrack to TV shows like ‘Breaking Bad’. Their sound reminded me at times of Colour Me Wednesday with added South American percussion and obviously no Jennifer Doveton on vocals. Los Bitchos are a very good band, but I felt vocals would have helped carry the tunes better. That said, a particular highlight for me was “Lindsay Goes To Mykonos” which is apparently about Lindsay Lohan. Katy J Pearson was next on the BBC Sounds Stage. I last saw her just over a year ago at the Crescent in York. Her music is rather special and she has a style that is quite difficult to compare with other artists. Although there were times when she sounded a little like Linda Ronstadt. If you like US West Coast country rock from the early 70s, or Americana and alt. country you will almost certainly love Katy J Pearson. The band has a great brass section and Katy’s voice was immaculate. “Beautiful Soul” was a highlight for me. I returned to the Obelisk Arena for Foals, a band I saw quite a few years ago when they sounded like a good Kasabian crossed with Kings Of Leon. Since then they have become perhaps one of the best bands in the UK, particularly in a live setting. The more dance-oriented material is perfect for bringing a festival to life and Foals most certainly applied a fully cranked musical defibrillator to Latitude. Foals didn’t just bring the crowd alive they took us to musical Valhalla. The light show and screen display were clever, powerful, and sublime. I especially loved the kaleidoscopic, Rorschachy style moving and evolving ink blots. The confetti explosion added an eeriness to proceedings as the confetti just hung in the air, maybe because of the heat of the day or the heat of the crowd. This was a stonking set from a magnificent band.

All the photos, apart from the poster, were taken using my cheap Chinese android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube. If one of them is yours and you would like me to credit you or take it down please let me know.

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“YRA 2018” – Skylights April 24, 2018

Too many bands and so little time! I just received a tip from an insider about a band called Skylights who hail from Yorkshire; York and Leeds to be precise. They have a spiffing little tune out right now and after a couple of listens I really love it. “YRA 2018” is the tune and the acronym describes Yorkshire’s Republican Army. As a former southerner who has lived in York for eleven years I would be happy to support the YRA!

Skylights are most definitely a 21st century band but they draw some great influence from the BritPop era, but the classy end of the so called movement. They have a swagger in their sound that evokes Oasis in their prime, a confidence in their playing that is reminiscent of Richard Ashcroft at his peak and Bobby Gillespie would be proud of this song. Skylights pull no punches with some sky reaching power riffs and epic melodies which build to a chorus that is hard to lose from your brain, not that I am trying to lose it though.

The band is Rob Scarisbrick on vocals, Turnbull Smith on guitar, Jonny Scarisbrick on bass and Myles Soley beating the drums.They have been picked up by a few local radio stations, including the fabulous YO1 and BBC Introducing. York’s own Rick Witter is a fan of this song. They are playing Fibbers on 18th August and there will be other gigs. I haven’t had the opportunity to see the band live yet, but if they can translate the power and energy of their recorded music on stage then I reckon their sets could become epic! Click here to check out “YRA 2018” on SoundCloud along with a couple of other excellent Skylights tunes.


Apollo Festival 2015 – The Preview March 22, 2015


Last year I enjoyed a great day at a small local festival here in York. The Apollo Festival, you can read my review of last years event by clicking here. This year sees this wonderful family friendly music festival enter its third year. It was started in 2013 by Stuart Kelly and he has grown the show really well. Last year more than 3,000 people turned up which was close to doubling the amount of music fans that were there for the inaugural festival in 2013. If things go to plan you could be among 4,000 happy Apollo punters this year. I certainly will be as I have already purchased tickets for myself and the delightful Catwoman.

If you live in or near to York, or even further afield,  then you have no excuse for missing this event in June. Prices are very affordable at just over £15 each ticket. Significantly less than what you’d pay for a day ticket to one of the major festivals. But even keeping prices low hasn’t affected the quality of the acts playing. Last year was great and I also experienced a few bands that I had previously never seen or heard of. One of the highlights from last year for me was And The Hangnails. We also saw the Entertainment Company and we liked them so much that we have booked them for Catwoman’s ‘significant’ birthday party next year.

The line-up for this year has two excellent bands that for one reason or another I have never seen before despite being a fan. Those bands are the fabulous Space and the headliners are the superb  Inspiral Carpets. The ticket price is worth it for those two alone. One of the stages for 2015 will be curated by Rick Witter of Shed Seven, so I reckon that might be quite interesting. Other acts appearing are CryBabyCry, Happy Daggers, Hello Operator, Kimberly Kennedy, The Mothers, Rime Suspex, Rupert Stroud and Kid Conventional. I saw Hello Operator recently at the Basement in York City Screen and they are were excellent; a very loud, very powerful and explosive British rock band. I will be there along with my wonderful wife Catherine (a.k.a Catwoman) and hopefully a few of the friends that I have been promoting the festival to; John, Caron, Amelia, Shaun, Tracey you know who you are! Simon P, I know you’ll be there too and it looks like once again your music recommendations to me will be spot on! Finally I would like to say a big thank you to Stuart Kelly for starting this festival and building it to an even bigger level. Look out for my festival review at the end of June. Now get off your arse and get yourself a ticket! I will see you at the 2015 Apollo Festival at the York Sports Club, Shipton Road, York on Saturday 27th June. If you fail to turn up after all I have said then I will have to send the boys round!


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