With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Leeds Festival Day 1 Friday 25th August 2017 August 28, 2017


Click here to read my review of day 1 of the 2017 Leeds Festival on the Hype Media site. I would like to thank those jolly nice folks at the Hype Media for giving me the opportunity to be there! Words by me and pictures (apart from Queen Vee & the Sasstones, that was by me) by rock photographer extraordinaire John Hayhurst of snapagig.

 

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls – The Refectory, Leeds University – Thursday 1st December 2016 December 6, 2016


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Let me make a very bold statement right at the start of this post. Right now I believe that this is almost certainly the best gig I have ever seen in just over 44 years of gig going, it is a close run thing with Bowie at the Phoenix Festival in the 90s, but Frank just about shades it. In fact I have now seen Frank Turner more times than I saw David Bowie, I saw the Dame ten times. Including one show with Million Dead I have now seen Francis Edward Turner eleven times. The majority of those were at Reading and Leeds Festivals. For me he just seems to get better every time that I see him.

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This show, at the venue where the Who recorded the classic live album ‘Live At Leeds’ was stunning. Frank and the Sleeping Souls powered through a non-stop barrage of excellent tunes with incredible energy and soul. They were on stage for just about two hours. If anyone in the audience was disappointed then they must have been really unwell. The mix of songs ranged across Frank’s career with “Worse Things Happen At Sea” and “Nashville Tennessee” being my particular favourites from those early days. He played both of these along with “Ballad Of My Friends” during an emotional acoustic interlude in the middle of the show.

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The show kicked off with the rousing and anthemic “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous” and after that he had the crowd eating out of his hand and singing along to everything. It is great to see how quickly the newer songs have begun to sound like Frank classics in a live setting; “The Next Storm”, “Love Forty Down” and “Glorious You” to name but a few. The latter is my gig buddy for the nights favourite, good choice Rachel!). But the older classics hold even more power and emotion especially three of my favourites; “Photosynthesis”, “I Believe” and the one that always brings a tear to my eye (and yes it did that night), “Long Live The Queen”.

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There was the obligatory circle pit, at my age I am sad to say that I sidestepped that. Crowd-surfing, with a particularly excellent performance by Frank’s friend Steve during “If I Ever Stray” and from Frank himself towards the end of the night. There was a repeat of the stupendous wall of hugs as opposed to the wall of death and yes I do believe that everyone hugged a stranger, I certainly did. Frank gave a big shout out to some causes close to his heart, notably Safe Gigs For Women. His sentiments are the same as mine on that one, like why the fuck should we need an organisation like that in 2016? I don’t know why, but it is wonderful that they do exist. All of this adds to the feel of a Frank Turner crowd being a real community.

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At one point Mr Turner played an electric guitar and not one of his familiar acoustics. He said that whenever he did he felt the urge to play a riff and boy did he riff well. I recognised it but can’t quite place it, I reckon it sounded a little Satrianiesque. The Sleeping Souls as y=usual were on top form too; Ben Lloyd (Guitar and mandolin), Tarrant Anderson (bass), Matt Nasir (Keyboards) and Nigel Powell on drums. The talented support acts also made an appearance in Frank’s set. Felix Hagan came on to play the harmonica break on “I Still Believe” and Esmé Patterson sang the Christa McAuliffe lines in “Silent Key”. That song gets better every time that I hear it.

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Finally there was the usual who is the best crowd on the tour competition and up to Leeds it was bizarrely Reading the night before who had been best. Did we beat them, well obviously we did. But on top of that the usual chant of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire” accompanied by fist pumping was changed somewhat when Frank had us all replace the fist pumping with jazz hands and of course we all did just that. It was possibly one of the strangest things that I have ever seen at a gig, but very bloody funny too. I don’t know quite how many gigs that I have been to, probably not as many as Frank has played (this was his 1,988th show) but as I said earlier this is the greatest gig I have ever seen. Thank you Mr Turner!

Public Service announcement: All the pictures are via Google searches, no way was I going to take any with my phone and spoil this magnificent gig and the same goes for the videos which are all from YouTube.

