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Greenman Festival 2019

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Greenman Festival 2019

Posted on 29 August 2019 by John Haylock

Here we go again, fasten your seatbelts, hang on to your consonants, its time to go to Wales for the annual freakout in the hills.

Greenman has now established itself as a major attraction in the over abundant field of UK festivals, and if you’ve ever been you’ll know why, as it is always chock full of quality acts and non stop diversions.

From folk to freakzone and most points in between you’re bound to find something to blow you away into the surrounding mountains.

Wobby weather on Friday

To be fair the weather behaved itself, it only threw a wobbly on the Friday, but soon dried out on Saturday and Sunday with the arrival of some lovely sun, indeed the words quite and pleasant could have been employed.

Squirrel Flower despite sounding like a twee indie band from Dorset is in fact the stage name used by twenty one year-old Ella Williams from Boston USA. She captivated the crowd early on Friday with a set of self assured and seriously personal songs. maintaining an eerie composure and delivery throughout, she proved to be an early hit.

Squirrel Flower

Squirrel Flower

A totally unexpected treat was an energetic performance from a cracking soul singer going by the name of Durand Jones and the Indications, think Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and you’re somewhere there, the icing on the cake was an absolute fantastic cover of The Beatles Don’t let me down.

From one extreme to another, a climb up to the Far Out tent to check out Pigs Pigs Pigs etc. If you like a bunch of guys who can’t quite play the debut album from Black Sabbath and fill in the bits they can’t master by getting the vocalist to take his top off and scream alot, then this is the band for you.

Bridget St John

Bridget St John

Much better were TVAM, and the sublime Villagers who always deliver. The Walled Garden played host to a rare appearance by folk royalty Bridget St John, she was followed by a much changed Stealing Sheep, who have morphed into quirky weirdos in lycra complete with cheesy dance routines, they succeeded in confusing me, [not difficult]. After them came Bill Ryder Jones, who was electrifying, chaotic and joyous, often within the same song.

Stealing Sheep

Stealing Sheep

To close the main stage Friday night, the legendary Yo La Tengo totally ripped apart the fabric of space time. Indeed the opener Cherry Chapstick was reminiscent of a supernova of guitar abuse, the ground shook with terror as guitars made noises they were not constructed for. They then take everything down for quiet interludes and harmonies from heaven before erupting into cacophony again, beautiful.

Bill Ryder Jones

Bill Ryder Jones

Special shout out to Caitlin Moran in the literature tent who reduced my friend to tears [but in a good way].

Saturday’s highlights

Saturday was a blur of top notch entertainment, Jarvis Cocker put on his DJ hat and made women of a certain age dance like Pans People, Richard Thompson delivered a a scintillating acoustic set. The resurrected A Certain Ratio prove they still corner the market in skinny white boy funk, they even threw in a Talking Heads cover for good measure.

Jarvis Disco 2000

Jarvis Disco 2000

You could happily spend the entire weekend in the Chai Wallahs tent, you never hear anything that is shit, it’s a remarkable place and this year was no exception. Jazz rock proponents Lydian Collective were amazing,with lots of virtuoso playing, boundless energy, a drum solo and a guitarist who wears an unforgivable headband, we went bonkers.

A Certain Ratio

A Certain Ratio

Headliners Stereolab, despite a hesitant start soon locked in to some mighty grooves and proved why they were such groundbreakers back in the day, it was heartening to see such a big crowd as well. Four Tet was a little anti climatic but did have some nice blue lights.

Idles among Sunday’s acts

On the Sunday Yak and Idles won the noisy buggers of the weekend award, but for myself and many others the day belonged to The Liminanas. Hailing from France this proper freaked up fuzzy band of beauties ploughed their way through a delirious set, even throwing in no less than three cover versions, Mother Sky by Can, Gloria by Them and Teenage kicks by The Undertones. On a personal note this gig has elevated them to number four in my all time best gigs EVER !.

Eels

Eels

A teatime treat came in the form of Eels, a rarish UK appearance that went down fantastically well. Their sound was beefed up by a great band and frontman  E was irrepressably buoyant. By turns funny,  self depricating and hugely entertaining. Dog Faced Boy was dedicated to John Parish who co wrote it, Prince was name checked with a killer version of Raspberry Beret and Novocaine for the Soul was just superb. So great to see them still rocking, check out their remaining tour dates, you won’t be disappointed.

Before we left we caught an amazingly energetic and exciting young lady going by the name of Emily Cappell, small in stature but containing more energy than a spinning neutron star, she had a tune about the poor buggers who have had Morrissey tattoos and their ensuing embaressment as he reveals himself to be a cock. She was fun incarnate and her new album is called brilliantly Combat Frock, what’s not to like ?

