With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Leeds Festival Day 3 Sunday 27th August 2017 August 30, 2017


Click here to read my review of day 3 of the 2017 Leeds Festival on the Hype Media site. I would like to thank the lovely gang at the Hype Media for giving me the opportunity to be there! Words by me and pictures by rock photographer extraordinaire John Hayhurst of snapagig. Except for the Marshall Mathers picture, that one was a lucky find.

 

Leeds Festival Day 1 Friday 25th August 2017 August 28, 2017


Click here to read my review of day 1 of the 2017 Leeds Festival on the Hype Media site. I would like to thank those jolly nice folks at the Hype Media for giving me the opportunity to be there! Words by me and pictures (apart from Queen Vee & the Sasstones, that was by me) by rock photographer extraordinaire John Hayhurst of snapagig.

 

Leeds Festival Press Day 8th August 2017 August 8, 2017

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:49 pm
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Melvin Benn

Thanks to those nice people at the Hype Media I was lucky enough to attend the Leeds Festival Press Day earlier. Click here to read my write up for the Hype Media.

I would love to know what you think of it.

 

Leeds Festival 2016 Day 3 – Sunday 28th August September 1, 2016


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Going to hit Mud City – yaaaay! It was a later start than the previous two days, my old bones are suffering from walking through gallons of thick, cloggy mud, In fact part of me wanted to stay home today, but I really didn’t want to miss Avalanche Party. The good news is that I was able to blag my way into guest parking. So sometimes looking old, well-worn and grizzled is a good thing, right? As I walked onto the festival site plenty of kids were leaving saying that they couldn’t face another night camping in the mud. I can’t say I blame them.

Skindred

I went to the Main Stage first just after stopping off for some excellent festival food, a fish finger sandwich! British band Skindred were just about to come on stage as I arrived. You really have to admire a band that enters the stage to a kind of dance mix of the Imperial March from Star Wars. Skindred? Wow what can I say? This is a really hard-hitting Stupendous band. Think Rage Against The Machine, the Prodigy, Metal, dub, toasting and humour. This lot knows how to rock hard and how to entertain. The frontman is among the best that I have ever seen. Then of course there is the Newport Helicopter……..wait for it bitches! You really need to check this band out if you haven’t already. After that it was off to the BBC Introducing Stage for Tiny Giant. There is nothing tiny about their sound, it’s gigantic. Imagine a cross between Kate Bush and Lene Lovich fronting a powerful indie pop band. That is kind of what Tiny Giant seemed like to me.

Tiny Giant

Now it was time for the big event of the day, Avalanche Party on the BBC Introducing Stage. This is a big deal from this superb north-east band (they played the same stage at Reading the previous day). Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of Avalanche Party and that I have seen them quite a few times. But one question I have is how can a band get better every time you see them? Well if they’re Avalanche Party they can and they do. This lot doesn’t play at being a rock band, they ARE a rock band!Punk, psych and everything in between is what they deliver. Front man Jordan Bell stalks the stage like he owns it (and in effect he does). He comes across as the bastard son of Jarvis Cocker and Jim Morrison with one of the most piercing stares in music today. Without doubt Avalanche Party smashed Leeds. If you were here and had never seen them before then you must be a fan now, otherwise I fear for your mental health and your taste! Festival organisers can we have them on one of the other stages next year please? I would also like to give a special shout out to some of the folks who travelled from Avalanche Party’s home town in a minibus, especially Debbie Hutchinson, Emma and Danjo. Lovely people and great fans of the band.

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Well that was really all I was at the festival for on Sunday, but I persevered a little longer in the mud. I turned up at the NME/ Radio 1 tent next for Netsky. This is yet another dance act (ok I am being somewhat curmudgeonly about dance acts at this festival, but it’s just my opinion folks). Netsky in my opinion is a dance act emanating from a lineage that stretches back to rave, the Prodigy, Pendulum and Chase & Status. Obviously talented and skilled, but for me, well it feels like I’ve heard it all before.

Back to the Main Stage again next for the supreme festival good time party band the Eagles Of Death Metal. I must confess that I had forgotten just how good this band are. Jesse Hughes is yet another magnificent front,am and there have been some brilliant ones today. As an extra bonus their cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” was ace. In fact I forgot to mention Fall Out Boy’s little Bowie tribute in my day 1 post, that was a nice touch.

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Next it was Jack Garratt on the NME/ Radio 1 stage. Jack arrived via the BBC Introducing route a couple of years back (as did Everything Everything). There is a lot of what the BBC does that I really don’t like, but what they do with the BBC Introducing set up is simply first class. Jack is a fantastically talented singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist. The last time I saw him play he was very nervous, but now, with an excellent first album under his belt he oozes confidence. He is also clearly enjoying himself too. He smiled through the whole set like a kid let loose in a sweet shop. It really is hard not to like this guy.

