With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Leeds Festival 2021 – Day 2 – Saturday 28th August 2021 September 1, 2021

Nothing But Thieves

Day 2 and already I am settling back into being at a festival, first up today it was Nothing But Thieves on Main Stage West. These Essex boys are damned good. Conor Mason’s vocals reminded me at times of Graham Bonnet, a young Ozzy Osbourne and maybe even Robert Palmer. This band turn up the passion levels to 11, Nothing But Thieves really mean it and I am definitely a fan. I had to see Punkband on the Lock Up Stage, largely because the name intrigued me. The band does what it says on the tine and hit us with some fine slices of old school punk style tunes, they are a little Sham 69-like at times, but I mean that in a good way. They handled the bass issue they encountered with aplomb and great improvisation. Brighton based Demob Happy were next on Main Stage East. They gave us some wonderfully stylish driving rock music channeled through classic British 70s blues rock. The three female backing singers added a depth that is often not found in harder rock music. The singer looked a bit like a young Frank Zappa, while the drummer could have been in Hanson! A quick jog over to Main Stage West net for a great Scottish band, the Snuts. They have a hard edged indie style and some anthemic tunes reminiscent of the Zutons or the Coral but with a harder and heavier edge. Great hooks and choruses too. A really good live band who I would definitely see again.

Bad Nerves

Back on the Main Stage East it was the turn of Inhaler, I am sure most of you have seen the hype that follows them given that front man Elijah Hewson is Bono’s son. Elijah is the spitting image of his Dad in my view. Am I allowed to say that Inhaler are influenced by U2? Well I believe that they are, but I guess that isn’t too surprising. They are a good band though and it will be interesting to see how they develop from here. A big shout out to the mightily talented guitarist Josh Jenkinson. Bad Nerves, more Essex boys were on next at the Lock Up Stage. This band does old school punk blended with classy power pop really well. The crowd was clearly made up of many hard core Bad Nerves fans who clearly love the band. A return to the BBC Introducing stage next for FFSYTHO?!, is described in the festival PR bumph as a pint-sized rapper, that much is true. But she is not just a run of the mill rapper she is bloody good. She has some sharp and tasty ciphers which she spits perfectly. She is a great ambassador for UK Hip Hop and Grime. She was backed with some finely selected beats and samples from DJ Mark Ski. Next it was a secret set in the Lock Up by Don Broco, my daughter Lauren’s favourite band. This was a short but full on performance from a band at the top of their game. They enticed the crowd with older songs and some newer stuff from their forthcoming album, which based on this show could be their best yet. “Gumshield” whipped the crowd into a moshing frenzy. Don Broco are clearly a force of nature live. Rob Damiani has a great voice and was he trying to bring back the mullet? I paid my first visit to the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage next for Mimi Webb from Canterbury. Her music is dance oriented with elements of pop, trance and soul. She has a stunning voice. I returned to the Main Stage West for Sea Girls. If Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed a stadium/ festival band it would probably give us Sea Girls and I do mean that in a most complimentary way. The have anthems not songs and it feels like those anthems are designed to drift stylishly across a muddy or dusty festival field and be sung back to them by an enraptured crowd.

Don Broco
The Rills
Lady Ice

Clearly the Lock Up Stage was going to be one of my main haunts on Saturday, I was back there this time for Grace Mckagan, she started out with synth punk band the Pink Slips and is now establishing herself as a formidable solo artist. She gives the world dark, grungy, industrial garage rock. A bit like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club but if they had an ace female singer. I am now a committed Grace Mckagan fan, I think she could be huge before long. The BBC Intyroducing Stage gave us Lincoln’s the Rills next. They are a three piece with the energy and dynamism of the Jam in their early days. Imagine the Small Faces as a punk band with Marc Bolan writing their hooks and Steve Jones contributing their riffs, that is the Rills for me. Definitely a potentially great band and certainly one to watch out for. Lady Ice is on the rise after successfully appearing on the BBC show ‘The Rap Game UK’. Her delivery, style and energy is first class and supported by some great beats from DJ Tigie, and her MC was great too. It was a real shame it was such a small crowd because Lady Ice knows how to perform and that is exactly what she did. Mabel was next on Main Stage East, for me she has the pop nous of Madonna and Lady Gaga and the choreography and dance skills of Janet Jackson. She completes the package with a full on powerful and deeply soulful voice. A quick dash across to Main Stage West was definitely worth it to witness a storming set from Sam Fender. This is a man with a huge passion for life and for music. While it was that cracking tune “Hypersonic Missiles” that really got him noticed it is the poignant and deeply emotional “Dead Boys” that is my favourite. Like many other acts Sam claimed that this crowd was much better than Reading, but you would wouldn’t you. But to be fair he did kick off some huge mosh circles.

