With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Billie Marten, Epilogues, Laura Kindelan – The Basement, City Screen, York – Tuesday 11th July 2017 July 12, 2017


This wonderful, intimate venue was home to a wonderful and intimate gig on Tuesday night courtesy of the talented Mr Simon Pattinson of Northern Radar. Mr P always puts together some excellent packages and I would like to congratulate him on his first sell out gig, may there be many more! Incidentally if you spot any gig promoted by Northern Radar give it a shot, Simon has never let me down in all the years I have known him.

Anyway tonight was a really chilled acoustic gathering kicked off by Laura Kindelan from York. For me Laura evokes what might have been had Jeff Buckley been female. This girl has so much soul in her voice and also a magnificently chilled and carefree style. She also has some great songs, “Sweet Tooth” is achingly, stunningly beautiful and I love it.

I first saw tonights second act, Epilogues back at this same venue in September last year when Mikey was supporting Jordan Mackampa. I liked him then and I still do. He said that he was nervous at the start of his set, but it really didn’t show. He has a great vocal range which is suggestive of both Thom Yorke in his softer moments and David Bowie circa 1969. The name Epilogues suggests closure but this fella has so much to offer that maybe he should become Prologues.

Billie Marten was the headliner tonight although she did say that she was blown away by the support. But whilst everyone tonight put in great performances for me Billie definitely shaded it. How many “Internet Sensations” (Billie came to prominence via her own YouTube channel as a young girl and then on a local YouTube channel called Ont’ Sofa) have true talent? I would wager that not many do, but Billie Marten has talent in spades. Her performance evokes a slight spirit of Joni Mitchell but she is also very much her own woman. “Cartoon People” belies the fact that Billie is only eighteen, it is a powerful song about Donald Trump and his daughter. It is a great song that would win over anyone in possession of a brain and a heart. This young lady will go far and she deserves to. She also shared some of her home baked cake with us and I can tell you that it was damned fine too.

 

Jordan Mackampa – City Screen Basement York – Tuesday 20th September 2016 September 20, 2016


jordan-mackampa

Here I am at yet another gig put on by my good friend Simon Pattinson. He has never let me down yet, will he keep his 100% record? Read the whole review to figure out the answer. (No pressure Mr P!). This was a gig that the delightful Catwoman (a.k.a. my beautiful wife Catherine) joined me for and unlike the Gary Numan debacle from a few years ago she really enjoyed it, as did I.

First up was a young man called Mikey who appeared under the name Epilogues. He is a singer songwriter with some really good songs and an excellent and savvy use of technology including playing through his phone some elements that he had recorded earlier. He had some problems with his G String and before you go all Carry On Films on me I mean on his guitar. He overcame that and a slight bit of nervousness with aplomb and played a great set. To me he came across as a more folk based and influenced multi instrumentalist along the lines of Jack Garratt. Mikey also possesses a great voice, this bloke has a lot of potential. Incidentally I need to apologise to Mikey as I didn’t get a picture of him for this post, sorry mate!

crispin

Crispin Halcrow

Crispin Halcrow was next up, I first saw him supporting Adams French back in January at this same venue. He was good then and he has also improved too. He has some beautiful songs some of which are easily on a par with Billy Joel‘s “So It Goes” which he covered tonight. One of Crispin’ s compositions “Say Goodbye” (at least that is what I think it was called) was a wonderfully sad song that also contained great beauty. Maybe I’m mad here, but I reckon Rod Stewart would make an excellent cover of that song. Crispin from Kendal remains reminiscent of the likes of Seth Lakeman for me. He is most definitely an artist with great potential.

Amy May Ellis

Amy May Ellis

The next act to take the stage was Amy May Ellis accompanied by her ukulele. She is a great talent with a haunting and siren like voice which weaves the words of her songs with a soaring grace. I reckon she would be one of the few artists that I have seen that could also do her whole set acapella with no detrimental effect. She readily admits to being no comedian, but here jokes (one about a polar bear and the other about snowmen) were pretty good. As for the swearing song, was it called “Existential Life Crisis”? That was brilliantly and wickedly funny. Amy is a prodigious talent and someone that I would definitely pay to see again.

jordan

Jordan Mackampa

Now it was time for the main man, Jordan Mackampa on what was the seventh show of his first UK headline tour. He is a proper and very talented showman. Imagine how John Legend might sound if he sang behind a guitar rather than a keyboard. Jordan plays and writes supremely soulful and emotional folk rock music. I also really enjoyed those woo woo backing vocals he had us in the audience performing too. Catwoman and I harmonised really well, at least I think that we did! “Colours” is an amazingly poignant song. It brought tears to my eyes and made me think of two people very close to me that are currently battling that evil bastard of a disease known as cancer. You both know who you are and I want you to know that I love you and I will always be there for you. Jordan has some immensely inspirational songs which really touch our simple human emotions. I can see myself listening to him a lot in future.

 

 

 

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.

 

Wolf Gang – York City Screen Basement 16th November 2010 November 17, 2010


Having received the regular newsletter from Man Is Slapped recently I found that for the first time in ages I was able to attend one of his gigs. This would be the second time I have seen him at the York City Screen Basement, but more of him later. When I arrived I was greeted by the wonderful sound of Tom Waits playing over the house PA, including the fabulous “Hoist That Rag”. That just made me feel that this was set to be a good night and for once my instincts weren’t wrong, it was a great night.

First up were Detronik. Imagine a large serving of 80s Sheffield electro a la Human League and a couple of spoonfuls of the Stone Roses and Madchester at it’s 90s peak. Are you there? Well that’s how these guys made me feel. They were bloody good and if they were around in the 80s they would have cleaned up completely. I really loved their set, especially closing number “Death To The Disco”. Check out the band on MySpace and the original lineup on YouTube.

Man Is Slapped

Man Is Slapped was the second of three acts and this will be the third time I have seen him play. If you put down what he does on paper (or perhaps in a blog post) you would surely think that this shouldn’t work. But it does work and it works so very well. He played a few new songs from his new EP; Socially Inept which as a fan I obviously purchased. He also di his usual thing of sampling his own sound and vocals in order to provide backing for his songs. Is there anyone else about that can actually do this? Even if there are I doubt that they would be better than Mr Slapped. he even expanded his sound on a couple of songs by using a guitar. Perhaps the next EP will be ‘Man Is Slapped Goes Punk’? He also played a brief electro interlude advertising his web presence and CD for sale. He should be much, much bigger, make it so dear readers! Check him out on MySpace here and also on YouTube here.

Wolf Gang - but this is clearly not a lion and it's clearly not in a cage!

Finally it was the turn of the headliners, I must confess that until tonight I had never heard them and whilst Detronik and Man Is Slapped were excellent I think Wolf Gang surpassed them. They were truly stupendous and excellent band, especially the drummer. The vocalist was also very, very good. The blurb on the gig poster suggests that they go some way to mashing together Talking Heads and Empire Of The Sun. I wouldn’t disagree with this but I would also add that there was an element of early Simple Minds in there too, back in the days when Jim Kerr‘s boys were actually good. I would certainly pay to see this band again and if they’re playing near you it would be foolish and negligent of you to miss them. The next couple of weeks will see them play Glasgow, Sheffield, Brighton, Birmingham, Southampton, London, Bristol and Manchester. I hope they play at the Reading Festival next year. They finished their set with their new single “Lions In Cages” which is released on 22nd November, buy it and make them a happy band. Then they will then be just like me for I went home a happy man! Check them out on MySpace by clicking here and their own website by clicking here and then enjoy a couple more Wolf Gang videos below;

 

 
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