Fantasy Festival Line Up – Day Two

Wake up, rise and shine – it’s another jam packed day of music and fun! No, you don’t have time to wash, and I don’t want to hear any crap about hangovers – grab another cider and keep her lit! Check out Part One here!

9.30 – 11: Basil Poledouris

Keeping with the instrumental start to the morning as exemplified in Day One, we kick off Day Two with the greatest underappreciated composer in Hollywood History. Poledouris sadly passed away a few years ago, but as this is fantasy he has been resurrected say thank ya. I’ve talked about his Conan The Barbarian score being the best movie score ever written, but he is also known for many other personal favourites and classics – Robocop, Starship Troopers, The Hunt For Red October, Free Willy, Lonesome Dove – all of which would sound epic on stage with a full orchestra.

Have I Seen Them Live: No

11 – 12: Lene Marlin

Lene Marlin is primarily known for her late nineties hit Sitting Down Here, which many people probably view as a quirky one hit wonder. While she is in no way prolific, she has released several superb albums – Sitting Down Here is not the best representation of her music, sounding light and fun. The vast majority of her output is dark and what the average fool on the street would consider depressing – highly melodic but often horribly sad. Who said festivals needed to be a superfunhappy time? Nevertheless, her songs introspective quality balanced against the hooks would set the scene for an intimate, emotional gig.

Have I Seen Them Live: No

12 – 1: Mika Bomb

We’d need something faster and more upbeat after Lene – who better than a bunch of punk ladies from Japan with songs rarely going beyond three and a half minutes. With only two (great) albums in almost twenty years, the band remain essentially unknown, but a big festival performance could be what they need to fire them into the spotlight – songs like Bettie Page, Super Sexy Razor Happy Girls, Contact Tokyo, Heart Attack, Shut Your Mouth, and more, these would get the crowd pumped up and ready to smash the place up. Possibly the most fun, buck nuts gig of the weekend.

Have I Seen Them Live: No

1 – 3: Tori Amos

It’s a bit of a jump about day – with Tori we’d return to a more settled calm. Naturally, the super fans will clamour to the front while others may want to grab some lunch and keep an ear out for the songs they know. There are few artists now with such an eclectic and long history as Tori – you never know what you’re going to get from one of her shows. Performing since the 80s and still going today, you can be sure to get a range of angry piano led alt rock classics, tempestuous epics with orchestral backing (maybe Basil would like to join in), and ballads to poke holes in your soul.

Have I Seen Them Live: Yes – Belfast

3 – 5: Alice In Chains

As a grunge kid, I never managed to actually see any grunge bands live. Alice In Chains are still going today after a lengthy hiatus following the death of Layne Staley – they’re still a great band today but if we’re seeing them live then it has to be the original line-up. Normally I’d have them nearer the end of the night, but as you can see from the rest of the night – we’re jam packed. On a Summer afternoon, the band’s blend of fury and despair is a great lead in to the coming darkness.

Have I Seen Them Live: No

5 – 7: The Doors

It’s The Doors. If you like music and writing and poetry like me, then you fall in love with The Doors at some point. I was never the most obsessive fan in the world, but I do have all the albums, a bunch of bootlegs, and I’ve visited Jim’s grave. I feel like they are a band best experienced in the dark but having them slightly earlier in the evening might allow them to hit that pre-sunset reflective atmosphere – the day winding down while the band knock out the hits. Having been born after most of these bands were done, there are always a handful that you wish you’d had the opportunity to see – The Doors are going to be high up on most lists.

Have I Seen Them Live: No

7- 9.30: Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd are more than just a band – seeing them live is more of an experience than a concert, what with the lights and sets and everything else. Two and a half hours doesn’t seem like enough for them, but in that time they could play large chunks of The Wall, Dark Side Of The Moon, Animals, Wish You Were Here, along with some of their earlier Syd era stuff and later material. They’re a band you want to see in the dark, the full effect of their stage show taking on a transcendent quality once the sun sets.

Have I Seen Them Live: No, but I did see the Roger Waters show at Glastonbury which was essentially Pink Floyd’s hits with a few solo efforts thrown in.

