With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Tom Robinson Band – The Crescent, York – Wednesday 18th October 2017 October 19, 2017


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The first and last time I saw Tom Robinson play live was back in 1977, until now at least. I had a great interest in the Tom Robinson Band back in the late 70s as I spent a few years at Senior School sitting next to original TRB drummer Brian ‘Dolphin’ Taylor. That original TRB line up of Tom Robinson, Dolphin Taylor, Mark Ambler and Danny Kustow was a hard-hitting, powerful proposition that took the audience with them on their incendiary journey. So now that Tom has put together another TRB to play the whole of the exquisitely stunning and still relevant ‘Power In The Darkness’ album on its 40th anniversary I was very thrilled by the thought of seeing him live again after all those years. Did the gig live up to my very high expectations? Well you will have to keep reading to find that out.

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Before I give you my thoughts on the current TRB let me tell you about the marvellous support act, Lee Forsyth Griffiths. Lee has just released his third solo album and is also a longstanding member of Tom Robinson’s main band. Unusually in my experience he was introduced by Tom Robinson and Tom stayed in the audience to watch the whole of Lee’s set. Mr Griffith’s songs are beautifully crafted slices of life that ooze passion and emotion. He sings like he really means every word and I am sure that he does. Lee’s sense of humour is sharp and very funny too, I loved the comments about Oasis (Lee also has a song called “Married With Children”) and Kanye West. He had a very strong fan base in the audience with one bloke even stepping in when Lee appeared to briefly forget a lyric. I now have a signed copy of his new album and I will definitely be checking out his earlier stuff as well. You should do the same, you will not be disappointed.
Now it was time for the main event at the fabulous York venue that is the Crescent; the Tom Robinson Band playing the whole of the ‘Power In The Darkness’ album along with some other TRB hits from 1977/ 1978. Album and set opener “Up Against The Wall” remains a phenomenally strong tour de force with a lyric that works as well today as it did 40 years ago. In fact the whole album still sounds fresh, especially played live. The current TRB is every bit as good as the original band and features Jim Simmons an exceedingly gifted keyboard maestro, lead guitar virtuoso Adam Phillips who has also played in Richard Ashcroft’s band, powerhouse drummer Andy Treacey from Faithless and obviously Tom himself on bass guitar. Tom gave us a story about the one track from the album that has never been played live before this tour; track two, side two (well it was originally a proper LP record), “Man You Never Saw”. Apparently that song took two weeks to record, largely because the bass part was very challenging, well it is clear that Tom has mastered it now.

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“Grey Cortina” and “Too Good To Be True” kept the crowd fired up and singing along. Tom’s performance belies his age, although maybe he takes a few more moments between songs than he used to, but hell we are all 40 years older now, right? “Long Hot Summer” and the “Winter Of ‘79” were early peaks in a mountainous display from a singer and a band on top of their game and clearly enjoying themselves enormously. Tom updated some of the lyrics to a couple of songs with more pertinent and relevant names, Rees Mogg (the despicable Tory arse) featured in one to bring it up to date. As an introduction to “Better Decide Which Side You’re On” Tom reminded us of part of the wording on the back of the original LP sleeve; “I got no illusions about the political left any more than the right: just a shrewd idea which of the two side’s gonna stomp on us first”. This remains a part of my world view and I suppose looking back it was bands like TRB and the Clash that sparked my interest in politics and made me much more of a political animal. The title track of the album was also the last track on side two and it still holds a forceful message about human rights and how extremists seek to take that away. As protest songs go this has to be among the best.

dav

I love being close to the speakers 🙂

Tom broke a bass string and while Lee Forsyth Griffiths went searching for a replacement we were treated to a magnificent and rousing version of “Martin” which certainly gave the best crowd participation of the whole evening up to that point. “Martin” is such a great story song and retains a sense of poignancy and humour. After “Martin” the crowd singing just continued to grow with loud and stirring stomps through “Don’t Take No For An Answer” and “Glad To Be Gay”. A couple of times during the evening requests for Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” which were strongly rejected by many in the crowd. Personally I would not have minded hearing it, but it certainly did not detract from what was an amazing show. Mr Robinson asked if we would mind if the band didn’t leave the stage and come back for an encore and just roll straight into the encore. Most of the crowd, including myself were of the generation that clearly understands the needs of us older folk. I bet you can’t guess what the encore was can you? Tom introduced it as “a medley of my greatest hit”. It was of course the classic “2-4-6-8 Motorway” which became a medley of sorts with brief diversions into Sly and the Family Stone’s “Dance To The Music” among others. This was without doubt an incredible gig which made me reminisce greatly about my lost youth, but in a very good way. I even got the opportunity to have a very brief conversation with Tom and I apologised for leaving such a long gap between seeing him live; he told me that it was better late than never! I don’t plan to leave it so long again, largely because if I did I would be 98 and Tom would be over 100. There are still a few shows left on this tour (take a look below) and I urge you to get yourself a ticket, in fact I won’t take no for an answer! Sadly the 100 Club shows in London appear to be unsurprisingly all sold out.
Friday 20 October 2017 – The Leadmill, Sheffield, UK
Saturday 21 October 2017 – HOME, Manchester, UK
Tuesday 24 October 2017 – 100 Club, London, UK
Wednesday 25 October 2017 – 100 Club, London, UK
Thursday 26 October 2017 – 100 Club, London, UK
Saturday 28 October 2017 – Riverside, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
Sunday 29 October 2017 – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, UK
Friday 08 December 2017 – Nell’s Jazz & Blues Club, London, UK
If you have been to any dates on this tour or are planning to I would love to hear what you thought of the show.

