With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Leeds Festival 2019 – Day 1 – Friday 23rd August August 30, 2019


I am really not sure how many times I have been to the Reading/ Leeds Festival over the years, but I know that I haven’t missed many since my first Reading Festival back in 1975. The last year that I missed completely was 2007. Even after all this time, it remains a festival that excites me. So on to day 1 of the 2019 Leeds Festival. It took me so long to actually get on site that I only caught the final song from Milk Teeth on the Main Stage. This band is without a doubt one of the best punk outfits in the UK right now. They currently have the mightily talented Em Foster from Nervus in their ranks. Having spoken to a number of punters in the crowd around me as Milk Teeth left the stage it appears that I missed an awesome set from a great band.

Talkboy

To console myself I wandered across to the BBC Introducing Stage for an excellent set from Leeds band Talkboy. I sensed a bit of Heart, Arcade Fire and alt.country and simply fabulous pop-rock tunes. It was clear to me that Talkboy were really enjoying themselves and that joy easily infected the early afternoon audience, all of whom were smiling at the end. I made a run back to the Main Stage for SWMRS and like with Milk Teeth earlier I only caught their final song, which I believe was “Lose Lose Lose”. It certainly left me wanting to hear more, oh well maybe next year! AE Mak was haunting on the Festival Republic Stage with a set and a show that was refreshingly different to almost anything that I have seen recently (Later in the weekend Poppy made me rethink that!). AE Mak is like a friendly android formed from parts of Bjork and Héloïse Adelaïde Letissier a.k.a. Christine, of Christine and the Queens fame. Mak’s often robotic style of dancing was unmissable in a truly expressive dance like nobody is watching moment. AE Mak is one hell of a pop-dance act.

The Faim

Aussie band the Faim drew me to the BBC Radio 1 Stage next. I had seen the Faim once before when they supported Lower Than Atlantis at Fibbers, York in May 2018. They were very good then, but in the 15 months since they have improved in the kind of leaps and bounds that only the Hulk would find easy. They are becoming a really tight and highly polished unit. There is DNA from the likes of INXS and U2 in their performance, attitude and stage presence. This band has the potential to become a great stadium band. I managed to lose more than an hour next after I noticed that I had been given a Friday wrist band rather than one for the weekend. This meant that I had to trek all the way back to the wristband exchange tent. While it took a bit of time to sort it out the team resolved it perfectly. I want to use this moment to give a big shout out to all the folks who work at the festival. Ticket staff, wristband issuers, Security, stage crew, litter pickers, medics, food and drink vendors, the Samaritans and anyone else I have missed. Without all of you, events like this could not happen. You might not consider yourself headliners but you are all bloody superstars. Thank you.

Enter Shikari

When I got back to the arena I headed straight for the Main Stage for the never anything but awesome Enter Shikari, a band that I have seen at Reading/ Leeds many times and even one small gig in Brooklyn recently too. They never disappoint and as usual, my favourite tune “Juggernaut” was immense. The crowd formed a couple of huge circle pits, although I didn’t spot many crowd surfers. Enter Shikari remains one of my favourite bands and I was excited to learn that this would not be the only time that I encountered them today. I returned to the Festival Republic Stage to catch the Himalayas, who despite what their exotic name suggests, actually come from Cardiff. They offer punky melodic rock that at times is cinematic in its scope. The dual vocal approach takes their sound to another level entirely. Great stage presence too and I must mention the guitarist who looks like he could be the ghost of Joey Ramone. The Main Stage hosted the long-awaited return of the Distillers who reformed last year after a 12-year hiatus. Leader and all-round Distillers head honcho Brody Dalle still has the edgy punk style and it was a stunning set from a much loved and much-missed band, I am so glad that they are back together. Their explosive 11 song set never let up for a moment. Particular highlights for me were “Die On A Rope” and “Coral Fang”. The Distillers had the crowd eating out of their sweaty punk hands.

The Distillers

Remaining at the Main Stage I witnessed girls-only crowd surfing and a girls-only mosh circle. What could this mean? Well, obviously that festival favourites and all-round great band the magnificent Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes were performing. Frank and his erstwhile musical partner Deano both ventured into the crowd for some surfing. Frank, as usual, gave a big shout out to all the support staff and rightly so. The band opened with an extended and stunning romp through “Tyrant Lizard King”. Every song was a highlight, particularly “Devil Inside Me” and a fiery take on “I Hate You” which Frank dedicated to Boris Johnson. That dedication received a massive cheer from the crowd and rightly so. I was pleased to see so many ‘Fuck Boris’ (and variants with a similar sentiment) T-Shirts and badges on display throughout the weekend too. Back to the BBC Radio 1 Stage next for Georgia-based rapper Gunna. I am a fan of quality rap music like Jay Z and Eminem, but Gunna? Seriously? When did rap become so bland, predictable, derivative and frankly, shite? Tupac and Biggie will be crying in their graves at this travesty. Gunna, better than Vanilla Ice, but only just! Next, I needed something to pick me up and make me feel positive again, so it was off to the Festival Republic Stage for Bakar. He draws on a huge range of British influences; the Specials (and maybe Two Tone in general), Mike Skinner of the Streets, Grime and classic R & B. This dude is a bloody good performer, so good that he has even walked the catwalk at a Louis Vuitton show. He is picking up lots of airplay right now and on this performance that is well deserved.

Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes

My first visit to the Pit/ Lock Up Stage this weekend was for another set from St Albans finest, Enter Shikari. Rou and the boys delivered an even more blistering set than the earlier one on the Main Stage. The flame throwers and confetti cannons were spectacular as was Rou’s climbing the rigging antics. This ten-song set was full of bangers and highlights. “Live Outside” which also featured in their earlier appearance on the Main Stage was special. They performed “Tribalism” live for possibly the first time ever. But for me “Take My Country Back” blew the roof off. I believe I would miss anyone at a Festival if Enter Shikari were playing. I understand that they played three sets at Reading so the southern crowd were even luckier than us in the north. Finally, it was time for the Foo Fighters as Main Stage headliners. I have always felt that this festival was built around Reading which means that in Leeds we get the Reading final day on Friday. But I will go and experience the Foo Fighters on any day. The big rumour of the day was that we would be ‘Rick Rolled’ and Dave would bring out Rick Astley to do “Never Gonna Give You Up” with the band. However, that didn’t materialise, although Reading got that on Sunday. we were treated to Dave Grohl duetting with his daughter Violet Grohl on “My Hero”, now these things can often be a little crass, but in my opinion, Violet has a great voice. Foo Fighters opened the show with a soaring stomp through “The Pretender” and most of the bands biggest songs were given a great airing; “Times Like These”, “Monkey Wrench”, “Best Of You”, “This Is A Call” and a mountainous “Everlong” to close the show accompanied by some amazing fireworks. In between all that we had a rather impressive drum solo from Taylor Hawkins. While Taylor was doing a bit of a Freddie Mercury vocal work out, Dave spotted someone, who we later learned was called Ryan, in the crowd dressed as Freddie Mercury. So obviously they had the crowd pass him over their heads to the stage. Now Ryan couldn’t sing but his performance miming to Taylor Hawkins vocals on a great version of the Queen and David Bowie hit “Under Pressure” was great fun. The band also played a storming cover of AC/DC’s “Let There Be Rock”. In my opinion, if you end a festival day with the Foo Fighters you will always go home or back to your tent a happy bunny and I was certainly that! It set me up feeling great for Day 2, more of that to follow!

Mr Grohl and the band get buzzed by a real Foo Fighter!

 

 

 

All the photos apart from the Festival Line Up poster were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know.

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Enter Shikari – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC – Friday 2nd February 2018 February 4, 2018


After this blog’s first taste of a gig outside the UK  late last year I felt that it might be time for another. So while I found myself in New York for a business trip I thought I would lighten the tedium of work and get myself over to Brooklyn to see one of my favourite bands, the magnificent Enter Shikari. The Music Hall of Williamsburg is a 550 capacity venue so this was probably the smallest crowd I have seen Enter Shikari play to. I think this is probably the eighth or ninth time that I have seen them since catching them at Download in 2006 (at least I think it was then!). They are a band that seem to have bags of energy and I was really excited to see this displayed on a smaller stage to a smaller crowd. But before I tell you about Enter Shikari let me tell you about the two rather fabulous support bands.

First up were Milk Teeth all the way from Stroud in Gloucestershire in the UK. If you like your rock punky, grungey and hard-hitting then look no further than this tight and talented four piece. Becky Blomfield has the potential to become one of the finest female vocalists of her generation and Oli Holbrook is an outstanding drummer. The layered guitar attack of axemen Chris Webb and Billy Hutton underpins British punk at its finest. Then of course there are the songs, any band that can mention cats and swear jars in their lyrics gets an extra vote from me.

The second support act were the Single Mothers from Ontario in Canada. If you like the Talking Heads, Jonathan Richman, the Stranglers and the Pixies then you will definitely find something to love in this band. They began a mosh circle mania and a spate of crowd surfing that became even more manic once Enter Shikari took the stage. Singer Andrew Thomson never stops moving and is highly skilled at interacting with the crowd. Thomson formed the band in 2008 and then left for a few years in 2011 to go and prospect for gold in a Ontario town called Swastika, who knew?

 

The stage lights are dimmed and for five minutes or so we are treated to ‘The Spark’ from the current album of the same name. This is skillfully interspersed with sound samples from what sounds like a British World War two film, this all drives the anticipation upwards and the excitement of the audience was so palpable you could almost touch it. After that it was the full on Enter Shikari juggernaut hitting the crowd full on, albeit with “Juggernaut” not actually getting and airing on the night. Particular highlights for me were the three songs in a row starting with “Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour…”, moving on to “Take My Country Back” followed by “The Last Garrison”. Then later “Anaesthetist” totally blew the crowd away. By this time there was a virtual sea of kids crowd surfing to the stage to stand by Rou and the boys before diving back into the audience. Rou left the stage twice to serenade the crowd, once from the raised balcony at the side of the stage and later from the upper balcony facing the stage. The encore was stunning, with a particularly stunning version of “Live Outside”. The night ended with a short solo rendition from Rou of the Beatles “All You Need is Love”. I left the venue with a smile on my face as I always doing after seeing Enter Shikari, who I believe are one of the greatest British bands around at the moment.

Public service announcement; the pictures of Milk Teeth and Single Mothers were taken with my phone. Pictures of Enter Shikari are sourced via Google and all videos were found on YouTube.

 

 
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