With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Enter Shikari – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC – Friday 2nd February 2018 February 4, 2018


After this blog’s first taste of a gig outside the UK  late last year I felt that it might be time for another. So while I found myself in New York for a business trip I thought I would lighten the tedium of work and get myself over to Brooklyn to see one of my favourite bands, the magnificent Enter Shikari. The Music Hall of Williamsburg is a 550 capacity venue so this was probably the smallest crowd I have seen Enter Shikari play to. I think this is probably the eighth or ninth time that I have seen them since catching them at Download in 2006 (at least I think it was then!). They are a band that seem to have bags of energy and I was really excited to see this displayed on a smaller stage to a smaller crowd. But before I tell you about Enter Shikari let me tell you about the two rather fabulous support bands.

First up were Milk Teeth all the way from Stroud in Gloucestershire in the UK. If you like your rock punky, grungey and hard-hitting then look no further than this tight and talented four piece. Becky Blomfield has the potential to become one of the finest female vocalists of her generation and Oli Holbrook is an outstanding drummer. The layered guitar attack of axemen Chris Webb and Billy Hutton underpins British punk at its finest. Then of course there are the songs, any band that can mention cats and swear jars in their lyrics gets an extra vote from me.

The second support act were the Single Mothers from Ontario in Canada. If you like the Talking Heads, Jonathan Richman, the Stranglers and the Pixies then you will definitely find something to love in this band. They began a mosh circle mania and a spate of crowd surfing that became even more manic once Enter Shikari took the stage. Singer Andrew Thomson never stops moving and is highly skilled at interacting with the crowd. Thomson formed the band in 2008 and then left for a few years in 2011 to go and prospect for gold in a Ontario town called Swastika, who knew?

 

The stage lights are dimmed and for five minutes or so we are treated to ‘The Spark’ from the current album of the same name. This is skillfully interspersed with sound samples from what sounds like a British World War two film, this all drives the anticipation upwards and the excitement of the audience was so palpable you could almost touch it. After that it was the full on Enter Shikari juggernaut hitting the crowd full on, albeit with “Juggernaut” not actually getting and airing on the night. Particular highlights for me were the three songs in a row starting with “Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour…”, moving on to “Take My Country Back” followed by “The Last Garrison”. Then later “Anaesthetist” totally blew the crowd away. By this time there was a virtual sea of kids crowd surfing to the stage to stand by Rou and the boys before diving back into the audience. Rou left the stage twice to serenade the crowd, once from the raised balcony at the side of the stage and later from the upper balcony facing the stage. The encore was stunning, with a particularly stunning version of “Live Outside”. The night ended with a short solo rendition from Rou of the Beatles “All You Need is Love”. I left the venue with a smile on my face as I always doing after seeing Enter Shikari, who I believe are one of the greatest British bands around at the moment.

Public service announcement; the pictures of Milk Teeth and Single Mothers were taken with my phone. Pictures of Enter Shikari are sourced via Google and all videos were found on YouTube.

 

Reading Festival 2014 – 22nd to 24th August August 25, 2014


Usually you get three review posts from me for each day of the festival. But this year I am taking the lazy route. I will just be doing a single review of the whole shebang. Also it will be somewhat different from usual, this is born out of necessity as I just immersed myself in the music and the vibe and didn’t really bother to take notes. What follows is a departure from the norm for me and a bit of fun too. There is a list of the acts I saw and next to each there will be marks out of ten and one word to reflect my memory of that set. Some of these words may be obvious and others will be cryptic, if you want to know more about them please feel free to ask in the comments.

