With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

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 £5 (£7 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 début 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.

 

Avalanche Party, Black Lagoons, Unqualified Nurse Band, Moriacana – Fulford Arms, York, Thursday 2nd March 2017 March 3, 2017


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This was another fantastic line up and a great night presented by Behind The White Door at one of York‘s best gig venues. Yes another power packed show at the Fulford Arms. It was remarkably a free entry gig, but like others I did contribute to the band collection and bought some merch too. It was also great to catch up with good friends and gig veterans Mike Harrison and Simon Pattinson. Anyway it was one of the north east’s if the UK’s finest bands Avalanche Party that brought me out on a damp March night. In fact this was the sixth time I have seen them. But more of them later. The show kicked off with Moriacana who in my experience are possibly one of the loudest two piece bands I have ever seen. But this very talented drummer and guitarist/ vocalist aren’t just all about loudness. The noise that they make is grungy heaven. I am sure that this York band will be compared with the likes of ..And The Hangnails, Royal Blood and other similarly set up two pieces, however while that is all well and good it should be noted that Moriacana also bring their own uniqueness to the party.

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Next up was the rather interestingly named Unqualified Nurse Band all the way from Derby. They can do punk, they can do heavy, they can do grunge, they can do quiet loud quiet (à la Pixies) and they can even do some slowed down more intimate moments. Actually is there much that they can’t do? I don’t know, they certainly gave us a pulsing and thrilling set which was mildly reminiscent of the magnificent Biffy Clyro. I bought their EP and I have been playing it in the car today. Definitely a band to watch out for. The third band to take the stage were one of York’s finest young bands, the Black Lagoons. I have seen them once before just over a year ago and they were damned good then. Are they still damned good? Actually no they’re not ………… they are even better than damned good! they play a fuzzy, swampy and at times proggy take on garage rock. They do it with style and stage presence. The drummer sounds like a young John Bonham and I can only imagine that the Black Lagoons will continue to grow. Being local they also brought along quite a sizeable fan base. It was a shame that some of them left before the headliners.

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Actually if you’re a fan of the Black Lagoons then I am sure that you do or will love the head honchos from tonight’s gig. Yes it was a triumphant return to York for the mighty, majestic and magnificent machine that is Avalanche Party. Jordan Bell stalks the stage like Jim Morrison with a mastery of that menacing, hypnotic stare. His vocals ooze classy and classic rock be it psychedelic, punk or anything in between. The bedrock of the band is the awesome rhythm section of Joe Bell and his thunderous bass and Kane Waterfield who pounds his kit to death every set. Overlay that with the sublime and psychy lead guitar of Jared Thorpe and let’s not forget some excellent sweeping keyboard sounds from Glen Adkins. It was yet another stunning set from a great band who I first saw back in August 2014. My favourite songs of the night were “Money” and “Let’s Get Together”. With an appearance at Leeds and Reading festivals last year I feel sure that Avalanche Party have the potential to really make it big. If you haven’t seen Avalanche Party yet then where the bloody hell have you been? Get out from under that stone and seek them out, you will not be disappointed!

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Public Service Announcement – the Avalanche Party pictures were taken on my phone, all the other pictures and videos are courtesy of that wonderful t’interweb!

 

Martha Reeves & the Vandellas – Fibbers, York – Tuesday 13th December 2016 December 21, 2016


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I last saw Martha Reeves many years ago, maybe late 70s or early 80s I guess. Probably in some cheesy nightclub in Luton or Dunstable. No doubt it was accompanied by chicken in a basket. While my memory of that night is not too clear I do recall that her singing voice was superb. So the opportunity to see her again in my adopted home town was not one that I was going to miss, especially at Fibbers which is a fantastic little venue. But before I talk about the magnificent Miss Martha Reeves let me tell you about the very talented support act. Eve Simpson is a singer songwriter from Newcastle with a collection of heartfelt, heartwarming and powerful songs. She sang them beautifully accompanied just by her acoustic guitar. I was captivated by this exceptionally bright performer. She put on a great show in spite of some of the audience being more interested in talking throughout her set. I always find it strange when people ignore a support act, but hey to each their own. Those talkers missed a treat! I was lucky enough to speak to Eve and her Mum and they are both lovely ladies. I bought a copy of Eve’s EP ‘Shelter’ and I have played it at least a dozen times already. You really need to check out Eve.

