With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

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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Sunflower Thieves and Epilogues – Songs Under Skies – National Centre For Early Music (NCEM), York – Wednesday 16th June 2021 July 5, 2021


This was the final show of 5 of the second series of Songs Under Skies (the last was September 2020) in the grounds of the iconic and frankly gorgeous York venue the National Centre For Early Music (NCEM). Tonight we had even more local talent proving once again that York and Yorkshire bloody rock it! Before it all started though, I had the opportunity for a long chat with the supremely talented Laura Kindelan. I am definitely looking to more music from her! (No pressure Laura!) First up was Epilogues a.k.a. Mikey who regular readers will have spotted on these pages before. By his own admission Mikey writes many sad songs, but he does fill them with truly stupendous lyrics. His second song of the evening was “Sixteen” from his new EP released a few months back, yes it was a sad song, but truly beautiful too. “The Gap” was absolute epic Epilogues, even with what Mikey referred to as a nightmare chord. I loved “Two Weeks” which I believe is about a broken relationship. Mikey gave us some idiosyncratic ad libs while tuning his guitar, including the line “and the crowd went mild”. I may have to borrow that in the future. My favourite song from this set was a new one, “I’m Just Glad That You Stayed”.

Next up were an act that I had not seen or heard before, Sunflower Thieves. They are purveyors of perfectly matched voices and heavenly harmonies. They kicked off their set with the sublime “Don’t mind The Weather” which was released as a single this year. It is the perfect song for a beautiful, balmy summer evening. They played a couple of new songs, apologies if I got the titles wrong. “34 Days” and “Going Out With You”. The latter has an early 70s US West Coast coffee bar vibe. It would have fitted perfectly in an acoustic afternoon session at the Troubadour in Los Angeles back in the day. I adore “Hide And Seek” which is about being carefree and being nostalgic for childhood. It evoked many wonderful carefree and youthful memories for me. They played a tune that they wrote with the multi talented Sam Griffiths of the Howl And The Hum, but I missed the title, but it was probably my favourite of the whole night. I also really love “Heavyweight” a song about social anxiety, which I suppose couldn’t be more topical right now. I definitely want to hear more from the Sunflower Thieves and I am sure that I will!

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Alice Simmons and Zak Ford – Songs Under Skies – National Centre For Early Music (NCEM), York – Tuesday 15th June 2021 June 22, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:36 pm
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This was show 4 of 5 of the second series of Songs Under Skies (the last was September 2020) in the grounds of the iconic York venue the National Centre For Early Music (NCEM). Tonight it was the turn of some musical talent that help showcase just what a wonderful hotbed of music York actually is. First to take the tiny stage was Zak Ford who has featured on this blog before as a solo artist and also as vocalist for This House Is Haunted. This was apparently his first gig in two years thanks to Covid. His first song, which I think was called “Use A Light” was very Jeff Buckleyesque in style and delivery. On his next song he unleashed some sublime guitar work which was reminiscent of Jonny Greenwood in one of his more mellow moments. I love “Healing Place”, it is a yearning, proto ballad with an underlying happy vibe. One of my favourite Zak Ford songs is “My Body” and tonight’s rendition maintained the songs haunting beauty. Zak did Bon Iver proud with a sublime cover of “Hey Ma”. Like many musicians Zak has continued to write and he played us a lovely tune called “Hopes And Fears” which he wrote in a very positive frame of mind during the first lockdown last year. I am looking forward to seeing Zak play live again, either solo or as a part of This House Is Haunted.

Next up is another artist who has been featured in these pages before, Alice Simmons. A very talented singer songwriter and performer who I believe has the talent and potential to go a long way. I spoke to Alice earlier in the evening and understandably she was nervous, as almost every artist probably is after a year or more of not being able to perform. But on stage there was not even a hint of nerves from Alice as she glided through a wonderful set with support from the guitar maestro known as Tim Downie. “Bridges” is a plaintive ballad over which Alice’s smoky vocal glides over the tune like a banished angel seeking a return to heaven. Next up was a stunning cover of James Brown’s “It’s Man’s Man’s World” which in the hands of a female vocalist transforms into a feminist anthem. Alice was on top form for this, she has a Winehouse sized talent. She readily admits that she writes mostly sad songs and maybe there is some truth in that, but when they have the depth and quality of the sublime, lilting ballad “State Of Mind” I don’t really mind at all. But for all the sad songs Alice is most definitely a happy person. Alice ran through a great cover of Paolo Nutini’s “Candy”, a song I must confess that I am not very familiar with, but she made it her own. Perhaps my favourite of Alice’s original songs is “Black Coffee”, it has depression, desolation and despair, proving again that she does write sad songs, but oh so very well. She closed her set with an inspired choice of cover, the 25 year old Blackstreet smash “No Diggity”. Alice performed the song like it was made for her, but the real star for this finale was the incredibly funky acoustic guitar sounds from Tim Downie. I recommend you explore both of tonights incredibly talented artists further, you will not be disappointed!

