Tom Waits has a song called “The Fall of Troy”, and a post-hardcore band called The Fall of Troy (not sure if they are named after the Tom Waits song) have a song called “Tom Waits.”
Tom Waits has a song called “The Fall of Troy”, and a post-hardcore band called The Fall of Troy (not sure if they are named after the Tom Waits song) have a song called “Tom Waits.”
Last night the delightful Catwoman and me went to a gig at the magnificent De Grey Rooms in York. What a stunning place to put on a show this place is and all by candlelight as well. Obviously there was power too otherwise the stage equipment wouldn’t have worked so well would it? In fact one of the acts hardly used the power though, more of that later.
First up was the unbilled Gobbledigook who performed as a duo in the bar before the main show started. They were also behind setting up the gig I assume given that it was promoted by gobbledigooktheatre.co.uk. Anyway these guys were bloody good. All they had was an acoustic guitar and a single percussion instrument. Plus some excellent songs of their own coupled with brilliant vocals and excellent fast worded and clever poetry. At times this reminded me of a stripped down acoustic led version of the fabulous Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip. In addition to their own material they also included a strong and nicely different from the original cover version of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know“. Introduced hilariously by the singer as this is a Whitney Houston song which you might be more familiar with from me singing it around town for years. Priceless! I loved them.
In the main room where the majority of us were seated around candlelit tables Antonio Lulic was first on. He and his band (which included John Parker, Nizlopi‘s double bass player) were stunning. Mr Lulic is a truly gifted songwriter with an incredibly soulful and powerful voice. He even slotted in a couple of extracts from a diverse couple of songs towards the end; Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” and Carly Rae Jepsen‘s “Call Me Maybe“. I hope Antonio makes it big, I bought both the EPs that he had on sale at the show and they are brilliant. He told us that he will shortly be supporting none other than Ed Sheerhan on some big South American shows. I wish him massive luck with that and I hope I get the chance to see him play again!
Fiona Bevan is incredibly talented and has the voice of an angel. Her songwriting is very mature and accomplished and she has amazing stage presence. Great image, especially that fantastic hair and a great personality. Her guitar playing is sublime, was she classically trained? Possibly. There is nothing with Fiona Bevan and her music that is not to like. I bought her album and it has already been on in the car today. She ought to go far. In fact her song “Slo Mo Tiger Glow” is featured on an advert for HSBC. She played a great version of the song in her set. I would definitely pay to see her again. Incidentally her band also included the hardest working man in the De Grey rooms that night; John Parker Nizlopi’s double bass player.
Finally it was time for Nizlopi to take the stage or at first the floor. Playing among the audience is a really intimate way of getting your music across and I have seen many bands do this really well, most notably the Tuts. However I do believe that it can be overdone and become detrimental to the whole set. This is how Nizlopi’s set felt to me, I really think that they overplayed the getting among the crowd element. Which meant that unless you managed to get to near the front then you often couldn’t see them or hear them very well. Both Catwoman and I felt that musically Nizlopi are an excellent band, John Parker is an excellent bass player and Luke Concannon‘s voice is pretty good. But what let them down for us was the clumsiness of some of their lyrics and what came across as the incredibly egotistical approach of the singer. Clearly many among the crowd might disagree with this opinion given the enthusiasm that some punters showed. But we stand by our disappointment. However the night was well worth it for all the three support acts!
Pictures and therefore the poor quality by me on my phone. Videos courtesy of YouTube!
Have you ever heard of Milky Edwards and the Chamberlings? No? Nor had I until recently. They (if indeed they are a they) come across as a classic ‘lost’ Motown band, perhaps in the mold of the Four Tops. From what I have discovered on-line Milky Edwards first appeared on YouTube last year with a video showing a record playing a cover version of some classic early 70s rock with the supposed album cover propped up behind. The album cover is very reminiscent of a 1960s Supremes album cover (see below).
