With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Apollo Festival York 2015 – Saturday 27th June 2015 July 2, 2015


apollo-festival-2015

Sadly I missed the first Apollo Festival back in 2013 and then last year I had to leave early so I missed the headliner. However this year I was there for the day and what a bloody good day it was! With something like 50 acts across 5 stages I was never going to be able to see everyone but I did see a fair few acts. I was there with my wonderful wife Catherine ak.a. Catwoman and our great friends John and Caron who brought their daughter and our Odd Daughter (that’s another story) Amelia with them. Amelia proved beyond doubt that she is indeed a 5-year-old dancing dynamo of perpetual motion. Anyway enough of us, who did I see?

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First up it was 4 Pint Milk in the Rick Witter tent. They are from Huntington School and seemed all of 16 (apologies if you’re older than that lads!). But they rock like they’re much older. The part of their set that John and I saw was cover versions, but damned good cover versions. Jake Bugg’s “Green Man”, the Smiths’ “This Charming Man”, Stone Roses “I Am The Resurrection” and my particular favourite, “Brianstorm” originally done by the Arctic Monkeys. I hope these boys succeed, they play really well and they have an excellent dour and dry northern wit.

Back at the main stage I only caught Fat Spatula’s last song. On the evidence of that I thought they sounded pretty good and I wished I could have heard more of them. I should add that Catwoman didn’t like them at all. Next on the main stage was the winner of this years Ainsty’s Got Talent contest, Beth Bryers. She undoubtedly has a great operatic style voice which she used over a number of dancey beats including Bastille. I get the appeal to some, however for me Beth is an acquired taste that I unfortunately didn’t acquire.

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Rime Suspex though were something else, absolutely brilliant in my opinion. A relatively simple set up of a guitarist, singer and rapper. They were also accompanied by a number of samples I think. Imagine if South Africa’s Die Antwoord came from Blackburn and had better rhymes, well that is Rime Suspex in my view.My particular favourites from their set were “Money” and “Sick And Tired”. Given the lyrical content I almost certainly support their sentiments and politics. They didn’t hit the spot for my friend John, but he has never been a fan of white rappers. But I’ll work on him! Anyway I would definitely pay to see Rime Suspex again.

Our first visit to the Access Music stage brought us Matt Philpot. For me he was a pretty average singer songwriter singing 70s with a mostly laid back 70s vibe. The highlight of his set was a reggaefied arrangement of Aha’s “Take On Me” which I enjoyed. Next we saw the Rusty Pegs who are a bit alt. country and come across like a slightly more Nashville version of Fairground Attraction. I quite liked them.

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On our return to the main stage the Happy Daggers were on. I missed the first part of their set but what I did see showed me that these fellows  are funkin’ good and I want more! Rupert Stroud was on next, he and his band were very tight and well rehearsed. He is a rock influenced singer songwriter and he is bloody good. Imagine James Blunt with bigger balls, well that is Rupert Stroud.

After that it was a quick hop across to the Access Music stage for the magnificent Barcode Zebra. I saw them play at last year’s Apollo Festival and they were very good then. This year they were even better. Soul, funk, rock, jazz all in a musical blender supported by a really skilful band and an immensely powerful vocalist. I certainly hope to see more of them.

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Now it was time for the wonderful Crybabycry on the main stage. They had been caught in traffic on their way, but believe me it was worth the wait. I saw them earlier this year in a tiny venue during Live In Leeds. On their performance then and at the Apollo Festival I will stick my neck out and say that I believe that they are one of the finest bands in the UK at the moment. Along with my other favourite UK bands; Avalanche Party, Colour Me Wednesday and the Tuts. Powerful three-piece Crybabycry deserve to be on bigger stages and if you don’t like them then I suggest that you pop out and get your hearing examined. Can we have them at Reading and Leeds please?

Awesome covers band the Mothers followed Crybabycry onto the main stage and they rocked their socks off. I danced near the stage for their whole set which included storming versions of songs by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, songs from the Stax back catalogue among many others. They were fucking brilliant and I might try to book them for my 60th birthday party, although that isn’t until January 2019. After that I paid a final visit to the Access Music Stage where Catwoman and I saw Armonia. They played some really chilled and laid back acoustic songs including a wonderful cover of Lordes’ “Royals”

Classic 90s scouse indie pop band Space were next on the main stage and they were blooming amazing. I had forgotten how many great songs they have recorded. Favourites like “Neighbourhood” and “Female Of The Species” were there along with some new songs and stuff that I have never heard before. There wasn’t a duff song in their set. My favourite is one that I hadn’t heard before, the rather fabulous “Boy In A Body Bag” which is a bloody fantastic tune.

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Finally it was time for the head-liners the supremely talented Inspiral Carpets. I had seen them many years ago and they were always a band whose new release I would always check out. No other band of their generation rocks the Farsifa like these blokes do. The have some excellent songs in their canon including “Dragging Me Down”, “This Is How It Feels”, “Spitfire” and one of my all time favourite songs from any band or singer “Saturn Five”. Quite an appropriate song for the Apollo Festival don’t you think? The Inspiral Carpets used to refer to themselves as ‘cool as fuck’ and in my opinion they remain so. If you get a chance to see them you would be foolish not to.

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Finally let me say a big, big thank you to the organisers of the Apollo Festival especially Mr Apollo himself Stuart Kelly. Also a big shout out to my good friend Simon Pattinson who is on the organising team. Everything was brilliant folks, including the weather. If you change anything for next year then I suggest that you increase the food outlets and vary them a bit. Can I also offer to volunteer to help with organising Apollo 2016?

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This really is the final finally! If you haven’t done so already please click here to vote for the Apollo Festival in the Yorkshire Gig Guide Grass Roots Awards. I have!

Well given the weather it seemed somewhat appropriate :-)

Well given the weather it seemed somewhat appropriate 🙂

Public service announcement – none of the media contained in this post was filmed or photographed by me.

 

 

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


live-at-leeds

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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

 

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


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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!

 

 

“Don’t you know, you fool, you never can win?” November 24, 2013


SongsforswinginloversFifty seven years ago in 1956 Frank Sinatra had the honour of becoming the first artist to have a UK number one album with ‘Songs For Swingin Lovers‘. Since then there have now been 1,000 number ones; sadly the thousandth is Robbie Williams‘ second swing album, ‘Swings Both Ways’. It’s such a shame that it couldn’t have been Jake Bugg with his new album, ‘Shangri La’. But I suppose it might have been worse given that Lady Gaga’s ‘ARTPOP‘ was 999th.

SwingsbothwaysI thought I’d check out which rock ‘n’ roll gods had the 666th UK number one album and it wasn’t any kind of god or devil just Nickleback with ‘Silver Side Up’

Robbie has now had eleven solo number one albums, equalling Elvis Presley. If you count his number ones with Take That it’s fifteen which is the same number as the Beatles. However Robbie is way behind on the weeks spent at number one in the UK albums chart list. The Beatles top that at 174 weeks with Robbie languishing in sixth place with just 31 weeks. The acts between him and the Beatles are Elvis Presley (63 weeks), Abba (57), Rolling Stones (45) and Simon and Garfunkel (40). I suspect Gary Barlow will have the 1,001st number one next week with his new album, which from what I have heard might rate as the dullest UK number one album for some time! Click here to read more about Robbie on the BBC.

 

Reading 2013 – My Videos August 27, 2013


Here are just a few random video clips I made with my mobile phone at Reading this year. There is rain in the tent, Jake Bugg doing “Broken” and one of Darwin Deez‘s funky dance routines.

 

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.

 

 
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