With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Tryin’ to live without your love is one long sleepless night” May 13, 2015


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A few months back I finally succumbed to the seductive ways of Spotify and I signed up for the premium service. Oh boy I wished that I had done it sooner. The amount of new albums that I have listened to lately is phenomenal. My current faves are ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ and ‘The Magic Whip’ by the Prodigy and Blur respectively. I have also rediscovered some classic old albums especially in the reggae genre; Culture, Peter Tosh and Third World to name a few.

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On top of all this there are countless playlists and it is these that I use for my workouts in the gym. Yes I have been a regular gym goer since January this year. Let me tell you I wasn’t just gifted with such a buff body, I have to work at it! Anyway the reason for this post other than to give Spotify yet more free publicity is to mention a song that popped up on one of those playlists in the gym last night. It was a kind of greatest hits of the 70s playlist and the song has always been one of my favourites.

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Hearing it once again made me think that perhaps it is one of the finest most timeless pop songs ever. I am talking about the Jackson 5‘s magnificent “I Want You Back”. Put aside any prejudices about what Michael became, before he became the weird, cartoon-like plastic surgeon’s Mr Potato Head he was a supremely talented young boy. His pre-adolescent vocals on this song are electrifying. On top of that you get the full might of the marvellous Funk Brothers who were the Motown house band. James Jamerson‘s bass line is sublime in my opinion. Berry Gordy Jr certainly rated it as he had a share in writing it. I would love to hear your opinion on the song and any other suggestions for the finest and most timeless pop songs.

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“Inhale inhale. You’re the victim” April 3, 2015


prodigy-the_fat_of_the_land

Did you ever wonder why the Prodigy‘s classic 1997 album ‘The Fat Of The Land‘ had a picture of a crab as it’s cover? Well it was originally going to be a doner kebab on a spit, you know the one that looks like an elephant’s foot. The meat was going to have the album title seared into it. Liam Howlett changed his mind on seeing the picture so XL Records in-house designer Alex Jenkins found the dancing crab photo. He then increased the size of the creature’s left claw to make it seem as if the crab was sticking two fingers up to the world.

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I love ‘The Fat Of The Land’ and I also think that the new Prodigy album ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ is bloody good too. What do you think?

 

Reading Festival 2013 – Day 2 – Saturday 24th August August 25, 2013


We’ve made it to day 2 once again and so has the rain. But it wasn’t too bad when we arrived and we have never let the weather dampen our spirits before so we won’t this weekend either. We had earlier decided to spend most of the day in the NME/ Radio 1 tent; not because of the weather though. It was what looked like a great line up that drew us in. Was it a great line up in reality? Well you’re going to have to read on to find out aren’t you.

Sadly we missed Childhood (that’s the band and not our formative years). But we arrived in plenty of time to see the very fresh and very funky Theme Park. If you owned a giant blender that blended music you would need to add Talking Heads, Haircut 100, Fine Young Canibals and a dash of x factor to create this excellent band. I mean the true x factor, not the shit peddled by ITV in the disguise of a talent show. I can feel a Theme Park download or two coming on when I get home.

Then from New York we had the very original Darwin Deez. From their boy band/ Motown formation funky dancing routine interludes to their gutsy, funky, dirty rock sound they were tremendous. The crowd, including me and my good friend Nick loved them. If you have not heard them yet then you really should check them out because deez boyz are good. (Sorry I couldn’t resist that). Deaf Havana were the next band to arrive and oh boy did they arrive with a bang. Their lead singer told us at one point that they made honest music, i.e. without backing tracks. So for today these are my first  does what it says on the tin act. They have energy, funk (we have seen a lot of that this year so far), style, great songs and a really tight band. Their album comes out next month and I for one will be downloading it. Deaf Havana; not deaf, not from Havana, but for being such a great live band they deserve the finest cigars Cuba can offer.