After this I am afraid that I wimped out somewhat. I was knackered and mud fatigued. I decided to head on home to my beautiful wife Catwoman (a.k.a. Catherine). I had planned to stick around for Imagine Dragons and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on the Main Stage so I ought to apologise to those two magnificent bands. Anyway having aqua-planed out of the car park just behind a car being towed out by a tractor it felt to me like I had made the right decision. So after all those Reading visits how was my first Leeds Festival? Well apart from the mud it was magnificent. I will be back here next year although it does leave me tinged with sadness to be finally saying goodbye to the Reading Festival, Leeds is every bit as good and in fact in many areas it is better. In particular that it is a more compact site and that the Main Stage is at the bottom of a slope which means even those of us who aren’t super tall can see quite well from a distance! I would love to hear your experiences of this years Reading and Leeds Festivals.

These boots were made for walking, walking in the mud!

 

 

Leeds Festival 2016 Day 2 – Saturday 27th August August 31, 2016


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Waiting for Frank Turner

There was absolutely no way that I was going to miss todays opener, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. This will be, I think, the eighth time I have seen Mr Turner and he has always been better than great. So my car share with rock photographer extraordinaire, John Hayhurst got us there in plenty of time. I was lined up near the front of the Main Stage by 11:30 with Frank not due to start until 12:00. Frank and the Sleeping Souls hit the stage running and never stopped for close to an hour. It was yet another truly awesome set from Mr Turner. We were served up loads of hits and a mental, passionate and highly energetic band with a very ‘up for it’ Frank Turner. Myself and the rest of the audience were truly ‘up for it’ as well. Frank got the crowd to separate and form what at a thrash metal gig would be a wall of death. However he set it up as a wall of hugs, that was just one of many great moments along with Frank continuing to sing while crowd surfing. This was an absolute stormer of a start to the day and the smile remained on my face for the rest of the day in spite of the weather. In fact we later learned that Frank was so full on that he had to be taken to hospital with a suspected broken foot!

Next it was the Jack Rocks Stage where I caught Blinders from Doncaster. They play swampy, punky, psyched-out blues rock. What a brilliant noise! After that brief sojourn it was back to the Main Stage for the second Frank of the day; Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes. I have seen Frank Carter a couple of times in the past when he was fronting Gallows, but until today I had never seen the Rattlesnakes. This was an epic punk performance and it was also Frank’s first time on the Main Stage at Leeds/ Reading too. He had the crowd create a huge circle pit and then he proceeded to sing from the centre of it, that takes balls! Mr Carter’s crowd surfing was among the best artist crowd surfing I have ever seen. As for “I Hate You”, well that is just a totally knock-out song.

My first visit of the day to the NME/ Radio 1 tent was for Hinds all the way from Spain. They have some similarities with perhaps, Haim. Their songs are fabulous, bouncy, earworms of pop tunes in a kind of happy, smiley indie style. It is great to see an all girl band performing here though. There is certainly not enough female representation on the stages at this festival. Is that due to the general lack of imagination and forethought in the music industry? I reckon it probably is.

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My first visit to the comedy in the Alternative Stage tent was for the highly intelligent and highly talented Shappi Khorsandi, She was hilarious on topics as diverse and wide-ranging as religion, racism, sexism and porn addiction. She was followed by Sarah Pascoe who was very funny indeed, especially her spiel on pubic hair.

Eat Fast from Newcastle were next on the BBC Introducing Stage. They captivated those of us in the crowd with their Geordie indie pop harmonies. Great songs from a great band. In my quest to get around most stages today I found myself in the Pit next for Citizen. They are an American band that use the quiet- loud style of the Pixies and Nirvana really well with vocals going from a soft croon to a throat shredding scream. The band clearly have a very strong UK fan base given the audience reaction and participation. Many fans proved their love of the band by crowd surfing (I counted maybe ten) into the arms of those unsung heroes of festivals, the security team.

Eat Fast

I stayed in the Pit for the next band, Dinosaur Pile Up. Not only is that a great name, they are an excellent band too. They are a band that has been with us nearly ten years and they will be around for a very long while. I’m not even sure that an extinction level event motherfucker of an asteroid that rear ended our little planet would finish off Dinosaur Pile Up. Next I trudged through the ankle-deep mud to the Festival Republic Stage for Lewis Del Mar (incidentally there is no one called Lewis in this band). But whatever the band members are called they certainly sound good. It is a dubby, trip hop sound with the exuberance and upbeatness of say Vampire Weekend. This is a really tight New York band and at times they made me think of a 21st Century Shuggie Otis.