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Katy J Pearson – The Crescent, York – Saturday 5th June 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:29 pm
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This Covid bastard has been hanging around too long, but we will get to the other side. Anyway there is still the occasional socially distanced gig to attend and this was one of those, from the wonderful Joe Coates of Please Please You. This would be my first experience of Katy J Pearson. But before that it was the turn of support act Elkyn. I have seen Elkyn, a.k.a. Joey perform before and I have also previously reviewed a couple of Elkyn singles. I am most definitely an Elkyn fan and I was looking forward to this set. However I was somewhat disappointed, there was a real lack of clarity on the vocals, particularly on the bottom end. It felt like the sound wasn’t mixed well for Joey’s voice. Did he get a sound check? Was he singing too close to the microphone? Was it just where I was sitting? I don’t think it was the latter because the sound for Katy J Pearson was great. I don’t know what it was, but I really felt for him, the crowd, as expected, were very polite. But overall I felt it didn’t really work. So sorry Joey, this is simply my opinion and I remain a fan. The next time will work better I am sure! But regardless of my opinion do check out Elkyn’s music, some other reviews of the night paint a very different picture. (If you want to check out my previous reviews of Elkyn click here, here and here!)

As I said I knew next to nothing about Katy J Pearson, other than she is from the West Country. This date was among a number that were lined up to continue to promote her rather excellent album ‘Return’. If you like US West Coast country rock from the early 70s, or Americana and alt. country nowadays then I reckon you will love Katy J Pearson. She has the slightly warped pop sensibility that Nick Lowe possessed in abundance. On the first song she rocked like a folk rock Clare Grogan. I suspect that for some her voice might be a little Marmite, in that you’ll probably love it or hate it. Personally I love it! “Beautiful Soul” was definitely a highlight for me, a stunningly gorgeous song. “Tonight” also has the makings of a great classic. The US West Coast vibe was most apparent on “Hey You” where Katy channelled Linda Ronstadt with a small vein of Imelda May. The band were incredibly tight and really seemed to be enjoying themselves. Give her album a listen and catch her live when you get the chance.

All the photographs and videos were found on line if one of them is yours and you would like me to credit you or remove it please let me know!

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The Howl And The Hum – York Minster – Tuesday 25th May 2021 June 4, 2021


With proper gigs still a few weeks away I guess I will take live streams and socially distanced shows just to get my music fix. This particular show was of great interest to me for a number of reasons. The Howl And The Hum are a great band from my adopted city, York, their debut album is stunning and the venue was York’s truly iconic Minster. That building was completed around 550 years ago, even if I added my age to the combined age of the band it wouldn’t even come close to that number! Apparently the whole idea of the band playing the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York a.k.a York Minster, began as a joke. Initial suggestions were for the band to drop from the rafters or arrive via jet packs. I guess health and safety rules sadly put paid to that!

Sam Griffiths the Howl And The Hum’s venerable front man, nicely decked out in a cowboy style shirt adorned with skulls and roses, kicked off with a solo rendition of “Hostages”. He sounded like Thom Yorke playing to a tiny audience in an intimate venue. Well if you don’t count those of us watching via the stream it was a small, and I am sure very happy audience. Even watching via the live stream, which unlike Live At Worthy Farm was truly live and not “as live”, I could sense this was a very special show. The sort that people will speak of in reverential hushed tones for many, many years. Griffiths’ vocals were heavenly throughout, perhaps none more so than on “Remedy To Rust”. He was joined by a string section for this tune and I was also entranced by the Neil Young vibes that showed strongly. One of my favourites of the whole set was “A Hotel Song” which deals with suffering existential crises in hotel rooms. This was followed by “Until I Found A Rose” on which the celestial strings enhanced the song to levels even higher than the venue roof.

