With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Maryland – After Hours Radio September 15, 2017


Ann Arbor denizens After Hours Radio have a new single out. it is called “Maryland” and it is a really hot pick for me. The band formed at the University of Michigan back in 2014.”Maryland” has influences from many areas of rock history notably the 90s alternative scene and maybe some vocal similarities with the Strokes and at times Brian Molko off of Placebo. The opening synth sound has a throwback to the 1972 UK number oneSon Of My Father” by Chicory Tip. Sure there are a lot of influences but this is a very much original band and off the back of this one track I bloody love them! Click here to listen to the track on SoundCloud and then listen to another couple of tracks by this rather excellent band.

I would like to thank those funky little elves at Noisy Ghost PR for giving me the chance to get an early listen of this fabulous track.

 

Hello Operator, Avalanche Party, Broken Skulls, Wildlife – Fibbers, York – Saturday 23rd May 2015 May 24, 2015


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I am back at Fibbers again just a few days after Julian couldn’t Cope. But there are no diva shenanigans tonight, Mike and Simon have created an excellent line up for what will sadly be Mike J’s final promotion. Kicking events off were the York and Leeds based Wildlife. I believe that this band would have easily fitted into New York’s late 70s post punk scene alongside a fledgling Talking Heads. But they are not revivalists of that era they are very 21st century too. They have great songs, great stage presence and a good rapport with the audience. They handled a little power outage problem with aplomb. Apparently all the songs are about the singers cock, well apart from “Like A Racehorse” anyway! Whether you like songs about cocks or not you should check them out.

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The second band to tread the boards tonight were the two piece Broken Skulls. Imagine if the Strokes had more power, more balls and only two members. Can you do that? If you can then you would probably be imagining Broken Skulls. I would imagine that the two piece format leads many to compare them with the excellent Royal Blood. However they are more than a facsimile of another band. They are incredibly powerful performers, gifted instrumentalists and they write some terrific songs. They dedicated an old song to Mike this evening which was also the name of a former band of theirs; “Toy Radar”. I would definitely go and see these boys again and so should you if you haven’t already.

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Second on the bill this evening is a band that hardly need any introduction to regular readers of this blog, the magnificent Avalanche Party. Up to now they have had excellent reviews from me. Is that about to change? Fuck no! These lads rocked their socks off on Saturday. They played a barnstorming set and the audience would have eaten out of the bands hands had they been asked. Well the majority would have at least. New song “Money” was stunning live and Joe and Jordan’s crowd invasions, or should that be incursions, raised the excitement levels for the punters. I would like to thank Jordan for dedicating the mountainous (sorry for the cliché) “Mountains” to me. ‘This one is for Big Billy at the front’; I love it! The band will be launching their new EP in their home town, Middlesbrough soon. Sadly I can’t make it, so please put a copy aside for me chaps! But if you can make it then you bloody well should. This band mean big and should be big. They get better every time I see them.

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I didn’t envy the brilliant Hello Operator having to follow such a great set from one of my favourite bands of the moment, but they did follow and they followed bloody well. Hello Operator are a different kind of band to Avalanche Party but they are equally as powerful. They appear schooled in a different vein of classic rock and they know how to win over and captivate an audience. I saw them earlier this year at the smaller City Screen venue and they metaphorically blew the roof off. Frankly they did the same at Fibbers. They are and incredibly tight, talented and well rehearsed band. The guitarist has the flourish of Bernard Butler at his peak and as far as vocals go they have a singer who has one of the finest rock voices around. If you have never seen them then get off your arse and do so!

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I would like to thank Mike and Simon for a great night and also Joe Bell off of Avalanche Party for the vino. This was a truly superb night for everyone who came along. Four great bands in one night it can’t get better than that can it?

