I have just been sent a stream for the new Vuromantics EP ‘In The Night’. I must say this is a really refreshing listen. The title track is the Average White Band married to some slow Italian House piano. “Questions” is incredibly soulful and strikes me at times as maybe how a British offshoot of Parliament/ Funkadelic might sound. Vuromantics have a wonderfully quirky and different sound that I defy you not to like. This band oozes talent, “The Wave” washes over you like a soft warm sea and would fit perfectly in a classic chill out compilation. After three listens “Not Over You” is probably my favourite, at least for now, classic break-up pop. Over the course of these five tracks it is clear that they are steeped in the electronic and pop traditions and history of their home city of Sheffield. If you like the Human League, Heaven 17, ABC and Pulp then you should find a tonic for your ears in the smooth and heartfelt sound of Vuromantics. The vocal refrain from final track, the truly majestic “Glory” is ‘I wish nothing but glory for you’ and frankly I wish nothing but glory for Vuromantics. Remember the names Sam Christie (vocals), Jake Christie (guitar, keyboard), Callum Hall (bass,synth), Ben Rooker (synth) and Sergio Ali (drums) because they are Vuromantics and I will be surprised and shocked if we don’t hear a lot more from them.
The EP is out on Alya Records on 20th October. Buy it, download it, stream it, just bloody well get it! They also have six UK dates coming up so check them out live. I definitely want to see them on stage. I hope to be at the Leeds show on November 2nd.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Only thirteen more big sleeps before Satan comes down your chimney. Whoops did I say Satan? Obviously I meant Santa. They both have the same letters in their name after all don’t they. Anyway it’s 12th December and therefore Day 12 of this years advent calendar blog posts. If you haven’t been reading them yet let me tell you that this years subject is the ABC of British bands and today it’s the turn of the letter ‘L’. That letter will be represented by super synth-poppers Ladytron.
Helen Marnie, Mira Aroyo, Reuben Woo and Daniel Hunt formed the band in Liverpool in 1999. Their name comes from the Roxy Music song entitled “Ladytron”. I bet you didn’t guess that did you? As well as releasing their own music they have also been arch-remixers. They have remixed tracks for many artists including Blondie, Nine Inch Nails and Christina Aguilera. As a band they have released five albums between 2001 and 2011. The first time that I saw the band was at the Reading Festival in 2001 and I recall that they were bloody good. The band also had a track on the soundtrack of the computer game ‘FIFA 11‘. It is called “Ace Of Hz”. They have also provided four songs for the Sims game soundtracks.
Four of their five albums reached the top ten of the US Dance chart. Sadly their highest charting UK single was “Destroy Everything You Touch” which reached number 42 in 2005 and was taken from their third album ‘Witching Hour’. In 2001 they recorded a rather good cover of the Human League‘s “Open Your Heart”. Now I urge you to open your heart (and your ears) and listen to some classy tracks from Ladytron.
Well aren’t those December days just rushing past, this is the sixth day of my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar and therefore it must be (a bit of an easy one this) December 6th. So go ahead put your fingernail in the frame of the little cardboard door and pull it open carefully. Todays song takes us back to Christmas 1981. It’s those good Sheffield folk, the Human League with a little ditty called “Don’t You Want Me”. It was number one for five weeks in total and became the 30th different UK Christmas number one.
The hair and make-up artist left the country after this job
It was the band’s only UK number one and also reached the top in the US charts as well. They went on to have a further number one in the US with the excellent “Human” in 1986. “Don’t You Want Me” has become a bit af a party staple, I certainly play it at pretty much every mobile DJ gig I ever do. Yet another 80s song that I like, what’s up with me? The 80s was generally crap, wasn’t it?
In the early days Phil could only afford half a haircut
The band released their first single, “Being Boiled” in June 1978. The NME review was quite positive, although guest reviewer John Lydon dismissed the band as trendy hippies. Apparently David Bowie saw them play live at the end of 1978 and allegedly claimed that he had ‘seen the future of Pop Music’. They were even name checked in the Undertones song “My Perfect Cousin” with the line; ‘His mother bought him a synthesiser/Got the Human League in to advise her/Now he’s making lots of noise/Playing along with the art school boys’ An obvious dig at arty music too.
