With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

The Tuts – Wharf Chambers, Leeds – Wednesday 21st September 2016 September 23, 2016


tutssep

I believe this is the fifth time that I have seen the magnificent Tuts play live since that first time supporting Kate Nash back in April 2013. They get so much better every time, but enough about them for a moment because this show at the delightful Wharf Chambers venue in Leeds also boasted a couple of excellent support acts. First on stage where Milk Crimes, a brilliantly gifted band who I first encountered when they supported Colour Me Wednesday at the Fulford Arms in York earlier this year. They are part Bis, part Buzzcocks and part Pixies. But the overwhelming majority of their parts are pure and original Milk Crimes. A great band with some great tunes and frankly any band with a song entitled “Hail Satan” is alright with me!

milk-crimes

Crywank were next as they brought their bottled madness to Leeds. What kind of genre are they? Who knows? Who cares? The answer to both of those questions is probably no and it really doesn’t matter for Crywank are a stunningly eclectic and talented combo. They are so out there and just utterly fucking brilliant. Actually I might even describe them as Zappa-esque. Drums and an acoustic guitar with songs that are either nonsense lyrics or wonderful vignettes of everyday life. They made an offer that I don’t recall ever hearing from another band; give us some weed an we’ll give you an album. Now that is a good deal, but where the hell did I put my stash?

crywank

Now it was time for the main event, the Tuts who were by now close to half way through a headline UK tour in support of their stunning first album ‘Update Your Brain’. That album is getting some great reviews; 9 out of 10 from Vive Le Rock Magazine, click here for my review of the album. They opened with the rousing put down of sexism in the music industry “Tut Tut Tut”. The first single from the album, “Let Go Of The Past” had the capacity crowd leaping and bouncing all the way through. The song that has become something of a Tuts standard, “Dump Your Boyfriend” rocked Wharf Chambers to its foundations helped along by a crowd that seemed to know the words to all the songs. As Nad Tut remarked later in the set this was a really special moment, having the crowd singing back to you and I most certainly agree.

tuts2 tuts1

The Tuts remain a DIY band and let’s face it it’s hard to get more ‘punk’ than that. They have no label and no manager, although briefly last year they did have a manager. He didn’t last long as his glory days were so far in the past that all his ‘key’ music contacts were probably dead by 1982 and that is kind of what the magnificent “1982” is all about. The band gave us a choice of cover songs; the Clash‘s “Rudie Can’t Fail” or the Spice GirlsWannabe“. It was a landslide win for “Wannabe” and I must confess it got my vote too. Nad Tut, Hat Tut and Bev Tut evoke the spirit of girl power far more strongly than Scary and the gang. On top of that their powerful version of the Spice Girls first hit is loud and great fun. There was the now obligatory foray into the audience from Nadia and Harriet which the crowd lapped up. They played a rollicking version of my current favourite Tuts song, “Give Us Something Worth Voting For” too. But in what seemed like a fleeting moment their set ended with the fabulous “Back Up”. The Tuts are a band that for me are really on the cusp of major success and I hope they get there. They have talent, intelligence, principles and they know how to win an audience. There are still a few opportunities left to see them on this tour and if you can’t make it to any of those dates then get off your arse and start updating your brain by buying their album.

tuts3

Me and the magnificent Tuts

Now for one of those pesky public service announcements. All the photos in this post were taken on my cheap little mobile phone camera. Meanwhile the videos are all courtesy of YouTube.

 

“I gave you the finger, you took me to dinner” November 12, 2013


Geri meets 3 of the 393 people that bought her new single

Geri meets 3 of the 393 people that bought her new single

Once upon a time she was one fifth of the pop world conquering Spice Girls who sold their songs by the Starship load. Nowadays Geri Halliwell a.k.a. Ginger Spice is selling barely enough CDs (ok I recognise that many are probably downloads these days) for one person to carry. Geri’s new single in Australia, “Half Of Me” sold just 393 copies in its first week. To be fair that is probably 392 more than perhaps a new Victoria Beckham single would sell.

