With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Happy Christmas to all of you! December 24, 2016

Filed under: Christmas — justwilliam1959 @ 7:43 pm
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I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who read my blog and to wish you a wonderful Christmas and a fab 2017 for you and all of your family and friends!

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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!

 

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls – The Refectory, Leeds University – Thursday 1st December 2016 December 6, 2016


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Let me make a very bold statement right at the start of this post. Right now I believe that this is almost certainly the best gig I have ever seen in just over 44 years of gig going, it is a close run thing with Bowie at the Phoenix Festival in the 90s, but Frank just about shades it. In fact I have now seen Frank Turner more times than I saw David Bowie, I saw the Dame ten times. Including one show with Million Dead I have now seen Francis Edward Turner eleven times. The majority of those were at Reading and Leeds Festivals. For me he just seems to get better every time that I see him.

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This show, at the venue where the Who recorded the classic live album ‘Live At Leeds’ was stunning. Frank and the Sleeping Souls powered through a non-stop barrage of excellent tunes with incredible energy and soul. They were on stage for just about two hours. If anyone in the audience was disappointed then they must have been really unwell. The mix of songs ranged across Frank’s career with “Worse Things Happen At Sea” and “Nashville Tennessee” being my particular favourites from those early days. He played both of these along with “Ballad Of My Friends” during an emotional acoustic interlude in the middle of the show.

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The show kicked off with the rousing and anthemic “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous” and after that he had the crowd eating out of his hand and singing along to everything. It is great to see how quickly the newer songs have begun to sound like Frank classics in a live setting; “The Next Storm”, “Love Forty Down” and “Glorious You” to name but a few. The latter is my gig buddy for the nights favourite, good choice Rachel!). But the older classics hold even more power and emotion especially three of my favourites; “Photosynthesis”, “I Believe” and the one that always brings a tear to my eye (and yes it did that night), “Long Live The Queen”.

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There was the obligatory circle pit, at my age I am sad to say that I sidestepped that. Crowd-surfing, with a particularly excellent performance by Frank’s friend Steve during “If I Ever Stray” and from Frank himself towards the end of the night. There was a repeat of the stupendous wall of hugs as opposed to the wall of death and yes I do believe that everyone hugged a stranger, I certainly did. Frank gave a big shout out to some causes close to his heart, notably Safe Gigs For Women. His sentiments are the same as mine on that one, like why the fuck should we need an organisation like that in 2016? I don’t know why, but it is wonderful that they do exist. All of this adds to the feel of a Frank Turner crowd being a real community.

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At one point Mr Turner played an electric guitar and not one of his familiar acoustics. He said that whenever he did he felt the urge to play a riff and boy did he riff well. I recognised it but can’t quite place it, I reckon it sounded a little Satrianiesque. The Sleeping Souls as y=usual were on top form too; Ben Lloyd (Guitar and mandolin), Tarrant Anderson (bass), Matt Nasir (Keyboards) and Nigel Powell on drums. The talented support acts also made an appearance in Frank’s set. Felix Hagan came on to play the harmonica break on “I Still Believe” and Esmé Patterson sang the Christa McAuliffe lines in “Silent Key”. That song gets better every time that I hear it.

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Finally there was the usual who is the best crowd on the tour competition and up to Leeds it was bizarrely Reading the night before who had been best. Did we beat them, well obviously we did. But on top of that the usual chant of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire” accompanied by fist pumping was changed somewhat when Frank had us all replace the fist pumping with jazz hands and of course we all did just that. It was possibly one of the strangest things that I have ever seen at a gig, but very bloody funny too. I don’t know quite how many gigs that I have been to, probably not as many as Frank has played (this was his 1,988th show) but as I said earlier this is the greatest gig I have ever seen. Thank you Mr Turner!

Public Service announcement: All the pictures are via Google searches, no way was I going to take any with my phone and spoil this magnificent gig and the same goes for the videos which are all from YouTube.

 

 
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