With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Apollo Festival 2014 – York – Saturday 21st June June 30, 2014


 

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Unfortunately I was unable to attend last years Apollo Festival so I was quite excited about this one. On another unfortunate note for various reasons I ended up having to miss the set from Reverend and the Makers who headlined the day. But I did get to see absolutely loads of great music and I do hope to be back next year. This time for the full day!

I spent the day with my wonderful wife Catherine (regular readers will know her as Catwoman and our good friends Caron and John and their beautiful daughter Amelia. Catwoman and me are Odd parents to Amelia. the first stage we visited was the Access To Music Stage. Ruby was playing when we arrived, she looked very young, but she was also very, very good. Her own material had some very mature lyrics for someone so young and she even made an Olly Murs song sound good when she covered “Troublemaker”. We stayed in place to see the next act; Laura. Does nobody bother with surnames any more? Laura has an excellent voice and some great songs of her own. She also played two well-chosen and extremely well done covers. The first was the Beatles “Blackbird” and she finished her set with a storming acoustic cover of the Gnarls Barkley modern classic “Crazy”.

 

We wandered over to the Main Stage next where we saw We Could Be Astronauts last song. It was a pity that we weren’t able to see more because these guys sound bloody good! Redstar from Huddersfield were next and it would be difficult to find any fault with this superb band. Their playing is on the button and really tight. The vocalist has all the traits of a great front man and he backs that up with a great rock voice. Their songs are pretty damned good too. I reckon there may be some Kasabianesque influences in there and they made me think of what Beady Eye could have been had Liam retained any talent. But that is small stuff, they are very much their own band. The free CD album they handed out to us punters is brilliant and has been on heavy rotation in my car since the show. Chris Helme former singer of John Squire‘s first post Stone Roses project the Seahorses was next. he is clearly a talented bloke with a good voice but I found him a little dull.

It was back to the Access To Music Stage next where we saw the fabulous Barcode Zebra. probably the funkiest band of the day. A truly stupendous rhythm section and a vocalist for whom a description of awesome might not be quite enough. They are playing in York at a launch of their new EP in July and sadly I will be away that weekend. I would definitely pay to see this band again. also if you’re reading this good people of Barcode Zebra I would love to do an interview with you for this blog!

The Entertainment Co Stage was our next port of call where we found it impossible not to dance and sing along to the curators of that stage; The Entertainment Company! They don’t just play cover versions they own them! Are they the best party band ever?  Very probably! shall we book them for Catwoman’s 50th birthday party (yes she doesn’t look even close to 50 does she)? I hope they do private party bookings because I’d love them to play for us in September 2016!

After that it was a return to the Main Stage where we saw the Black Delta Movement. We didn’t catch their whole set but they come across as very accomplished rockers with a swampy blues rock feel. Not bad at all. Former Bluetones frontman the ‘Legendary’ Mark Morriss was on next with a rather brilliant acoustic set. He is wonderfully self-deprecating and even his new songs have an air of classics about them.

Next it was a quick jog back to the Entertainment Co Stage where we were hoping to see the highly recommended And The Hangnails (thank you Mr Pattinson). before they took to the stage those wonderful people from the Entertainment Company had allowed a young singer from LA to play a few songs. His name is Ben Caron and he is soulful and funky. A bit like Bruno Mars but with more of an R & B edge. He has a truly great voice with which he wowed the all too small crowd. I bought his album, a steal at £7 and he struck me as a really good bloke too. You really should check him out. And The Hangails came on the stage and it is fair to say that for just two people they make a massive noise. I don’t mean that in a negative way either, this pair know how to rock. I sensed some influence from the likes of the White Stripes, the Black Keys and the Strokes. Would I pay to see this mighty duo again? Hell yeah!

Target By Numbers were next on the Access To Music Stage. Good musicians and some ok songs, but they really didn’t do it for me. The last band we saw on the day was the Supermodels on the Main Stage. They are a covers band, but to simply say that really doesn’t do them justice. They cover some classic rock songs with such verve and talent that you could almost imagine you were listening to the real thing if your eyes were shut. Their cover of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” would give Daltrey and Townshend a run for their money. I really want to see them play again. Sadly we had to leave just before the Supermodels left the stage. But although we missed the headliners we had a fantastic day! well done to the organisers and for all the money raised for an excellent cause; the Smiley Riley Fund!