Nowadays Phil (like me) doesn't have any hair to cut
The band originally included Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh who both left in 1980 following a big bust up with Phil Oakey. They went on to form Heaven 17 and thanks to the Human League’s Virgin contract Marsh and Ware also received 1% of royalties from the next League album, which was ‘Dare’ home of “Don’t You Want Me”
The song has been covered a few times, including versions by Alcazar, Mandy Smith and the Farm. Click on the artist names to see and hear those versions.
Enjoy the original Human league video for the song below.
And finally here they are performing the song on Top Of The Pops
Having received the regular newsletter from Man Is Slapped recently I found that for the first time in ages I was able to attend one of his gigs. This would be the second time I have seen him at the York City Screen Basement, but more of him later. When I arrived I was greeted by the wonderful sound of Tom Waits playing over the house PA, including the fabulous “Hoist That Rag”. That just made me feel that this was set to be a good night and for once my instincts weren’t wrong, it was a great night.
First up were Detronik. Imagine a large serving of 80s Sheffield electro a la Human League and a couple of spoonfuls of the Stone Roses and Madchester at it’s 90s peak. Are you there? Well that’s how these guys made me feel. They were bloody good and if they were around in the 80s they would have cleaned up completely. I really loved their set, especially closing number “Death To The Disco”. Check out the band on MySpace and the original lineup on YouTube.
Man Is Slapped
Man Is Slapped was the second of three acts and this will be the third time I have seen him play. If you put down what he does on paper (or perhaps in a blog post) you would surely think that this shouldn’t work. But it does work and it works so very well. He played a few new songs from his new EP; Socially Inept which as a fan I obviously purchased. He also di his usual thing of sampling his own sound and vocals in order to provide backing for his songs. Is there anyone else about that can actually do this? Even if there are I doubt that they would be better than Mr Slapped. he even expanded his sound on a couple of songs by using a guitar. Perhaps the next EP will be ‘Man Is Slapped Goes Punk’? He also played a brief electro interlude advertising his web presence and CD for sale. He should be much, much bigger, make it so dear readers! Check him out on MySpace here and also on YouTube here.
Wolf Gang - but this is clearly not a lion and it's clearly not in a cage!
Finally it was the turn of the headliners, I must confess that until tonight I had never heard them and whilst Detronik and Man Is Slapped were excellent I think Wolf Gang surpassed them. They were truly stupendous and excellent band, especially the drummer. The vocalist was also very, very good. The blurb on the gig poster suggests that they go some way to mashing together Talking Heads and Empire Of The Sun. I wouldn’t disagree with this but I would also add that there was an element of early Simple Minds in there too, back in the days when Jim Kerr‘s boys were actually good. I would certainly pay to see this band again and if they’re playing near you it would be foolish and negligent of you to miss them. The next couple of weeks will see them play Glasgow, Sheffield, Brighton, Birmingham, Southampton, London, Bristol and Manchester. I hope they play at the Reading Festival next year. They finished their set with their new single “Lions In Cages” which is released on 22nd November, buy it and make them a happy band. Then they will then be just like me for I went home a happy man! Check them out on MySpace by clicking here and their own website by clicking here and then enjoy a couple more Wolf Gang videos below;
Squeezing into that little box was easy, but Gordo, Dave and Nicky realised it was going to be bloody difficult to get out!
As I have said many times before this is ostensibly a music blog and therefore pretty much everything I write about gets taken in that direction. This post is no exception. Thursday 6th May sees another General Election in the UK, the 8th one that I have been eligible to vote at, having reached official voting age before the 1979 election.
If only it were true 🙂
I have never failed to cast my vote and I urge you to do the same. It is the apathetic voters that allow the extremists into power, we cannot let that happen with evil and deluded parties like the BNP. But this week those of us in the UK should also vote for change. I know that voting for change is somewhat of a cliché, however I believe that our first past the post system has now had its day. A system that would allow the party with fewer votes to win more seats in parliament is not right, is it?
