Monthly Archives: August 2018

Leeds Festival 2018 – Saturday 25th August 2018


Day 2 kicked off on the BBC Radio 1 Stage with Blackpool lass Rae Morris. Does she make pop music for dance people or dance music for pop people? Frankly who cares, she has some sublime tunes, she is a wonderfully absorbing performer whose energy and happiness on stage infects the whole crowd with a positive high on happy vibe. I wandered across to the Lock Up Stage after that for the wonderfully named Thunderpussy. These four wild women play their rock as hard and harmonious as it is possible to get. Some of their tunes are simply off the scale excellent. They also have a stunning array of costumes, some of which might have outdone Nona Hendryx and Patti Labelle in there 70s Labelle prime. This was a really gutsy performance. I was beginning to think that female bands were once again thin on the ground at this festival, and they almost certainly still are. But Thunderpussy have the ability and the power chords to make some of their male counterparts spontaneously combust. There were even a couple of Bowie Ronson moments between singer Molly Sides and guitarist Whitney Petty which woked staggeringly well.

Rae Morris

I was disappointed, actually totally gutted, to have missed Frank Carter’s secret set here on Friday. However I was over the moon to be in the audience for the much rumoured and loudly fanfared not so secret set from Bring Me The Horizon on the BBC Radio 1 Stage. They tore the roof off the tent and sent it into orbit around the sun. “Throne”, “Antivist” and “Drown” shone brightest for me in a powerful set that was over way too soon. I hope Bring Me The Horizon headline the Main Stage in 2019. In my opinion they are far better headline contenders than either the Kings Of Leon or Fall Out Boy this year. The Xcerts were on great form on the Lock Up Stage. Spectacular songs, immaculate playing and a in Murray MacLeod a vocalist who knows exactly how to put immense emotion into a song.

Thunderpussy

My first visit to the Main Stage on Saturday was for Post Malone. I had always felt that Post Malone was ok but somewhat over hyped. But now having seen this Texan in all his performing glory it is clear that he is way, way above average. But it still feels like there is a tad too much on the hype front. But whatever I think the crowd went ape-shit crazy for him. San Francisco’s I The Mighty hit the Lock Up Stage like a Panzer division laying waste to Europe. There is a little of everything here; prog rock, US pop punk and maybe a smattering of emo. I recognise that on paper that sounds like a mess, but it works almost effortlessly. Ms Banks proved that she is a woman totally in control with her edgy and insightful set on the BBC Radio 1 Extra Stage. This 22-year-old south Londoner really gets life and totally loves and understands her audience. Her put down of security when they wouldn’t let her bring a few fans on to the stage to dance was done very firmly, tastefully and even moderately politely. I definitely want more Ms Banks in my life.

Beach Riot

Over on the Festival Republic Stage it was time for Dream Wife. This is punk with a social conscience, but not in a po-faced kind of way. This band makes you feel that having a conscience is not only right but that it can be fun too. If Madonna had fronted Bowie’s Tin Machine back in 1989 it might have sounded like this. There was a disappointingly small crowd for Beach Riot on the BBC Introducing Stage. I suspect because people were at the Main Stage while the Wombats were on and maybe they stayed for the Kooks, well they missed out! What the crowd lacked in size they more than made up for with enthusiasm. I saw Nirvana at Reading in 1991/ 92 and I have also seen Blur at their punked up best. Beach Riot from Brighton reminded me of both. I stayed at the BBC Introducing Stage for the mighty Fizzy Blood from Leeds. This band is possibly the loudest and probably the maddest band to grace this stage in 2018. This is some of the most entertaining, guitar shredding rock that you will ever hear.

Fizzy Blood

It was three in a row at the BBC Introducing Stage for me because there was absolutely no way that I was going to miss Doncaster’s the Blinders. They are a politically charged force with front man, guitarist and full on perpetual psychedelic motion machine Tom leading the charge. He has the same level of starey  menace conjured up by Jordan of Avalanche Party. Bass player Charlie looks a little like Nick Cave and moves like Bruce Foxton in the early days of the Jam. Meanwhile Matty on the drums is a monumentally punktastic human metronome. If the Blinders do not become massive then there is something wrong with the world. Anything I saw next was probably not going to match the Blinders, but the day wasn’t over so I headed over to a totally rammed Pit/ Lock Up Stage for Utah’s the Used still going very strong fifteen years since their first album, they are now on their seventh, ‘The Canyon’. This was an emotional, gut wrenching journey through some timeless songs and included a great cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. That is a cover that only a few acts can pull off and the Used did Cobain proud.

