With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

“Flares” – Trueman and the Indoor League October 7, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:50 pm
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Trueman and the Indoor League have quickly established themselves as a stunningly good and enormously entertaining live band in just a short space of time. Their set is filled with songs of everyday life and kitchen sink dramas. I can see why they have often been compared to Pulp, but they are so very much more than that. There is immense talent in their performances and in the songs and lyrics. Now to add to their already legendary live performances this Pound Shop E Street Band (who said that?) have released their first single. It is one of their many live favourites, “Flares”. This is a great tune that evokes memories of shitty nightclubs with sticky floors across the UK. Lyrics like “Let’s go to Flares, It’s only fair, Call an au pair, Let’s go to Flares, Right now” are simple and yet sublime genius. Only a decent British band could record songs as great as “Flares”. The video to accompany the tune is rather ace and at times very funny too. If only MTV hadn’t disappeared up its own arse, this would have been a surefire MTV classic on regular rotation. If you haven’t seen Trueman and the Indoor League play live yet, then you need to rectify that NOW! I am really looking forward to the first Trueman and the Indoor League album. Can we also campaign for this band to write and perform the next UK Eurovision entry in Liverpool in 2023?

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The WJAHOM Interview Podcast – Chris and Steph from the Fulford Arms September 20, 2022


Last week I had the pleasure of catching up with two very important people in York’s music scene, Chris Tuke (Owner) and Steph Collinson (Manager) of the fabulous Fulford Arms. Click here to listen to the interview. Turn your volume up loud, at least for the first few minutes as I had some tech issues with the sound, which was entirely down to user error. The interview was done in two parts, and I have joined them together at around 16 minutes in, can you find the join? No prizes! I really love the Fulford Arms and I had great fun speaking with Chris and Steph. I hope you enjoy listening to it. There are a couple of videos below that were filmed at the Fulford Arms and one that wasn’t. Why is the third one there? You will need to listen to find out. I look forward to speaking to more of the people behind great venues soon!

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Shezza’s Leaving Do – Fulford Arms, York – Saturday 7th May 2022 May 16, 2022


It took a while but Shezza’s Leaving Do finally arrived and it was shaping up to be really special. For anyone of my regular readers who has no idea who Shezza is he is one of the founders of York’s wonderful music venue the Fulford Arms. His real name is Chris Sherrington and he is moving on to do a whole range of other things including working for the Music venues Trust. If you don’t know who Chris is Brad from one of the bands on the bill at this show, the Howl and the Hum described him like this on social media “Chris is a rare kind of creature. A sort that I particularly love as a monomaniacal obsessive within the music industry. He has dedicated himself to music in a way that few do. People usually think about the bands (for good reason), but without people like Chris, bands can’t exist. He’s the good side of the ‘industry’. He has turned the Fulford Arms from a waining pub into a truly great music venue. It fills a special gap as a venue that I’d imagine is hard to maintain financially. It is small enough for your first gig but big enough for almost anyone to play on the right night. It sounds amazing, the lights are great, it has a dressing room, a shower, more than one toilet (including one in a wardrobe), a great bar with wonderful staff, and brilliant sound engineers. This didn’t happen by accident. It happens when people care. It happens when people dedicate themselves for years to a space and don’t give up. Not many do it. They don’t have the guts, and they’re not stupid enough to doggedly stay in music until things eventually work out. We are lucky in York to have a few people like this, all of which mean our band still exist. Chris by no means did all this alone, the whole team is amazing of course” I don’t think anyone could have said it better! Thank you Brad but absolutely huge thanks to Chris!

Trueman And The Indoor League

It was an early start and sadly I missed Chris Sherrington performing with Petrol Hoers who according to their social media play digital horsecore. But I did get to see Chris as the set ended and now I probably need therapy! He was wearing pants and an animal mask (Zebra I think) as was his partner in Petrol Hoers crime. I definitely need to see them play at some time though. After that, it was time for a band that I have now seen six times, including on the date that was originally scheduled as Shezza’s Leaving Do. For me, one mark of a good band is a band that enjoys themselves on stage and this lot clearly does. Bearing in mind Trueman was suffering from an eye infection and went off to hospital straight after their set this was still an awesome set. The saga of the broken g string (you probably had to be there) was superb performance art! The new tune “Judas The Messiah” is one of the band’s best songs to date. Was there really a Frankie Valli and Postman Pat reference in there or did my ears deceive me? “Playstation Dreaming” without guitar was pure and classic Trueman. Can this bunch be the UK performers at next years Eurovision, please? (I did write that note on the night and therefore well in advance of Sam Ryder’s epic showing on May 14th).

