With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

This is it, my 1,000th blog post! January 22, 2017


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Well blow me down with a feather, knock me down with an empty washing up liquid container, hit me on the head with a silk handkerchief or spank me with  a lollystick! This is my 1,000th post on this blog. It has taken eight years, but wow I am amazed that I have got this far with it. As a special offer to my blog followers and Facebook friends I opened this post up to you. I asked you to send me one song or artist and those songs and artists would form the content of this post. I did promise to say something nice about your choice and I will certainly try to stand by that, even if you have sent me a song that you know I do not really like, actually there were very few of those.  So here we go and there is no particular order or sequence to this by the way.

First up was suggested by a man who is exactly one year older than me, Vijay Ragoonanan. His choice is the first one that I received and it is a pretty classy one too. It’s “Train In Vain” by one of my favourite bands, the Clash. It was their first top 30 hit in the US and was largely called “Train In Vain” to avoid confusion with the Ben E King classic “Stand By Me” as the common refrain throughout the song is ‘stand by me’

Next up are three songs from the same family Caron Godbold Darbyshire Williams, John Williams and their wonderful daughter (who is also my Odd Daughter) Amelia. Caron chose “High” from the Lighthouse Family which was hers and John’s first dance song at their wedding. This remains the band’s most successful song, it reached the top ten in eleven countries, including number one in Australia back in 1998. John chose the timeless Don McLean song “American Pie”.  McLean has spoken very infrequently about the meaning of the song other than to confirm that the day the music died refers to the death of Buddy Holly in a plane crash on February 3rd 1959. However many people have speculated that it summarises much of America’s relatively recent history along with some related music history, for example ‘the quartet practised in the park’ is believed by many to refer to the Beatles. Amelia’s offering was One Direction with “History”. One Direction are one of the handful of acts that have remained a success long after their reality TV star burned out. This song gives a co writing credit to band members Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne along with Julian Bunetta, John Ryan, Wayne Hector and Ed Drewett. Released at the end of 2015 it currently sits as the final single from the group now that they all appear to have gone their own way. It made it to number 6 in the UK and only hit 65 in the USA.

Sam Claypole has the next song and it’s American crooner Barry Manilow with “Could It Be Magic”. The lyrics were written by Adrienne Anderson and the music by Bazza himself. As with most Manilow songs the production is damned good. It was produced by Barry along with Ron Dante. It has been covered by many acts, notably by Take That and Donna Summer. My favourite version of the song is Donna Summer’s and I don’t really like the bombastic over production on the Take That cover.

The next offering is from someone who I went to school with back in the 1970s, Susan Norris. She has given us the sublime UK number one from 1968 by Fleetwood Mac, “Albatross”. This remains the band’s only UK number one, albeit with a very different incarnation of the group from the mega selling troupe that straddled the globe with ‘Rumours’ in the late 70s. Did you know that “Albatross” allegedly influenced a Beatles song? Apparently it was a strong influence on “Sun King” from 1969’s ‘Abbey Road’ album.

Top bloke Andy Copeland has selected the next track, I work with Andy and he sees me as some kind of old cockney geezer and provided me with the nickname Albert! Anyway as a result Andy proposed anything from Chas ‘n’ Dave, so in order not to disappoint I will treat you to “The Sideboard Song” from those cheeky London chappies. The song just missed out on a top 50 UK chart placing peaking at number 55 in 1979. It was taken from their very cockney titled album ‘Don’t Give A Monkey’s’

Someone else that I work with has the next song in the list and it is in my opinion an all time rock classic. Adrian Caines thank you for bring us Rush with “Spirit Of Radio”. Interestingly this is the only act that will feature twice on this list, more from them later. The song was released in 1980 and comes from what I believe is their seventh studio album ‘Permanent Waves’. It is still the band’s biggest UK hit having peaked at number thirteen. The song has been covered by the Catherine Wheel and sampled by Saint Etienne.

Simon Pattinson, a tireless promoter of new (and often local) music brings us York band Faux Pas who launched their first EP at Fibbers in York a few weeks ago. They have already performed at the Leeds Festival and have had some airplay on Radio 1. This teenage 4-piece have a very bright future I reckon, what do you think? The song is “I Hate Dancing”.

David Burr requested Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia with “Unity Hymn” which I have struggled to share with you as I can’t find a link that will play you any more than 30 seconds of this classy song. If you have a link feel free to share it. I have listened to the track on Spotify where it is credited to Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia (featuring John Hiseman, Peter Lemer, Malcolm Macfarlane, Paul Westwood, Anna Gracey Hiseman and the London Gospel Singers). I have added a link to a whole show from 1991 though. Barbara is a very experienced and skilled jazz saxophonist who has been playing professionally for many years. She received an MBE in 1996 and in the early part of this century she had to retire from playing for a while due to Parkinson’s Disease, but she is back now and is a permanent member of Colosseum for whom her husband Jon Hiseman is the drummer.