Blinders

Bad Sounds were next on the Festival Republic Stage and obviously the name is amusingly ironic because every noise they make is great. Like a laboratory created hybrid of punk and hip hop with a side order of the Flaming Lips there are not many bands like this out there right now. The nucleus of Bad Sounds are brothers Ewan and Callum Merrett. Their songs are spectacularly hook laden and their core fans knew every word. “Zacharia” had the energy of a gallon of Red Bull. Death From Above (when did they drop the 1979?) have been around since 2001 although they broke up in 2006 before reforming in 2011. They aired six songs from their current album “Outrage! Is Now” and the set showcased their pile driving punk, electronica and modern metal credentials with a nod to Muse and Biffy Clyro. “Nomad” has the power cranked up to 11 and is designed to tear down walls. I am so glad that these Canadians are not only still with us but that they are still producing classy music. I was never a big fan of the Horrors but they have become something quite different over the years, their most recent album ‘V’ is a staggeringly good collection of songs, many of which were aired in their set which closed proceedings on the Festival Republic Stage. However while it was a good performance it didn’t rise to greatness for me. This was my last day at the Leeds Festival for 2018, I must apologise for this, but having seen the amount of rain forecast for the Sunday I decided to quite while I was still quite dry! But I will be back next year!

Public Service announcement: apart from the branded festival poster pics all the pictures were taken by me on my cheap Chinese phone. The videos are all sourced from YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like me to credit you or take it down please get in touch.

Leeds Festival 2018 – Friday 24th August 2018


Having been a Reading stalwart and purist for so many years 2018 marks my third visit in a row to Leeds since I swapped my venue allegiance. I still love it, although like many people I found the first line up announcement a little disappointing and underwhelming. However that is just a first reaction opinion and while I do believe that the headline slots for the Main Stage are the weakest for a while, the smaller stages have a wealth of great singers and bands on offer. So for this weekend I planned to spend most of my time away from the Main Stage and that is what I did. I should add that after being in the gilded palace that is the press tent last year I was slumming it this year as a proper paying punter. So after what seemed like a hundred mile trek from the car park, through the campsites (I was so glad I didn’t choose to camp) I made it to wristband exchange and security. Well now the security are armed with sniffer drugs to find illicit narcotics on festival goers. One of those dogs became very interested in me, but I had no drugs stash on me at all. But I did have a pocket full of dog treats from walking my dog Ziggy earlier in the morning before I set out. So it all worked out fine and at least it wasn’t the full body search with lubed-up latex gloves!

Saltwater Sun

Fittingly the first band that I saw on day one of Leeds 2018 was from this fine northern city that names this festival. The band is the magnificent Marsicans on the BBC Radio 1 Stage. They are in possession of some top tunes which they deliver with driving rhythm and soaring harmony laden vocals. My first visit to the BBC Introducing Stage was for a fast rocking honest rock band Saltwater Sun from Reading. They have been around since 2015 when they released their first single “Habit On My Mind”. Jennifer Stearnes has a great voice and it was clear that the band were having great fun and that definitely infected the crowd too.

October Drift

My first visit to the Main Stage this weekend was for Billy Talent. My son used to refer to them as Billy No Talent, well he was, and still is, wrong. These experienced Canadians whose first album came out as far back as 2003, give us North American pop punk at its best. Not only that but their showmanship and tenacity saw them play on through some incredibly diverse weather with what seemed like up to ten seasons in fifteen minutes! If you like scuzzy, noisy garage punk then you would have loved October Drift’s set on the BBC Introducing Stage. The Taunton quartet prove that rock can still be edgy and anti mainstream. I love October Drift! I returned to the BBC Radio 1 Stage for NF a Michigan rapper who began to get noticed three years ago to the point where now his current album ‘Perception’ is an unstoppable force. As a white rapper he may well be fed up with comparisons to Mr Mathers, however he is just as talented with rhymes, cyphers and delivery. The staging was clever, especially the full-sized prison cell. Set opener “Outcast” is one of the best rap cuts of the last few years and “Let You Down” brought the house down effortlessly. A future headliner? That is definitely possible.

