With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Soma Crew – The Crescent, York – Tuesday 24th May 2022 May 29, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:02 pm
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A gig on a Tuesday is never a super appealing night, is it? I always prefer Thursdays and the weekend. But sometimes something draws you in and here it was Percy and Soma Crew, two bands that I have seen before; frankly, neither of them has ever been anything but sensational. So a Tuesday gig it was! First up, for their first-ever gig, was the New Solar Drones. Their first couple of songs reminded me musically of early R.E.M and perhaps lyrically some tones of early Eels. I love that the band has a percussionist, there are not enough of them in music any more. This dude looked a little like Elton John’s long-time percussionist, Ray Cooper. The bass player stood out with his 5-string bass guitar, it’s not often that you see anything but a 4-string bass. But ignoring the number of strings, he played a magnificent bass rumble throughout the set. Their last track was truly epic, very proggy with shades of Genesis, Focus, and Jethro Tull, but still definitely very original. This is definitely a band to keep an eye (and your ears) on!

The New Solar Drones

Next on the floor, yes this was a floor show just in front of the stage, was Percy a.k.a. west Yorkshire Superheroes. They have a new album coming out next month and it is bloody ace. The obvious comparison people make when they hear Percy for the first time is the Fall. But this bunch goes so much deeper than that. I hear punk, C86, and thanks to Andy’s towering bass lines a little of Flea’s finest bass licks. Meanwhile, Paula’s keys add a Doorsian weirdness to the whole thing. The older songs are fast becoming live classics, particularly “Will Of The People” which seems likely to remain topical forever! New tunes “What Lez Said” and “ICU” are very classy indeed. But the high point for me was probably the warped magnificence of “Chunks” which confirms that all is well on Planet Percy!

PERCY

Headliners Soma Crew is a deeply talented band laid-back, psyched-out and grungy sometimes at the same time! They use that drone sound really well but these magnificent noiseniks are so much more than a drone-driven shoegaze kind of band. Their influences run very deep, even drawing on the blues at times. The use of subtle looping works really well and while there are definitely some 60s influences underlying the songs Soma Crew are undoubtedly a band planted very firmly in the 21st Century. Si Micklethwaite, singer, songwriter, and guitarist was absolutely on fire in this set a truly mountainous performance. I hear so many influences in the Soma Crew sound; Jonathan Richman, Beatles (in their most experimental moments, Pink Floyd (circa 1970/71), Spiritualized, and even 60s West Coast light rock. But none of that detracts at all from the fact that they are a great band and there is not another band quite like Soma Crew.

Soma Crew

All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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Newen Afrobeat – The Crescent, York – Wednesday 18th May 2022 May 25, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:05 pm
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I had been looking forward to this gig for a while and it was one of those occasional shows where my Catwoman (a.k.a. my wonderful wife Catherine) joined me. Why does she only come to some? well my taste is ridiculously eclectic, while Catwoman has great taste it is not as wide as mine, so I would never take her to a punk or metal show. But enough of us we were here at the mighty Crescent in York to witness Newen Afrobeat in the flesh. On paper, a Chilean band playing Afrobeat doesn’t sound right, but who cares about paper, on stage, they were something stratospherically special. A combination of Latin rhythms and beats combined with the kind of Afrobeats forged by the late great Fela Kuti was mesmerising and I am pretty sure everyone in the crowd was on their feet for the whole set. At one point there were at least thirteen band members on stage, I don’t think I have ever seen that many people on the Crescent stage! There were drums, percussion, guitars, keyboards, amazing brass, and two incredibly energetic singers who frankly danced the rest of us off the floor!

The band kicked off with an instrumental track before the two singers bounded on stage and upped the already high energy level even more. Their original material is incredible and their covers of Fela Kuti songs are played in such a way that the tunes are taken to another level completely. I have been listening to their ‘Newen Plays Fela’ EPs and they do absolute justice to the master but the live versions are blisteringly good. “Zombie” was an absolutely immaculate performance! Newen Afrobeat has played some huge festivals, including Felabration in Lagos, but seeing a band this good in such an intimate setting makes it a mind-blowing experience. They were joined on stage by a true giant of Afrobeat, Dele Sosimi, for a few songs. Who would have thought that they could sound even better, but they did when Sosimi joined them. I heard on good authority that the band and Sosimi went to Young Thugs Studio in York the next day to record together. I am looking forward to that stuff! The band has quite a few dates left on their European Tour (check the tour poster at the top of this post). If you can get to any of them you really should, this is a band that I suspect could never disappoint even if they tried. Next time they are in my neck of the woods I will be there!

