With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Violet Contours – The Crescent, York – Friday 18th October 2019 November 3, 2019


It has taken a while to get this one posted, but here it is! Yet another night at that wonderful York venue, The Crescent. This time to see Violet Contours in action once again. Were they as good as the last time that I saw them? You will have to read on to find out because before them there was a marvelously eclectic selection of support acts. First up we were taken to acoustic heaven by Joh Hendrickx, She does cover versions, of mostly sad songs. This set, which was way too short included songs by Laura Marling, Matt Corby, and the Middle East. Her cover of the latter’s “Blood” was dripping with emotion and that performance convinced me to find out more about them. She included one cover version that I really didn’t see coming, it was “The Black Hills Of Dakota” originally sung by Doris Day in the 1953 film ‘Calamity Jane’. Ms. Hendrickx totally owned the tune! I believe that Joh has a lot more to offer and I am looking forward to seeing her again.

Joh Hendrickx

Scarborough’s the Feens were next, I last saw them in July and they are still a bloody good band. They come across very “Smithsy” on some songs, from back in the day when Morrissey mattered. Particularly Sam Dowling’s guitar playing. Bass player Adam Lodge has a stunningly powerful voice which complements co-lead vocalist Freddie Scmuck’s vocals perfectly. Lodge roams the stage like a young Peter Hook in the early days of New Order, albeit with his bass more sensibly strapped much higher up his body. Someone in the crowd described them as “easier listening indie”, while I get that I think it does them an injustice. Yes their songs could be described as indie and those songs are easy to listen to, but mainly because they are so damned good. I hear traces of Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend in their sound and that is no bad thing. The Feens are getting some strong and well-deserved airplay of late. Expect much more from this band, they have the power and the talent to make it huge!

Feens

Next, it was the turn of the Serotones, another great York band who I last saw more than two years ago. They were very good then and they are even better now. If you like Dinosaur Jr, you might well like the Serotones, but the biggest influence I can hear in their songs is perhaps the Stone Roses, but with better vocals (sorry Ian Brown). The lead singer has an immaculate stage presence and really seems to understand his audience. Great music must be in human DNA somehow as the Serotones contain two kids from Shed Seven members, Rick Witter and Alan Leach. The band played a lot of new songs and they have a new single out now featuring two rather superb new songs; “Death In Paradise” and “Into The Sky”

Serotones

Finally, it was time for the headliners, Violet Contours, yet another fabulously exciting band from York. This was the third time that I have experienced seeing them live and they get better every time. Their jangly indie dance style is definitely influenced by Vampire Weekend, largely because of that feel-good African guitar vibe. But I can also hear Talking Heads, or more directly the more pop styles of Talking Heads offshoot Tom Tom Club, formed by Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz. Ben Henderson’s voice is clear, strong and conveys emotion and soul when he needs it to. Niall, Daniel, Sam, and Ben have developed into a really tight, funky band able to recreate and magnify, magnificently their recorded sound. Their repertoire is growing in range and quality; “Pablo’s Hippo and “Airstrike” are two outstanding tunes and there are plenty more too. Violet Contours are undoubtedly a band that knows how to party and bring the audience into that party effortlessly. But they don’t just get up their and play, they really look like they are enjoying every moment immensely. If you haven’t seen them or listened to them yet what the hell is preventing you?

Violet Contours

The above Serotones video was filmed by David Butler of Wigwam Creative

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me. 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. I am also happy for you to use any of my pictures, all I ask is for a credit 🙂

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Billy Bibby and the Wry Smiles – Fibbers, York – Thursday 1st June 2017 June 6, 2017


I was tipped off about this gig by the rather excellent York band Lost Trends, who were on the bill. Lost Trends were originally scheduled to hit the stage later but for some reason they opened the show. Rather than sulk at being told to kick things off they decided to play their set like it was a headline slot and oh boy did that work. They played an absolute blinder and engaged magnificently with the punters lucky enough to be their at the start. This is a band that really know their stuff. Pete and Rusty’s guitar lines do battle with each other aided and abetted by the full powered rhythm section of John and Adam. This is the second time I have seen Lost Trends and I damned well know it won’t be the last, they bring you funky punk that you can dance to. In fact keep an eye on this blog in the next week or so for a hard hitting interview with the band where you will learn such important facts as what their favourite chocolate bars are and whether they could beat Justin Bieber in a fight.

Lost Trends

Next up were Alleyways another splendid York band. They seemed nervous at the start but grew in stature as their set moved on. For me they have a 21st Century spin on electronic 80s sounds a la Flock Of Seagulls and Tears For Fears. The playing was tight and well rehearsed and the lead singer has the makings of a stunning rock voice. “Naked” is a captivating, anthemic song. Check them out, you will not be disappointed. The penultimate band of the night were another of the fine selection of bands from York, the Serotones. A very alt.rock band indeed, think of the likes of Dinosaur Junior with the pop rock sensibilities of the Foo Fighters. I have listened to “Never Back Down” a lot since I got home from the gig.

Alleyways

Now it was time for the headliners Billy Bibby and the Wry Smiles. Billy is the founding guitarist of the rather excellent Catfish and the Bottlemen. The songs have a laid back US East Coast 70s rock feel at times but they have more depth and more strings to their bow than just that. Some of their songs rock out like a hard rock bastard. They suffered a few technical problems during their set including a blown amplifier, did this deter them? No it didn’t if anything it gave them the momentum to pull off a set that really hit the heights. Billy is a great vocalist and the Wry Smiles show a high degree of musical eloquence and skill. These boys know their stuff and are well worth seeing live.

 

 
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