With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Cabbage – The Crescent, York – Wednesday 11th April 2018 April 13, 2018


Well isn’t the Crescent turning into a fab venue. Tonight in a show put together by the talented Mr Dean Shakespeare of Under The Influence we had one of the most hyped bands in ages headlining ; those delightful lads from Cabbage. This would make it four times that I had seen them live, so what did I think of them this time? Well dear reader you will need to read on to find out, because I need to tell you about the excellent support acts first. The Grimm Twins took to the stage before anyone else and sadly the early crowd held back for far too long for such a stunning band. They are punk and post punk rolled into one. They contain a pinch of the Fall and a dash of the Buzzcocks which given that their DNA is close geographically, they are from Macclesfield, I am not surprised. Their song “Generation Z” is a venerable and honourable anthem for this bands generation. After hearing this I would be happy to hand over the mantle as my baby boomer generation have royally fucked things up. Their closing number “Theme Of The Grimm” is a top tune, it is deep, meaningful, powerful, special and anthemic. Definitely a band to watch out for.

The next band up were She Drew The Gun who to me appeared to be influenced by everything and nothing at the same time, this is no criticism they are a wonderful and truly original band. They are a band with a conscience and bucket loads of passion. Imagine Dick Dale backing a torch singer or Kate Tempest fronting early Roxy Music and this will give you just a small insight into exactly how good She Drew The Gun are. If you saw them at the Crescent tonight and you didn’t become a fan then I seriously believe that you need to have your musical taste examined!

Finally it was time for the main attraction and one of your five a day, it is only the mighty Cabbage! This is the fourth time that I have experienced the band known as Cabbage and this was the first time that I had seen them outside of a festival. So this was very much their own crowd and oh boy did they whip us into a frenzy. Cabbage play punk, funk, pop, post punk and many other styles in between but they are nigh on impossible to drop into a genre. They are bombastic, lovingly chaotic and they carry off a healthy dollop of arrogance too. We were treated to some proper choice cuts from their new album ‘Nihilistic Glamour Shots’ and some of the finest songs from their ever-expanding repertoire. They were at their explosive best for “Arms of Pleonexia” and “Gibraltar Ape” was a towering masterpiece that shook the room, but to be fair I was standing right next to the speaker stack! From their earlier songs “Uber Capitalist Death Trade”, “Terrorist Synthesizer” and “Dinner Lady” were particular highlights for me. On top of that who can resist the genius that is “Necroflat in the Palace”. After seeing them at the Latitude Festival last year I made a prediction that they would headline a major festival in three years. I stand by that and hopefully it will be by or before 2020! Get yourself out to see Cabbage now before they start playing just the enormodomes!

It was also great to catch up with Simon P; kingpin of Northern Radar, Joe Coates; Head Honcho of Please Please You and Joe and Jared from one of my most favourite bands the rather awesome Avalanche Party! so as gig nights go this one was among the very best!

Public service announcement – all photographs emanated from by cheap little android phone and the videos were all discovered on YouTube.

 

‘Nihilistic Glamour Shots’ – CABBAGE March 13, 2018


Click here to take a look at my review of the new album from CABBAGE. I loved it so much I gave it five stars! I would also like to say a massive thank you to those rather wonderful folk at 3 Songs & Out for giving me the chance to hear the album before you lot do!

 

Leeds Festival Day 3 Sunday 27th August 2017 August 30, 2017


Click here to read my review of day 3 of the 2017 Leeds Festival on the Hype Media site. I would like to thank the lovely gang at the Hype Media for giving me the opportunity to be there! Words by me and pictures by rock photographer extraordinaire John Hayhurst of snapagig. Except for the Marshall Mathers picture, that one was a lucky find.

 

Latitude Festival 2017 July 20, 2017


So after such a great first Latitude for me last year I was back for another one with what could well be the last gang in town. Yes that tent corral of ours was and is the business. Festivals are often good when you’re on your own but that enjoyment is blown to 3D Imax level when you’re with a bunch of great people as I was in Suffolk!