Were Deaf Havana referring to Modestep when they talked about honest music and not using backing tracks? Possibly not but Modestep did use a lot of preprogrammed backing and samples. But let me clear this is not a band into lip synching. They had the deepest bass sound of the festival so far. It was so deep you could feel your internal organs start to melt. They were also incredibly loud. They really used the full power of smoke and pyrotechnic flame bursts too. For me they ought to be in the Guinness Book of Records for the most mentions of Reading in their interaction with the crowd. If I had to describe their sound I would say it suggest the kind of noise you might hear if the Prodigy had a bum sex orgy with Enter Shikari while being filmed by Lemmy Kilminster. Incidentally they seem to have a fanatically loyal following and the tent was packed very tight. Especially when the circle pits broke out. They were very good, but not the sort of band I would listen to outside the confines of a festival. But they probably had the most energetic crowd of the day too. Interestingly like many bands appearing in recent years they used to come to this festival as punters.

The Palma Violets were lively and punky and were clearly up for a good time and they gave us all a great time. Similar to Modestep these guys were festival goers who in fact met here four years ago at camp site Yellow 7. Is there anyone there this year who will be on stage in a few years? If they are this good then let’s hope so. You would n,t see this bunch as a blues band but I was interested to see that one of their vocalists was sporting a B B King t-shirt. You don’t get many of those at Reading do you? I would advise you to check out the Palma Violets, you won’t be disappointed. Can I ask who is Harry Violet please?

One of the acts I had been looking forward to this year was Johnny Marr, or according to a t-shirt I saw Johnny Fucking Marr. This was does what it says on the tin moment number 2 for me today. Although Johnny has a much bigger tin to draw from than many others. His new solo stuff sounds pretty fresh and vibrant. He also played a great cover of “I Fought The Law”. But of course this crowd was by far the most middle-aged of the day and there were mass outbreaks of Morrissey-like Dad dancing throughout the set especially when Johnny played a few songs from a band he once was in. You might have heard of them, they were called the Smiths! He played a number of Smiths songs including “Stop Me If You Heard This One Before”, “Big Mouth Strikes Again”, “How Soon Is Now”, “This Charming Man” and the set closer was a really heartfelt version of the delectable “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”. This had us all singing along at the top of our lungs. On the count of three now, ‘if a double-decker bus crashes into us…….’

How had the Imagine Dragons had passed me by up to now I do not know. But I am glad I have found them now. They could be the most percussive band on the planet right now. There are elements of Arcade Fire and the Killers in their sound. They are in fact from Las Vegas just like the Killers. Their songs are powerful, catchy and memorable. I may just have to download their album as well. I would definitely pay to see these guys again as you should! What can I say about Tame Impala? They certainly seemed to channel Pink Floyd with a blend of dance music. Their psychedelic screen shows were brilliant. Their lighting almost suggests that they don’t really want to be seen. Their sound is based around extended psychedelic wig-outs wer excellent but it does make you wonder how the hell they rehearse their stuff. A fab band though.

Someone else I was looking forward to seeing, having seen him in York earlier this year was Jake Bugg. He did not disappoint he played a great selection from his first album and a couple of new songs that will probably form a part of his second. His acoustic version of “Broken” was emotional and incredible. Was there anyone who was not singing along? I doubt it. He also played a storming cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey My My”. Which magnificently made up for Neil cancelling on me last weekend. I am looking forward even more to Jake’s second album even more now. If you have never heard Jake Bugg, then where the bloody hell have you been?