The public service announcement for today is that all the pictures were taken with my Nokia and the videos are courtesy of YouTube

 

DZ Deathrays, Avalanche Party & … And The Hangnails – The Woolpack, York – Thursday 7th August 2014 August 8, 2014


Following yet another brilliant recommendation from my friend Simon Pattinson (and thanks for another great night out Mr P) I went to a fabulous gig at the Woolpack in York on Thursday night. I was drawn by the appearance of …. And The Hangnails who I had previously seen at the Apollo Festival in June. It was that excellent band that kicked proceedings off. This mighty, powerful, noisy, rock duo par excellence were brilliant. Despite a microphone problem in the first song and a broken guitar string later this band were on top form. If you’re a fan of the White Stripes, Black Keys, Strokes or Kings Of Leon I reckon you’ll love them. But don’t focus on the influences that I heard, … And The Hangnails are a very original band. I hear that they may be supporting another of my favourite bands later this year; the Tuts! I spoke with the band after the show and obviously I bought a copy of their new album ‘Rut’ which is bloody good. I have seen them twice so far this year I suggest that you make sure you see them at least once.

andthehangnailsNext up at this tiny but brilliant venue was Avalanche Party who I understand include a few former members of 3 Foot Ninja who I have seen, enjoyed immensely and reviewed in the past. But Avalanche Party are not 3 Foot Ninja they are very much Avalanche Party. This band have great stage presence and know how to work an audience. They are a really tight band who play incredibly well together. The singer has a bit of a starey-eyed Ian Curtis about him. Their own songs are very powerful in a live setting and I’m looking forward to get my hand on some of their recorded output. They also played a formidable cover of Nancy Sinatra‘s “These Boots Are Made For Walking“. As with all the best cover versions they made it their own.

??????????????????????The headline act for tonight was DZ Deathrays all the way from Brisbane in Australia. If I had to leave before their set I would have gone home very happy indeed having witnessed two stupendous bands with massive potential. However I didn’t need to go home and I witnessed a set from a band that even surpassed those of …. And The Hangnails and Avalanche Party. DZ Deathrays are explosive and powerful with a drummer that could give Dave Grohl a run for his money. They alternate between being a three-piece and a four-piece to great effect. I bought their album too and it is very, very impressive. They will be in the UK until October. If you have a chance to see them you really ought to take it. Personally I would pay to see any of tonight’s bands again. I would love to hear what you think of all of them.

dz deathrays

 

Apollo Festival 2014 – York – Saturday 21st June June 30, 2014


 

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Unfortunately I was unable to attend last years Apollo Festival so I was quite excited about this one. On another unfortunate note for various reasons I ended up having to miss the set from Reverend and the Makers who headlined the day. But I did get to see absolutely loads of great music and I do hope to be back next year. This time for the full day!

I spent the day with my wonderful wife Catherine (regular readers will know her as Catwoman and our good friends Caron and John and their beautiful daughter Amelia. Catwoman and me are Odd parents to Amelia. the first stage we visited was the Access To Music Stage. Ruby was playing when we arrived, she looked very young, but she was also very, very good. Her own material had some very mature lyrics for someone so young and she even made an Olly Murs song sound good when she covered “Troublemaker”. We stayed in place to see the next act; Laura. Does nobody bother with surnames any more? Laura has an excellent voice and some great songs of her own. She also played two well-chosen and extremely well done covers. The first was the Beatles “Blackbird” and she finished her set with a storming acoustic cover of the Gnarls Barkley modern classic “Crazy”.

 

We wandered over to the Main Stage next where we saw We Could Be Astronauts last song. It was a pity that we weren’t able to see more because these guys sound bloody good! Redstar from Huddersfield were next and it would be difficult to find any fault with this superb band. Their playing is on the button and really tight. The vocalist has all the traits of a great front man and he backs that up with a great rock voice. Their songs are pretty damned good too. I reckon there may be some Kasabianesque influences in there and they made me think of what Beady Eye could have been had Liam retained any talent. But that is small stuff, they are very much their own band. The free CD album they handed out to us punters is brilliant and has been on heavy rotation in my car since the show. Chris Helme former singer of John Squire‘s first post Stone Roses project the Seahorses was next. he is clearly a talented bloke with a good voice but I found him a little dull.

