With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Apollo Festival York 2015 – Saturday 27th June 2015 July 2, 2015


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Sadly I missed the first Apollo Festival back in 2013 and then last year I had to leave early so I missed the headliner. However this year I was there for the day and what a bloody good day it was! With something like 50 acts across 5 stages I was never going to be able to see everyone but I did see a fair few acts. I was there with my wonderful wife Catherine ak.a. Catwoman and our great friends John and Caron who brought their daughter and our Odd Daughter (that’s another story) Amelia with them. Amelia proved beyond doubt that she is indeed a 5-year-old dancing dynamo of perpetual motion. Anyway enough of us, who did I see?

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First up it was 4 Pint Milk in the Rick Witter tent. They are from Huntington School and seemed all of 16 (apologies if you’re older than that lads!). But they rock like they’re much older. The part of their set that John and I saw was cover versions, but damned good cover versions. Jake Bugg’s “Green Man”, the Smiths’ “This Charming Man”, Stone Roses “I Am The Resurrection” and my particular favourite, “Brianstorm” originally done by the Arctic Monkeys. I hope these boys succeed, they play really well and they have an excellent dour and dry northern wit.

Back at the main stage I only caught Fat Spatula’s last song. On the evidence of that I thought they sounded pretty good and I wished I could have heard more of them. I should add that Catwoman didn’t like them at all. Next on the main stage was the winner of this years Ainsty’s Got Talent contest, Beth Bryers. She undoubtedly has a great operatic style voice which she used over a number of dancey beats including Bastille. I get the appeal to some, however for me Beth is an acquired taste that I unfortunately didn’t acquire.

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Rime Suspex though were something else, absolutely brilliant in my opinion. A relatively simple set up of a guitarist, singer and rapper. They were also accompanied by a number of samples I think. Imagine if South Africa’s Die Antwoord came from Blackburn and had better rhymes, well that is Rime Suspex in my view.My particular favourites from their set were “Money” and “Sick And Tired”. Given the lyrical content I almost certainly support their sentiments and politics. They didn’t hit the spot for my friend John, but he has never been a fan of white rappers. But I’ll work on him! Anyway I would definitely pay to see Rime Suspex again.

Our first visit to the Access Music stage brought us Matt Philpot. For me he was a pretty average singer songwriter singing 70s with a mostly laid back 70s vibe. The highlight of his set was a reggaefied arrangement of Aha’s “Take On Me” which I enjoyed. Next we saw the Rusty Pegs who are a bit alt. country and come across like a slightly more Nashville version of Fairground Attraction. I quite liked them.

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On our return to the main stage the Happy Daggers were on. I missed the first part of their set but what I did see showed me that these fellows  are funkin’ good and I want more! Rupert Stroud was on next, he and his band were very tight and well rehearsed. He is a rock influenced singer songwriter and he is bloody good. Imagine James Blunt with bigger balls, well that is Rupert Stroud.

After that it was a quick hop across to the Access Music stage for the magnificent Barcode Zebra. I saw them play at last year’s Apollo Festival and they were very good then. This year they were even better. Soul, funk, rock, jazz all in a musical blender supported by a really skilful band and an immensely powerful vocalist. I certainly hope to see more of them.

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Now it was time for the wonderful Crybabycry on the main stage. They had been caught in traffic on their way, but believe me it was worth the wait. I saw them earlier this year in a tiny venue during Live In Leeds. On their performance then and at the Apollo Festival I will stick my neck out and say that I believe that they are one of the finest bands in the UK at the moment. Along with my other favourite UK bands; Avalanche Party, Colour Me Wednesday and the Tuts. Powerful three-piece Crybabycry deserve to be on bigger stages and if you don’t like them then I suggest that you pop out and get your hearing examined. Can we have them at Reading and Leeds please?

Awesome covers band the Mothers followed Crybabycry onto the main stage and they rocked their socks off. I danced near the stage for their whole set which included storming versions of songs by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, songs from the Stax back catalogue among many others. They were fucking brilliant and I might try to book them for my 60th birthday party, although that isn’t until January 2019. After that I paid a final visit to the Access Music Stage where Catwoman and I saw Armonia. They played some really chilled and laid back acoustic songs including a wonderful cover of Lordes’ “Royals”

Classic 90s scouse indie pop band Space were next on the main stage and they were blooming amazing. I had forgotten how many great songs they have recorded. Favourites like “Neighbourhood” and “Female Of The Species” were there along with some new songs and stuff that I have never heard before. There wasn’t a duff song in their set. My favourite is one that I hadn’t heard before, the rather fabulous “Boy In A Body Bag” which is a bloody fantastic tune.

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Finally it was time for the head-liners the supremely talented Inspiral Carpets. I had seen them many years ago and they were always a band whose new release I would always check out. No other band of their generation rocks the Farsifa like these blokes do. The have some excellent songs in their canon including “Dragging Me Down”, “This Is How It Feels”, “Spitfire” and one of my all time favourite songs from any band or singer “Saturn Five”. Quite an appropriate song for the Apollo Festival don’t you think? The Inspiral Carpets used to refer to themselves as ‘cool as fuck’ and in my opinion they remain so. If you get a chance to see them you would be foolish not to.