Just after Jake Nick and I were joined by a woman who we believe was very much under the influence of something; more likely substance than alcohol. Her name was Amy and she decided that Nick and I were her new best mates. Her 14-year-old daughter and her niece were also at the festival but she seemed to have no idea where and no idea as to how to contact them. Nick was going to stay to watch Alt-J (and incidentally he tells me they were fantastic, really energetic and the crowd loved them) and I was going to the main stage for Eminem. Amy wasn’t going anywhere on her own and I drew the short straw as she accompanied me to see Mr Mathers. In fact she stayed with us until we left the arena; we left her at the taxi rank. Amy we hope that you got home ok. Anyway back to the music. I missed the first part of Eminem’s set as it clashed with Mr Bugg. But what I did see was fantastic. When I saw him here in 2002 I was a little disappointed and I felt that he could have been better. He was so much better this year. All the hits were there; including a great version of “Stan” with an appearance from Dido to reprise her previously sampled vocal live. The pinnacle of Marshall’s performance though was the encore and closer “Lose Yourself”. How good is that song? So we’re now two-thirds of the way through the 2013 festival and it has been superb so far. Bring on day 3.

 

“A great philosopher once wrote, naughty, naughty, very naughty” November 25, 2010


It would appear that the Performing Rights Society recently undertook a survey to determine the most controversial song ever and surprisingly many of the usual suspects are in the top 10. Controversially I am still just a little under the influence so to speak 😉 Here is the top 10;

Smack My Bitch Up – Prodigy

God Save The Queen – Sex Pistols

Relax – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Kim – Eminem

Killing In The Name – Rage Against The Machine

Ebeneezer Goode – The Shamen

Suicide SolutionOzzy Osbourne

Get Your Gunn – Marilyn Manson

Angel of Death – Slayer

Dear God – XTC

In my view the songs represent many people’s view of controversy, but not mine! I can see that people might have been angered and provoked by many things in their topics; religion, firearms, death/ suicide, drugs, violence, sex and being against the monarchy. Well maybe they’re right, but I for one do not think so, but it is, after all about the rock n roll! well not just the rock n roll but also the sex and drugs too. Hmmmmmm…… “Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll

I’m also surprised that there is no room for Max Romeo’s “Wet Dream“, Donna Summer‘s “Love To Love You Baby” and “Je T’Aime” from Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. However there were only 1,700 people in the survey! read the story on the BBC here.

 

Reading Festival Day 2 – Saturday 29th August 2009 August 30, 2009


Hello once again dear readers and here is the second of a series of three bulletins from the muddy trenches at the front line of the Reading Festival. Actually I lied about the mud it’s more like a dust bowl. In fact the dust kicked up by the mosh circles on Saturday were kicking up more output than the smoke machines on the main stage. Unlike yesterday today was more of a Main Stage day for us.

We arrived just in time to see the whole of the Eagles Of Death Metal’s set. OK death metal they’re not, but fantastic full on rock band they are. These guys know how to party and party we did! well we bounced up and down a lot anyway. The video screens showed Dave Grohl off of the Foo Fighters and Nirvana backstage with his daughter, she’s clearly not ready for fame yet as she covered her eyes the whole time, a real sweetie though 🙂 Josh Homme off of Queens Of The Stone Age was also in the backstage crowd

Next up was the excellent Enter Shikari and like the EODM these guys know how to party, I will go so far as to say that I thought they were among the top 10 bands I have ever seen at Reading and I have been going a looooooong while! We then took a short but offensive break in the comedy tent with Gary Delaney and Doug Stanhope. These guys, particularly Doug, know how to take things right to the edge! Bloody funny indeed! After this we returned to the Main Stage for Ian Brown and for me he was without doubt the biggest disappointment of the day. He really didn’t seem quite with it and sounded out of tune much of the time.

After Ian Brown things could only get better and we headed to the BBC Introducing stage to see the stupendous Soft Toy Emergency. Regular readers will know that I have seen this band before and today, once again they were truly on fire. This will be a very big band indeed and if they’re not on the NME Radio Stage next year I will eat two of the festivals foot long frankfurters!