Owing to some prior family commitments the wonderful Catwoman and I had to leave early on Sunday, but we crammed a lot in during the rest of our stay. The excitement even included someone trying to break into our very modest (ok that might not be true) tent. But that is a story for another day. Proceedings kicked off for us on the evening of Thursday 13th July when we attended a pop up comedy event in the Faraway Forest ( does that sound like something out of Enid Blyton to you? It does to me. But trust me it definitely was not Blyton. The title was Brexit: The Game Show. It wasn’t exactly the kind of light entertainment TV game show we are used to in the UK, but it was a chance to rip apart a number of Tory arseholes such as Boris, Gove, Hunt, IDS and on top of that, the wonderful Mr Dacre of the Daily Heil. I was actually chosen to be a contestant and I would love to tell you that I performed really well, only that would be a lie, I was a bit crap. But for me the show was very funny at first and tailed off towards the end.

For or first full day at the festival on Saturday 14th July I aimed to cram in as much music as I possibly could which was around 18 different acts, but obviously that did not include a full set from all of them. First up I was lucky enough to catch a one song sound check on the Lake Stage from Bessie Turner. Oh boy does this lady have talent and a magnificent voice. After that chance encounter it was off to the BBC Music Stage for Julia Jacklin. She has a collection of smart, catchy and sassy songs that evoke the spirit of Roseanne Cash but with more of a rock feel to them. Her “Cold Caller” has the making of a bluesy laid back classic. After a few songs from Julia it was time to dash over to the Obelisk Arena. Have you ever dabbled in ‘what if’ scenarios? Well what if Siouxse Sioux had fronted early Roxy Music and that band had been influenced by Kate Bush and great dance music? Well in my opinion that would give you the stunning band that is Pumarosa. I was mesmerised by them and stayed for their whole set which for me reached its zenith with the towering “Priestess”. How do you follow that? Not very easily, but the Coral did a great job next. They are old hands at this and they have grown into the perfect band to grace any festival afternoon.

After some early 2000s reminiscing with the Coral I wandered over to the BBC Music Stage for Japanese House. Now this band are purveyors of the finest kind of electro pop. A splendid band indeed. A short hop to the Lake Stage followed this where I was lucky enough to witness a full set from Essex band Superglu. They are a refreshingly talented and somewhat brilliant pop punk outfit. They were clearly having a lot of fun on stage and so were us lucky lot in the audience. Their riff laden, hook heavy songs will stay in your head for ages after hearing them. In fact “Diving Bell” is still with me! Can anyone tell me whether Billy Bragg was at Latitude? If he wasn’t then the bloke taking a pee next to me looked remarkably like him, but for me there is a certain line of etiquette which means I wouldn’t strike up a conversation with a stranger at the urinals, even if said stranger might have actually been William Bloke a.k.a. the Bard of Barking. Back to the BBC Music Stage now for the Radio Dept who give you classy, chilled rock music with a message and this is all underlayed with a powerful dance feel. These Swedes will go far and if you like New Order I reckon that you will love the Radio Dept.

Back to the Lake Stage next for the Dead Pretties which is a name that I love. But they are neither dead and sorry guys but nor are they pretty. However this London band hit you with a powerful assault of punky garage rock. I caught the final few songs from the Mystery Jets at the Obelisk Arena and that was enough for me to confirm that they are still bloody good. I stayed at the Obelisk Arena a.k.a the Main Stage for the stupendous, pulsating and infectious rhythms of Tinariwen who take world music to a truly stellar level. I kept pretty fit by dashing from stage to stage and next I found myself back at the BBC Music Stage for Beth Orton who drew the biggest crowd of the day to that stage at that point in proceedings. Beth’s die-hard fans were clearly pleased with her performance but for me it lacked a degree of personality. My first visit to the BBC Introducing Stage gave me a chance to see Be Good from Oxford. They hit us with some light, bright and funky tunes which the audience lapped up. I think I detected a bit of Foster The People in their party vibe too. I graced the Lake Stage with another visit next for Shame and I must say that there is no Shame with this band whose songs are heavy, punky rock from London with some very clever lyrics. They also claim to have topped the charts in Bosnia. Not many artists can truly carry off the ‘gimme your hands’ crucifixion pose but Shame’s lead singer pulls it off in style. I hope that there is a slot for them at Reading/ Leeds, they would totally smash it!