Among the liveliest of my Facebook friends is Katie Jane Hardy and she has chosen “Ain’t It Fun” by the Dead Boys. Originally fronted by Stiv Bators this band from Cleveland, Ohio were around at the first flush of punk from 1976 to 1979. Stiv sadly died in 1990 after being run over by a taxi, although the band did get back together in 2004 and 2005. “Ain’t It Fun” comes from their 1978 album ‘We Have Come For Your Children’.

Someone else that I went to school with in the 70s, Jane Price, selected the next song and it is a 70s classic; “Heart Of Gold” from Ole Shakey himself, Neil Young.  Taken from the album ‘Harvest’ in 1972 it is so far Neil’s only US number one single. Backing vocals on the track are courtesy of James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.

I would like you to thank Shaun Flannery for the next song, it is “Angels” by Robbie Williams, who as Shaun pointed out to me is a Brits Icon winner, personally that just proves to me how meaningless the Brits actually are. Now many of my regular readers know that I am not a big Robbie fan and one of my least favourite songs ever is “Angels” (along with John Lennon’s “Imagine”). But I did say I would try to be nice. The song was co written by Robbie, Guy Chambers and Ray Heffernan. In 2005 a UK poll voted it the most popular song that was requested at funerals in the UK, I’m not quite sure what that says about it. Robbie has had seven solo UK number one hits in the UK, although “Angels” only made it to number four back in 1997.

I used to work with our next contributor and we have also been to a few gigs together too, Simon Hernaman has chosen “Rockwrok” by the John Foxx incarnation of Ultravox. It was released in 1977 and was taken from their ‘Ha! Ha! Ha!’ album. The B -Side of the single was an alternate version of “Hiroshima Mon Amour” from the one on the ‘Ha! Ha! Ha!’ album

Karen McPoland struggled to choose just one song, in fact she offered me three and asked me to choose. A couple of you gave me an initial choice and then changed your mind, so who knows, perhaps they might all appear on a future post, 1,001 perhaps? Anyway I chose the Eels from Karen’s list with “The Look You Give That Guy”. The Eels were formed in 1995 by Mark Oliver Everett also known as E or Mr E. His father Hugh was a physicist who was one of the first people to propose the potential existence of multiple universes or the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics. The song is taken from their 2009 album ‘Hombre Lobo’ and was a big hit in Belgium.

My good friend and regular Reading Festival buddy wanted the Glass Animals to be included, so obviously they will be. They originate from Oxford where they formed in 2012. They have played a number of festivals around the world and released their second album ‘How To Be A Human Being’ last year. I have chosen “Youth” from that album.

Someone else that I used to work with many years ago picked the next song and it’s a bit of a Prog classic from Yes, thank your Graeme Card. It comes from ‘Yessongs’ which was the band’s first live album. The track originally appeared on the studio album ‘Close To The Edge’.

Jon Reeton is next up with “No Bravery” from James Blunt. I was never a big fan of Blunt, but I have great respect for his deftness at self-deprecation. I think he has an incredible sense of humour, but his music doesn’t do too much for me. However Jon pointed out how meaningful the lyrics are even now and I find it hard to disagree with that. The song was written by Blunt with Sacha Skarbek and can be found on his debut album ‘Back To Bedlam’ from 2005.

A little bit of reggae next with “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)” by Dawn Penn, thank you to Carl Rogers for this one. The song reached number three in the UK charts in 1994. Penn first recorded a song with this title in 1967 and it was based on a track by US R & B singer Willie Cobbs which in turn was heavily influenced by a Bo Diddley song. That is why the 1994 release from Dawn Penn credits both Cobbs and Diddley as writers.

Paul Terry offered me two choices and I wonder if he might be surprised that I chose Justin Bieber from the two? Anyway while I can’t say I am a Belieber I do like some of his more recent stuff. Especially “Love Yourself” which was written by Ed Sheerhan along with Benjamin Levin (a.k.a. Benny Blanco) and Bieber. It spent six weeks at number one in the UK chart.

Suzi Stacey my online witchy sister has picked a Rolling Stones classic “Mothers Little Helper”. Obviously this is not a drug related song, well ok it definitely is. Don’t do drugs kids otherwise you might live as long as Keith Richards. Hang on that sounds like a good thing though right? OK I sound like I’m high now, just enjoy the song ok.

