With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Shining, Seep Away, Shrieking Violet – Fibbers, York – Thursday 7th September 2017 September 8, 2017


I had teased my colleagues and friends that I was going to see some Scandinavian death metal, but clearly that wasn’t quite the case, although Shining are a spectacularly good band. But more of them later. Let me start with the support acts. First on were Shrieking Violet. They certainly shriek well, very powerfully and in tune. But I suspect it was Violet’s night off. A damned good band though; head banging, ear exploding perfection!

Shrieking Violet

Seep away were next to take the Fibbers stage. Now that was a fucking performance. If you had walked in half way through Seep Away’s set there is no way that you would have imagined that they were the support band. They owned the sadly relatively small crowd tonight. Singer and ace front-man Jay Sillence spent most of his time in the audience. The band have some great songs of their own. Notably “Matchstick Man”. On top of that my view is that if you cover a song then you should make it different from the original. Well Seep Away’s cover of Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You” did just that. It was like one of Yorkshire’s finest hard-core punk, metal, thrash bands took the corpse of the song, ripped it apart and then put it back together in Dr Frankenstein’s laboratory. A truly bloody awesome band.

Seep Away

Shining, now it says on the metaphorical tin that these Norwegian’s are black-jazz pioneers who have created their own hybrid of jazz (with no boring jazz noodling) and extreme metal. Very much an industrial, metal band who know how to rock like demons. Their intro music was the sixties Zager and Evans classic “In The Year 2525”; who doesn’t love that song? Saxophone in a band as heavy as Shining doesn’t work on paper. But who cares about paper? This band takes jazz to a whole new plane. The played a few new songs tonight, set opener “Everything Dies” is a stunning tour-de-force which blasts you into surrender. Another new song, “Hole In The Sky” slowed the pace a little and showed shades of Ultravox and Biffy Clyro. “Animal ” was a tasty rock song too. Apparently Shining started out as more of a jazz band and this is writ clear in tunes like “Helter Skelter” taken from their 2010 album ‘Black Jazz’. It was a little challenging, but it was also brilliant and the work of musical alchemists. Apologies for the Scandinavian stereotypes but has York been invaded by hard rock Vikings? Did Asgard’s house band cross Bifrost the rainbow bridge to start rocking Midgard? It sure as hell felt like it. I left Fibbers feeling like my head and brain had been battered to a pulp by Mjolnir the mighty hammer wielded by Thor. Do not miss an opportunity to see this band they will, I am sure, blow you away.

Shining

 

“You can make all the moves, you can aim all the spotlights” – my 999th post! January 19, 2017


bundesstrase_999_number-svg

So after nearly eight years of blogging I am approaching my 1,000th post on here. This one you are reading is post 999. But for post 1,000 I made a little offer to my Facebook friends, I asked them to name one song (or one artist) that they wanted me to include in post 1,000. So before I get there I would like to extend that offer to any of you in the blogosphere that would like their song added and receive a name check. I promise to try to say something nice about your song choice! Just message me or add a comment.

999-roadshow-web-fi-290x155

Anyway now for post 999, I went through a whole range of ideas for this one; songs about or related to the emergency services was a favourite until I thought of doing a sum. So what follows is a list of twenty songs with numbers in their title. If you add all those numbers together they total 999. Trust me they do, I used a spreadsheet 🙂 I hope you enjoy them and that you exercise your brain with a bit of mental arithmetic while you do!

 

 

Leeds Festival 2016 Day 1 – Friday 26th August August 29, 2016


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Well here we go, after many years of attending the Reading Festival (my first was in 1975) I have finally taken the plunge and opted for Leeds. The plunge is an apt phrase given the amount of rain that fell on the Bramham Park site in the preceding days. I went along with my mate John Hayhurst, a.k.a. Rock Photographer extraordinaire. But I was also pleased to see that my fellow long-standing Zimmer Twin and great mate Nick Horslen also made it to Reading on a day ticket. First impressions for me the Leeds site is that it is more compact, but there is no real noise bleed from other stages wherever you are. Also it has some natural slopes, so getting a great view of the main stage is easy even for a short-arse like me. The only downer so far has to be the volume of mud, but I’m commuting rather than camping so it’s not all bad!

