With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Float Tank #4 – The Arts Barge, York – Tuesday 6th August August 14, 2019


I was lucky enough to spend time in a flotation tank a few years ago and it was an incredible experience. For the uninitiated you float, for an hour in my case, in very salty warm water inside a pod with no light or sound. It is claimed that the relaxation you experience is better than hours of sleep. It sure felt like it and I will definitely do it again. But in the meantime, there was Float Tank #4 an experimental music session brought to us as a part of the Great Yorkshire Fringe 2019. The series started three years ago in the Railway Institute in York, this year Float Tank #4 (the following evening it would be #5) was held on the Arts Barge on the River Ouse at Tower Gardens near Skeldergate Bridge. It was a short show, just one hour, a similar length to the usual flotation tank experience. It began at 10 p.m. and ended at 11. So what exactly was it?

Well it was a very strange gig experience. Imagine, if you will, being at a gig in total darkness and only being able to hear the performers but not see them. Are you imagining that? Trust me the sensory experience goes way beyond what our little minds can imagine. The set began with Sam Griffiths of The Howl And The Hum playing a lounge-style piano take on Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”, appropriately. Sam was visible for this as it was just background while we took our seats and the last vestiges of light were blocked out. Once we were truly plunged into darkness the fun began with a poem recited, presumably by the poet (apologies, I didn’t get her name). She was backed with some eerie sounds which were mostly keyboard-driven. After that, it was instrumental music which was guitar-based and might have included a number of tape loops. I believe that Kai West of Bull was responsible for much of this. It was a stunning psychedelic ambient drone and at times I was reminded of the sound bite and tape loop psych-out that was “Revolution No. 9” from the Beatles White Album. But however it was composed and performed it was a great sound that fitted the experience perfectly. Like many of us in the audience I completely lost track of time and a few times I tried to get my eyes accustomed to the dark, but it really was Eldritch black. If Float Tank returns next year then I will be first in line!

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Adam French, Sam Griffiths and Crispin Halcrow – The Basement, City Screen, York – Tuesday 26th January 2016 January 27, 2016


I haven’t been to the Basement at City Screen for sometime so it was good to be back. Especially as this was a show recommended by my good mate Simon Pattinson. He has never let me down with those recommendations and tonight certainly maintained his 100% record!

crispin halcrow

First on start was Crispin Halcrow, although he seemed a little nervous at first he finished his set with confidence. I heard something of Teddy Thompson and Seth Lakeman in him. He certainly knows how to write a song, “Charcoal” is beautiful and it is about remembering. Crispin also introduced us to Phoebe the ukulele for a very well performed cover of the Mama’s And Papa’s hit “Dream A Little Dream”. This lad from Kendal is one to watch.

sam griffiths

Next under the stage lights was Sam Griffiths ably supported by Bradley Blackwell (I hope I got that name right). He kicked off with a song that he introduced as being a song about a Bob Dylan album, it is called “Blood On The Tracks“. Dylan got another mention later in the set when Sam suggested that he had ripped off the great Mr Zimmerman with a song called “Shelter Of The Storm”. That ripped off reference was very much tongue in cheek and I think the song is superb and given airplay I would say it has big hit written all over it. Sam’s songs are all well-developed and mature. In particular a song inspired by the David Lynch film ‘Lost Highway‘ called “Camera” which was my favourite from Sam’s set.

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The first two acts were damned good but Adam French took it to another level completely. The likes of James Bay and Hozier are indeed very talented but I think Adam knocks the socks off them. His songs are incredibly well constructed and given how sublime they sound in a solo setting I believe they would be even better with a band. Adam is a multi instrumentalist utilising guitar, keyboard and bass guitar. “Hunter” was accompanied by Mr French on bass guitar and worked so very well. Will Adam French write a classic song? I think he already has at least two in the haunting “Silhouette” and the gorgeous “Ivory”. I have been going to gigs for more than 40 years and this was probably one of the finest small club sets that I have ever seen. Forget about all that X Factor rubbish, if music has a future then it is in the hands of very talented people like Adam French. I urge you to check him out on-line or live when you get the chance. I sense that his days of playing small intimate gigs like this may well be numbered. He will, I am sure, be coming to you on a much bigger stage very soon. I would also like to add that he is a great bloke too having had a few drinks with him after the show along with his Mum and other friends and family.

adam french

Public service announcement! The photos of Crispin, Sam and Bradley were sourced on line and those of Adam were taken on my trusty Nokia phone.

 

 
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