2013 – our pick of the gigs

Kagoule at The Cookie in 2015 Photo: Keith Jobey.

We look back at 2013

and make our selection of its live music highlights

See our main listing of forthcoming gigs

Part 1 – Live music reviews 2013

Thank you to many people who suggested which gigs stood out for them.   We have not included all of them but we have certainly put in those that attracted more than one nomination.

For local festivals see the home page of the Festivals Section

In 2013 Leicester permanent live music venues* included The Cookie Jar, The Donkey, The Firebug, Lock42, The Musician, Leicester O2 Academy, The Music Cafe, The Shed, The Soundhouse and Sumo.  Out of the City the Vic at Coalville was one of the few venues to have a fixed live music stage.

* Permanent live music venues are those that are used solely for live music or for which live music plays a key role.  Hundreds of pubs offer live music on a regular basis, but they are pubs rather than venues.

January to May

see the selection of gigs made by Arts In Leicester:
January to May 2013 and our round-up of live music event in 2013.

3rd January – a particularly good lineup of artists at the obs Unplugged show at The Musician

4th January – tonight’s obsUnplugged included Adam Dunmore, The Skunk Boy Project and The Simpletones, among others.

Martha Bean and her band

11th January – Martha Bean’s EP launch at The Musician was an extraordinary experience

27th January – Rhett Barrow’s album launch at the Soundhouse

30th January – Nile Narrow and Jordan Birtles (By The Rivers) perform at O’Neills.

2nd February – the first finale show of the obsUnplugged with Leo Kai, Pamella Moo, Moccasin Mile, The Simpletones, Siobhan Mazzie and Carlos Stein, among others.

6th February – a memorable night for hardcore bands at The Shed with Ascend The Skies, Sons of Alchemy, Nylon Sky, and Drowning Grace.

9th February – the second finale show of the obsUnplugged with Scarlet Fix, Theo Miller, Jonezy, A Night Underwater, Yakobo, Hannah Haley, The Native, Tacy and Chapman, Secret Stagecoach Society, Kiera Lawson, Martha Bean and Adam Dunmore.

The Harrowbrooks at The Soundhouse
The Harrowbrooks at The Soundhouse

15th February – Steve Diggle headlines at night at the Soundhouse with Danny Greet, The Harrowbrooks, First Wave was a gig nominated by several of our readers.

26th February – at The Cookie Jar, Kenworthy, Kagoule, Kappa Gamma and the Cream Tangerines was applauded at the time as being a significant night of really superb bands.

1st March – Skam and Hells Addiction at The O2 – two of Leicester’s top bands within this style of music.

2nd March – Charlee Drew at the Cookie Jar with Izzie Marie Hill, Mark Elliott was a memorable evening of music from some very fine local artists.

7th March – Empire played a support slot with established rock stars The Enemy. The gig was held in Hatfield. Empire is a band that made a promising start in 2013.

15th March – OBS with Theia, Mondigreen, Dirty Future and others provided a notably fine night of band music.

24th March – German band Din Martin play at The Soundhouse, supported by Leicester’s Raptusound.

29th March – Empire, Luzon Bleeding Heart and Michael Vickers at the O2.

29th March – The Brandy Thieves was one of the highlights of a strong lineup of bands at the OBS in a show that also included The DedBeats and Titan.

30th March – Midnight Wire, This Feeling, Little Night Terrors, Dexters and Kasabian DJ at Sumo

The OBS (Original Bands Showcase) offered many really good nights of band music during March, April and May.  There is an overview of this series of gigs on Arts in Leicester.

3rd April – hardcore music with Chronographs at The Shed, presented by Music First Promotions, was a particularly memorable night for this style of music.

13th April – Kickstarter and FourPointOh at The Shed, two very memorable bands, one from London and the other from Leicester, offering a sensationally good set of sounds.

19th April – Mark Elliott’s album launch at the Cookie Jar. Several solo artists played a defining role in the music of Leicester this year, Mark Elliott being one and Siobhan Mazzie being another. Martin Luke Brown – also part of this show – is another artist whose work deserves mention in the realm of solo and acoustic music.


25th April – the launch of the series of monthly shows that became City Link-Up Unsigned, an important showcase of talent from the world of hip-hop and other genres and of particular significance for African and Caribbean artists as well as those from other roots and traditions. For a list of this year’s shows see our Reviews page.

17th May – OPM at the Soundhouse with Titan and Jonezy – the Los Angeles band returned to the Soundhouse for another iconic evening of music. When legendary international bands come to play at the smaller venues, local acts get an unequalled opportunity to get support slots.

18th May – Leaving Party wins the 2013 OBS – the grand finale of the OBS is always a highlight of Leicester’s music calendar.

25th May – Jonezy’s set at Glastonbudget (video) – we pick this out from the general reporting on the festival as a whole because it was a startling performance that has lodged in the memories of many people, long after the festival.

26th April – By The Rivers play at The Font in a show that was a media event.

30th May – Kasabian play a free gig in Milan. A band from Leicester that played at the Shed in 1999 under the name Saracuse.


Our first month’s round-up of live music gigs, including:

samuel idwal
Samuel Idwal singing int he Acoustic Marquee

The Riverside Festival on Saturday

The Riverside Festival on Sunday

By The Rivers play the Glastonbury Festival – “my ‘local’ highlight I’m going for By The Rivers at Leefest/Glastonbury/Shambala. A Leicester based band truly nailing it on a national scale… And doing it so professionally. Good on them.” (Sean Tizzard)

James Shaw from Titan
James Shaw from Titan

15th – Titan win I Wanna Be  A Rock Star – IWBARS was a competition run by Music First Promotions.