9.30 – 12: Led Zeppelin

Who else but Zeppelin to close the night? Again there are so many songs that two and a half hours doesn’t seem enough, but after hours of standing up and jumping around to great music I think we’ll need a kip by midnight. Two hours should allow for songs from each of their albums (maybe not Coda) and sufficient room for their instrumental freestyling which often stretched the songs to two or three times their original length. This being a fantasy festival, we’d have Bonham back behind the kit and kicking ass. This would be a thunderous, spiritual way to end the second day, and send the punters back to their tents knowing they’ve just been part of something special.

Have I Seen Them Live: No, but I have seen Robert Plant play at Glastonbury.

Let us know what acts you would stick in your dream festival line-up!

 

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Fantasy Festival Line Up – Day One

Greetings, Glancers! It should be fairly obvious that I love music. I’ve loved music since day one. As a child I was known for my Michael Jackson moves, aunts and neighbours throwing pennies at me as I danced. I got a guitar when I was eight. I started DJing when I was thirteen. I’ve been to a bunch of festivals. I’ve written a tonne of songs… you get the idea. The idea behind this series of posts is based on another classic of pub discussions – if you could, without any limitations, put on a concert or a festival, who would you put on the bill? That’s what I’m going to be writing about over the next few days – do you feel lucky, punk (sic)? We’ve all imagined this, haven’t we? If you haven’t, then start now and stick your line-ups into the comments or your own blogs. Share your wildest dream concert line-ups and invite us to the show – in The Spac Hole, anything is possible.

Naturally, I have put a few guidelines in place – NOT RULES – if you want to play along (and why in thine hell wouldn’t you?) you can follow your own guidelines. These ones works for me. First, it’s going to be a three day festival. Second, I’m going to give some loose timings – some bands might play for one hour, some might play for three – you can do whatever you want. Third – it doesn’t matter if the bands or artists or alive or dead. Fourth…. there is no limit on genre or style of music. Fifth – it’s not a 24 hour festival, let’s say we’ll play from 10.00am to Midnight each day. Sixth… is there a sixth? Yeah, no breaks between artists I guess, so as soon as one ends, the next starts. I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go along.

I’ll give a few notes about why I’ve picked each artist and why I’ve put them where I have. You’ll probably be able to guess a few of my picks if you’ve been reading for a while. You have your ticket to come and enjoy – if you don’t like any of the artists then go and grab a drink or some snacks at one of the many booze and grub establishments which are sure to be in attendance. Even better, take a wander around the venue and ‘discover yourself’. Yes, my Fantasy Festival is mimicking the look of Glastonbury – though not as gargantuan. There’s only one main stage, but a variety of fields, forests, glades, and hills to ramble through and you may even stumble upon other artists playing impromptu gigs or DJs setting up for some after hours raving (hint – only such soothing minstrels as The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, and Public Enemy will be invited). Obviously I can’t possibly cover all of the artists I’d want to see – the eagle-eyed among you will notice that quite a few of my all time favourite artists don’t feature here, but who knows – if the Festival is a success we might have a sequel!

Well, that’s enough of that. You’ve zipped up your tent, you’ve shared a box of pop tarts with some guy called Ken, and you’ve stocked up on cider. The sun’s out, the shades are on, and oh look – the show’s about to start.

10 – 11: Koji Kondo’s Nintendo Orchestra

11 – 12: Haven

12 – 2: The Music

2 – 4: Nightwish

4 – 6: Radiohead

6 – 8: Manic Street Preachers

8 – 10: Alice Cooper

10 – 12: Nirvana

In my experience of festivals, the early morning gig is something relaxing, or unusual, or light and breezy to get the show off to a gentle yet entertaining start. Think Rolf Harris at Glastonbury. Or maybe not… yeah, don’t do that. People are sort of milling around, getting a feel for the place, sorting out their internal radar so they know where the nearest bar/food joint/toilet is located, the atmosphere hasn’t quite become tactile, yet there is a buzz of excitement in the air. We kick things off with some tunes that everyone will know – even if you don’t recognize the name. Koji Kondo is the man behind the most memorable tunes from Nintendo games – think every early Mario and Zelda game. The guy was twenty three when he worked on Mario, creating numerous tunes which are beyond iconic and essentially bringing legitimacy to the art form. It’s not just him though; no, he’s brought some pals who created or worked on the scores of other hit Nintendo games – it’s an hour of some of the most joyous compositions in recent memory.