All pictures, except the tour poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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Crow Black Chicken – The Crescent, York – Monday 11th April 2022 April 18, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 6:31 pm
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Until this show, I had never seen Crow Black Chicken before, but I have seen both the support bands before. First up was Sweet May who I saw for the first time just over three weeks ago back in March. This is a power trio whose music comes screaming out of the bleeding, still-beating heart of 70s rock. Think Thin Lizzy, Free, Bad Company, and maybe even Rainbow. Will, Piers, and Al are supremely talented in their own right and they come to more than the sum of their parts as a sublime hard-rocking unit. I want to single out one of the band for a big shout out though. There are poor drummers, there are ok drummers, there are good drummers and every so often there is a great drummer. Step up from your drum stool and take a bow Al Perry, you really are a great drummer! Particular highlights of Sweet May‘s set for me were “Deep Space” and “Insane”. The latter had the power and passion to take the roof off the venue. Thankfully that didn’t actually happen and I am very pleased to say that the Crescent remains intact.

Sweet May

Next up it was Doghouse Derelicts, another band I was witnessing for just the second time, the first was just over four weeks ago. They sounded like early Doobie Brothers with Joe Walsh on guitar and some classy Eaglesesque harmonies at times. This really feels like a band at the top of their game, although I suspect they have a fair bit more in the tank too. “Wasted” and “Where I’m From” were early highlights in a great set. At one point the band introduced a rapper, Dandy, to join them on stage. Now on paper that combination really doesn’t sound like it would work at all. But on stage, it was a fucking masterstroke. Dandy enhanced a couple of already great tunes, particularly set closer “I Don’t Care”. Given that the crowd was quite sparse, well it was a Monday night, this was a banging, brilliant set from Doghouse Derelicts.

Doghouse Derelicts

Finally, it was time for the headliners Crow Black Chicken who gave us some ace fuzzed up, bluesy, swampy, funky, dirty US deep south rock. The band is in fact from the deep south …….. of Ireland! Think Lynyrd Skynyrd, Canned Heat, ZZ Top and Creedence Clearwater Revival with an undertow of Little Feat and that might give you a little of what Crow Black Chicken sounds like. Lead singer Christy O’Hanlon has a rough-edged, raspy, soulful voice that was made for blues-rock. His guitar work was incredible too. The band is a real live force of nature. Bassist Stephen McGrath gurns every note that he rips out of his bass guitar. He plays notes that many other bass players couldn’t. The way he partners seamlessly with drummer Gev Barrett in a rhythm section reminiscent of John Bonham and John Paul Jones is sublime. It really is hard to tell sometimes that Crow Black Chicken is not an authentic deep south US band, but that does not make them copyists. They really are a fine original band that knows how to rock. I loved the song about Oliver Cromwell and the tribute to Weather Report’s late great Jaco Pastorius. But my favourite of the whole evening was a tune about cults and in particular Jim Jones. Every song was a blinder though, Crow Black Chicken‘s set was definitely all killer, no filler! Check them out NOW people!

Crow Black Chicken

All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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The Ukrainians – The Crescent, York – Saturday 9th April 2022 April 17, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:09 pm
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This was a benefit for the refugees fleeing from Putin’s war and brutality in Ukraine and fittingly was headlined by the Ukrainians, an English band of Ukrainian heritage. They are the first band to fuse western rock and punk music with traditional Ukrainian Folk Music. But more of them later as there were some rather classy support acts on first. La Rissa was the opening act, on her own rather than the usual duo as the drummer was sidelined thanks to that bastard Covid. What does La Rissa sound like? Like the legacy of the early 80s Blitz Kids. The illegitimate offspring of Steve Strange and a post-Vince Clarke Depeche Mode with David Bowie acting as midwife. She has a great selection of simply gorgeous synth sounds which at times took me back to very early Human League. Her voice soars over the music and she has some rather excellent songs. The highlights for me were “Ultraviolence” and “A Man’s World”. But the track that topped even both of those was “Eat The Rich”, which definitely deserves to be described as awesome! Get La Rissa into your lives now.