Geri celbrates after the first six copies of her new single had been sold

Geri celebrates after the first six copies of her new single had been sold

Anyway it seems that Geri is taking it reasonably well. She decided not to perform the song on the Australia’s Got Talent Final TV show. Instead she performed a version of the Spice Girls first hit “Wannabe”. She admitted that deep down she was gutted. In contrast the Australian number one single, “Alive” by Aussie X Factor winner Dami Im sold 44,000 in the same period. Click here to read the story on the BBC.

Geri spends all the profits from the sales of her new single on a cab ride across the road

Geri spends all the profits from the sales of her new single on a cab ride across the road

It’s clearly a long way from those heady days of her early solo career where she achieved four UK number ones; “Mi Chico Latino“, “Lift Me Up”, “Bag It Up” and an atrocious cover version (in my opinion) of the Weather Girls disco classic “It’s Raining Men“. The latter was also number one in Belgium, France, Ireland and Italy. She has never had an Australian number one solo single though and with “Half Of Me” only making it to number 281 that seems unlikely to change.  Her biggest solo hit in the land down under was her first  single “Look At Me” which made it to number 3 in 1999. Should we start a campaign to have “Half Of Me” adopted as the anti X Factor Christmas number 1 in the UK this year? No I didn’t think you’d go for that either!

dami_im

 

London 2012 – The Olympics Closing Ceremony August 13, 2012


So the London 2012 Olympics is over, at least until the Paralympics anyway. I truly believe that this has been an amazing Olympics and for me usurps England winning the 1966 football world cup as our greatest sporting achievement. What do you think? OK I know the Scots won’t agree with that in the first place, but I would still like to hear your thoughts.

I realise that this post comes some 24 hours after the closing ceremony, but given the musical nature of that ceremony I felt I had to post something. The Olympic stadium was once again amazing; decked out to show a London skyline that included the London Eye, Big Ben and the Gherkin to name but a few. It all kicked off with the delicious voice of Emilie Sande accompanied only by a pianist, who was playing a piano covered in newspaper. After that the tempo really took off with forty members of the cast of Stomp dancing, drumming and percussing (is that a word?) on the recreated mini London Eye in the stadium. On top of all this there was a choir singing Beatles songs.

Next up was cellist and Churchill appearing out of the top of Big Ben and reciting words from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ which was a great link back to the superb Opening ceremony. Obviously it wasn’t really Churchill, it was Timothy Spall. This was followed by newspaper clad crowds depicting the hubbub of London. The whole thing then slowed a little for the arrival of the VIPs; Jacques Rogge (President of the IOC) who seems to make even the dullest accountant I have ever met seem exciting and prince Harry representing the Royal family. Clearly he was never going to match his grandmother’s arrival at the opening ceremony! Obviously this was followed by our rather uninspiring, in my opinion, national anthem.

The whole show was a celebration of Britain and the next vignette was real class. It was the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 countdown by Michael Caine from the ‘Italian Job’ and then the iconic three-wheeled van of Trotter’s Independent Trading blew apart and out jumped, yes you guessed it, Del Boy and Rodney in their Batman and Robin costumes. A sublime moment and a nod to one of Britain’s greatest ever comedy shows; Only Fools And Horses.

The mood then turned very much to party as madness were driven around the arena playing “Our House” from the back of a truck. This tempo was kept up by the Massed Guards Bands with a wonderful rendition of Blur’s “Parklife”. Just when you thought it couldn’t get better the stadium was filled with cyclists wearing the most amazing geometric and fluorescent hats. Two of them on tricycles which had Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe as passengers. So we were treated to a fabulous version of “West Ends Girls” on bicycles and tricycles. Could this happen anywhere but the UK? I doubt it!