It never really took off until the links were posted last month on David Bowie’s Facebook page. Why were they published on Bowie’s page? Well largely because the cover versions were all taken from the Ziggy Stardust album. The songs published so far are; “Starman”, “Moonage Daydream” and “Soul Love“. Mark Ronson and Tom Jones have denied any involvement in the recordings as have Bowie’s camp. But for me I would be very surprised if Bowie himself has played no part in this. I also believe that it is a wonderful hoax. There is even a website with the strap-line ‘rediscover the music of Milky Edwards, click here to see it. What do you think of all this? Have any of you got the inside track on these recordings? Personally I bloody love these tracks!
The wonderfully talented Colour Me Wednesday have just released an excellent video on YouTube which for me has the potential to become a YouTube Awards nominee for 2014. So to all my regular readers let’s make it viral and share the hell out of it. We’re relying on you and just remember that I know where you live!
The video is in support of their new single “(I’m Not Coming To Your) BBQ” which is taken from their brilliant début album ‘I Thought It Was Morning’. If you haven’t bought it yet then you jolly well ought to. It’s easy to do, just click here. The video was made by Harriet from the band and I love it! But even without the video it’s a great song too. Festival organisers if you’re reading this please can you get this band on your 2014 line up? You will not regret it!
I’m a bit late with this but I thought the 2013 YouTube awards deserved a mention. (Thanks for the reminder Mr H). The highest profile awards went to Eminem who was artist of the year and Girl’s Generation a South Korean K-Pop group won the video of the year for their song “I Got A Boy”. Other winners were;
Response of the Year: Lindsey Stirling & Pentatonix, “Radioactive”
YouTube Phenomenon: “I Knew You Were Trouble”
YouTube Breakthrough: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Innovation of the Year: DeStorm, “See Me Standing”
I felt that it was a nice surprise that Lady Gaga, who played a new song “Dope” at the awards show, won no awards. Eminem has also been in the news a lot recently. His recent UK number one single “The Monster” featuring Rihanna was the seventh consecutive year that Rihanna has had a UK number one. Only Elvis Presley and the Beatles have managed that before. In a two sevens clash numerical coincidence Eminem’s new album ‘The Marshall Mathers LP 2″ became his seventh consecutive UK number one album. He is the first US artist to acheive this feat.
Last Wednesday I went to see an act that has been around for thirty years. I had been conscious of them but never really aware of what they were. My interest was raised when my good friend John Williams (not the composer or the classical guitarist but a better bloke altogether) sent me a clip of this act from YouTube. I came close to wetting myself while watching it. The act was Fascinating Aida and that clip was for their excellent take on budget airlines “Cheap Flights“. If you have never seen them live or on-line the best way I could describe them would be a satirical, singing cabaret ensemble who are also bloody hilarious!
They kicked off their show with a superb song attacking the banking and big business fraternity which made an excellent acronym from their ‘Companies Using Nifty Taxation Schemes’ I’ll let you guess the actual acronym. They included their biggest internet hits; the aforementioned “Cheap Flights” and the not to be missed “Dogging”. You don’t know what dogging is? I suggest you ask your parents or maybe Stan Collymore.
The group managed to take a dig at so many people in such a short space of time including Tom Cruise, Pamela Anderson, U2, the Germans and many politicians to but a few. In fact their Belgian Song Cycle (at least I think that is what it was called) contained many of these put downs. As a result of that song cycle I will never be able to look at Cheryl Cole again without thinking ladyboy!
Their show is also very topical and referred amusingly to the austerity protests in Europe earlier in the week. These are three very talented women who I would like to thank very much for a hilarious evening out with Catwoman, Caron and John. So Dillie, Adele and Liza we loved your show and we would be delighted to see you again sometime. I would also advise any of my readers who have never seen Fascinating Aida on-line or in concert to check them out immediately!
