With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

Leeds Festival 2021 – Day 2 – Saturday 28th August 2021 September 1, 2021

Nothing But Thieves

Day 2 and already I am settling back into being at a festival, first up today it was Nothing But Thieves on Main Stage West. These Essex boys are damned good. Conor Mason’s vocals reminded me at times of Graham Bonnet, a young Ozzy Osbourne and maybe even Robert Palmer. This band turn up the passion levels to 11, Nothing But Thieves really mean it and I am definitely a fan. I had to see Punkband on the Lock Up Stage, largely because the name intrigued me. The band does what it says on the tine and hit us with some fine slices of old school punk style tunes, they are a little Sham 69-like at times, but I mean that in a good way. They handled the bass issue they encountered with aplomb and great improvisation. Brighton based Demob Happy were next on Main Stage East. They gave us some wonderfully stylish driving rock music channeled through classic British 70s blues rock. The three female backing singers added a depth that is often not found in harder rock music. The singer looked a bit like a young Frank Zappa, while the drummer could have been in Hanson! A quick jog over to Main Stage West net for a great Scottish band, the Snuts. They have a hard edged indie style and some anthemic tunes reminiscent of the Zutons or the Coral but with a harder and heavier edge. Great hooks and choruses too. A really good live band who I would definitely see again.

Bad Nerves

Back on the Main Stage East it was the turn of Inhaler, I am sure most of you have seen the hype that follows them given that front man Elijah Hewson is Bono’s son. Elijah is the spitting image of his Dad in my view. Am I allowed to say that Inhaler are influenced by U2? Well I believe that they are, but I guess that isn’t too surprising. They are a good band though and it will be interesting to see how they develop from here. A big shout out to the mightily talented guitarist Josh Jenkinson. Bad Nerves, more Essex boys were on next at the Lock Up Stage. This band does old school punk blended with classy power pop really well. The crowd was clearly made up of many hard core Bad Nerves fans who clearly love the band. A return to the BBC Introducing stage next for FFSYTHO?!, is described in the festival PR bumph as a pint-sized rapper, that much is true. But she is not just a run of the mill rapper she is bloody good. She has some sharp and tasty ciphers which she spits perfectly. She is a great ambassador for UK Hip Hop and Grime. She was backed with some finely selected beats and samples from DJ Mark Ski. Next it was a secret set in the Lock Up by Don Broco, my daughter Lauren’s favourite band. This was a short but full on performance from a band at the top of their game. They enticed the crowd with older songs and some newer stuff from their forthcoming album, which based on this show could be their best yet. “Gumshield” whipped the crowd into a moshing frenzy. Don Broco are clearly a force of nature live. Rob Damiani has a great voice and was he trying to bring back the mullet? I paid my first visit to the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage next for Mimi Webb from Canterbury. Her music is dance oriented with elements of pop, trance and soul. She has a stunning voice. I returned to the Main Stage West for Sea Girls. If Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed a stadium/ festival band it would probably give us Sea Girls and I do mean that in a most complimentary way. The have anthems not songs and it feels like those anthems are designed to drift stylishly across a muddy or dusty festival field and be sung back to them by an enraptured crowd.

Don Broco
The Rills
Lady Ice

Clearly the Lock Up Stage was going to be one of my main haunts on Saturday, I was back there this time for Grace Mckagan, she started out with synth punk band the Pink Slips and is now establishing herself as a formidable solo artist. She gives the world dark, grungy, industrial garage rock. A bit like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club but if they had an ace female singer. I am now a committed Grace Mckagan fan, I think she could be huge before long. The BBC Intyroducing Stage gave us Lincoln’s the Rills next. They are a three piece with the energy and dynamism of the Jam in their early days. Imagine the Small Faces as a punk band with Marc Bolan writing their hooks and Steve Jones contributing their riffs, that is the Rills for me. Definitely a potentially great band and certainly one to watch out for. Lady Ice is on the rise after successfully appearing on the BBC show ‘The Rap Game UK’. Her delivery, style and energy is first class and supported by some great beats from DJ Tigie, and her MC was great too. It was a real shame it was such a small crowd because Lady Ice knows how to perform and that is exactly what she did. Mabel was next on Main Stage East, for me she has the pop nous of Madonna and Lady Gaga and the choreography and dance skills of Janet Jackson. She completes the package with a full on powerful and deeply soulful voice. A quick dash across to Main Stage West was definitely worth it to witness a storming set from Sam Fender. This is a man with a huge passion for life and for music. While it was that cracking tune “Hypersonic Missiles” that really got him noticed it is the poignant and deeply emotional “Dead Boys” that is my favourite. Like many other acts Sam claimed that this crowd was much better than Reading, but you would wouldn’t you. But to be fair he did kick off some huge mosh circles.