Most of the fake posters for this election have been better than the real ones don't you think?
In many ways I don’t care who you vote for, but I do care that people actually get off their arse and use theirs. So don’t let the country down, let’s mobilise for a massive turnout!
While you consider who you vote for here are some alleged trivial facts about the leaders of the three main parties; Nick Clegg once set fire to a very rare cactus. Gordon Brown apparently eats nine bananas a day and David Cameron is a direct descendent of King William IV
As I said at the start this is not a vehicle to voice my political opinions, (well perhaps apart from my dislike of the BNP) it’s a music blog. So here are twenty political type songs for you to enjoy while watching the remaining election coverage this week. Enjoy! You can follow the election on the BBC or the Guardian(I will be). Oh and there is also a hidden track somewhere in this post, have you found it? The usual crap prize, subject to postage awaits the first person to tell me what it is and where it is!
Ball Of Confusion – Temptations. This song reminds me so much of my youth and for me is one of the greatest songs Norman Whitfield produced for the Temptations. There was also a pretty good cover produced for Tina Turner by Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware off of the British Electric Foundation (BEF), also off of Heaven 17 and also once off of the Human League! Click here to listen to Tina’s version.
Elected – Alice Cooper. Probably one of my favourite Alice Cooper songs. Did you know he actually ran for the US Presidency in 1972? With a hook line of “They’re changing guards at President Palace, out goes Nixon and in comes Alice” Why I remember that line I don’t know, but it has been stuck in my head now for nearly 40 years! There was a cover of this song a few years ago in aid of Comic Relief which I believe was credited to Mr Bean and Bruce Dickinson off of Iron Maiden. Click here for that one!
Electioneering – Radiohead. Taken from the classic ‘OK Computer’ album and seen by many as one of the greatest political songs. It also takes a nice dig at the IMF too
Election Day – Arcadia. The Duran Duran offshoot that wasn’t the Power Station, well that’s my view. I would always prefer a band with Robert Palmer as vocalist rather than Simon Le Bon. Which one did you prefer?
The Politics Of Dancing – Re-Flex. In this list purely for the title! You know how low my opinion of most 80s stuff is! ‘Nuff said!
You Haven’t Done Nothing – Stevie Wonder. Now this is a superb song and so true of today’s politicians. If you listen carefully you can hear Stevie bringing the backing vocalists in when he says “Jackson Five come sing along” Yes, it was the Jackson clan providing the ‘doo do wops’ on this song
Abraham, Martin And John – Marvin Gaye. Motown really started to get politics in the late 60’s and early 70’s didn’t it, this was in advance of Marvin’s classic ‘What’s Going On’ album, more of which later. I believe that Dion off of Dion and the Belmonts also had a hit with this
Stand Down Margaret – The Beat. In the event her own party stood her down. Whilst I was really pleased that it happened it was pretty disloyal wasn’t it?
A Design For Life – Manic Street Preachers. For me the opening line says everything about when the working class really moved forward. “Libraries gave us power”
Police And Thieves – Clash. I will never tire of hearing this excellent cover of Junior Murvin’s brilliant song, oh and did I tell you that I consider the Clash to be the best band there has ever been? I did? I thought so
So Much Trouble In The World – Bob Marley And The Wailers. No political song list would be complete without Mr Marley in my opinion and there are so many good ones to choose from.
The President Wore Pearls – Lisa Simpson. What can I say about this? Lisa is trying to get elected but doesn’t think she will be cool enough
Anarchy For The UK – Sex Pistols. Well we may not have anarchy by Friday but we will probably have a hung parliament as opposed to some parliamentarians who should be hung. Duck islands and moats indeed!
