With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

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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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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Apollo Festival – York – Saturday 25th June 2016 June 30, 2016


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I wonder how long it will be before folk start referring to the last weekend in June as Apollo weekend and not Glasto weekend. Well many people in York already do, and rightly so this relatively new festival is still very vibrant, friendly and fun even in its fourth year. I have now been three times and I enjoyed each visit immensely. If you like good music and a good day out for the family in Yorkshire then look no further than York’s Apollo Festival.

Anyway this year I was a bit of a lazy stage hopper in that I only visited one other stage apart from the Main Stage. I arrived at about 11.15 along with my beautiful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman our good friend Caron and our amazing Odd Daughter Amelia. The first act we saw was the Ainsty’s Got Talent winner B Boy Swirl, aged just nine years old he is just three years older than Amelia. He proved himself to be a talented whirlwind of beatbox noise and break dance frenzy. What a brilliant start to the day.

Next up on the Main Stage was someone with a vocal talent that could easily compare and compete with Adele. The magnificent and truly soulful Kymberley Kennedy. Definitely check this lady out, she has a gorgeous voice. After that it was a quick dash to the Rick Witter Premier Stage for me to catch the final part of a stunning set from those magnificent scamps, the Mallrats. Just like the last time I saw them they were awesome!

I made my way back to the Main Stage for the second half of the Jackobins set. These scousers owe a debt to Brit Pop, but only a small one. Their talent goes much deeper than that. Ace mod covers band the outstanding 5:15’s were up next. What a party band these boys are, covers of the Jam, solo Weller, the Specials, the Yardbirds and so much more. They were followed by Chris Helme the former front man of the Seahorses. He is clearly a very talented and very chilled kind of bloke. But I’m afraid his music just doesn’t do it for me. But to each their own right?

I was disappointed that I had to miss the Supermodels this year. But I did have good reason,  I had earlier bumped into the fabulous Rachel Brown of Northern Exposure who has recommended the Velcro Teddy Bears for ages. So clearly I was not going to miss them. Rachel and her fella Ash were also in the audience in the Rick Witter Premier Stage for the Velcro Teddy Bears Apollo début. So what were this highly rated Sheffield four piece band like? The were bloody stupendous. They rocked the place hard. If you love Led Zep, the softer side of Sabbath and hard but soulful rock then you will become a fan of the Velcro Teddy Bears. An incredibly tight band with a vocalist who could probably make any song his own. Their songs have the hallmarks of future classics. For me they were the band of the day. Thank you Rachel! I was also pleased to see my mate Kevin Forth in attendance too.

Dave McCabe and the Ramifications were next to entertain us from the Main Stage. Dave in case you wondered is a former Zuton. The band was excellent from start to finish in my opinion although I really would have liked to have seen them close with “Valerie” but Dave was having none of that.

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Dodgy were the penultimate Main Stage band and it is fair to say that they were far more than just “Good Enough”. A stonking version of “Staying Out For The Summer” even managed to keep the rain at bay for a while. Sadly the rain really kicked in after Cast’s arrival, what a “Fine Time” for a downpour? So I must apologise to the marvellous Cast as we left about halfway through their set as we were soaked. But they are clearly still a great festival band. I saw them back in the 90s and if anything they have got even better.

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So once again I have had the pleasure of attending another wonderful Apollo festival. This is one small wacky step for Dad dancing but one giant leap for festival kind. If you’re not already thinking about getting your tickets for next year, well frankly you’re not well!

Public Service Announcement – None of the pictures or videos were taken or filmed by me. I ‘borrowed’ them all from t’interweb.

 

“Today I don’t feel like doing anything” November 6, 2015


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This is just a brief post to say that I have been somewhat lazy about blogging lately and neglectful of all my blogs. So I hope to make up for that over the next few days and at least post the small backlog of reviews and events that I have been to recently. After that there will be an official blog break from mid November to mid December to enable yours truly to recharge in warmer climes. But for now please enjoy a few lazy and lazy related tunes!

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“You’re so deaf that you cannot hear him” December 5, 2013

Filed under: News — justwilliam1959 @ 10:32 pm
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RIP NELSON MANDELA

mandela

 

“Who takes all the glory and none of the shame” April 8, 2013


I won’t say much about the death of the grocer‘s daughter, I will just let the music speak for itself!

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“But I’ll TTY later and we’ll be loving ASAP” December 3, 2012


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Given the ubiquitous nature of text messages these days I find it hard to believe that it was only twenty years ago that the first ever text message was sent. The message was despatched from a PC to a mobile phone by an engineer using the Vodafone network in the UK; the message was simply ‘Merry Christmas‘.

