With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

The Velts – Fulford Arms, York – Thursday 26th July 2018 August 1, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:29 pm
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You can’t beat a gig showing four bands for four quid can you? Especially when it is at the Fulford Arms in York and even more especially when you know and love three of the bands playing; thank you Glass Traps, Honours and Tax! The gig was set up to launch a new York record label, Safe Suburban Home (SSH). The label specialises in releasing exclusive seven-inch vinyl singles by up and coming bands. This gig was to support the launch of the first SSH single by Maltese band the Velts. It is a shame it wasn’t a local band, but I am sure that will come. But before the Velts hit the stage there was the little matter of three fabulous support bands. Before I tell you about them I have to air a little gripe; the sound and mix at times was utterly atrocious. Was it atmospherics caused by the extreme heat or was the sound man having a particularly bad day? I am not sure what the sound was like from the monitors, but I got over the worst of it by standing closer to the stage.

Glass Traps

First up were the Glass Traps, they are quite a young band and they have tons of potential. At times a little Beatlesesque and Byrdsian with a smattering of Tom Petty. The Beatles thing was compounded by the bass player using what I think was a Hofner bass, but not just that, he was also left-handed like Macca! The Glass Traps have some excellent songs, but like all of tonight’s bands the sound let them down a little.

Honours

The second band to take the stage were the mighty Honours, without a doubt one of Yorks finest young bands. Even with the issues with the sound this bunch were fucking awesome. The sound was definitely better closer to the stage, perhaps we got a bleed from the monitors. Honours have the potential to be their generation’s Oasis, only better. Jordan has more stage presence than Liam Gallagher as a front man. Meanwhile Struan’s guitar playing at times hits the majesty of Mick Ronson at his peak. “Freedom” and “Duchess” are outstanding tunes and “Higher Than A Mountain” is heading that way too. It doesn’t matter whereabouts on the bill Honours are, they always play like a headliner!

Tax

I had the pleasure of reviewing the ‘Averageism’ EP from another great York band, Tax, back in January. So I was looking forward to finally seeing them play live. It feels like their sound has developed immensely in those few months. Not just Space Cadets, but proper spaced out cadets! There is definitely a whiff of Tom Verlaine and Television about them while the Mark E Smith influence is also clear. But they are influences and Tax are very much a band mining their own eccentric seam of great music.

The Velts

Headliners were the Velts from Malta here for the launch of their exclusive seven-inch release “Rollercoaster” b/w “Rattle The Cage” which is also the first release on Safe Suburban Home Records. It was a real shame that the bulk of the crowd had disappeared by the time the Velts arrived on stage. Those that left early missed a treat, well apart from the poor sound mix which never really improved the whole night. The Velts are to me what the Beatles might have been like if they had arrived on the scene in the late 90s with a fully formed more modern take on ‘The White Album’. George Harrison would have been proud of some of their left field wig outs! Both tracks from the single were played and they have some other great songs too.

So in summary this was a good gig that might have been great if the sound was better and the crowd was bigger. I hope the safe Suburban Records is a very successful venture and maybe they should try out a few releases from local bands in the next few months. I feel pretty sure that would pull bigger crowds and more sales. But I am the very proud owner of the single, mine is numbered 11 of 250!

All photos were taken by me using my cheap Chinese android mobile phone, hence the quality!

 

 

‘Duchess’ – Honours May 23, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:50 pm
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One of York‘s finest bands, Honours, release their second single “Duchess” hot on the heels of their stunning début with “Freedom”. I truly believe that this band have the talent to become one of the classic British bands. They contain the DNA of everyone from the Kinks, Blur and Paul Weller. In fact the first time I listened to “Duchess” I thought of the Modfather. The guitar lines are comparable with some of Steve Cradock‘s finest. This new song isn’t as instant as “Freedom” however it is still a very classy tune indeed that grows in stature with each listen. If “Duchess” and its predecessor “Freedom” are a harbinger of the first Honours album then that record will be a towering success. Check it out now on Spotify, iTunes and SoundCloud!

 

 

Lower Than Atlantis – Fibbers, York – Sunday 13th May May 15, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:25 pm
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Last Sunday I had the absolute pleasure of going to see one of Watford’s finest bands, Lower Than Atlantis playing live at Fibbers in York. It was courtesy of those doyens of decibels over at 3 Songs & Out. Click here to read my review and feel free to stick around on 3 Songs & Out.

