With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Reading Festival 2010 – Day 3, Sunday 29th August August 30, 2010


Off to the NME/ Radio tent to kick off our third day at the Reading Festival, where we saw the Joy Formidable and they were indeed a formidable joy, if you’ve not heard them you really should check them out. After that it was back to the BBC Introducing Stage to see another band from Wakefield (remember the Penguins from yesterdays post?) These guys were called the Runaround Kids and I felt that they had a bit of the Undertones about them, the vocalist also has a similar style to Luke from Reading band Steal The Smile. Next up it was Local Natives from Los Angeles and this was their first Reading appearance. I am pretty damned sure that it won’t be the last for these purveyors of great summer pop harmonies. We trundled back to the BBC Introducing Stage again after that for another local band; the Peers. Very much a local band done good, they are a really tight band and seemed incredibly well rehearsed.Los Campesinos have as many personnel as Arcade Fire and are not dissimilar in sound, a very good band indeed.

After our earlier experience in the Comedy Tent (aka Alternative Stage) we returned to see two comics in a row. First up was Charlie Baker from Devon and bears a striking resemblance to Jack Black and he uses this as part of his act, genuinely a funny guy. Secondly we saw Robin Ince; a great ‘leftie’ comedian. We actually hit the comedy tent to get out of the rain, but in spite of that Baker and Ince were bloody hilarious.

The Festival Republic Stage was the next to be graced with our presence, we went there because neither Nick or I could be bothered with Limp Bizkit on the Main Stage. At this point let me tell you Nick’s Limp Bizkit joke; “Do you know that you can now put Viagra in your tea to stop your biscuit going limp?” Boom! Boom! Anyway back to the Festival Republic Stage, the band are from Philadelphia and are called Free Energy. Sadly it was a small crowd, but these guys could work a crowd of almost any size I reckon. The lead singer was very Jaggeresque and came across like Bobby Gillespie with more funk than Primal Scream. In a nutshell an archetypal classic rock band, truly fucking amazing.

Back to the Introducing Stage yet again for the Brilliant Things. The singer appeared to have dressed for the prom or was perhaps a fan of Stevie Nicks‘ (off of Fleetwood Mac) sartorial style. Thanks to Mr H for pointing out that latter suggestion. None of that was meant as negative though, the Brilliant Things are clearly a very good band. Kele off of Bloc Party was next in the NME/ Radio 1 Tent. Electro funk and dance styles really suit him, although I’m not sure the pyjamas did though. But nonetheless he played a storming set and worked his audience really well. Exit International were then on the Introducing Stage. They played screaming hard rock with perhaps too much emphasis on the screaming. It makes you wonder though exactly how the fuck three people can make such noise.

Weezer would easily win the best crowd interaction and comedy awards for the festival if such awards exist. The singer wore a cat hat given to him by someone in the crowd for most of their set. His energy was truly phenomenal and he even found time to fall in the mud while dressed as Lady Gaga. That was during their excellent MGMT cover which had a touch of Gaga thrown in. I am looking forward to seeing them again someday too. Paramore were next, they were very good and had a strong fan base in the crowd. Personally I thought they would have fitted better if they had been on before Weezer. Hayley’s voice was a little too low in the mix for the first couple of songs. The crowd really loved them.

Finally it was time for the last headline band of this years festival and most of us in the crowd had been in position since just before Weezer’s set, those at the front had been there even longer. Yes the stage was set for the return of Blink 182. I had never seen them live before, although I had seen Mark Hoppus with +44 (Travis had a broken arm that tour so didn’t appear, I never had the chance to see Tom Delonge’s Angels And Airwaves. But however good these Blink offshoots were they were surely nowhere near as good as the sum of the original parts. Their stage set, including some strange rabbit animations and a brilliant light show was excellent, but it was the power and camaraderie of the band that really shone through. They played a blistering set, just allowing a few moments of quite amusing toilet humour style banter between songs, including a great dig at Jedward. the crowd were really fired up and everyone I spoke to really loved it.