One Direction were next, like Madness they were on the back of a truck, which sadly wasn’t headed to the tip. OK I have to begrudgingly admit they were at least in tune, but I still don’t like them. Interestingly they were one of just a few acts whose name was flashed onto the screen when they appeared. After that it was back to another great number from the cast of Stomp. That percussion sounded like “Spice Up Your Life” to me. was that deliberate? Who knows? An incredibly talented dance troupe who I think were called Spelbound were next to take the stage. They performed a great routine to the Beatles Sergeant Pepper classic “A Day In The Life”

To keep up the 60s vibe Kinksmeister Ray Davies came on to sing his timeless and classic love song to London; “Waterloo Sunset”. eliciting some great ‘sha la la-ing’ from the audience in the process. Emilie Sande made a return next, minus the newspaper piano and sang over a film montage of some of London 2012’s most tearful moments. The three hundred or so flag bearers entered the arena after that, including super sailor Ben Ainslie fo Britain. Elbow soundtracked this whole piece with a great little set that included the beautiful “Open Arms”.  The athletes followed the arrival of the flag bearers and they were corralled into the sections of the union jack which formed the floor of the stadium. Apparently this version of the flag was designed by Damien Hirst. Indian drummers then accompanied the construction of a large structure made up of more than three hundred white boxes. One to represent each Olympic event. The backing track to this was Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”. I had momentary butterflies while wishing and hoping that Kate might actually appear herself. But alas she didn’t.

Apparently one of the traditions of the closing ceremony is that it contains the last medal presentation. It is for the Mens Marathon which took place earlier in the day and was won by Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda.  This was followed by a thank you and recognition for all the volunteers, or Games makers as they were known from all the athletes. This was followed by a spectacular light show to the unmistakable sound of Queen’s mighty “Bohemian Rhapsody” followed by a children’s signing choir singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”. This segued into a film clip of Lennon singing the song himself. Apparently Yoko Ono commissioned a special remaster of the song for the ceremony. At the same time a 3D image of John Lennon’s face was built on stage. This was a prelude to the main musical events.

George Michael took to the stage for his first live performance since his life threatening illness he sang “Freedom 90”  his new single “White Light” which is in fact all about his brush with death. He seemed fit and well and on really good form. I’m not sure I like the new facial hair style though, perhaps it will grow on me! Ricky off of the Kaiser Chiefs was driven to the stage as a scooter pillion passenger singing “Pinball Wizard”. I have gone off the Kaisers of late, by I must admit they did a storming version of the Who’s classic. The next part had me positively tingling with anticipation; A series of short film and audio clips of David Bowie. Would he actually appear? Surely not? And surely he didn’t. But his 1980 hit “Fashion” was used as a backdrop to a showcase of British fashion which included a weird march around the stadium from a series of models including Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.

George couldn’t master Mo Farah’s Mobot so he invented the Georgebot

A huge skeleton of what might have been a viking boat was pulled on stage and the hidden figurehead was none other than Annie Lennox. She performed “Little Bird” which was used on the soundtrack of Coppola’s film version of Bram Stoker’s classic story Dracula. The much rumoured Pink Floyd appearance turned out to be nothing more than Ed Sheerhan, Nick Mason and Mike Rutherford doing the Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” accompanied by a tightrope walker who recreated the Floyd album cover with the flaming man.

Russell Brand arrived on stage in what looked like the Scooby Doo van and he was singing, he’s not a bad singer either. He got out of the van to perform the Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus”. The van begat a giant inflatable octopus from which Fatboy Slim did a brief DJ set featuring his own hits “Right Here Right Now” and “Rockerfeller Skank”. Jessie J then sang “Price Tag” in an open top car she was joined by Tinie Tempah then Taio Cruz with “Dynamite”. All in open top cars. Then all three of them took the stage for a creditable performance of the Bee Gees disco classic “You Should Be Dancing”. As they were performing in front of a drum kit marked up with the name of Beady Eye it was obvious who was going to be on later!