It was back to the Access To Music Stage next where we saw the fabulous Barcode Zebra. probably the funkiest band of the day. A truly stupendous rhythm section and a vocalist for whom a description of awesome might not be quite enough. They are playing in York at a launch of their new EP in July and sadly I will be away that weekend. I would definitely pay to see this band again. also if you’re reading this good people of Barcode Zebra I would love to do an interview with you for this blog!

The Entertainment Co Stage was our next port of call where we found it impossible not to dance and sing along to the curators of that stage; The Entertainment Company! They don’t just play cover versions they own them! Are they the best party band ever?  Very probably! shall we book them for Catwoman’s 50th birthday party (yes she doesn’t look even close to 50 does she)? I hope they do private party bookings because I’d love them to play for us in September 2016!

After that it was a return to the Main Stage where we saw the Black Delta Movement. We didn’t catch their whole set but they come across as very accomplished rockers with a swampy blues rock feel. Not bad at all. Former Bluetones frontman the ‘Legendary’ Mark Morriss was on next with a rather brilliant acoustic set. He is wonderfully self-deprecating and even his new songs have an air of classics about them.

Next it was a quick jog back to the Entertainment Co Stage where we were hoping to see the highly recommended And The Hangnails (thank you Mr Pattinson). before they took to the stage those wonderful people from the Entertainment Company had allowed a young singer from LA to play a few songs. His name is Ben Caron and he is soulful and funky. A bit like Bruno Mars but with more of an R & B edge. He has a truly great voice with which he wowed the all too small crowd. I bought his album, a steal at £7 and he struck me as a really good bloke too. You really should check him out. And The Hangails came on the stage and it is fair to say that for just two people they make a massive noise. I don’t mean that in a negative way either, this pair know how to rock. I sensed some influence from the likes of the White Stripes, the Black Keys and the Strokes. Would I pay to see this mighty duo again? Hell yeah!

Target By Numbers were next on the Access To Music Stage. Good musicians and some ok songs, but they really didn’t do it for me. The last band we saw on the day was the Supermodels on the Main Stage. They are a covers band, but to simply say that really doesn’t do them justice. They cover some classic rock songs with such verve and talent that you could almost imagine you were listening to the real thing if your eyes were shut. Their cover of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” would give Daltrey and Townshend a run for their money. I really want to see them play again. Sadly we had to leave just before the Supermodels left the stage. But although we missed the headliners we had a fantastic day! well done to the organisers and for all the money raised for an excellent cause; the Smiley Riley Fund!

 

 

“You ask how much I need you, must I explain?” – Advent day 12 December 12, 2013


5978003639_50e93ae9fbI’m getting just a little bit more excited now it is the 12th of December after all. In keeping with this years With Just A Hint Of Mayhem advent posts I have two diametrically opposed songs for you today. But obviously two that have the number twelve in their titles.

250px-Johnny_NashFirst up is the timeless song “Twelfth Of Never” which was initially recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1957. He apparently didn’t like the song and it was demoted to the B Side of “Chances Are”. The song has been recorded by many, many artists since then. The Mathis version made it to number 9 in the US charts and Donny Osmond took it to number one in the UK and number 8 in the USA in 1973. The list of cover versions is almost endless and includes; Nina Simone, Barry Gibb, Cliff Richard, Tammy Wynette, Chi-Lites, Glen Campbell, Cher, Dolly Parton, Roger Whittaker, Barry Manilow, Andy Williams, Olivia Newton John, Hank Marvin and Jeff Buckley. Jeff’s version can be found on the Legacy edition of ‘Live At The Sin E’ and remains very faithful to the Nina Simone version of the song. The regular readers among you will know that I am a big fan of Texan crooner Johnny Nash. In fact I would go as far as saying that his singing voice is my favourite voice ever. Anyway I haven’t posted about Mr Nash for quite a while so I thought I would use his version of the “Twelfth Of Never” taken from his 1968 album ‘Soul Folk’.

