With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

The Specials – Barbican, York – Thursday 9th May 2019 May 12, 2019


This was the third time I had seen the Specials, once back in the early days and more recently at this same venue back in November 2016. That 2016 gig was marred by the poor sound quality and a relatively short set from the band. Was it better this time? Well yes, it was, but before I tell you about that you need to know about the spectacularly talented support band the Tuts. Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of this all-girl punk powerhouse of a band from the area of west London that I hail from. They have rather skillfully rechristened themselves a three-tone band for this tour. A support slot like this doesn’t come along too often and it is perfect for the Tuts. I have previously seen them supporting Kate Nash and the Selecter and this is now the seventh time I have seen them play live since February 2014. They simply get better and better every time and I believe that they are still some way from reaching their peak. Nadia, Bev, and Harriet played a rabble-rousing selection of songs from the Tuts debut album ‘Update Your Brain’. Particular highlights were “Always Hear The Same Shit”, “1982” and “Dump Your Boyfriend”. But the song that really set the crowd alight like a Molotov cocktail in a firework factory was “Tut Tut Tut”. Bear in mind that when the Tuts were announced as the support for this tour almost all the shows had sold out so the girls had to win the audience over. They didn’t just win them over they thrashed them into submission to a point where they had no choice but become fans. The energy generated by this band could power a small city. We were given a choice of cover versions and the crowd chose the Clash classic “Rudie Can’t Fail” rather than the Spice Girls “Wannabe”. Personally, I would have been happy with either but the Clash tune won by a landslide and I am sure that the ghost of Joe Strummer was filled with pride by the Tuts version. The Tuts merch stand looked to be doing great business later in the evening with, hopefully, legions of Specials fans now also into the Tuts. I do know that my mate Simon Hernaman purchased the Tuts album on CD. If you have not yet seen or listened to the Tuts you really need to sort your life out and do it. I reckon they are probably one of the best, if not the best, bands in the UK right now. I do know that Nad Tut disagrees with me on that, she told me that they see themselves as the best band in the world and frankly who am I to argue with that! Go Tuts!

Finally, it was the turn of the Specials to take to the stage, they were preceded by a wonderfully exuberant and tasteful DJ set by Saffiyah Khan. The band opened at full pelt with “Man At C & A” with Lynval firing up the crowd from the opening salvo, although to be fair we didn’t need much firing up. There were some inspired selections from their critically acclaimed album ‘Encore’, notably “Vote For Me”, the Valentines cover “Blam Blam Fever” and an impassioned “Ten Commandments” which featured Saffiyah Khan. But the highpoint of the newer material was for me the reworked Fun Boy Three tune “The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum” which is still, sadly as highly relevant now as it was when it was originally released back in 1981. The three remaining original members of the band, Lynval Golding, Horace Panter (a.k.a. Sir Horace Gentleman) and Terry Hall were on top form. Hall’s laconic dry humour was on display on pretty much every occasion he chose to speak to the crowd. Special mention must be given to one of the UK’s greatest guitar players, Steve Cradock who added some intense rock sounds to every song. What I have always loved about the Specials is how when they do a cover version it really does become one of their own, particularly in the live arena. The crowd were full on skanking for “A Message To You Rudy” (originally by Dany Livingstone), “Do The Dog” (originally by Rufus Thomas) and it would be an understatement to say that the crowd went apeshit (no pun intended) for a riotously uncontained romp through the Maytals “Monkey Man”. It is the originals from the early days, though, that hit the highest heights for me. “Do Nothing”, “Rat Race”, “Nite Klub”, “Friday Night, Saturday Morning”, “Gangsters” and “Too Much Too Young” still retain nuclear levels of ska punk power. A nineteen song set took us to the inevitable encore and what a treat that encore was. It kicked off with a reggae instrumental jam, I have no idea what the title was. This was followed by another classic that is still as pertinent today as it was nearly forty years ago, “Ghost Town”. This mercurial performance from the Specials was closed with a Skatalites cover “You’re Wondering Now” which also featured Saffiyah Khan. This was a fitting end to a truly great show which proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the Specials have still got it!

 

Public Service Announcement – all the pictures, apart from the tour poster, were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If you would like to be credited or have them removed please let me know.