A group of London Black cabs entered stadium and performed a kind of synchronised dance. Then five of them moved to the centre of the arena and were lit up with some spectacular lighting arrays. This wasn’t the best kept secret of the show, but guess who the passengers in these five cabs were? Yes it was Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger and Pouty…. oops sorry I mean Posh. It was the return of the Spice Girl. They kicked off with possibly one of the greatest pop singles of the 90s (OK that doesn’t mean you have to like it); “Wannabe”. They followed this with the samba rhythmed “Spice Up Your Life” which they performed while being driven around the stadium atop the cabs that brought them in. As expected after seeing their drum kit earlier Beady Eye were next. Thankfully they didn’t play any of their own stuff, just a cover of “Wonderwall” which seemed to go down really well as a sing along with the crowd. Liam seemed quite nervous to me and is his voice a little rough these days?

ELO’s “Mr Blue Sky” was played as a backdrop for a section pioneering flight. This included flying bikes and a failed human cannonball who just happened to be Monty Python star Eric Idle who led the audience in a marvellous sing-alonga-python version of “Always look On The Bright Side Of Life”. he even made a great comedic attempt to join in with some Bollywood style dancing. This whole piece was perhaps the equivalent of the Mr Bean set in the opening ceremony. It ended with the real and successful firing of a human cannonball.

Matt Bellamy and the boys from Muse were the next to appear and they performed their song “Survival” which was commissioned for the Olympics. It’s good and their performance was excellent as usual but this is a long way from being my favourite Muse song. Interestingly, as some have likened Muse to Queen they were followed by a film clip of Freddie Mercury performing some improv jazz scat and despite being dead for more than twenty years the audience were enraptured and joined in the whole Freddie call and response thing. This proved to be the overture to Brian May’s appearance and it’s fair to say that he’s quite a good guitarist isn’t he? 😉 As the unmistakable riff to “We Will Rock You” began and Brian was joined by Roger Taylor I was briefly worried that Adam Lambert or someone similar might step onto the stage. Thankfully it was Jessie J, and inspired choice in my opinion. She did a great vocal on the song which never tried to emulate the late, great Mr Mercury.

It was then time to return to the formal activities which meant the Greek national anthem followed by a Welsh Male Choir version of the Olympic Anthem. This was sealed with the Brazilian national anthem and a formal handing over of the Olympic flag from London’s Mayor Boris Johnson to the Mayor of Rio De Janeiro via Jacques Rogge. The Brazilians then put on a samba fuelled show to let the world know what to expect in 2016. This culminated in an appearance by one of their greatest sports ambassadors; Pele. Then we had more formal stuff with speeches from Seb Coe and Jacques Rogge. Seb was quite inspiring Jacque was once again the definition of dull in my opinion. The remaining action was the extinguishing of the flame. This began with Take That (thankfully without Robbie) performing the appropriate “Rule The World”. It continued with Darcy Bussell flying in as a Phoenix to join two hundred other ballet dances for an exciting modern ballet.

The petals of the cauldron where the Olympic flame burned were then lowered and were slowly extinguished and at this point I thought that was the end. However there was more to come in the shape of the Who. They were on top form and for a pensioner Roger Daltrey’s vocal power is still damned good. They closed with a rousing version of “My Generation” accompanied by yet another magnificent firework display.

I fell a little deflated after such a brilliant two weeks but so very proud to be British. I truly believe that we really showed the world what we are capable of as a country. Not just in the Olympic events but by how we put on such a brilliant event in itself. In spite of the little hiccups before the start (G4S etc) we really delivered this in style and won a whole treasure box of medals too. So let me take this opportunity to congratulate and thank everyone in Team GB, the organisers, all the other competitors, the BBC, the volunteers/  Games Makers and anyone else who was involved in this remarkable event.

Was this the best Olympics ever? I believe it as. Rio follow that!

Most of the film clips from the ceremony are IOC copyright and therefore difficult to show. So here are two songs that sum things up in a simple way.