La Rissa

Next up was 1919, a band who have a considerably lengthy timeline having originally formed in Bradford back in 1980. They went their separate ways in 1984, however, thanks to the birth of streaming their early recordings saw a hearty interest in 1919 maintained. This culminated in the band reforming in 2014 with most of the original members. They have released two albums since then and appear to be building up a great following. The band’s sound has so much in it. There is punk, post-punk, and goth amongst so much more. Imagine the Psychedelic Furs forming a supergroup with the Sisters Of Mercy but only playing punk songs with passion and supported by a guitarist who sounds like a fully punked-up The Edge from U2. 1919 have some staggeringly good songs in their canon. In particular “Caged”, “Dream” and “Anxiety”. Although, despite such great competition and quality, for me, nothing could top the towering splendour of “Cry Wolf”. If you love great music check out 1919.

1919

Finally, it was time for the headliners, the Ukrainians. These guys are a truly awesome party band fusing traditional Ukrainian folk with western rock influences drawn from classic rock, punk, and post-punk. They are a band that proves very strongly the point that music is a universal language. I only speak English, but did that stop me from enjoying a set in which all the songs were sung in Ukrainian? Of course, it didn’t! The super, super-fast workout out on the traditional Ukrainian folk dance number “Hopak” was truly immense beyond words. Everyone in the crowd, particularly the hardcore fans near the front, performed their own interpretive dance to it, as requested by the band. As for me I just performed a very light Frug near the speakers. The band’s cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Venus In Furs” with Ukrainian lyrics, which might have been about drinking, was a work of genius. During a short tuning break, one of the band read out the words to the Ukraine National Anthem. Very powerful and inspiring words which show up the UK National Anthem for the vile, dull dirge that it is. There was another cover, this time of the 60s Mamas and Papas smash, “California Dreamin'” and this was a total psych fest. They played one of the first songs that they ever wrote, which is about a soldier going away to fight for his country and asking his countrymen to pray for him. As the band said the world has come full circle since then. They wrote this song 30 years ago, around the time that Ukraine became an independent state back in 1991. перемога україни!

All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip – The Crescent, York – Saturday 5th March 2022 March 8, 2022


I was able to attend this gig with our newest writer, Juan Brooks, and just before the gig over a couple of hot coffees (we’re proper rock ‘n’ roll) we decided to do this review as a collaboration. So while it is written in the first person the thoughts and words are from both of us. This is a different approach for us and we hope that you like it! being back at the Crescent (a first-time visit for Juan) was great and Joe, Head Honcho of Please Please You, and one of the Crescent’s Kingpins had lined up a great show. Sadly one great band, Cowgirl, had to pull out thanks to that bastard Covid. First up were the Surfing Magazines a relatively new garage-rock group from Leeds. They are made up of two-thirds of The Wave Pictures and one-half of Slow Club. Their surf-style instrumentals were spectacularly good and on these the Surfing Magazines really came into their own. The Dick Dale guitar licks were brilliant. Their cover of Jonathan Richman’s “Egyptian Reggae” transformed the tune into something that would be perfect on a Tarantino soundtrack. In fact, the Surfing Magazines would make an excellent choice as a bar band in a Tarantino film. Their country rock vocal harmonies were incredibly powerful and at times were reminiscent of the Everly Brothers, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and even Beatlesesque in some parts. The guitarist was supremely versatile going from the aforementioned Dick Dale, some Bo Diddley riffs, and the intricacy of Television’s Tom Verlaine. Even the broken guitar string didn’t phase the ace axeman. A powerfully good band!

We had both listened to some tracks from the headliner, Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip before the gig and neither of us could put them into any specific genre. Mik has elements of observational comedy across a great rock sound. But that is only part of what and who he is. Both of us had perma grins for the whole set, if you failed to smile during Mik’s set then you need your happy muscles checked. Mik is a very funny bloke and a great observer of the minutiae of human life. Almost every song has some everyday references from Dad muscles, playing horsey, betting shop pens, stuff you find down the back of the armchair and libraries. Indeed “Libraries” is an awesome track. Mik appears to be completely chaotic, but clearly knows what he is doing and that just plays to him putting on a great performance and a wonderful show. His energy is boundless, is he really 66? While he uses the spoken word approach a lot he does possess a fabulous singing voice that flits from punk, to rock, to folk, and onto ballads. There were so many highlights, “The Zumba Sign’s Come Down” and “Acoustic Synthesiser” are weird, wacky, and wonderfully hilarious. Meanwhile “DB Was A Funny Man” is a song of genius about the Dame himself, Mr. Bowie. Mik weaves in a few excerpts from Bowie hits into it too, notably “run for the shadows, run for the shadows” and “whop whop whop” from Bowie’s “Golden Years”. He also manages o get some Van Morrison elements in there too. The main highlight for both of us was “Sweet Leaf Of The North”, the whole introductory preamble and story, and then the song itself. Apparently Iggy Pop chose this as one of his highlights of the last decade. Sounds like he’s a big fan. Mik creates a sense of northern belonging and togetherness with his followers and has great fun with the audience. His affectionate and heartfelt mickey take of Vinny the sound guy was excellent too. It is worth pointing out that his band, particularly the guitarist Jonny Flockton are blessed with huge musical talent and are the perfect foil for Mik’s performance. Juan perhaps summed up Mik in one sentence by saying “for me, he is a modern-day Northern Ian Dury“! So difficult to argue with that. Both Juan and I have become Mik Artistik evangelists and will be telling everyone we meet that they need to see Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip live!