So here we are again the cultural peak that is the Eurovision Song Contest. This is the 57th contest and it is being held in Baku, Azerbaijan. There are 26 entries in tonight show, with Sweden favourites and the UK fifth with the bookies. I will be writing this blog as it happens and I won’t be going back to edit it, especially my predictions! So you will be getting my first thoughts on each and every song in this years contest. At this stage I’m sticking my neck out and going for Engelbert to make the top three along with the singing grannies from Russia
First up it’s the traditional dancing and singing, that happens in every show doesn’t it? Guess who’s up first? It’s only the Hump himself a.k.a Engelbert Humperdinck with “Love Will Set You Free”. A truly consummate performer but he looks a bit plastic doesn’t he? But he is 76 now, which for me makes it quite amusing that the song has plummeted down the UK charts, apparently because those ‘silver surfers’ of the Hump’s generation don’t seem able to download it! Actually it’s not a bad song for Eurovision either and I reckon plenty more CD versions will be produced for next week if it does well.
Compact Disco performed the Hungarian entry. Not very compact or very disco really. Very 80s and very power ballad is “The Sound Of Our Hearts”. Are leather coats back in vogue? Rona Nishliu sang next for Albania, she is an experimental jazz vocalist, do I need to say more? Other than perhaps was that a real beehive on her head and a snake on her neck? Don’t give up the day job love!
Donny Montell sang “Love Is Blind” for Lithuania, with an oh so contrived blindfold which appeared to have been made from one of Michael Jackson’s old gloves. He whipped it off with a Bucks Fizz skirt type flourish. Bosnia and Herzegovina had a unmemorable ballad, I can’t recall the artist either!
They’re here, it’s those awesome Russian Grannies with “Party For Everybody”. Stop the contest now and hail them the winners. Absolutely spot on Eurovision entry. Twenty million YouTube hits can’t be wrong can they? They’re also raising money to rebuild a church that Stalin destroyed 70 years ago.
Iceland’s entry was a quite interesting song, but not winning material methinks. the song was “Never Forget” by Greta Salóme & Jónsi. A return to very traditional Eurovision Eurodisco values came next from Ivi Adamou for Cyprus. It was called “La La Love”, see what I mean by traditional contest values? She also danced on a table constructed from books, what was that all about?
It’s France with Anggun singing “Echo (You And I)” surrounded by topless male gymnasts. I wonder if it put her off at all? It was hard to tell for me, largely because the song was pretty crap. But there were some English lyrics in it, quite a departure for France. Italy, with their second performance after 14 years away gave us a fabulous Amy Winehouse pastiche from Nina Zilli. I quite like this, probably now my dark horse for winner. The English version is called “Out Of Love”. Great song, great look, great style and no gimmicks!
“Kuula” from Ott Lepland did the business for Estonia. An ok kind of song, reminiscent of many 70s ballads. The voice was very good, but those eyebrows had a life of their own. I’m sure they’ll be preparing to become moths or butterflies very soon. Tooji represented Norway with “Stay”. Apparently he was born in Iran. He also had a hoodie look going on, no chance of him getting into our corner shop then. He’d probably end up with an ASBO or a CRIMBO as they’re now known. The song was identikit and formulaic 80s disco.
Here come the locals! It’s Sabina Babayeva with the rather unfortunately titled “When The Music Dies” Of course the cost means they might not want to win two in a row. The song was pretty lightweight, so unlikely to win. Apparently she is a big fan of the Hump. Sabina is a very nice looking woman, but what was going on with the dress? Did she get dressed during a hurricane in a pillow factory? Mandinga were the Romanian entry and the group is made up of Romanians and Cubans. the song was an everything but the kitchen sink Eurodisco oompah sound production called “Zaleilah”. Was that really bagpipes? Surely not.
Denmark was represented by Soluna Samay with “Should’ve Known Better”, for some reason she was wearing a sailor’s hat, with some manky feathers in it. But the song was good, her voice is strong too. Shades of KT Tunstall. Soluna was supposedly once a busker. This is one of my favourites so far, but as Catwoman pointed out to me; Soluna is probably better than the song. Now is the time for Greece, surely they can’t afford to win can they? Will the IMF bail out the Eurovision Song Contest next year. Somehow with this song I don’t believe the Greek Government or the IMF need to worry. Incidentally the song was “Aphrodisiac” by Eleftheria Eleftheriou.