 

 

Brit Awards 2014 – Wednesday February 19th 2014 February 19, 2014


brits 2014The Brits has kicked off well with a storming “R U Mine” from those Sheffield scallywags the Arctic Monkeys. Will it all go downhill from here? Let’s find out shall we? Well at least James Corden was finally on fire for the first time hosting this show. Well the sleeve of his jacket was to set up a lame joke about the Arctic Monkey‘s pyrotechnics. Thankfully this will be his last Brits. The British Female Brit award was presented the shortest man in music Prince Rogers Nelson accompanied by his new band. Corden interrupted for a selfie with the purple one. Ellie Goulding won it and given the nominees deservedly so in my opinion. She was somewhat awed by meeting Prince too.

Katy Perry was next on stage and she went a bit Stargate Cleopatra on us. She sang “Dark Horse” from her new album ‘Prism’. I presume it’s not a George Harrison tribute. Kylie and Pharrell Williams presented the International Male solo Artist award after more inane and unfunny shite from Corden. It was won by Bruno Mars; personally I expected it to go to Justin Timberlake although I would have voted for Eminem.

Tinie Tempah and Fearne Cotton rocked up to present the British Breakthrough Act Award. It was well won by the rather excellent Bastille. I love the ‘Bad Blood’ album. Sadly Corden was back after that with a dreadful interview with One Direction which included some pathetic jokes about Justin Bieber in prison. Then we were subjected to Bruno Mars with “Treasure”. But to be fair I judged him too soon, that was a good performance. Really classy modern R & B.

Next up a welcome return from Lily Allen to present the award for Best British Group. Thank fuck it wasn’t won by Wand Erection. It went to a proper band instead. The marvellous Arctic Monkeys. The previously known winner of the newcomer award was the understated but talented Sam Smith.

Now we have the Global Success Award presented by Rosie double-barreled surname. Who the fuck is she? Was this Award manufactured for the ultimate manufactured band One Direction? Can’t we just sell them to the USA? Is Harry Styles having a wee the most controversial act of this years show? Sadly it probably is. The revolution doesn’t start here!

Beyonce live, now that was bloody good in my opinion. But was she lip syncing “XO”? The nest award was for best British single, presented by Katy Perry. Was she trying an English accent? Won by the fabulous Rudimental which thankfully beat Olly Murs and Wand Erection.

The first collaboration of this years show was Disclosure and Lorde with a really cool and funky take on Lorde’s “Royals”. Followed by a brilliant live rendition of “White Noise” with Aluna. The International Group award was presented by Cesc Fabregas (WTF?) and Nicole Scherzinger. The winners were Daft Punk. Could it really have been anyone else? The legend that is Nile Rodgers collected the award on their behalf.

Ellie Goulding was next to perform. She did “I Need Your Love” and “Burn”. I loved the massed percussion during “Burn”. I have really grown to like Ellie’s music. Noel Gallagher was there to present the best male solo artist award. Let’s hope he has a new album out soon. Fuck me Bowie’s only gone and won it! Kate Moss accepted it on Bowie’s behalf at his personal behest. A brilliant speech written by the Dame too. This has made my night!

Nick Grimshaw that bloke from Radio One who is moderately more talented than Chris Moyles stepped up to present the International Female solo artist award. Lorde was the winner and a bloody good choice too.  Bowie is a Lorde fan. Then we had yet another shite interview by Corden with Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams. The British Video award was voted for live on Twitter during the show and was presented by Jimmy Carr. Sadly it was won by Wand Erection with “Best Song Ever”, but it isn’t is it?

Rudimental and Bastille combined on stage to become Bastimental for the night. It certainly made up for a second 1D award for the night. Blimey just how sexy is Ella Eyre? Now we are onto the final award of the night, it’s the one that everyone wants. It’s best album and it was presented by Emilie Sande. It went to the Arctic Monkeys. It is a great album, but I was hoping for a second Brit of the night for David Robert Jones. But well done to Alex and the boys, although their acceptance speech was largely bollocks wasn’t it?

The show was closed by Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers. What a barnstorming performance from two music masters. “Get Lucky”, “Good Times”, “Happy” the hits just kept coming. Overall I think this years show was an improvement on last year. Some marks out of ten from me; James Corden 1/10, Bowie winning a Brit 10/10 and for the overall show 5/10 could do better.

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“Life is so unpredictable, yeah” January 9, 2014

Filed under: News — justwilliam1959 @ 8:49 pm
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Justin-bieber-funny-justin-bieber-10889956-399-266Have the Beliebers started to lose faith in their pop Muppet Apollo? Certainly in the UK it would seem that the belief level among the once fundamentalist Beliebers has fallen drastically. Justin’s latest album failed to make the UK top 40. Its first week sales propelled it to the less than heady heights of number 46 and the following week it barely managed to stay in the top 100 falling a staggering 48 places to number 94. It is only a fan compilation, however it is also the first time an album of his has failed to reach the UK top 20. However the chart is not necessarily a barometer of quality given that One Direction are now number one and Olly Murs is at number 4. Given that Mr Bieber has 48 million Twitter followers though that chart performance must be disappointing. USA sales figures for the album are unavailable.

justin-bieber-funny-picturesIs this as a result of his announcement that he is retiring? Is he really retiring? His management says that he isn’t. I will continue to belieb believe that he is though, how about you. I think the retirement of the Canadian monkey botherer can only have a positive effect on the world of Pop and music in general. What do you think?

