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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Live At Worthy Farm – Saturday 22nd May 2021 June 3, 2021


I suppose this is a review of sorts, I mean I watched it “as live”, and that for me is the crux of the issue, not actually live, but “as live”. Maybe it should have been called ‘As Live At Worthy Farm’ On a positive note the lowering of some Covid restrictions meant that I was able to watch it with five mates round at my gaff 🙂 So thank you Simon, John, Paul, Pete and Rusty for helping to make it a great night! Maybe it was luck but we did not suffer any of the technical difficulties that thousands of other paying punters did. I am not sure who put the whole show together, but on paper the line up looked good and I love the way the sky got darker as the night went on.

The whole thing was kicked off with a blistering set from what seemed like a really fired up and ready for it Wolf Alice. They appeared to give it their all in the stone circle, despite the lack of a roaring crowd. “Don’t Delete The Kisses” was an incredibly powerful way to open the whole show. Meanwhile “The Last Man On Earth” was truly epic and suggests that the new album will be ace. The incredibly talented Michael Kiwanuka followed and his set was funky, jazzy and majestically soulful. Particular highlights were set openers “You Ain’t The Problem” and “Rolling” from his incredibly classy third album ‘Kiwanuka’ from 2019. Next to enter the Glasto site was George Ezra in very stripped back way, just him and a guitar walking around playing and singing, like a mobile busker. He played a few songs next to a raging fire and we thought maybe he was going to be sacrificed in a Wicker Man style, but don’t worry Ezra fans, he wasn’t! IDLES were bombastic and frankly hotter then Ezra’s fire. One of the few acts on the night to attack this vile UK government, “Reigns” is a great protest song. “Kill Them With Kindness” was another highlight for me. Their incendiary set was like a mini best of from their three albums to date. As a footnote it looked like they were playing in a warehouse full of strange junk, in fact it was filmed at Joe Rush’s “Carhenge” workshop!

HAIM were next and another of my highlights, the three sisters rocked the hell out of the Stone Circle. “Summer Girl” and “I Know Alone” were particular favourites of mine. When I have seen them in the past I was always mesmerised by the gurning antics of Este Haim, which sadly were not really evident in this performance. The next band, for me, are a bit Marmite, in that people seem to either love them or hate them, yes I am talking about Coldplay. personally I thought their first couple of albums were good, but they seem to have become a bit identikit and boring musically. Although they have great Glasto credentials, having headlined four times so far. They were filmed in front of the iconic Pyramid Stage, or at least a skeleton of it, with a stunningly good light show. The old songs were the winners for me, “Clocks”, “The Scientist” and especially “Fix You”. Next was Damon Albarn, an artist I really like, however I felt this set was a little self indulgent, although a long way from terrible. The crowd at my house went moderately wild in a socially distanced stylee when he played a couple of Blur songs, “Out Of Time” and “This Is A Low”. His set was a little underwhelming, however the thing that captivated us was the new Barnet sported by Mr Albarn, he has a mullet! Yes, seriously, a mullet! Damon, sort yourself out!

Rate My Mullet!

Jorja Smith is only 23 and yet her music has a beautiful maturity, she is a supremely talented singer songwriter with a fantastic voice. I love her ‘Be Right Back’ EP which came out in May. Her first big UK hit was “Blue Lights” and she opened her set with a powerhouse version of it. The Smile were the special guests and if you have not heard about them yet you really do need to crawl out from under your rock and scrub the moss off. Smile is Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke of Radiohead aided and abetted by Nigel Godrich and Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner. Skinner’s jazz background perhaps carried the most influence on the music, which showcased that Radiohead can do pop, especially synth pop with a huge dollop of prog. I really hope the Smile record and release an album, it will be worth it for “We Don’t Know What Tomorrow Brings” a synth pop banger that the likes of Depeche Mode would salivate over. But the most outstanding tune for me was “You Will Never Work In Television Again” which is full to the brim of great melodies and hooks. They even managed to fit in an unreleased Radiohead tune, “Skating on the Surface”. The Smile pretty much capped the evening for me, plus I had consumed a hell of a lot of wine by then. So I don’t recall too much about Kano’s set (humble apologies to Kane Brett Robinson a.k.a. Kano). I do remember marvelling at how fast this guy can rap, he spits his words at almost superhuman speed! The whole event was closed by a, so I am told, marvellous DJ set from DJ Honey Dijon featuring Róisín Murphy. Sadly the wine had really done for me by then! I should also give a shout out to all the artists and poets who provided spoken word interludes PJ Harvey, Jarvis Cocker, Kae Tempest, Kurupt FM, Little Amal and Mr Glastonbury himself, Michael Eavis.

All the photographs and videos were found on line if one of them is yours and you would like me to credit you or remove it please let me know!

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Leeds Festival Day 3 Sunday 27th August 2017 August 30, 2017


Click here to read my review of day 3 of the 2017 Leeds Festival on the Hype Media site. I would like to thank the lovely gang at the Hype Media for giving me the opportunity to be there! Words by me and pictures by rock photographer extraordinaire John Hayhurst of snapagig. Except for the Marshall Mathers picture, that one was a lucky find.

 

Reading Festival 2015 – Day 2 – Saturday 29th August August 30, 2015


image

Baby Metal – not actual babies, but proper pop metal. I am now a big fan of this lot.

Fidlar – no fiddles, they’re not needed, these guys are superb.

Marmozets – even better than last year. Super awesome!

Slaves – the true spirit of late 70s punk lives on in these blokes, although maybe with a sprinkle of Jilted John. A great band though.

Spector – not Phil obviously, but they have got even better than the last time that I saw them.

Circa Waves – confetti waves at the end, this will be a hard band to follow. Brilliant!

Wolf Alice – not big and bad, but not bad. But a bit of a comedown after Circa Waves. We left their set a little early to see Royal Blood.

Royal Blood – a really well deserved Main Stage for this powerful band. The singer did try a little too hard on being cool though.

Bring Me The Horizon – can you actually bring anyone the horizon? I think not, however that really doesn’t matter. This band deserves to be immense. I reckon that they will headline the Main Stage here very soon. Probably on of the UK’s finest rock bands at the moment. I should add that the band’s public service announcement was hilarious.

Metallica – wow what a masterpiece of a show! It worked for the Metallica family and the more casual fans. The music and visuals were supremely good.

the people that we met today made it like a mini United Nations of rock. Two Metallica fans from Belgium and thanks for the band recommendation of Black Box Revelation. Then to the Metallica super fan from Spain who stood in the same spot for twelve hours. Dude we are not worthy. He also pointed out the band’s producer and manager along with members of Slayer in the mixing tower behind us. We also bumped into the Cheltenham crew again and there was not a hangover present in any of them.

two down and one to go, let’s see what day 3 brings! Hopefully no burrying!

 

 
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