“Hall Of Fame” deals with the fall out and complexities of a faded, but perhaps not ended relationship. A tune that oozes sadness in a way that not many songs are able to. A lament that would moisten the tear ducts of anyone with even half a heart. For “Terrorforming” we were treated to stunningly beautiful choral support from a women’s choir led by Gina Walters. The song has become one of my most favourite tracks ever. It never fails to instil in me huge confidence and love for life, while at the same time shines a light on the inevitable fact that I now have less years left on this planet than I have spent on it so far. Is that what was intended for these lyrics? I have no idea, but that is how deeply it gets to me! Drummer Jack Williams joined Griffiths and guitarist Conor Hirons for a great run through of one of the Howl And The Hum’s classics, “The Only Boy Racer Left On the Island”. Next “Sweet Fading Silver” built towards a magnificent crescendo before a beautiful melancholy close. Sam Griffiths dedicated a new song, “Thumbs Up” to the bands bass player Bradley Blackwell who sadly missed the gig as he was unwell, I really feel for him, but this band will play huge gigs one day and he will be there for them. Does this song have the only lyric that has ever mentioned ‘Predator 2’? Either way it is a great song and once again I was reminded of Thom Yorke in Sam Griffiths incredible vocal style. I believe that even people who claim to have never heard, or heard of, the Howl And The Hum will know the song they closed the set with. It was “Godmanchester Chinese Bridge” and this was a full on mountainous performance with the band, strings, choir and pretty much everything but the kitchen sink! This is almost certainly the greatest live streamed gig ever! We really need a physical, especially vinyl, release of this monumental gig!

None of the videos are from the gig, but enjoy them anyway. Also click here if you want to see the show, it is only available for a very short time (until 23:59 UK time Sunday 6th June, and it will cost you hardly anything, just £5!

All the photographs and videos were found on line if one of them is yours and you would like me to credit you or remove it please let me know!

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Avalanche Party – The Crescent, York – Friday 18th December 2020 December 23, 2020


Thanks to Covid this is only the third gig I have been to since March 14th, well that is if I count the Receivers set outside Vinyl Eddie’s for Record Store Day Drop 1 in August, and frankly I do count that one!. The second was an outdoor socially distanced show at the Centre for Early Music in York, Elkyn and Fawn played that one in September. But this is the first socially distanced indoor gig I have been to and huge praise and respect to Joe, Chris, Harkirit and all the staff who worked that night. It felt safe, drinks delivered direct to your table. Sure the rules on not singing, shouting and dancing were a bit weird, but it meant we were at a real gig at last. Special thanks and respect to the security guy who had to eject two people for blatant disregard of the rules. Even in these times some people are just dickheads!

Anyway on to the show, Avalanche Party are probably my favourite band in the world right now and 2020 should have been huge for them off the back of the release of their stunning debut album, ’24 Carat Diamond Trephine’ last year. But Covid and the ensuing shitstorm of a year has laid all the best plans to waste. I have seen Avalanche Party more than anyone except for Frank Turner and David Bowie so obviously I had high hopes for this show. I knew we wouldn’t get the usual raucous, sweaty, passionate, punky performance that we have come to expect, but I still had high hopes for the night.

They opened their first set with “Bugzy” with Jordan on keys and vocals, Jared on saxophone, playing in a very Bowie style and Harry from the Black Lagoons on acoustic guitar. This was followed by a magnificent electronic noisefest run through ace single “I’m So Wet”. “Johnny Dream” was like an outtake from ‘Lodger’ period Bowie. Some awesome bass runs from Joe on this one. Jared’s sax was also very Bowiesque too. Kane the drummer finally arrived for “Praise”, an older song, but one that remains epic and anthemic. Hot on the heels of praise was “Money” another true Avalanche Party anthem, and it seemed even more soulful and anthemic in this setting. It was turning into a wonderful Avalanche Party oldies fest as they closed the first set with “Let’s Get Together”, which makes me think that they have always had a bit of glam rock in them.

