With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

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!

 

“I told you ’bout the swans, that they live in the park” March 30, 2009


Hello once again dear blog readers. My blog has been going for around 7 weeks now so I thought I’d check some of the stats available on WordPress. Firstly here is the top 10 search items (and number of searches) that people have used and found their way here;

1 pink floyd 431
2 kate bush 157
3 johnny cash 123
4 johnny winter 88
5 george harrison 73
6 smokey robinson 69
7 the smiths 62
8 dire straits 43
9 the byrds 39
10 tim buckley 23

I’m really pleased to see that Kate Bush is doing so well, I’m also quite amazed by the sheer volume of Pink Floyd searches. If you found your way here from searching I’d love to hear from you! As she did so well here is a picture of the delectable Ms Bush

"Oh England My Leotard" perhaps?

"Oh England My Leotard" perhaps?

Some of you may recall that we also ran an experiment some weeks ago to see if it was possible to drive people to the blog by including a particular phrase, that phrase being ‘Lily Allen Naked’. Well I can report some success, ‘Lily Allen Naked’ is in fact the 18th most popular search item ,with 13 searches , to arrive here. Although clearly all those 13 people (although it could be one person 13 times) will have been disappointed as there are no naked pics of Lily here. So apologies to you folks. I’d love to hear from you too, although obviously I’ll understand if you wish to remain anonymous 😉

Of all the many links I include in my posts I can also confirm that the two most clicked items have been the Myspace pages for ‘Soft Toy Emergency‘ (7 clicks) and my son Luke’s band ‘Steal The Smile‘ (9 clicks). click on their names to increase their total clicks.

OK enough of the stats, numbers excite me but perhaps not everyone! On to the tried and tested format and kicking off with a birthday. Mr Eric Clapton is 64 today. Did he ever cover the Beatles “When I’m 64”? Perhaps he should now! He has been a part of many bands in his time; the Roosters, Casey Jones and the Engineers, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, the Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominoes. Indeed he was also one of the few non Beatles to play on a Beatles song. He played guitar on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. George Harrison returned the favour by guesting on the fantastic “Badge” by Cream. Click on the song title to see Eric with a live version of the song from the 80’s, watch out for Phil Collins on drums!

Eric discusses matrimonial time share plans with George

Eric discusses matrimonial time share plans with George

There are quite a few ‘onthisdays’ for March 30th starting with on this day in 1967 the photo session for the cover of the Beatles ‘Sergeant Pepper’ album took place at Chelsea Manor Studios

Just in case there is anyone on the planet that hasn't seen this album cover here it is again :-)

Just in case there is anyone on the planet that hasn't seen this album cover here it is again 🙂

Also on this day in 1976 the Sex Pistols played at the 100 Club in London for the first time. They began a weekly residency there in June 1976. One of my biggest musical regrets is that I turned down the opportunity to see the Pistols live in late 1976. They were playing at Brunel University near where I grew up. I’m sorry to say that I chose to stay in the pub!

The other guys always thought it was hilarious to set Glen's microphone stand too high for him

The other guys always thought it was hilarious to set Glen's microphone stand too high for him

On this day in 1978 Paul Simonon and Nicky ‘Topper’ Headon off of the Clash were arrested in Camden Town, London after shooting pigeons with air guns from the roof of Chalk Farm Studios. It was later discovered that these were prize winning and very expensive racing pigeons. It required four police cars and a helicopter to make the arrest. The pairs fines totaled £800

Once they had established exactly where the Clash were they would avenge the death of their brothers by dropping pigeon shit bombs

Once they had established exactly where the Clash were they would avenge the death of their brothers by dropping pigeon shit bombs

Also in 1978 on this day U2 won £500 and a chance to audition for CBS Ireland in a talent contest which was held in Dublin and sponsored by Guinness. Strange fact of the day, Guinness, which I really enjoy, began life 200 years before I did!

Bono puts his hand up to attract the teachers attention as he desperately needs to pee

Bono puts his hand up to attract the teachers attention as he desperately needs to pee

And finally on this day in 2000 Sir Michael Jagger off of the Rolling Stones paid a visit to his old school, Dartford Grammar. He was there to open a new arts centre bearing his name. He was quoted as saying that he spent the worst years of his life at school!

Mick's old school uniform clearly didn't fit him anymore

Mick's old school uniform clearly didn't fit him anymore

 

“Bernie Rhodes knows, don’t argue” March 19, 2009


OK let’s get back to normal (bloody hell I’m not really normal am I?) service for this post. Before the birthday and ‘onthisday’ stuff let me start by saying that I’ve really been hammering the Soft Toy Emergency CD that I picked up for free at the Fibbers gig the other night. It’s bloody brilliant! You MUST check these guys out.

Whilst I’m on the MUST check out vibe, here is yet another shameless plug for my son Luke’s rather excellent band, Steal The Smile. Click on the name to head to their MySpace page.