It’s time for the favourite, here come the Swedes led by Loreen with “Euphoria” which has already been a smash in many European countries. Her performance was clearly influenced by Florence off of Florence and the Machine and perhaps some Kate Bush mime dance moves. But I think I agree with the bookies, this has winner written all over it. But me saying that is probably the kiss of death for the song. But it really is a classy dance track. Can Bonomo sang next for Turkey with “Love Me Back”. I can only assume he is a big fan of English band sailor from the 70s. Well apart from the fact that his song was odd, bewildering and frankly shit! But yes clearly long leather coats are back!
Pastora Soler is a seasoned performer with quite a few albums under her belt, probably not as many as the Hump though. She sang “Quédate Conmigo” for Spain. She does have a superb voice, but this is not really my kind of song. Roman Lob (what a great name that is) stepped up to the plate for Germany with a pretty good song, “Standing Still” which was co written by Jamie Cullum along with Wayne Hector and Steve Robson.
Malta’s representative was Kurt Calleja, does that make him a Malteser? A reasonably competent dance track is what “This Is The Night” is for me. Kurt had a pretty trendy and funky suit and shirt combo, but why was he wearing a driving glove? And was that the ghost of Rick Astley on guitar? The Macedonians pushed forward Kaliopi to sing “Crno I Belo” That title looks like a Welsh road sign to me. The song struggled to make it’s mind up about what it was; ballad, pop song, rock song, dance track? Who the hell knows, but more importantly who cares?
Bloody hell it’s Jedward, their career can’t have much more life left in it surely. But “Waterline” is a pretty good song, so why did the writers waste it on these two talentless dorks? Jedward winning this contest would be on a par with a dog winning Britain’s Got Talent wouldn’t it? “Nije Ljubav Stvar” was the Serbian song from Željko Joksimović. Do you suffer from insomnia? This song might help you to sleep. Were those wellies or cowboy boots he was wearing?
Gaitana was next with a song she had cowritten, that song was “Be My Guest” and was the Ukrainian entry. Not a bad song and a damned good voice. But the dancers were camper than a row of pink tents. The brass intro and sometime refrain in the song did sound a bit like an elephants call though. Moldova had Pasha Parfeny singing “Lăutar” which was no more than just alright for me. As for his supporting dancers, a chimp with wooden legs could have done better.
So that’s it folks, now it’s results time. I won’t bore you with any commentary about the results though. But I will tell you about them in the next few lines. But right now I think the top two might be Sweden and Russia. Well I was right with that last line although some of my earlier predictions were way out! Sweden won the contest with 372 points followed by Russia with 259 and Serbia with 214. The UK finished second from last with just 12 points. Norway were bottom with only 7 points. Luckily Sweden are one of the few countries that can comfortably afford to put the show on in the current economic climate. So next year it will be from Sweden.
I can hardly believe it really. I started this blog because I was as they say ‘between contracts’ and frankly I was a little bored. But now it’s probably my favourite hobby. Why am I telling you all this? Well the blog is three years old today, 9th February 2012. I have loved every moment and I have met some wonderful people through it too. The most amazing thing is that I would have been knocked out if my viewing figures went into double figures on a weekly basis but now the total for three years is an incredible 1.04 million. I’d like to thank each and every one of you; especially the 51 who have subscribed and the 180 who are following it on Twitter.
I have made close to 450 posts and there have been nearly 530 comments. Some of the more amusing things are the search terms that have landed people here. The top 10 search items for the 12 months to 9th February 2012 are;
lady gaga 10,670
street signs 3,923
esthera sarita 3,555
rod stewart 2,910
imelda may 2,561
spencer elden 1,828
michael jackson 1,649
kate bush 1,625
dream catcher 1,385
The Lily Allen Naked experiment clearly still has some residual interest with 368 hits for Ms Allen naked. The naked thing is quite weird; many of you have searched for a favourite celeb naked including; Lady Gaga, Rage Against the Machine, Take That, Bono, Rod Stewart, Kate Bush, Simon Cowell & Louis Walsh. I mean come on people, first it’s not kind of site and second who really wants to see some of those naked? Louis Walsh naked bloody hell that’s perverse!
