Allegedly according to producer George Martin, the 60’s Batman TV theme tune inspired George Harrison of the Beatles, to write the hit song “Taxman”. Now there’s a thought for a brand new super hero team up; Taxman and Robbing! I guess it’s also fair to say that the Jam ripped off “Taxman” with start and Weller’s band also recorded a version of the Batman theme!
I wonder how long it will be before folk start referring to the last weekend in June as Apollo weekend and not Glasto weekend. Well many people in York already do, and rightly so this relatively new festival is still very vibrant, friendly and fun even in its fourth year. I have now been three times and I enjoyed each visit immensely. If you like good music and a good day out for the family in Yorkshire then look no further than York’s Apollo Festival.
Anyway this year I was a bit of a lazy stage hopper in that I only visited one other stage apart from the Main Stage. I arrived at about 11.15 along with my beautiful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman our good friend Caron and our amazing Odd Daughter Amelia. The first act we saw was the Ainsty’s Got Talent winner B Boy Swirl, aged just nine years old he is just three years older than Amelia. He proved himself to be a talented whirlwind of beatbox noise and break dance frenzy. What a brilliant start to the day.
Next up on the Main Stage was someone with a vocal talent that could easily compare and compete with Adele. The magnificent and truly soulful Kymberley Kennedy. Definitely check this lady out, she has a gorgeous voice. After that it was a quick dash to the Rick Witter Premier Stage for me to catch the final part of a stunning set from those magnificent scamps, the Mallrats. Just like the last time I saw them they were awesome!
I made my way back to the Main Stage for the second half of the Jackobins set. These scousers owe a debt to Brit Pop, but only a small one. Their talent goes much deeper than that. Ace mod covers band the outstanding 5:15’s were up next. What a party band these boys are, covers of the Jam, solo Weller, the Specials, the Yardbirds and so much more. They were followed by Chris Helme the former front man of the Seahorses. He is clearly a very talented and very chilled kind of bloke. But I’m afraid his music just doesn’t do it for me. But to each their own right?
I was disappointed that I had to miss the Supermodels this year. But I did have good reason, I had earlier bumped into the fabulous Rachel Brown of Northern Exposure who has recommended the Velcro Teddy Bears for ages. So clearly I was not going to miss them. Rachel and her fella Ash were also in the audience in the Rick Witter Premier Stage for the Velcro Teddy Bears Apollo début. So what were this highly rated Sheffield four piece band like? The were bloody stupendous. They rocked the place hard. If you love Led Zep, the softer side of Sabbath and hard but soulful rock then you will become a fan of the Velcro Teddy Bears. An incredibly tight band with a vocalist who could probably make any song his own. Their songs have the hallmarks of future classics. For me they were the band of the day. Thank you Rachel! I was also pleased to see my mate Kevin Forth in attendance too.
Dave McCabe and the Ramifications were next to entertain us from the Main Stage. Dave in case you wondered is a former Zuton. The band was excellent from start to finish in my opinion although I really would have liked to have seen them close with “Valerie” but Dave was having none of that.
Dodgy were the penultimate Main Stage band and it is fair to say that they were far more than just “Good Enough”. A stonking version of “Staying Out For The Summer” even managed to keep the rain at bay for a while. Sadly the rain really kicked in after Cast’s arrival, what a “Fine Time” for a downpour? So I must apologise to the marvellous Cast as we left about halfway through their set as we were soaked. But they are clearly still a great festival band. I saw them back in the 90s and if anything they have got even better.
So once again I have had the pleasure of attending another wonderful Apollo festival. This is one small wacky step for Dad dancing but one giant leap for festival kind. If you’re not already thinking about getting your tickets for next year, well frankly you’re not well!
Public Service Announcement – None of the pictures or videos were taken or filmed by me. I ‘borrowed’ them all from t’interweb.
The other day I decided to take a quick count of all the artists in my album collection where I have at least 10 albums by a single artist. I included CDs, LPs and cassettes (although the only non compilation cassettes that I have are David Bowie bootlegs). Oh and while I’m on bootleg recordings obviously I have included them whether they are live, studio outtakes or simply unreleased stuff. I have not included digital recordings. I was surprised to find that there are 4o artists where I have at least ten releases by them. The list is below, (artist followed by the number of albums) there are no real surprises for me, are you surprised at any on this list? Have you ever done anything similar? I have also added a song from each of the top ten artists 🙂
David Bowie 141
Bob Dylan 30 Johnny Nash 26 Bruce Springsteen 26
Neil Young 25
Elton John 19
Bob Marley 19
Rod Stewart 18
Pink Floyd 17
REM 17 Elvis Costello 15
The Eels 15
Paul Weller 15
Ryan Adams 14 Led Zeppelin 14
The Clash 13 Elvis Presley 13
Kate Bush 12
Lou Reed 12
Stevie Wonder 12
Tom Waits 11
ZZ Top 11
Jeff Buckley 10
Julian Cope 10
Johnny Cash 10 Michael Jackson 10
John Lennon 10 Manic Street Preachers 10
Kylie Minogue 10 Iggy Pop 10
Rolling Stones 10
Frank Turner 10
The Who 10
Paul Weller is without doubt a legend and one of the coolest people in the music business. Even more so now that he has a slightly more normal haircut. Last night at the Barbican was the second time I had seen him perform as a solo artist. I had also seen him as a part of the Jam and as a part of the Style Council back in the olden days. Last night I was there with my good friend John Williams. We both really enjoyed the support band, the Sundowners from the Wirral. I would describe them as something like Fleetwood Mac in a psychedelic mood whilst on some really strong acid. Their lead guitarist is phenomenal. But they are well worth checking out in my opinion.