Sam Fender
Low Hummer
Catfish and the Bottlemen

Back to the Lock Up Stage once again this time for the immensely talented Yonaka. They have developed into a really special band. They are definitely the full metal packet now and Theresa’s vocals were stunning. This set was an awesome blitzkrieg of magnificent hard rock. Next for me it was Hull’s Low Hummer on the BBC Introducing Stage. If you put Talking Heads, Pulp and Ian Curtis in a music blender I believe the wonky rock smoothie that results would be the rather spiffing Low Hummer. A top set from a top band. Catfish and the Bottlemen were the first of Saturday’s joint headliners, on Main Stage West. Personally I think they peaked too soon with a great punked up cover of the Beatles “Helter Skelter”. They are an incredibly powerful live band and their already great songs are improved tenfold in the live environment. This is not a band I listen to very often, but I will always seek them out at a Festival. Stormzy closed the second day on the Main Stage East with something that might be a rock gig, a Grime set in a club, a modern take on gospel, a political rally. It was refreshingly different. He opened with the wonderful “Big Michael” and the crowd lapped him up. Stormzy is a man who wears his political opinions on his sleeve and is not afraid to air them. At one point encouraging the crowd to hold their “FUCK BORIS” placards and posters higher. Another hugely entertaining set from a man whose talent seems to continue to grow.

All the pictures were taken using my cheap Chinese phone camera. The video was found on YouTube. If it is yours and you would like me to take it down or give you a credit please let me know. Yes I do know the clip is from Reading, but there is not much film footage of Leeds online 🙂

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Leeds Festival 2021 – A Stream Of Consciousness August 26, 2021

I have grown up with Reading Festival and some time after I moved to the frozen north I switched to the other part of this great festival, Leeds. I went to my first Reading in 1975, me and some mates bunked under the fence and in the limited time we had on the site (we had to catch the last train home) we saw Osibisa. We got in that way for three years in a row, I doubt that is even close to possible these days, but back then we felt like highwaymen or the last gang in town, proper rebels. In truth though, we were a bunch of teenage chancers who thought they knew everything. I was 16 at the time and I did know everything, then I got a bit older and realised quite easily that I really knew nothing and had so much to learn. Even at my advanced years (shhhh….. don’t tell anyone, but I’m 62) I still learn something every day. But one thing I learned back on the fateful night in 1975 is that I bloody love this festival and I still do. I haven’t missed many since 1975. The last year, apart from 2020 when it was Covid cancelled, that I didn’t attend was in 2007. I switched to Leeds in 2015 (I think) after my Reading Festival buddy decided he was too old for three days in a muddy field. I plan to keep going until I physically can’t or until I’m dead! My ashes can be scattered on the fields of Richfield Avenue and at Bramham Park. Anyway the reason for this confusing stream of consciousness is that after 18 months of suffering for everyone thanks to Covid, festivals are back and for the first time in two years I will be stood in a, hopefully not too, muddy field near Leeds watching some incredible bands and artists. Highlights for me will I am sure be those listed below. I hear there is an Oasis tribute act on the Main Stage on Friday too 😉

Biffy Clyro, Yungblud, Wolf Alice, The Hunna, Sophie and the Giants and Baby Queen (Friday)

Stormzy, Mabel, AJ Tracey, the Snuts, Catfish and the Bottlemen, MK, Sam Fender, Yonaka, Boston Manor and Dinosaur Pile-Up (Saturday)

Two Door Cinema Club, Beabadoobe, Disclosure, Slowthai, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, You Me At Six, Bob Vylan, Bull and Police Car Collective (Sunday)

Who are you looking forward to? Who do you recommend that I haven’t mentioned?

