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 2015 – The Preview March 22, 2015


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Last year I enjoyed a great day at a small local festival here in York. The Apollo Festival, you can read my review of last years event by clicking here. This year sees this wonderful family friendly music festival enter its third year. It was started in 2013 by Stuart Kelly and he has grown the show really well. Last year more than 3,000 people turned up which was close to doubling the amount of music fans that were there for the inaugural festival in 2013. If things go to plan you could be among 4,000 happy Apollo punters this year. I certainly will be as I have already purchased tickets for myself and the delightful Catwoman.

If you live in or near to York, or even further afield,  then you have no excuse for missing this event in June. Prices are very affordable at just over £15 each ticket. Significantly less than what you’d pay for a day ticket to one of the major festivals. But even keeping prices low hasn’t affected the quality of the acts playing. Last year was great and I also experienced a few bands that I had previously never seen or heard of. One of the highlights from last year for me was And The Hangnails. We also saw the Entertainment Company and we liked them so much that we have booked them for Catwoman’s ‘significant’ birthday party next year.

The line-up for this year has two excellent bands that for one reason or another I have never seen before despite being a fan. Those bands are the fabulous Space and the headliners are the superb  Inspiral Carpets. The ticket price is worth it for those two alone. One of the stages for 2015 will be curated by Rick Witter of Shed Seven, so I reckon that might be quite interesting. Other acts appearing are CryBabyCry, Happy Daggers, Hello Operator, Kimberly Kennedy, The Mothers, Rime Suspex, Rupert Stroud and Kid Conventional. I saw Hello Operator recently at the Basement in York City Screen and they are were excellent; a very loud, very powerful and explosive British rock band. I will be there along with my wonderful wife Catherine (a.k.a Catwoman) and hopefully a few of the friends that I have been promoting the festival to; John, Caron, Amelia, Shaun, Tracey you know who you are! Simon P, I know you’ll be there too and it looks like once again your music recommendations to me will be spot on! Finally I would like to say a big thank you to Stuart Kelly for starting this festival and building it to an even bigger level. Look out for my festival review at the end of June. Now get off your arse and get yourself a ticket! I will see you at the 2015 Apollo Festival at the York Sports Club, Shipton Road, York on Saturday 27th June. If you fail to turn up after all I have said then I will have to send the boys round!

 

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!

 

 

Fascinating Aida – Grand Opera House, York – Wednesday 14th November 2012 November 18, 2012


Last Wednesday I went to see an act that has been around for thirty years. I had been conscious of them but never really aware of what they were. My interest was raised when my good friend John Williams (not the composer or the classical guitarist but a better bloke altogether) sent me a clip of this act from YouTube. I came close to wetting myself while watching it. The act was Fascinating Aida and that clip was for their excellent take on budget airlines “Cheap Flights“. If you have never seen them live or on-line the best way I could describe them would be a satirical, singing cabaret ensemble who are also bloody hilarious!

They kicked off their show with a superb song attacking the banking and big business fraternity which made an excellent acronym from their ‘Companies Using Nifty Taxation Schemes’ I’ll let you guess the actual acronym. They included their biggest internet hits; the aforementioned “Cheap Flights” and the not to be missed “Dogging”. You don’t know what dogging is? I suggest you ask your parents or maybe Stan Collymore.

The group managed to take a dig at so many people in such a short space of time including Tom Cruise, Pamela Anderson, U2, the Germans and many politicians to but a few. In fact their Belgian Song Cycle (at least I think that is what it was called) contained many of these put downs. As a result of that song cycle I will never be able to look at Cheryl Cole again without thinking ladyboy!

Their show is also very topical and referred amusingly to the austerity protests in Europe earlier in the week. These are three very talented women who I would like to thank very much for a hilarious evening out with Catwoman, Caron and John. So Dillie, Adele and Liza we loved your show and we would be delighted to see you again sometime. I would also advise any of my readers who have never seen Fascinating Aida on-line or in concert to check them out immediately!