 

The Tuts – ‘Update Your Brain’ September 10, 2016


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Hillingdon has never really been known for its contribution to the rich history of British rock and pop music. Sure there is Ronnie Wood born in West Drayton, Steve Priest bass player from the Sweet, Bryan Connolly of that band lived in Harefield and course there is Claire Richards of Steps. So it is so refreshing that now there really is a band to be proud of from that often ignored area of west London, yes the Tuts have finally got around to releasing their début album, ‘Update Your Brain’, following a really successful campaign on Pledge Music. I for one can hardly wait for my physical copies to arrive having made my pledge months ago. But I have listened to the album on download and Spotify since Friday.

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The Tuts as we now know them with Nadia Javed on guitar and vocals, Beverley Ishmael on drums and Harriet Doveton on bass formed back in 2010. This album is the culmination of their hard-working DIY approach to what they do. They really know their fans and use social networking to engage excellently with them. They have had some inspirational support slots notably with Kate Nash back in 2013, which was when I first saw them at dear old Fibbers in York. They have also toured with the Selecter and played support to the Undertones and Adam Ant among others. They really are a proper band in that they work well off and with each other and everything that they have done so far is a step up from what came before. ‘Update Your Brain’ is no exception and twenty or thirty years ago it would have been a banker for the album chart top ten. But sadly the music industry no longer works like that. But charts or no charts this is a bloody good album.

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Tuts fans will have heard many of the tracks before but as a cohesive set of twelve tracks that makes no difference. From opener “Let Go Of The Past” right through to the albums final track “Back Up” the punk, the power and the pop are turned up to eleven. It is great to see a young band with no fear of wearing their beliefs on their sleeves; hitting out at music industry sexism on one of my favourites “tut Tut Tut” and the uncaring one party state we have in the UK “Give Us Something Worth Voting For”. They also put their money where their mouth is with an anti Boris Johnson protest at Uxbridge Library a while back. Sadly it wasn’t enough to prevent arch moron Boris from being parachuted in to become their local MP. But perhaps having such an arse as their member of parliament will lead to more excellent anti Tory songs from Nadia, Bev and Hat Tut!

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“Con Man” is a proper rock out song and “Dump Your Boyfriend” has become a Tuts classic and is a certainty for inclusion on the Tuts Greatest Hits when it is released five or ten years from now. To paraphrase that song if you have a shit favourite band that never delivers then dump that band and start getting to know the Tuts. You will not regret it. They are touring the UK in support of the album I will be seeing them in Leeds later this month. Where are you seeing them? If you’re not planning on seeing them then I suggest that you change your plans now and that is an order. If you don’t follow that order then I will have no choice than to send the Tuts round to sort you out!

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Many of you reading this review will be among the many pledgers who will already have the album. But don’t worry if you’re not, you can still get your hands on it. I don’t usually give stars or marks out of ten for albums on this blog. But I will make an exception for the Tuts with an 8 and a half out of ten. Why not ten? Well first I never give a ten and secondly I expect their next album to be even better so I want to leave room for a higher mark! We should also start a campaign to have the Tuts appear at Reading and Leeds Festivals next year. It will be a big start in breaking the male domination of the bill. Now stop reading this shit and get listening to ‘Update Your Brain’……… NOW!!!!

 

 

Leeds Festival 2016 Day 2 – Saturday 27th August August 31, 2016


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Waiting for Frank Turner

There was absolutely no way that I was going to miss todays opener, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. This will be, I think, the eighth time I have seen Mr Turner and he has always been better than great. So my car share with rock photographer extraordinaire, John Hayhurst got us there in plenty of time. I was lined up near the front of the Main Stage by 11:30 with Frank not due to start until 12:00. Frank and the Sleeping Souls hit the stage running and never stopped for close to an hour. It was yet another truly awesome set from Mr Turner. We were served up loads of hits and a mental, passionate and highly energetic band with a very ‘up for it’ Frank Turner. Myself and the rest of the audience were truly ‘up for it’ as well. Frank got the crowd to separate and form what at a thrash metal gig would be a wall of death. However he set it up as a wall of hugs, that was just one of many great moments along with Frank continuing to sing while crowd surfing. This was an absolute stormer of a start to the day and the smile remained on my face for the rest of the day in spite of the weather. In fact we later learned that Frank was so full on that he had to be taken to hospital with a suspected broken foot!