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Anyway so the main event is clearly what everyone was here for Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Martha was making music from around the time that I was born and had their first chart action when I was still only four years old. If I have half the energy that Martha has when I am 75 I will be ecstatic. She was on stage for around 90 minutes, with the Vandellas who are now made up of two of her sisters; Lois and Delphine Reeves. The band was a really tight and skilled unit too. Martha really knows how to work an audience and her between song chat was highly entertaining.

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All the classic Motown hits were on show including; “Come And Get These Memories” and “Nowhere To Run”. My particular highlight was a stunning version of my favourite Martha and the Vandellas song, “(Love Is Like A) Heatwave”. But “Dancing In The Street” was a very close second. To hear Martha sing that song live really exposes how embarrassing the Bowie and Jagger version was in 1985. The audience pretty much danced the whole night long, I certainly did, spending most of my time right in front of the stage. The song that brought out the best ‘dance like nobody is watching’ moment in me was definitely “Jimmy Mack” and their superb run through of the Jackie Wilson classic “Higher And Higher”. Their version of Marvin Gaye’s gorgeous “What’s Going On” was beautiful in its extended jazz jam style too. The most emotional point was, I think, the stunning and soulful “No One There” which was written by Johnny Bristol.

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At the end of the show Martha, Lois and Delphine came out to meet the fans and sign some photographs and CDs. Obviously I wasn’t going to miss that. I had them all sign the two CDs and group picture that I bought. I was also able to have a little chat with Martha herself. I thanked her for the show and told her how impressed I was that she was drinking a pint of Guinness. I also told her that I have always felt that her version of Van Morrison‘s “Wild Night” is in my opinion the best ever cover of a Van Morrison song. She gave me a big smile for that! I for one will definitely being going to see Martha the next time she tours in the UK and I suggest that you do the same. You will not be disappointed!

 

Cry Baby at the Crescent, York Friday 14th October 2016 October 18, 2016


It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to attend another Northern Radar show put on by good friend, the very talented Mr Simon Pattinson. I have attended many gigs that Simon has either put on or recommended and he has not let me down so far. At four quid for four bands did he let me down for the first time tonight? Well dear reader you will have to read on to find out.

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The first band on were Kram with a Grunge-like take on Royal Blood. The singer/ guitarist, knowingly or unknowingly, gave a nod to the late, great Kurt Cobain by taking to the stage in a dressing gown. A bit like Cobain did at the Reading Festival back in 1992 when he came on stage wearing a hospital gown. I was actually there for that too. But enough trivia and comparison, Kram are an excellent band. A versatile and skilled guitarist who possesses a great rock voice more than ably backed up by a drummer who really knows his way around a drum kit.

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Next up were Lost Trends from my adopted home city of York. How the hell have I not seen these blokes before? This mob sound really well rehearsed and watching them play I felt that they really knew rock history. Chatting to them afterwards about everything from the Beatles to Bowie and the Shadows to Radiohead it is very clear that they do. Lost Trends are very difficult to slot into a specific genre. They have a bit of indie, a touch of classic rock and are most definitely a band that you can dance to. They have the potential to become one of my and I hope your favourite bands. If I had left after their set I would have gone home happy. Oh and their excellent single “DJ” has been featured on racing ads on Channel 4, check it out at the end of this post.

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The penultimate band of the evening were the Naked Six. If you like classic rock with a twist of 21st Century then this is definitely a band that you must see. Riffs reminiscent of Jimmy Page and vocals could grace many classic bands. Their songs were all incredibly powerful and the playing was stupendous. Given the right breaks the Naked Six have the potential to surpass the success of two of their famous fathers. Thank you for letting your boys get into a band Biff off of Saxon and Finley Quaye. If I had left home after the Naked Six I would have gone home bloody ecstatic. A mega monster of a band and one that I will definitely pay to see again.

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I didn’t envy Cry Baby having to follow three very talented and stunning bands. But they did it incredibly well and with great aplomb. The great thing about all of tonights bands is that they are all very different. Cry Baby perform classy indie rock n roll with influences from many sources; the Killers, Razorlight and the Arctic Monkeys. They have some well crafted songs and know how to put on a show. I am sure that I will see this lot again. I suggest that you, dear reader, should check out all the bands that I saw at this gig you will not be disappointed. Talking of disappointment, did Simon let me down tonight? What do you think? Of course he bloody didn’t this was yet another awesome Northern Radar show!

The usual public service announcement, all the pictures were taken using my shitty little Nokia phone and the video is courtesy of YouTube.

