With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Apollo Junction (Acoustic) – Vinyl Cafe, York – Friday 21st February 2020 March 2, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:59 pm
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Another intimate gig at the fabulous Vinyl Cafe in York, this time Leeds band Apollo Junction headlined with an acoustic set. But more about them later as there were also a couple of pretty decent support acts. First up was singer-songwriter Toby Burton. He has a rich, almost baritone voice. His songs are story songs, almost exclusively sad stories. Highlights for me were “The Middle” and “Shining”. He has a new single, “All Night Long” out this month. In fact compared to all the other songs in his set this was moderately happy at times. He was also amusingly self-deprecating about his merch, which was CDs. He said that they made good coasters. I felt that I heard shades of another vocalist in his delivery and tone, it took me a while to think of who, but I can sense some Martin Rossiter vibes within Toby’s voice. I would really like to see Toby playing with a full band, I think it will give his songs greater depth and strength.

Next on stage were a band playing only their fourth gig, spookily enough I was at the third gig just the night before. I am talking about Grapefruit Eyes, a band that I can now genuinely say that I have seen 50% of all their gigs so far! Regular readers will know that I am a fan of this band and their previous incarnation, Neon Salmon. The music is built using samples, drum machine sounds, guitar, bass and for this show softer drums. George’s voice gets better every time and sometimes pitches towards Thom Yorke at his finest. Grapefruit Eyes certainly appear a bit more experimental than Neon Salmon. They fuse prog, dance, chill-out, and rock into their musical melting pot and from that they cook up a sound like no other bands around at the moment. They can move from slightly left-field Pink Floyd style to pre-commercial George Benson (around the time of “Breezin'”) in a heartbeat. I can also sense a bit of Edwyn Collins and Orange Juice in their vibe too. This will definitely not be the last time I see Grapefruit Eyes!

Finally, it was time for Apollo Junction to strut their acoustic stuff. I have never seen a five-piece band play this venue, so I was a little concerned as to how they would all fit in, but in the end, they did fit, a looked a bit cosy at times though. Jamie has a great voice that contains passion, soul and power. They did a cracking cover of the Who’s “Substitute” with some moderate audience participation, stronger from those of us who were around when that single was originally released! We had some real full-throated crowd singalong with an epic take on “Always Remember” which included Jamie wandering into the crowd. The band aired some new songs and judging from how they sounded on the night “Are You Happy” and “Time Is Coming Around” show great promise for the next Apollo Junction album. I should also publicly apologise to the band for not getting around to reviewing their first album, ‘Mystery’ when it was released late last year. But let me state categorically that it really is a fucking awesome album that you need to check out! It is full of pulverising (in a good way) choruses and hooks, they take the best of the likes of New Order, Depeche Mode and ABC and make it their own The band’s “In Your Arms” currently soundtracks the BBC’s Football Focus show which is a proper achievement, not every band gets that kind of exposure. This was an amazing set by a truly talented band. Apollo Junction are heading upwards at speed and on the evidence of tonight, they will definitely be going much further!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android phone. Except for the Grapefruit Eyes picture, that was taken by my wife Catherine on her cheap Chinese android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know. 

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Faux Pas – Vinyl Cafe, York – Friday 4th October 2019 October 8, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:08 pm
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This date was a part of the Faux Pas autumn tour which includes support slots with LIFE and a number of in-store shows. This show was obviously one of the in-store sets, given the wonderfully intimate setting of the Vinyl Cafe in York. Faux Pas are considered by many, including me, to be among the finest young UK bands around at the moment. Did they live up to that accolade at this gig? You will have to read on to find out as there were also a couple of great support acts on the bill before the main attraction.

Will Dreyfus

First up was Will Dreyfus, a York-based singer-songwriter who has a talent for writing story songs with a flow and narrative of very early Springsteen. Some of his tales are truly epic and ooze with an abundance of emotion. Another obvious comparison for me was a more folk-based George Ezra, but Will is also much more than that. He also displays a great self-deprecating humour and for me, he inadvertently came up with the best accidental phrase of the night; “Life is a learning curse”! The songs that Will performed at this gig were all sad songs of some degree, but I spoke briefly with him afterwards and he tells me that he does have some happy songs and having checked him out online that is absolutely true. I recommend that you give this bloke a listen.