strokesThe second song today flows from the Julian Casablancas post from yesterday. It is “12:51” by the band that Julian is a big part of; the Strokes. The song was written by Mr Casablancas and was the first single released from the bands second album ‘Room On Fire’ in 2003. The song made it to number 7 in the UK and reached the top 40 in Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden. The songs original title was “Supernova”. The video for the song was directed by Roman Ford Coppola, the son of Francis Ford Coppola and the cousin of Nicolas Cage. It has a theme that is very reminiscent of the ‘Tron’ the 1982 movie. When the band played a number of Japanese dates to support the release of the ‘Room On Fire’ album in 2003 they included a cover of the Frank Sinatra classic written by Paul Anka “My Way”, only they sang it with Japanese lyrics!

 

“But don’t you dare get to the top and not know what to do” – Advent day 11 December 11, 2013


advent-day-11_2078894aCan you believe it’s the 11th December already? Where the hell is the time going. Still I am very close to being in the smug zone; I’ve bought all my presents now it’s just a case of wrapping them, posting some of them and hiding the rest! Have you done all your Christmas shopping or will you be waiting until the turbo kicks in on 24th December? Anyway enough of all that, it is of course day 11 in the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem advent posts which means you get two songs with the number 11 in their title.

funny-celebrity-pictures-how-thoughtful-of-uFirst up it’s U2 with “11 O’clock Tick Tock” which is the band’s second single released in May 1980. It was a non-album release produced by Martin Hannett who had previously produced Joy Division among others. There is also a great version of the song on the mini live album ‘Under A Blood Red Sky‘. In their early days the band often played the song twice during their set because they didn’t have much material. An earlier version of the song had different lyrics and was called “Silver Lining”

Julian-julian-casablancas-16833737-667-1000Second tune for today is from Julian Casablancas off of the Strokes; it is called “11th Dimension”. Casablancas is the lead singer of the Strokes and “11th Dimension” is so far his only hit outside the band. It was taken from his 2009 solo album ‘Phrazes For The Young‘. Describing the song as a hit is a little loose; it only charted in Japan where it reached number 48 in 2009. One of Casablancas’ most recent recordings was the vocal on “Instant Crush” from Daft Punk’s planet-conquering album, ‘Random Access Memories’. He has also inspired someone to write a song about him. Notably Courtney Love who included a song called “But Julian, I’m A Little Bit Older Than You” on her first solo album, ‘America’s Sweetheart’ in 2004.

CARD

 

Reading Festival 2013 – Day 3 – Sunday 25th August August 26, 2013


We began at the Main Stage today for We Are The In Crowd. Note to Nadia Tut; it’s looking ever so slightly less of a cock fest today. I also believe that you and your fellow band mates and bands are in a position to try to change that going forward. These folks have a female singer. We need the Tuts and Colour Me Wednesday  playing here next year. As for WATIC what a superb lively start to the day from this New York band.

Back to the NME/ Radio 1 Stage for the Villagers, we had seen them at Reading a couple of years ago. They were good then and are even better now. If you had not seen them before you might be forgiven for thinking you had walked in on the Hogwarts school band fronted by Harry Potter himself. The singer certainly looks like the young wizard. But their music is indeed a magical combination of influences. Once again great use of percussion too.

Aluna George have been subject to mucho hype lately and you know what? They are well worth it. Their music is spectacularly good and Aluna’s stage clothes show that Lady Gaga has jumped the shark fashionwise. Aluna herself is confident and sassy, she commands the stage. I will very soon be the owner of Aluna George’s album.

