WORDS & PHOTOS - CATH DUPUY
At the 02 arena, London; the venue that was once the ill-fated Millennium Dome built for the capitals’ turn of the century celebrations, now one of the country’s’ most iconic venues, the stars were firmly shining brightly.
The multi-legendary line up was brought together by Procul Harums’ guitarist Gary Brooker and promoter Andrew Zweck to help raise funds for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, to support the building of a state of the art treatment and research facility, the Oak Cancer Centre, which will house together for the first time in one place over 400 eminent scientists dedicated to developing cancer treatments.
Hard to imagine such a combination of talent and rock history on one stage. The line-up basically reflecting my entire musical upbringing from Procal Harum in the ‘60’s onwards, punctuating various milestones in my school days, love life and career! So, this was going to be a very nostalgic evening!
First on stage and host for the evening and a music icon himself in his own way, Bob Harris, setting the fashion tone for the evening in sparkly velvet jacket. He introduced a video message from HRH Prince William, who is the patron of the charity, praising the amazing work done by them.
Then it was straight into the first artist, Dire Straits guitarist John Ilsley diving into ‘Money for Nothing’ and ‘Sultans of Swing’ with superb support from the three backing singers and a stellar 9-piece house band. A great start to the evening!
Next, Paul Carrack-an artist with considerable musical history... Ace, Squeeze, Roxy Music, Mike and the Mechanics and many more, performed ‘How Long’ a huge hit from 1975, which initiated the first of many audience sing a longs. He was joined by Mike Rutherford and they sang ‘Over My Shoulder’ and ‘I Can’t Dance’ together from Mechanics and Genesis days.
The stage lights turned pink, the backing singers donned pink feather boas and Paul Jones of Manfred Mann strutted on stage and launched into ‘Pretty Flamingo’ –a number one in 1966-looking slim and dapper in a suit he even managed to stand on one leg himself. Then conducted the audience in singing ‘Do-Wah-Diddy-Diddy’.
One of several guest presenters, the cricketer, Monty Panesar, introduced Paul Young onto the stage, singing ‘Come Back and Stay’ from his 1983 debut album ’No Parlez’. He was then joined by Italian rock/blues sensation, Zucchero, they sang their famous duet ‘Senza una Donna’,
Zucchero has a huge stage presence and looked the part in a Fedora and embroidered jacket. He then proceeded to duet with a video of his younger self and Pavarotti - ‘Miserere’- a powerful combination of opera and rock ballad, which the audience loved!
The one and notably only female performer came in the form of Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler, whose distinctive husky voice is still as strong as ever, as she sang ‘Holding out for a Hero’ and ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ accompanied by hundreds of waving phone lights ( gone are the days of flickering lighters). She was agile and energetic, dashing from one side of stage to the other, whilst egging the audience to sing along.
Gaby Roslin then presented Mick Hucknall, who sang two Simply Red songs ’Stars’ and ‘Something Got Me Started’ from their 1991 album ‘Stars’. Mick seemed very at ease on stage, his soulful voice blending in with the full sound of the band. He then brought on Sir Tom Jones for an amazing duet – ‘Ain’t That a Lot of Love’- (a song written by Homer Banks) their voices being very complimentary.
The house band deserve a mention, a collection of amazing musicians. Paul ‘Wix’ Wiggins on keys, Andy Fairweather Low and Robbie McIntosh on guitars, Graham Broad and Ian Paice on drums, Gary Brooker on piano, plus 3 brass players and 3 backing singers all holding the performances together.
The next track particularly was spine tingling, Pink Floyds’ Nick Mason played ‘Comfortably Numb’ with accompanying vocals from Gary Brooker. The whole band paying ample tribute to one of Pink Floyds’ famous songs from ‘The Wall’.