As for Mr Weller, well what can I say that hasn’t been said many times before? Not a lot really but I think he is clearly one of the finest musicians of his generation. He and his band maintained a high level of energy throughout the show which was around two hours in total and included two encores. Interestingly he played no Style Council or Jam songs. But then he has such a wealth of solo songs it hardly matters at all. He played some new and relatively new songs; “Saturn’s Pattern” from his forthcoming new album and “Brand New Toy” which was an exclusive Record Store Day release from last year. The highlights for me were storming versions of “Peacock Suit”, “Uh Huh, Oh Yeh” and “From The Floorboards Up” and a really soulful playing of “You Do Something To Me” and “Broken Stones”. However the pinnacle for me came in the second encore when Weller and the band brought the house down with a superbly executed “Changing Man”. I am pleased to say that the sound at the Barbican has improved immensely since my last visit. Paul Weller has picked some great musicians to for this band. Especially Steve Cradock who is an incredibly talented guitarist.
During the first couple of songs a fight broke out, that is something that I haven’t seen at a gig for a while. Weller remarked that this was ‘just like the old days!’ If I have one complaint it is the hundreds of phones and iPad style tablets that became a constant presence as punters filmed as much as they could. For all of those of you guilty of that I say put your electronic equipment down and watch the gig you morons! If you have never seen Paul Weller the I want to know why? I will definitely be seeing him again sometime!
And finally another one of those pesky public service announcements. None of the pictures or videos in this blog post were taken or filmed by me!
Just two more days at work for me before Christmas now. Then it’ll be eight days of over indulging in food and drink before going back to the office in January probably considerably fatter than when I left. December 22nd or day 22 of the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem advent posts for 2013. Clearly you know the drill, this means that you get two songs with the number 22 in the title.
Is Bradley that tall? Or is Weller just short?
The first of those is from the Modfather, Paul Weller. The song is “22 Dreams“, the title track from Paul’s double LP (single CD) released in 2008. The song was also part of a single coupled with “Sea Spray” from the same album. Sadly it only made it to number 59 in the UK singles chart. The album fared much better though, reaching the number one spot in the UK album chart in 2008. This was Weller’s third solo album to reach the top spot. The song was co-written by Weller and Simon Dine. The latter also plays, cowbell, horns, guitar and bizarrely, siren on the track. It was one of eight tracks on the album that Dine had a hand in writing. Although the album was called ’22 Dreams’ it didn’t quite match that number for tracks. The standard issue of the album has 21 tracks.
The second of todays songs comes from another iconic British act, Iron Maiden with “22 Acacia Avenue”. The song is taken from the band’s 1982 UK number one album ‘The Number Of The Beast’, but it wasn’t released as a single. Iron Maiden are one of the most succesful heavy metal bands in history with 85 million album sales worldwide. The band were formed back in 1975, appropriately for these posts on Christmas Day. So they are close to their 38th birthday. Steve Harris is credited with choosing the name after he saw a film based on the Alexandre Dumas novel ‘The Man In The Iron Mask‘. The band went through many personnel changes in their early years. Perhaps the best known Maiden vocalist is Bruce Dickinson. He replaced Paul Di’Anno in September 1981. Prior to that Dickinson had been the lead singer for another UK band, Samson.
As far as début albums go I believe that Jake Bugg‘s self titled long player is among the best ever and if you don’t have it yet then do something about it! Anyway a few months ago we bought tickets to see Jake play at the Barbican in York. That night finally arrived on Friday night. I am pleased to say it was a brilliant evening.
Misty Miller was the support and she played a great 2o minute set. She has some really classy songs and a relaxed stage manner. Her drummer and bass player work well together too. I sensed a bit of Tina Weymouth from Talking Heads about her. Catwoman suggested a voice as strong as Deborah Harry‘s. Either way this young woman is pretty darned good. As well as supporting Mr Bugg she has also played a few support slots with Tom Odell; so she is getting some great exposure. I suggest that you check her out soon.
As for Jake Bugg. It’s hard to believe that he has only been around for such a short while. I mean he is 35 years younger than me and he was born more than 20 years after I went to my first gig. He is a truly consummate rock performer. Great songs, great playing, the band were great and Jake’s singing was excellent. On top of that I was supremely impressed with his guitar soloing. Jake Bugg will go a long, long way and deservedly so. If his stated mission is to kill off all the X Factor shit then he has the talent, the drive and the weaponry to do it. If your child or anyone you know is a big X Factor fan lock them in a room and make them listen to Jake Bugg. I don’t think it will take them long to convert to real music like Jake Bugg’s. The only downer of the evening was the two drunk tosspots in front of us who spent most of the show talking loudly to each other and on their phones.