 

Day 1 – Friday 22nd August
Crossfaith 7/10 pretty
Red Fang 7/10 dervish
Rufus 8/10 nuts
Shambles In A Husk 6/10 shouty
Phil Nichol (comedian) 9/10 Eskimo
Deaf Havana 6/10 hair
Fat White Family 7/10 hype
Jimmy Eat World 8/10 veterans
Enter Shikari 9/10 banging
Vampire Weekend 9/10 headliners?
Jamie T 9/10 surprise
Bipolar Sunshine 7/10 happy
Metronomy 9/10 synchronised
Queens Of The Stone Age 9/10 party

 

Day 2 Saturday 23rd August

Jeff Leach (Comedian) 8/10 Ben

Marmozets 9/10 Heavy

Royal Blood 9/10 Bass

Peace 8/10 Magnificent

Hives 9/10 Entertainer

Foster The People 8/10 Kicks

Imagine Dragons 10/10 Thanks

Jake Bugg 9/10 Cool

Arctic Monkeys 10/10 Rocking

 

Day 3 Sunday 24th August

Glenn Wool (Comedian) 7/10 Canuck

Romesh Ranganathan (Comedian) 9/10 Brown

Billie Marten 8/10 Joni

Young Guns 9/10 Tunes

Papa Roach 8/10 Coby

Clean Bandit 7/10 Disco

Breach 7/10 Rave

Maverick Sabre 8/10 Soul

Schoolboy Q 3/10 Unauthentic

Kooks 10/10 Funky

Horrors 9/10 Pyramid

The 1975 10/10 Sophie

Disclosure 8/10 Fractals

 

To sign off I have a message for the festival organisers. It’s great that you switched the screens on the Main Stage to portrait view from their original landscape setting. However you need to fix the tech so that we can actually see interesting stuff on them. There were far too many shots of a singers ear, a guitarists arse or just a drum kit with no drummer in the picture. Also please move the fun fair back out of the main arena, it really doesn’t need to be there. All that aside this was one of the most enjoyable Reading Festivals that myself and my good friend Nick Horslen have been to. We have been attending them together for around 13 years and I went to my first in 1975. I’d love to hear what you folks thought of Reading and Leeds this year. Who do you think will headline next year? How about Iron Maiden or AC/ DC? I reckon Muse will headline. I’d like to see PIL on the bill too.

 

 

Reading Festival 2014 – The Preview August 18, 2014


leeds-festival-2014

Here we are again, time for my annual pilgrimage to the Reading Festival with my good friend Nick Horslen. Collectively we are the Zimmer Twins a.k.a Bald Guy and Silver Dude. So what is on the agenda for us this year? well there are plenty of bands that we have seen many times before, particularly on the Main Stage. Friday on that stage looks very appealing, particularly Deaf Havana, Jimmy Eat World, Enter Shikari and Vampire Weekend all of whom we have seen before but entertaining none the less. There is a joint headline thing going on that day with Paramore and Queens Of The Stone Age. I’m not too sure about the joint headline thing but both are very good bands who I have seen quite a few times. Friday on the NME/ Radio 1 Stage has a couple of acts that I’d like to see. Notably Warpaint, Metronomy and Gerard Way.I really don’t want to miss Aluna George on the Radio 1 Dance Stage either. I can see some big clashes cropping up for us that afternoon! As for the Lock Up Stage I really want to see Brody Dalle. I am never going to be able to see everyone I want to on that day. Some tough choices need to be faced clearly. I haven’t even considered any of the other stages yet either! As usual I would appreciate any recommendations from you folks reading this, especially if it makes our hard choices a bit easier.

Saturday’s Main Stage line up also looks good and once again it features many acts that I have seen before; including Pulled Apart By Horses, The Hives, Foster The People, Imagine Dragons, Jake Bugg and the Arctic Monkeys. But I have to see DZ Deathrays on the Radio 1 Stage first thing on Saturday. I saw them at the Woolpack in York a couple of weeks back and they were awesome. Also on that stage on my to see list are Royal Blood, Cage The Elephant, Die Antwoord, Chvrches and Bombay Bicycle Club. Then maybe Architects on the Pit stage. Band Of Skulls and We Are Scientists on the Festival Republic Stage. I also want to pay a visit to the Alternative Stage for some comedy. Does anyone have the ability to clone me so that I can attend every stage? Please send me the details, what do you need? A DNA sample, blood, sweat, tears, a stool sample? just let me know because as you are all well aware; you’re never alone with a clone!