Rocking In The Free World – Neil Young and Pearl Jam. Great combination which gives Mr Young extra added rock power, also a bloody good song too
Vote Baby Vote – Lady Kier off of Deee Lite. This was put together for an MTV special ‘Rock The Vote’ show, so it’s perhaps more a jingle than a song, but the message is very clear
I Wanna Grow Up To Be A Politician – Roger McGuinn off of the Byrds. I wonder if this is when politics became a career? I don’t know about you but the term career politician seems to be an oxymoron, with the emphasis on the moron bit for many of them!
Wake Up The Nation – Paul Weller. Is there no stopping this bloke? His last album ’22 Dreams’ was fantastic and the new one ‘Wake Up the Nation’ is even better in my opinion. Nice to hear him getting a tad angry too. How weird is it that Old Etonian David Cameron claims ‘Eton Rifles’ by the Jam as one of his favourite songs? Surely he can’t have listened to the lyrics can he?
Ghost Town – Specials. Reached number one at the height of Thatcher’s early years and amidst all the inner city rioting across the UK. It really summed up the nation at the time I think. It was the night the band performed this on Top Of The Pops that Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Neville Staple told Jerry Dammers that they were leaving the band to form the Fun Boy Three. Whose first hit was, and still is, appropriate for politicians; “The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum”
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye. Taken from one of my favourite albums of all time and the lyrics and message are still sadly relevant today, nearly 40 years after it’s release
Arrogance, Ignorance And Greed – Show Of Hands. One of Catwoman’s favourite bands and she has got me into them too. The message on this one fits pretty well all modern politicians and perhaps bankers too. Most of them are arrogant, ignorant greedy bastards aren’t they?
I thought I’d better post and tell you of the somewhat bizarre experience I had on my journey to work this morning. But I should warn you that it registers very high on the Boreometer (according to Catwoman anyway!) I was travelling to Sheffield for an all day meeting (how dull is that?). But the all day meeting wasn’t the bizarre part, that happened when I arrived at Sheffield Railway Station. I headed towards the taxi rank and saw a crowd of people outside. Obviously curiosity got the better of me (but that comes from living with Catwoman) and I had to investigate.
When I saw what all the fuss was about I was quite excited, but many of you would have wanted to hide behind the sofa at this point. I could hardly believe my eyes, there were three Daleks on the station concourse. Apparently they were on their way back to Skaro when they were obviously grounded by the volcanic ash cloud, but one of them did say that they were expecting to be picked up by the Royal Navy at any time soon. Sadly the Doctor was nowhere to be seen. But you can see the story on the BBC site by clicking here
How do the Daleks know who's who? Well obviously they have names; Meet Derek, Dennis, Deano and Dave
In reality they were there to promote a new Dr Who game that will be available free from the BBC in June. I tried to get an autograph, but let’s face it how would a Dalek hold the pen. I did come away with a poster, a postcard and a pen though. You can see more of the New Daleks on the BBC site, just click here. I also had a behind the curtain Wizard of Oz type experience when I saw the man who provides the Dalek voice, Nick Briggs, standing behind a curtain speaking on their behalf. So I guess they’re not real after all, or maybe I’m just back in Kansas!
So as I have said before this is a music blog so I’ll finish with a few related songs;
“Doctor Who Theme” – Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The original theme from the 60s and the best in my opinion. Also includes some great Tardis sound effects.
“Doctorin’ The Tardis” – The Timelords. This was in fact the KLF also known as the Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu also known as Bill Drummond and Jim Cauty. They recorded this song based on their book ‘The Manual’ which was basically a set of instructions to make a number one record. Guess what? This did indeed reach the top of the charts in the UK
“Tom Baker” – Human League. This is a B Side from relatively early in their career
And to finish let’s pay a visit to the Gay Daleks!