Written by Bill Adamson and Juan Brooks

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Pennine Suite – The Crescent, York – Friday 21st January 2022 January 30, 2022


This was a rescheduled show from that slack period between Christmas and New Year and I was so pleased it was rescheduled as otherwise, I would have missed it. It was also amazing to catch up with so many old friends, maybe, just maybe, we are getting back to some kind of normal. This was going to be my first opportunity to see the headliners, Pennine Suite. But before I talk about them there were three support bands who were rather spiffingly good!

The first band to take the stage was Honeytrap who I first saw back in November 2021 at the Fulford Arms when they supported Seagoth. Back then I described their set as fucking awesome! I stand by that for this show too, although I will add one word to the original two and say that they were super fucking awesome! I can sense an ancestral link with some of the finest British bands, including the Verve and the Small Faces. Kell Chambers’s vocals suggested he could give Steve Marriott and Richard Ashcroft a run for their money. His voice is soulful, passionate and at times shows he can make delicate sounds just like Kurt Cobain in the quieter Nirvana moments. Will Daniels’s guitar work is among the finest of his generation and has at least some roots back to Jonny Greenwood, John Squire, and Bernard Butler. Bassist James Butterworth kept the band ticking over with his finely tuned Rolls Royce bass lines. Meanwhile, drummer John Gilbert was absolutely on fire. This was a near-perfect set, but if you made me pick my favourite part under threat of death then I would plump for “Renegade” which was stunning. If you haven’t seen or heard Honeytrap yet then you need to rectify that immediately!

Next, it was the turn of Trueman and the Indoor League who I first saw back in October at the Crescent when they were supporting Avalanche Party. In those few months, the band has upped their game even further. Trueman is a real showman who puts across his kitchen sink, soap opera, everyday life stories like Jarvis Cocker on speed. Lyrically they are perhaps bedfellows with early Suede, the Arctic Monkeys, and Pulp, which is good company in my opinion. The band has a saxophonist this time and that broadens their sound wonderfully. As a result, they came across like a Poundland E Street Band (and I mean that in a good way) with a shot of 80s live Bowie!

 Tonight’s penultimate band was Pavilion. I last saw them back in those heady pre-Covid days of February 2020 at the Victoria Vaults in York when they supported the Golden Age Of TV. They were good then and they are even better now. Definitely one of York’s finest bands. The set tonight sounded at times like a stripped-down Cream with the odd injection of Inspiral Carpets. Olly’s guitar was at times sublime, while Noah’s vocals were first class. Even more impressive was that Olly and Noah had also played as a part of the Indoor League just before.

This was my first opportunity to see Pennine Suite live, I had seen their previous incarnation the Receivers, who are sadly no more. The band retains Nick, Louis, and Harry from that band and now they have become a five-piece with the addition of Louise and Moses. Would they just be the Receivers 2.0? Most certainly not, the expansion to a bigger band has enhanced the sound magnificently. Nick was a good frontman in the Receivers and now he is a great frontman his confidence, swagger, and voice have grown at an explosively exponential rate! There were some Receivers songs in the set, “Only Human” and “Impatience” were particular standouts. The band showed their added versatility with Louise taking vocal duties for one tune. Pennine Suite have hit the ground running and tonight they played with the firepower of a Saturn V rocket. Particularly Louis who played the drums like the fate of the planet depended on it! The Receivers are dead, long live Pennine Suite!