Sunday’s closing night on the Main stage is good, but at the moment I prefer the other days. Although missing Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Blink 182 would be disappointing. However Disclosure headline the NME/ Radio 1 Stage that night and I don’t want to miss them either. On that same stage on Sunday I also fancy Clean Bandit, the Horrors and the 1975. Blimey this doesn’t get any easier does it? Then of course there is the Klaxons on the Radio 1 Dance Stage. The Lock Up stage is headlined by the magnificent Gogol Bordello with support from the Frankly (Turner) un-missable Mongol Horde.

OK clearly I will enjoy loads of acts but I will also be disappointed at having to miss so many. I await your recommendations dear reader, along with your plans for cloning me. The Zimmer Twins will see you there!

If you squint you can just about spot the Zimmer Twins in that crowd!

If you squint you can just about spot the Zimmer Twins in that crowd!

 

 

Reading Festival 2013 – Day 2 – Saturday 24th August August 25, 2013


We’ve made it to day 2 once again and so has the rain. But it wasn’t too bad when we arrived and we have never let the weather dampen our spirits before so we won’t this weekend either. We had earlier decided to spend most of the day in the NME/ Radio 1 tent; not because of the weather though. It was what looked like a great line up that drew us in. Was it a great line up in reality? Well you’re going to have to read on to find out aren’t you.

Sadly we missed Childhood (that’s the band and not our formative years). But we arrived in plenty of time to see the very fresh and very funky Theme Park. If you owned a giant blender that blended music you would need to add Talking Heads, Haircut 100, Fine Young Canibals and a dash of x factor to create this excellent band. I mean the true x factor, not the shit peddled by ITV in the disguise of a talent show. I can feel a Theme Park download or two coming on when I get home.

Then from New York we had the very original Darwin Deez. From their boy band/ Motown formation funky dancing routine interludes to their gutsy, funky, dirty rock sound they were tremendous. The crowd, including me and my good friend Nick loved them. If you have not heard them yet then you really should check them out because deez boyz are good. (Sorry I couldn’t resist that). Deaf Havana were the next band to arrive and oh boy did they arrive with a bang. Their lead singer told us at one point that they made honest music, i.e. without backing tracks. So for today these are my first  does what it says on the tin act. They have energy, funk (we have seen a lot of that this year so far), style, great songs and a really tight band. Their album comes out next month and I for one will be downloading it. Deaf Havana; not deaf, not from Havana, but for being such a great live band they deserve the finest cigars Cuba can offer.

Were Deaf Havana referring to Modestep when they talked about honest music and not using backing tracks? Possibly not but Modestep did use a lot of preprogrammed backing and samples. But let me clear this is not a band into lip synching. They had the deepest bass sound of the festival so far. It was so deep you could feel your internal organs start to melt. They were also incredibly loud. They really used the full power of smoke and pyrotechnic flame bursts too. For me they ought to be in the Guinness Book of Records for the most mentions of Reading in their interaction with the crowd. If I had to describe their sound I would say it suggest the kind of noise you might hear if the Prodigy had a bum sex orgy with Enter Shikari while being filmed by Lemmy Kilminster. Incidentally they seem to have a fanatically loyal following and the tent was packed very tight. Especially when the circle pits broke out. They were very good, but not the sort of band I would listen to outside the confines of a festival. But they probably had the most energetic crowd of the day too. Interestingly like many bands appearing in recent years they used to come to this festival as punters.

The Palma Violets were lively and punky and were clearly up for a good time and they gave us all a great time. Similar to Modestep these guys were festival goers who in fact met here four years ago at camp site Yellow 7. Is there anyone there this year who will be on stage in a few years? If they are this good then let’s hope so. You would n,t see this bunch as a blues band but I was interested to see that one of their vocalists was sporting a B B King t-shirt. You don’t get many of those at Reading do you? I would advise you to check out the Palma Violets, you won’t be disappointed. Can I ask who is Harry Violet please?