I decided to calm things down next by meeting my beautiful wife Catherine (a.k.a Catwoman) at the Speakeasy stage which is effectively a combined literature and poetry stage. Who was the bozo who decided to replace the Poetry Stage with a Carlsberg bar that looked to me like the Ikea staff canteen? But mini rant over I was at the Speakeasy to see Lol Tolhurst off of the Cure interviewed by Pete Paphides. Lol has recently published his memoirs entitled Cured. Lol is an excellent raconteur and frankly he might have done just as well without Pete Paphides who I felt had a bit of an off day. Obviously I bought the book and queued to get it signed, but disappointingly when I got home I spotted that Lol had dedicated it to Phil! Lol that is not my name, so I guess that I might have to doctor it a little. Incidentally John Robb did exactly the same a few years ago at the Harrogate Festival! The next attraction on the Lake Stage were the band that it is impossible to pigeonhole. the mighty, eclectic Cabbage. When I saw them at the Leeds Festival last year they were beautifully shambolic. They have come such a long way since then and I reckon they will headline a major festival within the next three years, what do you think? They might not necessarily look punk, but they ooze punk attitude and swagger. Before heading back to our aforementioned very modest tent I managed to catch the first few songs from Obelisk Arena headliners the 1975. They truly are a brilliant band who are totally sure of themselves and very deserving of a headline slot. Did I overdo it with all that dashing from stage to stage? Well yes I probably did!

When I woke up on Saturday morning I kind of knew that maybe I had overdone things the previous day and later that morning I was close to passing out, but I soldiered on as long as I could. The act of the day for me was at the Sunrise Stage at at midday on Saturday and it was one that I had bean looking forward to for a long while. It was the wonderful chap that is Beans On Toast. He is a mate of Frank Turner’s and is far more political than Frank. But I loved his set, just Beans and his acoustic, great songs, smart lyrics and an incredible rapport with the audience. You want love songs? You want protest songs? Beans On Toast has them both in abundance. He is a wonderful storyteller and raconteur. next I was off to the BBC Music stage for some fine Scandinavian songs which have the power to move mind, body and soul. The artist is Skott a Scandinavian singer songwriter who grew up in a forest commune. I stayed in the BBC tent for Karen Elson, multi talented supermodel and singer songwriter. Her folkily styled songs supported by a fabulous sprinkling of harp are like nectar for the ears. I was keen to dash over to the Obelisk Stage to catch at least some of the charming and talented Lucy Rose’s set. It feels like she has been with us forever and I do mean that in a good way. She has a mind for great melodies and lyrics and she has the voice of an angel. What more could you want?

After that I wandered across the site for my first and only visit of the day to the Speakeasy for Global Pillage hosted by Deborah Frances-White and guests. It is a new comedy panel show which has been available as a podcast for a while. It takes a look at our strange human customs and idioms from across the globe. Personally I found it a bit too try hard and nowhere near as funny as I had hoped. I managed to catch some of the Idles set on the Lake Stage. If you like nerve shredding punk that has the power to make your ears bleed then you will love them. I certainly did. After the Idles I needed a bit of a come down and on the same stage I found that with the spectacularly chilled Saint Sister. There may not be a finer way to wind down and chill right now than this band. Dreamy harmonies and hooks with a great nod to the 1960s. I also caught some of the Lemon Twigs set in the BBC Music tent. It is pretty damned hard to believe that these two are still teenagers. Incredibly talented and clearly fans of harmonic rock and pop. That was the last act I saw at Latitude 2017 as unfortunately prior commitments meant that we had to head home on Sunday morning. But the acoustics at the campsite were so good that I was able to hear most of Leon Bridges amazing set and that made me wish that I had stayed in the arena. I also heard the whole Mumford and Sons set and I remain not a big fan of them, I find them somewhat bland. Although the stuff that they have done with Baaba Maal is bloody good. Anyway I would love to hear of your hits and misses from Latitude. I can certainly promise that I will be back here next year too!

 

 

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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