With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“It was if someone had spread butter on all the fine points of the stars” April 11, 2015


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The song “Birdland” taken from the classic Patti Smith album ‘Horses‘ was inspired by the 1973 book by Peter Reich. The title was ‘A Book Of Dreams‘ and Patti had been urged to read it by writer William Burroughs. The same book can be seen in the video for “Cloudbusting” by Kate Bush. That song was also inspired by Reich’s book.

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“You wanted the best and you got the best” Blog Advent Calendar Day 21 December 21, 2014


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The 21st December you say? really? Blimey where did the time go? Anyway I just knew that something good was going to happen now that it is Day 21 in this years Advent calendar blog post series. regular readers will know that the theme this festive period is the ABC of British bands. Some of you may already have guessed who todays band is as I incorporated a clue earlier in this paragraph. Today is the turn of the Utah Saints who despite their name actually come from Leeds.

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The band played live often between 1991 and 2001 although their appearances since then are largely as DJs. Although they are still writing and recording and are supposedly working on their next album at the moment. Jez Willis and Tim Garbutt are the Utah Saints core and they really pioneered the use of sampling in pop music. they met when they were both music promoters and DJs for the Mix nightclub in Harrogate. In his inimitable style Bill Drummond off of the KLF described the Utah Saints as  “the first true stadium house band”. I’m not entirely sure what that means but it sounds good doesn’t it? They also built their own recording studio on the outskirts of Leeds which opened in 2008.

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The band’s first three singles all made the UK top ten from 1991 to 1993. Those releases were; “What Can You Do For Me” (1991), “Something Good” (1992) and “Believe In Me” (1993). Willis and Garbutt described these songs as their vocal sample trilogy. The songs sampled Gwen Guthrie, Eurythmics (“What Can You Do For Me”), Kate Bush (“Something Good”) and the Human League, Crown Heights Affair, Sylvester (“Believe In Me”). Despite persistent press stories these samples were all legally cleared. Kate Bush also let the band use clips from her video for “Cloudbusting” which is where the sample for “Something Good” comes from.

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“Something Good” is their biggest hit to date. It peaked at number 4 in the UK singles chart and made the top 10 in Australia and Ireland. Interestingly it also made it to number seven in both the US Dance Charts and the US Modern Rock charts. does this make them truly genre-defying? I’d like to think so. They have released two albums so far (not including a mix album). The first was ‘Utah Saints’ which reached number 10 in the UK album charts in 1992. The follow-up was rather unimaginatively called ‘Two’. Sadly that one failed to chart when it came out in 2000. Now you can enjoy some of the Utah Saints finest beats and I hope that you enjoy them.

 

 

Kate Bush – Before The Dawn – Hammersmith Apollo Saturday 27th September 2014 September 28, 2014


img_1127Finally the wait was over and the excitement that had built up over the months since Kate Bush announced her return to the stage was about to reach its peak. What would the show be like when I finally got to see one of my favourite artists of all time? Well to be fair I think that everyone who bought a ticket knew not to expect a greatest hits set. But given Kate’s back catalogue of superb albums I didn’t see that as a problem at all. The show that I saw fell towards the end of the 22 show run at the Hammersmith Apollo so I already knew about the set list. All the reviews of the earlier shows that I read suggested that the set list was fixed for the duration and it was.

kate_bush-nThere were 25 songs performed during the three-hour show. There were some hits but not many. When Kate entered the stage at the start of the show she received a rapturous standing ovation. How many artists do you know that would get that before they had sung or played a note? She looks really good and her voice is still excellent and seems to have grown richer over the years.

2014KateBush_Press3_260814The first half of the show (there was a twenty-minute intermission) began with “Lily”, “Hounds Of Love“, “Joanni”, “Top Of The City”, “Running Up That Hill” and “King Of The Mountain“. Then the theatrical element of the show began in earnest for the song cycle “The Ninth Wave” taken from the original side two of the ‘Hounds Of Love’ album.

KATE-BUSH-3_3018012kThe set was truly magnificent as were the special effects, notably the rescue helicopter. Kate’s brother began that section playing a man who had received a distress call from a ship called The Celtic Deep that was in trouble and sinking. This was a filmed segment used to allow the stage to be reset to include the large frame of a ship wreck among other things.  There were fish people and other dancers many of whom created the effect of the sea with large sheets with help from the lighting team. Kate’s son Bertie played her son in the dream sequence where Kate as the drowning woman was dreaming of her family during “Watching You Without Me”. In my opinion Kate proved that she is far more prog than any major prog band and I mean that as a massive compliment.

KATE-BUSH-7_3018020kPart two of the show had a completely different set including a massive set of wooden doors. This was built for another song cycle, “A Sky Of Honey” from the second disc of the ‘Aeriel’ album from 2005. There were birds, trees and the artist. I had listened to “A Sky Of Honey” a lot during the past few weeks and I love it. Played live it is something even more magical. Kate’s son Bertie played the artist during this section and he even got his own solo song spot with “Tawny Moon”. He has a reasonably good voice and the song works, however I did feel that it might have been a little too long.

