With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“And the only things I see are emptiness and loneliness and an unlit Christmas tree” Blog Advent Calendar Day 13 December 13, 2014


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Are you excited yet? You must be right? There are only 12 more big sleeps to the big day. Have you bought all your presents? What did you get for me? I hope that it was something expensive. Anyway it’s December 13th a.k.a Day 13 a.k.a the letter ‘M’ of this years advent blog post. Regular readers will know that this year it is the ABC of British bands. If you’re not a regular reader please feel free to waste an hour catching up on the letters ‘A’ to ‘L’.

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In the meantime though let’s get back to todays band; it’s Mud. That’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat isn’t it? Although the band formed in 1966 they didn’t have their first chart hit until 1973 with “Crazy”. That kicked off a run of UK 10 UK top 20 hits lasting up until 1975. This included three UK number one hits; “Tiger Feet“, “Lonely This Christmas” and a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy”. Ellie Hope off of Liquid Gold who had a big hit with “Dance Yourself Dizzy” in 1980 sang backing vocals on Mud’s version of “Oh Boy”.

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Band members were Rob Davis (guitar), Ray Stiles (bass), Dave Mount (drums) and Les Gray on vocals. Sadly Les and Dave are no longer with us having passed away in 2004 and 2006 respectively. The last time the four of them played together was at Dave Mount’s wedding in 1990. Rob Davis has had a lot of success as a songwriter in recent years co-writing hits for Kylie Minogue (“Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”) and Spiller (“Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)”) among others. But enough of the recent activity, take yourself back to the 70s and enjoy some Mud classics.

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Counting Crows – O2 Apollo Manchester – Thursday 25th April 2013 April 27, 2013


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Once in a while you are presented with the opportunity to see a band that you have listened to a lot but have never really made the effort to see play live. I had a lucky break as my friend Andy Golborne’s partner Rachel was unable to attend a gig by the truly splendid Counting Crows. So I became the lucky owner of her ticket and went along to the O2 Apollo in Manchester last to see the band. This was the first time I have seen them but Andy has seen them on many occasions.

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The support was provided by Lucy Rose a 23-year-old singer songwriter from Surrey. She has previously provided some vocals when recording with the Bombay Bicycle Club. She strikes me very much of a young Joni Mitchel but with even more jazz sensibilities. Her band is tight and very talented. To me there is almost an undercurrent of some of the better aspects of prog Rock in their delivery. The exposure of touring with Counting Crows can only enhance her profile and I would definitely see her again. In fact I would like to apologise for missing her at last years Reading Festival.

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The Counting Crows. What can I say? Probably that they are even better live than they are on record and I do believe that their recorded output is bloody good! I can’t believe that this is the first time I have seen them in concert. Adam Duritz mentioned that he had woken up in the morning with a sore throat but that did not seem to mar his vocal performance which was brilliant. it did mean that we missed out on some of the story telling introductions that he often does when playing live. But that was a very small price to pay. The crowd was made up of mostly hard-core Crows fans. The bloke in front of me went nuts for almost every song and it looked like he had his kids with him, they also seemed to love it.

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The band seems to really love what they are doing as well and this made for a stupendous all round performance which they enjoyed as much as the audience. I was really pleased that they raided their back catalogue excellently and didn’t stick with just the big hits; there was no “Mr Jones” for example. The band took to the stage to the sound of Bill Withers’ classic “Lean On Me” and left at the end of the evening to “California dreamin'” from the Mamas and Papas, to which Mr Duritz led us in a sing along. But obviously it’s what was sandwiched between those classic records that was most important. If I mentioned every highlight I would simply type in the set list! The first part of the show had excellent versions of “Omaha” and “I Wish I Was A Girl”.countingcrows

The acoustic set in the middle of the show was beautiful, especially the arrangement of “Mercury”. acoustically this was accompanied by a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Friend Of The Devil” and another Counting Crows classic, “When I Dream Of Michelangelo“. After that excellent trio the set kicked back into electric gear, starting with a rousing “Round Here”. The cover of Gillian Welch‘s “Look At Miss Ohio” was truly stunning and new arrangement (to me at least) of “Rain King” was a truly emotional experience. The encore included “Washington Square” and a gorgeous rendition of “Holiday In Spain”. are the Counting Crows the best live band I have ever seen? Not quite but they are definitely in my top 5 and I will certainly see them again. In fact next time I shall take the wonderful Catwoman (a.k.a. my beautiful wife Catherine) with me.

Please note that apart from the picture at the top of this post none of the images or films were taken by me.

 

 
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