As a follow up to celebrities some of the readers may know or indeed have met and following the piece on Justin Hawkins in a recent post, check out this picture of Simon P with Mr Hawkins. Feel free to send in your own starstruck pics and I’ll be happy to include them here.

Simon picks up some nail varnish tips from Justin

Simon picks up some nail varnish tips from Justin

Thank you to the wonderful people at Popbitch for this info but if you’re a Boy George fan and you’d like to write to him while he is banged up (oooo errrrr missus!) here is his new addresss; George O’Dowd, HMP – Edmunds Hill, Stradishall, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 9YN.

Popbitch also provided a link to this excellent clip of Ricky Gervais meeting Elmo, you have to watch it’s bloody funny

I also stole this musical related joke from Popbitch (and you’ll find the link to the Popbitch site in my favourite websites on the blog)
Q: What do you get when you cross Feargal Sharkey with Bernard Manning?
A: Racist undertones.

So onto just the one birthday for today, 19th March. It is the 50th birthday of Terry Hall off of the Specials (now reformed), Fun Boy Three, the Colourfield, Vegas and indeed solo. The Specials were originally known as the Coventry Automatics, Coventry being where the band originated from. As with so many excellent bands it was the late and very very great (very big l’s & g’s here) Mr John Peel who first played them on the radio. He played the rather excellent “Gangsters” on his show in early 1979. Hall left the Specials with Lynval Golding and Neville Staples to form the Fun Boy Three just after the massive success of “Ghost Town”. The Fun Boy Three also had two separate collaborations with Bananarama; “It Ain’t What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It)” and “(He Was) Really Saying Something” It was of course the Specials, thanks to Jerry Dammers setting up Two Tone Records, that helped drive the late 70’s early 80’s ska revival forward. This was a great launch pad for many bands; Madness, the Beat (the English Beat in the US), the Selecter and many more. The Specials were invited to open for the Clash on the ‘On Parole’ Tour after Joe Strummer saw one of their gigs in 78/79. Here’s one for you fact fans, do you know who produced the first Specials album in 1979? No? well it was none other than Declan McManus better known as Elvis Costello. One of my favourite Specials songs is “Do Nothing” click the title to hear it and see it.

The Specials during their pole dancing period. The boys hadn't realised that it was supposed to be just one person at a time on the pole!

The Specials during their pole dancing period. The boys hadn't realised that it was supposed to be just one person at a time on the pole!

Sticking with the Specials for a moment or in fact I think it was the Special AKA, after Terry Hall had left. You may recall they released a song called “Free Nelson Mandela”. The week after the song was released there was an excellent letter in the NME. It was something like “I loved the Special AKA single so much that I bought it on the day of release. However I was extremely disappointed not to receive my free Nelson Mandela like it said on the cover” I wish that I had written that! Anyway here is the wonderful Amy Winehouse and a cast of thousands with an excellent version of “Free Nelson Mandela” from the Mandela Birthday Concert in Hyde Park last year.

A Pizza To You Rudy perhaps? I wonder if they received a free Nelson Mandela with that?

A Pizza To You Rudy perhaps? I wonder if they received a free Nelson Mandela with that?

On this day in 1965 the ‘Tailor And Cutter’ magazine published an article asking the Rolling Stones to wear ties to save tie makers from financial ruin. What the bloody hell is that all about then. I’ve had to wear a tie for most of my working life and indeed at school too, which started before many of you readers were born. I’ve never enjoyed wearing a tie, I’ve never seen the point. let’s face it they don’t keep you warm or keep your shirt buttoned up. OK maybe they act as a bib or napkin for messy eaters. But seriously what is the point of tying a coloured piece of cloth around your neck. You may well wonder why I still do it, I have two words in my flimsy defence; peer pressure! Yeah it’s feeble isn’t it. OK then let’s have your tie comments please.

Clearly no one had told new boy Ronnie Wood about the no ties rule

Clearly no one had told new boy Ronnie Wood about the no ties rule

On this day in 1976 the death of late great (here are those lovable l’s & g’s again) Paul Kossoff off of (now say that fast!) Free and Back Street Crawler and also the son of the excellent actor David Kossoff. He died of heart failure whilst on a flight from LA to New York aged just 25. He had a long history of drug abuse. Kossoff was with Free from 1968 to 1973, appearing on their final album and also one of my favourite albums of all time ‘Heartbreaker’ Although the band actually broke up for a few months during 71/72. When the band formed in 1968 their ages ranged from just 15 to a rather ancient 18. Kossoff was 17 at the time. Here are Free with the title track from the “Heartbreaker” album

That was either an enormous amp or Paul was very small

That was either an enormous amp or Paul was very small

 

Little Comets – Fibbers, York 17th March 2009 March 18, 2009


OK it’s nearly a month since my last gig review so I thought I’d better get back out there again. Gigs at Fibbers are usually well worth it and tonight was no exception, four bands for £5 that’s a real bargain especially as they were all pretty good or better. Fibbers is a good venue but when will they move into this century and start accepting plastic over the bar? OK rant over and let’s move on to those all important bands, in order of appearance of course!

