With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Reading Festival 2014 – The Preview August 18, 2014


leeds-festival-2014

Here we are again, time for my annual pilgrimage to the Reading Festival with my good friend Nick Horslen. Collectively we are the Zimmer Twins a.k.a Bald Guy and Silver Dude. So what is on the agenda for us this year? well there are plenty of bands that we have seen many times before, particularly on the Main Stage. Friday on that stage looks very appealing, particularly Deaf Havana, Jimmy Eat World, Enter Shikari and Vampire Weekend all of whom we have seen before but entertaining none the less. There is a joint headline thing going on that day with Paramore and Queens Of The Stone Age. I’m not too sure about the joint headline thing but both are very good bands who I have seen quite a few times. Friday on the NME/ Radio 1 Stage has a couple of acts that I’d like to see. Notably Warpaint, Metronomy and Gerard Way.I really don’t want to miss Aluna George on the Radio 1 Dance Stage either. I can see some big clashes cropping up for us that afternoon! As for the Lock Up Stage I really want to see Brody Dalle. I am never going to be able to see everyone I want to on that day. Some tough choices need to be faced clearly. I haven’t even considered any of the other stages yet either! As usual I would appreciate any recommendations from you folks reading this, especially if it makes our hard choices a bit easier.

Saturday’s Main Stage line up also looks good and once again it features many acts that I have seen before; including Pulled Apart By Horses, The Hives, Foster The People, Imagine Dragons, Jake Bugg and the Arctic Monkeys. But I have to see DZ Deathrays on the Radio 1 Stage first thing on Saturday. I saw them at the Woolpack in York a couple of weeks back and they were awesome. Also on that stage on my to see list are Royal Blood, Cage The Elephant, Die Antwoord, Chvrches and Bombay Bicycle Club. Then maybe Architects on the Pit stage. Band Of Skulls and We Are Scientists on the Festival Republic Stage. I also want to pay a visit to the Alternative Stage for some comedy. Does anyone have the ability to clone me so that I can attend every stage? Please send me the details, what do you need? A DNA sample, blood, sweat, tears, a stool sample? just let me know because as you are all well aware; you’re never alone with a clone!

Sunday’s closing night on the Main stage is good, but at the moment I prefer the other days. Although missing Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Blink 182 would be disappointing. However Disclosure headline the NME/ Radio 1 Stage that night and I don’t want to miss them either. On that same stage on Sunday I also fancy Clean Bandit, the Horrors and the 1975. Blimey this doesn’t get any easier does it? Then of course there is the Klaxons on the Radio 1 Dance Stage. The Lock Up stage is headlined by the magnificent Gogol Bordello with support from the Frankly (Turner) un-missable Mongol Horde.

OK clearly I will enjoy loads of acts but I will also be disappointed at having to miss so many. I await your recommendations dear reader, along with your plans for cloning me. The Zimmer Twins will see you there!

If you squint you can just about spot the Zimmer Twins in that crowd!

If you squint you can just about spot the Zimmer Twins in that crowd!

 

 

Reading Festival 2012 – Day 1 – Friday 24th August August 27, 2012


After what seemed ages the Reading Festival is here again and as usual I made the annual pilgrimage with my good friend Nick Horslen. The first band that we saw on day 1 was the Cancer Bats. I would describe them as hardcore heavy screamers from Canada and they were bloody good too! Dead to Me were on the Lock Up stage and they were rather good and certainly not dead to anyone! I wasn’t sire about the jaunty angled baseball cap though. Coheed & Cambria were on the main stage I found them a bit Biffy Clyro-like but not as good! I suppose you might describe them as 21st century prog rock.

Friends sounded good but sadly we missed most of their set. Spector came next with the first mobot of the day, spookily just after I said to Nick I wonder when we’ll see one from the stage. I like these guys a lot, they have some really anthemic songs especially “Never Fade Away”. Are the Hives the ultimate festival party band? Definitely! They have it all; top hats and tails, attitude, great songs and even a ninja stage crew! We saw the Blackout next, hmmmm seems to be a Shikari influence in there. But I would send the red-haired bloke back to Wales he adds nothing to them in my opinion!