My first visit of the day was to the Lock Up Stage for Fighting Caravans. This is a Leeds band who I saw on local news programme Look North the night before. So armed with that plus the fact that I love their name I really had to see them. They rock like an Indie Led Zep as if Alan Vega off of Suicide was in the band. They have amazing energy, especially the singer who dances like a Cheetah on Speed. A truly bloody brilliant band.

fighting caravans

I chose Night Owls on the BBC Introducing Stage next, another Leeds band. They are a powerful two piece guitar and drums combo. They have similar genealogy to And The Hangnails, Slaves and Royal Blood. However comparisons with the White Stripes are worthless as the Night Owls drummer is far, far superior to Meg White. This is a damned good band and their song “Why Me?” has the makings of a classic.

night owls

The view of the Main Stage from a distance is superb, however for the Virginmarys I was quite close. This band are purveyors of fine punked up, high-powered, mightily potent saws with a large helping of raw soul. A Main Stage appearance for them was clearly a big deal for them and they certainly made the most of it. A fantastic band, I’m amazed that I haven’t picked up on them before now, but I’m glad that I finally did!

virginmarys

My muddy boot, but is that the shadow of a naked man?

My muddy boot, but is that the shadow of a naked man?

All the way from New York the next act on the Main Stage were Coheed and Cambria. Do you like metal? Prog? Punk? Pop? Great riffs? Great hooks? Great hair? Concept albums? You do? Well in that case you will love Coheed and Cambria as many folk already do. I certainly need to listen to more of their stuff.

coheed

I sadly only caught the last song from Spring King on the NME/ Radio 1 Stage. But wow what an absolute belter of a full on psychedelic wig out! Definitely worth checking out. I had wandered across to this stage to catch Deaf Havana. Having seen them twice before at Reading I had to give them a shot didn’t I? Are they still a good band? Well yes they are and a late afternoon Main Stage slot for them next time would be fabulous. Will they make you deaf? Only if you stand to close to the speakers. Will they take you to Havana? I doubt it, but if you ask them nicely you never know.

shadowplay

Now it was time to grace the Festival Republic tent with my presence for Brighton’s Magic Gang. I caught them late last year in a support slot for Swim Deep in Liverpool. They had a lot of potential then and they proved it today with a stunning set. Their Bluresque (that is not a misspelling of burlesque, I mean a little like Blur) feel had the audience leaping, dancing, singing and truly enjoying a great band. The big question though is, are this gang really magic? Well the audience were spellbound so I guess that means that they are, right?

magic gang

I stayed at the Festival Republic Stage for Ezra Furman. I don’t really have the words but I will try. He is like Jonathan Richman in a skirt backed by what could be a fledgling E Street Band who are also able to throw in a few Zappaesque moments. This is a proper ballsy and very intelligent rock band fronted by a supremely talented individual. Gotta love the Ezra! When can we all move to planet Ezra?

ezra furman

Wonderful proper boss scousers Clean Cut Kid stepped onto the Festival Republic Stage next. Clean Cut Kid are a fabulously exciting young band who once again left me with a feel good smile on my face. Just as they did at the Latitude Festival last month. This is excellent perky pop with feeling. I’ll say it again, this band are proper boss. I also suffer from beard envy of the singers magnificent face fungus, mine is pathetic in comparison.

clean cut kid

I returned to the BBC Introducing Stage next for Lawrence Taylor. Lawrence’s band is very talented. He is a gifted singer songwriter with an amazing blue-eyed soul voice. That voice could certainly give Robert Palmer, Daryl Hall and Paul Carrack a run for their money. Mr Taylor is also an exquisitely skilled guitarist.

lawrence taylor

A wee trudge back to the Main Stage next for one of America’s finest; Fall Out Boy. Oh my how this band has grown and developed since I first saw them more than ten years ago. If you are appearing just before Biffy Clyro on the bill (and sorry I don’t buy all that co-headlining shite) then you’d better roll out something special and oh boy did Fall Out Boy do that!Amazing video backdrops and to cap it all flame juggling, Mad Max style dominatrix acrobats. To be fair the band were playing to a partisan crowd but they did have the punters eating out of their hands very quickly.