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The development of texting or SMS (Short message Service) actually goes back further than that. It began as an idea by Matti Makkonen a Finnish Civil Servant. It was during a pizza meal at a telecommunications conference in 1984. his idea became the standard for the SMS facility that we use today. Strangely it was never patented, a little unlucky for Mr Makkonen then!

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I assume that there were a few more texts sent in 1992, however the rise has been incredible with an estimated 8 trillion sent last year. I wonder what percentage of those were illegally viewed by the UK tabloid press?

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So how about a few text related (some very loosely) songs to celebrate?

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“In the year of the scavenger, the season of the bitch” November 13, 2012


According to the Mail OnLine (so let’s treat the information cautiously) dogs prefer classical music to heavy metal and they don’t seem to like those cheap relaxing music for your canine friend CDs either. I wonder if that has anything to do with the location of their sub woofer? Click here to read the full article.

Anyway I thought that I’d like to try a little experiment about how true this is. So here are a few dog related songs that I would like you to play to your mutt and tell me what reaction you get. Unfortunately I can’t do that as I only have cats.

 

“With your bonuses and expenses you shovelled down your throat. Now you bit the hand that fed you Dear God I hope you choke” January 3, 2012


I’d like to thank my friend Stuart O’Hara for suggesting the theme of this post. Edwyn Collins once said ‘too many protest singers, not enough protest songs’. Strangely that was a lyric from his 90s hit “A Girl Like You” which doesn’t seem to be a protest song itself. That dear reader is the thrust of this blog post; where are all the protest singers and protest songs? The world economy is collapsing, riot and revolution is rife, wars and indiscriminate bombings are commonplace and UK politics is at best inept and the USA is trillions of dollars in debt and dancing with the idea of electing an idiotic republican candidate far more stupid than even Dubya was. So where are all the protests from the music world?

Aside from the fact that a legitimate protest song would probably not get played on mainstream radio and would need to ‘go viral’ on-line, where the hell are they? Where are this generation’s Woody Guthries, Pete Seegers, Bob Dylans and Billy Braggs? OK I know there have been a few good attempts since the Specials summed up Britain in song in 1981 with “Ghost Town”. Notably “Killing In The Name Of” from Rage Against The Machine and perhaps “American Idiot” from Green Day. But what happened to the establishment/ ‘the man’ being scared of rock music? It’s all become too corporate and bland.

U2 and Coldplay have tried to use their muscle to protest against various wrongs in the world, but frankly are their hearts really in it? Radiohead have supported the free Tibet campaign amongst others, but could they do more? Dylan is getting too old, Bragg doesn’t have the fanbase size required (but is still flying the flag), Springsteen and Weller have been quiet of late on the protest front and Marvin Gaye, Marley, Lennon and Strummer are sadly no longer with us.

The environment must be right for a new movement to shake up the old order just like punk did in the 70s and rave and grunge did in the 80s and 90s. The charts are stuffed full of manipulated, impresario created pop muppets; Little Mix, Matt Cardle, Olly Murs etc. It is time to stand up and be counted good people of the blogosphere. We need some strong protest songs to unite all those fighting for freedom and change. Let’s shake up that complacent bunch of career politicians in Westminster and political ivory towers across the world. Frank Turner, Show Of Hands, Neil Young you can do this we need you now! Will somebody please step forward?

In the meantime here are some classic protest songs. I would love to hear your opinions of protest songs and singers;

 

“And I Think Of All The Things, What You’re Doing, And In My Head I Paint A Picture” July 31, 2011


It was probably quite predictable really, but just like Elvis, John Lennon, Nirvana and Michael Jackson among others, Amy Winehouse’s albums and singles have sold phenomenally well since her sad death last weekend. ‘Back To Black‘ is this weeks UK number one album. It has also climbed to number 8 in the US Billboard album charts.Her first album ‘Frank’ is at number 5 in the UK. In fact with Adele at number 2 and 4 and Beyonce at number 3, the whole top 5 albums in the UK is ruled by women!

Amy also has 5 songs in the UK top 40 singles chart;

“Back To Black” – Number 8

Tears Dry On Their Own” – Number 27

“Rehab” – Number 29

Love Is A Losing Game” – Number 33

You Know I’m No Good” –  Number 37

Sadly it wasn’t enough to keep JLS from the top of the singles chart, but not every cloud has a silver lining. In the meantime let’s enjoy a couple of Amy’s recordings that didn’t make the top 40 this week, including a brilliant festival appearance with the Specials;

 

 
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