With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Lost Trends – Victoria Vaults, York – Thursday 18th July 2019 July 23, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 5:53 pm
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This gig marked my first ever visit to the famous Victoria Vaults (a.k.a. Vicci Vaults) in York. It would also be the fifth time that I have had the chance to experience the mighty Lost Trends, one of Yorks finest bands, playing live. But before I tell you about Lost Trends there is the not so small matter of the two rather spiffing support acts. First on stage was Borderline, another local band who interestingly have no guitarist. But honestly, you really don’t notice that with the heavy, synth-laden, beautiful racket they make. At times I detected a synth, indie, Brit Pop style with shades of New Order and Dave Gahan. The highlight of their set for me was the delightfully titled “The Duchess Dies Tonight”. But that was a close run thing with “In A Vacuum”, which bled with the pumping heart of Heaven 17. But a Heaven 17 from a parallel universe where the never had a fractious split with the original Human League. Steve Gillies vocals occasionally hit a rich seam of Gary Numanesque style and delivery. The aforementioned lack of guitar was rendered invisible by the rhythm section that provided the power of more than just two people. James Brown on drums and bass player Tome Brown were totally in sync with each other throughout the set. Borderline are an excellent band that you really need to check out.

Borderline

Scarborough band the Feens graced the stage next and what an outfit they are, riding on the crest of some excellent airplay on BBC Six Music, BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio they hit the stage with a truckload of energy and great tunes. Think Talking Heads with Johnny Marr on guitar duties, yes Sam Dowling is that good! Freddie Schmuck one of the Feens dual lead vocalists has a feel of Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig about him. When the other dual lead singer, bass player Adam Lodge gets going it’s like being hit by a massive injection of Arcade Fire. The Feens are a highly talented and truly brilliant band that promises so much more. I believe this bunch can go all the way!

The Feens

At last, it was time for the mighty Lost Trends, easily one of York’s best bands from the last five years. It was probably George Clinton or Bootsy Collins who coined the phrase Funkateers, well I believe Lost Trends are true Funkateers, on top of that their outlook and attitude suggest Punkateers too. This is a rock band that thinks it’s a funk band, a funk band that thinks it’s an indie band, an indie band that thinks it’s a punk band. The truth is they are all of those genres, and more, combined into a musical package that will blow your socks off and blow your mind. Every song they have is a dance floor banger that would be perfectly at home pumping from the main stage of Reading/ Leeds. We were treated to some great cuts from their EP “Time” launched earlier this year and some old classics, including “DJ” which is a song about crap DJs. I have said this of Lost Trends before but their stuff would be amazing if featured on a dance remix album by the likes of the Chemical Brothers or Soulwax. As usual Pete Knaggs’ guitar never lets up as it shimmers across the magnificent sounds emanating from a rhythm section that would grace any top band. Rusty’s vocal performance was once again immense and full of power and passion. This band deserves to be huge and if you haven’t seen Lost Trends yet, then you had better rectify that very quickly, otherwise, I will have to come around and sort you out! I know where you live!

Lost Trends

Rusty off of Lost Trends

 

Public Service Announcement: All pictures, apart from the gig poster were taken by me on my cheap android phone. All videos were sourced from YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like me to credit you or take it down please let me know.

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Hands Off Gretel – Fulford Arms, York – Wednesday 10th July 2019 July 18, 2019


Until now I had missed every opportunity to catch Hands Off Gretel play live, so I had high expectations of this show. Did the band meet my expectations? You’ll have to read on to find out as there were also three other bands on the bill, starting with Witch Of The East. This is the brainchild and solo project of the mightily talented Aeris Houlihan, her sound is heavier than heavy, as grungey as it can get and definitely turned up to 11. Aeris has a blonde version of Marc Bolan’s iconic early 70s hairstyle which allows me to blatantly paraphrase Mr. Bolan and say of Aeris, “She ain’t no square with her corkscrew hair”. Her guitar playing is exquisite and her vocals are really special. Her singing voice is great on the new album ‘Queen Of Insecurity’ but live it goes beyond great. On stage, Aeris was aided and abetted by a drummer that could fit with Motorhead or the Muppets, he was that good! I am not yet familiar with all of Witch Of The East‘s songs, but Aeris gave me a copy of the album so it won’t be long! (Thank you Aeris!). I believe the opening song was “Silence” and my favourite from the set was “When You Fuck Me” which for me was how I would imagine Peaches sounding if she was more metal than electro. Ms. Houlihan made a really stylish and effective crowd incursion towards the end of her set too. I am now a confirmed fan of Witch Of The East and I can hardly wait to see them live again!