Sam Fender
Low Hummer
Catfish and the Bottlemen

Back to the Lock Up Stage once again this time for the immensely talented Yonaka. They have developed into a really special band. They are definitely the full metal packet now and Theresa’s vocals were stunning. This set was an awesome blitzkrieg of magnificent hard rock. Next for me it was Hull’s Low Hummer on the BBC Introducing Stage. If you put Talking Heads, Pulp and Ian Curtis in a music blender I believe the wonky rock smoothie that results would be the rather spiffing Low Hummer. A top set from a top band. Catfish and the Bottlemen were the first of Saturday’s joint headliners, on Main Stage West. Personally I think they peaked too soon with a great punked up cover of the Beatles “Helter Skelter”. They are an incredibly powerful live band and their already great songs are improved tenfold in the live environment. This is not a band I listen to very often, but I will always seek them out at a Festival. Stormzy closed the second day on the Main Stage East with something that might be a rock gig, a Grime set in a club, a modern take on gospel, a political rally. It was refreshingly different. He opened with the wonderful “Big Michael” and the crowd lapped him up. Stormzy is a man who wears his political opinions on his sleeve and is not afraid to air them. At one point encouraging the crowd to hold their “FUCK BORIS” placards and posters higher. Another hugely entertaining set from a man whose talent seems to continue to grow.

All the pictures were taken using my cheap Chinese phone camera. The video was found on YouTube. If it is yours and you would like me to take it down or give you a credit please let me know. Yes I do know the clip is from Reading, but there is not much film footage of Leeds online 🙂

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Leeds Festival 2019 – Day 3 – Sunday 25th August September 1, 2019

How do Festival weekends seem to go so quickly? This was by far the hottest of my three days at the 2019 Leeds Festival, well in terms of temperature at least. Were the bands as hot in terms of performance? Well, dear reader, you will need to read on to find out. One of the big rumours of the day was that Frank Turner would be playing a secret set. There was a gap on the Pit/ Lock Up Stage from midday to 1 o’clock, so I came in extra early to be there only to find that it was just a rumour based on the fact that Frank had played a couple of album launch sets at the Brudenell in Leeds the night before. Hopefully, Mr Turner will be playing at the festival next year. My first action of the day was to see Amsterdam’s Pip Blom on the BBC Radio 1 Stage. The band name is taken from the name of the bandleader who writes and produces all of the band’s fabulous indie-pop classics. They are like a reincarnation of the Breeders with a very strong power-pop direction. Check out their album ‘Boat’ on Heavenly Recordings.

Oddity Road

Next, it was a quick dash across to the Festival Republic Stage to see Sheffield’s Oddity Road. They hit you with harmonic, melodious rock songs that would grace the canon of many successful bands. The Foo Fighters and the Killers to name just a couple. Oddity Road are purveyors of finely crafted and intelligently performed power-pop classics in waiting. Remarkably they are currently unsigned, but I doubt that will last for too much longer. I made a dash across to the Pit/ Lock Up stage with great excitement and anticipation as it was time for Queen Zee. But our hopes were dashed as the band had to pull out for medical reasons. I hope that there was a speedy recovering and that this amazing band will be back next year.


The Festival Republic Stage next played host to Basque country rock band Belako. This band are incredibly hard-edged with a planet splitting volcanic shriek of a rock vocal and I mean that in a good way. I heard shades of peak-era Siouxse and the Banshees in Belako. Definitely a band to keep an eye out for. I made my first visit to the Main Stage today to catch Against The Current. This charming, talented and well-rehearsed band from Poughkeepsie in the USA smashed it with a great set. This bunch epitomise perfect high powered pop with vocal hooks and riffs aplenty accompanied by some really top tunes. They have more energy than Duracell’s finest products! Back to the Festival Republic for a band that has been highly recommended to me by quite a few people, Sophie and the Giants. The band hail from Sheffield and while I don’t believe that they are real giants they do have some gigantic tunes with huge sweeping choruses that attach to your neural network like a stubborn and persistent beanstalk. Sophie Scott’s voice has an incredible range and volume and a gorgeous tonal quality. She could easily match the vocal talents of Florence Welch.

