With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

The Blinders – The Crescent, York – Friday 2nd November 2018 November 9, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:40 pm
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Last Friday I had the honour and the pleasure of being at the fabulous York venue the Crescent for a headline gig by one of the best bands in Britain right now, the Blinders. But before I tell you about them let me spend a little time on the rather spiffing support bands. First up was York band Faux Pas. This lot are an absolute riot of energy, a bouquet of passion and posy of punk. They rip into your very being and leave you wanting more. Singer guitarist Ru Cowl wears a very big heart on his sleeve and has more balls than many singers by wearing a summer dress and the hand written ‘RUNT’ across his chest and laying down a passionate challenge to gender stereotypes. Their new single “Shame” was released last week and while it sounds good in its recorded form it becomes a towering behemoth of a song when played live.

 

Next to hit the stage were Brighton five piece White Room who look like they just dropped in from an early 80s Duran Duran video shoot via some kind of pop time travel gizmo. But this bunch are far more talented than Duran Duran in my opinion. For starters Jake Smallwood is a far better vocalist than Simon Le Bon. White Room plough grooves that are sharp enough to cut your ears as they enter your head. They have an immaculate sense of stage presence and how to play to an audience. White Room also have a new single out, entitled “Shoot” and back in the days when the charts really meant something it would be a key contender for number one.

Finally the time had arrived for perhaps the finest band in the UK right now. This was an electrifying set from this staggeringly good three piece from Doncaster. They are touring on the back of their magnificent debut album ‘Columbia’ which was released back in September. Vocalist and guitarist Thomas has a towering, menacing, piercing eyed stare stage persona which matches that of Blinders compadres Avalanche Party’s Jordan Bell. ‘Columbia’ is an incredible album and the songs when played live are moved from earth bound tunes to full on Norse God hymnals from Valhalla. I love a band that is well read and the Blinders are clearly fans of classic dystopian fiction by George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. “Brave New World” and “The Ballad Of Winston Smith” attest to that. Not every generation throws up a British band that could be called the band of their generation. In my opinion the Beatles were, as were the Sex Pistols, the Stone Roses and to some perhaps the Arctic Monkeys. I believe that this is what the Blinders are destined to become, the band of their generation. They have honesty, bravery, intelligence, extreme talent and on top of all that they play together like they were born to do it. Particular highlights from this pile driving set for me were “Hate Song”, “Brutus” and “L’Etat C’est Moi”. This is the second time I have been lucky enough to see the Blinders, I think there will be many, many more for me. I have a feeling that they will be around for a long while!

 

Public Service Announcement: – All photographs were taken and edited by me using my cheap android phone from China. All videos were found on YouTube. If one of the videos is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be taken down please let me know.

 

Leeds Festival 2018 – Saturday 25th August 2018 August 29, 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 2016 Day 2 – Saturday 27th August August 31, 2016


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Waiting for Frank Turner

There was absolutely no way that I was going to miss todays opener, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. This will be, I think, the eighth time I have seen Mr Turner and he has always been better than great. So my car share with rock photographer extraordinaire, John Hayhurst got us there in plenty of time. I was lined up near the front of the Main Stage by 11:30 with Frank not due to start until 12:00. Frank and the Sleeping Souls hit the stage running and never stopped for close to an hour. It was yet another truly awesome set from Mr Turner. We were served up loads of hits and a mental, passionate and highly energetic band with a very ‘up for it’ Frank Turner. Myself and the rest of the audience were truly ‘up for it’ as well. Frank got the crowd to separate and form what at a thrash metal gig would be a wall of death. However he set it up as a wall of hugs, that was just one of many great moments along with Frank continuing to sing while crowd surfing. This was an absolute stormer of a start to the day and the smile remained on my face for the rest of the day in spite of the weather. In fact we later learned that Frank was so full on that he had to be taken to hospital with a suspected broken foot!

Next it was the Jack Rocks Stage where I caught Blinders from Doncaster. They play swampy, punky, psyched-out blues rock. What a brilliant noise! After that brief sojourn it was back to the Main Stage for the second Frank of the day; Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes. I have seen Frank Carter a couple of times in the past when he was fronting Gallows, but until today I had never seen the Rattlesnakes. This was an epic punk performance and it was also Frank’s first time on the Main Stage at Leeds/ Reading too. He had the crowd create a huge circle pit and then he proceeded to sing from the centre of it, that takes balls! Mr Carter’s crowd surfing was among the best artist crowd surfing I have ever seen. As for “I Hate You”, well that is just a totally knock-out song.