What a great close to a great festival. although when I first saw the line up back in March I thought I’d be disappointed, I even thought this might be my last Reading. Well I wasn’t and it won’t be! Roll on Reading 2011. Who will the headliners be? I don’t know but my guess at the moment is that it could be Linkin Park and maybe Green Day. I’d be happy with either of those. Who would you like to see there next year?

 

Reading Festival 2010 – Day 2, Saturday 28th August


Day 2 is here and my feet are blistered from wearing new and very heavy (steel toe capped) wellies, I wore them again today, but the forecast looks good for better shoes on day 3.  The first band we saw was Soul Circus on the BBC Introducing stage. They were on when we arrived so we didn’t see their whole set, but they were very good, the vocalist in particular was excellent. We stayed at the Introducing stage for the next band, they were Penguin from Wakefield. I think it’s fair to say that they rock!

After that we paid our first visit of the weekend to the Alternative stage aka the Comedy tent, we were hoping to see Kevin Bridges but his flight back from Edinburgh (he had been there for the festival) was late. He was replaced by an American comedian and I use that word reluctantly, he calls himself Neil Hamburger but his real name is Greg Turkington. He got off on the wrong foot and went further down that same road throughout his act. Firstly he told all the folks that were there expecting Kevin Bridges that they could “fuck off” and then called those of us who remained “pieces of human shit”. The audience was to barrack him for his whole act with chants of “off, off, off” and “you’re shit and you know you are”. There was a fair array of missiles sent stage wards too. The only way he could have redeemed himself would have been if his jokes were funny, they weren’t! The funniest thing he said was “I guess I’ll do my encore now” as the compere opened the backstage curtains. But for us it was entertaining for us anyway!

Over to the Main Stage next for the fabulous Gaslight Anthem from New Jersey and they were an amazing live band. I know they are close to Bruce Springsteen and I reckon they could turn on a lot of the younger generation to Bruce. I would definitely pay to see these boys. A trek back to the Introducing Stage was next on the agenda for the mystery special guest slot. It was Everything Everything with a couple of acoustic songs and an interview for Radio 1’s Live Lounge. They finished with a Shakira cover and given what was going on in the crowd I’m amazed that they didn’t get a fit of the giggles. There was a guy on someone’s shoulders in the crowd and he was wearing a leather fetish mask in the shape of a dog’s head. If that wasn’t funny enough he then produced a large black strap on dildo which he fellated, much to our own and the rest of the audience’s amusement. If you re that person then get in touch, I’d be happy to give you a mention on the blog!

The Festival Republic stage was our next destination for I Blame Coco. It would be fair to say that Coco does pop and does it very well. (Feel free to insert your own Coco Pops joke here). We returned to the Comedy Tent after that in order to redress the Neil Hamburger experience. JJ Whitehead, a Canadian, was the performer and he is a very good comedian. Much of his act is really well thought out observational comedy and he works the audience really well. I loved the story about pretending to be retarded at Disney in Florida. The next band we saw, albeit briefly was Chapel Club. I liked the sound of them and will be checking them out on line, some good tunes. Then it was My Forever at the Introducing stage (we really have been there a lot!) This was jangly indie pop with an edge and done really well.

I don’t how I have managed to miss Frank Turner on all my many visits to this festival, but I didn’t miss him this time. He was abso-fucking-lutely brilliant. He has passion, power, excitement and an audience that love him. I also see him as a Billy Bragg for this generation and I will definitely be buying some of his material when I get home. I hope he’s back next year too. We stayed for the first part of Serge Tankian’s (off of System Of A Down) set. He had and orchestral ensemble and introduced the rest of his band as ‘The Flying ****s Of Chaos’ (word starred out for the more easily offended of you dear readers, well actually I’d prefer that my Mum didn’t see that I had used ‘that C word’, those of you who are not easily offended can click on the stars to see the missing word on Wikipedia). He was good but not as good as when I saw him before a couple of years back. We joined Nick’s son Jake, who was with his girlfriend Suzie in the Festival Republic tent to see Villagers. The lead singer Conor came out on his own for the first song, cue my joke about it being a small village which did amuse one Villagers fan standing next to me. This is a very good band and I would say genre defying too. I reckon that if the original Wicker Man movie had a house band this would be them. I can almost picture Britt Ekland’s body double dancing to them!

