With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Leeds Festival 2021 – Day 1 – Friday 27th August 2021 September 1, 2021


Thanks to Covid this was my first festival in two years and it was great to be back. It was different in a number of ways, notably the two main stages (East and West) to accommodate dual headliners on each day. I am still not sure about this joint headline thing though, surely the final act is the actual real headliner, right? Another thing that felt very different was the sheer number of bands and singers making their Reading/ Leeds debut. This was probably driven by their being hardly any US or other overseas bands on the bill, again thanks to Covid. The fact that it was such a British-centric line up made it more interesting in my opinion though. What did you think, dear readers?

The Struts
Neck Deep
Sophie and the Giants

The first band I caught was Blondes on the Festival Republic Stage. I only caught their last few songs but they appear to be purveyors of quality synthy indie pop with some great guitar riffs too. My first visit to one of the twin Main Stages was the East one for the Struts from Derby. I bloody love this lot, they are bringing back Glam Rock in a wonderful way. A truly great performance. Next it was back to the Festival Republic Stage for the magnificent Sophie and the Giants. This was a real show and Sophie really knows how to play to the crowd. They have some great tunes which at times reminded me of Siouxse and the Banshees, Blondie and Toyah Wilcox. Over on the Main Stage West I caught Neck Deep, one of the UK’s finest pop punk bands. Their style is pop punk, but with a much harder edge. Vocally I felt an influence from Blink 182. Neck Deep are an incredibly powerful live band and they have some epic choruses that Panic At The Disco would kill for.

Meg Ward
Baby Queen

One of my favourite stages at this festival is the BBC Introducing Stage and my first visit there of the weekend was to see Meg Ward. She creates some banging dance tunes which had one of the biggest and liveliest crowds I have ever seen for a new artist at the BBC Introducing Stage. Meg was awesome as fuck and I doubt that anyone else on any stage enjoyed themselves as much as she did! Check her music out, you will not be disappointed. Back to the Festival Republic Stage I had the pleasure of catching a storming set from Belle Latham a.k.a Baby Queen. It is hard to believe that this was only their fifth gig, but it’s true! What are Baby Queen like? If Cyndi Lauper and Kate Nash adopted a daughter and raised her together I believe that daughter would become Baby Queen. Todays secret set was not so secret given that Jake Bugg tweeted about it the day before. The Festival Republic Stage was bursting at the seams as the crowd chanted “Jakey, Jakey, Jakey Bugg” before he appeared. I stayed for a couple of songs but despite the buz from the crowd it felt a little lacklustre. I am not convinced that his new material is as strong as his earlier stuff.

Wolf Alice

Blossoms were up next on Main Stage West and in a faux pas for music nerds they were introduced as “the” Blossoms. This band are beyond well established now and still maintain a fabulous pop sensibility in their songs. This was a great set from Stockport’s finest, Tom Ogden’s vocals really hit the spot. Wolf Alice owned the Main Stage East for the duration of their set. In my opinion they are rapidly developing into one of the best bands on the planet. Ellie, Joff, Theo and Joel played newer material from their excellent current album ‘Blue Weekend’ along with some earlier tunes. Every song was a winner and the crowd were eating out of Wolf Alice’s hands.

YUNGBLUD

Next up on Main Stage West was the inimitable YUNGBLUD. This bloke is special. Think Bowie, think Freddie Mercury, think Alice Cooper, think Gary Numan, think Rage Against The Machine, think Eddie Izzard and then add enough energy to close a black hole. That is YUNGBLUD for me. He tried to create the biggest circle pit of the day and from the cameras overhead it looked like he succeeded. He will definitely be headlining this festival before too long. Holly Humberstone from Grantham played a great set on the Festival Republic Stage. She has a tremendous voice and also comes across as a great human being. Her music is an outstanding dark blend of folk and electronica.

Biffy Clyro

Finally it was time for the first of the joint headliners, Biffy Clyro to rock the Main Stage West. They were a relatively late replacement for Queens Of The Stone Age and maybe that is why the crowd at times felt a little flat and subdued. However, I loved it, this was a stunning set from one of my favourite bands. Was Simon Neil wearing his Mum’s old maternity dress for the first few songs? The light show, projection screens and fireworks were devastatingly good, especially the laser cobweb effect. They drew on songs from across their vast canon of epic tunes. Particular highlights for me were “Biblical”, “Wolves Of Winter”, “Black Chandelier” and “Many Of Horror”. Regular readers will know that I am not a huge fan of the second headliner for Friday at Leeds, it was Liam Gallagher. I still believe that the first two Oasis albums are great, however I reckon they should have knocked it on the head after their defining Knebworth moment in 1996. In my opinion, while Noel Gallagher has produced some somewhat different new tunes, for me Liam has become not much more than an Oasis tribute act. Nearly 70% of the songs in his set were from his Oasis days with a handful from his post Beady Eye solo career. To be fair, “Wall Of Glass” is an ok song. Also to Liam’s credit he did dedicate “Live Forever” to the late, great Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts. So overall a great day and wonderful to be back in festival land!