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Finally let me say a big, big thank you to the organisers of the Apollo Festival especially Mr Apollo himself Stuart Kelly. Also a big shout out to my good friend Simon Pattinson who is on the organising team. Everything was brilliant folks, including the weather. If you change anything for next year then I suggest that you increase the food outlets and vary them a bit. Can I also offer to volunteer to help with organising Apollo 2016?

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This really is the final finally! If you haven’t done so already please click here to vote for the Apollo Festival in the Yorkshire Gig Guide Grass Roots Awards. I have!

Well given the weather it seemed somewhat appropriate :-)

Well given the weather it seemed somewhat appropriate 🙂

Public service announcement – none of the media contained in this post was filmed or photographed by me.

 

 

Apollo Festival 2014 – York – Saturday 21st June June 30, 2014


 

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Unfortunately I was unable to attend last years Apollo Festival so I was quite excited about this one. On another unfortunate note for various reasons I ended up having to miss the set from Reverend and the Makers who headlined the day. But I did get to see absolutely loads of great music and I do hope to be back next year. This time for the full day!

I spent the day with my wonderful wife Catherine (regular readers will know her as Catwoman and our good friends Caron and John and their beautiful daughter Amelia. Catwoman and me are Odd parents to Amelia. the first stage we visited was the Access To Music Stage. Ruby was playing when we arrived, she looked very young, but she was also very, very good. Her own material had some very mature lyrics for someone so young and she even made an Olly Murs song sound good when she covered “Troublemaker”. We stayed in place to see the next act; Laura. Does nobody bother with surnames any more? Laura has an excellent voice and some great songs of her own. She also played two well-chosen and extremely well done covers. The first was the Beatles “Blackbird” and she finished her set with a storming acoustic cover of the Gnarls Barkley modern classic “Crazy”.

 

We wandered over to the Main Stage next where we saw We Could Be Astronauts last song. It was a pity that we weren’t able to see more because these guys sound bloody good! Redstar from Huddersfield were next and it would be difficult to find any fault with this superb band. Their playing is on the button and really tight. The vocalist has all the traits of a great front man and he backs that up with a great rock voice. Their songs are pretty damned good too. I reckon there may be some Kasabianesque influences in there and they made me think of what Beady Eye could have been had Liam retained any talent. But that is small stuff, they are very much their own band. The free CD album they handed out to us punters is brilliant and has been on heavy rotation in my car since the show. Chris Helme former singer of John Squire‘s first post Stone Roses project the Seahorses was next. he is clearly a talented bloke with a good voice but I found him a little dull.

It was back to the Access To Music Stage next where we saw the fabulous Barcode Zebra. probably the funkiest band of the day. A truly stupendous rhythm section and a vocalist for whom a description of awesome might not be quite enough. They are playing in York at a launch of their new EP in July and sadly I will be away that weekend. I would definitely pay to see this band again. also if you’re reading this good people of Barcode Zebra I would love to do an interview with you for this blog!

The Entertainment Co Stage was our next port of call where we found it impossible not to dance and sing along to the curators of that stage; The Entertainment Company! They don’t just play cover versions they own them! Are they the best party band ever?  Very probably! shall we book them for Catwoman’s 50th birthday party (yes she doesn’t look even close to 50 does she)? I hope they do private party bookings because I’d love them to play for us in September 2016!

After that it was a return to the Main Stage where we saw the Black Delta Movement. We didn’t catch their whole set but they come across as very accomplished rockers with a swampy blues rock feel. Not bad at all. Former Bluetones frontman the ‘Legendary’ Mark Morriss was on next with a rather brilliant acoustic set. He is wonderfully self-deprecating and even his new songs have an air of classics about them.

Next it was a quick jog back to the Entertainment Co Stage where we were hoping to see the highly recommended And The Hangnails (thank you Mr Pattinson). before they took to the stage those wonderful people from the Entertainment Company had allowed a young singer from LA to play a few songs. His name is Ben Caron and he is soulful and funky. A bit like Bruno Mars but with more of an R & B edge. He has a truly great voice with which he wowed the all too small crowd. I bought his album, a steal at £7 and he struck me as a really good bloke too. You really should check him out. And The Hangails came on the stage and it is fair to say that for just two people they make a massive noise. I don’t mean that in a negative way either, this pair know how to rock. I sensed some influence from the likes of the White Stripes, the Black Keys and the Strokes. Would I pay to see this mighty duo again? Hell yeah!

Target By Numbers were next on the Access To Music Stage. Good musicians and some ok songs, but they really didn’t do it for me. The last band we saw on the day was the Supermodels on the Main Stage. They are a covers band, but to simply say that really doesn’t do them justice. They cover some classic rock songs with such verve and talent that you could almost imagine you were listening to the real thing if your eyes were shut. Their cover of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” would give Daltrey and Townshend a run for their money. I really want to see them play again. Sadly we had to leave just before the Supermodels left the stage. But although we missed the headliners we had a fantastic day! well done to the organisers and for all the money raised for an excellent cause; the Smiley Riley Fund!

 

 

 
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