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.
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.
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.
If you have enjoyed this article feel free to follow the blog, or follow us on;
Are you interested in writing and reviewing for With Just A Hint Of Mayhem? If so then please get in touch.