With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Live At Leeds – Saturday 2nd May 2015 May 5, 2015


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This year was the first time I have been around for Live At Leeds and thanks to my good friend John Hayhurst I even got a cheap ticket. On top of that John’s research on the bands, singers and venues was immaculate. After collecting our wrist bands at the First Direct arena we headed to the Key Club. The first band on stage were Forever Cult. I would describe them as a bit grunge, a bit indie and a bit classic rock. They were bloody good, “Yasmin” is a great song. All three were excellent musicians but the drummer attacked his kit like a reincarnated John Bonham. He even had a look of the great Bonzo about him too.

forever cult

We were entertained on the same stage next by the Treason Kings. They are full on heavy, hard and hairy rock at its best. Maybe with even a bit of a prog twinge. I mean who else but someone with an awareness of prog history would write a song about their chest of drawers called “Chest Of Drawers”? An excellent band in my opinion.

treason kings

After that it was a brisk walk to the O2 Academy for Gaz Coombes. I have seen him a few years ago when he was still with Supergrass, now they were a great band weren’t they? Mr Coombes solo is different from Supergrass but still su-fucking-perb.

gaz coombes

The Belgrave Rooms took us in next. We caught the last pert of Alex Burey’s set. He is a young london singer songwriter who is a bit like a jazzed up and more funky Jake Bugg with an extra added Orange Juice/ Edwyn Collins. Chloe Black was what drew us to the Belgrave. She owned the stage with her striking monochrome look and wowed us with just an iPad and a keyboard. For me she has a range of influences from Amy Winehouse to Bjork via Ballad Madge (a.k.a Madonna) She seemed a little nervous at first but it was a really packed house.

chloe black

We made a dash to get to a small bar called Milo’s for the highly recommended Crybabycry. The bar is quite small and rammed to the rafters with punters. That might have helped or hindered a performer or band. But I believe Crybabycry raised themselves for it. They are a truly stupendous band. Their songs are often underpinned by a classic glam rock drum beat from a very talented drummer. All three are very talented musicians and their songs are wonderful. I can hardly wait to see them again, but I will see them next month at the Apollo Festival in York.

crybabycry

After this and a brief burger stop we whizzed over to the Holy Trinity Church where we stayed for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Being an old church the acoustics are fabulous. Frances was first on for us. Great voice – Tick, great pianist – Tick, Great songs – tick. She clearly ticks all the boxes for me and has the gifts and talent to be really successful.

frances

The second act we saw in the Holy Trinity Church was Freddie Dickson and the Guard. What a fucking amazing find they were. I thought that I was detecting shades of Coldplay and Radiohead and then I thought nope these guys are very much of their own making. I believe that they are probably one of the best young bands that I have seen in years and believe me I have seen some great young bands; Avalanche Party and the Tuts to name but two. Freddie’s voice is off the scale of phenomenal rock voices. This band really ought to be huge!

freddie dickson and the guard

Having settled in to our prime spot on the pew just in front of the stage we were next entertained by Seafret. They might look a little like Simon and Garfunkel but they come across like a turbo charged and folky McAlmont and Butler. They are from Bridlington, they are Seafret and they are bloody marvellous.

seafret

 

The penultimate performer for our time at Live At Leeds was Laura Doggett. She has a brilliant band, an amazing voice and her songs are truly captivating. I felt there were quite a few influences in her songs and performance; Florence, Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks. It was a superb set, the one thing that didn’t work for me though was the often very twee between song conversation.

laura doggett

Finally it was time for Lucy Rose, or perhaps it wasn’t time. The were a multitude of equipment problems for which Lucy apologised, although clearly it wasn’t her fault. Eventually she had the techie set up a microphone and an acoustic amp, whereupon she came out and took requests, from her first album. Not many artists would have the commitment and the balls to do this, let alone actually pull it off. But Lucy Rose really did make it work. Eventually the equipment problems were sorted and she was able to perform some of her planned set. Lucy Rose; a trouper, a true performer and a great singer-songwriter. The packed audience loved her and frankly so did I.

lucy rose

 