One of the acts I had been looking forward to this year was Johnny Marr, or according to a t-shirt I saw Johnny Fucking Marr. This was does what it says on the tin moment number 2 for me today. Although Johnny has a much bigger tin to draw from than many others. His new solo stuff sounds pretty fresh and vibrant. He also played a great cover of “I Fought The Law”. But of course this crowd was by far the most middle-aged of the day and there were mass outbreaks of Morrissey-like Dad dancing throughout the set especially when Johnny played a few songs from a band he once was in. You might have heard of them, they were called the Smiths! He played a number of Smiths songs including “Stop Me If You Heard This One Before”, “Big Mouth Strikes Again”, “How Soon Is Now”, “This Charming Man” and the set closer was a really heartfelt version of the delectable “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”. This had us all singing along at the top of our lungs. On the count of three now, ‘if a double-decker bus crashes into us…….’

How had the Imagine Dragons had passed me by up to now I do not know. But I am glad I have found them now. They could be the most percussive band on the planet right now. There are elements of Arcade Fire and the Killers in their sound. They are in fact from Las Vegas just like the Killers. Their songs are powerful, catchy and memorable. I may just have to download their album as well. I would definitely pay to see these guys again as you should! What can I say about Tame Impala? They certainly seemed to channel Pink Floyd with a blend of dance music. Their psychedelic screen shows were brilliant. Their lighting almost suggests that they don’t really want to be seen. Their sound is based around extended psychedelic wig-outs wer excellent but it does make you wonder how the hell they rehearse their stuff. A fab band though.

Someone else I was looking forward to seeing, having seen him in York earlier this year was Jake Bugg. He did not disappoint he played a great selection from his first album and a couple of new songs that will probably form a part of his second. His acoustic version of “Broken” was emotional and incredible. Was there anyone who was not singing along? I doubt it. He also played a storming cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey My My”. Which magnificently made up for Neil cancelling on me last weekend. I am looking forward even more to Jake’s second album even more now. If you have never heard Jake Bugg, then where the bloody hell have you been?

Just after Jake Nick and I were joined by a woman who we believe was very much under the influence of something; more likely substance than alcohol. Her name was Amy and she decided that Nick and I were her new best mates. Her 14-year-old daughter and her niece were also at the festival but she seemed to have no idea where and no idea as to how to contact them. Nick was going to stay to watch Alt-J (and incidentally he tells me they were fantastic, really energetic and the crowd loved them) and I was going to the main stage for Eminem. Amy wasn’t going anywhere on her own and I drew the short straw as she accompanied me to see Mr Mathers. In fact she stayed with us until we left the arena; we left her at the taxi rank. Amy we hope that you got home ok. Anyway back to the music. I missed the first part of Eminem’s set as it clashed with Mr Bugg. But what I did see was fantastic. When I saw him here in 2002 I was a little disappointed and I felt that he could have been better. He was so much better this year. All the hits were there; including a great version of “Stan” with an appearance from Dido to reprise her previously sampled vocal live. The pinnacle of Marshall’s performance though was the encore and closer “Lose Yourself”. How good is that song? So we’re now two-thirds of the way through the 2013 festival and it has been superb so far. Bring on day 3.

 

Reading Festival 2013 – The Preview August 21, 2013


reading_leeds

Well it’s that time of year again; time for me to spend three days standing in a field in Berkshire with thousands of other people. There will be shouting, mud (possibly), booze and drugs (for some), food stuffs thrown (usually scotch eggs) and oodles of great music. Yes the Reading Festival is here again and as has been the tradition for a several years now I will be attending with my good friend and fellow Zimmer Twin Nick. We are two fiftysomething music fans and between us we have seen all the great bands from Led Zep to the Foos and from Bowie to Suede. To be fair we have also seen our share of crap bands too.