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This is it, my 1,000th blog post! January 22, 2017


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Well blow me down with a feather, knock me down with an empty washing up liquid container, hit me on the head with a silk handkerchief or spank me with  a lollystick! This is my 1,000th post on this blog. It has taken eight years, but wow I am amazed that I have got this far with it. As a special offer to my blog followers and Facebook friends I opened this post up to you. I asked you to send me one song or artist and those songs and artists would form the content of this post. I did promise to say something nice about your choice and I will certainly try to stand by that, even if you have sent me a song that you know I do not really like, actually there were very few of those.  So here we go and there is no particular order or sequence to this by the way.

First up was suggested by a man who is exactly one year older than me, Vijay Ragoonanan. His choice is the first one that I received and it is a pretty classy one too. It’s “Train In Vain” by one of my favourite bands, the Clash. It was their first top 30 hit in the US and was largely called “Train In Vain” to avoid confusion with the Ben E King classic “Stand By Me” as the common refrain throughout the song is ‘stand by me’

Next up are three songs from the same family Caron Godbold Darbyshire Williams, John Williams and their wonderful daughter (who is also my Odd Daughter) Amelia. Caron chose “High” from the Lighthouse Family which was hers and John’s first dance song at their wedding. This remains the band’s most successful song, it reached the top ten in eleven countries, including number one in Australia back in 1998. John chose the timeless Don McLean song “American Pie”.  McLean has spoken very infrequently about the meaning of the song other than to confirm that the day the music died refers to the death of Buddy Holly in a plane crash on February 3rd 1959. However many people have speculated that it summarises much of America’s relatively recent history along with some related music history, for example ‘the quartet practised in the park’ is believed by many to refer to the Beatles. Amelia’s offering was One Direction with “History”. One Direction are one of the handful of acts that have remained a success long after their reality TV star burned out. This song gives a co writing credit to band members Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne along with Julian Bunetta, John Ryan, Wayne Hector and Ed Drewett. Released at the end of 2015 it currently sits as the final single from the group now that they all appear to have gone their own way. It made it to number 6 in the UK and only hit 65 in the USA.

Sam Claypole has the next song and it’s American crooner Barry Manilow with “Could It Be Magic”. The lyrics were written by Adrienne Anderson and the music by Bazza himself. As with most Manilow songs the production is damned good. It was produced by Barry along with Ron Dante. It has been covered by many acts, notably by Take That and Donna Summer. My favourite version of the song is Donna Summer’s and I don’t really like the bombastic over production on the Take That cover.

The next offering is from someone who I went to school with back in the 1970s, Susan Norris. She has given us the sublime UK number one from 1968 by Fleetwood Mac, “Albatross”. This remains the band’s only UK number one, albeit with a very different incarnation of the group from the mega selling troupe that straddled the globe with ‘Rumours’ in the late 70s. Did you know that “Albatross” allegedly influenced a Beatles song? Apparently it was a strong influence on “Sun King” from 1969’s ‘Abbey Road’ album.

Top bloke Andy Copeland has selected the next track, I work with Andy and he sees me as some kind of old cockney geezer and provided me with the nickname Albert! Anyway as a result Andy proposed anything from Chas ‘n’ Dave, so in order not to disappoint I will treat you to “The Sideboard Song” from those cheeky London chappies. The song just missed out on a top 50 UK chart placing peaking at number 55 in 1979. It was taken from their very cockney titled album ‘Don’t Give A Monkey’s’

Someone else that I work with has the next song in the list and it is in my opinion an all time rock classic. Adrian Caines thank you for bring us Rush with “Spirit Of Radio”. Interestingly this is the only act that will feature twice on this list, more from them later. The song was released in 1980 and comes from what I believe is their seventh studio album ‘Permanent Waves’. It is still the band’s biggest UK hit having peaked at number thirteen. The song has been covered by the Catherine Wheel and sampled by Saint Etienne.

Simon Pattinson, a tireless promoter of new (and often local) music brings us York band Faux Pas who launched their first EP at Fibbers in York a few weeks ago. They have already performed at the Leeds Festival and have had some airplay on Radio 1. This teenage 4-piece have a very bright future I reckon, what do you think? The song is “I Hate Dancing”.

David Burr requested Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia with “Unity Hymn” which I have struggled to share with you as I can’t find a link that will play you any more than 30 seconds of this classy song. If you have a link feel free to share it. I have listened to the track on Spotify where it is credited to Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia (featuring John Hiseman, Peter Lemer, Malcolm Macfarlane, Paul Westwood, Anna Gracey Hiseman and the London Gospel Singers). I have added a link to a whole show from 1991 though. Barbara is a very experienced and skilled jazz saxophonist who has been playing professionally for many years. She received an MBE in 1996 and in the early part of this century she had to retire from playing for a while due to Parkinson’s Disease, but she is back now and is a permanent member of Colosseum for whom her husband Jon Hiseman is the drummer.