To fill time before I next visit to the Main Stage we wandered over to the Festival Republic tent and chanced upon a truly excellent instrumental band, 65 Days Of Static. I must confess that I had never heard of them before, but check them out I’m sure that you’ll love them! So back to the Main Stage, the crowd for the Prodigy was so vast that at one point I was facing away from the stage and had to wait for a crowd surge before I could turn around. The band were easily up to their usual high standards though, Firestarter was a massive favourite with the crowd. How could anyone follow them? Well the Arctic Monkeys tried, but for me whilst they have great songs and play really well there is no real personality there. So we left about half way through their set and caught the last part of the Gossip in the NME Radio 1 tent. Absolutely brilliant, Beth Ditto was on great form. Standing In The Way Of Control blew the roof off and she even came back on at the end with a towel on her head for a short sing along of Queen’s We Are The Champions!

Gotta go now and get ready for Day 3, so until the next time folks!

 

Charity Gig – The Junction, York – Friday 22nd May 2009 May 25, 2009


OK I know it’s been a long while since I’ve posted, but I finally made it back and I have a lot to tell you, in particular about Friday night. I had the pleasure of attending a charity gig at the Junction in York. A mighty array of excellent acts had been assembled by Simon Pattinson to aid two local charities; York Guardian Angels and the York Hospital Radio. Like me Simon is a volunteer at York Hospital Radio as is Tom Wycks (more of him later) who designed the flier. £5 for five acts is a bargain anywhere, but here with such a superb selection it was a stupendous bargain. But enough of that, you’re probably dying to find out who was on the bill aren’t you?

The flyer from Fridays gig
The flyer from Fridays gig

First up was ‘A Man Is Slapped’. How can I describe him? Well what if the Human League were a hip hop band? That might go someway to describing this somewhat genre defying chap. I have posted a Man Is Slapped review before. I was impressed then and I was even more impressed on Friday. He does a fantastic song live where he overlays all the backing parts and then sings over that overlaid loop. He also does some great beat boxing too. If you get a chance to see him, take it!. Also if you have the misfortune to find yourself in York Hospital in the coming weeks you may get to hear him on the Hospital Radio Station. Tom Wycks (see I said there would be more of him later) has arranged to record a Man Is Slapped interview. Tom’s show usually goes out at 8pm on Wednesdays and I must say it is very good.

Second up was ‘Electrify Me’ now let me use another ‘what if’ to describe him. What if Brian Eno had been born no more than twenty years ago? This young guy is an electronic multi-instrumentalist. Well I say instrumentalist but he seemed to be making music with sounds synthesised from old electronic equipment. Including a Game Boy, well at least I think it was a Game Boy, for all I know it might have been a a Star Trek Phaser or just a simple hole punch. He did a storming cover of “Tainted Love” which was made famous by Soft Cell in the 80s but written and recorded by Gloria Jones and was a big Northern Soul hit in the 70s. Anyway back to Electrify Me, this guy is a must for student parties and festival dance tents. You cannot help but move your feet to this guy’s unique sound and he even made the Nokia tune sound cool!

Third up was a band who joined the bill too late to appear on the flier. They’re called ‘Front Room Antics’ I’ve enjoyed the ‘what ifs’ so far so here’s another. What if Orange Juice (the band not the drink) hadn’t been invented until now and were infused more with blues than soul? yep that could be these guys. Good sound and they know how to jam, which they did especially well during the broken string incident (hey that would make a great band name!).  An excellent vocalist that drank red wine too, now that hasn’t been seen since the days of Rod and the Faces, although Rod and the boys were so ill mannered they necked it straight from the bottle. I detected some influences in the ‘Front Room Antics’ sound notably Franz Ferdinand, Kings Of Leon and Television. This band might not be the fastest stringers in the west but they are a great band with excellent potential nonetheless!

‘Euphoria Audio’ were next and yes there is another ‘what if’ (although I don’t think it’s a good one) What if the Lost Prophets weren’t Welsh? That would only go a very, very small way to describing this band. When they started I thought Kasabian only a more dynamic and so much better, then I thought Lost Prophets (as you might have guessed). In fact whilst there are some influences here this is a very original and very superb band. Very tight instrumentally and with a fantastic rock vocalist. This band would work well at festivals and have the potential to perhaps fill stadiums one day. They also have a song in an Internet song contest; 1click2fame, so click here to vote for them.

