With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

My Wonderful Daze “Guilty Party” EP Launch – Fulford Arms, York – Thursday 5th September 2019 September 10, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:59 pm
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Tonight was the third time that I had seen My Wonderful Daze in less than three months, the first time was also at the Fulford Arms for their Hands Off Gretel support slot back in July. Tonight was a show to let the band showcase their new EP “Guilty Party”. But before I tell you about their set there is the not so small matter of the support band, Freek. I first saw them in December last year, supporting Percy. Freek‘s roots can be traced back to Led Zeppelin and onward through to the White Stripes. Lead singer Ellis Best may, on the first impression, look like a mild-mannered Librarian, but then he unleashes blues-rock licks from his guitar which have the power to cause earthquakes in heaven and hell. But that isn’t all when he opens his mouth to sing out pops a voice that could match Roger Daltrey, Ozzy Osbourne, Paul Rodgers and many more. Best is one hell of a talented rocker. Drummer Christy Bloomfield is like the perfect rock ‘n’ roll metronome (and that is meant as a compliment.) He comes across as a well-controlled sticksman and then he hits those drums with a crazy, frenzied passion and you can imagine him being possessed by the spirit of Keith Moon and the wisdom of Ginger Baker. The highlight for me, and there were many, was “I Am A Weirdo” which is as close as you can get to the perfect rock song!

Just before 9 o’clock, the crowd was palpably excited as they waited for the imminent arrival of those weird, wacky and wonderful folk from Planet Daze, yes it was time for My Wonderful Daze to hit us with their best shot. Incidentally, their best shot is like being attacked by an artillery barrage of riffs, a rhythm section that could power a whole division of tanks and all this marshalled by Field Marshall Chloe Munt a.k.a. Flowers. This is a full-on shock and awe aural assault that either wins you over or forces you to surrender. They played the five songs from their new “Guilty Party” EP first. “Tommy” starts off quite soft and builds into a crescendo of dark passion backed by a band firing on all cylinders. The five-track EP is stunning and in the live environment the already uber heavy, riff-laden, hook-driven, eldritch tunes transform into something heavier, darker and psychedelic. At times they sound like Black Sabbath had Ozzy been replaced by Chloe.

My current favorite track from the EP is “God” and live it is an epic masterpiece. The crowd was up for this band in a big way. Chloe made a number of excursions into the audience and the crowd went into manic mosh mode towards the end. My Wonderful Daze lived up to a previous description from me “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.” But they went even further than that tonight. In the week that ‘IT – Chapter Two” hit the cinemas there were plenty of Pennywise style red balloons with added black balloons to add a streak of goth. The second half of their set saw much fake blood, well at least I hope it was fake! This was streaked across the faces of the band and Chloe sporting red hair rocked a perfect Carrie White post-Prom Queen scene in a blood dripped white dress. This was not just a gig it was a show with some really theatrical moments, not many bands can pull that off, but My Wonderful Daze can do it with style and ease. There was a technical guitar hitch near the end, but a mighty and dynamic jam session from Mr. Jack Sparkle on bass and JoshQ6 on drums and Chloe taking it upon herself to dance with members of the audience entertained us impeccably while the guitar issue was resolved. For me, the mark of a great band or at least one with the potential to become great is how they handle a mishap like that. My Wonderful Daze handled it like seasoned veterans. They finished with a rip-roaring cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” closer to the White Stripes arrangement but with the heavy and dark turned up to full! You really need to see this band, but while you are waiting check out the “Guilty Party” EP by clicking here

All the photos apart from the EP promo 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.

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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.

 

 
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