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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Mike Garson’s “A Bowie Celebration… Just For One Day” – Saturday January 9th 2021 January 19, 2021


I have watched a few streamed shows since this awful pandemic kicked in and like many of us I don’t believe that this type of show can ever replace real gigs. But for now this is all we have so let’s use it. As a huge Bowie fan for nearly 50 years I was obviously looking forward to this show. It was curated by the Dame’s long term piano man Mike Garson and included a wonderful range of Bowie alumni and a stack of special guests performing songs (around 40) from across the Starman’s career. It was an “as live” stream but incredibly well put together. The behind the scenes crew deserve a huge round of applause, they clearly did an amazing job, which in turn helped to provide us punters with three hours of classy Bowie themed entertainment.

First up was Duran Duran with their version of the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ album opener “Five Years”, I have never been a huge fan of Simon Le Bon’s voice, but this was a staggeringly good version of an iconic song. Duran Duran really pulled this off with aplomb. Lzzy Hale off of Halestorm was aided and abetted by Tony award winning actress and singer Lena Hall for a wonderfully theatrical cover of “Moonage Daydream”, very much a star performance from Lzzy and Lena. I have been a Smashing Pumpkins fan for many years, so I was looking forward to Billy Corgan’s piano led take on “Space Oddity”. But I felt it wasn’t a great performance, I am really not sure that Billy’s voice suited the song in this setting. Sorry Mr Corgan! Perry Farrell took on “The Man Who Sold The World” partnered by his wife Etty Lau Farrell and it was a perfect spine tingling take on one of Bowie’s finest tunes. Next there was a bluesy run through a somewhat deep cut, “Bring Me The Disco King” by Anna Calvi. This was originally a track released as a part of 2003’s ‘Reality’ album. Regular readers will know that I am not a fan of Take That’s Gary Barlow, so I cringed a little when I saw his name on the list. But to be very honest the boy did good. Barlow didn’t choose an easy option and went with 1975’s “Fame”. A real Five Star performance from Mr Barlow.

Living Colour’s Corey Glover was spot on with his gorgeous run through of “Young Americans”. This was followed by one of my favourite songs from that period, “Can You Hear Me” performed by the obscenely talented Gail Ann Dorsey who played in Bowie’s band for many years. “Sweet Thing/ Candidate/ Sweet Thing (Reprise)” is a tough song to cover but Bernard Fowler, highly regarded backing vocalist who has supplied backing vox to the Stones among many others didn’t just cover the song, he owned it and frankly, blew me away. Possibly my favourite performance of the whole event. Charlie Sexton, a man who has played with an incredible number of music luminaries appeared next with a funky work out of the 1983 classic “Let’s Dance” the first of four songs by him on the night. Judith Hill, a woman who has worked with Michael Jackson, Prince and John Legend to name just a few was next with a haunting rendition of “Lady Stardust” backed by some beautiful piano from Mike Garson. “Changes” as reimagined by Macy Gray was epic, where have you been Macy, the world needs you. Kevin Armstrong who worked with Bowie in the 80s played a rather excellent version of the Mick Ronson arrangement of Richard Rodgers’ “Slaughter On Tenth Avenue” which was dedicated by Mike Garson, to the memory of Ronson, Bowie and all Bowie alumni that have passed away.

Jazz Singer Catherine Russell sang an arrangement of “Conversation Piece” from the ‘Space Oddity’ album that was completely unrecognisable from the original and for me that made it a perfect cover version, I loved it! Next up was the return of Charlie Sexton with a Stones style take on Bowie’s Stones pastiche “Rebel Rebel”. This is one of my favourite songs from Bowie and Sexton did a great job with it. Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot was on board for two songs and I was a little surprised at his first one, “Win” from 1975’s ‘Young Americans’ album. Surprised but definitely not disappointed, Joe’s voice was immaculate and accompanied by the kind of piano heaven we have come to expect from Mike Garson. For the second song in his brace of Bowie Joe Elliott rocked hard through a powerful performance of “Ziggy Stardust”. Taylor Momsen frontwoman of the Pretty Reckless had a film to accompany her rendition of one of my favourite Bowie songs, especially lyrically, “Quicksand”. She really did the Dame proud it was quite moving at times and I love the subtle touches of her film, and to finish having written Bowie’s name in the sand was special indeed. Charlie Sexton returned for two more songs “DJ” and “Blue Jean”. Both of them fine performances and in fact the latter has moved me to reappraise my view of Bowie’s 80s output which is in my opinion mostly his low point artistically. But on this evidence, perhaps “Blue Jean” isn’t so bad after all. I saw Michael C Hall in the lead role of Thomas Jerome Newton in the Bowie musical ‘Lazarus’ in London in 2016, he was rather wonderful in that and his incredibly moving version of “Where Are We Now” here was wonderful too.