Next up was My Wonderful Daze from York, their sound is deep, dark and almost menacing at times. Imagine what band might arise if Florence and the Machine had been kidnapped by DC’s Suicide Squad and the Joker injected them with a mix of a large dose of heavy metal and Kurt Cobain’s DNA. This was not just a simple rock music set it was also a real performance with the band using stage clothes, eccentric makeup and flowing movement to get their songs across. My Wonderful Daze owned the stage for the whole of their set and they captivated a largely spellbound audience. They also keep the punk ethos going by utilising some great stage names (well I am making an assumption that these aren’t their real names) like; Flowers, Eden, and Mr. Jack Sparkle.

As Sirens Fall were the only band without a female member, but they showed true solidarity with the other bands by wearing dresses, well some of the band at least. Singer Mikey Lord I believe will one day become a really iconic frontman. He is highly skilled at engaging the audience and bringing them into the fast lane currently occupied by As Sirens Fall. Mikey has something of Brian Molko about him with some Bowie thrown in for good measure, particularly his powerful on-stage presence. In their five years together the band have released two EPs, both produced by Romesh Dodangoda. Romesh has previously produced Bring Me The Horizon among many others. As Sirens Fall are heavy as hell served with a dash of goth and a shot of punk. They make My Chemical Romance look and sound like Westlife! I can state categorically that As Sirens Fall, have gone straight into my top five live bands! I came to this gig with my good friend Jari, who was here on a business trip from Finland. As Sirens Fall is his new favourite band!

Many bands reach the cusp of greatness but often never make it beyond that, never usually through things that they are able to control. I believe that Hands Off Gretel are about to take one small step for a band, but one giant leap for women in rock. This band has the passion, the skill, and the attitude to take it so much further. I am glad I got to see them at the Fulford Arms, a wonderfully intimate venue. They are surely destined to fill arenas next and who knows where after that. This show came just a few days after the singer and guitarist Lauren Tate’s open letter to the men who come to the band’s shows. It calls out all the misogynistic creeps who sexualise any female in a band or in the audience. What she says is spot on and finally, many more people are taking notice and are ready to do something about this. Ever since I went to my first gig in 1972 and my first festival in 1975 I have loved the camaraderie and care for others in most gig crowds, but sadly there are always exceptions. Lauren was right to call this out and let’s hope it flushes these arseholes out! If you haven’t read her letter yet, you really need to, click here to see it. The band showed great solidarity for this kind of movement. Lauren and Becky, the bass player sported expertly painted on facial hair. At times Becky’s rock god postures were reminiscent of Lemmy in his full-on Motorhead pomp and the added chest hair added to that picture. Guitarist Sean Bon sported a kind of scary red gimp mask, given the heat that night he must have sweated buckets! The band is currently promoting their sophomore album ‘I Want The World’ and most of that collections tracks got an airing tonight. Particular highlights for me were “S.A.S.S”, “Kiss Me Girl” and “Freaks Like Us”. Hands Off Gretel are like a well-oiled punk machine that hits you with grunge licks, heavy riffs, and classy tunes. Lauren’s vocals have been likened to Gwen Stefani before and I get that comparison, but I believe Lauren’s voice is far more at home on the harder, intense styles than Gwen’s might have been. This was a stunning, powerhouse of a performance, the venue was hotter than I had ever known it but the verve and excitement generated by this band drove the heat and energy to molten lava levels. Hands Off Gretel are a long way from their peak but their trajectory is steep and seems driven by the power of a Saturn V rocket. If you haven’t yet seen them, sort yourself out. You will not be disappointed! I would love to hear your thoughts on any of the bands in this review.

Witch Of The East – Pic was taken on my cheap Android phone

Public Service Announcement: All pictures, apart from the gig poster and the pic of Witch Of The East were taken by John Hayhurst of Snapagig (a.k.a this generations Mick Rock)! All videos were sourced from YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like me to credit you or take it down please let me know.

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‘Saccharin EP’ – Writer’s Rain July 5, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 2:36 pm
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I first heard Nina Sundstrom when she was on backing vocal duties for Rosalind and Wounded Bear at the Crescent in York back in April. I had a brief chat with this lovely lady that night and she told me that she had an EP coming out. Well, it has been out a while and I finally got around to reviewing it and I can state categorically that it was worth the wait. Nina goes by the wonderfully clever name Writer’s Rain and the EP is called “Saccharin”. She first came to York three years ago from Bristol to study for a degree in neuroscience, so clearly, her talents stretch beyond just her innate, natural musical ability. She has worked hard playing small open mic gigs in York and all that effort has paid off with such a strong first release. If you like singer-songwriters of the classic school, like Carole King and Joni Mitchell or more modern artists like Lisa Hannigan, Lucy Rose or Feist, then you really ought to give the ‘Saccharin EP’ a spin. It took one listen to convert me into a fan of Writer’s Rain.