Finally there was the headline act ‘3 Foot Ninja’. What can I say? How about another ‘what if’? What if punk and power pop were in fact conjoined twins? That barely does them justice but goes someway to describing there rich, eclectic and truly marvellous sound. They have real energy, very loud but also very skilled musically. I had heard of them but never actually heard them until this gig and boy am I glad I saw them. I will definitely go and see them again. They included two incredible cover versions in their set. Firstly Dizzee Rascal’s “Dance Wiv Me”  and they finished with an awesome (and regular readers will know that I use that word very sparingly) cover of the Prodigy’s “Breathe”. My advice is gather up all of your X Factor shite and burn it, then replace it with whatever you can get by 3 Foot Ninja!

Let me finish by saying a big thank you to Simon P for making this all possible and for helping to raise money for two excellent causes; Guardian Angels and York Hospital Radio. I can confirm that £170 was raised.

 

“Yeah, I’m the one infected, twisted animator” March 24, 2009


Hello again readers (well I am assuming that you’re not just looking at the pictures here obviously!). I’ve moved away from the usual birthday and ‘onthisday’ post once again today. This post could I suppose be called a fire sale! It was inspired by my second fire walk which I completed last night! Yes I walked barefoot over hot coals and I urge you to try it yourself if you ever get the chance. It’s not just a turn up and walk kind of thing there is a build up over a few hours including breaking an arrow on your throat. That too is an incredible experience. The lady who ran last nights session and indeed the first firewalk I did a few months back is ‘Lovely Lisa‘ click her name to get to her website. Lisa is truly an inspirational coach and those of you who know me well will be aware that this is strong praise indeed coming from such a cynical skeptic. Check out Lisa’s site and do everything you can, short of perhaps selling your mother, to do a firewalk.

This is me exposing my soles to hot coals!

This is me exposing my soles to hot coals!

Anyway to get back to the music I thought I would run through my top 5 fire related songs and maybe it could ‘spark’ you into shedding some ‘light’ one your own ‘burning hot’ songs. Here are mine;

1 “Firestarter” – The Prodigy

2 “Fire” – Ohio Players

3 “Burning Down The House” – Talking Heads

4 “Burnin’ And Lootin‘” – Bob Marley and the Wailers

5 “Light My Fire” – Jose Feliciano

OK now do your worst and tell me your favourite fire related songs, if I receive enough I’ll put my five and yours in a poll in a future post!

A post of mine wouldn’t be the same without a large degree of trivia so here it comes.

The Prodigy took their name from a Moog synthesiser which unsurprisingly was called the Moog Prodigy! The band rose to fame during the rave era of the early 90’s in the UK. They released their first single “Charly” in August 1991. It took a sample from a British public information film called ‘Charley Says’ and reached number 3 in the UK. Eventually things went mega for the band in 1997 with the release of the excellent ‘Fat Of The Land’ album which spawned two UK number ones in “Firestarter” and “Breathe”. My own favourite Prodigy song is their fourth single, released in 1992, “Out Of Space”. It sampled heavily from a Max Romeo song “I Chase The Devil” which had originally been produced by the stupendously talented Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. The “I’ll take your brain to another dimension” line is taken from the excellent “Critical Breakdown” by the Ultramagnetic MCs. What is your favourite Prodigy song?

keith knew he would have to grow his hair much more before he could acquire the perfect combover

Keith Prodigy knew he would have to grow his hair much more before he could acquire the perfect comb-over