Next, Rick Wakeman swaggers across the stage to the grand piano bathed in spotlights and announces with a big grin that he’s going to play ‘Eleanor Rigby’ in the style of Prokoviev! He sure does and its incredible! The screen camera zooms in on his hands, to see the maestro at work and there’s a discernible hint of ‘Yes’ in there too!
Rick then introduces Yusuf (Cat Stevens), claiming they hadn’t played the next song together (apart from that afternoon) since they recorded it in 1971. He then accompanied him singing the wonderful ‘Morning has Broken’ along with most of the audience, a beautiful moment of unity. Following this up with a bossa-nova style introduction to ‘Wild World’, with some beautiful stage graphics.
‘Pointless’ game show presenter Alexander Armstrong then introduced the next artist, Eric Clapton CBE, the only musician to be inducted three times into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame. He started with the classic Charles Segar blues cover ‘Key to the Highway’, then ‘Stormy Monday’ and finally a Cream song ‘Crossroads’, giving them all his unique cool blues style. He is truly a guitar professional like no other.
Sir Van Morrison is known to be idiosyncratic and sure enough he walks on stage next, with his signature hat and sunglasses and proceeds to play 3 lesser known songs including ‘Three Chords and a Truth’ off his 41st album! He is Van the Man and that means he can do what he likes and it’s always going to be sublimely brilliant.
I then found myself screaming for the legend that is Sir Tom Jones, approaching his 80thbirthday, Tom is quite simply a musical hero. Exquisitely, sleek in a black suit and polo, he tore into ‘Delilah’ bringing a new life to the song and then took it right down to ‘Green, Green Grass of Home ‘- a classic- with stunning countryside back drop. He finished with a wonderful version of the first lady of gospel Sister Rosetta Tharp’s ‘Every Day’.
Finally, to end the evening, Gary Brooker, who deserves huge acknowledgement for bringing this amazing line up of musicians together, performed the classic Procul Harum song ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ with the help of Paul Wiggins on keys.
Just as everyone is about to leave, all the artists rush back on the stage and sing, along with the entire auditorium, ‘All you Need is Love’ a fitting end to an incredible evening.
WORDS & PHOTOS - John McEvoy
It’s been a couple of years since Morrissey has been in Leeds, and a lot has happened in that time with arguably one of our greatest and influential songwriters, and politically he’s become a controversial character with his publicly stated views, and he’s become (if it were possible) even more of an enigma.
His new album ‘I am not a Dog on a Chain’ is due out on the 20th March, and ahead of this he has undertaken a few dates in the UK and around Europe, on the back of his critically acclaimed recent US dates, and despite all the noise around Morrissey, what is clear is that onstage he has lost none of his punch, indeed, based on the performance I witnessed in Leeds, his rich baritone voice has never sounded better as far as this reviewer is concerned.
As is the norm with Morrissey, there is no support band, only a short film covering his well-documented influences, both musically and politically, and then just before 8:45 his 5-piece backing band arrived on stage along with the main man to a rapturous welcome from the Arena crowd.
Straight into his cover of the old Elvis tune, ‘You’ll be gone’, the band sounded powerful and Morrissey’s vocals were strong and clear. The first of The Smiths tune ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side’ was rapturously welcomed by the crowd, and I can honestly say that as someone who’s old enough to have seen The Smiths in their prime, this current version sounded as every bit as good to me.
As always between songs it wouldn’t be a Morrissey gig without his comments about literally everything and anything, and he didn’t disappoint tonight either.
‘You know the reviews will be bad and snotty about me. That’s the way of the world is’ and the fact that ‘British radio won’t play his music anymore’ were just some of his quips throughout the gig.
The one thing I know for sure is that as with The Smiths, he still has a huge number of people who are utterly devoted to him, and was striking to see that there was a large percentage of people at the venue who were clearly not even born when The Smiths were at the top of their game.
His subsequent solo material whilst maybe still not as strong as his early offerings, still manages to hit the mark more often than not, and this is to his credit.