FOB 1

It was now time for todays main event (well in my opinion anyway) Biffy Clyro on the Main Stage. The one thing that has always been so obviously different between Reading and Leeds for me is that the closing day line up at Reading is always the opening day at Leeds. This was really clear with a monumental set from arguably one of the best bands on the planet right now. Biffy proved that their last headline slot in 2013 was no fluke. This is their tenth appearance at Leeds/ Reading, they really have earned top billing. Their set was incredible; a set of massive square frames that grew smaller the further they were from the front of the stage. A bit like a 21st Century recreation of sixties classic TV series ‘The Time Tunnel‘ (if you’re too young to remember that then I suggest you ask your grand parents). The energy of the band is incredible and while their recorded output is largely stunning, hearing those songs live only enhances them. Not only did Biffy crank the volume up to 11, they did the same with the bombast. The particular high lights for me were “Captain”, “Many Of Horror” and “Black Chandelier“. I’m already looking forward to seeing this band own the stage once again, perhaps in 2019? ‘Mon the Biff!

biffy

 

 

Reading Festival 2013 – Day 3 – Sunday 25th August August 26, 2013


We began at the Main Stage today for We Are The In Crowd. Note to Nadia Tut; it’s looking ever so slightly less of a cock fest today. I also believe that you and your fellow band mates and bands are in a position to try to change that going forward. These folks have a female singer. We need the Tuts and Colour Me Wednesday  playing here next year. As for WATIC what a superb lively start to the day from this New York band.

Back to the NME/ Radio 1 Stage for the Villagers, we had seen them at Reading a couple of years ago. They were good then and are even better now. If you had not seen them before you might be forgiven for thinking you had walked in on the Hogwarts school band fronted by Harry Potter himself. The singer certainly looks like the young wizard. But their music is indeed a magical combination of influences. Once again great use of percussion too.

Aluna George have been subject to mucho hype lately and you know what? They are well worth it. Their music is spectacularly good and Aluna’s stage clothes show that Lady Gaga has jumped the shark fashionwise. Aluna herself is confident and sassy, she commands the stage. I will very soon be the owner of Aluna George’s album.

Over to the Festival Republic stage next for Twenty One Pilots. Unbelievably a drum based rock rap hybrid dressed as skeletons. It shouldn’t work but it does. It’s as though the Strokes were spliced with Eminem and Hawksley Workman in a parallel universe. These guys MUST be on the Main Stage mid afternoon next year; are you listening organisers? This was possibly one of the finest Reading Festival moments ever for us.

As for Chapel Club; very chilled soft rock with a hard edge. I would not have wanted to follow Twenty One Pilots. If I went to a chapel club when I was a kid it wouldn’t have been this much fun! After that we lay in the sun chilling to As Elephants Are. They were pretty good.

Back to the NME/ Radio 1 stage next for Haim. Bloody hell these girls can rock. This had to be the year of the drum with even more percussion from the Haim sisters. But did the bass player have to turn so much? That part was scary.

Fall Out Boy or FOB as they are now branded are back. On form on the Main Stage. But does everything have to be reduced to an acronym? But this band does what it says on the tin. Pop powered punk at its best. A band that has been an acronym for longer than many were next on the Main Stage; it was Nine Inch Nails or NIN as they prefer to be known, certainly on t-shirts. I was expecting great things from Trent Reznor and his chums. Sadly I was very disappointed, the music came across as samey and bland and Mr Reznor was severely lacking in the interaction with the crowd department. As a result we wandered off to pastures new. First to the Festival Republic stage where we saw the Jim Jones Revue; they are a hell of a powerful band. Imagine if AC/ DC, the Stones, the Troggs and Doctor Feelgood all drank in the same pub and became the house band. It would be very much like the Jim Jones Revue. We wandered over to the Rock Stage for the first part of Funeral For A Friend’s set. They definitely do what it says on the tin with their excellent brand of hard punky tunes. After that we returned to the Festival Republic stage for the magnificent Spector. I suppose you could compare them to the Killers in sound, but they are so much more than that. The audience loved them.