Anyway who am I looking forward to most this year? I think the three headliners are a good choice. I saw Green Day back in 2005 at the Milton Keynes Bowl, that was a great show. I have seen Biffy Clyro at Reading a few times and after the release of their current album ‘Opposites’ earlier this year I think that they will make excellent headliners. I am looking forward to Eminem and I think he will be superb. However back in 2001 I thought his set, which included extensive collaboration with D12 was a little subdued.

Other acts I am quite excited about seeing are; Kate Nash (who I saw in York earlier this year), will the Tuts join her on stage? Let’s hope so! Then there is the supremely talented Jake Bugg, Chvrches, Johnny Marr, Savages, Palma Violets, Fallout Boy, Spector, Haim, Villagers, Jagwar Ma, the Bronx, the 1975 and the Fuck Buttons. Sadly I’m sure that some of these acts may be on at the same time on different stages. But whatever happens I intend to be there for the return of Enter Shikari and I will definitely not be missing Christchurch’s finest son Frank Turner and Nine Inch Nails. Fingers crossed that Trent Reznor is joined by his friend David Bowie, somehow I don’t think so though.

As for the BBC Introducing Stage we also take a look at a few of the up and coming bands. Sometimes we pick who we want to see based on their names. So this year we will be looking out for We Are Knuckle Draggers, As Elephants Are and Catfish and the Bottlemen. Who are you most looking forward to this year at Reading and Leeds? Don’t forget if you should bump into us Zimmer Twins feel free to say hello. I will make sure that you get a mention in this blog!

 

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.

 

 

Reading Festival 2012 – Day 1 – Friday 24th August


After what seemed ages the Reading Festival is here again and as usual I made the annual pilgrimage with my good friend Nick Horslen. The first band that we saw on day 1 was the Cancer Bats. I would describe them as hardcore heavy screamers from Canada and they were bloody good too! Dead to Me were on the Lock Up stage and they were rather good and certainly not dead to anyone! I wasn’t sire about the jaunty angled baseball cap though. Coheed & Cambria were on the main stage I found them a bit Biffy Clyro-like but not as good! I suppose you might describe them as 21st century prog rock.

Friends sounded good but sadly we missed most of their set. Spector came next with the first mobot of the day, spookily just after I said to Nick I wonder when we’ll see one from the stage. I like these guys a lot, they have some really anthemic songs especially “Never Fade Away”. Are the Hives the ultimate festival party band? Definitely! They have it all; top hats and tails, attitude, great songs and even a ninja stage crew! We saw the Blackout next, hmmmm seems to be a Shikari influence in there. But I would send the red-haired bloke back to Wales he adds nothing to them in my opinion!

I love Scroobius Pip but I thought that the sound mix for him was terrible. Wow the BBC Introducing stage has a mosh circle and the Attention Thieves worked it well. Very hard and very heavy. Next we were at the NME tent for Passion Pit from Boston. They do what it says on the tin; but with loads more passion than you can fit in a tin and far from the pits! A truly great band. But even after that things went up a notch or two with the great Graham Coxon, what a truly awesome guitarist he is. A little less stage presence than Damon but tons more than Liam Gallagher. A brilliant set and he even has a drummer that looked like a bewigged Mel Smith. We passed by Paramore on the Main stage to see the rather spiffing Bastille who closed with a great 90s dance cover.

The BBC introduced us to the Proxies; I think they’ll be back. The Courteeners were a bit identikit indie pop. I’m sure that if you’re a big fan of them you were in ecstasy watching them. For me they were pretty good but not the most exciting band I have ever seen. Then it was off to the Main Stage to round the day off with Bob Smith’s combo, the Cure. They last appeared at the festival in 1979 and I had never seen them before so the prospects were good. Whilst they are clearly a very tight band, featuring Reeves Gabrels on guitar I think, I don’t think I’d see them again. I am glad I had the opportunity this time though. I felt that the first hour was somewhat soporific but the second part really livened up. So that was the end of the first day and the rain held off too.

 

 
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