‘Munich air Disaster 1958’ struck a poignant note in the set, the old Pretenders tune ‘Back on the Chain Gang’ was a well reversion which went down well with the Leeds crowd.
One of my personal favourites ‘Never Again Will I Be A Twin’ was powerfully delivered with his band providing a barrage of thunderous drums and screeching guitars, and Morrissey’s vocals overlaid and sounding crisp and clean. (Compliments to the sound engineers by the way for the gig. Arena sound can often be spectacularly terrible, but this gig was absolutely bang on)
“Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up On Stage’ brought the gig to a close and as always with Morrissey, you’re never quite sure if he’s going to do an encore or not, but luckily he came back on to and played The Smiths tune, ‘Half A Person’ which I know he hasn’t played live for years, and if he had ended the gig there and then, that would be been a perfect way to finish.
But a pounding version of ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’ finally brought proceedings to a close with Morrissey whirling like a dervish, and with the final act of throwing shirt into the crowd, he was gone in a flash.
Love him or loath him, the one thing you can’t deny he has been, and continues to be, a hugely influential and increasingly controversial character in popular music and culture.
As far as I’m concerned, we need more people like him around.
Final thought … as we made our way out, the final sight was watching 2 grown men fighting over the shirt that Morrissey had thrown into the crowd at the end of the set. Wonder who won that one, and doubtless it’ll have ended up on eBay!
· You’ll Be Gone
· I Wish You Lonely
· The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
· Jim Jim Falls
· At Amber
· Morning Starship
· Lady Willpower
· That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore
· Once I Saw The River Clean
· If You Don’t Like Me, Don’t Look At me
· Munich Air Disaster 1958
· World Peace Is None Of Your Business
· Seasick, Yet Still Docked
· I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
· Home Is A Question Mark
· Love Is On Its Way Out
· Back On The Chain Gang
· Never Again Will I Be A Twin
· I’ve Changed My Plea To Guilty
· Some Say (I Got Devil)
· Jack The Ripper
· Jackys Only Happy When She’s Up On Stage
· Half A Person
· Irish Blood, English Heart
WORDS - John McEvoy
PHOTOS COURTESY OF - https://www.scottsmithphotography.co.uk
The 90’s dance Kisstory tour called in at Leeds Arena, and if 80’s, 90’s dance was your thing, then was a night not to be missed.
In what was an epically long show, over 4 hours in total, various acts did their thing in a sort of review show, with each artist delivering a sort of greatest hits selection rather than a usual full set.
It was also good to see such a mixed age range within the crowd as well, from the young to the ahem, not so young! But it was clear from the off, that everyone was there to simply have a good time, and maybe wallow in a little bit of nostalgia.
First up it was Sweet Female Attitude and ‘Flowers’ which still sounds as good all these years later. Blu Cantrell took to the stage and naturally ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ was given an airing which got the crowd moving with its distinctive swingbeat vibe.
Special mention must go to Fatman Scoop who certainly earned his money compering this long evening, and I lost count of the number of times he asked people to ‘get their hands up’, or ‘make some noise!!’.
Next up it was Eve, who for my money was excellent, and the highlight of her set had to be ‘Let Me Blow Your Mind’ which was delivered with a real swagger and her rapping was quick fire as always.
Now it was for Hip Royalty to take to the stage in the guise of Salt n Pepa, who to all intents are undoubtedly Hip-Hop Royalty. Their original DJ Spinderalla has now been replaced, and sadly there seems to be ongoing legal battle about how this was done. Fortunately, this didn’t have any impact of their ability to deliver a truly great albeit short set, which of course featured all their classics such as ‘Shoop’, ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ and of course the utterly brilliant ‘Push It’.
Backed by the obligatory dancers their set was a dazzling reminder of just how good old school Hip Hop, was and still sounds just as good in 2020.
Then it was time for Shaggy, who on the back of his recent recording and touring collaboration with Sting, opened his set with ‘Boombastic’ and from then on worked the crowd hard right through to the set closer, which of course just had to be ‘It Wasn’t Me’.