The Howl And The Hum

The Howl And The Hum played two sets and the first was billed as a “normal” set, more of their second set later. But for this one, it was a classic outing for probably the greatest band ever to arise from my adopted city, York and the competition is fierce too. The highlights for me were “Hostages” and “The Only Boy Racer Left On The Island”, the latter was eloquently dedicated to Mr. Sherrington. Every one of the band was playing at 110% tonight and it showed. Do they usually have support from a backing vocalist? I am not sure, but bloody hell it worked, she was great. For a band that describes themselves as “a miserable disco who write Bond themes” the comment about playing at Chris Sherrington’s wake was classy comedy. Next, it was the wonderfully named Pat Butcher, a real 21st Century punk powerhouse of a band who write incendiary modern-day stories, just like the Bards of old, but with added sonic assault. If Samuel Pepys was around today I am sure who would be writing stuff like “Race Day Wankers”. Is this one of the best, and truest, songs about York and probably any other city that hosts big horse race meetings? They have songs about nosy neighbours, angle grinders, and council workers to name just a few subjects. The guitarist is like a satanic cross between Angus Young and Kevin the Teenager and he fuels the songs stupendously. Is this the first band ever to use a mandolin in a punk style? (That was a mandolin, right?). In the most true sense of the phrase, this band really is 4 REAL!

Pat Butcher

Flat Cap Carnival is another band that I had not seen before tonight. How the hell would all of them fit on the Fully Arm’s intimate stage? I’m not sure, but they did. Who knew York could do Latin music so well? This abundantly talented 7-piece is an incredible party band that it is impossible not to shake your arse to. Their original songs are perfect, but their covers take them to another universe completely. “All That She Wants”, “Careless Whisper” and “Spice Up Your Life” were masterclasses in how to cover a song. They made each one their own and allegedly Chris Sherrington requested the Spice Girls cover. Their social media tag describes them as “a Latin-infused Skanival band from York. Dancing is compulsory.” I definitely can’t argue with that! Now it was time for the second set of the evening from the Howl And The Hum, described on the bill as a party set. How would these self-confessed purveyors of miserable disco perform a party set we all wondered? Singer and frontman Sam did ask for forgiveness before they started, but frankly, forgiveness is not required. This was a covers set like no other and it proves that this is a band who could turn their hands to anything. Kicking off with a stomping “Highway To Hell” the band mesmerised the audience and we were all up for a party. they followed with a funky version of Prince’s “Kiss” which for me took the song back from that awful Tom Jones version of it from a few years back. They did a marvellous cover of Jone’s “Delilah” later in the set too. “Psycho Killer” was very special indeed and if you shut your eyes you could imagine it was Talking Heads playing in a small sweaty venue. “These Boots Are Made For Walking” works so well when performed by a rock band, the mighty Avalanche Party used to include that in their set back in the day. My least favourite song ever is probably Robbie Williams’ “Angels” and to be fair the Howl And The Hum even made that sound ok. Although it was a covers party set the band closed with one of their own songs, the sublime “Godmanchester Chinese Bridge”. A second set from such a great band was a fine way to end a really great night.

Flatcap Carnival

It was great to run into so many people from the York music scene on the night too. Including band members, even those not on the bill, venue owners and managers, promoters, photographers, sound engineers and far too many to mention by name. But a truly wonderful bunch of people that make support York’s amazing music scene. Chris will be missed by the Fulford Arms but he will continue to do great things with the Music Venues Trust. To paraphrase Abba, Thank You For The Music, Chris and good luck with whatever you do next!

All pictures were taken by me on my 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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York Life Festival 2022 – Saturday 2nd April/ Sunday 3rd April – York City Centre April 11, 2022


On Saturday 2nd April and Sunday 3rd April, the first (and hopefully not the last) York Life Festival took place on Parliament Street in the centre of York. It was free for all residents and visitors and was organised by Make It York. Activities took place for up to ten hours each day and included music, poetry, theatre workshops, instrumental workshops, face painting, comedy, and dance. Sadly I only made it for the last part of the second day but I couldn’t let it go unnoticed by With Just A Hint Of Mayhem. I arrived just after the magnificent Hyde Family Jam finished their set on Sunday. The turnout was pretty big, despite the somewhat chilly temperature. It was nice to see all of York’s fabulous range of music venues getting some good promo with posters and handouts throughout the weekend; The Fulford Arms, the Crescent Community Venue, the Vaults, the National Centre for Early Music (NCEM), York Barbican and Forty Five Vinyl Cafe. The crowd contained a veritable who’s who of anyone who is involved in the York music scene. Firstly three of the key players behind this event were there, obviously, Simon Pattinson (Northern Radar), Chris Sherington (Fulford Arms), and Harkirit Boparai (The Crescent), and I bumped into all of them! As well as meeting many of the band members of the Sunday performers (Trueman and the Indoor League, Bull and the Howl and the Hum) I also ran into Pennine Suite (who had played the previous day), Chloe (Please Remain Calm), Zac (Heartsink and Fulford Arms ace doorman), Andy and Paula (PERCY), Nathan (rock photographer extraordinaire) and many others. The incredibly cold temperature meant that I didn’t take my usual copious notes, however here are my recollections of the three bands that I did see.