NF

My first trip to the Festival Republic Stage was for the rather strangely named Welshly Arms all the way from Cleveland. Ohio. Their first full length album ‘No Place Is Home’ is out now. What are they like? Well if you had DNA from the Detroit Cobras and Reef and then added a spoonful of a Stax Records 60s Soul review with a pinch of Led Zeppelin then you might get close to what this band are. They seem to be an incredibly passionate live act with a penchant for classy gospel and blues driven rock ‘n’ roll. “Sanctuary” is an anthemic festival classic in the making. Bedford boys the Scruff on the BBC Introducing Stage are like a wild hybrid of Madness, the Libertines, Blur and Ian Dury. They also have a wealth of emotion which was showcased beautifully in the sublime “Her” a song about mothers and the loss of a mother. My heart was wrenched and this song brought a tear to my eye. The Scruff are without doubt one of the best bands that I have seen gracing the BBC Introducing Stage.

The Scruff

Next it was the Pit Stage for Exeter trio Black Foxxes. What can I say about them? Some Jeff Buckley, some Jonathan Richman, a bit of Emo and so much more.Bloody hell these dudes play their rock extra damned hard even to the point of including a hard rocking trumpet on their final song. The Vaccines were on the Main Stage next. I believe that the Vaccines were invented for festivals like Reading/ Leeds. They keep their core fans more than satisfied and always seem to win over legions more at each festival appearance. Their set was full of Vaccines classics and every tune is a sing along for this crowd. “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)”, “Teenage Icon” and “Post Break-Up Sex” were highlights in what was an outstanding set. Let us play the ‘what if’ game now. What if Bobby Gillespie had fronted Free and not Paul Rodgers? Yes you will need to ignore the usual time and space rules to imagine this. Well if you can imagine that then you might have moved some way towards what the Glorious Sons from Kingston, Ontario are like. They smashed it on the Festival Republic Stage. These guys are definitely glorious and I suspect that they are all sons too. But above all that the Glorious Sons know how to party like it’s 2099.

The Vaccines

I stayed in the Festival Republic tent for Lewis Capaldi the Scottish blue-eyed soul sensation who crashed into the music scene big time with “Bruises” last year. He has the voice of a much more wizened personality, yet he is only 20 years old. As well as being a staggeringly good singer and performer his sense of self-deprecation is perfect. His comment to the audience early in the set; “if you don’t like short chubby guys singing sad songs then you’re gonna hate this” only seemed to draw more people toward him. Mr Capaldi is one of those rare raw talents and I look forward to hearing much more from him. The last act for me on day 1 of Leeds 2018 was Slaves on the BBC Radio 1 Stage. They make a righteous noise as Isaac and Laurie continue to challenge the ills of society and the apathy that exists in their generation. “Cheer Up London”, “The Lives They Wish They Had” and “Feed The Mantaray” were stand outs for me and I should also give special mention to their towering cover of Skepta’s “Shutdown”. Overall a great day, which only included two visits to the Main Stage. Bring on day 2.

Public Service announcement: apart from the branded festival poster pics all the pictures were taken by me on my cheap Chinese phone. The videos are all sourced from YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like me to credit you or take it down please get in touch.

 

Skylights – The Crescent, York – Saturday 18th August 2018


Any gig which has bands on the bill that you are a fan of has to be good right? Well I had very high hopes for this one. I have had the pleasure of reviewing a couple of recent songs by headliners, Skylights and a couple by another great York band Honours. This would also be the third time I had seen Honours play live. The venue was the wonderfully quirky Crescent in York. First up were a band that I had not heard of before this show, Fond. So two Scotsmen and a Yorkshire walk into a band and call it Fond. Apologies for the poor humour but I am not particularly fond of this lot. They are very competent musicians and some of their songs, particularly their set closer strive to raise the spirit of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. It is an admirable intention but one which ultimately failed for me. In my opinion this lot might be better suited to open for a Who tribute band in a small pub.

Fond

Honours were next and as they always seem to do they played a set that could easily have been from a headline slot. Two songs that are now becoming classics; “Freedom” and “Duchess” had the crowd, which included members of Hello Operator, bouncing hard. Daniel and Tom power a finely tuned rhythm section engine which under pins the riff laden road laid down by Struan. On top of that is Jordan’s excellent vocal which could power a Formula 1 car. They also showcased a new song, “Gone” which might be their next single. It was apparently not even a week old and for me it stole their set, a truly stunning tune. Once again this raises my expectations in anticipation of the first Honours album, whenever that might arise.

