With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Violet Contours – The Crescent, York – Friday 18th October 2019 November 3, 2019


It has taken a while to get this one posted, but here it is! Yet another night at that wonderful York venue, The Crescent. This time to see Violet Contours in action once again. Were they as good as the last time that I saw them? You will have to read on to find out because before them there was a marvelously eclectic selection of support acts. First up we were taken to acoustic heaven by Joh Hendrickx, She does cover versions, of mostly sad songs. This set, which was way too short included songs by Laura Marling, Matt Corby, and the Middle East. Her cover of the latter’s “Blood” was dripping with emotion and that performance convinced me to find out more about them. She included one cover version that I really didn’t see coming, it was “The Black Hills Of Dakota” originally sung by Doris Day in the 1953 film ‘Calamity Jane’. Ms. Hendrickx totally owned the tune! I believe that Joh has a lot more to offer and I am looking forward to seeing her again.

Joh Hendrickx

Scarborough’s the Feens were next, I last saw them in July and they are still a bloody good band. They come across very “Smithsy” on some songs, from back in the day when Morrissey mattered. Particularly Sam Dowling’s guitar playing. Bass player Adam Lodge has a stunningly powerful voice which complements co-lead vocalist Freddie Scmuck’s vocals perfectly. Lodge roams the stage like a young Peter Hook in the early days of New Order, albeit with his bass more sensibly strapped much higher up his body. Someone in the crowd described them as “easier listening indie”, while I get that I think it does them an injustice. Yes their songs could be described as indie and those songs are easy to listen to, but mainly because they are so damned good. I hear traces of Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend in their sound and that is no bad thing. The Feens are getting some strong and well-deserved airplay of late. Expect much more from this band, they have the power and the talent to make it huge!

Feens

Next, it was the turn of the Serotones, another great York band who I last saw more than two years ago. They were very good then and they are even better now. If you like Dinosaur Jr, you might well like the Serotones, but the biggest influence I can hear in their songs is perhaps the Stone Roses, but with better vocals (sorry Ian Brown). The lead singer has an immaculate stage presence and really seems to understand his audience. Great music must be in human DNA somehow as the Serotones contain two kids from Shed Seven members, Rick Witter and Alan Leach. The band played a lot of new songs and they have a new single out now featuring two rather superb new songs; “Death In Paradise” and “Into The Sky”

Serotones

Finally, it was time for the headliners, Violet Contours, yet another fabulously exciting band from York. This was the third time that I have experienced seeing them live and they get better every time. Their jangly indie dance style is definitely influenced by Vampire Weekend, largely because of that feel-good African guitar vibe. But I can also hear Talking Heads, or more directly the more pop styles of Talking Heads offshoot Tom Tom Club, formed by Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz. Ben Henderson’s voice is clear, strong and conveys emotion and soul when he needs it to. Niall, Daniel, Sam, and Ben have developed into a really tight, funky band able to recreate and magnify, magnificently their recorded sound. Their repertoire is growing in range and quality; “Pablo’s Hippo and “Airstrike” are two outstanding tunes and there are plenty more too. Violet Contours are undoubtedly a band that knows how to party and bring the audience into that party effortlessly. But they don’t just get up their and play, they really look like they are enjoying every moment immensely. If you haven’t seen them or listened to them yet what the hell is preventing you?

Violet Contours

The above Serotones video was filmed by David Butler of Wigwam Creative

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me. 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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“Pablo’s Hippos” – Violet Contours September 4, 2019


Violet Contours from York are about to bring their latest single into the world, on 27th September to be precise. I have been lucky enough to see them live a couple of times and in this new track, I reckon they have captured a large part of the essence of what makes them such an exciting live act. The song is called “Pablo’s Hippos” and it is about a small part of Pablo Escobar’s self-centered extravagances. Escobar, perhaps one of the most powerful drug lords that ever lived, illegally smuggled four Hippos into Colombia for his private zoo, he also had giraffes and other exotic animals. Wild hippos are only native to Africa, and their escape after Escobar’s death left Colombia with an unexpected problem. Some of the 40 or 50 Hippos now living wild in Colombia have relocated more than 100 miles from Escobar’s estate. This is having a massive impact on Colombia’s biodiversity. I hear that there is even a bounty on Hippos in Colombia now, whereby you get paid if you can get a Hippo ear. I don’t know how successful that has been as I also understand that there is a big black market trade in fake Hippo ears. the world certainly is very strange, isn’t it? I knew absolutely nothing about this until I heard “Pablo’s Hippos”, so a big thank you to Violet Contours for educating me.