Have I Seen Them: N/A

The first band of the weekend are no more; Haven came and went in a brief five year period during which they released two albums and generated a few Top 40 singles. They’re the band which should have filled the gap in the market which Coldplay did, followed by wank like Snow Patrol and Keane. I’m not a big fan of Coldplay, but during that time they cornered the soft rock market. Haven had that Manchester swagger and influence but were essentially mellow rock balladeers, led by Gary Briggs who I still consider to have one of the best voices in rock. I saw them at Glastonbury and their brand of emotive guitar led anthems are a perfect way to kick the morning into the next gear – nothing too offensive, but songs custom built for large crowd singalongs.

Have I Seen Them: Yes – Glastonbury

The Music are the perfect festival band – I think they needed another hit album to cement them as true headliners, but their energetic body of work ensures they can fit anywhere on any bill. I was torn between them hitting the coveted sunset slot, but in the end I decided to put them on in the middle of the day because they put on such an upbeat, up-tempo show. If you haven’t caught their second album – I consider it (still) the best album since 2000. Across their three albums and their many B-Sides and rarities they have must which you can dance to just as much as you can head-bang to. It’s groovy rock with insane vocals and the songs can easily breakdown into instrumental freak-outs ideal for drunken, stoned group dance-offs.

Have I Seen Them: Yes – Glastonbury

Nightwish are of course headliners in their own right, but that’s something you’re always going to get in any discussion like this – 10 bands, 10 headliners. As we’re in fantasy mode, I’m going to take things up a notch by saying this is Nightwish with all three vocalists – Tarja, Annette, and Floor. Nightwish have always been a band of excess, of epic scope, so why not throw all three in – the original with Tarja, the transition with Annette, and the current with Floor. I know this sort of thing rarely works – you could have each singer tackling the songs written with them in mind, you could have three singers all taking different parts and laying harmonies, or have Tarja tackle songs written long after she left. The band get the heavier side of the festival going and set things up for a potentially exhausting night.

Have I Seen Them: Yes – Belfast

No festival worth mentioning in the last thirty years omits Radiohead. They became big with Creep, and followed it up with the many hits from The Bends, but it was their early Glastonbury appearance which truly made them Gods. Say what you will about their post OK Computer work, but they still answer to no-one when it comes to seeing them on stage. Songs which sound relatively tame in the studio take on a completely different life when Thom and co perform them live, and when they unleash the classics they stand in a class of their own. There is no good time to put the band on because there is no bad time to put them on – they should headline any show, but they are perfect for the sunset evening slot, or for afternoon rocking. Essential for anyone’s fantasy.

Have I Seen Them: Yes – Glastonbury, Belfast.

Was there ever any doubt that I would include Manic Street Preachers? Actually, I didn’t have them down originally until I did some switching around to force them in. I was happy leaving them out because I’ve seen them live so many times already that another isn’t really ‘necessary’. However, they’re probably my favourite band of all time so I should have them here rather than in the sequel, and because this is a fantasy I’m going to imagine that Richey has returned. I never saw the band live before Richey vanished, but in my festival he’s back and playing with the rest of the lads, leaping about to Your Love Alone Is Not Enough, and closing out with A Design For Life.

Have I Seen Them: Yes – Glastonbury, Belfast, Dublin

Thinking back, I would really want Alice Cooper to headline so I should have either added more days to my festival or held some artists back so they could headline another year. Well, I’ve started now and there’s no going back. Alice Cooper is one of my longest running inspirations – in music, and in writing. He basically created or cemented a bunch of genres – metal, shock rock, garage, punk – he’s had a hand in all of them and more. For fantasy purposes this Alice Cooper act would feature the original band along with many of the great musicians he’s employed in his solo work over the decades. I think it’s cool he’s following The Manics because they are fans and have covered him before. The only time I saw Alice Cooper live it wasn’t the fool experience. he only played for around an hour as support for Def Leppard (who I had no interest in seeing) and though he had some stage theatrics going on, it felt very rushed. A full two hour show would be jam packed with guillotines, dead babies, and classic song after classic song. It pains me to see how under-appreciated Alice is in music history, when almost every musician in the last 50 years has been influenced by him, whether they know it or not.