Next it was the Jack Rocks Stage where I caught Blinders from Doncaster. They play swampy, punky, psyched-out blues rock. What a brilliant noise! After that brief sojourn it was back to the Main Stage for the second Frank of the day; Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes. I have seen Frank Carter a couple of times in the past when he was fronting Gallows, but until today I had never seen the Rattlesnakes. This was an epic punk performance and it was also Frank’s first time on the Main Stage at Leeds/ Reading too. He had the crowd create a huge circle pit and then he proceeded to sing from the centre of it, that takes balls! Mr Carter’s crowd surfing was among the best artist crowd surfing I have ever seen. As for “I Hate You”, well that is just a totally knock-out song.

My first visit of the day to the NME/ Radio 1 tent was for Hinds all the way from Spain. They have some similarities with perhaps, Haim. Their songs are fabulous, bouncy, earworms of pop tunes in a kind of happy, smiley indie style. It is great to see an all girl band performing here though. There is certainly not enough female representation on the stages at this festival. Is that due to the general lack of imagination and forethought in the music industry? I reckon it probably is.

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My first visit to the comedy in the Alternative Stage tent was for the highly intelligent and highly talented Shappi Khorsandi, She was hilarious on topics as diverse and wide-ranging as religion, racism, sexism and porn addiction. She was followed by Sarah Pascoe who was very funny indeed, especially her spiel on pubic hair.

Eat Fast from Newcastle were next on the BBC Introducing Stage. They captivated those of us in the crowd with their Geordie indie pop harmonies. Great songs from a great band. In my quest to get around most stages today I found myself in the Pit next for Citizen. They are an American band that use the quiet- loud style of the Pixies and Nirvana really well with vocals going from a soft croon to a throat shredding scream. The band clearly have a very strong UK fan base given the audience reaction and participation. Many fans proved their love of the band by crowd surfing (I counted maybe ten) into the arms of those unsung heroes of festivals, the security team.

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I stayed in the Pit for the next band, Dinosaur Pile Up. Not only is that a great name, they are an excellent band too. They are a band that has been with us nearly ten years and they will be around for a very long while. I’m not even sure that an extinction level event motherfucker of an asteroid that rear ended our little planet would finish off Dinosaur Pile Up. Next I trudged through the ankle-deep mud to the Festival Republic Stage for Lewis Del Mar (incidentally there is no one called Lewis in this band). But whatever the band members are called they certainly sound good. It is a dubby, trip hop sound with the exuberance and upbeatness of say Vampire Weekend. This is a really tight New York band and at times they made me think of a 21st Century Shuggie Otis.

I was back at the Jack Rocks stage at 6 o’clock for a recommendation from my good friend and top rock photographer John Hayhurst. The band is one that John had seen at the Kendal Calling Festival earlier this year. Their name is Cabbage, they are anarchic, chaotic, funny and very talented. They pretty much defy being put into a genre. However think of the bastard sons of a threesome between the Stooges, Half Man Half Biscuit and Goldie Looking Chain. Cabbage are an exceptional British band that has to be seen to be believed. Their Dinner Lady song is an absolute scream.

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It was at this point that the heavens opened and it rained for a couple of hours on an already muddy field. I put out a call for Ark builders on Facebook, but sadly no one responded. It was at this point while walking from the Jack Rocks stage to the NME/ Radio 1 stage that I decided that I needed an ice cream. so I bought myself a Magnum classic. Nothing particularly interesting about that, until three young lads saw me and claimed that an old bloke eating an ice cream whilst ankle-deep in mud in the pouring rain was the most rock n roll thing that they had ever seen. I can only assume that they were on drugs of some kind 🙂 Anyway I made it to the NME/ Radio 1 stage in time for Crystal Castles. They did not disappoint with a high-powered show featuring bombastic noisy dance sounds done in that very unique Crystal Castles style. It was an incredible show, the lights deserve a mention too, they were stunning

I was not going to miss the next band on the NME/ Radio 1 stage, the magnificent Twenty One Pilots from Ohio. It was a truly splendiferous set from the duo. Brilliant songs and amazing stage presence. How the hell do two people make so much marvellous noise? We were treated to a brief cover of “Jump Around”, acrobatics, drumming while crowd surfing, just crowd surfing and a giant hamster ball.These guys need the Main Stage as a next step for them at Leeds/ Reading. I feel very confident that they will headline this festival one day too.