And those regular readers may have noticed that this blog now contains embedded videos, yep I upgraded 🙂
I thought I would share with you a little project I undertook on Facebook during December. I called it my Advent Calendar of Uncovered Cover Versions. It is repeated here exactly as it appeared daily on my Facebook pages. I hope that my regular Blog readers enjoy it and that you all enjoy a wonderful Christmas and a brilliant 2010
OK so the advent calendar is all about uncovering something good each day leading to Christmas right? So Ithought I would try to do something slightly related and try and post a cover version each day until Christmas. Starting today 1st December with Patti Smith’s version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
December 2nd of my advent uncovered cover versions project (did you like yesterdays?) Todays is Florence and the Machine with an excellent cover of the Source featuring Candi Staton’s “You Got The Love“…….. enjoy!
and so on to Day 3 of my under the cover versions advent project. The top tune for today is a cover of Britney Spears’ ‘Oops I Did It Again’ by the rather talented Richard Thompson. What do you think of it?
Day 4 (December 4th) of the Advent Calender uncovered cover versions project (or obsession) of mine 🙂 Under the little cardboard flap today you won’t find some cheap and bland chocolate. Instead you will find Jimi Hendrix playing what in my opinion is the greatest cover version of all time. It’s Jimi’s version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” recorded at the Isle Of Wight Festival in 1970 … enjoy!
It’s December 5th and here is Day 5 in my advent uncovered cover versions project. This one is a real doozy! It’s Richard Cheese covering the rather spiffing Blink182 song “What’s My Age Again?” I love this one, what do you think?
December 6th and day 6 of my Advent oncovered cover versions project. Today it’s the turn of Suzi Quatro with an Elvis classic “All Shook Up” . I chose this one because it is even in the news today. Check the story here
It’s December 7th and therefore Day 7 of my Advent uncovered cover versions. Today’s is a bit obvious, but nonetheless a great cover. It’s Jacko’s ‘Smooth Criminal’ as done by the fantastically named Alien Ant Farm
It’s December 8th and therfore Day 8 of my Advent Calendar Uncovered Covers project. Today’s was an easy choice really. On the 29th anniversary of his death this is John Lennon with a great cover of Ben E King’s “Stand By Me” I love this song
Hello again peeps, it’s the 9th December which brings us to song number 9 in my Advent Calendar uncovered cover versions. Todays is a bit of an indulgent one in that it is a cover of the excellent Pendulum’s “Blood Sugar” by my son Luke’s band Steal The Smile. Enjoy!
Hello folks. December 10th and obviously day 10 of my Advent uncovered cover versions project. Todays is one of my favourite songs as covered by my favourite band ever! It’s the Clash with Junior Murvin’s “Police And Thieves”
It’s Friday December 11th and therefore it’s Day 11 in the Advent uncovered cover versions project. Today it’s the turn of Me First And The Gimmee Gimmees (and let’s face it no covers project would be complete without them). This is their version of the Olivia Newton John hit written by John Denver “Take Me Home Country Roads” By the way this is NOT a country version!
December 12th and halfway through Advent calendar time, so onto Day 12 of my Advent uncovered cover versions project. Today’s is a must have as far as cover versions go. It’s Nouvelle Vague with an excellent cover of the Joy Division classic “Love Will Tear Us Apart“. Enjoy
December 13th and the thirteenth cover version of my Advent Uncovered Covers Project. Today’s is one of my most favourite cover versions ever. It’s the late, great Jeff Buckley with a live version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (You may know it as the one that was somewhat massacred by Alexandra Burke last Christmas courtesy of Mr Cowell! This version really is the dog’s testicles though, what do you think?
December 14th and strangely enough Day 14 of my uncovered cover versions project. Today’s is sung by someone who in my opinion the greatest female singer ever (very sexy too). Yes it’s Kate Bush with her version of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”
Day 15 in my Advent Calendar of uncovered cover versions. Todays is perhaps one of the strangest. It is the Deep Purple Classic “Smoke On Water” a true guitar shop classic as played by Senor Coconut and his Orchestra. Go on give it a listen, you know you want to 🙂
Day 16 of the Advent uncovered cover versions project and today is a song that many people often don’t realise is a cover. It’s the Beatles with their excellent version of the Isley Brothers song “Twist And Shout“. Listen to this and you’ll see just how weak Olly Murs version from the X Factor was!