Then it was time for headliner Nelly to take to the stage, wearing sunglasses throughout this set, he showed just why he was a major player with tracks such as ‘Ride Wit Me’ and ‘Hot In Here’. He hasn’t released an album since ‘M.O.’ back in 2013, and since then he’s had his own TV show and appears to be currently embroiled in some legal problems, but this hasn’t stopped him delivering a set that reminded us of just how good has was, and with luck it won’t be too long before he gets some new music out into the world.
My only criticism wouldn’t be concerning the artists who appeared, but rather the order of them. There was no doubt in my mind that Salt ‘N’ Pepa were the real headliners and without doubt stole the show not only for me, but for a large number of people who were there.
That one minor quibble aside, I have to say that the Kisstory tour is great fun, and we had an absolute blast from start to finish.
Words & Photos - Liam McEvoy
Off the back of his newest EP ‘Homesick’ which was released on the 10th January 2020- Declan J. Donovan has embarked on a UK wide headline tour, and called into the Oporto Leeds delivering a fantastic soulful set which enraptured the audience in this tiny venue from the first moment to the last.
Before the headline act however there were two support acts and first up on the stage was Callum Spencer. The North Yorkshire based singer songwriter delivered a great thirty-minute set that demonstrated his undeniable talent. This is an artist that will surely have a bright future. Next up on the stage was Jake Whiskin. In what was a hometown gig for Whiskin he performed a soulful set and who’s unique vocal style warmed the crowd up nicely for the headline act.
It was then time for the headline act and Declan J. Donovan took to the stage opening the show with ‘Heaven’ which got the crowd singing and swaying from the start. Declan continued the gig in fine style allowing his incredible voice to permeate the crowd showing his obvious talent and exactly why he has previously toured with the likes of Jake Bugg and Freya Ridings.
Although Declan is a singer-songwriter, his sound was very different in that the use of drums gives some of his tracks an almost anthemic feel. This could be felt most noticeably perhaps on the song ‘Human Way’ which with its stomping drum beat really does feel like a true anthem.
This song was followed with ‘Into the Fire’, a personal highlight of the evening for me as with its crashing drums saw the audience clapping and singing along.
Another major highlight of the evening came when Declan performed ‘Fallen so Young’ without the aid of band. A song that started life as a best man’s speech for his brother’s wedding, and one of the first songs Declan ever wrote, this got a great reaction from the crowd with just about everyone in the venue singing along.
Having just released his EP ‘Homesick’, Declan J. Donovan is an artist that is currently going from strength to strength, and based on this performance it will not be long until he is selling out much larger venues than this one.
Fighting With Myself
Into the Fire
Regret Not Loving You
Fallen So Young
She Would Be Mine
Words & Photos - Levi Tubman
When I’m going to see a band I sometimes do a little research, see who might be supporting, or if they’re doing a particular favourite of mine, but when I was looking for who The Manfreds support was I found this reply online by the band “with so much material we have we don’t have time for a support act”
I’ve seen bands in their 20’s and 30’s play for an hour, hour and a half, and that’s the set, they don’t want to strain themselves or wear themselves out for the rest of the tour. Then you have The Manfreds. The 2 oldest members are in their late 70’s, 5 members qualify for a bus pass, and yet they came on stage bang on 7:30 and didn’t finish their last song until 10:15.
They had a short 20 minute interval, understandable they might want a break, but they don’t take a break, they go into the foyer where they’re selling Manfred albums and solo albums, signing copies, taking photos with fans, they use the break to keep on working, and the fans love it! Coming back to their seats full of energy comparing selfies and albums they’ve bought or had signed.
They are not joking when they say they have a large back catalogue, I was expecting a collection of songs from Manfred Mann, which you get in spades, but after the band split the members went on to form other bands and record solo albums, and are still recording them.