Then it was time for Sunday night’s headliners; the regal and magnificent Biffy Clyro. ‘Mon the Bif! This was the first time in eight Reading appearances that they have headlined the Main Stage and after this performance they will do it again in the future too. They were clearly well rehearsed and fired up for this show. For me they were the best headliner of the weekend by far and definitely in my top 5 of all time. The highlights for me were “Many To Horror” and “Black Chandelier”. The light show, the stage set and the pyrotechnics were amazing and added to a stonking performance from Scotland’s finest. Let’s hope they are back soon. As for myself and my good mate Nick Horslen; will we be back next year? I think there is a bloody good chance that we will be.

 

Reading Festival 2013 – The Preview August 21, 2013


reading_leeds

Well it’s that time of year again; time for me to spend three days standing in a field in Berkshire with thousands of other people. There will be shouting, mud (possibly), booze and drugs (for some), food stuffs thrown (usually scotch eggs) and oodles of great music. Yes the Reading Festival is here again and as has been the tradition for a several years now I will be attending with my good friend and fellow Zimmer Twin Nick. We are two fiftysomething music fans and between us we have seen all the great bands from Led Zep to the Foos and from Bowie to Suede. To be fair we have also seen our share of crap bands too.

Anyway who am I looking forward to most this year? I think the three headliners are a good choice. I saw Green Day back in 2005 at the Milton Keynes Bowl, that was a great show. I have seen Biffy Clyro at Reading a few times and after the release of their current album ‘Opposites’ earlier this year I think that they will make excellent headliners. I am looking forward to Eminem and I think he will be superb. However back in 2001 I thought his set, which included extensive collaboration with D12 was a little subdued.

Other acts I am quite excited about seeing are; Kate Nash (who I saw in York earlier this year), will the Tuts join her on stage? Let’s hope so! Then there is the supremely talented Jake Bugg, Chvrches, Johnny Marr, Savages, Palma Violets, Fallout Boy, Spector, Haim, Villagers, Jagwar Ma, the Bronx, the 1975 and the Fuck Buttons. Sadly I’m sure that some of these acts may be on at the same time on different stages. But whatever happens I intend to be there for the return of Enter Shikari and I will definitely not be missing Christchurch’s finest son Frank Turner and Nine Inch Nails. Fingers crossed that Trent Reznor is joined by his friend David Bowie, somehow I don’t think so though.

As for the BBC Introducing Stage we also take a look at a few of the up and coming bands. Sometimes we pick who we want to see based on their names. So this year we will be looking out for We Are Knuckle Draggers, As Elephants Are and Catfish and the Bottlemen. Who are you most looking forward to this year at Reading and Leeds? Don’t forget if you should bump into us Zimmer Twins feel free to say hello. I will make sure that you get a mention in this blog!

 

Reading Festival 2012 – Day 1 – Friday 24th August August 27, 2012


After what seemed ages the Reading Festival is here again and as usual I made the annual pilgrimage with my good friend Nick Horslen. The first band that we saw on day 1 was the Cancer Bats. I would describe them as hardcore heavy screamers from Canada and they were bloody good too! Dead to Me were on the Lock Up stage and they were rather good and certainly not dead to anyone! I wasn’t sire about the jaunty angled baseball cap though. Coheed & Cambria were on the main stage I found them a bit Biffy Clyro-like but not as good! I suppose you might describe them as 21st century prog rock.