It is an incredible story and a truly great song with a pop trance vibe with African style guitars used as effectively as Vampire Weekend did in their early days. It is three minutes of perfectly crafted pop heaven with an 80s dance feel, like a Duran Duran club remix from the latter part of the 80s, around the time of “Skin Trade”. This is one of those tunes that most people would find it impossible not to dance to, especially in the live environment. Violet Contours have released some excellent songs since they formed in 2016; “Airstrike” and “Pixar” are my favourites, but without a doubt “Pablo’s Hippos” take the boys to another level. This song deserves loads of airplay and success. Jericho Keys made it his record of the week on BBC Radio York. I can’t wait to hear it live again and I hope to catch them at the Crescent in York next month. Ben, Sam, Niall, and Daniel have knocked it out of the park with such a banging tune!

 

Pictures were all “borrowed” from the band’s faceBook page. Videos were sourced from YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like me to credit you or to take it down, then please let me know.

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Vinyl Eddie Records Label Launch Show – Fibbers, York – Sunday May 5th 2019 May 11, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:19 pm
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Tonight was the launch party for the brand new label started by what is probably York’s finest Record Shop Vinyl Eddie. No prizes for guessing that it will be call Vinyl Eddie Records. The first two releases are from two fabulous York bands; The Receivers  with the six track ‘There’s More To The World’ and Violet Contours with a self titled four track EP. I now own both of these records, so you might already have a view of what I think of my view on the two bands who were co-headliners for the Fibbers gig. But before I get to them there were another two support bands before the main events. First up were York trio Fear and Loathing who showed absolute fearlessness and no visible loathing. They have a really chilled jazzy, bluesy guitar sound with the kind of hooks that can be found in Nick Cave’s more commercial songs. On the slower parts to their tunes the vocals, for me, showed elements of the best of Scott Walker interpreting Jacques Brel. Some of their tunes have an underlying tone of menace and when they rock out Fear and Loathing are bloody funky indeed!

Fear & Loathing

The Vedettes were next and they are yet another talented band from York. These boys make a mesmerising, frenetic and frankly, stunningly gorgeous noise. When they get their funky groove on the sound reminds me of early Spandau Ballet, circa “To Cut A Long Story Short” and “Musclebound”, before they went soppy with the likes of the sugary, insipid “True”. Kell Chambers vocals come across like he is fronting a punk band that knows how to create dance-able anthems and let’s face it that is what the Vedettes are; punky, funky and slamming dance all rolled into one. Can the Vedettes be contained in one genre? Probably not, unless that genre was Manic Hyper Disco Punk from another galaxy! Check them out and see and hear for yourselves.

The Vedettes

Next it was time for the first of the two joint headliners, the Receivers. This is an incredibly talented band who get better every time you see them. They are a well honed and incredibly tight band who have a knack for writing some great tunes across a range of styles. “Saturday” is probably their most mainstream and accessible song and it has some immense pop hooks and style. Add to that the unavoidable urge forced upon you to sing along to the chorus. Then they vent their anger in possibly the best way since the heady days of UK punk in “That’s What They Told Me”. The songs from the new release are close to perfect; “Leave The Right Marks”, “Rimshot” and a supremely emotionally charged “Grand Central” proved that and there was a palpable sense of delight and excitement in the crowd throughout the band’s whole set. But even the old songs are something special, “A Thousand Times” is an anthemic banger that makes you want to move your body, for me it feels a little like the Stereophonics at their peak. Nick’s vocals were spot on in this set and Alex is developing into one of the best guitarists around, he also seems to possess more energy than the Duracell bunny. But underpinning the whole receivers sound is the Rolls Royce of rhythm sections from Louis on drums and Harry on bass. The Receivers are definitely one to watch and I am looking forward to seeing them live again soon!

