With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

This House Is haunted – Fulford Arms, York – Sunday 31st October November 9, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 8:28 pm
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Has there ever been a more aptly named band to headline a show on Halloween than This House Is Haunted? Maybe, but this York band was booked for Halloween this year! Before I speak of them I need to tell you about the three support acts. First to take the stage was Redfyrn, another fine York band. Cat is a great vocalist with a voice that is heavy rock bordering on operatic. Redfyrn have a monster heavy sound with boot-crushing bass and riffs that could split an atom. There are rich seams of jazz and prog in their sound and the drummer’s less is more approach comes across like a heavy metal Charlie Watts. This is the second time I have seen them and it won’t be the last.

Next up it was the turn of another local band, the Bricks. They have a supremely powerful post-punk sound with incredible energy levels, especially from singer Gemma. She is an excellent frontwoman and the band is really tight. I heard strains of early Siouxsie Sioux in Gemma’s vocals and occasionally maybe Lene Lovich too. Their songs are idiosyncratic and original, I particularly loved “Short Songs”. And a special mention for “Warburton” (at least I think that is the title), which can sit alongside just a small handful of other bread-related songs. You need to experience the Bricks live, I did and I will be back for more. Vaquelin came to the spooky stage next. If Led Zeppelin had sweaty, dirty, illicit sex with Bring Me The Horizon, Valequin would be the haunted offspring. Sometimes funky, but always heavy tunes with classy rock vocals prove that this band knows how to rock. The guitars hit you stylistically like Slash but so much heavier.

This House Is Haunted is a hellishly accomplished band. In keeping with Halloween, the band took to the stage dressed like Squid Game participants, although the heat meant those masks didn’t stay for too long! Every member makes a 100% contribution to what are clearly some staggeringly powerful rock songs. Dom proves what an exceptional drummer he is. Zak hits a perfect sweet spot showcasing his fine rock voice and he also supplies some first class nuclear-powered guitar riffs. Bass player Jenn keeps the band’s engine finely tuned and purring like a top-of-the-range Rolls Royce. The world needs to hear more of this band. If they ever haunt a venue near you then do not miss them.

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Alice Simmons and Zak Ford – Songs Under Skies – National Centre For Early Music (NCEM), York – Tuesday 15th June 2021 June 22, 2021

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:36 pm
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This was show 4 of 5 of the second series of Songs Under Skies (the last was September 2020) in the grounds of the iconic York venue the National Centre For Early Music (NCEM). Tonight it was the turn of some musical talent that help showcase just what a wonderful hotbed of music York actually is. First to take the tiny stage was Zak Ford who has featured on this blog before as a solo artist and also as vocalist for This House Is Haunted. This was apparently his first gig in two years thanks to Covid. His first song, which I think was called “Use A Light” was very Jeff Buckleyesque in style and delivery. On his next song he unleashed some sublime guitar work which was reminiscent of Jonny Greenwood in one of his more mellow moments. I love “Healing Place”, it is a yearning, proto ballad with an underlying happy vibe. One of my favourite Zak Ford songs is “My Body” and tonight’s rendition maintained the songs haunting beauty. Zak did Bon Iver proud with a sublime cover of “Hey Ma”. Like many musicians Zak has continued to write and he played us a lovely tune called “Hopes And Fears” which he wrote in a very positive frame of mind during the first lockdown last year. I am looking forward to seeing Zak play live again, either solo or as a part of This House Is Haunted.

Next up is another artist who has been featured in these pages before, Alice Simmons. A very talented singer songwriter and performer who I believe has the talent and potential to go a long way. I spoke to Alice earlier in the evening and understandably she was nervous, as almost every artist probably is after a year or more of not being able to perform. But on stage there was not even a hint of nerves from Alice as she glided through a wonderful set with support from the guitar maestro known as Tim Downie. “Bridges” is a plaintive ballad over which Alice’s smoky vocal glides over the tune like a banished angel seeking a return to heaven. Next up was a stunning cover of James Brown’s “It’s Man’s Man’s World” which in the hands of a female vocalist transforms into a feminist anthem. Alice was on top form for this, she has a Winehouse sized talent. She readily admits that she writes mostly sad songs and maybe there is some truth in that, but when they have the depth and quality of the sublime, lilting ballad “State Of Mind” I don’t really mind at all. But for all the sad songs Alice is most definitely a happy person. Alice ran through a great cover of Paolo Nutini’s “Candy”, a song I must confess that I am not very familiar with, but she made it her own. Perhaps my favourite of Alice’s original songs is “Black Coffee”, it has depression, desolation and despair, proving again that she does write sad songs, but oh so very well. She closed her set with an inspired choice of cover, the 25 year old Blackstreet smash “No Diggity”. Alice performed the song like it was made for her, but the real star for this finale was the incredibly funky acoustic guitar sounds from Tim Downie. I recommend you explore both of tonights incredibly talented artists further, you will not be disappointed!

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Laura Kindelan – Centre for Early Music, York – Saturday 4th November 2017 November 7, 2017


I first saw Laura Kindelan back in July when she was part of the bill supporting Billie Marten at the Basement in York. She was an absolutely delightful and talented performer back then which made me really keen to see her play again. This showcase gig at the beautiful venue that is York’s Centre For Early Music was to promote “Sippin’ Whisky” which is her newest release. Was she as good this time as she was in the summer? You will have to read on to find that out. Zak Ford was tonight’s support act, this young man is a little folky, a little soulful and he has written some excellent songs based on tonight’s evidence. Notably “Honest Man” and “My Body”. My only criticism is that at times his enunciation could have been clearer. But that aside it was a very good set of songs and a heartfelt performance.

Now bearing in mind that Laura is barely 18 she has a talent and an ability that is way beyond her years. Yet she still maintains the enthusiasm and hope that youth brings. Her songs tell stories and evoke some of the best ‘kitchen sink dramas‘. She is a consummate song-smith and wordsmith and she really seems to love her time on stage. listening to Laura’s recordings on CD, Spotify and the like it is easy to hear that she has a precocious, natural talent. But for me she is also one of those relatively great artists whose live shows make the recorded music really come alive. Laura supports her emotionally strong and soulful voice with some relatively sparse guitar accompaniment. Let’s not forget that she is also quite a skilled guitarist.

In my earlier review I likened Laura to the late great Jeff Buckley and I still believe that her approach and style oozes the spirit of Mr Buckley. But then on songs like “The Beginning” she could be channelling Kate Nash. But while these comparisons exist for me that does not take away from the fact that Laura Kindelan has the potential to become a towering talent. Lyrically she clearly shows a mature understanding of life and relationships, perhaps most notably on “Fists”. If pushed I think I would say that “Sweet Tooth” is still my favourite Kindelan classic, but that is facing tough competition from “Colours” and the aforementioned “Sippin’ Whisky”. Her cover of the Billie Holiday standard “Good Morning Heartache” reaches in to the heart of the song and turns it into a more modern electric, but still so sad, blues lament. While I am not saying Laura is the new Billie Holiday she does totally own the song with a stunning arrangement and a very clever use of a loop effect. In my opinion covers should take a step away from the original and this takes a long stride, similar to the strides Jeff Buckley took with covers of “Lilac Wine” and “Hallelujah”. I really hope that Laura makes the right choice and gets the University that she wants, but selfishly I also hope her time as a Uni student doesn’t take her too far from her wonderful music. You really need to check out her music, you will not be disappointed and many of you will join the growing ranks of Laura Kindelan fans!

All videos searched and sourced from YouTube and the photos are courtesy of the Magnificent Marc McGarraghy at Yellow Mustang Photography.

 

 
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