All the pictures were taken using my cheap Chinese phone camera. Videos were all found on YouTube and credited to Callum Wattie.

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Leeds Festival 2021 – A Stream Of Consciousness August 26, 2021


I have grown up with Reading Festival and some time after I moved to the frozen north I switched to the other part of this great festival, Leeds. I went to my first Reading in 1975, me and some mates bunked under the fence and in the limited time we had on the site (we had to catch the last train home) we saw Osibisa. We got in that way for three years in a row, I doubt that is even close to possible these days, but back then we felt like highwaymen or the last gang in town, proper rebels. In truth though, we were a bunch of teenage chancers who thought they knew everything. I was 16 at the time and I did know everything, then I got a bit older and realised quite easily that I really knew nothing and had so much to learn. Even at my advanced years (shhhh….. don’t tell anyone, but I’m 62) I still learn something every day. But one thing I learned back on the fateful night in 1975 is that I bloody love this festival and I still do. I haven’t missed many since 1975. The last year, apart from 2020 when it was Covid cancelled, that I didn’t attend was in 2007. I switched to Leeds in 2015 (I think) after my Reading Festival buddy decided he was too old for three days in a muddy field. I plan to keep going until I physically can’t or until I’m dead! My ashes can be scattered on the fields of Richfield Avenue and at Bramham Park. Anyway the reason for this confusing stream of consciousness is that after 18 months of suffering for everyone thanks to Covid, festivals are back and for the first time in two years I will be stood in a, hopefully not too, muddy field near Leeds watching some incredible bands and artists. Highlights for me will I am sure be those listed below. I hear there is an Oasis tribute act on the Main Stage on Friday too 😉

Biffy Clyro, Yungblud, Wolf Alice, The Hunna, Sophie and the Giants and Baby Queen (Friday)

Stormzy, Mabel, AJ Tracey, the Snuts, Catfish and the Bottlemen, MK, Sam Fender, Yonaka, Boston Manor and Dinosaur Pile-Up (Saturday)

Two Door Cinema Club, Beabadoobe, Disclosure, Slowthai, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, You Me At Six, Bob Vylan, Bull and Police Car Collective (Sunday)

Who are you looking forward to? Who do you recommend that I haven’t mentioned?

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Leeds Festival 2019 – Day 3 – Sunday 25th August September 1, 2019


How do Festival weekends seem to go so quickly? This was by far the hottest of my three days at the 2019 Leeds Festival, well in terms of temperature at least. Were the bands as hot in terms of performance? Well, dear reader, you will need to read on to find out. One of the big rumours of the day was that Frank Turner would be playing a secret set. There was a gap on the Pit/ Lock Up Stage from midday to 1 o’clock, so I came in extra early to be there only to find that it was just a rumour based on the fact that Frank had played a couple of album launch sets at the Brudenell in Leeds the night before. Hopefully, Mr Turner will be playing at the festival next year. My first action of the day was to see Amsterdam’s Pip Blom on the BBC Radio 1 Stage. The band name is taken from the name of the bandleader who writes and produces all of the band’s fabulous indie-pop classics. They are like a reincarnation of the Breeders with a very strong power-pop direction. Check out their album ‘Boat’ on Heavenly Recordings.

Oddity Road

Next, it was a quick dash across to the Festival Republic Stage to see Sheffield’s Oddity Road. They hit you with harmonic, melodious rock songs that would grace the canon of many successful bands. The Foo Fighters and the Killers to name just a couple. Oddity Road are purveyors of finely crafted and intelligently performed power-pop classics in waiting. Remarkably they are currently unsigned, but I doubt that will last for too much longer. I made a dash across to the Pit/ Lock Up stage with great excitement and anticipation as it was time for Queen Zee. But our hopes were dashed as the band had to pull out for medical reasons. I hope that there was a speedy recovering and that this amazing band will be back next year.

Belako

The Festival Republic Stage next played host to Basque country rock band Belako. This band are incredibly hard-edged with a planet splitting volcanic shriek of a rock vocal and I mean that in a good way. I heard shades of peak-era Siouxse and the Banshees in Belako. Definitely a band to keep an eye out for. I made my first visit to the Main Stage today to catch Against The Current. This charming, talented and well-rehearsed band from Poughkeepsie in the USA smashed it with a great set. This bunch epitomise perfect high powered pop with vocal hooks and riffs aplenty accompanied by some really top tunes. They have more energy than Duracell’s finest products! Back to the Festival Republic for a band that has been highly recommended to me by quite a few people, Sophie and the Giants. The band hail from Sheffield and while I don’t believe that they are real giants they do have some gigantic tunes with huge sweeping choruses that attach to your neural network like a stubborn and persistent beanstalk. Sophie Scott’s voice has an incredible range and volume and a gorgeous tonal quality. She could easily match the vocal talents of Florence Welch.