21st – Kasabian play in Amsterdam.


Our round-up of live music in July included

The Glastonblaby Festival – one of the best attended one day festivals and one with a good line-ups of acts.

The Western Park Festival – a large festival with a  wide cross-section of acts – bands, singers and groups.

liv armon singer
Singer Liv Armon

The launch of the Singers of Distinction shows – ArtsIn Productions showcase for the best solo, singer-songwriter and acoustic artists in the local area.

16th – The Jav’lins farewell gig at The Soundhouse – one of the most widely applauded rock bands in the area, took their farewell as the lead singer left for a new life in South Africa.

25th – Michael Vickers and Jonezy play at the City Link-Up show – two notable but very different solo acts.  City Link-Up shows this year have featured some of the best musical talent in the Midlands and many acts from London.


Our round-up for August included:

luzon bleeding heart
Leicester band Luzon Bleeding Heart

The Cosby Big Love festival – acclaimed as one of the best small festivals

The Stawberryfields Festival – a major three event with notable national bands playing alongside a wide range of local bands and singers.

11th – Pressure Tenants at the Strawberry Fields festival (nominated by a reader)


7th – By The Rivers play at Bestival on the Isle of Wight.

21st – the Furies hold their Death Valley Album Launch at the Firebug, a Leicester band that made a considerable contribution to music this year.

Hip-Hop artist Tha Deadeye
Hip-Hop artist Tha Deadeye

26th – Leicester rap artist Tha Deadeye at the City Link-Up show being a hip-hop artist of particularly distinction.

Rajiv Mohanlal at the Soundhouse
Rajiv Mohanlal at the Soundhouse

27th – At The Font, an amazing night of bands with Smokestacks and Smokin The Profit.  An outstanding gig of billiant musical talents.

28th September – Twisted Wheel from Manchester play at the Soundhouse. A gig that many will remember.


2nd – US band Madina Lake with support from London’s Fearless Vampire Killers play att he O2 Academy. Another international band playing here in Leicester.

Lawson Juliet Remixes
Lawson Juliet Remixes

2nd – Pop/rock band Lawson play at the De Monfort Hall – one of the UK’s most popular indie bands.

5th to 6th – The Soundhouse holds it third anniversary weekender with a very strong lineup of local artists over the two days.

Bastille promo shot
Members of Bastille

17th – Bastille at the O2 Academy.

18th – Jonezy and Norwegian Singer Alexandru perform at the Shed. It is unusual for an artist from Europe to come to Leicester to join with a local rapper to put on a show.

19th – Oxjam Leicester Takeover musical festival – Oxjam has always been a major event for Leicester

26th – Sham69 perform live at The Soundhouse – punk legends

29th – Boomtown Rats play live at Rock City; the return of Sir Bob Geldorf.


2nd – Leicester artists Jonezy and Curtis Clacey perform at live show in Abbey Park on Bonfire Night, headlined by The Vamps. The Vamps went on to be one of the most popular pop bands in the UK, appearing on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops show for 2013.

vy the rivers band
By The Rivers

23rd – By The Rivers homecoming gig at the O2, widely nominated by readers as one of the best shows of 2013.

28th – Leicester hip-hop artist KY plays at the City Link-Up show; KY is one of a small number of hip-hop artists who have made exceptional impacts on the local music scene.


Chrome Molly
Chrome Molly

7th – an unforgettable night at The Shed headlined by Chrome Molly with Captain Horizon and some very impressive young bands. Read our review.

Sam Bailey at The Athena
Sam Bailey on stage. Photo Martin Crosbie

11th – X Factor finals singer Sam Bailey comes to Leicester for a live show. Here is our report. Sam Bailey went on to become the overall winner of the TV show The X factor.

12th – Ashes of Maybelle, Continents, Drowning Grace at the Shed (nominated Matt Fraine and others) as an outstanding night for hardcore bands.

17th – Martha Bean’s performance at Embrace Arts – “Martha Bean and the full band line up with strings at Embrace Arts last week – just totally blew me away. Personally, I haven’t seen a better gig in Leicester. An amazing performance I’ll never forget.” (Si Clancy)

Alex Van Roose from Midnight Wire
Alex Van Roose from Midnight Wire
Photo Kevin Gaughan

13th – Midnight Wire’s single launch and secret gig with an excellent line-up of supports. Report by Olly Stabler. Midnight Wire have toured the UK extensively this year.

Justin Hawkins. Photography by Kat Ulman.
Justin Hawkins. Photography by Kat Ulman.

15th – The Darkness played at the O2 Academy.

21st – Many people gave a big thumbs up for Resin’s gig at The Firebug as being a memorable night of really good music (Matt Fraine, Kevin Gaughan)

21st December – Her Name is Calla at the Bishop Street Methodist Church (Keith Jobey)

The Charlotte
The Charlotte

28th – The Charlotte’s one-off gig with a lineup of singers and bands that included Andrea Kenny (from The Brandy Thieves) and Midnight Wire.

Rest in peace

Arms of Atlas

Harjinder Ohbi

The Javlins

Leaving Party


Nelson Mandela

One Suspicious Monkey

Satelitte Empire

The Screening

Summer Sundae Festival

See also:

Reviews of live music in Leicester for


About The Editor 535 Articles
The Editor of Music in Leicester magazine is Kevin Gaughan assisted by Trevor Locke