 

“Everyone else in the room can see it everyone else but you” February 23, 2012


One Direction have just had the highest début entry by a UK act in the US chart for 14 years. Their former UK number oneWhat Makes You Beautiful” entered the US chart at number 28 this week. The last UK act to do better with their début US hit was Jimmy Ray with “Are You Jimmy Ray ?” back in 1998. They went on to be a one hit wonder as far as the US is concerned. Hopefully that’ll be the case with X Factor pop muppets One Direction as well.

I feel embarrassed that the Americans believe that acts like One Direction are at the cutting edge of our cultural output. If you’re listening across the pond they’re not that good really ok? That will probably fall on deaf ears, after all this is a country that elected a born again Christian, reformed alcoholic, rich hillbilly, village idiot for a second term as President!

The Spice Girls established their worldwide phenomenon credentials with their début US hit “Wannabe” in 1997. That single entered the US chart at number 11 and powered its way to the top where it stayed for four weeks. Let’s hope that One Direction’s trajectory is down. Of all the great bands and singers we have in the UK I find it quite depressing that manufactured crap like One Direction is so successful in the USA.

On a more talented note Adele continues to own the US album chart with her second album ’21’ now having spent an appropriate 21 weeks on the top spot. She even managed to keep Whitney Houston’s Greatest Hits off the top, now that really is some feat! Adele’s album has now sold more than 18 million copies worldwide and holds the record for the most weeks at number one in the US by a female artist. By strange coincidence it replaced Whitney Houston’s soundtrack to ‘The Bodyguard

 

“The whistles were blowin’ and everybody did the bump” January 17, 2012


I think I must be getting to that kind of age where many of your heroes or favourite folk from your youth are dying off. Well it’s happened again; sadly the great Jimmy Castor is now the late, great Jimmy Castor. He died yesterday in Las Vegas from apparent heart failure after earlier by-pass surgery. He was aged just 71 (although some on-line sources say 64). I hadn’t listened to him for quite a while but I heard the news on the way home from work tonight and played “Trogolodyte” on the iPod.

Mr Castor was a seriously funky dude who could even give the likes of George Clinton and Bootsy Collins a run for their money. His songs have been sampled by many artists including Madonna, Neneh Cherry, Kanye West, DJ Shadow, Ice Cube and the Spice Girls. If you’re too young to remember Jimmy Castor or he somehow passed you by then take a listen to the songs below and get your booty shakin’. You know it makes sense you funkateers you!

My thoughts go out to Jimmy’s family, friends and fans. RIP Jimmy Castor.

 

“Pretty lights on the tree I’m watching them shine” December 25, 2010


As a special Billy Christmas bonus for those of you who have stuck with me through each and every one of the 25 posts on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar. Here are the 21 UK Christmas number ones that did not get seen or heard on any of the original posts. Enjoy them as you digest your turkey and enjoy a nice glass of wine 🙂

And finally at the end of the post I couldn’t resist adding another bonus, the final song is my favourite Christmas song ever, it’s Darlene Love with “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

1953       Frankie Laine     “Answer Me

1954       Winifred Atwell  “Let’s Have Another Party

1956       Johnnie Ray        “Just Walkin’ in the Rain

1959       Emile Ford & The Checkmates    “What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?

1969       Rolf Harris           “Two Little Boys

1976       Johnny MathisWhen A Child Is Born (Soleado)

1977       Wings    “Mull of Kintyre

1980       St Winifred’s School ChoirThere’s No-one Quite Like Grandma

1982       Renée and Renato          “Save Your Love

1985       Shakin’ Stevens                “Merry Christmas Everyone

1992       Whitney HoustonI Will Always Love You

1993       Mr BlobbyMr Blobby

1994       East 17 “Stay Another Day

1995       Michael JacksonEarth Song

1997       Spice Girls           “Too Much

2000       Bob The Builder                “Can We Fix It?

2001       Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman              “Somethin’ Stupid

2005       Shayne Ward     “That’s My Goal

2006       Leona Lewis       “A Moment Like This

2007       Leon Jackson     “When You Believe

2008       Alexandra Burke              “Hallelujah

 

 
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