I love Scroobius Pip but I thought that the sound mix for him was terrible. Wow the BBC Introducing stage has a mosh circle and the Attention Thieves worked it well. Very hard and very heavy. Next we were at the NME tent for Passion Pit from Boston. They do what it says on the tin; but with loads more passion than you can fit in a tin and far from the pits! A truly great band. But even after that things went up a notch or two with the great Graham Coxon, what a truly awesome guitarist he is. A little less stage presence than Damon but tons more than Liam Gallagher. A brilliant set and he even has a drummer that looked like a bewigged Mel Smith. We passed by Paramore on the Main stage to see the rather spiffing Bastille who closed with a great 90s dance cover.

The BBC introduced us to the Proxies; I think they’ll be back. The Courteeners were a bit identikit indie pop. I’m sure that if you’re a big fan of them you were in ecstasy watching them. For me they were pretty good but not the most exciting band I have ever seen. Then it was off to the Main Stage to round the day off with Bob Smith’s combo, the Cure. They last appeared at the festival in 1979 and I had never seen them before so the prospects were good. Whilst they are clearly a very tight band, featuring Reeves Gabrels on guitar I think, I don’t think I’d see them again. I am glad I had the opportunity this time though. I felt that the first hour was somewhat soporific but the second part really livened up. So that was the end of the first day and the rain held off too.

 

Reading Festival 2012 – The Preview August 7, 2012


We are now just over two weeks away from the start of the 2012 Reading Festival. Since I moved north to York in 2007 this has become my annual pilgrimage back south where I meet up with my good friend and festival buddy extraordinaire Mr nick Horslen. Undoubtedly soon to qualify as the oldest rockers in a field in Reading (our combined age is definitely over one hundred!) we have attended the world’s number one rock festival for many years. Although I live nearer to the Leeds end of it I won’t be going there until I can only move by Zimmer frame as I have always seen Leeds as the snotty young brother of Reading.

I have mixed feelings about some of the headliners this year. The Foo Fighters are always awesome an I doubt that will change this year. The Cure, who headline the main stage on the Friday night haven’t played the Reading Festival since 1979 so I’d like to think they’ll have something special up their sleeves for this year. It’s Kasabian that really concern me, I find them a little predictable and almost Spinal Tapesque, like someone said today I’m going to invent a rock band. I may be convinced otherwise but for me they come across as Leaden Zeppelin, Slightly Dark Sabbath or Shallow Purple. I am sure that there are plenty of you out there that disagree with that opinion, so feel free to comment.

There are some great acts lower down the bill on the Main Stage that for me are ‘must see’ performers. Those are; Florence and the Machine, Paramore, Eagles Of Death Metal, Cancer Bats and the truly stupendous Enter Shikari. The Kaiser Chiefs are third on the Main Stage bill on the Sunday, which I find a bit surprising. They have been lacklustre at best lately in my opinion, what do you think?

I am disappointed that I will probably miss Justice in the NME/ Radio tent as they are on the same time as the Foo Fighters. But there are a number of other bands and artists that I want to see on the NME/ Radio 1 stage; notably the Horrors, the Joy Formidable, Hadouken, the Hives, At The Drive In (who are on at the same time as Kasabian) and most of all Graham Coxon.

On the other stages I will do my best to watch Less Than Jake, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Azealia Banks and Grimes. But of course I can’t ignore the often excellent BBC Introducing stage where Nick and I often pick a band with the wackiest name to see, but we are also open to recommendations too! So I’m currently considering Wet Nuns, Fish Tank, Dingus Khan and Attention Thieves.

Nick and I often meet some really interesting people at the festival and last year was no exception. In fact last year we met a great bunch of people, mostly South African, but with a smattering of Brits. One of the South Africans was a hilarious bloke called Jason Steyn. (Jason if you’re reading this let me know if you’ll be there this year). They shared their booze, we shared our food and supplied me with a Prince Charles mask! if those guys are back again this year and indeed if you want to meet me and Nick we will be just to the left of the front of the lighting/ mixing tower as you face the main stage, although obviously not if we’re at one of the other stages. You can’t miss us, Nick is very tll and grey haired and his festival nickname is Silver Dude. I am somewhat shorter, slightly older and have hardly any hair, my festival nickname is Billy Baldust. (Actually I just made that one up, but there will be a prize for anyone who comes up with a better one!

Anyway that’s enough wittering on from me. I would love to hear your comments on this post or indeed on any of my posts. I would also love to meet you at Reading and would be more than happy to give you a name check on my posts from the festival! Whetehr I see you or not I hope you enjoy yourself!