I told you that there would be another entry from Canadian rockers Rush and I wasn’t lying. This time it is “Tom Sawyer” chosen by my mate Andy Golborne. It was the opening track on their 1981 album ‘Moving Pictures’. VH1 named it the 19th Greatest Hard Rock song of all time in 2009.

Now we have a track from the late, great Gary Moore which also features the late, great Phil Lynott. Thank you for Jacqui Parkin for choosing this one, I think it is a true classic. The song made it to number 8 in the UK singles chart in 1979. It was written by Moore and Lynott. Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey also plays on the track.

The next song is very much one of my favourites as it was the first dance after marrying my beautiful wife Catherine. In fact this is Catherine (a.k.a. Catwoman)’s choice. It is the truly sublime “Into My Arms” by Nick Cave. Just listen to it, is there anyone out there that doesn’t like this song? It is also the only song that I know that includes a reference to an ‘interventionist God’.

Sara Hayes has chosen the 25th song which spookily has the number 25 in the title, it s Edwin Starr with “25 Miles” a fabulous slice of Motown genius. It reached number 6 in the US chart and 36 in the UK chart when issued as a single in 1969. It was written by Johnny Bristol, Harvey Fuqua and Edwin Starr. This song was also a big hit on the Northern Soul scene in the UK.

Rachael Baines-Holmes picked the next song and it is a slice of punky class; the Dead Kennedys with “Holiday In Cambodia”. It was written by the band’s front man Jello Biafra and John Greenway and it was the second single to be released by the group when it came out in 1980. It followed “California Über Alles”. Both songs were included on the album ‘Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables’.

So there you have it twenty-six songs provided by a selection of my friends. Thank you for being a part of this and for reading my blog and putting up with all the puns and shit that I post on Facebook. Finally though I will leave you with my selection. I have said loads about it on previous blog posts and it is without doubt my favourite song of all time. “No Woman No Cry” Bob Marley and the Wailers taken from the ‘Live At The Lyceum’ album from 1975

 

Buzzcocks – Fibbers, York – Thursday 6th October 2016 October 7, 2016

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:56 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

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I love bringing people together at gigs especially my friends that haven’t met before. At Fibbers tonight I was joined by my good mates John Williams and Simon Hernaman for an excellent night of great music and punk nostalgia. I also got to meet a fellow blogger, a lovely young lady named Louise who wants to be a music journalist. Well based on her blog I think she has a good chance. Click here to check ot the marvellous stylusblog. La Bête Blooms from Hull were the support band and what a darned good warm up act they proved to be. Obviously with their name they are clearly from the posh end of Hull, well if there is one. But hopefully La Bête Blooms are a great pointer for what’s in store for Hull in its tenure as city of culture next year. they showed the influence of many great bands; Eddie and the Hot Rods, Magazine, Joy Division and even the Who. Their sound is a bit new wave, post-punk with a twist of more modern pop punk. The band’s engine room of drum and bass was a complete powerhouse and overlaid on that was the excellent vocals and guitar work from the other two band members. They really looked up for this gig and they seemed to be really enjoying themselves too. This is definitely a band to watch and one that I will certainly pay to see again. Click here to check their SoundCloud page out.

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Whilst the support were bloody good we were there for a punk band that has now been around for forty years. Does that make me feel old? Of course it bloody does, I was only seventeen when they formed. The band in question is of course one of Manchester’s finest, the magnificent Buzzcocks. I have only seen them once before and that was back in 1978 or 1979. For a band of this maturity you’d think that the energy levels might be a little low, but they were off the top of the scale. From when they hit the stage it was a relentless assault of many of their finest moments with no let up until they took a short pre-encore break after an hour of solid playing. The highlight in that first section for me was a truly dazzling rendition of “Autonomy”

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One thing that became very clear to me early on is that old punks never die, they just get older, dress like they always did and turn up for gigs like this. It really is a heart warming sight to see so many old school forty/ fifty something punks pogoing as if their life depended on it. While Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle are the mainstays of the band given that they have been around for so long it would be mean not to mention the excellent rhythm section of Chris Remmington on bass and Danny Farrant on drums. The pair have been with the band for eight years and ten years respectively and they underpin the excellent songs incredibly well. Like all of us who have been on the planet for so long Shelley and Diggle are definitely part of my generation, both are 61. But age does nothing to diminish their power and stage presence. Whilst Steve Diggle has aged incredibly well he seems to have morphed into a Postman Pat lookalike. (Thank you to John Williams for putting that thought in my head, now it won’t leave!)