The largest referrals outside of search engines this year came from;
A big thanks to all of those. The Will Young one came about after I said some nice things about him in another of my anti X Factor posts.
As for the most downloaded pictures from the blog in the last 12 months, that tells a similar story to the naked searches and the Stripper Song. Here they are in order of popularity;
Number 4 and 5 take things to another place entirely!
And finally I also had the audacity to start three new blogs in the last 12 months. Feel free to check them out, rate them, comment on them and stuff.
Thanks again for bothering to take a look it’s a pleasure having you here. I’ll close with a few birthday related songs;
Recently I had a rather excellent band recommended to me by the name of Colour Me Wednesday and not only have I been enjoying their damned fine tunes I have also had the pleasure of interviewing them earlier this week. They hail from Hillingdon and have some educational links to Peckham.
They see themselves as a punk band and I have to agree with that. I always felt that the first wave of UK punk in 1976/77 was more about attitude, outlook and enjoying yourself. This bunch of talented guys and girls has all of that in abundance. They prove that punk is about so much more than just image; they don’t have a tattoo between them!
The band members are Jen on vocals, Hat on guitar and backing vocals, Sam on drums and backing vocals and Danny on bass. They all have a hand in the song writing and frankly it’s hard to believe they are children of the late 80s given the meaning and maturity in their lyrics. They have great principles too, so do not expect to see them in a bigoted, racist pub near you anytime soon.
Every year when I plan my trip to the Reading Festival with my good friend Nick we always select a band that we have never heard of but have an interesting name as a must see act for the weekend. Whilst Colour Me Wednesday (CMW) is a pretty cool name (and more on that later) I may have to choose my must see bands by interesting song titles in future. CMW have some fantastic songs in their repertoire including my current favourite “Purge Your Inner Tory” and “Unicorn In Uniform” Just how good are those titles? But it goes beyond that because the songs have real class both musically and lyrically. Regular readers will know that “Purge Your Inner Tory” plays well to my own political leanings and I just had to use a lyric from it as the title to this post!
“Carefree” is one of Sam’s songs and I particularly love the lyrics which the band say are about the feeling of not being able to stay ‘punk’ But the closing lines for me could be even more universal than that. Just how good is the following? ‘Seems we could go on forever, without another care about the world beyond our own doorstep. But I don’t think that’s for the best and I hope I’m not alone. Yeah I hope I’m not alone’
“Lost On The High Street” is reminiscent of one of my favourite Clash songs “Lost In The Supermarket” I reckon CMW could make a great cover of the Clash’s “Julie’s Been working For The Drug Squad” (Folks that is a request from me!). A remix of their “Lost On The High Street” features on their wonderful Sampler 2011 CD along with demos of the aforementioned “Purge Your Inner Tory” and “Unicorn In Uniform” along with the beautiful and fragile “Holiday From Your Life”. You can click here to buy the EP for the almost criminally low price of £1.79 including postage (if you’re in the UK). Not only are the songs superb but the packaging is wonderfully hand crafted just like the early days of punk.
As it was an interview I had to ask a few questions so I did. I started with who is the best band or singer on the planet and agreed that they could include those sadly departed artists and defunct bands if they wished. They all love the Beatles and Jen and Hat particularly love Juliana Hatfield. (Formerly of the Blake Babies and Some Girls). Danny loves REM and Elvis Costello; the band has covered Costello’s “I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea” at some point too.
My next question was on a ‘what if’ trip. If there was a Colour Me Wednesday chat show who would be the guests on the first episode. Hat went for Russell Brand and Jen would invite Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill. Sam suggested that he would invite a selection of those cute YouTube cats. I’d be happy to send my two cats Benny the Ball and Mrs Betty Slocombe to audition for that! Incidentally I reckon that would make a good chat show especially if they invited Mr Costello as well.