 

“250,000 Miles On A Clear Night In June” June 27, 2011


Just a few random things heading your way for this post. Let’s start with the sale of an iconic item of Michael Jackson’s clothing, it’s the jacket that he wore in the “Thriller” video. It sold recently for £1.1m in an auction in Beverley Hills. It was bought by an US Commodities Trader who plans to use it to raise money for children’s charities. Given the many allegations made against Jacko the use of his old clothes in that way does seem somewhat appropriate, doesn’t it? Click here to read the story on the BBC.

Lady Gaga is being sued in the USA for allegedly pocketing far more money than is appropriate in the sale of her Japan Earthquake Relief wristbands. The lawsuit, in which she is being sued for more than £3m, alleges that the wristbands are sold for $5 each and include shipping and tax costs meaning less than 10% would reach its beneficiaries. But obviously we don’t know how much of the detail Gaga herself is aware of, so watch this space and click here to read the story on the NME site.

Madonna will soon feature in a comic in the US. It will be in Bluewater Productions ‘Female Force’ series of comics. It’s hardly Batman or the Fantastic Four is it? Even more so when you consider that some of the other women to have featured to date are; Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin and Margaret Thatcher. I suppose that the latter two could almost pass as super villains though. Even though I have a large collection of comics I think it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be buying the Amazing Adventures Of Madge.

To coincide with the release of the new Muppets movie later this year a number of rock acts have recorded cover versions of many Muppet numbers. Amy Lee off of Evanescence has  recorded one of my favourite Muppet songs, “Halfway Down The Stairs” originally sung by Kermit’s nephew Robin. Weezer and Hayley Williams off of Paramore have covered “Rainbow Connection”. Other artists recording songs for the album are; Alkaline Trio, My Morning Jacket, Airborne Toxic Event and OK Go.

It's a tragedy that Gaga has not been allowed to record a Muppet song, especially after she murdered so many of Kermit's relatives to make her dress.

Did you see any of the Glasto coverage? I thought the BBC did a great job with it, although I didn’t see the Wombles anywhere! As for the headliners; I thought U2 were ok, Coldplay were bloody good and Beyoncé was truly amazing. She even managed to cover Eurythmics, Alanis Morrisette, Prince and the Kings Of Leon. despite the rumours that her man Jay Z would join her on stage, he didn’t, but she did a rather interesting duet with Tricky. My main thought as I watched her was how little talent the likes of Cheryl Cole actually have.

I’m loving the new Eminem video for “Space Bound”, what do you think of it? It does contain the usual element of controversy from Mr Mathers. This time gun related. But I really believe the man is on top form.

Gaga just get's everywhere doesn't she?

And finally would you like your girlfriend, wife or partner to wear knickers with a picture of Thom Yorke on them? personally I wouldn’t, but if you’re that way inclined you can actually buy them. Has anyone reading this purchased any of them? Click here to see for yourself.

 

Reading Festival 2010 – Day 3, Sunday 29th August August 30, 2010


Off to the NME/ Radio tent to kick off our third day at the Reading Festival, where we saw the Joy Formidable and they were indeed a formidable joy, if you’ve not heard them you really should check them out. After that it was back to the BBC Introducing Stage to see another band from Wakefield (remember the Penguins from yesterdays post?) These guys were called the Runaround Kids and I felt that they had a bit of the Undertones about them, the vocalist also has a similar style to Luke from Reading band Steal The Smile. Next up it was Local Natives from Los Angeles and this was their first Reading appearance. I am pretty damned sure that it won’t be the last for these purveyors of great summer pop harmonies. We trundled back to the BBC Introducing Stage again after that for another local band; the Peers. Very much a local band done good, they are a really tight band and seemed incredibly well rehearsed.Los Campesinos have as many personnel as Arcade Fire and are not dissimilar in sound, a very good band indeed.

After our earlier experience in the Comedy Tent (aka Alternative Stage) we returned to see two comics in a row. First up was Charlie Baker from Devon and bears a striking resemblance to Jack Black and he uses this as part of his act, genuinely a funny guy. Secondly we saw Robin Ince; a great ‘leftie’ comedian. We actually hit the comedy tent to get out of the rain, but in spite of that Baker and Ince were bloody hilarious.