 

“But I believe in love and I know that you do too” October 8, 2011


Many of you know that Catwoman (a.k.a. Catherine Lee now Catherine Adamson) and I recently got married. As you might have guessed music did play quite a big part in the day, beyond just the choice of first dance. We chose a small but special group of songs for our guests to listen to while they were waiting for the beautiful bride to arrive and the ceremony to start. Those songs were;

“You Do Something To Me” – Paul Weller

“Loving You” – Johnny Nash

“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” – Aretha Franklin

“Kentish Town Waltz” – Imelda May

“Saving Grace” – Rumer

“You’re In My Heart” – Rod Stewart

The Man With The Child In His Eyes” – Kate Bush

It took us months to choose the song that Catherine would walk up the aisle to and we believe in the end it was the perfect choice. It
was Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World”

Then we had four songs very carefully selected for the signing of the register. Those were;

“At Last” – Etta James

“Teach Me Tiger” – April Stevens

“Wild Is The Wind” – David Bowie

“Inside Out” – Imelda May

We even chose the song for us to exit the ceremony room. That simply had to be “This Will Be” from Natalie Cole. We even managed a half decent jig on the way out of the room to that one!

We also chose a selection of swing type songs as background to the serving of champagne and canapés or as I like to say; fizzies n fod! The background music for the wedding breakfast (incidentally why is it called a breakfast when it’s not usually in the morning?) was carefully selected classic soul and Motown love songs. These two sets are included as a list at the end of this post.

Then of course it was time for the first dance, the title of which was also immortalised on my cufflinks for the wedding day. It had to be
the really beautiful Nick Cave ballad, “Into My Arms” Probably the only song I know that includes the phrase ‘interventionist god’ in its lyrics.

We hired a swing band for the evening; the truly excellent and very talented Chris Hilton Little Big Band. They did two sets of around an
hour each combining swing classics and swing arrangements of many other hits too. Their version of “I Wanna Be Like You” from the Jungle Book was a real rocking party tune.

There was also a very special guest appearance after the bands first set. A long overdue set from the superstar DJs of the 70s ‘Bill
& Glen the Disco Men’ this was their first gig in more than 30 years. They had specially designed wigs and costumes. Well ok cheap T Shirts with their pictures on and tacky 70s wigs from the party shop. None the less the boys really rocked the joint with a storming set of pure 70s disco classics, many of which haven’t been aired in years. In case you were wondering, the Bill part of the team is me and the Glen part is my best buddy Glen Voisey. We went to Ryefield Primary School together in Hillingdon in the  late 60s. It was my selection that managed to actually clear the dance floor though; personally in my defence I just feel that there was no one with enough class and taste to really appreciate the finer points of Mr Dooley Silverspoon’s amazing “Bump Me Baby” The full Bill and Glen set was;

“Boogie Nights” – Heatwave

“Get Dancin'” – Disco Tex And The Sex-O-Lettes

“Ain’t Gonna Bump No More” – Joe Tex

“Bump Me Baby” – Dooley Silverspoon

“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” – Sylvester

“Get Down Tonight” – KC & The Sunshine Band

“Rock The Boat” – Hues Corporation

“September” – Earth, Wind & Fire

In addition to all of this there were also two other musical related items on the day; one was a reading of the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “Wedding Song” lyrics from the Planet Waves album. This was read by our good friend and wife of my best man, Caron Godbold-Derbyshire. (The other two readings were not music related but were superb none the less, so thank you also to Rachel Vernelle and Ruth Smethurst). The second of these musical pieces was a part of my speech at the end of the wedding breakfast. I wanted to do
something along the lines of what Peter Sellers did in the 60s with George Martin, when he recorded a version of the Beatles “A Hard Days Night” in the style of Laurence Olivier.

It took me ages to come up with the right song. I considered Kylie’s “I Should Be So Lucky” and “Love Is All Around” from the Troggs or Wet Wet Wet. But then the weekend before the wedding I saw Madness at the Reading Festival and I knew what song I was going to try in a Olivier style; it simply had to be “It Must Be Love”, and it was! I introduced that part of the speech as something Shakespearian, using some props; a cape and a skull. I kicked off with “Alas poor Yorrick…….” And then went straight into “It Must Be Love” in my
best Olivier style. I felt it could have worked really well or could have bombed completely. I think it went quite well, but obviously I would appreciate any comments from those of you who were there!