A recent survey claims that the biggest tear-jerker of a song is “Everybody Hurts” so that was my lead in to ask if any of the band could think of a particular song that made them cry. Jen offered one of my own favourites from the late, great Jeff Buckley with “Lover You Should Have Come Over”. Ben Folds Five’s “Brick” was Hat’s choice. Sam went for “My Baby…” from band favourite Juliana Hatfield while Danny opted for Weezer’s “Pardon Me”. Some interesting choices I reckon; what do you think dear readers?
I then asked the rather shameful question of what is the most embarrassing song in your collection. The band rightly pointed out that music shouldn’t be embarrassing and if you enjoy it what’s the problem. It’s difficult to disagree with their argument (but if “Macarena” comes up on my iPod shuffle facility any time soon I will not be able to avoid that embarrassing feeling; sorry gang!). Jen and Hat did offer a song and a band that they felt they shouldn’t really like. In my view I would say these were pretty cool choices. It was “Kiss Me” from Sixpence None The Richer a song that sisters Jen and Hat used to practice their harmonies on. They also felt that Paramore fitted the bill here as well given their heavily teenage fan base and image.
My next interrogative line was is there a song that sums up your life so far and obviously I had to extend that to albums as well. When I think about it could I answer that question myself? Only with great difficulty! Any way they did come up with Belly’s debut album from 1993, ‘Star’. Along with Juliana Hatfield’s “Become What You Are”. The band have been to see Juliana on one occasion and it was made even more interesting and exciting by the appearance of one time Blake baby Freda Love.
Jen went on to speak about how it felt singing other people’s lyrics. She said that very, very occasionally she might want to edit a line. In particular she feels that the end of a line should be very evocative. She also admitted that she felt almost possessed when singing a cover version.
When travelling up to Sheffield for a recent gig they amused themselves by swapping jokes about cheese, especially vegan cheese as all the band are vegetarians. Are there many cheese jokes? I can only think of two and they are cheesy indeed. Which cheese would you use to entice a grizzly down from a mountain? Camembert. (It’s all in the pronunciation) and what do you call cheese that isn’t yours? Nacho cheese.
I promised you more on the name later and here it is. How did the name come about? Well it was back in the days before Jen was in the band and Hat wanted to find a name that didn’t evoke Goth or death metal. So she used a bag of fridge magnet poetry and pulled out random words until she found a combination that worked. That combination was obviously the pretty cool Colour Me Wednesday.
If you get a chance to see them live then I urge you to take it. I haven’t had that opportunity yet but I will certainly take it when I can. If you want to book them for a gig then get in touch I am pretty damned sure you will not be disappointed. I would like to offer some big thanks to the band for letting me interview them and for becoming the very first act ever to be interviewed for the With Just A Hint Of mayhem blog in nearly three years!
Check them out on the web here;
Now enjoy a few of the band’s songs and make sure you order the sampler 2011 EP. If I find that you haven’t bought it, remember……. I know where you live! If you missed the link earlier click here to order the CD.
OK this is the third and final post about the missing footage of David Bowie doing “The Jean Genie” on Top of the Pops in 1973. Click here and here to see the earlier posts. The reason for this last post is that the video has now thankfully found its way onto YouTube. You can see it below.
This whole episode brought back one memory about the similarity between Bowie’s “Jean Genie” and the Sweet’s “Blockbuster“, in particular the riff. The latter made it to the top of the chart whilst “Jean Genie”, which only made number two, was still in the top ten. The Sweet‘s single, which was written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman was released shortly after the Bowie song. As a teenager and a big Bowie fan I could never bring myself to like “Blockbuster” but I have mellowed with age and I’m ok with it now, although I obviously prefer “Jean Genie” to “Blockbuster”.
Nicky Chinn has said that all the writers, including Bowie, were convinced that the whole thing was a coincidence. However Chinn has mentioned a conversation with Bowie about the coincidence. He said Bowie “looked at me completely deadpan and said ‘Cunt!’ And then he got up and gave me a hug and said, ‘Congratulations’.
Anyway now you can enjoy that clip (along with the Sweet and an old clip of Bowie doing “The Jean Genie” on the US TV Special ‘The 1980 Floor Show’ recorded in 1973 which regular readers will have seen before) and I promise I won’t post about it again………probably!