Among the liveliest of my Facebook friends is Katie Jane Hardy and she has chosen “Ain’t It Fun” by the Dead Boys. Originally fronted by Stiv Bators this band from Cleveland, Ohio were around at the first flush of punk from 1976 to 1979. Stiv sadly died in 1990 after being run over by a taxi, although the band did get back together in 2004 and 2005. “Ain’t It Fun” comes from their 1978 album ‘We Have Come For Your Children’.

Someone else that I went to school with in the 70s, Jane Price, selected the next song and it is a 70s classic; “Heart Of Gold” from Ole Shakey himself, Neil Young.  Taken from the album ‘Harvest’ in 1972 it is so far Neil’s only US number one single. Backing vocals on the track are courtesy of James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.

I would like you to thank Shaun Flannery for the next song, it is “Angels” by Robbie Williams, who as Shaun pointed out to me is a Brits Icon winner, personally that just proves to me how meaningless the Brits actually are. Now many of my regular readers know that I am not a big Robbie fan and one of my least favourite songs ever is “Angels” (along with John Lennon’s “Imagine”). But I did say I would try to be nice. The song was co written by Robbie, Guy Chambers and Ray Heffernan. In 2005 a UK poll voted it the most popular song that was requested at funerals in the UK, I’m not quite sure what that says about it. Robbie has had seven solo UK number one hits in the UK, although “Angels” only made it to number four back in 1997.

I used to work with our next contributor and we have also been to a few gigs together too, Simon Hernaman has chosen “Rockwrok” by the John Foxx incarnation of Ultravox. It was released in 1977 and was taken from their ‘Ha! Ha! Ha!’ album. The B -Side of the single was an alternate version of “Hiroshima Mon Amour” from the one on the ‘Ha! Ha! Ha!’ album

Karen McPoland struggled to choose just one song, in fact she offered me three and asked me to choose. A couple of you gave me an initial choice and then changed your mind, so who knows, perhaps they might all appear on a future post, 1,001 perhaps? Anyway I chose the Eels from Karen’s list with “The Look You Give That Guy”. The Eels were formed in 1995 by Mark Oliver Everett also known as E or Mr E. His father Hugh was a physicist who was one of the first people to propose the potential existence of multiple universes or the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics. The song is taken from their 2009 album ‘Hombre Lobo’ and was a big hit in Belgium.

My good friend and regular Reading Festival buddy wanted the Glass Animals to be included, so obviously they will be. They originate from Oxford where they formed in 2012. They have played a number of festivals around the world and released their second album ‘How To Be A Human Being’ last year. I have chosen “Youth” from that album.

Someone else that I used to work with many years ago picked the next song and it’s a bit of a Prog classic from Yes, thank your Graeme Card. It comes from ‘Yessongs’ which was the band’s first live album. The track originally appeared on the studio album ‘Close To The Edge’.

Jon Reeton is next up with “No Bravery” from James Blunt. I was never a big fan of Blunt, but I have great respect for his deftness at self-deprecation. I think he has an incredible sense of humour, but his music doesn’t do too much for me. However Jon pointed out how meaningful the lyrics are even now and I find it hard to disagree with that. The song was written by Blunt with Sacha Skarbek and can be found on his debut album ‘Back To Bedlam’ from 2005.

A little bit of reggae next with “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)” by Dawn Penn, thank you to Carl Rogers for this one. The song reached number three in the UK charts in 1994. Penn first recorded a song with this title in 1967 and it was based on a track by US R & B singer Willie Cobbs which in turn was heavily influenced by a Bo Diddley song. That is why the 1994 release from Dawn Penn credits both Cobbs and Diddley as writers.

Paul Terry offered me two choices and I wonder if he might be surprised that I chose Justin Bieber from the two? Anyway while I can’t say I am a Belieber I do like some of his more recent stuff. Especially “Love Yourself” which was written by Ed Sheerhan along with Benjamin Levin (a.k.a. Benny Blanco) and Bieber. It spent six weeks at number one in the UK chart.

Suzi Stacey my online witchy sister has picked a Rolling Stones classic “Mothers Little Helper”. Obviously this is not a drug related song, well ok it definitely is. Don’t do drugs kids otherwise you might live as long as Keith Richards. Hang on that sounds like a good thing though right? OK I sound like I’m high now, just enjoy the song ok.