I should also add that my excellent Best Man, Mr John Williams also managed to include a little section from David Bowie’s “Heroes” in his speech!

Thank you for reading this far into what has been a rather self-indulgent post, but I hoped that you have enjoyed the music too. I would
also be interested to hear any stories you have of music used at weddings; be they your own or those of friends and family.

Fizzies n Fod Background Music

“That’s Amore” – Dean Martin

“S Wonderful” – Ella Fitzgerald

Papa Loves Mambo” – Perry Como

“Volare (Nel Blu, Di Pinto Di Blu)” – Dean Martin

“Bewitched” – Doris Day With The Mellomen

“All Of Me” – Ella Fitzgerald

“Beyond The Sea” – Bobby Darin

“Cheek To Cheek” – Ella Fitzgerald

“Everybody Loves A Lover” – Doris Day With Frank DeVol & His Orchestra

“Everybody Loves Somebody” – Dean Martin

“A Fine Romance” – Ella Fitzgerald

“I’ll Never Stop Loving You” – Doris Day

“I’ve Got You Under My Skin” – Frank Sinatra

“I Get A Kick Out Of You” – Frank Sinatra

“It Had To Be You” – Bobby Darin

“Just In Time” – Tony Bennett

“L-O-V-E” – Nat King Cole

“Let’s Fall in Love” – Vic Damone

“Looks, Looks, Looks” – Sparks

“(Love Is) The Tender Trap” – Sammy Davis, Jr

“Mambo Italiano” – Dean Martin

“Move Over Darling” – Doris Day

“My Kind Of Girl” – Matt Monro

“Pennies From Heaven” – Doris Day; With Frank De Vol & His Orchestra

“Secret Love” – Doris Day

“Sway” – Dean Martin

“That Funny Feeling” – Bobby Darin

“Unforgettable” – Nat King Cole

“A Very Precious Love” – Doris Day

“Who’s Your Little Who-Zis!” – Dean Martin

“You’re Nobody Until Somebody Loves You” – Dean Martin

“You Belong To Me” – Dean Martin

“Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart” – Judy Garland

Wedding Breakfast Background Music

“Feel Like Makin’ Love” – Roberta Flack

“It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” – James Brown

“My Girl” – The Temptations

“Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” – Marvin Gaye

“Lovin’ You” – Minnie Riperton

“Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” – Gladys Knight & The Pips

“You Are My Starship” – Norman Connors

“Zoom” – Fat Larry’s Band

“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” – Aretha Franklin

“I Say A Little Prayer” – Aretha Franklin

“Now That We Found Love” – The O’Jays

“You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” – Stevie Wonder

“The Look of Love” – Gladys Knight & The Pips

“My Guy” – Mary Wells

“Doobedood Ndoobe Doobedood Ndoobe Doobedood Ndoo” – Diana Ross

“Heaven Must Have Sent You” – The Elgins

“I’ll Say Forever My Love” – Jimmy Ruffin

“Still Water (Love)” – The Four Tops

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – Diana Ross

“It’s Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)” – Jimmy Ruffin

“For Once In My Life” – Stevie Wonder

“I’m In A Different World” – The Four Tops

“I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” – Diana Ross & The Supremes With The Temptations

“If I Were A Carpenter” – The Four Tops

“Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

“It Takes Two” – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

“You Can Do Magic” – Limmie & The Family Cookin’

“Could It Be I’m Falling In Love” – Detroit Spinners

“Gonna Make You An Offer …” – Jimmy Helms

“My Cherie Amour” – Stevie Wonder

“Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love Babe” – Barry White

“Help Me Make It Through The Night” – Gladys Knight & The Pips

“Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love)” – The O’Jays

“You Make Me Feel Brand New”  The Stylistics

“I’ll Be There”  The Jackson 5

“Let’s Stay Together”  Al Green

“Close The Door” Teddy Pendergrass

 

 
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