So now for the Libertines, their entrance was preceded by Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”. This was all very sentimentally Albion, but guys cut the schmaltz, you did this for the money! I have seen them here twice before and as always they were very good, but for me they will never be a truly great band. I may take some stick for that comment, but folks it is just my opinion ok? The crowd loved them though and it seemed that over exuberance in the crowd caused a short break in their set in which Pete and Carl were escorted from the stage. Arcade Fire were today’s headliners and any reservations I had about them filling that were quickly blown away. They were bloody amazing and even managed a little dig at the previous night’s headliner’s Guns N Roses by saying how punctual they were. The vibrancy, energy and power they display is phenomenal. The stage set including the film projection was at times weird and disturbing, but added to an overall brilliant experience. Obviously as they have performed with David Bowie before I was hoping for an appearance by the great man, but despite seeing some helicopter traffic during their set it never happened. I guess I should have crossed my toes as well as the fingers!

So in summary, Day 2 was another excellent Reading day. We’re knackered but still looking forward with excitement to Day 3!

 

Reading Festival 2010 – Day 1, Friday 27th August


It’s been a year of waiting but here is the first of my posts from this year’s Reading Festival. Thankfully the rain had stopped but it had left parts of the festival site looking a little like the First World War trenches, my sympathies certainly extend to many of the more unlucky campers, presumably those who arrived last. Personally I ‘don’t do’ camping and will be staying at my good friend Nicks during the whole event.

We finally got through the gates just after noon and managed to catch a very brief glimpse of a band I had hoped to see purely because they have an excellent name; Wot Gorilla? I didn’t see enough to say much about them sadly, but they seemed ok. Next up we saw Crazy Arm, a tight, strong band very much in a rock mould. Harlem were next and again it was a brief glimpse, but I would suggest that these guys know how to party. A local band appearing on the BBC Introducing Stage had been recommended to us by BBC Radio Berkshire; Amy’s Ghost they were superb. Shades of Kate Bush and Florence (off of Florence and the Machine) influences among others, also very theatrical. I even bought their album from the delightful singer who stayed around to talk to fans until the Beeb told her she had to leave.

New Young Pony Club, were accomplished with a great rapport with their audience. We watched them play a couple of songs in our bid to see as many bands as possible in a day. I would say very much destined for a reasonable career, sound as a pound I would say! Billy Talent were next on the Main Stage; very punk, very loud and they mean it maaaan! After this it was a more chilled sound with Girls who are from San Francisco, but maybe the flowers on the mic stand gave that away. A good band though even if the singer/ stroke guitarist did adopt a one-legged flamingo pose occasionally a little like Ian Anderson off of Jethro Tull. We’re Only Afraid Of NYC were quite reasonable, but we only caught a brief glimpse before heading to the Main Stage again for Gogol Bordello, probably my favourite band of the day. This is the third time I have seen them at Reading and once again they were brilliant. This is truly a superb band that knows their audience and knows how to have a great time. I hadn’t realised quite how cosmopolitan they were either, including members from Russia, Ethiopia, USA, Ecuador and Scotland to name but a few.

Sketches met while at Leeds University and know how to really funk things up; I reckon they’d be great in a small sweaty venue. We only saw a short part of Pulled Apart By Horses set, but I think I may have to check them out on-line when I get home; these boys know their stuff and hit some excellent riffs. Heading past the Main Stage again we chanced upon NOFX. We only heard one song which was about assassinating George W Bush, so that makes them alright with me. Disappointedly we managed just the briefest of glimpses of Egyptian Hip Hop, but it was a good glimpse and I will certainly be exploring them more on-line. You have to love a band with that name, who are neither Egyptian (at least I don’t think so) or Hip Hop (well they didn’t sound it anyway). Back to the Main Stage for the Lost Prophets, these boys were truly fucking ace, we were singing and jumping with the rest of the crowd, another of my favourite bands of the day.