Have I Seen Them Live: Yes – Belfast

My headliner for the night is arguably the most important band of my childhood and early teen years. Nirvana, along with Guns ‘N’ Roses were the artists which confirmed my love of rock. Spoiler Alert – I’m not including GNR this year! Gotta save someone I love for another year, right? I never got to see them live – I missed them in Belfast due to being too young to be allowed to go. The Spac Hole Festival brings Kurt and Co back together for one final fuck you – a gloriously chaotic two hour set of smashing and screaming the likes of which the world hasn’t seen since the early 90s.

Have I Seen Them Live: No

Off to bed now, you little scamps. Tomorrow’s another day – and it’s going to be a beast.

Chart Music Through The Years – 1964

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here – https://carlosnightman.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-uk-top-40/

Greetings, Glancers! We go back approximately 20 years before I was born to check out what the kids were listening to in October 1964. 1964, if you know your music history, was a seminal year. The Beatles landed in the US for the first time, TOTP was shown for the first time in The UK, Keith Moon joined The Who, The Rolling Stones released their first album, Sam Cooke, died, and a bunch of hit songs were released, some of which we’ll cover below.

Elsewhere in the world, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory was published, Cuba and the US arsed about, Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston, the first Ford Mustang was created, Nelson Mandela went to prison, and many riots and protests abounded all around the globe. It was a British invasion in most areas of culture – from music to movies to fashion and sport. I’m actually shocked that the Top 10 below doesn’t contain a single Beatles song but it does contain a mixture of new rock groups, Motown, and holdovers from the era which was on its way out. I know a few of these and as always I’ll probably recognise others once I hit play. So let’s hit play!

  1. Roy Orbison: Oh Pretty Woman

Oh right. I thought it might be this, but I never realised it was actually called ‘Oh Pretty Woman’. Isn’t it just ‘Pretty Woman’? Either way, it’s a timeless pop song. Obviously it’s routed in the 50s, but it’s basically perfect. What more could you need from a pop song – you can sing along easily, you recognize it by hearing any single second, it’s instantly catchy, and there isn’t a note out of place.

2. Herman’s Hermits: I’m Into Something Good

I bet this is the ham song, right? Denny’s ham? That’s an Irish reference which only Irish readers are going to get. It’s happy clappy anyway. Everyone knows this though, another timeless one, more flawless pop. It’s a little bit Beach Boys, what with those harmonies, but there’s something a bit more quirky to it. Apparently the scum sing this at their games. Yeah, like they have anything to sing about these days. Anyway, another good song.

3. The Supremes: Where Did Our Love Go

It’s pretty woman again, with that steady clappy intro. Seriously, compare these three songs with any three songs int he charts today. No comparison right? Sure they’re a little twee and innocent, but musically, melodically, vocally these songs wipe the floor with any of today’s chart wank. Plus, you already know this song. Even if you’ve never heard it, you know it. Today’s songs won’t last. For proof of that, the chart songs of 10 years ago haven’t lasted. This shit is over 50 years old and it’s still awesome. Too short though and doesn’t have a lot of (any) variety.

4. 

Julie Rogers: The Wedding

I have no idea what this is, so I’ll assume it’s Country. Nope, doesn’t sound Country. Well, the vocals could be, musically not really. Musically this is incredibly old fashioned. There’s a slight touch of Shirley Bassey here. Ave Maria. Strings. Explosion. Yeah, I’ve never heard this. Love how the drummer is going batshit. Vocals blasting away. I’m not sure what this is, but I can’t help but enjoy it just because of the sheer power of the performances. It’s not as catchy as the ones above but the gal and her gang knock it out of the park.

5. The Four Seasons: Rag Doll

Bum bum-bum. Bum bum-bum. More Beach Boys. What movie is this in….it’s all lovely. It sounds familiar but I don’t think I’ve heard it. Those highs are just on the right side of grating. Those oohs are damn catchy. The guitars are weird, can’t really hear them in this mix. The highs are making me think of Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy – the Star Trek bit? yeah, you know.

6. The Bachelors: I Wouldn’t Trade You For The World

Jeepers, more ooh-oohs. Ha ha, even trying to sound like The Beatles vocals. For about two seconds. It’s a little bit Country. Throw in some strings and I don’t care. The lyrics are cheesy as a tramp’s toe. Instrumental. Vocal disaster for last note. Yeah, fine, it’s another decent song but a little (bit) bit too simpering and soft.