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“The rabbits rush, around the brush” January 7, 2014


LandscapIn 1942 during World War 2 the BBC banned a rather innocuous little song. The tune was deemed to be ‘too catchy’ (an early earworm perhaps?) and the ‘powers that be’ thought that it would distract factory workers when it was played on the wireless. This of course would significantly damage the war effort. So what was that demonic song that might have caused Britain to lose the war? It was Bing Crosby’s version of “Deep In The Heart Of Texas”.

bing crosbyWhere are these people when you need them to ban such drivel as anything by One Direction, Matt Curdle, Olly Murs, Westlife and Boyzone to name but a few. However it is quite amusing that the Bing Crosby song is joined on the list of songs banned by the BBC by “Relax” – Frankie Goes To Hollywood, “Je T’Aime (Mois Non Plus)” – Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, “Fuck You” – Eamon, “God Save The Queen” – Sex Pistols and “Give Ireland Back To The Irish” and “Hi Hi Hi” both by Wings. These songs were variously banned for being about sex or drugs, containing profanities or being too political. All Bing’s little ditty did was simply be ‘too catchy’!

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“Take me away from this big bad world and agree to marry me” January 4, 2014


ArticleImage-51385Blur, who have been a little inactive on the new music front recently launched some new merchandise which you can buy on-line. Is it branded trainers, hoodies, t-shirts, baseball caps and the like? No, it’s a tea set, beer mats and flat caps. Better hurry up if you want a Blur tea set though, apparently only 300 were made. Click here to get yours. Blimey next they’ll be selling whippets named after the band members and maybe branded pipes and slippers. What other random merchandising can we expect? Cup cakes from Ozzy Osbourne, BingoWings.com on-line bingo from Madonna, X-Factor ear plugs made from Matt Cardle’s ear wax, Robbie Williams and One Direction toilet paper, Olly Murs manure? All your suggestions would be very gratefully received.

 

“How can you decline such grand designs?” July 26, 2012


So many people will be writing about the Olympics in the coming weeks so I thought I’d get my mention out-of-the-way in advance of the opening ceremony. Personally I have been a little bored with the journey of the Olympic flame, especially after discovering that there are thousands of torches and not just a handful. The constant news stories about the whereabouts of the flame; ‘the flame has now passed through the arse end of nowhere carried by A N other’ have left me completely underwhelmed. How do you feel?

however, the good news is I am really looking forward to the opening ceremony. Has Danny Boyle arranged the weather? Will David Beckham kick a flaming football? Will Olly Murs spontaneously combust to light the flame? I really don’t care, I’m sure it will be one of the most spectacular Olympic openings there have ever been.

Anyway in the spirit of this being a music blog here are a few of appropriate tunes for the Olympics (starting with one of my favourite songs of all time) and while I’m here I want to wish the GB team all the best and I hope they win more medals than they have ever done!

We’re all looking forward to women’s beach volleyball aren’t we?

And finally how about a Billy bonus of another song from the rather excellent and sadly missed Gene!

 

“I’m gonna paint you by numbers and colour you in” aka The Brit Awards 2012 (February 21st) February 22, 2012


It’s that time of year again, the annual celebration and all round back slap of the UK music industry that is the Brits. There are 46 nominees this year including Adele who comes to the party already the proud owner of six Grammys. In a slight departure from my live typing last year I am doing this from the recording of the show. This meant I was able to spend a great night with Catwoman and some of our best friends and their lovely daughter Amelia. (Incidentally if you’d like to read the blog I write monthly for Amelia just click here)

So on with the show. A great and bombastic opener, “Charlie” from Coldplay. As with last year the event is presented by James Corden. The little clips introducing the best album nominees began with Adele’s ’21’ which is appropriately enough the best-selling album in the UK so far this century. As expected there was a film montage in memory of Whitney Houston which preceded the live appearance of Florence and the Machine. I am always blown away by that girl’s voice and tonight was no exception with a superb performance of “No Light No Light”. She seemed encased in a white light prison at one point. A prism prison if you will!