I told you that there would be another entry from Canadian rockers Rush and I wasn’t lying. This time it is “Tom Sawyer” chosen by my mate Andy Golborne. It was the opening track on their 1981 album ‘Moving Pictures’. VH1 named it the 19th Greatest Hard Rock song of all time in 2009.

Now we have a track from the late, great Gary Moore which also features the late, great Phil Lynott. Thank you for Jacqui Parkin for choosing this one, I think it is a true classic. The song made it to number 8 in the UK singles chart in 1979. It was written by Moore and Lynott. Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey also plays on the track.

The next song is very much one of my favourites as it was the first dance after marrying my beautiful wife Catherine. In fact this is Catherine (a.k.a. Catwoman)’s choice. It is the truly sublime “Into My Arms” by Nick Cave. Just listen to it, is there anyone out there that doesn’t like this song? It is also the only song that I know that includes a reference to an ‘interventionist God’.

Sara Hayes has chosen the 25th song which spookily has the number 25 in the title, it s Edwin Starr with “25 Miles” a fabulous slice of Motown genius. It reached number 6 in the US chart and 36 in the UK chart when issued as a single in 1969. It was written by Johnny Bristol, Harvey Fuqua and Edwin Starr. This song was also a big hit on the Northern Soul scene in the UK.

Rachael Baines-Holmes picked the next song and it is a slice of punky class; the Dead Kennedys with “Holiday In Cambodia”. It was written by the band’s front man Jello Biafra and John Greenway and it was the second single to be released by the group when it came out in 1980. It followed “California Über Alles”. Both songs were included on the album ‘Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables’.

So there you have it twenty-six songs provided by a selection of my friends. Thank you for being a part of this and for reading my blog and putting up with all the puns and shit that I post on Facebook. Finally though I will leave you with my selection. I have said loads about it on previous blog posts and it is without doubt my favourite song of all time. “No Woman No Cry” Bob Marley and the Wailers taken from the ‘Live At The Lyceum’ album from 1975

 

Buzzcocks – Fibbers, York – Thursday 6th October 2016 October 7, 2016

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:56 pm
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I love bringing people together at gigs especially my friends that haven’t met before. At Fibbers tonight I was joined by my good mates John Williams and Simon Hernaman for an excellent night of great music and punk nostalgia. I also got to meet a fellow blogger, a lovely young lady named Louise who wants to be a music journalist. Well based on her blog I think she has a good chance. Click here to check ot the marvellous stylusblog. La Bête Blooms from Hull were the support band and what a darned good warm up act they proved to be. Obviously with their name they are clearly from the posh end of Hull, well if there is one. But hopefully La Bête Blooms are a great pointer for what’s in store for Hull in its tenure as city of culture next year. they showed the influence of many great bands; Eddie and the Hot Rods, Magazine, Joy Division and even the Who. Their sound is a bit new wave, post-punk with a twist of more modern pop punk. The band’s engine room of drum and bass was a complete powerhouse and overlaid on that was the excellent vocals and guitar work from the other two band members. They really looked up for this gig and they seemed to be really enjoying themselves too. This is definitely a band to watch and one that I will certainly pay to see again. Click here to check their SoundCloud page out.

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Whilst the support were bloody good we were there for a punk band that has now been around for forty years. Does that make me feel old? Of course it bloody does, I was only seventeen when they formed. The band in question is of course one of Manchester’s finest, the magnificent Buzzcocks. I have only seen them once before and that was back in 1978 or 1979. For a band of this maturity you’d think that the energy levels might be a little low, but they were off the top of the scale. From when they hit the stage it was a relentless assault of many of their finest moments with no let up until they took a short pre-encore break after an hour of solid playing. The highlight in that first section for me was a truly dazzling rendition of “Autonomy”

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One thing that became very clear to me early on is that old punks never die, they just get older, dress like they always did and turn up for gigs like this. It really is a heart warming sight to see so many old school forty/ fifty something punks pogoing as if their life depended on it. While Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle are the mainstays of the band given that they have been around for so long it would be mean not to mention the excellent rhythm section of Chris Remmington on bass and Danny Farrant on drums. The pair have been with the band for eight years and ten years respectively and they underpin the excellent songs incredibly well. Like all of us who have been on the planet for so long Shelley and Diggle are definitely part of my generation, both are 61. But age does nothing to diminish their power and stage presence. Whilst Steve Diggle has aged incredibly well he seems to have morphed into a Postman Pat lookalike. (Thank you to John Williams for putting that thought in my head, now it won’t leave!)