It’s already Day 17 in my Advent Calendar Uncovered Cover Versions project. Today’s song is performed by the Section Quartet and it’s a great instrumental orchestral cover of the brilliant Muse song “Time Is Running Out”
Day 18 of my Advent uncovered cover versions project and I thought it was about time for a Christmas song. This is a cover of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” for a whole myriad of charities and it features some brilliant bands and artists (well in my opinion) Fucked Up, Tegan & Sarah, Bob Mould, the wonderful Yo La Tengo and many, many more 🙂
Day 19 of my Advent uncovered cover versions and thanks to the inclement weather I nearly missed this one (but more of that story another day!). Todays song may surprise some of you. It’s Marvin Gaye with “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” which was in fact a cover of the original hit by Gladys Knight. Personally I prefer Marvin’s version!
It’s now Day 20 of my Advent Uncovered Cover Versions project. This one is especially for the boys at Chris’ 50th last night (so that’ll be me, Glen, Neil, Phil and obviously Chris! Apologies from Bryan and Keith sadly!) The song goes back to the mid 70’s and was originally done by the Glitter Band. It’s “Let’s Get Together Again as recorded and mixed by the Human League. If you’d like to hear the original here it is
And on to Day 21 (that’ll be 21st December then!) in my Advent uncovered cover versions project. Today’s song is the Oasis classic “Wonderwall” as sung by the brilliant Ryan Adams (not Bryan ok!!) Apparently Noel Gallagher thinks that Ryan’s arrangement is even better than his own. For the hell of it here is the link to the Mike Flowers Pops version too!
Day 22 of my Advent Uncovered Cover Versions Project and there will be more Christmas songs included but not today. The selection for December 22nd is the Foo Fighters with a cover of the rather good Wings song “Band On The Run”
Day 23 of my Advent Calendar Uncovered Cover Versions Project, that means just one more day after this! So I decided to make today and tomorrow Christmas songs as the big Chrimbo thingy is upon us. Obviously I was always going to use this one. It’s “Peace On Earth/ Little Drummer Boy” from Bing Crosby and David Bowie
It’s Christmas Eve and here it is, the final song in my Advent Calendar Uncovered Cover Versions Project (until next year anyway!) It is a song that originally featured on the Phil Spector Christmas Album from 1963 (Incidentally that album was released the day JFK was killed!) It is “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” originally by Darlene Love and played here by U2. The original song is my favourite Christmas song by a long way. Happy Christmas everyone and I hope that Santa brings you what you wish for Joriginally by Darlene Love and played here by U2. The original song is my favourite Christmas song by a long way. Happy Christmas everyone and I hope Santa brings you what you wish for 🙂
OK I know it’s been a long while since I’ve posted, but I finally made it back and I have a lot to tell you, in particular about Friday night. I had the pleasure of attending a charity gig at the Junction in York. A mighty array of excellent acts had been assembled by Simon Pattinson to aid two local charities; York Guardian Angels and the York Hospital Radio. Like me Simon is a volunteer at York Hospital Radio as is Tom Wycks (more of him later) who designed the flier. £5 for five acts is a bargain anywhere, but here with such a superb selection it was a stupendous bargain. But enough of that, you’re probably dying to find out who was on the bill aren’t you?
The flyer from Fridays gig
First up was ‘A Man Is Slapped’. How can I describe him? Well what if the Human League were a hip hop band? That might go someway to describing this somewhat genre defying chap. I have posted a Man Is Slapped review before. I was impressed then and I was even more impressed on Friday. He does a fantastic song live where he overlays all the backing parts and then sings over that overlaid loop. He also does some great beat boxing too. If you get a chance to see him, take it!. Also if you have the misfortune to find yourself in York Hospital in the coming weeks you may get to hear him on the Hospital Radio Station. Tom Wycks (see I said there would be more of him later) has arranged to record a Man Is Slapped interview. Tom’s show usually goes out at 8pm on Wednesdays and I must say it is very good.