I was in the Festival Republic tent next for the final song from Pulled Apart By Horses. I have seen them before and they are a band that really know how to flex their well toned rock muscles. Disclosure closed proceedings on the Main Stage. Yes Disclosure, on the Main Stage. Seriously? They’re very good but mot that good. It is not much more than a DJ show after all. I know that they supposed ly co-headlined with Foals. But that co-headlining thing is bollocks, right? In my opinion Foals should have closed the evening. I left Disclosure’s set early because I was a bit bored. But that is my opinion and clearly dance music is becoming more and more popular at this festival.

As my festival car share buddy John Hayhurst was there to take his usual selection of excellent photographs we agreed to meet up at the end of the evening at the BBC Introducing Stage. Incidentally if you do need to meet up with your friends at the end of the day that is the place to be as it is usually empty. Anyway we duly met and as we were waiting for Laura, one of John’s photographer colleagues we were accosted by two blonde 18 year old festival goers, one of them was called Freya and she kept insisting that she had a real thing for older men (John and I are both in our fifties). She kept on insisting that we went back to their tent for some ‘fun’. Personally I reckon she must have been on some pretty strong drugs or that we were being lined up for some kind of sting or robbery. Anyway we eventually persuaded Freya and her friend to head off and enjoy the rest of the night without us. I reckon we dodged a big bullet there!

 

Leeds Festival 2016 Day 1 – Friday 26th August August 29, 2016


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Well here we go, after many years of attending the Reading Festival (my first was in 1975) I have finally taken the plunge and opted for Leeds. The plunge is an apt phrase given the amount of rain that fell on the Bramham Park site in the preceding days. I went along with my mate John Hayhurst, a.k.a. Rock Photographer extraordinaire. But I was also pleased to see that my fellow long-standing Zimmer Twin and great mate Nick Horslen also made it to Reading on a day ticket. First impressions for me the Leeds site is that it is more compact, but there is no real noise bleed from other stages wherever you are. Also it has some natural slopes, so getting a great view of the main stage is easy even for a short-arse like me. The only downer so far has to be the volume of mud, but I’m commuting rather than camping so it’s not all bad!

My first visit of the day was to the Lock Up Stage for Fighting Caravans. This is a Leeds band who I saw on local news programme Look North the night before. So armed with that plus the fact that I love their name I really had to see them. They rock like an Indie Led Zep as if Alan Vega off of Suicide was in the band. They have amazing energy, especially the singer who dances like a Cheetah on Speed. A truly bloody brilliant band.

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I chose Night Owls on the BBC Introducing Stage next, another Leeds band. They are a powerful two piece guitar and drums combo. They have similar genealogy to And The Hangnails, Slaves and Royal Blood. However comparisons with the White Stripes are worthless as the Night Owls drummer is far, far superior to Meg White. This is a damned good band and their song “Why Me?” has the makings of a classic.

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The view of the Main Stage from a distance is superb, however for the Virginmarys I was quite close. This band are purveyors of fine punked up, high-powered, mightily potent saws with a large helping of raw soul. A Main Stage appearance for them was clearly a big deal for them and they certainly made the most of it. A fantastic band, I’m amazed that I haven’t picked up on them before now, but I’m glad that I finally did!

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My muddy boot, but is that the shadow of a naked man?

My muddy boot, but is that the shadow of a naked man?

All the way from New York the next act on the Main Stage were Coheed and Cambria. Do you like metal? Prog? Punk? Pop? Great riffs? Great hooks? Great hair? Concept albums? You do? Well in that case you will love Coheed and Cambria as many folk already do. I certainly need to listen to more of their stuff.

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I sadly only caught the last song from Spring King on the NME/ Radio 1 Stage. But wow what an absolute belter of a full on psychedelic wig out! Definitely worth checking out. I had wandered across to this stage to catch Deaf Havana. Having seen them twice before at Reading I had to give them a shot didn’t I? Are they still a good band? Well yes they are and a late afternoon Main Stage slot for them next time would be fabulous. Will they make you deaf? Only if you stand to close to the speakers. Will they take you to Havana? I doubt it, but if you ask them nicely you never know.

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Now it was time to grace the Festival Republic tent with my presence for Brighton’s Magic Gang. I caught them late last year in a support slot for Swim Deep in Liverpool. They had a lot of potential then and they proved it today with a stunning set. Their Bluresque (that is not a misspelling of burlesque, I mean a little like Blur) feel had the audience leaping, dancing, singing and truly enjoying a great band. The big question though is, are this gang really magic? Well the audience were spellbound so I guess that means that they are, right?