The Festival Republic Stage was the next to be graced with our presence, we went there because neither Nick or I could be bothered with Limp Bizkit on the Main Stage. At this point let me tell you Nick’s Limp Bizkit joke; “Do you know that you can now put Viagra in your tea to stop your biscuit going limp?” Boom! Boom! Anyway back to the Festival Republic Stage, the band are from Philadelphia and are called Free Energy. Sadly it was a small crowd, but these guys could work a crowd of almost any size I reckon. The lead singer was very Jaggeresque and came across like Bobby Gillespie with more funk than Primal Scream. In a nutshell an archetypal classic rock band, truly fucking amazing.

Back to the Introducing Stage yet again for the Brilliant Things. The singer appeared to have dressed for the prom or was perhaps a fan of Stevie Nicks‘ (off of Fleetwood Mac) sartorial style. Thanks to Mr H for pointing out that latter suggestion. None of that was meant as negative though, the Brilliant Things are clearly a very good band. Kele off of Bloc Party was next in the NME/ Radio 1 Tent. Electro funk and dance styles really suit him, although I’m not sure the pyjamas did though. But nonetheless he played a storming set and worked his audience really well. Exit International were then on the Introducing Stage. They played screaming hard rock with perhaps too much emphasis on the screaming. It makes you wonder though exactly how the fuck three people can make such noise.

Weezer would easily win the best crowd interaction and comedy awards for the festival if such awards exist. The singer wore a cat hat given to him by someone in the crowd for most of their set. His energy was truly phenomenal and he even found time to fall in the mud while dressed as Lady Gaga. That was during their excellent MGMT cover which had a touch of Gaga thrown in. I am looking forward to seeing them again someday too. Paramore were next, they were very good and had a strong fan base in the crowd. Personally I thought they would have fitted better if they had been on before Weezer. Hayley’s voice was a little too low in the mix for the first couple of songs. The crowd really loved them.

Finally it was time for the last headline band of this years festival and most of us in the crowd had been in position since just before Weezer’s set, those at the front had been there even longer. Yes the stage was set for the return of Blink 182. I had never seen them live before, although I had seen Mark Hoppus with +44 (Travis had a broken arm that tour so didn’t appear, I never had the chance to see Tom Delonge’s Angels And Airwaves. But however good these Blink offshoots were they were surely nowhere near as good as the sum of the original parts. Their stage set, including some strange rabbit animations and a brilliant light show was excellent, but it was the power and camaraderie of the band that really shone through. They played a blistering set, just allowing a few moments of quite amusing toilet humour style banter between songs, including a great dig at Jedward. the crowd were really fired up and everyone I spoke to really loved it.

What a great close to a great festival. although when I first saw the line up back in March I thought I’d be disappointed, I even thought this might be my last Reading. Well I wasn’t and it won’t be! Roll on Reading 2011. Who will the headliners be? I don’t know but my guess at the moment is that it could be Linkin Park and maybe Green Day. I’d be happy with either of those. Who would you like to see there next year?

 

YHR Radiowaves Gig @ Stereo in York 12th August 2010 August 13, 2010


I had the pleasure of attending yet another great gig promoted by Mr Simon Pattinson from York. It was another benefit for York Hospital Radio and £300 was raised. As usual Simon promoted a brilliant gig, you can’t really beat four excellent bands for £5 can you? But firstly let me apologise for missing Rosie who were the first on the bill. But all the people I spoke to that saw them rated them very highly.

The first band I saw on the night was the Paper Tigers. A great band name in my opinion and whilst their name says paper their sound is so much stronger. A female singer with a great rock vocal ability, a superbly tight rhythm section and a guitar sound reminiscent of Steve Jones aural attack with the Pistols. I’m sure from a visual perspective they might be compared to the likes of Paramore. But believe me these guys are bloody good in their own right. They can rock out and they can be mellow. I particularly loved their song “Rebellion” and frankly anyone who writes a song called rebellion is more than alright with me! I hope they go on to bigger things.