As for the show Mr Bugg played most of his album. “Trouble Town” was superb and “Broken” certainly pulls on my heart-strings. Obviously the crowd went mental when he played “Lightning Bolt” including some people near us who danced to it while throwing some Usain Bolt shapes. I thought he might have used “Lightning Bolt” as his encore, but he had the balls to do it his way. He even played a couple of new songs and if they are a good sign of what musical direction he will take I think his next album might have a heavier sound.
He did a couple of songs to encore; notably a song that he introduced as one of his favourites. It was a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues“. He did it proud. I get the impression that since his musical epiphany aged 12 while hearing Don McLean’s “Vincent” on an episode of the Simpsons he has been a sponge soaking up so many brilliant songs and influences. He is lauded by many people including Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller. But for me he is his own man, an original, definitely the one and only Jake Bugg. I also get the chance to see him again at the Reading Festival later this year and I can hardly wait! I should let you know that none of the pictures or videos in this post were taken by me at the gig.
Big congratulations to Bradley Wiggins who yesterday became the first Brit to win the Tour de France in the whole of its 108 year history. I hope this is an excellent spur for the Olympics too. For most of the Tour Bradley was unassailable, particularly the time trials. But there was also some brilliant team work and support from Team Sky. Even the French seem to have taken to Bradley with some pundits referring to him as Le Wiggo.
Bradley is a big Paul Weller fan apparently and this is a music blog not a cycling blog so here is a Paul Weller song for the talented Mr Wiggins, followed by a few cycling related songs. Enjoy them and feel free to suggest your own bike related music.
“Sunflower” – Paul Weller. I chose this for two reasons; first it’s one of my favourite Weller songs and secondly the sunflower is yellow just like the leader’s jersey in the Tour de France.
“Tour De France” – Kraftwerk. The German auto-bots are big cycling fans and keen cyclists too.
“Bike” – Pink Floyd. A great track, quaintly English and very Syd Barrett
“Bicycle Race” – Queen. This one was probably the obvious choice and who can forget all those naked women on bicycles? I was a teenager at the time, so I couldn’t!
XFM listeners recently took part in a poll to name the greatest front man of all time. So many great blokes to choose from and they went for Liam Gallagher. Now don’t get me wrong Liam has been very good in the past, particularly in the early days of Oasis, but the greatest front man of all time? I don’t think so. The full top 20 was;
this man is a Knight of the Realm................ no seriously, he is!
I think it would be fair to say that there is one area of my life that my Mother may be disappointed in me. That is my dislike of the institution of the British Royal family and all condescending pomposity it has. Yes in case you hadn’t noticed I am very much a Republican (not in the US political sense obviously) and most definitely not a Royalist. Having posted recently about Mick Jagger (aka Sir Michael Philip Jagger) turning down afternoon tea with ‘Call Me Dave’ Cameron and Boris Johnson it’s strangely appropriate that a story about those who turned down Royal Honours appeared in the news today. Following a freedom of information request by the BBC a list of those now deceased who have turned down various Royal Honours form 1951 and 1999 has been published. There are 277 people on the list including artists Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and LS Lowry and authors Roald Dahl and Aldous Huxley. There are no rock or pop stars on the list. Read the full story on the BBC site by clicking here.
Sir Tom shows off his first house
However it got me thinking about those rock and pop stars who have accepted honours and those that haven’t. The obvious list of those who have are the rock and pop ‘Sirs’ Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Tom Jones and Bono and Bob Geldof who as Irish citizens are Honorary Knights of the British Empire (KBE). Add to that list Dame Shirley Bassey. A large number of British musicians have received the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), which is the highest honour a British subject can receive below a knighthood or damehood. Those include: Annie Lennox, Roger Daltrey, Eric Clapton, Sting, Robert Plant the Bee Gees and Rod Stewart. It was alleged that at the time of Elton receiving his knighthood Rod was just a little jealous.
Macca ponders his failure to win top score in Rate My Mullet
What really interests me though are those rock and pop stars who turned down Royal honours. David Bowie turned down a CBE in 2000 and a knighthood in 2003 and was quoted as saying that “was not what he spent his life working for”. George Melly and Paul Weller also turned down the offer of a CBE in 2001 and 2007 respectively. Thankfully Keith Richards also turned down a CBE; I’d have been gutted if he had accepted! His comment on Jagger’s knighthood was that he felt it was ludicrous. Influential guitarist and stalwart of the Shadows Hank Marvin turned down an OBE as did Dub Poet Benjamin Zephaniah. At the time Zephaniah publicly stated ‘I get angry when I hear the word ’empire’; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds me of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised’ An MBE was offered to John Lydon who turned it down. I’m pretty amazed that they offered him one really.
Never a Knight of the realm but the only one who came close to looking the part as opposed to looking like an anagram of part
The four Beatles all received the MBE in 1965. John Lennon later returned his to the Queen in 1969 accompanied by a note which read ‘I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts’. It has been alleged that his Aunt Mimi who brought him up and upon whose mantelpiece the award lived was not amused!