With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls – The Refectory, Leeds University – Thursday 1st December 2016 December 6, 2016


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Let me make a very bold statement right at the start of this post. Right now I believe that this is almost certainly the best gig I have ever seen in just over 44 years of gig going, it is a close run thing with Bowie at the Phoenix Festival in the 90s, but Frank just about shades it. In fact I have now seen Frank Turner more times than I saw David Bowie, I saw the Dame ten times. Including one show with Million Dead I have now seen Francis Edward Turner eleven times. The majority of those were at Reading and Leeds Festivals. For me he just seems to get better every time that I see him.

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This show, at the venue where the Who recorded the classic live album ‘Live At Leeds’ was stunning. Frank and the Sleeping Souls powered through a non-stop barrage of excellent tunes with incredible energy and soul. They were on stage for just about two hours. If anyone in the audience was disappointed then they must have been really unwell. The mix of songs ranged across Frank’s career with “Worse Things Happen At Sea” and “Nashville Tennessee” being my particular favourites from those early days. He played both of these along with “Ballad Of My Friends” during an emotional acoustic interlude in the middle of the show.

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The show kicked off with the rousing and anthemic “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous” and after that he had the crowd eating out of his hand and singing along to everything. It is great to see how quickly the newer songs have begun to sound like Frank classics in a live setting; “The Next Storm”, “Love Forty Down” and “Glorious You” to name but a few. The latter is my gig buddy for the nights favourite, good choice Rachel!). But the older classics hold even more power and emotion especially three of my favourites; “Photosynthesis”, “I Believe” and the one that always brings a tear to my eye (and yes it did that night), “Long Live The Queen”.

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There was the obligatory circle pit, at my age I am sad to say that I sidestepped that. Crowd-surfing, with a particularly excellent performance by Frank’s friend Steve during “If I Ever Stray” and from Frank himself towards the end of the night. There was a repeat of the stupendous wall of hugs as opposed to the wall of death and yes I do believe that everyone hugged a stranger, I certainly did. Frank gave a big shout out to some causes close to his heart, notably Safe Gigs For Women. His sentiments are the same as mine on that one, like why the fuck should we need an organisation like that in 2016? I don’t know why, but it is wonderful that they do exist. All of this adds to the feel of a Frank Turner crowd being a real community.

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At one point Mr Turner played an electric guitar and not one of his familiar acoustics. He said that whenever he did he felt the urge to play a riff and boy did he riff well. I recognised it but can’t quite place it, I reckon it sounded a little Satrianiesque. The Sleeping Souls as y=usual were on top form too; Ben Lloyd (Guitar and mandolin), Tarrant Anderson (bass), Matt Nasir (Keyboards) and Nigel Powell on drums. The talented support acts also made an appearance in Frank’s set. Felix Hagan came on to play the harmonica break on “I Still Believe” and Esmé Patterson sang the Christa McAuliffe lines in “Silent Key”. That song gets better every time that I hear it.

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Finally there was the usual who is the best crowd on the tour competition and up to Leeds it was bizarrely Reading the night before who had been best. Did we beat them, well obviously we did. But on top of that the usual chant of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire” accompanied by fist pumping was changed somewhat when Frank had us all replace the fist pumping with jazz hands and of course we all did just that. It was possibly one of the strangest things that I have ever seen at a gig, but very bloody funny too. I don’t know quite how many gigs that I have been to, probably not as many as Frank has played (this was his 1,988th show) but as I said earlier this is the greatest gig I have ever seen. Thank you Mr Turner!

Public Service announcement: All the pictures are via Google searches, no way was I going to take any with my phone and spoil this magnificent gig and the same goes for the videos which are all from YouTube.

 

Beth Orton – The Stage, Leeds Beckett Uni, Students Union – Monday 3rd October 2016 October 5, 2016

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 8:35 pm
Tags: , , ,

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I had the opportunity to go and see Beth Orton in Leeds on Monday night, courtesy of those lovely people at subba-cultcha. Click here to read my review. I thought it was a good gig, but Catwoman wasn’t very keen at all.

 

The Tuts – Wharf Chambers, Leeds – Wednesday 21st September 2016 September 23, 2016


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I believe this is the fifth time that I have seen the magnificent Tuts play live since that first time supporting Kate Nash back in April 2013. They get so much better every time, but enough about them for a moment because this show at the delightful Wharf Chambers venue in Leeds also boasted a couple of excellent support acts. First on stage where Milk Crimes, a brilliantly gifted band who I first encountered when they supported Colour Me Wednesday at the Fulford Arms in York earlier this year. They are part Bis, part Buzzcocks and part Pixies. But the overwhelming majority of their parts are pure and original Milk Crimes. A great band with some great tunes and frankly any band with a song entitled “Hail Satan” is alright with me!