The next band up were the Shadracks, how good a name is that? A really exciting band who I suspect really know how to party. They’re from Scarborough and even have a song in their repertoire about that very town, which they referred to as a shit hole. But then don’t we all think the town we come from is a shit hole. Hillingdon, where I came from certainly is. The Shadracks sound was reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys before they got a bit pretentious and up themselves. They also carry a great dose of superb northern wit with them. They had, sadly, run out of CDs ( a real shame, because I definitely would have bought one!) but to make up for it they brought along a load of hand-made party goody bags containing sweets and tied up with a glow in the dark wrist band. All this was hand crafted by the singers Mum. Now that is a brilliant touch! I absolutely loved their song “Lucy Locket”. Their disco Bomb activity worked well, getting everyone to crouch down and then, on the count of four, jump up and pogo. I have seen the Streets do this at Reading, but that audience was far more sedate than the Shadracks audience! I would definitely pay to see these guys again.

The headliners were Surprise Fire, these guys really know how to rock and how to work the audience. I bought their EP before they had finished their third song! A really powerful guitar sound and a great heavy drummer. This is a band with a social conscience (check out their song “Coal”) and a great sense of fun (they had us all join in a rendition of Happy Birthday for their friend Daniel). The singers vocal wasn’t mixed very well for the first couple of songs, but even then they were still very good and just got better! I can see them working really well as part of a support package to someone like Rage Against The Machine. They would go down a storm at the Reading Festival given the chance.

So after my last gig it seem that normal service has been resumed. Regular readers will know that my last gig review contained a view of probably the worst band I have ever seen. This gig was excellent and I would definitely seek out all the bands again given the chance. I will also check out Rosie, seeing as how working late made me miss them.

Finally, if Simon can fill Stereo, how come whenever my son’s band Steal The Smile play at the FaceBar in Reading there is hardly anyone there? It’s all about promotion in my opinion, some promoters promote and many others don’t!

 

NME Shockwaves Awards special! February 26, 2009


As many of you know tonight saw the music fraternity out once again for an annual awards/ lovefest. This time the NME Shockwaves Awards, mostly seen as a good alternative to the Brits and indeed often called the Brats. It has been argued by some that the NME awards have become too commercial these days. never as commercial as the Brits though, surely?

Anyway the results for tonight are

Godlike Genius Award goes to the Cure, but then we all knew that didn’t we? seeing as how it was announced weeks ago. There is a great free CD of Cure covers with this weeks NME

Outstanding Contribution to Music goes to Mercury Award and Brit winners, the fabulous Elbow. Oasis won Best British Band, no real surprise there, but to me they sound a little old and tired these days, especially on the new single “Falling Down” what do you think?
Noel Gallagher also won best blog, hey I’m going for that next year 😉

The magnificent Muse won Best Live Band and also Best Album Artwork for their excellent live album “HAARP” Have you heard it? On top of those two awards Matt Bellamy also won the sexiest man award. I love the band but Matt doesn’t really do it for me in that way, but then again I’m straight. Ladies (and gay men) was Matt Bellamy a good choice for sexiest man?

MGMT won two awards; Best New Band and Best Track for “Time To Pretend” I saw them supporting Radiohead last summer and they were bloody good

Alex Turner was the recipient of two awards; Best DVD for the “Arctic Monkeys Live At The Apollo” and Best Video for The Last Shadow Puppets “My Mistakes Were Made For You” However he did lose out in the Best Dressed award to his girlfriend Alexa Chung

Even those nice boys the Jonas Brothers won two awards, mind you those were Worst Album (“A Little Bit Longer”) and Worst Band

Barack Obama rather unsurprisingly won Hero Of The Year, now that is one I certainly agree with.

His predecessor in the White House George W Bush also won a well deserved award, for the 6th year in a row too, the Villain Of The Year. I wonder who it will go to next year now that Dubya won’t be around?

The Killers deservedly won Best International Band with fellow countrymen the Kings Of Leon getting the Best Album gong for the superb “Only By The Night”

Hayley Williams from Paramore won the Sexiest Woman prize and yes I can agree with that. Another woman, Amy Winehouse won the Worst Dressed award. Was she really that bad?

One of Amy’s buddies, Mr Pete Doherty won Best Solo Artist, well do forgive me but has he done that much from a solo point of view yet?

Best Dancefloor Filler was the rather good “Dance Wiv Me” by Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris

The rest of the awards were; Best Live Event – Glastonbury, Best TV Show – The Mighty Boosh, Best Website – youtube.com (well at least that proves the vote wasn’t rigged otherwise it would have gone to nme.com!)
, Best Venue – London Astoria and lastly the Philip Hall Radar Award – The Big Pink

Check out the pictures and post awards party news at the NME

 

 
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