The songs feel simple in their construction and performance with some relatively understated instrumentation. The production is crisp and brings out the best in Nina’s voice which at times has the angelic clarity of Karen Carpenter. Her lyrics are far more mature than her age might suggest. The EP kicks off with “Interested” which I think is a put down of an overpowering, pushy, braggart of a man. The title track, “Saccharin” is, no pun intended, one of the sweetest songs here. I can also sense the young Joni Mitchell influence here in her tone and phrasing. Have you ever fell for someone because you simply both ‘clicked’? The third song on this collection “Click” is all about that and it is a beautiful tune and my wife loves it! The EP closes with “Nervous” which has a soft folky feel and is a song that wouldn’t be out of place in a Laura Marling collection and is reminiscent of Mary Hopkin at times. Click here to check out the ‘Saccharin EP’ on Spotify, if it doesn’t leave you feeling good then you need to get your head checked out!

 

 

 

“Britannia” and “Lifeline” – Skylights June 21, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 2:04 am
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Those cheeky musically talented indie rascals from York, the mighty Skylights have new product out. Not an album, not an EP, not even a single, but two rather spiffing tracks. “Britannia” and “Lifeline“. If you like Mr. Gillespie’s finest moments with Primal Scream then you will bloody love “Britannia”. It is heavy with some gorgeous Turnbulltastic riffs and Rob’s vocals are perhaps his best so far. Then there is the anthemic “Lifeline”, a song I have heard in various states, from demo to almost ready and what shines through, especially now that it has been unleashed to the world, is that it is simply a great song. It would be impossible to understate the value of the Mercedes of rhythm sections on “Lifeline” provided by Jonny Scarisbrick and Myles Soley. Everything that I hear from this lot has me salivating over the prospect of a Skylights album. They are definitely one of my favourite bands right now. They will be making a video for one of these classy songs and they want to hear from you dear music fans to decide which one will get the full-on Skylights cinematic experience. It has been a long while since I started a poll on here, so how about you help the boys choose by voting in this little poll. Go on, you know it makes sense. After you have voted get yourself one of the last remaining tickets for their gig at the Wardrobe in Leeds on 27th July!

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The Specials – Barbican, York – Thursday 9th May 2019 May 12, 2019


This was the third time I had seen the Specials, once back in the early days and more recently at this same venue back in November 2016. That 2016 gig was marred by the poor sound quality and a relatively short set from the band. Was it better this time? Well yes, it was, but before I tell you about that you need to know about the spectacularly talented support band the Tuts. Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of this all-girl punk powerhouse of a band from the area of west London that I hail from. They have rather skillfully rechristened themselves a three-tone band for this tour. A support slot like this doesn’t come along too often and it is perfect for the Tuts. I have previously seen them supporting Kate Nash and the Selecter and this is now the seventh time I have seen them play live since February 2014. They simply get better and better every time and I believe that they are still some way from reaching their peak. Nadia, Bev, and Harriet played a rabble-rousing selection of songs from the Tuts debut album ‘Update Your Brain’. Particular highlights were “Always Hear The Same Shit”, “1982” and “Dump Your Boyfriend”. But the song that really set the crowd alight like a Molotov cocktail in a firework factory was “Tut Tut Tut”. Bear in mind that when the Tuts were announced as the support for this tour almost all the shows had sold out so the girls had to win the audience over. They didn’t just win them over they thrashed them into submission to a point where they had no choice but become fans. The energy generated by this band could power a small city. We were given a choice of cover versions and the crowd chose the Clash classic “Rudie Can’t Fail” rather than the Spice Girls “Wannabe”. Personally, I would have been happy with either but the Clash tune won by a landslide and I am sure that the ghost of Joe Strummer was filled with pride by the Tuts version. The Tuts merch stand looked to be doing great business later in the evening with, hopefully, legions of Specials fans now also into the Tuts. I do know that my mate Simon Hernaman purchased the Tuts album on CD. If you have not yet seen or listened to the Tuts you really need to sort your life out and do it. I reckon they are probably one of the best, if not the best, bands in the UK right now. I do know that Nad Tut disagrees with me on that, she told me that they see themselves as the best band in the world and frankly who am I to argue with that! Go Tuts!