Lily Honey

Next, it was the turn of Lily Honey, another talented Yorkshire based singer-songwriter. She has a voice that conveys soul, passion, and honesty. I don’t know if Lily has the octave range that Karen Carpenter possessed (not many singers do), but the clarity of her intonation is very Carpenteresque. According to Lily, her own songs are “down and sad”, although some might say poignant. Based on her performance tonight that might well be true, however, her songs are full of class and suggest a maturity in songwriting way beyond her years. Her cover of EnVogue’s 1996 smash hit “Don’t Let Go (Love)” was powerful and stunning in equal measure. I definitely want to hear more from Lily Honey.

Faux Pas

This would be the third time that I have seen those magnificent punky noiseniks, Faux Pas. The first time was last November when they supported the Blinders at the Crescent in York and the last time was at the Fulford Arms in York as one of their TV Made Me Paranoid Tour shows. Both of those gigs allowed Faux Pas to showcase just how loud, proud and talented they really are. So obviously I was expecting a lot of them at the Vinyl Cafe last Friday, especially as it is a very small, intimate venue for which the volume would need to be turned down a notch. My expectations were exceeded as Ru, Lewis, and Joey proved that they can perform in any environment and that their songs work in quieter as well us loud mode. It wasn’t a full-on acoustic set with Ru adding some decent guitar to some songs and Joey keeping the beat with softer sticks throughout, giving a rich jazzy feel at times. But they were never too far from their indie-punk signature sound, especially with new single “That’s My Ego” where Ru’s vocals might well have melted some of the vinyl albums on display. On “Golden” Joey proved that he is more than just a damned good drummer with some skillful tinkling of the ivories. Perhaps the stand out for me though was Lewis’ guitar work he weaved his punk-jazz licks around every song and added layers to them that takes them to a different level completely. His axemanship was as good as a young Johnny Marr or Steve Mason for Gene in their mid 90s peak. Faux Pas wear their punk hearts on their sleeve, they could be this generation’s Placebo and they are on the same groundbreaking pedestal as contemporaries Queen Zee (who sadly announced their break up while I was writing this review). But wherever their influences may come from they are most definitely original and there is only one Faux Pas! Everything that I have seen and heard from Faux Pas makes me believe that beyond a shadow of doubt they have what it takes to go all the way and I hope they make it! If you haven’t caught them yet on their autumn tour either in support of LIFE or in-store shows promoting “That’s My Ego” there are plenty of opportunities left, go on you know you want to, actually scrub that, you know you NEED to see them!

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me. (There are a few more below) The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know. I am also happy for you to use any of my pictures, all I ask is for a credit 🙂

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Laura Kindelan – Forty Five Vinyl Cafe – York – Friday 14th September 2018 September 17, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:19 pm
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This was the third time I have seen Laura Kindelan playing live in just over a year and I hope there will be plenty more opportunities to catch this incredibly talented singer, musician and songwriter in the future. Laura is off to Uni in Leeds very soon so this was her last hometown gig before that. It was at the fabulous Forty Five Vinyl Cafe on Micklegate in York. If you have never been there then you really ought to get yourself there soon. This was probably the first time I have ever visited and not bought any vinyl, although I did buy a couple of CDs from one of the excellent support acts. So let me start with those support acts. First it was Lands (a.k.a. George) a staggeringly good vocalist. He makes his voice soar and he has some really good original material, however were he totally smashed it tonight was with an inspired choice of cover songs. Most notably with Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” on which he came pretty damned close to bossing the Boss. But even more so with his version of Radiohead’s “Creep”, covering Thom Yorke is a brave move and one that is often difficult to pull off, but Lands owned the song and poured himself into it. I expect to see much more from him either as Lands or some of his other projects (I will be checking Leodis with which he partners with his buddy Archie soon).