Honours

Tonight’s headliners Skylights are on the comeback trail and this show is a big part of that comeback. So was it worth Rob and Rob and Myles Soley returning? Damned right it was! Their first two releases, “YRA 2018” and “What You Are” sound excellent in the recorded versions but when played live they take flight with the power of a supersonic plane. There were a lot of additional vocalists in the crowd for “YRA”. Influenced by the likes of Oasis and perhaps the Verve they also put their own personality on some great songs. “Drive Me Away” singularly failed to drive anyone away and kept us all rocking. I hope Skylights stick around for a bit longer this time! All in all this was another great night at the Crescent. Thanks to Turnbull for putting me on the guest list. It was great catching up with ace York music promoter Simon Pattinson again. Mr P how the hell did we manage to drink so much?

Skylights
and the crowd go wild!
Chilling in the Green Room!

Public Service Announcement: All pictures are courtesy of my cheap Android Chinese mobile phone. Except the shot of the audience, that was supplied by Turnbull Skylight 🙂 Videos are sourced from YouTube. If you would like me to credit you as videographer or to remove them please let me know.

‘Under My Skin’ – Gabrielle


Once again those rather nice music Hobbits at 3 Songs & Out have dug me out a great album to review. This time it is the new album from the soulful and talented Gabrielle, her first in eleven years. Click here to read my thoughts on this record. After that feel free to stick around and say nice things about 3 Songs & Out and With Just A Hint Of Mayhem!

‘The Great Depression’ – As It Is


Those marvellous musical pixies over at 3 Songs And Out gave me the opportunity to review the truly stunning new album ‘The Great Depression’ from As It Is. Click here to give it a read and feel free to stick around for some of the other funky stuff the 3 Songs team have put together and when you are almost satiated please come and have a further browse over here at Mayhem Towers!

“What You Are” – Skylights


Following hot on the heels of the excellent “YRA 2018”, which I reviewed back in April, Skylights are back with the towering sonic powerhouse that is “What You Are”. I bloody loved “YRA 2018”, in fact I still do, but with “What You Are” they have topped it. They mine a rich seam from British rock history; Beatles, Stones, Small Faces, the Clash, Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene among others. But while they have influences they take things to a whole new original level. This lot has the potential to become a great band so get on board now before they hit the heights, you will not be disappointed!

The York music scene is incredibly strong right now and it is great to have Skylights as a part of that scene. They are headlining at the Crescent in York tonight and if what they have released so far is a good gauge then it will be a stunning set. If you haven’t heard any of their stuff yet then click here for their SoundCloud page and prepare to be blown away! Skylights, what you are is a fucking awesome band! No pressure lads!

“And the first one said to the second one there; I hope you’re having fun”


Many of you, I am sure, are aware that Paul McCartney recently played a gig at the iconic Liverpool venue the Cavern. The original Cavern is seen by many as were the Beatles were born. The Fabs played nearly 300 shows there. Click here to read the write-up in the Guardian. Whilst this show in itself is historical with Macca playing to a small crowd in his home city of Liverpool, (he also played the same venue in 1999) this is not the Cavern of old.

In 1973 the original Cavern Club was subject to a compulsory purchase order by British Rail. The warehouses that sat atop the club were demolished and the rubble was used to fill the famous cellar club. But it sounds like Sir Paul played a stunning set of nearly thirty songs, including 13 Beatles tracks, 6 from the Wings catalogue and many more. Were you there? If you were I would love to interview you for this blog.

The full set list, preceded by a band jam, was;

  • 20 Flight Rock
  • Magical Mystery
  • Jet
  • All My Loving
  • Letting Go
  • Come On To Me
  • Let Me Roll It
  • I Got A Feeling
  • My Valentine
  • Queenie Eye
  • Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five
  • Lady Madonna
  • In Spite Of All The Danger
  • Things We Said Today
  • Confidante
  • Love Me Do
  • Who Cares
  • Birthday
  • I Wanna Be Your Man
  • Fuh You
  • Get Back
  • Ob La Di
  • Band On The Run
  • Hi Hi Hi
  • I Saw Her Standing There
  • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • Helter Skelter

All photos were sourced via Google. If they are your pictures I would be happy to credit you on the post, or remove them. 

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


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!