7. The Searchers: When You Walk In The Room

Should this be ‘walk into the room’. Or is this just about someone walking around in a room. Like ‘when you walk in the room you keep blocking the TV, sit the fuck down cos I’m trying to watch Jessica Jones’?  BassThere’s the guitar. I know that riff. More harmonies, more melodies. It’s another toe tapper alright. The Youtube comments on these songs are hilarious – ‘this is REAL music, not like today’s crap’. I’ve already made that point too of course. The difference is I don’t care, or don’t want to care about the age or the genre – I just want it to be good – doesn’t matter if it’s a day old or five decades – good is good. This is good. There is less good in today’s charts. But it’s okay, as there is plenty of good outside the charts.

8. The Animals: I’m Crying

Ha ha, this guy’s Youtube channel is ‘Back When Music Was Good’. What’s the point in even being alive if you believe that? Yeah, go back to the 60s with your wars, rampant unemployment, lack of rights, and no internets. Actually that sounds exactly like 2017 apart from the internets. It’s a fast paced boyo, with organ and deep vocals, and yet it isn’t The Doors. It has an edge, as you’d expect from The Animals, it’s a little bit manic, but it lacks some melody outside of the ahh ahhs. Still, another good’un.

9. The Hollies: We’re Through

Everyone loves The Hollies, right? Listen to that guitar, great stuff. A fast paced rocker like early Beatles covers, this is frantic in every sense – the vocals wobble all over the place, the guitar and bass wrestle for attention, and the drums chatter away like the teeth of a frostbitten fool. It’s isn’t their most catchy or immediate song, but still good.

10. Jim Reeves: I Won’t Forget You

Well, I knew it couldn’t last. Still, this isn’t as horrible as I was forgetting. It’s pretty bleak even with the sentiment. Pure, clean vocals. It’s very plain and easy, a little bit Country, a little bit Calypso, very slow and simple, and there’s always going to be a market for it. Not my thing, but it’s harmless.

Well, that was very good – probably the best Top Ten I’ve covered yet in this series of posts. I’m not going to bother posting an alternate Top 10, partly because I don’t know enough about the other songs released, and partly because any alternate top 10 would include some of the artists above anyway. The obvious other recommendations would be The Beatles – take your pick from I Want To Hold Your Hand, A Hard Day’s Night, Can’t Buy Me Love – and also throw in some Beach Boys, Stones, Kinks etc. There’s something for everyone up above, except idiots, and even then some of the songs here are good enough to even interest the most staunch idiot.

Let us know in the comments which of the songs above you love, and if any other hits or otherwise from 1964 float your yacht!

You Love Us

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

Ostensibly where it all began, the song where the band truly announced itself to the world, looking every inch like a band nobody wanted and instead claiming to be the band everyone needed, the band to save the world or implode trying. Hated by other artists, feeding off the finger-pointing and setting themselves clearly apart from every other act in the world, they unleashed this torrent of seductive, caressing hatred, mocking fans, mocking themselves, and looking like they were having the most fun in the world, living the rock and roll dream while admonishing it for the nightmare it truly was. It’s a fast paced, chugging rock behemoth that didn’t sound like anything on the airwaves, Bradfield’s sneering vocals and lightning fast guitars, Edwards and Wire’s luscious stares and snarling wit, and Moore’s marching band percussive attack, it’s one of the classic statements in all of rock music. Looking at it as a song on its own merits, it is fairly simple stuff with a plain verse chorus attack, but there is such joy in the melody, in the unashamedly big chorus, and such brilliance in the final, Paradise City style instrumental blow out, that it can’t be avoided, or disliked.

The first link below is the album version – in my opinion the best version. There have been multiple versions of the song, each one with slight notable variances, so try all the links below and find your favourite. There was also a ‘new’ version a few years back but I can’t find a good link to it.

You Love Us: 4/Great

Video

Heavenly version

Stars N Stripes Mix

Misheard Lyrics:

  1. Our voices are furry
  2. Realize and won’t be bought
  3. Honestly we can never be loved
  4. Throw some mess into your face
  5. Your lessons drill in heaven instead
  6. Parliament you flick like C4 (?)
  7. Your life a cycle holocaust/you love a psycho holocaust

Actual Lyrics:

  1. Our voices are 4Real
  2. We realised and won’t be mourned
  3. Understand we can never belong
  4. Throw some acid onto your face
  5. Your lessons drill inherited sin
  6. Parliament’s a fake life saver
  7. Your life is like a holocaust