 

 

The Tuts – Wharf Chambers, Leeds – Wednesday 21st September 2016 September 23, 2016


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I believe this is the fifth time that I have seen the magnificent Tuts play live since that first time supporting Kate Nash back in April 2013. They get so much better every time, but enough about them for a moment because this show at the delightful Wharf Chambers venue in Leeds also boasted a couple of excellent support acts. First on stage where Milk Crimes, a brilliantly gifted band who I first encountered when they supported Colour Me Wednesday at the Fulford Arms in York earlier this year. They are part Bis, part Buzzcocks and part Pixies. But the overwhelming majority of their parts are pure and original Milk Crimes. A great band with some great tunes and frankly any band with a song entitled “Hail Satan” is alright with me!

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Crywank were next as they brought their bottled madness to Leeds. What kind of genre are they? Who knows? Who cares? The answer to both of those questions is probably no and it really doesn’t matter for Crywank are a stunningly eclectic and talented combo. They are so out there and just utterly fucking brilliant. Actually I might even describe them as Zappa-esque. Drums and an acoustic guitar with songs that are either nonsense lyrics or wonderful vignettes of everyday life. They made an offer that I don’t recall ever hearing from another band; give us some weed an we’ll give you an album. Now that is a good deal, but where the hell did I put my stash?

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Now it was time for the main event, the Tuts who were by now close to half way through a headline UK tour in support of their stunning first album ‘Update Your Brain’. That album is getting some great reviews; 9 out of 10 from Vive Le Rock Magazine, click here for my review of the album. They opened with the rousing put down of sexism in the music industry “Tut Tut Tut”. The first single from the album, “Let Go Of The Past” had the capacity crowd leaping and bouncing all the way through. The song that has become something of a Tuts standard, “Dump Your Boyfriend” rocked Wharf Chambers to its foundations helped along by a crowd that seemed to know the words to all the songs. As Nad Tut remarked later in the set this was a really special moment, having the crowd singing back to you and I most certainly agree.

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The Tuts remain a DIY band and let’s face it it’s hard to get more ‘punk’ than that. They have no label and no manager, although briefly last year they did have a manager. He didn’t last long as his glory days were so far in the past that all his ‘key’ music contacts were probably dead by 1982 and that is kind of what the magnificent “1982” is all about. The band gave us a choice of cover songs; the Clash‘s “Rudie Can’t Fail” or the Spice GirlsWannabe“. It was a landslide win for “Wannabe” and I must confess it got my vote too. Nad Tut, Hat Tut and Bev Tut evoke the spirit of girl power far more strongly than Scary and the gang. On top of that their powerful version of the Spice Girls first hit is loud and great fun. There was the now obligatory foray into the audience from Nadia and Harriet which the crowd lapped up. They played a rollicking version of my current favourite Tuts song, “Give Us Something Worth Voting For” too. But in what seemed like a fleeting moment their set ended with the fabulous “Back Up”. The Tuts are a band that for me are really on the cusp of major success and I hope they get there. They have talent, intelligence, principles and they know how to win an audience. There are still a few opportunities left to see them on this tour and if you can’t make it to any of those dates then get off your arse and start updating your brain by buying their album.

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Me and the magnificent Tuts

Now for one of those pesky public service announcements. All the photos in this post were taken on my cheap little mobile phone camera. Meanwhile the videos are all courtesy of YouTube.

 

Mallrats EP Launch – The Crescent, York – 8th July 2016 July 8, 2016


I had looked forward to another Northern Radar gig for some time. Simon Pattinson has never let me down with his gigs or recommendations and I have known him a few years now. But rather than keep you in suspense let me just say that once again Simon came up trumps. He has a great knack for finding and promoting great bands. When he makes it big, just remember where you read it first!

So first up tonight were the fabulously named Eugene Gorgeous. This is the first opportunity that I have had to see this spectacular band. Imagine, if you will, the Velvet Underground meeting the Jesus and Mary Chain at a dive bar in Twin Peaks. Well if you can picture that in your mind that is Eugene Gorgeous. Whilst the singer appeared to be fuelled by milk. The guitarist was something special too with and incredible talent for feedback and sustain he can make that guitar squeal!

Are you looking for a Nirvana for the 21st Century? Yes? How about a band with some dub licks straight out of the Clash and a pinch of the Strokes? Is that your bag baby? Well in that case Mice On Mars are right up your street. On top of all their other talents they have a drummer that plays like a reincarnated Keith Moon.

maven fiction

Next up were Maven Fiction, a band that I have seen in many guises before. If you like any of the following genres then you really ought to love this band; pop, funk, electronica and punk. If you also like great songs and great melodies then you really need to check them out. In my opinion it is an absolute tragedy that Maven Fiction are not bigger than the likes of Coldplay. Can we at least get them on the Apollo Festival stage next year in York Stuart Kelly?