Over to the Festival Republic stage next for Twenty One Pilots. Unbelievably a drum based rock rap hybrid dressed as skeletons. It shouldn’t work but it does. It’s as though the Strokes were spliced with Eminem and Hawksley Workman in a parallel universe. These guys MUST be on the Main Stage mid afternoon next year; are you listening organisers? This was possibly one of the finest Reading Festival moments ever for us.

As for Chapel Club; very chilled soft rock with a hard edge. I would not have wanted to follow Twenty One Pilots. If I went to a chapel club when I was a kid it wouldn’t have been this much fun! After that we lay in the sun chilling to As Elephants Are. They were pretty good.

Back to the NME/ Radio 1 stage next for Haim. Bloody hell these girls can rock. This had to be the year of the drum with even more percussion from the Haim sisters. But did the bass player have to turn so much? That part was scary.

Fall Out Boy or FOB as they are now branded are back. On form on the Main Stage. But does everything have to be reduced to an acronym? But this band does what it says on the tin. Pop powered punk at its best. A band that has been an acronym for longer than many were next on the Main Stage; it was Nine Inch Nails or NIN as they prefer to be known, certainly on t-shirts. I was expecting great things from Trent Reznor and his chums. Sadly I was very disappointed, the music came across as samey and bland and Mr Reznor was severely lacking in the interaction with the crowd department. As a result we wandered off to pastures new. First to the Festival Republic stage where we saw the Jim Jones Revue; they are a hell of a powerful band. Imagine if AC/ DC, the Stones, the Troggs and Doctor Feelgood all drank in the same pub and became the house band. It would be very much like the Jim Jones Revue. We wandered over to the Rock Stage for the first part of Funeral For A Friend’s set. They definitely do what it says on the tin with their excellent brand of hard punky tunes. After that we returned to the Festival Republic stage for the magnificent Spector. I suppose you could compare them to the Killers in sound, but they are so much more than that. The audience loved them.

Then it was time for Sunday night’s headliners; the regal and magnificent Biffy Clyro. ‘Mon the Bif! This was the first time in eight Reading appearances that they have headlined the Main Stage and after this performance they will do it again in the future too. They were clearly well rehearsed and fired up for this show. For me they were the best headliner of the weekend by far and definitely in my top 5 of all time. The highlights for me were “Many To Horror” and “Black Chandelier”. The light show, the stage set and the pyrotechnics were amazing and added to a stonking performance from Scotland’s finest. Let’s hope they are back soon. As for myself and my good mate Nick Horslen; will we be back next year? I think there is a bloody good chance that we will be.

 

“Please could you stop the noise, I’m trying to get some rest” October 15, 2011


I’d like to wish the brilliant nme.com a happy 15th birthday. To celebrate the site now hosts a list of what they consider to be the best tracks of the last 15 years. Not too many surprises, even for someone like me who has been an NME reader since 1971. I am really grown up now and actually subscribe to the printed version. But nme.com along with the BBC and the Guardian are the sites that I check out each day. There must be people out there who have been reading NME for longer than me and equally kids who have only got into music since the launch of nme.com. I would love to hear your NME related stories.

Click here to access the whole top 150. The top 5 in descending order are;

 

Reading Festival 2011 – Day 2 – Saturday 27th August August 28, 2011


Hello again people and here is the dispatch from the muddy fields of the Reading festival after day 2. Firstly I have to mention a rather funny comment I made on the way to the main arena today. Which strangely enough for me was said completely innocently. My feet were sticking in the mud quite a lot so I said; “If this mud gets any more sticky my boots will be sucked off”. It made Nick and me laugh and if you’re not laughing then maybe you had to be there or you have a much cleaner mind than ours. Or maybe you’re just too mature!