dav

 

Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Crescent, York – Tuesday 15th August August 15, 2017


Having really loved Hurray For The Riff Raff‘s album ‘The Navigator’ on first hearing it earlier this year I was hoping to get the chance to see them live. Well that chance came around at a fabulous little venue, the Crescent, in my adopted home city of York. Were Hurray For The Riff Raff good? Well you will just have to read on to find out, but first let me tell you about the rather splendid support act, Alex Golisti. He played a great acoustic set including some of his own songs, one of which was an old banjo tune that he played on the guitar and had written his own lyrics for. He has a voice that at times shows similarities with both Tom Waits and George Ezra. He plays a style that evokes bluegrass and roots music with a modern twist. On top of all that he has a great self-deprecating sense of humour.

I was accompanied by my beautiful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman this evening as she enjoyed ‘The navigator’ too. We were both very excited to be here and from the opening salvo of “Life To Save” and “Nothing’s Gonna Change That Girl” we were not disappointed. The energy shown by Alynda Lee Segarra and indeed the whole band never let up for the whole night. There were plenty of highlights notably for me the haunting rendition of “Fourteen Floors” with Alynda on keyboard. Then just when you think it couldn’t get better the band hit us with one of Segarra’s excellent protest songs, “Pa’ lante”. It has vision, power, heart, soul, deep emotion and an uplifting message. I understand that it is Spanish slang and that it means to “go ahead” or “go for it”. Alynda is very proud of her Puerto Rican roots and that shows on the current album and in her stage performance. The encore included a rousing cover of Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” which had absolutely everyone on their feet. This is a band on top form and one who were really enjoying themselves. I will definitely be seeing them again! This was another great show from Please Please You, thank you Joe Coates.

 

Cry Baby at the Crescent, York Friday 14th October 2016 October 18, 2016


It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to attend another Northern Radar show put on by good friend, the very talented Mr Simon Pattinson. I have attended many gigs that Simon has either put on or recommended and he has not let me down so far. At four quid for four bands did he let me down for the first time tonight? Well dear reader you will have to read on to find out.

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The first band on were Kram with a Grunge-like take on Royal Blood. The singer/ guitarist, knowingly or unknowingly, gave a nod to the late, great Kurt Cobain by taking to the stage in a dressing gown. A bit like Cobain did at the Reading Festival back in 1992 when he came on stage wearing a hospital gown. I was actually there for that too. But enough trivia and comparison, Kram are an excellent band. A versatile and skilled guitarist who possesses a great rock voice more than ably backed up by a drummer who really knows his way around a drum kit.

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Next up were Lost Trends from my adopted home city of York. How the hell have I not seen these blokes before? This mob sound really well rehearsed and watching them play I felt that they really knew rock history. Chatting to them afterwards about everything from the Beatles to Bowie and the Shadows to Radiohead it is very clear that they do. Lost Trends are very difficult to slot into a specific genre. They have a bit of indie, a touch of classic rock and are most definitely a band that you can dance to. They have the potential to become one of my and I hope your favourite bands. If I had left after their set I would have gone home happy. Oh and their excellent single “DJ” has been featured on racing ads on Channel 4, check it out at the end of this post.

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The penultimate band of the evening were the Naked Six. If you like classic rock with a twist of 21st Century then this is definitely a band that you must see. Riffs reminiscent of Jimmy Page and vocals could grace many classic bands. Their songs were all incredibly powerful and the playing was stupendous. Given the right breaks the Naked Six have the potential to surpass the success of two of their famous fathers. Thank you for letting your boys get into a band Biff off of Saxon and Finley Quaye. If I had left home after the Naked Six I would have gone home bloody ecstatic. A mega monster of a band and one that I will definitely pay to see again.

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I didn’t envy Cry Baby having to follow three very talented and stunning bands. But they did it incredibly well and with great aplomb. The great thing about all of tonights bands is that they are all very different. Cry Baby perform classy indie rock n roll with influences from many sources; the Killers, Razorlight and the Arctic Monkeys. They have some well crafted songs and know how to put on a show. I am sure that I will see this lot again. I suggest that you, dear reader, should check out all the bands that I saw at this gig you will not be disappointed. Talking of disappointment, did Simon let me down tonight? What do you think? Of course he bloody didn’t this was yet another awesome Northern Radar show!

The usual public service announcement, all the pictures were taken using my shitty little Nokia phone and the video is courtesy of YouTube.