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Finally it was the turn of the magnificent Mallrats who were headlining a gig to promote their rather excellent new EP. You can’t really ignore a band whose sixth and seventh gigs (I’m reliably informed) were at the Reading and Leeds Festivals? Frankly you can’t can you? This is a phenomenally talented young band who I hope will achieve great success. This is the third time that I have seen them and they have got better every time. I also had the opportunity to meet the drummers Dad and what a thoroughly nice bloke he is! This was another great gig from Northern Radar and it was, as usual 100% perfect. Apart from the ringing in my ears. But actually that is my fault as I stood far to close to the speaker stack for Maven Fiction’s set!

 

 

 

Adam Ant – Kings Of The Wild Frontier Tour – Barbican York – Tuesday 31st May 2016 June 1, 2016

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 8:17 pm
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I must confess that this is only the second time that I have seen Adam Ant play live. The first time was back in the late 70s, probably 1978 in London. I remember thinking of this relatively new band, Adam and the Ants, that they were ok and had a good name. I certainly never expected the Ants Invasion that followed a few years later. Nor would I have predicted that I would be watching Mr Ant play a gig in my adopted home city of York all these years later. More of the headline show in a moment.

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But first let me say what a stonkingly brilliant support act there was last night. It was a young band called the UK Feds who hail from somewhere near Birmingham I believe. They play superbly crafted power pop punk songs with the gravitas and style of great bands like the Ruts, the Members, the Clash and early Manic Street Preachers. The UK Feds are a political band, but in a good way. Personally anyone who states that they believe that this country is run by a bunch of pricks is alright with me. They have some excellent songs, many of which are included on their exclusive tour CD which I bought for a mere £10 and which has been my commute to and from work soundtrack all day. “Pissed Up World” and “London” are my current favourites. The Feds also played a deft, tight and brilliant cover of Prince’s “Sign Of The Times”. If you are going to see any of the Adam Ant shows on this tour then make sure you turn up in time to see the UK Feds. They have the potential to go a long way. I for one would definitely pay to see them again. Well done lads!

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It was then time for the main attraction Adam Ant and his band played the whole of the classic 1980 album ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier‘. From album and show opener “Dog Eat Dog” everyone stood up and pretty much most of us never sat down for the rest of the night. Yes even at our advanced ages! As well as the first song the other singles “Ant Music” and “Kings Of The Wild Frontier” went down a storm. But for me some of the other tracks were enhanced in a live environment. Notably “Los Rancheros”, “Making History” and “Jolly Roger”. The latter two being among my favourite Adam Ant songs. Adam waited until after an amazing run through of the whole album before speaking to the audience, very much his audience. This is a man who is totally at home on stage and who totally understands his audience. If there is such a thing then Adam Ant is a true showman.

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His stage antics are not those of a 61-year-old man. I hope I can move as well as him when I am his age in three and a half years! Although I doubt that I would look as good in leather trousers. The second half of the show was made up of a great mix of big hits, B-sides and obscurities. When you hear just the big hits you realise what a great talent the former Stuart Goddard is. He played “Stand And Deliver”, “Desperate But Not Serious”, “Prince Charming”, “Vive Le Rock” and “Goody Two Shoes” and I would have left satisfied with just that and the entire album from the first half. But on top of that we got “Car Trouble” and “Never Trust A Man With Egg On His Face” from the early days and classic B-Sides “Physical” and “Press Darlings”. The crowd sang along to every song even if they (including me) couldn’t remember all the words. Adam Ant turned “Prince Charming” into a proper crowd sing along even allowing us a short a capella moment. I must also mention his incredible band including the expected two drummers providing that loud Burundi style beat.

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One of the encore songs was a surprising but rather good cover of the T Rex number one “Get It On”. Let me end with a message to Adam Ant; thank you for a truly excellent show which ranks among the best gigs I have seen and I’m sorry it took so long to see you again. My good wife Catwoman also loved the show and that is high praise indeed and obviously I mean that in a very, very good way. There are still a few UK dates left on this tour and if you’re not already booked then I suggest you get hold of a ticket by any means necessary, well as long as no one gets hurt. Also selling your Granny might not be a good idea as she might want to come to the show with you! Adam Ant a legend among Ants and Men. Enjoy a few videos courtesy of YouTube, starting with some recent live recordings and followed by some classic Ant videos. (Pictures were all taken using my bashed up Nokia phone.

 

 
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