My first visit of the day to the NME/ Radio 1 tent was for Hinds all the way from Spain. They have some similarities with perhaps, Haim. Their songs are fabulous, bouncy, earworms of pop tunes in a kind of happy, smiley indie style. It is great to see an all girl band performing here though. There is certainly not enough female representation on the stages at this festival. Is that due to the general lack of imagination and forethought in the music industry? I reckon it probably is.

hinds

My first visit to the comedy in the Alternative Stage tent was for the highly intelligent and highly talented Shappi Khorsandi, She was hilarious on topics as diverse and wide-ranging as religion, racism, sexism and porn addiction. She was followed by Sarah Pascoe who was very funny indeed, especially her spiel on pubic hair.

Eat Fast from Newcastle were next on the BBC Introducing Stage. They captivated those of us in the crowd with their Geordie indie pop harmonies. Great songs from a great band. In my quest to get around most stages today I found myself in the Pit next for Citizen. They are an American band that use the quiet- loud style of the Pixies and Nirvana really well with vocals going from a soft croon to a throat shredding scream. The band clearly have a very strong UK fan base given the audience reaction and participation. Many fans proved their love of the band by crowd surfing (I counted maybe ten) into the arms of those unsung heroes of festivals, the security team.

Eat Fast

I stayed in the Pit for the next band, Dinosaur Pile Up. Not only is that a great name, they are an excellent band too. They are a band that has been with us nearly ten years and they will be around for a very long while. I’m not even sure that an extinction level event motherfucker of an asteroid that rear ended our little planet would finish off Dinosaur Pile Up. Next I trudged through the ankle-deep mud to the Festival Republic Stage for Lewis Del Mar (incidentally there is no one called Lewis in this band). But whatever the band members are called they certainly sound good. It is a dubby, trip hop sound with the exuberance and upbeatness of say Vampire Weekend. This is a really tight New York band and at times they made me think of a 21st Century Shuggie Otis.

I was back at the Jack Rocks stage at 6 o’clock for a recommendation from my good friend and top rock photographer John Hayhurst. The band is one that John had seen at the Kendal Calling Festival earlier this year. Their name is Cabbage, they are anarchic, chaotic, funny and very talented. They pretty much defy being put into a genre. However think of the bastard sons of a threesome between the Stooges, Half Man Half Biscuit and Goldie Looking Chain. Cabbage are an exceptional British band that has to be seen to be believed. Their Dinner Lady song is an absolute scream.

cabbage 1cabbage 2

It was at this point that the heavens opened and it rained for a couple of hours on an already muddy field. I put out a call for Ark builders on Facebook, but sadly no one responded. It was at this point while walking from the Jack Rocks stage to the NME/ Radio 1 stage that I decided that I needed an ice cream. so I bought myself a Magnum classic. Nothing particularly interesting about that, until three young lads saw me and claimed that an old bloke eating an ice cream whilst ankle-deep in mud in the pouring rain was the most rock n roll thing that they had ever seen. I can only assume that they were on drugs of some kind 🙂 Anyway I made it to the NME/ Radio 1 stage in time for Crystal Castles. They did not disappoint with a high-powered show featuring bombastic noisy dance sounds done in that very unique Crystal Castles style. It was an incredible show, the lights deserve a mention too, they were stunning

I was not going to miss the next band on the NME/ Radio 1 stage, the magnificent Twenty One Pilots from Ohio. It was a truly splendiferous set from the duo. Brilliant songs and amazing stage presence. How the hell do two people make so much marvellous noise? We were treated to a brief cover of “Jump Around”, acrobatics, drumming while crowd surfing, just crowd surfing and a giant hamster ball.These guys need the Main Stage as a next step for them at Leeds/ Reading. I feel very confident that they will headline this festival one day too.

I was in the Festival Republic tent next for the final song from Pulled Apart By Horses. I have seen them before and they are a band that really know how to flex their well toned rock muscles. Disclosure closed proceedings on the Main Stage. Yes Disclosure, on the Main Stage. Seriously? They’re very good but mot that good. It is not much more than a DJ show after all. I know that they supposed ly co-headlined with Foals. But that co-headlining thing is bollocks, right? In my opinion Foals should have closed the evening. I left Disclosure’s set early because I was a bit bored. But that is my opinion and clearly dance music is becoming more and more popular at this festival.

As my festival car share buddy John Hayhurst was there to take his usual selection of excellent photographs we agreed to meet up at the end of the evening at the BBC Introducing Stage. Incidentally if you do need to meet up with your friends at the end of the day that is the place to be as it is usually empty. Anyway we duly met and as we were waiting for Laura, one of John’s photographer colleagues we were accosted by two blonde 18 year old festival goers, one of them was called Freya and she kept insisting that she had a real thing for older men (John and I are both in our fifties). She kept on insisting that we went back to their tent for some ‘fun’. Personally I reckon she must have been on some pretty strong drugs or that we were being lined up for some kind of sting or robbery. Anyway we eventually persuaded Freya and her friend to head off and enjoy the rest of the night without us. I reckon we dodged a big bullet there!

 

 
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