Lands

Second on the bill was Nottingham lad (now based in Leeds) Joseph Knight. I had the honour of seeing Joseph sound check for the show and he captivated what at that time was a very small audience. When he took the stage for real he proved what a great talent for songwriting he has, he is quite a tasty performer too. “Have You Seen The Sky Tonight” was performed with sonic beauty, but sadly Joseph told us that up to now he has never find the right way to record the song and probably never will, but a good reason to catch him live though. He explained that “Hold On To Me” had originally been recorded as a duet but obviously he had to play it solo on the night. It is a great song that would grace any pop chart in the world. I am not a fan of manufactured boy bands, but “Hold On To Me” would add class and credibility to a pop act. Maybe Boyzone should sign off with a classic song like this. Joseph played “Nervous” which he explained had been written when he was just fifteen. The song’s sentiment and message about having to love yourself before you will find love must still hang true with all of us. My favourite song from him from tonight’s set was as perfect lyrically as it is possible to get and it is called “Missing Piece”. I can tell you that the words brought a tear to my eyes, especially the line “I didn’t know that I was broken until you fixed me”. Thursday I had never heard or heard of Joseph Knight, Friday I saw and heard him and became a fan!

Joseph Knight

From the first time that I saw Laura Kindelan play live back in July 2017 I felt that she was in possession of a rare and raw talent that doesn’t come along very often. My opinion on that has only got stronger over time. Indeed Laura’s performance this evening was even better than the previous live sets I have seen her do. She has a wide range of influences and her style of singing and playing covers a wide array of genres; jazz, blues, folk, rock and pretty much everything in between. She was brave enough to do something that not many artists would, she opened her show with an unfinished song, “Take A Little Time”. Well it sounds pretty damned spot on right now so what the hell will it evolve into when she finishes it? When introducing “Spiders” Laura described it as the most intense song that she has ever written and listening to the acerbic lyrical flow it would be hard to disagree with that assertion. She is working on a cello based version of the song which I believe could sound truly epic!

Laura Kindelan

The first time that I ever heard the jazz standard “Good Morning Heartache” was in 1972 via Diana Ross’ version. That cover paled into insipid insignificance when I eventually heard Billie Holiday’s 1946 recording of the song. Some people say that certain songs are untouchable sacred cows but I don’t agree and I am pleased to say that neither does Laura in this case. Laura makes fine use of her looping talents to give us an eerie, ethereal and moderately menacing arrangement and take on the song. It makes mincemeat of most of the other recorded cover versions of this song. Laura makes it sound sonically like something from a parallel universe. If David Lynch revives Twin Peaks again then he has to feature Laura Kindelan’s version of “Good Morning Heartache” in at least one episode. Laura’s younger brother Euan joined her on the drums for the last few songs of the set and he proved that he is a skilled and very understated sticksman with massive potential for the future. “Take Your Time” was developed from a drum pattern that Euan created. I have previously compared Laura Kindelan to Jeff Buckley. I was among the lucky few to witness Buckley’s towering but way too short set some twenty-four years ago at the Reading Festival in 1994. I would love to hear Ms. Kindelan cover a Jeff Buckley song one day. I reckon she could definitely add her personal stamp to “Lover You Should’ve Come Over”. Laura’s songs sound far more mature than her years. She is a musician that seems to want to never stop learning and developing her  craft and that will keep her continually fresh ahead of the curve musically. Most of you have no doubt heard the apocryphal tales of the great old bluesmen ‘selling their souls at the crossroads’ to be gifted with supreme talent by the devil. Has Laura Kindelan sold her soul at the crossroads? No of course not, this woman does not need to, she has pure, latent, natural talent in abundance!

Laura & Euan

Laura Kindelan

Public Service Announcement: all photos are from my cheap android phone from China. Videos are all found on YouTube. If you wish to be credited for any of the videos or would like them taken down please let me know. N.B. Fawn were replaced by Lands on the bill.

 

Interview – Laura Kindelan – March 19th 2018 March 22, 2018


Laura checks out an excellent, if somewhat expensive, Toots & the Maytals LP at the Vinyl Cafe.