Sophie and the Giants

I rushed over to the BBC Radio 1 Stage for rising British rapper Slowthai and oh boy was it worth running in that heat. After being so disappointed by Gunna and Juice WRLD over the past couple of days Slowthai. He singlehandedly restored my faith in rap as I thought that he might. He is a great performer and his words and cyphers are intelligent, challenging and at times works of genius. His album ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ is, for me, among the best releases of the year. The Pit/ Lock Up was home to Bad Nerves from Essex next. These boys play it hard and fast with 100 miles per hour riffery and spot on sneery punk vocals. Their tunes are reminiscent and worthy of early Strokes cuts. I sense influences from classic period Buzzcocks and Stiff Little Fingers. I heard them play their single “Radio Punk” here and that has since become one of my favourite songs of the moment.

Bad Nerves

The BBC Introducing Stage has been supremely good this year on my next visit to that stage I got to experience the delights of Charlotte, a 20-year-old from Hull, who possess one of the most soulful voices I have heard. Her style is at times similar to Adele, but with less of the shoutier elements. Charlotte has a really tight and funky band behind her too. This girl can go all the way and I hope that she does. The Japanese House were next up on the Festival Republic Stage. I am sure that they are not Japanese, nor are they a house, what they are is highly talented singer-songwriter Amber Bain from Buckinghamshire. She has songs with hypnotic harmonies and huge hooks. If you want to chill out on the hottest festival afternoon that I can remember then you need to do it to the Japanese House. The refreshingly beautiful symphonic flow of Bain’s songs is still washing over me.


I did not make too many trips to the Main Stage on Sunday but I wanted to be there to witness the first person born this century to have a US number one album with ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ I am talking of course about the mercurial talent that is Billie Eilish. She is what a 21st-century superstar should be; an original talent, someone who does things her way and on top of that a truly engaging performer. She has sass, style and superb songs. I reckon she drew the biggest crowd of the weekend, the crowd went absolutely nuts for her. She will undoubtedly be back at this festival before too long. Have I been at the Pit/ Lock Up Stage more times than any other this year? It certainly feels like it, this time I was here for Blood Youth from Yorkshire. This bunch are heavier than Osmium and harder than Nuclear Pasta (a.k.a. the material that makes up a Neutron Star). Blood Youth wield the force to cause an earthquake in Hell by the power of their mountainous riffs alone. This band produced a wave of the heaviest hardcore heavy metal today and rocked the Pit/ Lock Up Tent almost out of its moorings! Take a listen to their current album ‘Starve’ it is something special and you will not be disappointed.

Blood Youth

I stayed in the Pit/ Lock Up tent for the next act, an artist I knew next to nothing about, but I was intrigued. Just when I thought I had seen pretty much all there is to see at gigs and festivals during the last forty-seven years up comes Poppy, once known as Moriah Rose Pereira. This completely original LA artist shares a birthday with me, she was born the day that I turned 36. If you thought Lady Gaga was a bit ‘out there’ and strange then you have never come across Poppy. Is she an android? Well, she could be. This was perhaps one of the most spectacular sets that I have ever seen at one of the smaller stages at the Reading/ Leeds Festival! Poppy is like the sproglet of Max Headroom and Gwen Stefani with added alien DNA. Her band look like players in a rock star zombie film. The music is full-on heavy glam rock with a heavy nod to classic 60s girl group choruses in the vocals. Almost certainly my favourite act of the whole weekend. What was yours? I might have left after Poppy as nothing could really follow her, but I felt that I needed to stick around a little longer. Well, long enough to at least catch Twenty One Pilots. The boys opened with “Jumpsuit” which set the bar pretty high for the rest of their set. They managed to include a piece of the White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” within the live rendition of “Morph”, so I guess you could say that “Morph” morphed. It was an electrifying set, highlights for me were “My Blood” and “Cut My Lip”. But the real crowd-pleaser was a cover of the Oasis classic “Don’t Look Back In Anger” for which they were joined on stage by fellow co headliner Post Malone. I was more than satisfied to end my festival with such a great set from Twenty One Pilots. Apologies to Post Malone, the heat pretty much wasted me and I am not a big Post Malone fan! Leeds Festival I will see you again in 2020.

I know that they didn’t actually play the Leeds Festival, but they are a great band, so here is a sneaky Queen Zee video. Get well soon and we’ll see you next time!

All the photos apart from the Festival Line Up poster were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know.

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Are you interested in writing and reviewing for With Just A Hint Of Mayhem? If so then please get in touch.


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