 

“YRA 2018” – Skylights April 24, 2018


Too many bands and so little time! I just received a tip from an insider about a band called Skylights who hail from Yorkshire; York and Leeds to be precise. They have a spiffing little tune out right now and after a couple of listens I really love it. “YRA 2018” is the tune and the acronym describes Yorkshire’s Republican Army. As a former southerner who has lived in York for eleven years I would be happy to support the YRA!

Skylights are most definitely a 21st century band but they draw some great influence from the BritPop era, but the classy end of the so called movement. They have a swagger in their sound that evokes Oasis in their prime, a confidence in their playing that is reminiscent of Richard Ashcroft at his peak and Bobby Gillespie would be proud of this song. Skylights pull no punches with some sky reaching power riffs and epic melodies which build to a chorus that is hard to lose from your brain, not that I am trying to lose it though.

The band is Rob Scarisbrick on vocals, Turnbull Smith on guitar, Jonny Scarisbrick on bass and Myles Soley beating the drums.They have been picked up by a few local radio stations, including the fabulous YO1 and BBC Introducing. York’s own Rick Witter is a fan of this song. They are playing Fibbers on 18th August and there will be other gigs. I haven’t had the opportunity to see the band live yet, but if they can translate the power and energy of their recorded music on stage then I reckon their sets could become epic! Click here to check out “YRA 2018” on SoundCloud along with a couple of other excellent Skylights tunes.

 

Lost Trends – City Screen Basement, York – Saturday 21st April 2018 April 23, 2018


A headline show in York from the mighty Lost Trends, I mean you have to get yourself along to that don’t you, and I did. But before I tell you about one of York’s finest bands let me say a few words about the support bands. First up were Jerry who are very definitely a British band in the long genealogical line of the best British bands. They have a great sound in which I can hear the influence of The Fall, later period Blur, Pavement, Lou Reed and on occasions even Frank Zappa. Will this band go on to bigger and better things? Well I believe that Jerry can! Sorry about the terrible pun, but while I am on it how come so many bands these days have names that are so difficult to find in Google? (Other search engines are available). Is it because all the good names have been used?

Jerry

Talking of easy to find names next on stage were the Asphodels and oh boy are this bunch different. Imagine some Prog Rock opuses as played by a 90s grunge band. The rhythm section performed like a fuzzed out, punked up, psychedelic version of John Paul Jones and John Bonham off of Led Zeppelin. There were times that I was reminded of the best creations of Paul Draper and Mansun. I should add that their drummer is top draw and for me keeps the band in perfect sonic and rhythmic shape. I am looking forward to hearing more from the Asphodels.

Asphodels

Finally it was time for tonight’s main attraction, Lost Trends, I had met Rusty and Pete from the band earlier in the bar and they were properly up for this. Jerry and the Asphodels are two tough bands to follow but Lost Trends are highly skilled at upping the ante and they did it yet again with a stunning set. I have seen countless bands that give 100% in every performance but not many who go beyond that. Lost Trends are very much a 110% band. I have seen this band only twice before and I know that I will see them many more times in years to come. They have a new drummer who, it is fair to say, is a great fit. They play and perform with incredibly high energy levels with everything turned up to 11. By the end of the night everyone one of us punters were up on our feet frugging and chugging to some of the best dance/ rock hybrid songs out there. These boys know how to engage an audience and do it with buckets of style. They entertain a crowd in a way that many of their contemporaries can’t match. Lost Trends are scholars at intertwining tight, funky dance sounds with phenomenal, soaring rock vocals and punk attitude. In a parallel universe Lost Trends are playing stadiums supported by U2. get out and see them the next chance that you have, you will not be disappointed.

Lost Trends

Also it was great to catch up with my good friend, the stubbornest little bitch on the planet! You know who you are, stay strong!

 

Isaac Gracie – The Crescent, York – Monday 16th April 2018 April 17, 2018


Another school night, another gig at the fabulous Crescent in York. Tonight was another excellent show from Northern Radar this time headlined by Isaac Gracie. But before I give you my opinion of Mr Gracie how about a big hand for the most amazing support act Matt Maltese. He has an album coming out in June and after seeing him play live that is a very, very exciting prospect. He is like a lounge version of Rufus Wainwright who wears his politics on his sleeve in 72 point bold font. “As The World Caves In” is an incredible song and a very worthy single, a copy of which I bought on the night. Matt’s between song bonhomie and sardonic wit is wonderfully original. I think perhaps that “Guilty” was my favourite highlight, but there were many, so that might change if you ask me again. I would unreservedly pay to see Mr Maltese again.