Second up was ‘Electrify Me’ now let me use another ‘what if’ to describe him. What if Brian Eno had been born no more than twenty years ago? This young guy is an electronic multi-instrumentalist. Well I say instrumentalist but he seemed to be making music with sounds synthesised from old electronic equipment. Including a Game Boy, well at least I think it was a Game Boy, for all I know it might have been a a Star Trek Phaser or just a simple hole punch. He did a storming cover of “Tainted Love” which was made famous by Soft Cell in the 80s but written and recorded by Gloria Jones and was a big Northern Soul hit in the 70s. Anyway back to Electrify Me, this guy is a must for student parties and festival dance tents. You cannot help but move your feet to this guy’s unique sound and he even made the Nokia tune sound cool!
Third up was a band who joined the bill too late to appear on the flier. They’re called ‘Front Room Antics’ I’ve enjoyed the ‘what ifs’ so far so here’s another. What if Orange Juice (the band not the drink) hadn’t been invented until now and were infused more with blues than soul? yep that could be these guys. Good sound and they know how to jam, which they did especially well during the broken string incident (hey that would make a great band name!). An excellent vocalist that drank red wine too, now that hasn’t been seen since the days of Rod and the Faces, although Rod and the boys were so ill mannered they necked it straight from the bottle. I detected some influences in the ‘Front Room Antics’ sound notably Franz Ferdinand, Kings Of Leon and Television. This band might not be the fastest stringers in the west but they are a great band with excellent potential nonetheless!
‘Euphoria Audio’ were next and yes there is another ‘what if’ (although I don’t think it’s a good one) What if the Lost Prophets weren’t Welsh? That would only go a very, very small way to describing this band. When they started I thought Kasabian only a more dynamic and so much better, then I thought Lost Prophets (as you might have guessed). In fact whilst there are some influences here this is a very original and very superb band. Very tight instrumentally and with a fantastic rock vocalist. This band would work well at festivals and have the potential to perhaps fill stadiums one day. They also have a song in an Internet song contest; 1click2fame, so click here to vote for them.
Finally there was the headline act ‘3 Foot Ninja’. What can I say? How about another ‘what if’? What if punk and power pop were in fact conjoined twins? That barely does them justice but goes someway to describing their rich, eclectic and truly marvellous sound. They have real energy, very loud but also very skilled musically. I had heard of them but never actually heard them until this gig and boy am I glad I saw them. I will definitely go and see them again. They included two incredible cover versions in their set. Firstly Dizzee Rascal’s “Dance Wiv Me” and they finished with an awesome (and regular readers will know that I use that word very sparingly) cover of the Prodigy’s “Breathe”. My advice is gather up all of your X Factor shite and burn it, then replace it with whatever you can get by 3 Foot Ninja!
Let me finish by saying a big thank you to Simon P for making this all possible and for helping to raise money for two excellent causes; Guardian Angels and York Hospital Radio. I can confirm that £170 was raised.
Those Ides are getting a little bit closer, today’s the 13th March, just continue to beware ok. Especially as today is Friday 13th, are there any triskaidecophobics reading this?
Don’t forget to do something funny for Comic Relief today as well and if you can’t do anything funny just donate some money at www.comicrelief.com
Wear your red nose with pride today!
Yet more close encounters of the trivia kind for you today, in the form of two birthdays and three ‘onthisdays’ So if everything is ready on the dark side of the blog, play the five tones!