 

 

Mallrats EP Launch – The Crescent, York – 8th July 2016 July 8, 2016


I had looked forward to another Northern Radar gig for some time. Simon Pattinson has never let me down with his gigs or recommendations and I have known him a few years now. But rather than keep you in suspense let me just say that once again Simon came up trumps. He has a great knack for finding and promoting great bands. When he makes it big, just remember where you read it first!

So first up tonight were the fabulously named Eugene Gorgeous. This is the first opportunity that I have had to see this spectacular band. Imagine, if you will, the Velvet Underground meeting the Jesus and Mary Chain at a dive bar in Twin Peaks. Well if you can picture that in your mind that is Eugene Gorgeous. Whilst the singer appeared to be fuelled by milk. The guitarist was something special too with and incredible talent for feedback and sustain he can make that guitar squeal!

Are you looking for a Nirvana for the 21st Century? Yes? How about a band with some dub licks straight out of the Clash and a pinch of the Strokes? Is that your bag baby? Well in that case Mice On Mars are right up your street. On top of all their other talents they have a drummer that plays like a reincarnated Keith Moon.

maven fiction

Next up were Maven Fiction, a band that I have seen in many guises before. If you like any of the following genres then you really ought to love this band; pop, funk, electronica and punk. If you also like great songs and great melodies then you really need to check them out. In my opinion it is an absolute tragedy that Maven Fiction are not bigger than the likes of Coldplay. Can we at least get them on the Apollo Festival stage next year in York Stuart Kelly?

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Finally it was the turn of the magnificent Mallrats who were headlining a gig to promote their rather excellent new EP. You can’t really ignore a band whose sixth and seventh gigs (I’m reliably informed) were at the Reading and Leeds Festivals? Frankly you can’t can you? This is a phenomenally talented young band who I hope will achieve great success. This is the third time that I have seen them and they have got better every time. I also had the opportunity to meet the drummers Dad and what a thoroughly nice bloke he is! This was another great gig from Northern Radar and it was, as usual 100% perfect. Apart from the ringing in my ears. But actually that is my fault as I stood far to close to the speaker stack for Maven Fiction’s set!

 

 

 

Black Lagoons, Broken Skulls, Mall Rats & Blind Eye – The Crescent, York – Friday 22nd January 2016 January 23, 2016


I once again had the pleasure of attending a gig set up by the fabulous Northern Radar a.k.a Simon Pattinson. It was at the Crescent in York a new community venue that I have not been to before. As usual with Simon’s shows the quality was top-notch. I have been to many gigs arranged by Simon and so far there has not been a bad one. No pressure for next time then Simon! Tonight’s bill featured two bands that I have seen before and two that were new to me. Incidentally it was great to catch up with Jordan Bell off of Avalanche Party, Mike Harrison, Joe Alexander and obviously Mr Pattinson himself.

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The proceedings were kicked off by the majestic power trio known as Blind Eye who I have seen before, the boys were fresh from recording their EP at a studio in Manchester. They gave us a couple of new songs that in a few years I am sure will be seen as Blind Eye classics; “Stained Glass Windows” and “Vultures”. Along with some of their older songs they also performed one of their customary covers, this time it was a thunderous run through of the Beatles classic “Come Together”. They even managed to incorporate a few lines of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” into the song. This band is truly fucking awesome, their EP I am sure will be off the scale good.

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OK now I want you to imagine a band that is a cross between the Velvet Underground with all of Andy Warhol’s arty-farty stuff removed and then crossed with Nirvana. Can you picture that? Good now think of that band’s drummer being a reincarnated John Bonham (not because they look the same but that they share the same pounding power. Do you have the picture in your mind? Can you imagine the sound that such a band would make? Excellent because that band Ladies and Gentlemen is the Mall Rats. A brilliant band whose closing song “Plunge Pool” was one of the most moshtastic of the whole evening.

broken skulls

The third act on tonight was another York band that I have seen before, the truly stupendous Broken Skulls. These two brothers come across like the Kings Of Leon genetically spliced with Royal Blood and then injected with a massive testosterone booster. How can two people make such a loud but beautiful noise? I really don’t know but they do. Maybe we need to ask them how they do it. Anyway it would be fair to say that they really owned the stage during their set.

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I have not had the pleasure of witnessing a show by the Black Lagoons before tonight so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Even more so when I cast my eyes on the band for the first time. The majority of them have probably never seen a razor. Not because they are hirsute with resplendent facial hair but because I don’t believe that some of them have started shaving yet. But don’t let that put you off, for whatever age they are, and frankly I don’t care, they are a stunning live act. What do they sound like? That is a difficult question to answer, but it is almost as though they have invented a new genre of music which I will call Prog Punk (or possibly Punk Prog). These lads can only get better in my opinion and they are very damned good already. I tried to imagine the Queens Of The Stone Age as a school band and that captured a degree of what the Black Lagoons are. On top of that they have a reborn Keith Moon on drums and the coolest, most serious faced bass player since John Entwistle. I recommend that you check out all of tonight’s bands. No wait I don’t recommend that you do it, I order you to do it!

Public Service announcement all the pictures were taken by me and the videos are courtesy of YouTube. However I couldn’t find a Mall Rats video, so if you can send me the link to one then feel free to do so 🙂

 

 

 
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