The NME/ Radio 1 tent beckoned next for Delphic. A brilliant dance band, but I might have benefited more with a spliff beforehand, but seeing as I don’t do drugs that was never going to happen, but a great set none the less. We stayed in place for Mumford And Sons and I have never seen that tent so crowded, in fact a number of people passed out in the crush. The crowd was mental for Mumford (hey could that be another band name?) and the band played like they felt it too. I like them, but I’d probably only see them at festivals. I probably lost a few pounds in sweat from that experience too

We then went back to the Main Stage to await the arrival of Guns N Roses, well Axl Rose and some other musicians really. Boy did we wait, they were an hour late coming on and at best were like a G’n’R tribute band. The booing started way before they hit the stage and continued afterwards too. Axl had no interaction with his audience and I think his voice is shot as well. In all my years of going to Reading I have never seen an audience so small for a headliner on the Main Stage or an audience so muted in their applause and reaction. I always felt that Guns N Roses were a poor headline choice and now I’m sure I was right. You could always hear the sound of barrels being scraped and dead horses being flogged.

We actually didn’t stay for the whole of G’n’R but alternated between LCD Soundsystem in the NME/ Radio 1 Tent and Marina And The Diamonds on the Festival Republic stage. Both of these bands were very entertaining and each of them was way better than Guns N Roses. I’ve liked a lot of LCD’s output and I will be buying Marina’s album soon as well.

So now it’s time for some brief R and R before we make our assault on Day 2. In the words of Arnie, I will be back soon, ok I know he never said soon, but that’s just slightly more English and genteel isn’t it?

 

Reading Festival 2010 – The Preview August 26, 2010


Tomorrow morning dear readers I will be travelling to the Reading Festival. Now for those of you from outside the UK who think this might have something to do with books, well it doesn’t, it’s all about rock music, with a dash of dance and comedy. I have been in attendance for more years than I care to recall now, many of those with my good friend Nick Horslen and that partnership is maintained this year once again.

I intend to provide you with a review post of the festival, but whether that will need to wait until Monday or Tuesday depends on the connectivity! The headliners this year are a really eclectic selection in my opinion. Friday night is Guns N Roses, who let’s face it aren’t Guns N Roses anymore are they? Saturday night brings Canada’s Arcade Fire, who I think are very good but a somewhat strange choice for headliners, but they are good friends of David Bowie and he has appeared on stage with them before, so my fingers are firmly crossed. Then to close on Sunday night it’s the turn of reformed pop punkers Blink 182. They are my son’s favourite band of all time, so he will certainly have a great festival and maybe in a few years we will get to see him play the hallowed Reading stage with his band Steal The Smile.

OK so here’s the deal, if you can’t make the festival, check the festival website then comment on this post and tell me the bands you’d like me to check out on your behalf and if I can fit them in I will. But if you are there feel free to get in touch via the blog, maybe I’ll even let you provide a guest review 🙂

 

“You’ll see Venus and Serena, in the Wimbledon Arena”


They say that August is the silly season for news don’t they? well here’s a story in the UK media that clearly shows that there can’t be much else happening in the country. Apparently the government is urging local councils to reduce the number of street signs and bollards and the like. Did you know there is a car park in Salisbury with 63 bollards and only space for 53 cars? Nor did I. Did we need to know? I doubt it. Has that information been life changing for any of us? Not bloody likely. The government line on this is being headed by the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles (what a great name!) and isn’t it pleasing to see that the focus of our wonderful (NOT!) coalition government is focussing on the big issues. Personally I think it’s a load of bollards! Read the story here

So now let’s get back to music and have some streets and sign related tunes, feel free to contribute your own;