Sophie and the Giants

I rushed over to the BBC Radio 1 Stage for rising British rapper Slowthai and oh boy was it worth running in that heat. After being so disappointed by Gunna and Juice WRLD over the past couple of days Slowthai. He singlehandedly restored my faith in rap as I thought that he might. He is a great performer and his words and cyphers are intelligent, challenging and at times works of genius. His album ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ is, for me, among the best releases of the year. The Pit/ Lock Up was home to Bad Nerves from Essex next. These boys play it hard and fast with 100 miles per hour riffery and spot on sneery punk vocals. Their tunes are reminiscent and worthy of early Strokes cuts. I sense influences from classic period Buzzcocks and Stiff Little Fingers. I heard them play their single “Radio Punk” here and that has since become one of my favourite songs of the moment.

Bad Nerves

The BBC Introducing Stage has been supremely good this year on my next visit to that stage I got to experience the delights of Charlotte, a 20-year-old from Hull, who possess one of the most soulful voices I have heard. Her style is at times similar to Adele, but with less of the shoutier elements. Charlotte has a really tight and funky band behind her too. This girl can go all the way and I hope that she does. The Japanese House were next up on the Festival Republic Stage. I am sure that they are not Japanese, nor are they a house, what they are is highly talented singer-songwriter Amber Bain from Buckinghamshire. She has songs with hypnotic harmonies and huge hooks. If you want to chill out on the hottest festival afternoon that I can remember then you need to do it to the Japanese House. The refreshingly beautiful symphonic flow of Bain’s songs is still washing over me.

Charlotte

I did not make too many trips to the Main Stage on Sunday but I wanted to be there to witness the first person born this century to have a US number one album with ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ I am talking of course about the mercurial talent that is Billie Eilish. She is what a 21st-century superstar should be; an original talent, someone who does things her way and on top of that a truly engaging performer. She has sass, style and superb songs. I reckon she drew the biggest crowd of the weekend, the crowd went absolutely nuts for her. She will undoubtedly be back at this festival before too long. Have I been at the Pit/ Lock Up Stage more times than any other this year? It certainly feels like it, this time I was here for Blood Youth from Yorkshire. This bunch are heavier than Osmium and harder than Nuclear Pasta (a.k.a. the material that makes up a Neutron Star). Blood Youth wield the force to cause an earthquake in Hell by the power of their mountainous riffs alone. This band produced a wave of the heaviest hardcore heavy metal today and rocked the Pit/ Lock Up Tent almost out of its moorings! Take a listen to their current album ‘Starve’ it is something special and you will not be disappointed.

Blood Youth

I stayed in the Pit/ Lock Up tent for the next act, an artist I knew next to nothing about, but I was intrigued. Just when I thought I had seen pretty much all there is to see at gigs and festivals during the last forty-seven years up comes Poppy, once known as Moriah Rose Pereira. This completely original LA artist shares a birthday with me, she was born the day that I turned 36. If you thought Lady Gaga was a bit ‘out there’ and strange then you have never come across Poppy. Is she an android? Well, she could be. This was perhaps one of the most spectacular sets that I have ever seen at one of the smaller stages at the Reading/ Leeds Festival! Poppy is like the sproglet of Max Headroom and Gwen Stefani with added alien DNA. Her band look like players in a rock star zombie film. The music is full-on heavy glam rock with a heavy nod to classic 60s girl group choruses in the vocals. Almost certainly my favourite act of the whole weekend. What was yours? I might have left after Poppy as nothing could really follow her, but I felt that I needed to stick around a little longer. Well, long enough to at least catch Twenty One Pilots. The boys opened with “Jumpsuit” which set the bar pretty high for the rest of their set. They managed to include a piece of the White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” within the live rendition of “Morph”, so I guess you could say that “Morph” morphed. It was an electrifying set, highlights for me were “My Blood” and “Cut My Lip”. But the real crowd-pleaser was a cover of the Oasis classic “Don’t Look Back In Anger” for which they were joined on stage by fellow co headliner Post Malone. I was more than satisfied to end my festival with such a great set from Twenty One Pilots. Apologies to Post Malone, the heat pretty much wasted me and I am not a big Post Malone fan! Leeds Festival I will see you again in 2020.

I know that they didn’t actually play the Leeds Festival, but they are a great band, so here is a sneaky Queen Zee video. Get well soon and we’ll see you next time!

All the photos apart from the Festival Line Up poster were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know.

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