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As for the Buzzcocks encore, it was simply stunning consisting of “What Do I Get”, a magnificently rousing (please note that I said rousing and not arousing ok) “Orgasm Addict” and obviously they were never going to get away with not playing “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)”. That one came close to bringing the house down and many of us thought that perhaps it was all over for the night. But it wasn’t as the band laid waste to the audience with mightily stupendous version of “Harmony In My Head”. Fibbers is a great venue and the Buzzcocks remain a great band which makes a great combination for a great night!

Apologies about the evil, but thankfully dead, bastard who introduces the next video.

A brief(ish) public service announcement. All the photos apart from the first one were all taken on my shittly little Nokia Windows Phone. The first picture was helpfully supplied via a Goggle search and all the videos are courtesy of YouTube including the reasonably good quality adience recorded one from the actual gig!

 

 

 

Public Image Limited (PiL) – Fibbers, York – Tuesday 22nd September 2015 September 22, 2015


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To see a band like PiL is a great experience whatever the venue, however to see them somewhere as intimate as Fibbers is awesome. The crowd was perhaps mostly 40, 50 and 60-somethings including a couple of old punks that clearly haven’t moved on sartorially since 1977. But Lydon had all 600 of us in his hands whatever our age or fashion sense. He is a magnificent front man and someone who is impossible to imitate, although many have tried.

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The show kicked off with the two opening songs from the new album “Double Trouble” and “Know Now”. The band also played “The One” and an incredibly powerful version of “Corporate” from that same album. The band played supremely well and great credit must go to Lu Edmonds, Bruce Smith and Scott Firth. John Lydon himself was also on his absolute top form. He comes across like a punk librarian spliced with the genes of a Dalek and I mean that all in a good way. (How about John Lydon for the next Doctor Who?) His engagement with his audience is brilliant and his put down of a heckler was hilarious. Incidentally why do people pay to come to gigs and then heckle the band? But as Lydon said to him ” We’ve got your money, now fuck off”!

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Plenty of classic PiL cuts were played; “This Is Not A Love Song”, a stupendous run through “Death Disco“, “Poptones”, an inspirational “Warrior”and an excellent and funky rendition of “Deeper Water” from the ‘This Is PiL’ album. Quite a few times Lydon mentioned how hot it was on stage and I can certainly believe him because it was steaming in the audience. The band left the stage for five minutes before the encore and it was an encore worth waiting for. Kicking off with “Religion” followed by “Public Image” and closing with a rousing stomp through “Rise“. Was there anyone in the crowd that didn’t sing along to the last two? I don’t think so. Anger is an energy but there was far more energy than anger in the crowd. I’ve said this a lot recently, but this truly was one of the best gigs I have ever seen. Surpassing by a mile the last time I saw Public Image Limited in 1978 or 1979. If you have never seen PiL then I suggest that you rectify that now!

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Public Service Announcement (could that be a parallel band to Public Image Limited?) none of the pictures and video were taken by me at the gig because I watched it through my eyes and not through my mobile phone screen!

 

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


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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.

 

 

Apollo Festival 2015 – The Preview March 22, 2015


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Last year I enjoyed a great day at a small local festival here in York. The Apollo Festival, you can read my review of last years event by clicking here. This year sees this wonderful family friendly music festival enter its third year. It was started in 2013 by Stuart Kelly and he has grown the show really well. Last year more than 3,000 people turned up which was close to doubling the amount of music fans that were there for the inaugural festival in 2013. If things go to plan you could be among 4,000 happy Apollo punters this year. I certainly will be as I have already purchased tickets for myself and the delightful Catwoman.

If you live in or near to York, or even further afield,  then you have no excuse for missing this event in June. Prices are very affordable at just over £15 each ticket. Significantly less than what you’d pay for a day ticket to one of the major festivals. But even keeping prices low hasn’t affected the quality of the acts playing. Last year was great and I also experienced a few bands that I had previously never seen or heard of. One of the highlights from last year for me was And The Hangnails. We also saw the Entertainment Company and we liked them so much that we have booked them for Catwoman’s ‘significant’ birthday party next year.