Emily Cappell

Emily Cappell

So, another year for the Greenman Festival,  another load of crazy memories, more mayhem than you can shake a Jazzmaster guitar at, hell i’ve got withdrawal symptoms already .

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes.
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Joan as police woman – Nottingham Glee Club, 27 June 2019

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Joan as police woman – Nottingham Glee Club, 27 June 2019

Posted on 03 July 2019 by John Haylock

Thankfully it appears that Joan as police woman aka Joan Wasser, is finally getting the attention of the wider public. Long overdue it is too.

She currently has a career spanning three album compilation out at the moment called, very cleverly,  Joananthology.

Joan as a police woman

Joan as police woman

For over two decades this talented artist has beguiled listeners with a series of beautifully crafted albums. She creates songs with astute lyrics and often insidiously catchy tunes. Also she’s a contemporary soul singer with more attitude than you can shake an old Al Green shaped stick at.

Last year we caught her at the Greenman Festival where she shone like a small star in the Welsh drizzle. But tonight we’re in Nottingham’s lovely Glee Club for an intimate solo show.

Rollercoaster of a career

Joan as police woman has had a rollercoaster of a career. She started playing violin and piano for The Dambuilders, Black Beetle and Those Bastard Souls.

In addition, she found herself circulating in exalted musical circles with such luminaries as Jeff Buckley, Anthony and the Johnsons, Elliot Smith, Rufus Wainwright, Mark Linkous from Sparklehorse, David Sylvian and a list of artists as long as the long black dress she was wearing tonight. She went solo in 2004 and hasn’t looked back since.

Tonight we get an emotional, riveting and often visceral solo performance.

She takes to the stage after fire alarms had inadvertently been set off by presumably the storm front of dry ice that wouldn’t have been out of place at a Metallica gig.

To loud applause she silently takes her seat at a grand piano and dives straight into my absolute favourite song of hers, To be lonely, it just destroys me –  a love song so sad that you know from that mournful melody it will probably end in heartache, and man, there’s a lot of heartache in the room tonight, most of it coming from the stage.

How can she follow that ? With ease and aplomb, she continues with an entrancing and sublime Wonderful.

IMG_9757

There is still no acknowledgement of the audience, but eventually as she makes her way to her pink Telecaster and is more forthcoming. A humble soul of few words she lets the music do the talking.

So she gracefully flits between piano and guitar, which she plays with tenderness and ease. We get What a World, Human Condition, The Magic and one of the best covers I’ve ever heard – Kiss by Prince. It’s just amazing how she turns this classic into a lyrically ambiguous sexy mantra.

There was lovely touch as she came on for the encore. Tom Rose, her label manager and all round good guy, is a massive Forest fan and seeing as though this was his hometown he had customised a red and white Forest top which Joan came back on wearing. On the back it read Joan APW and underneath was the number eight. Now quite what the eight signified I don’t know, but I like to think it refers to the eight million people who will no doubt go to see her next year. Make sure you’re one of them .

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes.

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The Lovely Eggs – Leeds Brudenell Club (October 19, 2018)

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The Lovely Eggs – Leeds Brudenell Club (October 19, 2018)

Posted on 24 October 2018 by John Haylock

The Lovely Eggs are husband and wife duo David Blackwell (drums, vocals, home made box of wires with a bright light screwed onto it) and Holly Ross (guitars, vocals and orange tights).

The redtops would probably describe them as quirky. They play ramshackle, coming apart at the seams punk-rock that goes blam blam blam…Blam!

The Lovely Eggs

Tonight’s mayhem happens inside a sold-out Brudenell, one of our favourite venues. I mean how can you not love a club in which you hear Can, Neu ! The Sleaford Mods and The Velvet Underground while you’re waiting to get served?

Holly takes to the stage clad in the aforementioned orange tights, probably the same ones she wore at the Greenman Festival in August (I do hope she’s changed them ).

Gobby, excitable and bonkers

 

She’s gobby and excitable, with a guitar style best described as bonkers. They’re playing on their own turf tonight and the crowd love it.

The Lovely Eggs are very much a one trick pony, albeit it a muscular, slightly demented Lancashire pit pony. And the trick is second rate Paul Daniels. No matter though, as they are adored by the faithful, who sing along vociferously to some great song titles such as I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too, Fuck It and the sublime People Are Twats.

We even get some cooking tips for onion rings. There’s also a minor crowd altercation with an over excited bouncer and a some drunk lads. This is swiftly tackled with humour and some Northern common sense.

Not a bad night. A bit one dimensional but that might have been the (very) pale ale.

Special shout out to Rob Auton who hails from York who’s doing some daft stand up on the forthcoming The Lovely Eggs dates. Now he is quirky, but in a good way.

Wiggy Giggy was great.

Words by John Haylock

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