I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing York singer, songwriter and ace musician Laura Kindelan earlier this week in 45 The Vinyl Cafe on Micklegate. Laura was eloquent, effervescent and spoke about her major influences, where she might take her sound next, her musical guilty pleasures and her favourite chocolate among many other things. Check out that conversation below.

  1. Who is your biggest musical influence and why?

Well there isn’t just one person, for me it’s the sound and the performance. For the sound, it has to be Lianne La Havas; I love her jazz guitar, melodic vocals and song writing. I particularly love her lyrical patterns and use of unusual words. My history teacher introduced me to her.

As for performance, I would have to name two people; Amy Winehouse and Damien Rice. I believe that both of them show the beauty of imperfections. Damien Rice’s mix of his first album “O” massively fluctuates in volume within songs, which could be considered wrong but I believe it’s emotive.

  1. What is next for you, where do you go from here?

I am very happy to be a slow burner. I am not focussed at all on becoming a product or a brand. I want to be a well-respected musician, singer and song writer. That has to include maintaining respect for myself and my craft. I want my music to speak for me, not the image. I would also love to work with a really tight rhythm section in the future.

  1. Musically do you have any of what you might consider guilty pleasures, if so what are they?

That is a tough one, the first one that I can think of is Abba. However, I don’t feel too guilty about it as they wrote, produced and released such great songs. But perhaps my real guilty pleasure is my ‘go to’ party song; “Bitch Better Have My Money” by Rihanna.

Photo by Michael Parr

  1. How do you prepare for a gig?

First, I always do some vocal warm ups. I like to make myself feel nice, to feel good. I don’t often wear much make-up, but for a show, I choose to get dressed up with make-up and nice clothes. Everything I do to prepare for a gig contributes to making me feel comfortable and confident on stage. I really believe that a performer should invest the audience in what they do by personally connecting with them, and to do that, you need to be happy and comfortable with yourself. Confidence is key to any good performance.

  1. Name one thing in your musical career that you are most proud of and feel free to tell us why?

My headline show last year at the National Centre for Early Music in York. It felt like such a magical night and I am so proud that I did it. I can’t quite believe that it happened. There were around 180 people there, really listening and enjoying the night – It’s definitely something I’ll never forget.

Click here to check out my review of that show on this blog last year

  1. What drives you to write songs?

Sometimes it is all about getting something off my mind; a feeling or a relationship perhaps. Currently I really love to experiment with harmonies, shapes and different tunings on my guitar. I think I draw influence in this experimentation from Jeff Buckley and Tom Misch, particularly with pretty harmony and rhythm from the latter. I see my sound as evolving into something similar to Tom Misch, only much grottier!

Photograph by Tomorrow’s Photos

  1. How does your song writing process work?

I have lots of lyrics stored on my phone that I’ve written as they come to me and I sometimes go there for inspiration. Although, as I said before, I love to experiment with harmony and chord progressions so I often begin here.

  1. Name a song that you believe you could cover and make it better than the original?

At the moment I am playing around with a very different arrangement of “Do I Wanna Know” by the Arctic Monkeys. I am trying out a very slowed down version which is more ‘head bobby’, with more dissonance and harmonics. I think this new vibe adds more meaning to the lyrics.

  1. Which of your songs would you like to see covered by someone else and who would be your top choice to do it?

I would like it to be someone completely different from me, how about Hello Operator? That could actually be amazing, we should make it happen!

Photo by Tim Downie

  1. Tell me something that you have never told an interviewer before (and this does not need to be music related)?

My signature dish, that I make incredibly well (if I do say so myself), is Carbonara with mushrooms, bacon and cream. Bon appétit.

  1. Name three things that you simply cannot live without?

My family, good food and Doctor Martens. I’m hoping to build a collection of Docs – I currently have four pairs, including one with a snake-skin pattern.

  1. What is your favourite confectionary item?

Terry’s Chocolate Orange, beyond any doubt the best there is!

Now check out some of Laura’s rather excellent tunes.

All photographs were provided to me by Laura and are credited to the photographer in the caption. The first picture was a rare good one taken on my phone. Video links were specially selected by Laura herself.

 

 
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