The Receivers

Completing the line up and showcasing more of what is great about the York music scene were joint headliners Violet Contours. Just like the Receivers they have a fabulous record to promote. They have an effervescent, bright and happy sound that has the power to get even the most lethargic people on the floor. There are Vampire Weekend influences in their African style guitars and perhaps some Stone Roses although Ben Henderson’s vocals are probably better than Ian Brown’s in a live setting. Their brand of indie with jangly guitars and funky bass inspired by Orange Juice are a treat for the ears. The band are a solid and tight unit although they have only been around since 2016. One thing I really love about them is how much they seem to be enjoying themselves on stage. I am not properly familiar with all their song titles yet, (although “Pixar” and “Airstrike” are mint) but as I travelled home my head was full of Violet Contours rhythms, melodies and the sheer exuberance that oozes from their songs. Vinyl Eddie Records are off to a great start with initial releases from two of York’s finest bands; The Receivers and Violet Contours. If we don’t here a great deal more from both bands then I might have to eat my hat. Check them out!

Violet Contours

 

 

 

Strawberries, the Howl & the Hum, Naked 6 and Violet Contours – Fibbers, York – Wednesday 19th April 2017 April 20, 2017


How can you go wrong with a ticket price of ÂŁ5 (ÂŁ7 on the door) for four bands? Well you can’t really can you? At Fibbers too. This was another gig recommended to me by the talented Mr Simon Pattinson, pity our poor communication meant he didn’t make it though because it was a proper pedal to the metal, balls to the wall rock night.

Violet Contours

Up first were Violet Contours with their jangly indie pop that carries a great northern edge. At times they channel Kings Of Leon and Orange Juice. “Electric Bodies” is a phenomenal dĂ©but release. It is rich, vibrant and hangs around in your brain much longer than lesser songs.

Naked 6

Now Naked 6 is a band that I first saw a few months ago at the Crescent in York and I thought they were darned good then. I bought my ticket from the band’s bass player extraordinaire Caleb tonight. What a top bloke! Do you like your rock hard? Do you like some funk in your rock? Do you love a band that knows how to rock out and I mean really rock out? Well look no further than the mighty, magnificent music machine that is Naked 6. This is the 21st century Led Zep. How the fuck do three people make so much noise? They made my ears bleed, but in the best possible way. To top it all off I swear that their very metal version of “I Wanna Be Like You” is like nothing that you have ever heard before.

The Howl and the Hum

I must confess that I have never come across the Howl and the Hum before. What are they like? Think Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, the Doors without Manzarek and maybe the Villagers then you are part way to understanding this complex band with simple songs that sound like stunning and sharp icicles of left-field rock. They know how to build a song from a soft, laid back start into a pile driving crescendo. I reckon this lot could be the house band in David Lynch‘s ‘Twin Peaks‘.

The Strawberries

Now for the main attraction, how on earth could the Strawberries follow such a powerful line up? With aplomb, power, guts, swagger and some pretty tasty tunes. They are clearly one of the finest bands from Leeds at the moment. I’m gutted that I missed them on the Jack Rocks stage at the Leeds Festival last year, let’s hope they will be there again this year. They draw on the most psychedelic aspects of Primal Scream and they take the audience by the scruff of their dirty necks and slap them into submission with some amazing tunes. “Caramel Eyes” was a particular favourite of mine. This is the band that Oasis might have become had they not blown it after the first two albums. I bought the Strawberries EP with its individually hand crafted cover and it is a super charged 15 minutes from a band with a great future.

You really need to get out and catch any of these four bands playing live. You will not be disappointed whichever one you choose!

A public service announcement – all the pictures are from my nifty little Chinese phone and the videos are all courtesy of YouTube.

 

 
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