Finally, it was the turn of the Specials to take to the stage, they were preceded by a wonderfully exuberant and tasteful DJ set by Saffiyah Khan. The band opened at full pelt with “Man At C & A” with Lynval firing up the crowd from the opening salvo, although to be fair we didn’t need much firing up. There were some inspired selections from their critically acclaimed album ‘Encore’, notably “Vote For Me”, the Valentines cover “Blam Blam Fever” and an impassioned “Ten Commandments” which featured Saffiyah Khan. But the highpoint of the newer material was for me the reworked Fun Boy Three tune “The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum” which is still, sadly as highly relevant now as it was when it was originally released back in 1981. The three remaining original members of the band, Lynval Golding, Horace Panter (a.k.a. Sir Horace Gentleman) and Terry Hall were on top form. Hall’s laconic dry humour was on display on pretty much every occasion he chose to speak to the crowd. Special mention must be given to one of the UK’s greatest guitar players, Steve Cradock who added some intense rock sounds to every song. What I have always loved about the Specials is how when they do a cover version it really does become one of their own, particularly in the live arena. The crowd were full on skanking for “A Message To You Rudy” (originally by Dany Livingstone), “Do The Dog” (originally by Rufus Thomas) and it would be an understatement to say that the crowd went apeshit (no pun intended) for a riotously uncontained romp through the Maytals “Monkey Man”. It is the originals from the early days, though, that hit the highest heights for me. “Do Nothing”, “Rat Race”, “Nite Klub”, “Friday Night, Saturday Morning”, “Gangsters” and “Too Much Too Young” still retain nuclear levels of ska punk power. A nineteen song set took us to the inevitable encore and what a treat that encore was. It kicked off with a reggae instrumental jam, I have no idea what the title was. This was followed by another classic that is still as pertinent today as it was nearly forty years ago, “Ghost Town”. This mercurial performance from the Specials was closed with a Skatalites cover “You’re Wondering Now” which also featured Saffiyah Khan. This was a fitting end to a truly great show which proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the Specials have still got it!

 

Public Service Announcement – all the pictures, apart from the tour poster, were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If you would like to be credited or have them removed please let me know.

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Miles – Single Launch – The Crescent, York – Friday 19th April 2019 April 27, 2019


This day was actually Good Friday, but when you’re lucky enough to attend a gig like this then I would suggest we rename it Great Friday. This was the third time I have seen Miles, but more of that later, because there were some rather spiffing support acts on the bill too. First to take the stage was Rosalind, tonight made up of amazingly talented York singer songwriter Ellie Milne and Nina on backing vox and harmonies. (I hear that Nina has an EP out now). The pair was aided and abetted by Josh (a.k.a. Wounded Bear) and Mikey (from Miles) on guitar and backing vocals. Ellie’s self-penned songs are built on a tsunami of soul baring emotions and “Call This A Love Song” is a stand out tune. I saw Rosalind for the first time just less than two weeks ago and I am sure I will be seeing her plenty of times in the future. Ellie performed a scorchingly brilliant cover of Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s “Big Fish”. But the closing song which deals with domestic violence was one of the most haunting tunes that I have heard in a long while.

The second support act of the evening was Wounded Bear (a.k.a. Josh). He has a rich, deep voice which enticingly draws you into his songs, most of which weave wonderful stories through their sometimes intricately clever lyrics. The music scene in York is incredibly close and supportive and embraces everyone, so Wounded Bear was the beneficiary of some heavenly counterpoint harmonies provided by Ellie and Nina who we heard as a part of the earlier Rosalind performance. Wounded Bear has a really classy EP out now entitled ‘A Calm Night For A Bullfight’. Currently my favourite song from that release is “Angela”, an emotionally charged and heartfelt love song. But for me Wounded Bear saved his best song to last, Adrian Gurvitz once said in song that he was “gonna write a classic”. Well with “Civil War” Wounded Bear has indeed written a classic tune. Musically and lyrically it has nothing missing, the song borders on perfect and needs to be heard.

Finally it was time for the headliner Miles, I think this is the second time that I have seen Miles and twice more in a previous incarnation as Epilogues. I believe main man Mikey sets out to create music that is epic in scope and could adapt well to score a foreign film of love and loss incredibly successfully. The first few, rather moody masterpieces, are performed by Mikey on his own in a style reminiscent of early period Jarvis Cocker. After that we were hit with the extended band including a well-drilled rhythm section. The drum fills were often like ethereal jazz noodles floating over a rainbow river. Mikey’s vocal talents are at times wondrous and evoke the softer side of Thom Yorke for me. This gig was to launch the new Miles single “16: My Delightful Inheritance” which is shaping up to be his best yet. I must apologise for being so tardy with this review that the album of the same now is now available on Daddy Issues Records and most major streaming sites. Click here or to check it out.