And finally it’s the public service announcement. All the videos ( a selection of artists that we saw on the day) are courtesy of YouTube and all the photos are courtesy of rock photographer John Hayhurst. (I borrowed them from your Facebook page Mr H)

 

I Thought It Was Morning – Colour Me Wednesday – New Album review (July 2013) July 30, 2013


About 18 months ago I had the pleasure of interviewing a rather excellent band on this blog. (Click here to read that interview). Well now it’s time for drum rolls and fanfares because that band have an album out. That band is the splendiferous Colour Me Wednesday and their album is called ‘I Thought It Was Morning’. Earlier this evening, before I ordered my copies, I took a listen to the album as a stream on punk news. So I thought that you might like to know what I thought of this collection of 12 rather spiffing tunes.

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The LP kicks off with “Shut”; a perfect start with a quintessentially English rocker which talks about changing the world one person at a time. There really aren’t enough English bands that sing with an accent from Albion. “Holiday From Your Life” has an 80s feel and undertones of Orange Juice in a parallel universe where Edwyn Collins was female. Two tracks in and I’m loving it! This band writes great songs and forget all that X Factor shite, they play bloody well too. A cool reggae vibe is introduced for “Carefree” and it enables the song to jump from the speakers like Lily Allen with balls! So at three songs in it’s also pretty clear that the art of the protest song is alive and well in Uxbridge. Hopefully it will spread much further afield.

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The next song I have heard before and I believe that it will become one of my favourite Colour Me Wednesday songs. It’s the supremely titled “Unicorn In Uniform” and it’s the perfect Indie Pop Punk song. What a slow pulsing,  brooding song “Lost On The High Street” is. I love the bass line and the harmonies are exquisite. ‘I Feel Like I’m Running Out Of Melodies’ is the first line of “Bitter Boys” and frankly it’s obvious this band have melodies to spare.

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Halfway through and this album already feels like one that will get plenty of plays in my collection and one that deserves wide exposure. National Radio need to pick this up! “Don’t Waste Your Breath” is laid out over a really tight reggae bed which is far more the Clash than the Police thankfully. How true is the line ‘Life’s Too Short To Piss Away’? Very true methinks! If you’re a Tory Boy I wouldn’t invite Colour Me Wednesday to your barbecue, you’ll be met with the melodic pop punk of “(I’m Not Coming To Your) BBQ“. I love the way this band draw you into some very commercial sounding tunes that have amazing lyrical bite. “Cat Hair” is no exception to that. The writing on this album belies the fact that this is still a relatively young band.

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Perhaps my favourite title on this LP record is “You’re Not My No. 1 Bastard”. I think I’ll be singing that one tomorrow at work! Another song I have heard before and absolutely love is a song that ought to be high in the charts. It’s “Purge Your Inner Tory” and wouldn’t it be fun to see those mindless bigots at the Daily Mail get hot under the collar about such a great song? The album’s title track is also the closing song and it has the makings of a mini epic.

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This is a fabulous début album from a band that most certainly dares to be different. If you like formulaic pop pap don’t buy this album. But if you like great music with pop sensibility and a great punk attitude then you’d better bloody buy it! That’s an order ok and I’ll make it dead easy for you. Just click here to buy one, or more than one, of the many formats available. Then tell all your friends about this band and be safe in the knowledge that you knew them before they were mega big! I would like to wish Sam, Jen, Hat and Carmela stacks of success with this album. They are miles better than the Saturdays and the Sundays. They are more powerful than “Blue Monday”, they pack more emotion than “Everything’s Tuesday”, they give “Thursday’s Child” a run for it’s money and they make sure “Friday On My Mind” is no longer on my mind. They are not just your average day of the week, they are COLOUR ME WEDNESDAY!

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Reading Festival 2012 – Day 2 – Saturday 25th August August 27, 2012


 

We arrived a bit late for the secret set from Green Day which began at 11 o’clock, but by all accounts it was blisteringly good. So day 2 kicked off for us with a song from Los Campesinos. An excellent band and even the sun came out to enjoy them! Theme Park were very fresh and funky with a singer that looks like Mr Cole a.k.a Cashley. They sound like David Byrne on ecstasy and was that Prince Harry on guitar? Probably not as he had his kit on! We saw Citizens next. They have been produced by Alex Kapranos and seem to be channeling Edwyn Collins. A very good band.