We only caught Funeral Party’s last song in the NME/ Radio 1 tent they sounded pretty good though. Yuck were in the NME/ Radio 1 tent next and were recommended by my friend John Hayhurst who is usually at the Leeds festival but unfortunately can’t make it this year. It was a bloody good tip as it happens! I would describe them as shoegazers with a young Bob Dylan lookalike as a singer. But a great band I will be downloading their album on Monday night. Oh and I almost forgot also the drummer looked like my old boss Bazza Hutton with added afro. Castrovalva were on the BBC Introducing stage, we didn’t see much of them but they definitely need to look at their audience more.

Next was our first visit to the Main Stage, where we spent most of the day eventually. Joined by a supporting cast of really nice and mad in a nice way people from all over the world; South Africa, Brazil and Brighton at least. It was hard to refuse the offer of a free beer from the South African blokes and even shhhhh…… whisper it; a small toke on one of their spliffs! The Pigeon Detectives were on for me they are  just bland identikit indie pop. Although Nick wouldn’t agree with that. In their favour they are very hardworking. Seasick Steve was next up on the Main Stage. What can I say? Well for starters he is a supreme talent with way more charisma and stage presence than Liam Gallagher even when sat down. Amazingly he was joined on stage for most of his set by none other than John Paul Jones off of Led Zeppelin. We saw a couple from Tribes who were pretty good. we then paid our daily visit to the comedy tent to see Michael Fabbri who was very filthy and very funny.

Madness or should that be Mudness (thanks for that one Nick) were next on the Main Stage. When I first read that they were on the bill some months ago I wondered whether they would be able to really pull it off. Well I am happy to report that they did in bucketloads. This was probably the best ever loved up party vibe I have ever seen in 20 odd years of going to this festival at Reading. It even included a mosh conga. Jimmy Eat World were next; they were very good but who could have followed Madness? The National were an excellent chilled out close to the afternoon session and a good precursor to Pulp. If the members of the Doors were born in the 80’s they may have sounded like the National and I will have to download some of their stuff soon too.

Pulp, who were sharing top billing at the Festival with the Strokes were next on the Main Stage; from the simply stated laser phrase show at the start to the brilliant and perfect closer “Common People” they were truly fucking awesome. Jarvis Cocker is a certified genius who has immense stage craft and worked the audience to perfection. Richard Hawley was also on stage with them.  The Strokes closed the day and as expected were very, very good, but for me not quite as good as Pulp. Jarvis joined them for a great version of the Cars’ “Just What I Needed”. So sadly only one day to go now but it looks like a good one!

 

Reading Festival 2011 – The Preview August 25, 2011

Filed under: Observation — justwilliam1959 @ 9:34 pm
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So here we are then just hours away from the kick off of the Reading and Leeds festivals which means you’ll shortly get to hear my opinions on all that I see this weekend. Well I suppose that to some degree does depend on exactly what I see; some things that go on at festival stay at festival. So perhaps I won’t mention scotch eggs! I reckon some of you could put 2 and 2 together about that and not many of you would reach an answer of 4. I will be at the Reading end of the festival, despite living very close to the Leeds site. Why would I do this I hear you ask? Well because
Reading for me is the original annual rock festival. Plus it is my annual meet up with my good friend Nick Horslen. A kind of Grumpy Old Men do the festival kind of vibe.

The headliners are My Chemical Romance, Pulp/ The Strokes (joint headliners) and Muse. Of that bunch I am mostly looking forward to Pulp. Muse will be playing the whole of their ‘Origin of Symmetry’ album. It’s the 10th anniversary year of the release of that one. I have seen Muse three times before and loved them every time. However I am a little torn this time as their set clashes with a headline set in one of the tents by 2 Many DJs. I love their mash-up mix tape efforts and I have always wanted to see them.

I always like to check out bands with interesting names that I have never heard of as well. So this year I shall definitely try to get to see She Keeps Bees.

If there is anyone you think I should check out feel free to let me know and if you’re going to be at Reading yourself come and say hello.
It’s adios for now while I go to the darkest recesses of the shed to try to find my steel toe-capped wellies!

 

 
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