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Billy Bibby and the Wry Smiles – Fibbers, York – Thursday 1st June 2017 June 6, 2017

I was tipped off about this gig by the rather excellent York band Lost Trends, who were on the bill. Lost Trends were originally scheduled to hit the stage later but for some reason they opened the show. Rather than sulk at being told to kick things off they decided to play their set like it was a headline slot and oh boy did that work. They played an absolute blinder and engaged magnificently with the punters lucky enough to be their at the start. This is a band that really know their stuff. Pete and Rusty’s guitar lines do battle with each other aided and abetted by the full powered rhythm section of John and Adam. This is the second time I have seen Lost Trends and I damned well know it won’t be the last, they bring you funky punk that you can dance to. In fact keep an eye on this blog in the next week or so for a hard hitting interview with the band where you will learn such important facts as what their favourite chocolate bars are and whether they could beat Justin Bieber in a fight.

Lost Trends

Next up were Alleyways another splendid York band. They seemed nervous at the start but grew in stature as their set moved on. For me they have a 21st Century spin on electronic 80s sounds a la Flock Of Seagulls and Tears For Fears. The playing was tight and well rehearsed and the lead singer has the makings of a stunning rock voice. “Naked” is a captivating, anthemic song. Check them out, you will not be disappointed. The penultimate band of the night were another of the fine selection of bands from York, the Serotones. A very alt.rock band indeed, think of the likes of Dinosaur Junior with the pop rock sensibilities of the Foo Fighters. I have listened to “Never Back Down” a lot since I got home from the gig.


Now it was time for the headliners Billy Bibby and the Wry Smiles. Billy is the founding guitarist of the rather excellent Catfish and the Bottlemen. The songs have a laid back US East Coast 70s rock feel at times but they have more depth and more strings to their bow than just that. Some of their songs rock out like a hard rock bastard. They suffered a few technical problems during their set including a blown amplifier, did this deter them? No it didn’t if anything it gave them the momentum to pull off a set that really hit the heights. Billy is a great vocalist and the Wry Smiles show a high degree of musical eloquence and skill. These boys know their stuff and are well worth seeing live.


BBC Music Awards 2014 – December 11th 2014 December 11, 2014

Awards-Logo640December 11th 2014 saw the first ever BBC Music Awards. The show was broadcast live from Earls Court in London. Whilst there were only four awards there were plenty of live acts including; Coldplay (Stunning), Labrinth with Ella Henderson (Class), Clean Bandit (is there anyone that doesn’t love them?), Gregory Porter (why does he wear that balaclava?), George Ezra (a proper Buddha Pest), Wand Erection (whisper this, but I thought that they were alright!), Ed Sheeran (how can one man with a guitar be that bloody good?), Calvin Harris (super Scot) with John Newman (voice of the year and pearly king) and Ellie Goulding (sublime disco), Catfish and the Bottlemen (best newcomers and 70s fashion aficionados), Paloma Faith (quirky and wonderful), Take That (now known as Taxdodge That), Will.i.am (a bit Bollywood Disco, not a bad song, still.a.twat) with Cody Wise (better.than.will.i.am)

bbc musicThe first award was for Best International Artist. Chris Evans who co-hosted the show with Fearne Cotton picked a young Welsh lass from the audience to announce the winner, which was Pharrell Williams. He was presented with his award live in LA by Gwen Stefani.

pharrell-williams-grammy-hat-has-a-hip-hop-historyIdris Elba presented the award for Song Of The Year and guess what? There was another trip to LA for Gwen Stefani to present yet another award to Pharrell Williams. This time for the stupendous “Happy”.

CF1-e1386329747254The BBC Introducing Award for Best Newcomer went to Catfish And The Bottlemen. A good choice methinks. I am really keen to see them play live now. The award was presented by Fearne Cotton after they played live.

Ed SheeranFuck me, Bowie was nominated for Best British artist but sadly he didn’t win it. Tom Jones presented the award to Ed Sheeran. I was surprised that Pharrell hadn’t been quickly given British citizenship. But then Sheeran’s “Sing” was a collaboration with Pharrell though.

Was this a better show than the Brits? Probably, but they need more awards. Also I thought Paloma Faith and Tom Jones finale had so much promise until they strangled “God Only Knows”. Was that as bad a cover of the song as David Bowie’s version in the 80s? Probably!


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