 

Public Service Announcement – all the pictures, apart from the gig poster, were taken using my cheap Chinese Android phone.

 

Noggy – “Weighed Down” Single Launch – Micklegate Social, York – Monday 8th April 2019 April 15, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:50 pm
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Until this show I never realised that the Micklegate Social was a gig venue. I remember the basement there being a rather musty extra seating area for the upstairs bar/ coffee bar. But now it seems transformed into a fabulous, intimate small venue that is perfect for showcasing local upcoming talent. Tonight was the launch of “Weighed Down” a new single from York singer songwriter Noggy. But before his set we were entertained by three more mightily talented artists. The first of those was Rosalind, who replaced Edna Sulemanjovic who unfortunately couldn’t be here. She played some perfectly chilled ballads that made me recall New York’s Janis Ian around the time of “At Seventeen” which was a massive US hit in 1975. Rosalind’s songs and her singing showcase some immense emotional depth. She also played a stunning take on a Benjamin Francis Leftwich song. I definitely want to hear more from her and if you read on you may well see her mentioned again in this post.

Next up was another York artist, Alex Golisti who I last saw when he supported Hooray For The Riff Raff at the Crescent in York back in August 2017. He was good then and is even better now. Alex opened with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young”. It is always a brave move to cover a Robert Zimmerman song and Alex with his rich, bassy voice really pulled it off. His between song banter has a chance of becoming legendary and if his music career doesn’t take off, although it should, then he could easily develop a career in stand up comedy. His acoustic guitar picking skills are reminiscent of early US deep south country blues artists. In a previous review I had likened Mr Golisti’s vocal style to George Ezra and that still stands. I also reckon that if George Ezra has the archetypal angel on devil on his shoulders that determine his moral guidance then Alex should apply for the devil role. He would smash it and however you read that I do mean it as a compliment.

The abundantly skilled and talented York singer songwriter Laura Kindelan followed and regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of Laura and her music. I caught up with her briefly before her set. She is currently studying music at the Leeds College of Music and now has a band, although they weren’t playing with her this evening. She continues to work on new material and I for one am looking forward to hearing that when she feels it is ready for us. This is the fourth time that I have seen Laura play live since first seeing her supporting Billie Martin back in July 2017. Laura opened her set with a haunting rendition of “Take Your Time” which shows how she uses not just the music but the space between the notes better than many artists can. She revealed in her introduction to another of her songs, “Fingertips” she revealed that it wasn’t in fact a love song written from experience, but ‘shock horror’ it was written for an assignment. Was I disappointed at this revelation? No of course not because however the song was born it is still a fine, classy tune. Laura was supported by Luca Vitale, a cello maestro, for the last couple of songs. Her Arctic Monkeys cover, “Do I Wanna Know”, was incredible, she really gave the song her own spin. I truly believe that if you cover a well-known tune, make it different and this was very definitely Laura Kindelan and not Alex Turner. Laura closed her set with “Spiders” which is indelibly stamped with great emotion, deep feeling and a real darkness. For me this song really showcases Laura’s great talent and I still believe that she has the style and presence to be the kind of force that Jeff Buckley was before he left the world nearly 22 years ago.

Finally it was time for tonights headliner, Noggy. He opened with a cover of the Gregory Alan Isakov’s haunting song “The Universe”. This was a highlight for me, Noggy’s performance turned the emotion in the tune up to 11. Apparently his own composition, “Hologram” was the first song that gave him the confidence to perform his music beyond the confines of his bedroom. That is no surprise as this track has the makings of a classic about it. I, like I am sure many of you, are supremely pleased that Noggy did make the leap from performing tunes in his bedroom to bringing them to us in the wider world. Noggy was joined by show opener Rosalind for some fine vocal harmonies an a couple of songs before ending his set and the evening with his new single “Weighed Down”. Whatever style of music you love, and my taste is wildly eclectic, you surely cannot fail to grasp the beauty of this ethereal, emotional and frankly 100% beautiful ballad. I noticed on-line that Noggy is often described as folk or indie folk (I had no idea that the indie folk sub genre even existed), but I think he is much more than either. “Weighed Down” is in simple terms a great piece of music which you need to have in your life. Click here to check it out on Spotify.

 

Public Service Announcement – all the pictures, apart from the gig poster, were taken using my cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If any of the videos are yours and you would like me to credit you or remove them please let me know.

 

 
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