Foo Fighter’s drummer Taylor Hawkins, ably supported by Dave Navarro played a lively and rambunctious “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide”. This segued into Corey Taylor doing “Hang On To Yourself” aided and abetted by Dave Navarro, Taylor Hawkins and Chris Chaney. But that segue included a nice little romp through “Little Fat Man” from Bowie’s appearance in Ricky Gervais’ ‘Extras’. Actor Gary Oldman was next accompanied by Mike Garson’s eloquent ivories for “I Can’t Read”. I liked that a lot! Jesse Malin’s “Jean Genie” really was top drawer, he aced it. The return of Gail Ann Dorsey brought with it a touchingly sublime take on “Srangers When We Meet”. The show then rocked out wildly with Peter Frampton on “Suffragette City” duties. This was followed by a brace of songs by a great friend and sometime collaborator of Bowie, Trent Reznor supported by Atticus Roos for “Fantastic Voyage” and “Fashion”. “Fantastic Voyage” which was never played often by Bowie was pretty darned good. Ian Astbury tackle “Lazarus”, he did well and put a lot of emotion into it, but I would also liked to have seen Ian tackle something more rock based, even a Tin Machine track maybe. YUNGBLUD poured his very essence into “Life On Mars” and it payed off in dividends, legendary keyboard player Rick Wakeman supported Mr BLUD. Long time Bowie fan Boy George was on top form for his medley of “Lady Grinning Soul”, “Time” and “Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)”. Mr O’Dowd, great respect from me, you nailed it. I was particularly looking forward to Ian Hunter’s performance and I wasn’t disappointed. He kicked off with his Bowie tribute “Dandy” and finished, obviously, with my favourite Bowie song ever, “All The Young Dudes”. I have never been much of a fan of Adam Lambert but there is no denying that he really did “Starman” well, perhaps enough to make me an Adam Lambert fan, time will tell. Judith Hill returned to support Andra Day as they cranked up “Under Pressure” into something even more anthemic than Bowie and Queen managed originally. Bernard Fowler closed proceedings with a highly charged “Heroes” which included some rather excellent drumming from Nandi Bushell.

The credits rolled with a rather decent “Ashes To Ashes” instrumental. Let us not forget the great band members and Bowie alumni that performed throughout the event too, Mike Garson especially, thank you for putting this together Mr Garson. Other band members throughout the evening, that I haven’t already mentioned, were, I think, Guitar: Earl Slick, Gerry Leonard and Carlos Alomar Bass: Carmine Rojas, Mark Plati, Tony Visconti, Tony Levin, Emir Kasan, Erdal Kizcilcay Keyboards: Richard Cottle, Henry Hey; Drums: Alan Childs, Zach Alford, Sterling Campbell, Matt Chamberlain, Omar Hakim, Mark Guiliana, John Lousteau, Gregg Errico, Andy Newark; Backing vocals: Gaby Moreno, Everett Bradley, Robin Clark, Emm Gryner, Ava Cherry, Simon Westbrook; Percussion: Pablo Rosario; Sax: David Sanborn, Clare Hirst, Stan Harrison. I am sure I have missed some names, but thank you to one and all this was a very special event and Mr Bowie would have loved it!

All the photos and videos were found online. If they are yours and you would like a credit or want them taken down please let me know

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