Signs” – Snoop Dogg featuring Charlie Wilson and Justin Timberlake. In my opinion one of Mr Timberlake’s finest performances, a long way from the Mickey Mouse Club that’s for sure. It was produced by the Neptunes and made it to number two in the UK charts in 2004. The lyrics draw from the Gap Band’s “Early In The Morning” from 1982 and Cheryl Lynn’s 1978 hit  “Got To Be Real

No Matter What Sign You Are” – Diana Ross and the Supremes. This was originally intended as the last single from the girls before diva Diana went solo, but it didn’t sell too well and failed to make either the UK or US top 20. Sadly it wasn’t even the Supremes who sang on it. Diana took the lead but the backing vocals were provided by a session group called the Andantes rather than Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong

Streets Of London” -Ralph McTell. Ralph first recorded the song in 1969, but it wasn’t released as a single in the UK until 1974. What could be described as a timeless classic it has been recorded by more than 200 artists

Where The Streets Have No Name” – U2. The video was filmed on the roof of the Republic Liquor Store in downtown LA  in homage to the Beatles performing live on the roof of the Apple Building in Saville Row for the Let It Be film.

Somewhere In America There’s A Street Named After My Dad” – Was (Not Was). I have always loved this band and this is a great song, the video on the link also includes some excellent photographs from Charles Cushman. The key band members were often assumed to be brothers largely because they called themselves Don and David Was. However the truth is that David Was was really David Weiss and Don Was was really Don Fagenson

On The Street Where You Live” – Nat King Cole. I didn’t really appreciate Mr Cole until I got older, probably because my parents liked him when I was a teenager and it’s not cool to like what your parent’s like is it? This song is actually taken from the musical ‘My Fair Lady’ which is one of Catwoman’s favourite musicals.

Across 110th Street” – Bobby Womack. Taken from the blaxploitation movie called, unsurprisingly, ‘Across 110th Street’. The song also featured on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Jackie Brown’

“‘A’ Bomb In Wardour Street” – Jam. This song was the B Side to the Jam’s 1978 single “David Watts” which was a cover of a Kinks song. Paul Weller apparently listened to a lot of Kinks stuff prior to recording the ‘All Mod Cons’ album. The video in the link is taken from the band’s appearance on the sadly missed Old Grey Whistle Test on the BBC

Baker Street” – Gerry Rafferty. In the early 70’s as part of Stealers Wheel with Joe Egan, Gerry had a hit with “Stuck In The Middle With You” which was later used in the movie Reservoir Dogs. However it’s “Baker Street” that he is most remembered for and that’s no wonder as it’s a great song.

53rd & 3rd” – Ramones. This video is a live recording with Rancid. The song was written by Dee Dee Ramone and is about an area of New York that was a major haunt for male prostitutes and rent boys. There have been suggestions that Dee Dee worked there himself in his youth.

 

“Oh baby it’s so funny I almost don’t believe it” August 21, 2010


Senior Officers caught many inappropriate underwear offenders in their spot checks. Is it me or is there a skid mark showing? I mean on the road obviously!

Earlier this week it was reported that the West Midlands Police Force in the UK have put a ban on police officers wearing inappropriate underwear. So that’s no Calvin waistband showing over the top of the trousers, no whale-tail thong appearances, no brightly coloured bras under white tops (I think that one is for female officers) and presumably the grubby string vest is way off the mark. This is all very well but is a Visible Panty Line (VPL) going to prevent West Midlands Officers from catching criminals? Somehow I don’t think so. This is the Nanny State taken to the extreme in my opinion. The Guardian article on a rozzer’s Y-front’s can be found here and it does contain some excellent quotes from officers affected by the new rules. Personally I think the whole idea is pants! What do you think?

The shortage of holsters for the armed response unit meant that they were the first to breach the new rules

As usual I should complete this post with some appropriate music as this is a music blog and not a site for those with a fetish for used police underwear. So here are a few (in)appropriate songs, feel free to suggest your own contributions;

The Thong Song” – Sisqo – His real name is Mark Althavean Andrews and he is a former member of R & B combo Dru Hill. “The Thong Song” was his first solo hit and comes from his album ‘Unleash The Dragon’ His solo success led to Play Along Toys creating a Sisqo doll.