It’s confusing at first, when 3 songs in the drummer guitarist and bass player walk off stage, shorty followed by Paul jones, Vocalist, after he introduces Simon Currie and Mike Hugg to perform a keyboard and saxophone duet from their latest album, who silence the audience with a hauntingly beautiful instrumental. A few songs later the band start to leave again, but this time were told its one better than a duet, it’s a solo!
As a bass player I know place is at the back, out of sight, but not Marcus Cliffe. Vocals and bass are not a common combination, but using a combination of looper pedals to play along with his own basslines and chords he performs the best cover of People get ready I’ve ever heard, playing chords, solos, tapping out rhythm’s, putting most other performing bass players to shame.
This combination of Manfred Mann tracks and other band/solo material continues all night, with a number of songs sung by guitarist Tom McGuinness, performing a few numbers by McGuinness Flint. While they’re playing songs by other bands, or different members take on the roles of lead vocals and band leader the rest of the band are in full support they’re constantly praising performances and writing abilities.
The whole band come across as having no ego, sure it could be an act, but after over 50 years you’d expect some there, instead when another member is singing, Jones stands back, he might play harmonica and sing along, but when he’s singing he steps back from the mic, it’s not his time to perform, it’s a breath of fresh air.
They also welcome in the audience, there isn’t a line between performer and watcher, its almost as if we’ve stumbled into a rehearsal and been allowed to stay and watch, or old friends have dropped by and ended up playing a few songs in your living room, it’s a unique experience.
You don’t just get great songs played by great musicians, you get random stories and tales from their years playing, bumping into musicians in pubs forming bands, how thieve ended meeting up and playing on each other albums and oh so funny! I’ve never seen an audience laugh so hard between songs, although never seen so much interaction with the audience before.
They like to tell you about writing some of their songs before they play them, they love having the audience sing lines too, it’s a little old school, not old fashioned, but old school, playing one part of the audience off against another for being louder, its fun! Some songs don’t need much of an introduction though, half the audience began to cheer as soon as they guessed when a flute was brought out with the other half joining them just 3 notes into Mighty Quinn, with the band only just getting heard over the audience in places.
I can see why after almost 60 years they’re still selling out venues. I can see why a couple have flown from New York just to see them, oh and last night was the 21st time they had flown over to see them play!
They haven’t lost any ability over the past 6 decades and Jones’s voice not only retains its sound but its range, hitting every high note and holding them long after the audience, which he was quick to tease us about.
Where else are you going to see a guitar solo, bass solo, keyboard solo, drum solo, sax solo and harmonica solo? I’m surprised the tambourine didn’t get to have one too! Its only march and I might have already been to my gig of the year, if you want a fantastic night’s entertainment, great music played by superb musicians go see The Manfreds on tour, I know I will be, the next time they come around!
Words/Photos - John McEvoy
I must confess that as I was heading to York for this gig, I full expected news to come through that it would be cancelled due to the Coronavirus issues.
I’m pleased to say that this wasn’t the case, and a capacity crowd at the York Barbican watched a consummate display from the sickeningly talented Jamie Cullum.
He’s come a long way since his first TV appearance on Parkinson back in 2003, and 8 albums in, with his most recent release ‘Taller’ doing brisk business, his live set perfectly captures what this man is all about.
His jazz/pop cross over style is delivered with a supremely talented band and backing singers, and even though this was only the second night of his current tour, it was a slick, show which got the York crowd up on their feet. Which is no mean feat in an all seater venue.
From the start he quickly got the crowd on his side with his funny stories and his comments about the spangly trousers he was wearing being his ‘pre cocaine Elton John look’ trousers were a genuinely funny line.
Musically his live performances incorporate not just jazz, but reworks of well know tunes. I particularly enjoyed his version of Eminens ‘My Name is..’ which saw him switching from the piano to prowling the stage.