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A Slow Education – Day 2 – The Crescent, York – Saturday 23rd October 2021 November 7, 2021


Three bands down after Day 1 just seven to go on Day 2 of the rather marvellous A Slow Education mini Festival at one of York’s finest venues, the Crescent. Perspex took to the stage first and it is always good to have such a lively band to kick off proceedings at the start of what looked like a great day of music. Perspex have a tank full of energy and probably a whole bunch of jerry cans full of the stuff too. At their peak, they sound like prime time Clash with vocal phrasings like Steve Harley. Who doesn’t love Perspex? I was lucky enough to review Cowgirl’s eponymously titled first album a couple of months back so I was looking forward to hearing some of the new songs played live and they did not disappoint. If Carlsberg made garage rock it would probably sound like Cowgirl. This band is an MC5 for the 21st Century. The Lounge Society were next and lounge is not something they do. This is psyched up, punchy, funky rock with a hard edge, definitely not music for a relaxing night in your lounge. It is music made to make you move around maniacally while balancing like a crazed high wire walker on that fine line between genius and madness. Bands are definitely looking so much younger to old farts like me these days, but lead singer Cameron Davey belies those youthful looks with just the right measure of rock-star swagger and menace. The Lounge Society are truly a band for our age.

Cowgirl
Bull

If you like your rock sharp, funky and angular a la Talking Heads then I have no doubt that you will love the majestic Treeboy & Arc. There are some heartfelt punky vocals across some outstanding tunes that tell of real life. Bass player James Kay is bloody good and must be close to the bass skills of Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. This is funk-punk for music maniacs. This band is not afraid to show off their skyscraping, jacked-up riffs that underpin some colossal, towering tunes. Next on stage were the band that I have seen more than any other in 2021, but thanks to these bastard Covid days that is only three times. I am talking about one of York’s mightiest bands, Bull. This was another stunning set from a band that is great on record and truly awesome in the live environment. The new songs take their sublime harmonies to another level, definitely to Beach Boys proportions. Not sure why, but I have a strange vision of Bull recording and acapella cover of They Might Be Giants’ “Birdhouse In Your Soul”. Also how about a Monkees style TV show featuring scenes from Bull mansions where the ban get into all kinds of surreal adventures and psychedelic japes. That needs to be made, right? Billy Nomates might genuinely have no mates and no band on stage with her but she has balls. To take to the stage with just a laptop and stun the crowd into a trancey submission so easily takes supreme skill and she has that in abundance. Her beats are huge and so is her social conscience. Vocally she scores 11/10 for me, I am now most definitely a Billy Nomates fan. Headliners Warmduscher was highly recommended to me and I had listened to a lot of their stuff before this show. The name “Warmduscher” is German and the term literally means ‘hot showerer’, which implies the idea of someone unwilling to step out of their comfort zone or do things that make them feel uncomfortable. It stems from a German myth that taking a cold shower is considered masculine. So is this a band unwilling to step out of their comfort zone, I don’t think so. This is a great bunch of musicians from Fat White Family and Paranoid London. Their post-punk sound is enhanced by some great tunes but I felt their performance was lacklustre and lacked sparkle on the night. Maybe it was the ridiculously long soundcheck or the heavy reliance on vocal effects pedals by vocalist Clams Baker Jr. Mate you have a good voice stop messing with all the effects stuff. The jury is out for me on Warmduscher, so I hope I caught them on an off night, but I need to see them again to confirm.

Treeboy & Arc

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A Slow Education – Day 1 – The Crescent, York – Friday 22nd October 2021 November 6, 2021


A two day mini-festival at the Crescent in York, now that was a proposition too good to miss, so I didn’t, I was there for the whole caboodle and now I need to tell you what I thought of the bands and artists that appeared. Missing Kids were first and they have some great guitar work and incredibly tight drumming. I found them to be a bit shoegaze but with much bigger beats, certainly at the start of their set, but the riffage towards the end was very Strokesy. This is most definitely a good band. The second band to take the stage was Bleach Lab who produce dream indie-pop straight from the DNA of Liz Fraser (Cocteau Twins). Their sometimes inward-looking songs are brought to life by their captivating and enchanting frontwoman Jenna Kyle. The bass was deep and thunderous at times with a dub feel akin to Jah Wobble.

Bleach Lab

Headliners for day 1 were Yard Act from Leeds, a band that on paper probably wouldn’t work, but on stage and on record there really is no stopping them. Instrumentally they have classic rock, prog rock, and a powerful and hypnotic Burundi style dual drummer sound, but with only one drummer. Guitarist Sammy Robinson is an understated axe genius from the same planet as Bill Nelson. Singer James Smith hits you like John Cooper Clarke on steroids. He makes the punky story tunes come to life and he has a superb interaction with the audience. Sir Elton John is a big fan too. Their debut album drops in January and based on this evidence it will be immense!

