With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

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.

Eat Fast

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!

 

Latitude Festival 2016 Day 1 Friday 15th July July 24, 2016


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So after my first night sleeping under canvas in forty years how did I feel? Pretty bloody good actually, but to be fair Catwoman and I do have a six man tent for just the two of us. On to day one of the Latitude Festival. First activity was a group breakfast with the whole crew and at the risk of sounding like a Trumpton role call that is; Catwoman, Andy, Rachel, Rachel, Sarah, Jo, Claire, Barbara, Allie and Mac. We all then walked to the main festival site for a group coffee and to my delight I found somewhere that could supply a really decent Dirty Chai (for the uninitiated that is a Chai Latte with a shot or two of Espresso). Until now I hadn’t perhaps realised the massive breadth of this festival. Everything from music to dance to theatre to cabaret to comedy to poetry to literature and more!

My first visit was to the Literature tent for a preview of an upcoming V & A exhibition; ‘You Say You Want A Revolution: Records and Rebels 1966-1970’. I am so looking forward to this exhibition which starts in September and runs through to February next year. Next came our first visit to the Cabaret tent for an act recommended by one of our gang, Rachel Vernelle. It was an all female comedy sketch act featuring three clearly very talented women. They are called Massive Dad (actually that would be a good name for a band wouldn’t it?) and I particularly enjoyed the sketch that very cleverly poked fun at the TV advertising industry. A few of us then rushed across to the comedy tent to see the highly rated Nick Helm. Quite who rates him this highly seems debatable to me. Personally I thought he was bloody awful. Listen Nick if you are going to litter your act with c-bombs and f-bombs then make it a little more smart and clever than you did. Even with our pathetic puerile schoolboy humour I believe that myself and my school friends back in the 70s were way more funny than you seem to be in 2016.

Next was my first visit to what was to become one of my favourite stages of the festival, the Sunrise Arena. I dragged Catwoman along with me to see the rather wonderfully named band Let’s Eat Grandma. I had never heard them before but in my opinion their name called out loudly that I should see them. I wasn’t disappointed either they have some great pop tunes wonderfully woven with electronica and orchestral sounds. An excellent festival band. One act that I had been particularly looking forward to was Canadian comedienne Katherine Ryan. I first got into her quite recently when she wrote a regular column for the NME. She did not disappoint. Her stories covered dead pets, Boris, Cheryl Cole a.k.a the nation’s sweetheart, circumcision, kids and the fourth best ass-hole. She was bloody brilliant with plenty of laugh out loud moments. Nick Helm watch and learn!

Next I was put into a proper mellow mood in the Alcove by the marvellous HANA. The hit you with gorgeous, chilled and soulful electronic music. Hana is effectively Montana native Hana Pestle. She is a gifted singer (and I mean oh boy can this girl sing!), songwriter and producer. She could already count Lorde as a fan and now she can count me as a fan too. I stayed in the Alcove to catch most of a set from another very talented songstress, Frances. I last saw her during Live In Leeds last year. She was good then and she is even better now. Her album which is due soon will, I am sure, be truly amazing. Halfway through day one before my first visit to the main stage a.k.a. the Obelisk Arena. I had wanted to see Aussie Courtney Barnett for some time having listened to her regularly on-line and having purchased a Record Store day vinyl release by her earlier this year. She fronts a really powerful trio who put immense muscle into the songs that support her lyrics which seem largely drawn from her life experiences. Courtney rocks big time!

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Then I found myself in the Film and Music tent where I caught a few Irish short film comedies. One of them featuring the aforementioned Katherine Ryan. Some excellent stuff. I had gone to this tent to see Adam Buxton‘s BUG special on David Bowie. Being a big Bowie fan myself I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity. In fact I missed Father John Misty to see it. Adam provided a heartfelt and at times hilarious memorial to the sadly missed Dame. Adam, like me and millions of others, is clearly a big Bowie fan. The silent video of the awful Bowie Jagger Live Aid collaboration was priceless. After this I found myself back in the Literature tent with Catwoman for a talk, interview and book signing by Brix Smith off of the Fall and Adult Net among others. She has recently had her memoir published. What a fantastically honest, self-deprecating and amusing woman she is. Obviously I bought the book, had it signed by Brix and posed for the obligatory photo with her! After Brix it was the turn of comedienne Shappi Korshandi who was launching her first novel ‘Nina Is Not OK’. Shappi is a very amusing, very intelligent and very smart woman. I like her a lot. I didn’t buy the book this time, but Barbara Jennings did. After this it was back to our corralled tents for cheese and wine. That’s not too middle class is it? Anyway what surprised me most about day one was how little music I took in. There was simply so many other things to do.