The usual visit to the comedy stage gave us Jimmy McGhie and Reginald D Hunter. Both were very funny, especially McGhie’s mugging story about Ewoks in hoodies! Grimes was next and she gave us some wonderful ethereal trance tunes  and a topless blonde dancer too…. he was quite good! We made it to the NME/ Radio 1 stage for Dry The River. They have a very chilled US  west coast sound with added psychedelic wig outs and up until that point the weather was Californian too.

Santigold was pure class but what the hell had she made the band wear? Her set had everything; the audience on stage, costume change and a pantomime horse (probably the first time I’ve ever seen one of those on stage at Reading)! We went back to the Main Stage for late afternoon and the Shins were the perfect choice! After the Shins it was the mercurial Enter Shikari. It’s now 4 years in a row at Reading for the Shikari boys who in my opinion are one of the finest bands to grace the main stage. They owned the place!

Some vaccines cure but the Vaccines rock! They are future headliners I think. Florence & the Machine best so far by mile and she did it in heavy rain. Heavy is an understatement, it was pissing down! Not only talented but a trouper too. Ms Welch has a heavenly voice. I am sure that she will be back to headline in the next few years. We watched the first two songs from Kasabian. I think they are far better live than on record but I would still describe them as Leaden Zeppelin. We caught just one song from the bouncy Katy B before a mini tour of the remaining headliners; At The Drive-In were on supreme form and it’s good to see them back, Metronomy provided us with some laid back late night dance grooves and finally we caught a bit of the DJ set from Bassnectar. For that all we were missing were a couple of tabs of E and some glow sticks. And so ended a relatively chilled and slightly damp day 2.

 

 

“With your bonuses and expenses you shovelled down your throat. Now you bit the hand that fed you Dear God I hope you choke” January 3, 2012


I’d like to thank my friend Stuart O’Hara for suggesting the theme of this post. Edwyn Collins once said ‘too many protest singers, not enough protest songs’. Strangely that was a lyric from his 90s hit “A Girl Like You” which doesn’t seem to be a protest song itself. That dear reader is the thrust of this blog post; where are all the protest singers and protest songs? The world economy is collapsing, riot and revolution is rife, wars and indiscriminate bombings are commonplace and UK politics is at best inept and the USA is trillions of dollars in debt and dancing with the idea of electing an idiotic republican candidate far more stupid than even Dubya was. So where are all the protests from the music world?

Aside from the fact that a legitimate protest song would probably not get played on mainstream radio and would need to ‘go viral’ on-line, where the hell are they? Where are this generation’s Woody Guthries, Pete Seegers, Bob Dylans and Billy Braggs? OK I know there have been a few good attempts since the Specials summed up Britain in song in 1981 with “Ghost Town”. Notably “Killing In The Name Of” from Rage Against The Machine and perhaps “American Idiot” from Green Day. But what happened to the establishment/ ‘the man’ being scared of rock music? It’s all become too corporate and bland.

U2 and Coldplay have tried to use their muscle to protest against various wrongs in the world, but frankly are their hearts really in it? Radiohead have supported the free Tibet campaign amongst others, but could they do more? Dylan is getting too old, Bragg doesn’t have the fanbase size required (but is still flying the flag), Springsteen and Weller have been quiet of late on the protest front and Marvin Gaye, Marley, Lennon and Strummer are sadly no longer with us.

The environment must be right for a new movement to shake up the old order just like punk did in the 70s and rave and grunge did in the 80s and 90s. The charts are stuffed full of manipulated, impresario created pop muppets; Little Mix, Matt Cardle, Olly Murs etc. It is time to stand up and be counted good people of the blogosphere. We need some strong protest songs to unite all those fighting for freedom and change. Let’s shake up that complacent bunch of career politicians in Westminster and political ivory towers across the world. Frank Turner, Show Of Hands, Neil Young you can do this we need you now! Will somebody please step forward?

In the meantime here are some classic protest songs. I would love to hear your opinions of protest songs and singers;

 

 
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