Leap Up And Down Wave Your Knickers In The Air” – St Cecilia – A UK hit in 1971 and one of the many produced by Jonathan King. He hasn’t had a hit in ages, has he been away? 😉

Big Panty Woman” – Barefoot Man – I believe this guy’s name is George Nowak and he lives in the Cayman Islands, appropriately for this post he also released an album called ‘Thong Gone Wrong’

The Underwear Song” – Rodney Carrington – He holds down three jobs; stand up comedian, actor and country singer. The lyrics to this little ditty are, in my opinion, bloody funny!

Underneath Your Clothes” – Shakira – A mega successful Colombian export who now lives in the Bahamas. she tends to choose a some terrific songs to cover in live shows. Notably AC/ DC’s “Back In Black” and Aerosmith’s “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)”

A senior police officer models what the force rule is appropriate underwear

 

YHR Radiowaves Gig @ Stereo in York 12th August 2010 August 13, 2010


I had the pleasure of attending yet another great gig promoted by Mr Simon Pattinson from York. It was another benefit for York Hospital Radio and £300 was raised. As usual Simon promoted a brilliant gig, you can’t really beat four excellent bands for £5 can you? But firstly let me apologise for missing Rosie who were the first on the bill. But all the people I spoke to that saw them rated them very highly.

The first band I saw on the night was the Paper Tigers. A great band name in my opinion and whilst their name says paper their sound is so much stronger. A female singer with a great rock vocal ability, a superbly tight rhythm section and a guitar sound reminiscent of Steve Jones aural attack with the Pistols. I’m sure from a visual perspective they might be compared to the likes of Paramore. But believe me these guys are bloody good in their own right. They can rock out and they can be mellow. I particularly loved their song “Rebellion” and frankly anyone who writes a song called rebellion is more than alright with me! I hope they go on to bigger things.

The next band up were the Shadracks, how good a name is that? A really exciting band who I suspect really know how to party. They’re from Scarborough and even have a song in their repertoire about that very town, which they referred to as a shit hole. But then don’t we all think the town we come from is a shit hole. Hillingdon, where I came from certainly is. The Shadracks sound was reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys before they got a bit pretentious and up themselves. They also carry a great dose of superb northern wit with them. They had, sadly, run out of CDs ( a real shame, because I definitely would have bought one!) but to make up for it they brought along a load of hand-made party goody bags containing sweets and tied up with a glow in the dark wrist band. All this was hand crafted by the singers Mum. Now that is a brilliant touch! I absolutely loved their song “Lucy Locket”. Their disco Bomb activity worked well, getting everyone to crouch down and then, on the count of four, jump up and pogo. I have seen the Streets do this at Reading, but that audience was far more sedate than the Shadracks audience! I would definitely pay to see these guys again.

The headliners were Surprise Fire, these guys really know how to rock and how to work the audience. I bought their EP before they had finished their third song! A really powerful guitar sound and a great heavy drummer. This is a band with a social conscience (check out their song “Coal”) and a great sense of fun (they had us all join in a rendition of Happy Birthday for their friend Daniel). The singers vocal wasn’t mixed very well for the first couple of songs, but even then they were still very good and just got better! I can see them working really well as part of a support package to someone like Rage Against The Machine. They would go down a storm at the Reading Festival given the chance.

So after my last gig it seem that normal service has been resumed. Regular readers will know that my last gig review contained a view of probably the worst band I have ever seen. This gig was excellent and I would definitely seek out all the bands again given the chance. I will also check out Rosie, seeing as how working late made me miss them.

Finally, if Simon can fill Stereo, how come whenever my son’s band Steal The Smile play at the FaceBar in Reading there is hardly anyone there? It’s all about promotion in my opinion, some promoters promote and many others don’t!

 

 
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