It would be somewhat of a cliché to say that I have seen the future of rock ‘n’ roll, let’s face it Jon Landau said that about Bruce Springsteen in 1974. However I have seen a very bright future for British music in the shape of Isaac Gracie. Twenty One year old Gracie is a former chorister with the Ealing Abbey Choir. He first came to the attention of the music industry after “Last Words” a song recorded on GarageBand in his bedroom was unleashed into the world in 2015. His songs are far more mature than his years and on top of that he comes across as wonderfully affable and self-deprecating on stage. For me he has all the finest qualities of a young Jeff Buckley. I had the privilege of seeing Buckley at the Reading Festival many, many years ago and Gracie has the same qualities in his songs, performance, raw talent, passion and demeanour. Check out his cover of Radiohead’s “No Surprises” and the Arctic Monkeys “Fluorescent Adolescent” on YouTube and see the ghost of Buckley made real. My wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman doesn’t come to many gigs with me, but she was blown away by this one.

His first album is a truly accomplished début “Terrified”, “Last Words”, “Reverie”, “Running On Empty” and “Silhouettes Of You” all feel like classic songs that have been with you your whole life and Isaac played all of them tonight. There was not a single dud song in his set, my particular highlights were “All In My Mind” and the haunting song of sadness that is “Darkness Of The Day”. “Was our love a work of art, before the painting fell apart”, is that not one of the best lyrical couplets ever written? It is almost 46 years since I attended my first gig and there have been hundreds since then, but this is without doubt one of the finest shows that I have ever seen. If Isaac Gracie does not become a world straddling star then there is something horribly wrong with this planet.

 

Cabbage – The Crescent, York – Wednesday 11th April 2018 April 13, 2018


Well isn’t the Crescent turning into a fab venue. Tonight in a show put together by the talented Mr Dean Shakespeare of Under The Influence we had one of the most hyped bands in ages headlining ; those delightful lads from Cabbage. This would make it four times that I had seen them live, so what did I think of them this time? Well dear reader you will need to read on to find out, because I need to tell you about the excellent support acts first. The Grimm Twins took to the stage before anyone else and sadly the early crowd held back for far too long for such a stunning band. They are punk and post punk rolled into one. They contain a pinch of the Fall and a dash of the Buzzcocks which given that their DNA is close geographically, they are from Macclesfield, I am not surprised. Their song “Generation Z” is a venerable and honourable anthem for this bands generation. After hearing this I would be happy to hand over the mantle as my baby boomer generation have royally fucked things up. Their closing number “Theme Of The Grimm” is a top tune, it is deep, meaningful, powerful, special and anthemic. Definitely a band to watch out for.

The next band up were She Drew The Gun who to me appeared to be influenced by everything and nothing at the same time, this is no criticism they are a wonderful and truly original band. They are a band with a conscience and bucket loads of passion. Imagine Dick Dale backing a torch singer or Kate Tempest fronting early Roxy Music and this will give you just a small insight into exactly how good She Drew The Gun are. If you saw them at the Crescent tonight and you didn’t become a fan then I seriously believe that you need to have your musical taste examined!

Finally it was time for the main attraction and one of your five a day, it is only the mighty Cabbage! This is the fourth time that I have experienced the band known as Cabbage and this was the first time that I had seen them outside of a festival. So this was very much their own crowd and oh boy did they whip us into a frenzy. Cabbage play punk, funk, pop, post punk and many other styles in between but they are nigh on impossible to drop into a genre. They are bombastic, lovingly chaotic and they carry off a healthy dollop of arrogance too. We were treated to some proper choice cuts from their new album ‘Nihilistic Glamour Shots’ and some of the finest songs from their ever-expanding repertoire. They were at their explosive best for “Arms of Pleonexia” and “Gibraltar Ape” was a towering masterpiece that shook the room, but to be fair I was standing right next to the speaker stack! From their earlier songs “Uber Capitalist Death Trade”, “Terrorist Synthesizer” and “Dinner Lady” were particular highlights for me. On top of that who can resist the genius that is “Necroflat in the Palace”. After seeing them at the Latitude Festival last year I made a prediction that they would headline a major festival in three years. I stand by that and hopefully it will be by or before 2020! Get yourself out to see Cabbage now before they start playing just the enormodomes!

It was also great to catch up with Simon P; kingpin of Northern Radar, Joe Coates; Head Honcho of Please Please You and Joe and Jared from one of my most favourite bands the rather awesome Avalanche Party! so as gig nights go this one was among the very best!

Public service announcement – all photographs emanated from by cheap little android phone and the videos were all discovered on YouTube.

 

 
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