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I stayed at the Festival Republic Stage for Ezra Furman. I don’t really have the words but I will try. He is like Jonathan Richman in a skirt backed by what could be a fledgling E Street Band who are also able to throw in a few Zappaesque moments. This is a proper ballsy and very intelligent rock band fronted by a supremely talented individual. Gotta love the Ezra! When can we all move to planet Ezra?

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Wonderful proper boss scousers Clean Cut Kid stepped onto the Festival Republic Stage next. Clean Cut Kid are a fabulously exciting young band who once again left me with a feel good smile on my face. Just as they did at the Latitude Festival last month. This is excellent perky pop with feeling. I’ll say it again, this band are proper boss. I also suffer from beard envy of the singers magnificent face fungus, mine is pathetic in comparison.

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I returned to the BBC Introducing Stage next for Lawrence Taylor. Lawrence’s band is very talented. He is a gifted singer songwriter with an amazing blue-eyed soul voice. That voice could certainly give Robert Palmer, Daryl Hall and Paul Carrack a run for their money. Mr Taylor is also an exquisitely skilled guitarist.

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A wee trudge back to the Main Stage next for one of America’s finest; Fall Out Boy. Oh my how this band has grown and developed since I first saw them more than ten years ago. If you are appearing just before Biffy Clyro on the bill (and sorry I don’t buy all that co-headlining shite) then you’d better roll out something special and oh boy did Fall Out Boy do that!Amazing video backdrops and to cap it all flame juggling, Mad Max style dominatrix acrobats. To be fair the band were playing to a partisan crowd but they did have the punters eating out of their hands very quickly.

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It was now time for todays main event (well in my opinion anyway) Biffy Clyro on the Main Stage. The one thing that has always been so obviously different between Reading and Leeds for me is that the closing day line up at Reading is always the opening day at Leeds. This was really clear with a monumental set from arguably one of the best bands on the planet right now. Biffy proved that their last headline slot in 2013 was no fluke. This is their tenth appearance at Leeds/ Reading, they really have earned top billing. Their set was incredible; a set of massive square frames that grew smaller the further they were from the front of the stage. A bit like a 21st Century recreation of sixties classic TV series ‘The Time Tunnel‘ (if you’re too young to remember that then I suggest you ask your grand parents). The energy of the band is incredible and while their recorded output is largely stunning, hearing those songs live only enhances them. Not only did Biffy crank the volume up to 11, they did the same with the bombast. The particular high lights for me were “Captain”, “Many Of Horror” and “Black Chandelier“. I’m already looking forward to seeing this band own the stage once again, perhaps in 2019? ‘Mon the Biff!

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“Lately I’ve been thinking if you wanna get tough, then let’s play rough” September 5, 2013


Disclosure_faces_2_RESIZED_credit_edwige_hambenBritish dance duo Disclosure chose their name by selecting a random word on a car insurance form. The band is made up of brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence who were born in 1991 and 1994 respectively. They come from a musical family. Their dad was in a covers band and their Mum sang on cruise ships and provided the vocal for a number of TV advert jingles. Most notably for ‘Shake ‘n’ Vac‘. So there is a tenuous link with Elvis Costello was the writer and voice for the R White’s Lemonade Secret Lemonade Drinker campaign.

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The band’s debut album ‘Settle’ was released earlier this year and has so far spawned four UK top 20 singles, the biggest of which was “White Noise” a collaboration with the magnificent Alunageorge whiched reached number 2 earlier this year. The other singles from the album were “Latch” which features Sam Smith, “You And Me” which features Eliza Doolittle and “F For You” Sadly I missed Disclosure at the Reading Festival last month, but I did get to see Alunageorge perform “White Noise” live. If you haven’t done it already I reckon you ought to check out Disclosure’s album ‘Settle’ along with Alunageorge’s ‘Body Music’.

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Reading 2013 Day 2 – The Pictures August 27, 2013


Here are just a few random pictures that I took at this years festival. There will be two more picture posts. If you spot yourself in any of them feel free to get in touch and I’d be happy to give you a mention on the blog. If you’d like to read my review of the day click here.

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