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As for the Buzzcocks encore, it was simply stunning consisting of “What Do I Get”, a magnificently rousing (please note that I said rousing and not arousing ok) “Orgasm Addict” and obviously they were never going to get away with not playing “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)”. That one came close to bringing the house down and many of us thought that perhaps it was all over for the night. But it wasn’t as the band laid waste to the audience with mightily stupendous version of “Harmony In My Head”. Fibbers is a great venue and the Buzzcocks remain a great band which makes a great combination for a great night!

Apologies about the evil, but thankfully dead, bastard who introduces the next video.

A brief(ish) public service announcement. All the photos apart from the first one were all taken on my shittly little Nokia Windows Phone. The first picture was helpfully supplied via a Goggle search and all the videos are courtesy of YouTube including the reasonably good quality adience recorded one from the actual gig!

 

 

 

The Damned – Fibbers, York – Wednesday 3rd August 2016 August 4, 2016

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 5:11 pm
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Wow, two Fibbers gigs in eight days. Not bad for an old bloke, well two old blokes actually as I was joined by my good friend Simon Hernaman for Ash (supported by Tax The Heat) last week and the Damned (supported by Dohnut) this week. Let me start with tonight’s very different and majestically magnificent support band Dohnut (formerly known as Eating Disorder). What can I say? Well if you like a bit of politics and a bit of an edge to your music then look no further. This band are true performers who seem to enjoy themselves immensely on stage. I’m not familiar enough to name all their songs but I have bought their album ‘Eat More Cake’ and on first listen that sounds bloody good, so much so that I am now really looking forward to their new album ‘I Scream You Scream’ due out in October. I also bought myself a Dohnut tea towel, how many bands have that in their merchandise collection eh? “We Are Dohnut” is a fabulous song with a resonance similar to Devo’s “We Are Devo”. It is a reworking of a Die Antwoord song and it works incredibly well. At times they reminded me of one of my favourite bands of all time, the KLF. You really ought to check Dohnut out.

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So on to the main event, the Damned, long running UK punk stalwarts. I first saw them in 1977 and last saw them in 1978. That was so long ago that I was still in my teens. For all the gigs that I have seen in my life I don’t believe that I have ever seen so many middle-aged men in a mosh circle. Incidentally that didn’t include me; not because I’m not middle-aged, just because I’m not sure I could take such a beating anymore! The personnel have changed since I last saw them. The only original members are Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible. Brian James and Rat Scabies left some time ago. But this really doesn’t diminish their power. They are a band who knows how to play really well and perhaps more importantly they know how to work their largely fanatical audience.

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All the old favourites were played, I especially enjoyed the early set rendition of “Love Song“. Then we had “New Rose” and “Neat, Neat, Neat” obviously, because how can they not play those two? Both songs have retained their power and freshness for around forty years. Their 1986 hit cover of Paul and Barry Ryan’s sixties classic “Eloise” is a phenomenal live attraction. Part of their encore was another sixties cover, this time “Alone Again Or” by the sublime Love, Arthur Lee’s little combo. The Damned make the song very much their own on the night. This is a band that in the case of the Captain and Dave Vanian have known each other a lifetime and that is very much apparent by their humorous on stage banter. But more recent members Monty Oxymoron on keyboards, Bass player Stu West and Pinch on the drums fit in perfectly and make them a really tight and well rehearsed unit. They took the Fibbers roof off with a stunning version of “Smash It Up” to close the show. It is clear that the Damned still have it and it was a great night for everyone there, even the woman who was a dead ringer for Theresa May. Except for a woman behind us who was disappointed with the show. Really? Personally I think there must be something wrong with her!

 

Tax The Heat (supporting Ash) – Fibbers, York – Tuesday 26th July 2016 July 29, 2016

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:12 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

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Click here for a link to my review of Tax The Heat in their support slot for Ash a few days ago. Thank you to those lovely folk at subba-cultcha for giving me the opportunity. I hope that you enjoy the review but even more I hope you explore Tax The Heat a bit further. I am sure that you won’t be disappointed. It was also good to catch up with my old mate Simon Hernaman for the gig! Look out for the two of us old blokes at another Fibbers event very soon (The Damned next week!)

 

 
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