The first award was for Best British Female, presented by the beautifully proportioned Kylie Minogue. Whilst I would have liked to have seen Kate Bush win it there was really no surprise to see Adele be announced as a very worthy winner. She gave a really amusing acceptance speech including suggesting that she felt like a drag queen next to Kylie. The Best International Male award was presented by Jessie J and Jack Whitehall (who the fuck is he?) The winner was Bruno Mars with a bouffant hair do that seemed to add about a foot to his stature. His thank you speech was probably the blandest and least controversial there has ever been at the Brits.

The next live act was Olly Murs with the Rizzle Kicks. This is a real dilemma for me, I love the Rizzle Kicks but Olly Murs voice makes me want to eat my cats vomit with a side order of fresh road kill. It was a big dance production of Olly’s “My Heart Skips A Beat” including an attempt at Murs robotic dancing. At least his Mum and Simon Cowell would be proud of him.

The Critics Choice award went to Emeli Sande and was known in advance, this was given to the wonderful Jessie J last year. Mr Ed Sheerhan was the next turn to take to the stage with a wonderfully sparse version of his superb song “Lego House”. Just how good was that? The next award was for Best British Single presented by the immensely talented Tinie Tempah. Sadly the winner was the rather insipid attempt at anthemic; “What Makes You Beautiful” from X Factor Pop Muppets One Direction. Did they get dressed in a James Bond costume shop?

Jenson Button was chosen to present the award for International Female, not for his musical talents presumably. Still he’d make a better James Bond than One Direction, probably a better singer too. The award went to Rihanna, possibly one of the sexiest women on the planet in my opinion. To make up spectacularly for Olly Murs Noel Gallagher appeared with his High Flying Birds with the stupendous “AKA What A Life” with Chris Martin off of Coldplay on keyboards. I think it’s now very clear that Noel was and is the more talented Gallagher brother.

Next was a tribute to Amy Winehouse. Quite fittingly interspersing some of her brilliant songs with some great interview clips all shown in black and white. Losing Whitney was very sad but losing Amy was a tragedy. Best British Male was the next gong and it was presented by the sharp dressed and edgy Plan B. The award went to Ed Sheerhan who has now ditched the green T Shirt for a suit and tie.

Huey Morgan and Jo Whiley presented the Best British Group award. This one has been taken home by Coldplay twice before (in 2001 and 2003) and this year they make it a third. It was voted for by BBC Radio Two listeners. A really sincere acceptance speech though. James Corden then interviewed, very briefly, Kylie Minogue. He really should stick to his day job! The stage was owned by Adele for the next live performance, a storming “Rolling In The Deep”. She looked stunning, I wonder if that pretentious twat Karl Lagerfeld was watching.

The International Group award was presented by two of the remaining members of Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor. The Foo Fighters were very worthy winners and were the first recipients of the evening not able to be there to collect their award. They did supply a great little video clip though. Nicole Scherzinger was joined by none other than musical superstar, sorry I meant football superstar Cesc Fabregas to present the Best Breakthrough act award. It was the second of the night for Ed Sheerhan. An interesting acceptance speech, apparently his manager could do with a new sofa.

Bruno Mars performed “Just The Way You Are” dressed like a tuxedoed James Bond lookalike. Except that the hair is probably an explosive secret weapon presented to this pint-sized warbler by Bond Boffin Q. Then we had another awkward Corden interview, this time with the prepubescent One Direction. A bizarre pairing of Rob Brydon and Will.i.Am presented the Best International Breakthrough act which unsurprisingly went to the talented and somewhat astral Lana Del Ray. She also won the award for blubbiest acceptance speech of the night, but I do love her album.

“We Found Love” from Rihanna was a live performance to be reckoned with. Only she could make a kind of painters smock sexy whilst performing in front of a gang of dancing painter decorators. Her hair had grown immeasurably from her earlier appearance. Has she taken the same follicle elixir as Bruno Mars or was it just a really classy syrup?

Finally it came to Ray Winstone to present the Outstanding Contribution To Music Award to Blur aka Graham, Dave , Alex and Damon. Next was the MasterCard British Album of the year award, presented by the man with talent oozing out of his pockets, George Michael. This had Adele’s name on it months ago didn’t it? That girl will need a bigger shelf for all these awards. How the fuck did they end up curtailing her acceptance speech in such an abrupt way.

Blur were on stage to close the show kicking off their set with “Girls And Boys” and then appropriately “Song 2”. They were then joined on stage by Phil Daniels for a great rendition of “Parklife” Sadly that is where the TV coverage ended, I would love to have seen the whole set from Blur. I hear that they finished off with “Tender” and “This Is A Low”, but somehow I imagine this was quite a high for them!

 

 
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