Yard Act

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Avalanche Party – The Crescent, York – Sunday 17th October 2021 October 27, 2021


Finally, real gigs are coming back and on a regular basis too. This was the first full-on Avalanche Party gig I have seen since Covid hit, although they did do a great socially distanced show at the Crescent last December. Anyway, it is now official that I have seen this great band more times than I ever saw David Bowie, but a couple less than I have seen Frank Turner. But before I say more about Avalanche Party there were a couple of great support bands. First up was the Hazy Janes who exploded onto the stage like a two-man Led Zeppelin. Drummer Bron and guitarist and singer Ellis formed during lockdown and are clear proof that some good things did happen during the darkest of Covid days. Very regular readers might recognise Bron from previous mentions of Hunter-Gatherer and Ellis from previous mentions of Freek. Bron’s drumming huge and Ellis’s guitar skills have a lineage back through classic British rock to the Yardbirds. Meanwhile, his voice could compete with Paul Rodgers, Robert Plant, and many more. Next, it was the turn of Trueman whose songs are soap opera kitchen sink dramas that cover topics like cold calls, Flares (the awful nightclub chain where your feet usually stick to the floor), and boredom to name just a few. The frontman is like a very angry Ian McNabb at times, and I do mean that in a good way. The band is an incredibly tight unit, but what stands out most are the great tunes, especially the lyrics!

Those magnificent, sumptuous, unmatchable, mighty, matchless, sublime, peerless, resplendent, swanky, clinquant delinquents of Avalanche Party, probably the best band on the planet right now, took to the stage with moody menace and the crowd was singer Jordan’s from the first note. To steal a quote from a good friend (thank you Simon P) “there ain’t no party like an Avalanche Party” and this was a spectacular call to arms from a great band. The boys tore the roof off the Crescent and left us all feeling happy and high. Jordan was on great form and no one does that 10,000 yard stare better than he does, if you think differently bite me! Every song was a highlight from set opener “I’m So Wet” all the way to “Dream Jonny Dream”. But if you forced me to pick the highlights it would have to be “Million Dollar Man”, “Rebel Forever” and an absolutely glam storming version of “Howl”. In a parallel universe “Howl” has been at the top of the singles chart for three years. The sophomore Avalanche Party album when it arrives will be something very special!

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Bull – The Crescent, York – Friday 24th September 2021 September 27, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:03 pm
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A sell out gig at the Crescent in York? Yes I kid you not, the first sell out I have been to since before Covid and it feels damned good to be back to proper gigs. This was a delayed album launch tour from local heroes Bull who released their fabulous debut album ‘Discover Effortless Living’. But before the main attraction there were a couple of support bands that I need to tell you about. First it was the wonderfully named Fat Spatula. They put on an intense and powerful performance and they are clearly a tight band. But what are Fat Spatula actually like? Well the recipe for me was a few ounces of Talking Heads from David Byrne’s oversized jacket peak, a couple of fried Devo stock cubes. a hugely rich Modern Lovers sauce all served with the funkiest condiments you could imagine. I guess it was all mixed nicely using a fat spatula, right? Anyway, I like this band a lot and I will definitely be queueing up for second helpings sometime in the future.

Next it was the turn of a Hull band who are clearly not particularly enamoured by vowels, they are called bdrmm. They are a kind proggy shoegazey style but with extra added industrial sound and drone at times. Maybe there was even a bit of a Cure influence in there too. I think bdrmm are clearly accomplished musicians and they also feel like the sort of band I might listen to while smoking a fat one! I particularly liked the drums, although the drums on one track were very reminiscent of Toni Basil’s “Mickey” (thank you for pointing that out Eddie P).

Finally it was time for the main attraction, Bull. They are a 21st century Byrds with a distinctly heavier psych vibe than Roger McGuinn’s gang. Bull are a band that really know what they are doing and they do it supremely well. This was a local crowd for them and we were captivated by every note. Someone that I spoke to before the show described Bull as ramshackle, I disagree, I would say intense and informal, while never hiding their sense of fun. If this band do not become huge then the matrix or the multiverse (pick your cinematic universe) is broken. They were joined by an awesome brass section towards the end of the set which included singer Tom Beer on trombone. Get out and see this band and buy or stream their debut album, you need Bull in your life!

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