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Crywank were next as they brought their bottled madness to Leeds. What kind of genre are they? Who knows? Who cares? The answer to both of those questions is probably no and it really doesn’t matter for Crywank are a stunningly eclectic and talented combo. They are so out there and just utterly fucking brilliant. Actually I might even describe them as Zappa-esque. Drums and an acoustic guitar with songs that are either nonsense lyrics or wonderful vignettes of everyday life. They made an offer that I don’t recall ever hearing from another band; give us some weed an we’ll give you an album. Now that is a good deal, but where the hell did I put my stash?

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Now it was time for the main event, the Tuts who were by now close to half way through a headline UK tour in support of their stunning first album ‘Update Your Brain’. That album is getting some great reviews; 9 out of 10 from Vive Le Rock Magazine, click here for my review of the album. They opened with the rousing put down of sexism in the music industry “Tut Tut Tut”. The first single from the album, “Let Go Of The Past” had the capacity crowd leaping and bouncing all the way through. The song that has become something of a Tuts standard, “Dump Your Boyfriend” rocked Wharf Chambers to its foundations helped along by a crowd that seemed to know the words to all the songs. As Nad Tut remarked later in the set this was a really special moment, having the crowd singing back to you and I most certainly agree.

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The Tuts remain a DIY band and let’s face it it’s hard to get more ‘punk’ than that. They have no label and no manager, although briefly last year they did have a manager. He didn’t last long as his glory days were so far in the past that all his ‘key’ music contacts were probably dead by 1982 and that is kind of what the magnificent “1982” is all about. The band gave us a choice of cover songs; the Clash‘s “Rudie Can’t Fail” or the Spice GirlsWannabe“. It was a landslide win for “Wannabe” and I must confess it got my vote too. Nad Tut, Hat Tut and Bev Tut evoke the spirit of girl power far more strongly than Scary and the gang. On top of that their powerful version of the Spice Girls first hit is loud and great fun. There was the now obligatory foray into the audience from Nadia and Harriet which the crowd lapped up. They played a rollicking version of my current favourite Tuts song, “Give Us Something Worth Voting For” too. But in what seemed like a fleeting moment their set ended with the fabulous “Back Up”. The Tuts are a band that for me are really on the cusp of major success and I hope they get there. They have talent, intelligence, principles and they know how to win an audience. There are still a few opportunities left to see them on this tour and if you can’t make it to any of those dates then get off your arse and start updating your brain by buying their album.

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Me and the magnificent Tuts

Now for one of those pesky public service announcements. All the photos in this post were taken on my cheap little mobile phone camera. Meanwhile the videos are all courtesy of YouTube.

 

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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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China Shop Bull – Fibbers, York Thursday 28th January 2016 (Subba-Cultcha) January 29, 2016

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 2:42 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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Click here for my review of a set in York last night by the fabulous China Shop Bull from Leeds. I loved them and I hope that you do too.

 

“You wanted the best and you got the best” Blog Advent Calendar Day 21 December 21, 2014


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The 21st December you say? really? Blimey where did the time go? Anyway I just knew that something good was going to happen now that it is Day 21 in this years Advent calendar blog post series. regular readers will know that the theme this festive period is the ABC of British bands. Some of you may already have guessed who todays band is as I incorporated a clue earlier in this paragraph. Today is the turn of the Utah Saints who despite their name actually come from Leeds.

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The band played live often between 1991 and 2001 although their appearances since then are largely as DJs. Although they are still writing and recording and are supposedly working on their next album at the moment. Jez Willis and Tim Garbutt are the Utah Saints core and they really pioneered the use of sampling in pop music. they met when they were both music promoters and DJs for the Mix nightclub in Harrogate. In his inimitable style Bill Drummond off of the KLF described the Utah Saints as  “the first true stadium house band”. I’m not entirely sure what that means but it sounds good doesn’t it? They also built their own recording studio on the outskirts of Leeds which opened in 2008.

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The band’s first three singles all made the UK top ten from 1991 to 1993. Those releases were; “What Can You Do For Me” (1991), “Something Good” (1992) and “Believe In Me” (1993). Willis and Garbutt described these songs as their vocal sample trilogy. The songs sampled Gwen Guthrie, Eurythmics (“What Can You Do For Me”), Kate Bush (“Something Good”) and the Human League, Crown Heights Affair, Sylvester (“Believe In Me”). Despite persistent press stories these samples were all legally cleared. Kate Bush also let the band use clips from her video for “Cloudbusting” which is where the sample for “Something Good” comes from.

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“Something Good” is their biggest hit to date. It peaked at number 4 in the UK singles chart and made the top 10 in Australia and Ireland. Interestingly it also made it to number seven in both the US Dance Charts and the US Modern Rock charts. does this make them truly genre-defying? I’d like to think so. They have released two albums so far (not including a mix album). The first was ‘Utah Saints’ which reached number 10 in the UK album charts in 1992. The follow-up was rather unimaginatively called ‘Two’. Sadly that one failed to chart when it came out in 2000. Now you can enjoy some of the Utah Saints finest beats and I hope that you enjoy them.

 

 

 
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