Naturally he played material from his most recent album, and ‘Drink’ was beautifully delivered with his crystal-clear vocals being perfectly complimented by himself on piano.
Between songs he did mention that at one point that a few years ago, his creative juices seemed to have dried up and he was, as he succinctly put it, ‘writing complete bollocks’ and he was thinking about packing it all in.
I’m not sure if he was completely serious about that, as his material on the new album sounds as good as ever to me, and clearly the audience agreed with that sentiment.
Known for getting his audiences involved he didn’t disappoint in York, as he did his customary venture out into the crowd, which is always a high point of his set and gets the crowd on their feet.
Cullum is a hugely talented, likeable and engaging artist at the top of his game, and it’s easy to see why his current UK and European tour (Coronavirus permitting of course!) is a sell-out.
If you can beg borrow or steal tickets for the tour, I can assure you it’ll be worth the effort.
Words - John McEvoy
Photos: screen grabs
No doubt you are all sick of hearing that we’re living through ‘strange times’, and one area that doesn’t seem to have much coverage is the devastating effect that ‘Lockdown’ has had on the music industry, and in particular gigs and festivals.
Put simply, there are no gigs or festivals in the traditional format for the immediate future and as such, it’s now become even harder to for bands/artists sound & lighting engineers, techs and roadies to make a living.
A few artists have admirably decided to embrace technology and do ‘virtual’ gigs to raise money for their road crews etc. In this instance Laura Marling was donating a sum from the ticket sales to two of her chosen charities, namely ‘Refuge’ and ‘The Trussel Trust’.
And so it was that Wall of Sound was delighted to be asked by http://sonicpr.co.uk to review the set that Laura would be doing within the stunning surroundings of Union Chapel in London, following the release of her most recent album ‘Song for our Daughter’.
As with all online events there was the inevitable breath holding whilst waiting for the live connection to kick in, but thankfully there were no technical glitches and on strolled Laura Marling to an eerily quiet venue and straight into ‘Suite’ featuring a mix of ‘Take the night off’, ‘I was an Eagle’, ‘You Know’ and ‘Breath’. Despite the venue being empty, the sound was absolutely stunning and Marlings voice was as clear and powerful as always.
What was striking was how at ease she seemed to be in what were unusual circumstances as she delivered her set mainly staring off into middle distance, although she did at one point look directly at the camera, so she certainly knew we were there! Also there was no between song chat, she simply switched guitars as required, carried out an occasional bit of tuning and then it was straight into the next track.
Several tracks from her new and 7th album ‘Song for our Daughter’ showed that she has lost none of her song writing abilities kicking off with ‘Fortune’ which for me is one of the outstanding tracks from the album. She has the enviable knack of telling a story with her songs which in turn makes you want to listen to them.
As this was an ‘isolation’ gig there were no accompanying strings or drums, but this certainly didn’t detract from the quality of this performance, indeed the stripped back delivery style of one vocal and acoustic guitar perfectly complimented her performance.
The greatest compliment I can pay, is to say that if you like Joan Baez, or the Joni Mitchell style, then you really should look for Laura Marling. You won’t be disappointed.
As mentioned earlier in the article, the venue of Union Chapel was a perfect setting for this gig, and whilst this venue only holds approx. 900 people, what was interesting was that the online viewing figures for the gig were well in excess of 2000!
So whilst you can’t beat having an audience in the venue, it will be interesting to see if bands and artists make more use of technology once things get back to normal.
Tap At My Window
End Of The Affair
Song For Our Daughter
What He Wrote
Words and photos - John McEvoy
In a recent Sunday Times article about the best places to live in the UK, there was many a raised eyebrow at the inclusion of Farsley, but to those who actually live there it’s easy to see why.