I was a big fan of funk music in the 70s which is how I first got into the rather wonderful Ohio Players. There was a bonus for teenage boys who were fans of this band and in 1975 I was just 16. That bonus was that all their album covers had pictures of semi naked women doing things like pouring honey over themselves! Excuse me while I go and take a quick cold shower……………… ok that’s better, now where were we? Oh yes the Ohio Players. In their early days Walter ‘Junie’ Morrison was the lead vocalist, he later went on to sing lead for Funkadelic (probably my favourite funk band ever!). Those Red Hot Chili Pepper fans amongst you may already be familiar with the Ohio Players via the Chili’s rather good cover of “Love Rollercoaster”. The RHCP version featured in the movie ‘Beavis And Butthead Do America’ and when released as a single from the soundtrack the additional track was “Lesbian Seagull” by Englebert Humperdinck, I kid you not! Click the title to hear it! The original Ohio Players version of “Love Rollercoaster” features a couple of high pitched screams which have developed an urban myth about them over the years. One myth says they are the screams of a dying woman being murdered outside the studio, another says that it is the painful scream of a dying rabbit which was run down outside the studio. The truth would appear to be much more likely and indeed mundane. It is the sampled scream of a woman riding a roller coaster. Well come on it fits the song doesn’t it? Anyway click here to watch a brief video that explains the urban myth and then tell me what you think. Personally I think it is complete and utter crap!

For research only here are two pictures of Ohio Players album covers. I love the strategically placed picture of the band on the second one

The Fire Service budget cuts had resulted in almost a complete lack of protective clothing for firefighters

The Fire Service budget cuts had resulted in almost a complete lack of protective clothing for firefighters

Well they do say that honey is good for you;-)

Well they do say that honey is good for you;-)

Talking Heads originally formed in 1974 as the Artistics featuring David Byrne, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz who were all attending the Rhode Island School Of Design. The name Talking Heads came after they read a TV Guide which explained that just a headshot of a presenter was known as a talking head and was basically ‘all content and no action’ They felt that the phrase was a perfect fit for the band. The first time they played under the new name was when they opened for the Ramones at CBGBs in 1975. Jerry Harrison joined the band from Jonathan Richman’s Modern Lovers in 1976. It was a cover of Al Green’s “Take Me To The River” that really helped them take off

After a power failure backstage the band had dressed in the dark again

After a power failure backstage the band had dressed in the dark again

Bob Marley is one of my all time favourite singers and has been for many years. I hadn’t heard of him when he released his first singles though. Largely because I was only three years old and the singles only came out in Jamaica! The songs were “Judge Not” and “One More Cup Of Coffee” production was handled by legendary Jamaican Producer Leslie Kong. Marley didn’t even use his own name on the singles, for both he was known as Bobby Martell. Earlier this year Marley’s family struck a deal with a Finance Company to licence Marley’s image under the ‘House Of Marley’ brand. So expect to see House Of Marley image and branding on everything from Snowboards (that sounds really authentic Jamaican), Luggage, Headphones and a Jamaican Beer!

This little fella auditioned for the 'Marley And Me' movie but clearly didn't know the story very well

This little fella auditioned for the 'Marley And Me' movie but clearly didn't know the story very well

OK I guess I should expect some kickback for this but I feel that the Doors are overrated! Although I love “Light My Fire” I much prefer Jose Feliciano’s version. Jose is Puerto Rican and was blind from birth. His full name is José Montserrate Feliciano García. Perhaps if he had called himself Jose Garcia he could have formed a Latin American version of the Grateful Dead! In 1967 Jose was denied entry into the UK. Why was that? Drugs? Murder? Something worse? No, the animal quarantine laws in the UK prevented Jose from bringing his Guide Dog. he was a massive star in Latin America when he moved to LA in the late 60’s (I presume that the US Government let him bring his Guide Dog). Shortly after this he recorded his version of “Light My Fire” which went to number three in the US charts in 1968. Most covers of the song nowadays tend to favour Feliciano’s arrangement, including the relatively recent version from Will Young.

Jose used his three heads and six hands to play guitar faster than anyone had ever done before

Jose used his three heads and six hands to play guitar faster than anyone had ever done before

 

 
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