The line-up for this year has two excellent bands that for one reason or another I have never seen before despite being a fan. Those bands are the fabulous Space and the headliners are the superb  Inspiral Carpets. The ticket price is worth it for those two alone. One of the stages for 2015 will be curated by Rick Witter of Shed Seven, so I reckon that might be quite interesting. Other acts appearing are CryBabyCry, Happy Daggers, Hello Operator, Kimberly Kennedy, The Mothers, Rime Suspex, Rupert Stroud and Kid Conventional. I saw Hello Operator recently at the Basement in York City Screen and they are were excellent; a very loud, very powerful and explosive British rock band. I will be there along with my wonderful wife Catherine (a.k.a Catwoman) and hopefully a few of the friends that I have been promoting the festival to; John, Caron, Amelia, Shaun, Tracey you know who you are! Simon P, I know you’ll be there too and it looks like once again your music recommendations to me will be spot on! Finally I would like to say a big thank you to Stuart Kelly for starting this festival and building it to an even bigger level. Look out for my festival review at the end of June. Now get off your arse and get yourself a ticket! I will see you at the 2015 Apollo Festival at the York Sports Club, Shipton Road, York on Saturday 27th June. If you fail to turn up after all I have said then I will have to send the boys round!

 

Paul Weller – York Barbican, Friday 20th March 2015 March 21, 2015


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Paul Weller is without doubt a legend and one of the coolest people in the music business. Even more so now that he has a slightly more normal haircut. Last night at the Barbican was the second time I had seen him perform as a solo artist. I had also seen him as a part of the Jam and as a part of the Style Council back in the olden days. Last night I was there with my good friend John Williams. We both really enjoyed the support band, the Sundowners from the Wirral. I would describe them as something like Fleetwood Mac in a psychedelic mood whilst on some really strong acid. Their lead guitarist is phenomenal. But they are well worth checking out in my opinion.

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As for Mr Weller, well what can I say that hasn’t been said many times before? Not a lot really but I think he is clearly one of the finest musicians of his generation. He and his band maintained a high level of energy throughout the show which was around two hours in total and included two encores. Interestingly he played no Style Council or Jam songs. But then he has such a wealth of solo songs it hardly matters at all. He played some new and relatively new songs; “Saturn’s Pattern” from his forthcoming new album and “Brand New Toy” which was an exclusive Record Store Day release from last year. The highlights for me were storming versions of “Peacock Suit”, “Uh Huh, Oh Yeh” and “From The Floorboards Up” and a really soulful playing of “You Do Something To Me” and “Broken Stones”. However the pinnacle for me came in the second encore when Weller and the band brought the house down with a superbly executed “Changing Man”. I am pleased to say that the sound at the Barbican has improved immensely since my last visit. Paul Weller has picked some great musicians to for this band. Especially Steve Cradock who is an incredibly talented guitarist.

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During the first couple of songs a fight broke out, that is something that I haven’t seen at a gig for a while. Weller remarked that this was ‘just like the old days!’ If I have one complaint it is the hundreds of phones and iPad style tablets that became a constant presence as punters filmed as much as they could. For all of those of you guilty of that I say put your electronic equipment down and watch the gig you morons! If you have never seen Paul Weller the I want to know why? I will definitely be seeing him again sometime!

And finally another one of those pesky public service announcements. None of the pictures or videos in this blog post were taken or filmed by me!

 

The Who – First Direct Arena Leeds – Tuesday 2nd December 2014 December 4, 2014


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I finally got to see the Who play live on Tuesday 2nd December 2014 at the First Direct Arena in Leeds. I have always been a little reluctant to see them given that two key members; John Entwistle and Keith Moon are no longer with us. But my good friend John Williams convinced me to go by describing the band as one of the greatest bands to see before they die! The Standard Lamps filled the support slot very well. Clearly an accomplished band that sound retro with touches of perhaps the Jam and Ocean Colour Scene.

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The Who started as they clearly meant to go on with “I Can’t Explain” followed by “Substitute”. This was a set list overloaded with Who classics including many of my favourites; “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, “Behind Blue Eyes”, “Pinball Wizard”, “Magic Bus”, “Who Are You” and “Baba O’Riley”. For me the peak was “5:15” which is my favourite ever Who song from 1973’s classic album ‘Quadrophenia’. There were even outings for the somewhat underplayed “Join Together” and “Squeeze Box” among many, many more.

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There was an amazing film clip of John Entwistle’s magnificent bass playing and film and vocals of Keith Moon’s “Bell Boy” again from ‘Quadrophenia’. There was even time for a live rendition of the mini rock opera “A Quick One While He’s Away“. The band was on stage for well over two hours and the band very ably supported Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend. For me the stand out players were Pino Palladino on bass and Zak Starkey who was truly magnificent on drums.

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Daltrey was having a few problems with his ear monitors. I don’t know if that resulted in the lack of an encore or whether one wasn’t planned. So we had no “My Generation”. But that really made no difference to what was an amazing show. I am certainly glad that I went.

Please note that none of the pictures or video used in this blog was taken by me.

 

 
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