Its small village feel, along with local shop, bars and restaurants makes it an often-visited place for those who discover it. Amongst the many attractions is recently opened The Old Woollen venue which has a 500-capacity venue and is within Sunny Bank Mills. Also, worth mentioning is the The Constitutional venue which is literally around the corner and is also well worth checking out. It’s run by the same team who are made up of Dick Bonham, Howard Bradley and Choque Hosein who collectively run their company Trouble at Mill Events.
So after what has seemed like an interminable break from Gigs and festivals for obvious reasons, Wall of Sound was delighted to have the opportunity to cover the visit by Don Letts on his promotional tour to talk about his new book ‘There and Black Again’ which details events of his quite frankly extraordinary life as an ‘accidental’ DJ, film maker, music video director. All activities that he continues to do to this day.
Based in London and being in the thick of the arrival of punk in the 70’s gave him a front row seat in terms of the working with some of most influential bands of the time, in particular The Sex Pistols, The Clash and Bob Marley, and it was fascinating to hear him talk about those times.
He mentioned how he first met Bob Marley (nice man), his work with The Clash (Mick Jones could be difficult to work with!) directing all their videos, and his relationship with The Sex Pistols and in particular John Lydon.
His thoughts on Sid Vicious and his toxic relationship with Nancy Spungen were particularly poignant, and confirmed what I had always suspected, that in reality Sid wasn’t really the brightest, and simply went along with what was ultimately a car crash lifestyle just to fit in.
As well as his musical career he also spoke eloquently about the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the political and social impacts both he, his friends and family have experienced over the years.
Don Letts is also known for being an avid Beatles fan and his story about Paul McCartney ringing him up recently to work on a new film project was particularly funny, as at first he genuinely didn’t believe it was McCartney on the end of the phone. It ain’t every day you get to work with one of your musical heroes and Letts clearly loved every minute of it.
As well as the interview format, there was also a Q&A session where he took questions from the audience. Wandering throughout the crowd, he was happy to chat about anything and everything, and his story re the photo on the cover of The Clash album cover ‘Super Black Market Clash’ is worth the entry fee alone. Yes, in case you’re wondering, it was indeed Don Letts who’s on the front of it!
He was also asked about the many music videos he directed, and what was his favourite to shoot. You may be surprised to know that it wasn’t The Clash, or Bob Marley, in fact it was Musical Youth and ‘Pass the Dutchie’ which I think surprised a few in the venue.
He also spoke movingly about his work with the mighty Gil Scott Heron and the demons that he had to deal with throughout his life.
Still working in his mid 60’s, he’s currently pulling together a new film project, and when one member of the audience asked him if he was ever afraid of failing, his response was so good I thought I wish I could come up with words of wisdom like that.
‘A good idea attempted is better than a bad idea perfected’!!
Don Letts is a man who has lived, and continues to life to the full, and long may the ‘Rebel Dread’ continue to come up with more ‘good ideas’.
Words and photos Liam McEvoy
On a cold September night, The Wendy James Band arrived in Leeds for a killer headline set at the Brudenell Social Club.
Personally, my first gig back since the start of the global pandemic this was a brilliant way to get back to live music.
Before Wend James took to the stage a local Leeds based artist Miranda Arieh warmed up the crowd expertly. The singer-songwriter who is already an award-winning mental health advocate has a distinctly unique vocal style and a talent on the piano that is sure to make waves.
At 9:15pm The Wendy James Band took to the stage to raucous applause and powered into their set with ‘You're So Great, a storming post punk track that instantly got the crowd moving. The rock and roll continued with James in fine form powering through some tracks from her back catalogue before diving into a Transvision Vamp track ‘I Want Your Love’.
This took the crowd to another level with them dancing and singing along jubilantly.
The band then performed a fantastic cover of a classic Bob Dylan song ‘Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?’ which saw a brilliant reaction from the crowd. This was followed by another Transvision Vamp track ‘If Looks Could Kill’.
May 2020 saw the release of James’s latest double album Queen High Straight, and to the delight of the crowd, and performed several tracks from the latest album. ‘Chicken Street’ taken from Queen hight Straght as James explained is a love song written in a punk style. This was evident as the Brudenell was rocking along with the band.