Kicking off the birthdays is Neil Sedaka, who is certainly way, way beyond “happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen” Neil is 70 years young today. At High School one of Neil’s friends and indeed the pair were romantically involved was Carole Klein. She later became Carole King and was also the subject of Neil’s song “Oh Carol”. She even recorded a riposte to that song which was imaginatively titled “Oh Neil”. Eventually Neil was given a opportunity to work at the famous New York song writing factory the Brill Building. This was along with his friend and co writer Howard Greenfield. Their first big hit was Connie Francis’ “Stupid Cupid” (UK 1 US 14). Here’s one you may or may not know, Sedaka and Greenfield wrote “Is This The Way To Amarillo”. There so now you know who to blame, it wasn’t all Tony Christie’s fault! One of my favourite Sedaka songs is “Bad Blood” on which he duets with Elton John, that song was a US number one in 1975. However there seems to be a distinct lack of that one on YouTube, so instead hear is Neil with the equally excellent, but much older, “I Go Ape”
Neil was unaware that he was about to be hit over the head with a jukebox
Tony Lundon is 30 today, he was a member of reality TV pop poppets Liberty X who had a UK number one with “Just A Little” in 2002. remember them? They were the runners up to Hear’say in the 2001 show Popstars. Actually it’s easier to remember Liberty X really isn’t it? My favourite Liberty X song is “Being Nobody” (perhaps they dedicated this to Hear’say) which was a mash up of Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody” and the Human League’s “Being Boiled”. It was produced by the mysteriously named Richard X and was actually credited to ‘Richard X vs Liberty X. Mr X also produced the rather good Sugababes single “Freak Like Me'” which was also a mash up of Adina Howard’s “Freak Like Me” and Gary Numan’s Tubeway Army’s “Are Friends Electric?”. Liberty X split up in 2007 but did reform for a one off gig at Belfast’s Gay Pride celebrations in 2008. Here they are in the video for “Being Nobody”
The band had been able to hide their short stature for months but having to stand on chairs on stage was a bit of a giveaway
On this day in 1975 Tammy Wynette apparently didn’t ‘Stand By Her Man’ and opted to D.I.V.O.R.C.E husband George Jones instead. She had married him in 1969. Actually Tammy’s real name is Virginia Wynette Pugh, what’s that all about then? George and Tammy became Country’s ‘First Couple’ and recorded a number of albums together, including some after their divorce. Tammy was often referred to as the ‘First Lady Of Country’ and had more Country number ones than almost all her female competition at the time. In 1963 she went to Beauty School and qualified as a Beautician. This was a qualification she renewed every day for the rest of her life, just in case she needed to go back to a proper day job. Tammy died aged just 55 in 1998. It’s probably one of the most bizarre collaborations ever, but my favourite Tammy song is “Justified And Ancient” which she recorded with the excellent KLF in 1991. OK fact fans what does KLF stand for? It’s Kopyright Liberation Front. Here is the mighty Tammy with “Justified And Ancient” supported by the KLF and on her own with the classic “Stand By Your Man” taken from the 1975 Christmas edition of the BBC’s Top Of The Pops.
Tammy prepares for her cover version of "I Believe I Can Fly"
And a special bonus here is the jolly excellent cover of the Tammy Wynette/ KLF single of “Justified And Ancient”
The KLF - did you know they drive an Ice Cream Van?
In a classic piece of computerised cock up on this day in 1993 the Radio 1 UK Chart show was in complete chaos after Gallup who compiled the chart at the time got a staggering 20 of the 40 positions wrong.
And finally this day in 1998 saw us mourning the death of the late great (yay the l’s & g’s are still around) Alexander Minto Hughes, a former debt collector, nightclub bouncer and DJ known by millions as Judge Dread. He died after collapsing on stage during a performance in Canterbury. He had ten top ten UK singles in the 70s. Most of his songs were never played on the radio owing to their rude rhymes, perhaps that’s just why the teenage me loved them so much. In fact he holds the record for having more songs banned from radio in the UK than anyone else. I do recall that every Christmas my Mum asked me to name one single and one LP for her to buy me for Christmas. I took great delight one year in getting her to buy me Judge Dread’s “Big Seven”. You see my Mum has never been a fan of rude jokes and double entendres, so the thought of her buying this was just hilarious to me. I think she has forgiven me now though. Here comes the Judge with a selection of songs, just click on the title to hear/ watch them; “Big Six“, “Big Seven“, “Big Eight” and finally his nicely smutty version of the classic “Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus”
The Judge seemed to have no problem hiding his Big Eight, perhaps he was cold, or was it really only a Not So Big Three?