Friends sounded good but sadly we missed most of their set. Spector came next with the first mobot of the day, spookily just after I said to Nick I wonder when we’ll see one from the stage. I like these guys a lot, they have some really anthemic songs especially “Never Fade Away”. Are the Hives the ultimate festival party band? Definitely! They have it all; top hats and tails, attitude, great songs and even a ninja stage crew! We saw the Blackout next, hmmmm seems to be a Shikari influence in there. But I would send the red-haired bloke back to Wales he adds nothing to them in my opinion!

I love Scroobius Pip but I thought that the sound mix for him was terrible. Wow the BBC Introducing stage has a mosh circle and the Attention Thieves worked it well. Very hard and very heavy. Next we were at the NME tent for Passion Pit from Boston. They do what it says on the tin; but with loads more passion than you can fit in a tin and far from the pits! A truly great band. But even after that things went up a notch or two with the great Graham Coxon, what a truly awesome guitarist he is. A little less stage presence than Damon but tons more than Liam Gallagher. A brilliant set and he even has a drummer that looked like a bewigged Mel Smith. We passed by Paramore on the Main stage to see the rather spiffing Bastille who closed with a great 90s dance cover.

The BBC introduced us to the Proxies; I think they’ll be back. The Courteeners were a bit identikit indie pop. I’m sure that if you’re a big fan of them you were in ecstasy watching them. For me they were pretty good but not the most exciting band I have ever seen. Then it was off to the Main Stage to round the day off with Bob Smith’s combo, the Cure. They last appeared at the festival in 1979 and I had never seen them before so the prospects were good. Whilst they are clearly a very tight band, featuring Reeves Gabrels on guitar I think, I don’t think I’d see them again. I am glad I had the opportunity this time though. I felt that the first hour was somewhat soporific but the second part really livened up. So that was the end of the first day and the rain held off too.

 

“And now you do what they told ya, now you’re under control” December 16, 2010


Zack was now beginning to regret that pre gig curry

On December 16th you need to be a little careful when opening the cardboard door on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar, this one may get a little loud! So let me take you way, way, way back through the sands of time to Christmas 2009. OK so I lied about the way, way, way back thing! Well we did it last year didn’t we? We stopped X Factor Muppet Joe McElderry from getting the Christmas number one. Thank you to everyone who bought Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name” last year. I’d like to think we can do the same this year, but at the moment it doesn’t look like it, Matt Cardle’s cover of a Biffy Clyro number is sadly way ahead of the competition on the midweek sales chart.

Rage get their tackle out to tackle the PMRC

The Biffy song Simon Cowell chose for the winner was “Many Of Horror” but presumably that title was a little too surreal for X Factor fans so they changed it to “When We Collide”. Anyway back to last year, thanks to an amazing Facebook campaign from Jon and Tracy Morter “Killing In The Name” reigned supreme at Christmas. It might have only stayed there for one week, but people we did it! Now all we need is another campaign to get rid of those useless tossers also know as the coalition government!

This is exactly how they started their set at Reading when I saw them a couple of yeasr back

When “Killing In The Name” was originally released back in 1993 it only manged to make it to number 25 in the UK. But last Christmas it was the first UK Christmas number one to make it on downloads alone. The uncensored version of the song contains the Anglo Saxon expletive ‘fuck’ 17 times. This has managed to get a few people into trouble at various times. In 1993 Radio 1 DJ Bruno Brookes played the uncensored version on the weekly chart countdown show. Then in 2008 the song was inadvertently played over the speakers at an Asda supermarket in Preston, obviously many people complained. For the record, I would not have complained!

In August 2008 in a strange twist the aforementioned Biffy Clyro performed an acoustic version of the song for Jo Whiley‘s Live Lounge live from the Reading Festival. The band obeyed the strict instructions not to use the word fuck as it was a live broadcast. However the crowd didn’t follow that request and could be heard filling the supposedly offensive lyrics in themselves. Poor Jo was forced to apologise to her listeners. I was there that year but sadly I missed that performance.

 

 
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