MIXTAPE: Neil Jollie, Hilarity Bites Comedy Club | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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What a joy it has been to compile this list, albeit I’ve had to be brutal in what I included. Music has always been a constant throughout my life; my dad was a big fan of early rock ‘n’ roll and as a kid I remember the likes of Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochrane played throughout the house – which in many ways has influenced my musical tastes. At one point I wanted to be a music journalist, but for the past eleven years I’ve been involved in running comedy events in the North East, which gives me the perfect opportunity to play the sort of songs that I love in the intervals before and during shows!

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The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil
The first concert I attended without my parents was the Stones at Wembley in 1995, where me and my friend Andrew got into all sorts of scrapes. It was all worth it though, as the Stones were just amazing – playing through the rainstorm that had forced off their support band, Sympathy… has remained a highlight ever since when I’ve seen them live, or listened to any number of live albums.

Dirty Pretty Things – Bang Bang You’re Dead
When I first started Hilarity Bites I spent what seemed like forever listening to the first 30 seconds of songs trying to find the perfect intro tune to start a show. I think Bang Bang You’re Dead is perfect. From the opening horns, to the insistent drums, as soon as it’s played nice and loud the audience know that something good is coming. However, if I hear it anywhere else it creates a Pavlovian response where I panic that a show is about to start and I’m not prepared!

Ben Folds – Tiny Dancer
Obviously a classic Elton John song, and the soundtrack to a great scene in Almost Famous, my favourite version of this song is on the album Ben Folds Live, where it sits perfectly on an absolute gem of a live record.

I Am Kloot – Morning Rain
I recently saw Kloot leader, the brilliant John Bramwell, at The Studio in Hartlepool and he used this song to devastating effect. Much like a comedian would have put-downs in their arsenal for disruptive hecklers, Bramwell’s ire was drawn by a group that wouldn’t stop talking throughout the gig, leading to him throwing this song into the setlist and directing it at the group as a perfectly formed four minute put-down which put them in their place for the rest of the night!

The Bluetones – After Hours
My partner Julie and I have seen The Bluetones, and Mark Morriss, countless times in all sorts of venues all over the country, and I really could have picked anything from their back catalogue. After Hours stands out and is a clear audience favourite with the tales of rebellion and late-night debauchery delighting fans. I can’t remember the last time I’ve “been drinking since we clocked out, and now it’s 5am”, but just writing those words makes it seem more tempting than ever.

The Hives – Hate To Say I Told You So
One of the best live bands I’ve ever seen – and this is an absolute tune! I saw The Hives at the height of their popularity (which, granted, was never that high) in Newcastle and was blown away by the combination of great tunes and superb showmanship. The opening riff to this song is just so good, and it’s a perfect little gem that always puts a smile on my face.

The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset
Perhaps my favourite song of all time, and a great showcase for the lyrical genius of Ray Davies. The Kinks are, in my opinion, criminally underrated for a band of such great invention that has endured long since bursting onto the scene in the 1960s. More recent releases, such as the Choral Collection with the Crouch End Festival Choir and See My Friends, are perfect examples of how great the songs are in many different arrangements.

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