First for me were Trueman and the Indoor League. Fronted by the titular Sam Trueman this band gets better every time that I see them. They really put on a show in almost a revue-style akin to the E Street Band. Regular readers will know that I have referred to them as like a pound shop E Street Band, but that was meant as a compliment. With more of the blood, sweat, and tears they put into their performances and some lucky breaks I can see them playing arenas one day. Next up was another fine York band, Bull, who released their wonderful debut album ‘Discover Effortless Living’ last year. As well as selections from that first class platter the band treated us to a few new songs, one of which suggested that Bull have hidden talents as an ace party band! The headliners on Sunday were perhaps York’s greatest band, although there is plenty of competition. I am talking about the Howl and the Hum. They played an amazing set at the iconic Minster last year which is available on most streaming platforms and frankly it is a scale above awesome. Their set was out of this world with the whole band firing on all cylinders. The new tunes bode really well for the sophomore album when it materialises. The highlight for me though was perhaps one of the best songs ever written, “Hostages”. This festival definitely needs to be an annual event going forward, where do we sign up to make that happen? We need to know! Bring on York Life 2023!

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Trueman And The Indoor League – Fulford Arms, York – Saturday 26th March 2022. March 30, 2022


This was originally planned, with a slightly different lineup, as Shezza’s Leaving Do. Shezza is of course Chris Sherrington who has decided to move on to different pastures after being at the rather wonderful Fulford Arms for quite a few years. And like many of us, Covid caught up with Chris so he was unable to be there for his leaving do! I am sure we all wish him a speedy recovery. Emerson, Lake and Palmer once said “Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends” (“Karn Evil 9” from the 1973 album ‘Brain Salad Surgery). Maybe the show that never ends will be Shezza’s Leaving Do. If it is I am sure it will be an absolute blast! A big shout out to Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography for all the excellent pictures below.

Rowan – Photo by Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography
Amy May Ellis – Photo by Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography

Unfortunately, Luke Saxton had to pull out, so I hope you are better soon sir! First on stage was Rowan. This bloke does folk with a punk attitude. His songs are full of anger, sadness, and also fun, even though some of those tunes are incredibly short. He makes his acoustic guitar talk and the way he attacks it gives it a real percussive element too. “Scrap Heap Man”, now that is a song! Following Rowan was singer-songwriter Amy May Ellis, who I first saw at the York City Screen Basement back in 2016. I said this about her nearly six years ago, “She is a great talent with a haunting and siren-like voice which weaves the words of her songs with a soaring grace.” that comment remains true. Musically she writes and performs 21st Century ethereal folk music with one foot in the long history of English folk storytellers. Amy has a gorgeous voice that reminded me of Laura Kindelan and on some occasions, her vocal phrasings were reminiscent of Bjork. She also has a great style of banter with her audience too. Why did I wait nearly six years before seeing the immensely talented Amy May Ellis again? I don’t plan on leaving it to 2027 for my next live show from her!

50% of Seattle On The Mantle – Photo by Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography
What the Dickens? 50% of Seattle On The Mantle – Photo by Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography

Next was Seattle On the Mantle, this was the second time I have seen them. The first being in November last year when they were supporting Seagoth. Back then they were a four-piece but they seem to have lost a couple of band members since then as they appeared here as a two-piece. It definitely sounds like the split with the most recent bass player was somewhat acrimonious, but I won’t dwell on that, this is a gig review, not a gossip column right? The two members left played an absolute blinder of a set. This is a band quite like no other, although, that said, I did detect some small pockets of influence from the Libertines and the Velvet Underground. The only song from their drunkenly planned concept album (how prog it would be to make a one-song concept album?) was a musical highlight for me. Another highlight was perhaps having an ace drummer stood up behind an economical drum set which he played like a sticksman possessed while dressed as a character from a Dickens novel. Great songs from a truly entertaining band, a Seattle On The Mantle album, concept or not, is needed methinks!

Trueman – Photo by Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography
The Indoor League’s very own Clarence Clemons – Photo by Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography

In a recent review, I described tonight’s headliners Trueman and the Indoor League as a Pound Shop E-Street Band. When I first wrote that my wife said “you can’t say that, it’s mean”. I replied that I meant it in a good way and thankfully that is the way the band took it, something I discovered after speaking to a few of them. Anyway, after a stupendous set, it is fair to say that they are definitely more E-Street than Pulp. They are evolving into a band that puts on more of a full-on entertaining review than just a gig. “Flares” and “Frivolous Things” were my top picks from tonight’s show, but it was a hard choice indeed. Trueman is a veritable cultural commentator through his songs which are in most cases astute observations of ordinary life. I believe that this band has the potential to outgrow intimate grassroots venues and ultimately move up to Arenas. So in case that happens, and I hope it does, then you need to get out and see Trueman and the Indoor League at wonderful places like the Fulford Arms while you still can. I am really hoping for an album from this lot soon. One final question, if the band ever graduates to playing stadiums will they have to rename themselves Trueman and the Outdoor League?

All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by Aron Murray, Head Honcho of Vexed Music Photography. 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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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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