I was back at the Jack Rocks stage at 6 o’clock for a recommendation from my good friend and top rock photographer John Hayhurst. The band is one that John had seen at the Kendal Calling Festival earlier this year. Their name is Cabbage, they are anarchic, chaotic, funny and very talented. They pretty much defy being put into a genre. However think of the bastard sons of a threesome between the Stooges, Half Man Half Biscuit and Goldie Looking Chain. Cabbage are an exceptional British band that has to be seen to be believed. Their Dinner Lady song is an absolute scream.

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It was at this point that the heavens opened and it rained for a couple of hours on an already muddy field. I put out a call for Ark builders on Facebook, but sadly no one responded. It was at this point while walking from the Jack Rocks stage to the NME/ Radio 1 stage that I decided that I needed an ice cream. so I bought myself a Magnum classic. Nothing particularly interesting about that, until three young lads saw me and claimed that an old bloke eating an ice cream whilst ankle-deep in mud in the pouring rain was the most rock n roll thing that they had ever seen. I can only assume that they were on drugs of some kind 🙂 Anyway I made it to the NME/ Radio 1 stage in time for Crystal Castles. They did not disappoint with a high-powered show featuring bombastic noisy dance sounds done in that very unique Crystal Castles style. It was an incredible show, the lights deserve a mention too, they were stunning

I was not going to miss the next band on the NME/ Radio 1 stage, the magnificent Twenty One Pilots from Ohio. It was a truly splendiferous set from the duo. Brilliant songs and amazing stage presence. How the hell do two people make so much marvellous noise? We were treated to a brief cover of “Jump Around”, acrobatics, drumming while crowd surfing, just crowd surfing and a giant hamster ball.These guys need the Main Stage as a next step for them at Leeds/ Reading. I feel very confident that they will headline this festival one day too.

I was in the Festival Republic tent next for the final song from Pulled Apart By Horses. I have seen them before and they are a band that really know how to flex their well toned rock muscles. Disclosure closed proceedings on the Main Stage. Yes Disclosure, on the Main Stage. Seriously? They’re very good but mot that good. It is not much more than a DJ show after all. I know that they supposed ly co-headlined with Foals. But that co-headlining thing is bollocks, right? In my opinion Foals should have closed the evening. I left Disclosure’s set early because I was a bit bored. But that is my opinion and clearly dance music is becoming more and more popular at this festival.

As my festival car share buddy John Hayhurst was there to take his usual selection of excellent photographs we agreed to meet up at the end of the evening at the BBC Introducing Stage. Incidentally if you do need to meet up with your friends at the end of the day that is the place to be as it is usually empty. Anyway we duly met and as we were waiting for Laura, one of John’s photographer colleagues we were accosted by two blonde 18 year old festival goers, one of them was called Freya and she kept insisting that she had a real thing for older men (John and I are both in our fifties). She kept on insisting that we went back to their tent for some ‘fun’. Personally I reckon she must have been on some pretty strong drugs or that we were being lined up for some kind of sting or robbery. Anyway we eventually persuaded Freya and her friend to head off and enjoy the rest of the night without us. I reckon we dodged a big bullet there!

 

Leeds Festival 2016 Day 1 – Friday 26th August August 29, 2016


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Well here we go, after many years of attending the Reading Festival (my first was in 1975) I have finally taken the plunge and opted for Leeds. The plunge is an apt phrase given the amount of rain that fell on the Bramham Park site in the preceding days. I went along with my mate John Hayhurst, a.k.a. Rock Photographer extraordinaire. But I was also pleased to see that my fellow long-standing Zimmer Twin and great mate Nick Horslen also made it to Reading on a day ticket. First impressions for me the Leeds site is that it is more compact, but there is no real noise bleed from other stages wherever you are. Also it has some natural slopes, so getting a great view of the main stage is easy even for a short-arse like me. The only downer so far has to be the volume of mud, but I’m commuting rather than camping so it’s not all bad!