James then again powered through some of her back catalogue with ‘Stoned, Ripped and Twisted’ receiving a particularly raucous reaction from the crowd. James then ended the gig with a Transvision Vamp double header of ‘Tell That Girl to Shut Up’ and ‘Down on You’ which saw the band leave the stage to thunderous applause and chants of more.
After a few minutes the band duly returned to the staged and blasted into another classic Transvision Vamp track ‘Bad Valentine’. James then gave a rocking rendition of ‘Bitter Funny’ before closing the show with the iconic ‘Baby I Don’t Care’. This track saw the biggest reaction of the night and left the crowd in an almost euphoric state as the band once again left the stage with the crowd wanting more.
The Wendy James band stormed the stage at the Brudenell in Leeds delivering an explosive set that had the place bouncing, and saw James in fine form. With only a couple of dates left on their tour there is not much chance left to catch Wendy James in action but if you do get the chance to see James live, it is a chance you should definitely take.
You’re so Great
You’re a good Man Sister
I Want You’re Love
Can You Please Crawl out your Window?
If Looks Could Kill
Impression of Normalcy
Here Comes the Beautiful One
You’re a dirt Bomb Leicester
Stoned, Ripped and Twisted
Tell That Girl To Shut Up
Down On You
Baby I Don’t Care
Words & photos - John McEvoy
Let’s be honest, the thought of watching a ‘tribute’ band has always been something that in many instances is best to be avoided. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and this is certainly the case with the Bootleg Beatles.
If you’re going to be a tribute band, you may as well go for the ultimate in covering possibly THE most influential band of all time. Clearly, they must know what they’re doing as The Bootleg Beatles have been touring with the occasional change in line up for 40 years or so all over the world.
And so on a chilly night in Leeds, we went along to the O2 to see for ourselves a band which have had numerous superlatives used to describe them.
The gig is split into various moment of their career kicking off naturally enough with the early 60’s and then through their Sgt Pepper dabblings and on into their roof top final gig in London moments.
As they walk on stage the first thing that strikes you is just how much they look like John, Paul, George and Ringo. The second thing is how they sound. Close your eyes for a moment and you would swear you were listening to The Beatles themselves. It’s amazing, and slightly unnerving all at the same time.
Their intersong banter is also Beatle-esque as well in its delivery, with Steve White as McCartney quickly striking up a bit of banter with the (seated?) audience.
Costume changes come and go throughout the 2 hour set covering the various moments of the bands career, and the Leeds crowd loved every minute of it, and Tyson Kelly as John Lennon absolutely nailed it vocally when they covered ‘Don’t Let Me Down’. The Beatles back catalogue is covered extensively throughout the night with the band delivering a huge 35 track set, and the two hours they were on stage flew by.
I still retain my scepticism of tribute bands in general, but credit where credit is due. The Bootleg Beatles are absolute masters of their art, and if impersonation is regarded as the highest form of flattery, then it would be safe to say that John, Paul, George and Ringo should be very flattered indeed!
1. I saw her standing there
2. Please please me
3. All my loving
4. It won’t be long
5. Roll over Beethoven
6. She loves you
7. I want to hold your hand
8. A hard days night
9. Can’t buy me love
11. Another girl
12. Act naturally
13. You’ve got hide your love away
14. We can work it out
15. I feel fine
16. Drive my car
18. Day Tripper
19. Twist and shout
20. Sgt Peppers lonely hearts club band
21. With a little help from my friend
22. Lucy in the sky with diamonds
23. Hello goodbye
24. Sgt Peppers lonely hearts club band (reprise)
25. Get back
26. Don’t let me down
27. I’ve got a feeling
28. One after 909
29. Dig a pony
30. Come together
31. Here comes the sun
33. Hey Jude
34. Rock and roll music
35. Long tall Sally