The Waking Hours

As usual and like many before me I often see a band and try and work out their influences and sometimes just what or who they might sound like. For me these guys have elements of 60’s Garage Rock, some early Van Morrison in his Them days, indie (although I admit that is such a wide description nowadays) and one of their songs seemed to have a very U2ish sound with it’s ‘edge-like’ guitars. Overall a great sound from an excellent band. I would also like to give a special mention to their drummer, one of the best I’ve seen in quite a while. Shades of John Bonham (although perhaps not quite as loud) and Animal from the Muppets (and I do mean that in a nice way). remember that Animals licks were provided by a very experienced drummer. Anyway click here to check out the band on their MySpace page

Swimwear Juniors

Tonight’s bands were all nicely different which is always a good thing I think. The Juniors (am I allowed to refer to them like that? After all everyone knows the Grateful Dead as the Dead!). They seem to be a real fun almost party band, like the Pigeon Detectives if they weren’t so automated and actually had a personality. Unlike the PDs the Juniors have oodles of personality and come across like a band cloned from the best bits of the Arctic Monkeys and the Housemartins with a special extra added secret ingredient (and before you ask I don’t know what that ingredient is ok). They also had the wit and personality to pull off something that many of their peers wouldn’t dream of, a few bars of the Wurzels “Combine Harvester” between songs. Thankfully not the whole of that ‘classic’ song though! Overall an excellent set from Swimwear Juniors (I thought I’d be polite and use their full name for the final sentence!). OK so click here to check these guys out now and I mean RIGHT now on MySpace!

Soft Toy Emergency

This is the second time I’ve seen Soft Toy Emergency and oh boy what a great band, absolutely awesome, no I’ll correct that they were truly fucking awesome! If these guys are not playing mega gigs by 2010 then it will only be because the sun has gone supernova and turned into a black hole (ok my science is poor but who cares?). They are a genre defying band, you can’t label this excellent combination of fun, danceability, punk spirit and pop sensibility. They would blow most of the dull indie kids away at festivals like the Carling at Reading and Leeds. If this band appears near you and you do not go and see them I will personally ensure that you are forced to listen to nothing but Westlife for the rest of your days! So if you really aren’t keen on that kind of punishment check out this superb Liverpool band on MySpace by clicking here……… well, what are you waiting for….. DO IT NOW

Little Comets

Personally I would not have fancied taking the stage after a band like Soft Toy Emergency, it would take an excellent band to make a good job of it. These boys from Newcastle made more than just a good job of it, they were bloody good. In fact don’t let the name fool you these guys are bloody great big bright comets. They have some excellent songs and know how to work their audience. For me the nearest comparison I could come up with would be a bit like Vampire Weekend with extra added funk and English sensibility. I will definitely go and see them again! You MUST check them out on MySpace and also their excellent band site too. When I say MUST I bloody mean MUST ok!

OK that’s the review over and so far I haven’t reviewed a shit band, although I’m sure that day will come! I’d also like to give a special mention to two special ladies; Catwoman and Charlie who did the most amusing drunken dancing during the Little Comets set. Another special mention goes to Simon P who managed to get me a Soft Toy Emergency CD which I missed out on last month. And finally a special thank you to the doorman for asking me if I had any ID, you made this old bloke very happy ta very much!

 

Soft Toy Emergency – York City Screen 23/2/2009 February 24, 2009

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 5:23 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

OK people here is the second in a series of reviews of gigs that I happen to have turned up at. Last night I was at the City Screen Basement Bar in the city centre. The headliners were the excellent ‘Soft Toy Emergency’, but more of them later. Let me start with the three support acts, all very different in their own way.

First up was ‘Going Backwards Forwards‘ and they were very good with some great songs, particularly “Casino Royale”. The singer has a great voice too

Next was ‘Kasima‘ for me these guys were like the bastard offspring of an unholy union between Razorlight, the Kings Of Leon and Bruce Springsteen. I mean that in the best possible way too, they were excellent!

A Man Is Slapped‘ was second on the bill. Now on paper I really would not have believed that this would have worked, but it did……..and how! This guy using synthesized vocal loops recorded live to build up his own electro wall of sound was truly excellent. Even his MySpace/ Facebook plug was clever

And so onto the headliners, ‘Soft Toy Emergency‘. In 1974 Rolling Stone journalist and critic Jon Landau saw Springsteen and was moved to write “I saw rock and rolls future and it’s name is Bruce Springsteen” Last night I didn’t see rock and rolls future in the wonderful ‘Soft Toy Emergency’ but I certainly saw it’s present, it’s now! This band certainly have a great future. Somewhat unfairly compared to the Ting Tings by some they are quite a different animal. Electro + Pop + Rock + Punk + Party + Disco + Style + Fun = Soft Toy Emergency a band that know how to excite an audience and do so with massive energy and an aura of cool. If they appear near you in the future do whatever you can to get tickets; sell your mother, your pets, your car, your house or your pants! Just make sure that you see them!

Soft Toy Emergency

 

 
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