 

Reading Festival 2013 – Day 1 – Friday 23rd August August 24, 2013


So here we are once again and Nick Horslen and I have arrived at the Reading Festival site for the umpteenth year. I think it’s more than 10 years for us as a team. As for me I have missed only two from the last 20 years. I attended my first ever Reading in 1976 and got in through a hole in the fence, which doesn’t seem so easy to do nowadays. Today turned out to be the hottest day at the Festival for a few years; for the weather at least!

Wytches (why is there a new wave of making your band’s name appear to be from ye olde English language?) were first up they sound a little Doorsy and their guitar wig-outs were like a harder edged garage band. Pretty good though.
King No-one from Leeds were on the BBC Introducing stage; fans of Vampire Weekend maybe? I like these dudes.
Night Engine are channeling the vocal ghost of Billy McKenzie and answering the questions can gingers rock and can they funk? The answer in my opinion is fuck yeah! Irish band  Kodaline come on like the bastard love sprogs of Bono and  Chris Martin but with more balls! This band deserves to  be HUGE!
If you want top performance power pop look no further than the fabulous Parquet Courts. Top band! So what were New Found Glory like? As the sign said ‘Pop Punk’s Not Dead! Right on. They played the whole of the  Sticks and Stones’ album.

Next came our first visit to the comedy stage for the excellent Shappi Khorsandi and Idiots of Ants who weren’t so good. They weren’t really able to engage with the audience.

Does what it says on the tin no. 1; Frank Turner – mightily awesome! Although perhaps not as awesome as I have known him to be in the past. His Mum introduced him, which was a nice touch. He also had a Cobain moment as he was pushed on to the stage in a wheelchair; his Mum explained that he had a bad back, however he stayed in the chair for about a minute! Interestingly he got the whole of the Main Stage crowd, including us, to sit down for one of the choruses of “Photosynthesis” to which we all sang along. Now that is a little ironic given that the chorus starts with the line ‘I won’t sit down’

We met 3 thirds of the Tuts and half of Colour Me Wednesday outside the Festival Republic Stage! I saw the Tuts earlier this year when they supported Kate Nash and I am looking forward to seeing Colour Me Wednesday later this week in Leeds. If you are reading this post and you haven’t heard the Tuts or Colour Me Wednesday then I order you to do something about that!

Has Marc Bolan been reincarnated? Nope it’s the Temples on the Festival Republic stage! Kate Nash is supremely talented and after her set I am now an even bigger fan than I was when I saw her in York earlier this year. It was great to see Nadia Tut make it onstage eventually too! A brief note to the festival organisers; what is wrong with a bit of a stage invasion instigated by Kate herself? It would have been fun and no harm would have been done. But at least three people made it up.
System of a Down on the Main Stage; loud, heavy, technically superb but would I ever listen to them outside the confines of a festival? I doubt it. Does what it says on the tin number 2; Green Day. They were very, very good and certainly had more energy than last years Friday headliners the Cure. But in a way it is kind of identikit pop punk. They played the whole of the ‘Dookie’ album, which will be 20 years old next year. I felt that apart from a few songs it hasn’t aged well. “Basket Case” will always be a classic though. The light show was superb and Billie Joe‘s stage presence is unquestionably great. The best part for me was the storming encore of “American Idiot” (I do believe I will never tire of that song) and “Jesus Of Suburbia“. Then just when we thought it was all over Mr Armstrong came back on for a solo acoustic rendition of “Time Of Your Life”. All in all a pretty good day. Now bring on Day 2!

 

 
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