Perhaps the highlight of the second set were two cover versions, the Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows” and a stunning take on the gospel classic “Wade In The Water” that one gave me goosebumps. “Howl” is a stupendous song and perhaps the bands finest single to date, it was great to hear it in such a stripped back form. Jordan sang a couple of songs solo on stage with only his keyboard to accompany him, one of these was “Rebel Forever” I think. Those two songs really showcased what a fantastically versatile vocalist he is, the bloke oozes soul and passion. “Every Last Drop” featured Harry from the Black Lagoons on violin and Jordan joked that this was Harry’s GCSE violin exam. Next was another great almost doo wop style cover of “It’s A Sin” by Canadian artist Tonetta, check him out he is bloody good. The band out did the Flying Pickets and the Housemartins for their classy acapella skills on this number. They closed with a barnstorming, consider it was a stripped back show, take on yet another classic, “Solid Gold”

This is a band who improve every time you see them. They are still on an upward trend and a long way from reaching their peak. They proved tonight that they can perform in any environment and if this type of show is the future of gigs for the foreseeable future then Avalanche Party have it nailed. A true joy to experience, even my wife, who has never seen them before, and to be fair this is not her usual taste in music, absolutely loved it!

All the photos were taken on my cheap Chinese phone, with the exception of the set list which was taken by Avalanche Party’s Joe Bell!

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Songs Under Skies – No. 6 – Elkyn and Fawn – NCEM, York – Thursday 17th September 2020 September 22, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:57 pm
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Thanks to this vile bastard Covid-19 I went to my last gig more than half a year ago on Saturday 14th March, now 187 days later I am finally got to another gig. It is the sixth and final in the Songs Under Skies series of acoustic shows in the grounds of York’s National Centre for Early Music (NCEM). I had planned to attend two earlier shows the previous week, but illness, not Covid-19 thankfully, put paid to that. These shows were masterminded by the NCEM, the Crescent and the Fulford Arms with support from the Music Venues Alliance. I would like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone involved, of all the things I have missed during lock down and beyond, it is live music that I felt the most. It was also great to meet up with so many great people from York’s fabulous music scene. Thank you Zac, Chris, Harkirit, Mikey and Marc to name just a few!

There were two acts on each of the six nights. Gates opened at 6:30pm and the first act was on at 7pm with a 30 minute break at 7:30pm while the final act took the stage at 8pm for a 30 minute set. My evening was kicked off by the delightful Elkyn with their weird, wonderful and warm folky sounds. Set opener “Seventeen” was built on Simon and Garfunkel style harmonies, soft acoustic guitars and a harmonic drone in the background. Is it even possible to have a harmonious drone? I don’t know, but this bloody well was! All of Elkyn‘s songs were quite special, “Change” was underpinned by a more harmonic almost orchestral drone. It is a new song that had never been played live before, it is a truly gorgeous melancolic chill out tune. They played the lead single from their new EP ‘Beech’ it is called “Yue” (I think). This sublime song, which rippled with raw emotion, was probably my favourite Elkyn performance. There was an extended guitar tuning session, which the band should have introduced as a strange avant garde classical guitar movement, we would have been impressed. After this we arrived at “Stupid World” which was overshadowed by the noise from the bottle bank next door being emptied. But Elkyn did not let that get them down, they are real troupers, and, wait for it, they didn’t bottle it! Lyrically the song is very powerful, with lines like “where can I go from here, I can’t flee from that” which for some reason made me think of the hardships so many of us have endured in the past six months. Check out Elkyn on Spotify by clicking here, you will not regret it.

In a rather nice twist of fate the second and final act tonight were Ilana and Crispin better known as Fawn. Why was that a nice twist of fate, well Fawn were on the bill at my last gig on March 14th. That was at the Fulford Arms where they were supporting Julia Bardo. Kitty VR was also on the bill that same night and she made her own Songs Under Skies appearance the previous week. Ilana’s vocals throughout were exquisite and very Joni Mitchellesque on the first song. “I Know Nothing” is a song all about making dumb decisions in your youth. Ilana’s voice carried a supreme range of emotion on this song, the same breadth and depth that a young Linda Rondstadt could do so well. In the middle of the set headless guitarist Crispin (he was a little tall for the small stage) left Ilana alone for a stunning, immensely beautiful song about uncertain times, a perfect theme for 2020. Her yearning vocal and deep lyrics took the evening to a real peak. “Romans, Vikings And Knights” is a song that Ilana wrote about her then home city, York. This was many years ago when she worked at the Fulford Arms. Crispin provided some spot on slide guitar on this track. Another song was an ode to another former hometown of Ilana’s, “Sleeping Giant” tells of a mountain near her old home town in the US. The story of this particular peak is that it is in fact a giant taking a very long sleep. The legend says that if the giant wakes up the world will end. But as Ilana pointed out despite the apocalyptic feel of 2020, the giant is still asleep. Click here to get some Fawn in your life, you know it makes sense!

All photographs were taken by the hugely talented Marc McGarraghy of Yellow Mustang Photography

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