My first visit of the day was to the Lock Up Stage for Fighting Caravans. This is a Leeds band who I saw on local news programme Look North the night before. So armed with that plus the fact that I love their name I really had to see them. They rock like an Indie Led Zep as if Alan Vega off of Suicide was in the band. They have amazing energy, especially the singer who dances like a Cheetah on Speed. A truly bloody brilliant band.

fighting caravans

I chose Night Owls on the BBC Introducing Stage next, another Leeds band. They are a powerful two piece guitar and drums combo. They have similar genealogy to And The Hangnails, Slaves and Royal Blood. However comparisons with the White Stripes are worthless as the Night Owls drummer is far, far superior to Meg White. This is a damned good band and their song “Why Me?” has the makings of a classic.

night owls

The view of the Main Stage from a distance is superb, however for the Virginmarys I was quite close. This band are purveyors of fine punked up, high-powered, mightily potent saws with a large helping of raw soul. A Main Stage appearance for them was clearly a big deal for them and they certainly made the most of it. A fantastic band, I’m amazed that I haven’t picked up on them before now, but I’m glad that I finally did!

virginmarys

My muddy boot, but is that the shadow of a naked man?

My muddy boot, but is that the shadow of a naked man?

All the way from New York the next act on the Main Stage were Coheed and Cambria. Do you like metal? Prog? Punk? Pop? Great riffs? Great hooks? Great hair? Concept albums? You do? Well in that case you will love Coheed and Cambria as many folk already do. I certainly need to listen to more of their stuff.

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I sadly only caught the last song from Spring King on the NME/ Radio 1 Stage. But wow what an absolute belter of a full on psychedelic wig out! Definitely worth checking out. I had wandered across to this stage to catch Deaf Havana. Having seen them twice before at Reading I had to give them a shot didn’t I? Are they still a good band? Well yes they are and a late afternoon Main Stage slot for them next time would be fabulous. Will they make you deaf? Only if you stand to close to the speakers. Will they take you to Havana? I doubt it, but if you ask them nicely you never know.

shadowplay

Now it was time to grace the Festival Republic tent with my presence for Brighton’s Magic Gang. I caught them late last year in a support slot for Swim Deep in Liverpool. They had a lot of potential then and they proved it today with a stunning set. Their Bluresque (that is not a misspelling of burlesque, I mean a little like Blur) feel had the audience leaping, dancing, singing and truly enjoying a great band. The big question though is, are this gang really magic? Well the audience were spellbound so I guess that means that they are, right?

magic gang

I stayed at the Festival Republic Stage for Ezra Furman. I don’t really have the words but I will try. He is like Jonathan Richman in a skirt backed by what could be a fledgling E Street Band who are also able to throw in a few Zappaesque moments. This is a proper ballsy and very intelligent rock band fronted by a supremely talented individual. Gotta love the Ezra! When can we all move to planet Ezra?

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Wonderful proper boss scousers Clean Cut Kid stepped onto the Festival Republic Stage next. Clean Cut Kid are a fabulously exciting young band who once again left me with a feel good smile on my face. Just as they did at the Latitude Festival last month. This is excellent perky pop with feeling. I’ll say it again, this band are proper boss. I also suffer from beard envy of the singers magnificent face fungus, mine is pathetic in comparison.

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I returned to the BBC Introducing Stage next for Lawrence Taylor. Lawrence’s band is very talented. He is a gifted singer songwriter with an amazing blue-eyed soul voice. That voice could certainly give Robert Palmer, Daryl Hall and Paul Carrack a run for their money. Mr Taylor is also an exquisitely skilled guitarist.

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A wee trudge back to the Main Stage next for one of America’s finest; Fall Out Boy. Oh my how this band has grown and developed since I first saw them more than ten years ago. If you are appearing just before Biffy Clyro on the bill (and sorry I don’t buy all that co-headlining shite) then you’d better roll out something special and oh boy did Fall Out Boy do that!Amazing video backdrops and to cap it all flame juggling, Mad Max style dominatrix acrobats. To be fair the band were playing to a partisan crowd but they did have the punters eating out of their hands very quickly.

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It was now time for todays main event (well in my opinion anyway) Biffy Clyro on the Main Stage. The one thing that has always been so obviously different between Reading and Leeds for me is that the closing day line up at Reading is always the opening day at Leeds. This was really clear with a monumental set from arguably one of the best bands on the planet right now. Biffy proved that their last headline slot in 2013 was no fluke. This is their tenth appearance at Leeds/ Reading, they really have earned top billing. Their set was incredible; a set of massive square frames that grew smaller the further they were from the front of the stage. A bit like a 21st Century recreation of sixties classic TV series ‘The Time Tunnel‘ (if you’re too young to remember that then I suggest you ask your grand parents). The energy of the band is incredible and while their recorded output is largely stunning, hearing those songs live only enhances them. Not only did Biffy crank the volume up to 11, they did the same with the bombast. The particular high lights for me were “Captain”, “Many Of Horror” and “Black Chandelier“. I’m already looking forward to seeing this band own the stage once again, perhaps in 2019? ‘Mon the Biff!

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Reading Festival 2013 – The Preview August 21, 2013


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

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

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

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

 

 
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