Kate Bush: Before The Dawn live at The Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London, Britain - 26 Aug 2014There was also an excellent puppeteer on stage working a fabulous artists wooden model dummy puppet. Late in the show there was a Pinocchio moment when the puppet became real. At the end of “Aerial” Kate in effect became a bird. Was she supposed to have been raised from the stage as a bird? It felt like it but that didn’t happen. I was also pleased to see hardly any sign of anyone filming any part of the show using their mobile phones.

Kate Bush: Before the DawnThe encore began with Kate singing “Among Angels” accompanied only by her own piano playing. I honestly thought before that point that things couldn’t possibly get any better. But that song was performed supremely well with great emotion and showcased just how good her voice is. The second and final song of the encore saw the whole band and ensemble return to the stage for a rousing and magnificent “Cloudbusting“. It felt like all 5,000 of us were on our feet and singing along; that is probably because we were! Kate thanked the audience many times but I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for deciding to play live again after all these years. Will she ever play live again? Will it be another 35 years? I really don’t care because I was there in 2014! I would love to hear your views if you were at this or any of the other shows.

imagesI went to the show with my brother-in-law Richard Lee (my wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman gave her ticket to her brother) and my friend Alison Wright with her husband Rob. I think we all enjoyed the show, I know that I certainly did. I would also like to dedicate this post to my cousin Deborah Jane Schofield who passed away far too young and was always a fan of Kate Bush.

I will close with the official video for “King Of The Mountain” one of my favourite songs of the evening

 

 

“Hey there Bill, could you turn the lights up?” April 1, 2014


kate bush lifejacketNow that the dust has settled on the excitement of the sale of tickets to see Kate Bush on stage after all these years (who’d have guessed that was going to happen?) I thought that it would be appropriate to entertain you with my top 10 Kate songs. As for those profiteers who have bought tickets with no intention of using them; may the fleas of a thousand camels infest in your arse and raise generations of flea families there. I also hope that said fleas make the arses of anyone associated with Viagogo and other so-called ticket exchange sites an urgent infestment priority. This is not the rant of a disgruntled punter without a ticket, I have mine. This is the rant of a music lover who believes that there should be no room in the world for ‘ticket exchange’ organisations who are in fact nothing better than licensed touts. They are the pay-day loan companies of the entertainment industry. Demand for these tickets was always going to exceed supply but for companies to be selling these tickets at such a massive premium sucks Satan’s cock in my opinion.

OK take your mind off of that whole issue and listen to Billy’s top 10 Kate Bush songs.

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1 “Moments Of Pleasure”

2 “This Woman’s Work”

3 “Wuthering Heights”

4 “Cloudbusting”

5 “Why Should I love You?”

6 “The Man With The Child In His Eyes”

7 “Blow Away (For Bill)”

8 “And So Is Love”

9 “Running Up That Hill (Deal With God)”

10 “King Of The Mountain”

Kate Bush

 

WOW – A Celebration of the Music and Artistry of Kate Bush – Grand Opera House York – Thursday 7th March 2013 March 8, 2013


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I can count on one hand the amount of tribute acts I have seen in my lifetime. Before last night it was just two; The Bootleg Beatles and The Wall a Pink Floyd tribute band. Both were very good. However in my opinion both were surpassed by the excellent show I saw at the Grand Opera House in York last night. It was titled ‘WOW – A Celebration of the Music and Artistry of Kate Bush’. The fact that Kate Bush is such an original and unique solo artist means that any attempt at a decent tribute to her would be difficult. However 36 year Maaike Breijman from Holland pulled it off impeccably well.

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She has a resemblance to Kate and a similar vocal style. She is also an excellent all round performer and she proved this by singing, dancing and playing the night away. She didn’t only focus on Kate Bush’s greatest hits although most of them were there. The overall show, including a brief interval, was close to two hours long. I lost count of the costume changes Breijman undertook but every one of them worked. Her band was superb as were the two male dancers that accompanied her for most songs.

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She seemed to draw her influence for the performances from film of Kate’s one and only tour and the videos for the later songs. The show included a terrific light show and some excellent projections and props. Including the weather machine from the ‘Cloudbusting‘ video. I particularly loved her performances of “The Wedding List”, “The Big Sky”, “Wow” and “Babooshka“. She also brought things a little more up to date with an excellent version of the 2005 hit “King Of The Mountain”. The theatrical staging of “Breathing” from inside a womb was pretty impressive too.

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The two most exceptional moments for me were her wonderful rendition of “this Womans Work” whilst accompanying herself on the piano and the obvious choise for closing the show, the incredible “Wuthering Heights”. It is highly unlikely that we will ever get to see the real Kate Bush play live now, although to be fair whoever thought David Bowie would release a new album? But in the absence from the stage of Kate Bush I can definitely recommend Maaike Breijman. The only disappointment for me was how few people there were in the audience. When she tours again I order you to do your utmost to see her. Sell your Granny, send your kids to sweep chimneys, do whatever it takes just make sure you are there for Maaike’s next tour. That’s an order ok! Click here to find the WOW website.

 

 
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