Formal Warning headlines at The Musician
Saturday 2nd November 2013
Formal Warning, Satellite Empire, Eva Plays Dead and Stonewashed
A memorable night at the Musician live music venue in Leicester.
Photos © by Kevin Gaughan
Kevin Gaughan is a presenter on Takeover Radio
The Musician, Saturday 2nd November
The Musician was packed tonight for a line-up of top bands and the last ever gig of the iconic Leicester band Formal Warning.
I have followed Formal Warning for around eight years now and have been to dozens and dozens of their gigs both here in Leicester and elsewhere in the UK.
Formal Warning have gone through many changes since the early days when they played covers such as Summer of ’69 and Last Boys of Summer. The band’s line up is still the same
Ash Wright (lead singer)
Leon Harrold (bass)
Kyle Harrold (lead guitar)
Zoe Wright (drummer)
Alun Wright (guitar)
As you can see the members of their band are drawn from two families.
What has changed most is the band’s style of music; in recent times they have played only the occasional cover, preferring to base their set list on their own songs; their music has become somewhat heavier compared with their early repertoire.
The night was launched by Stonewashed, whose female lead vocalist has a voice that soared over the crowd and brought a deluge of favorable comments from the fans. Their sets included several great songs which they delivered with lashings of verve. They played a creditable take on Killing in the name of and celebrated their hosts with Summer of 69. Very enjoyable.
Eva Plays Dead brought the power of punk-edged rock to the evening’s proceedings. Formerly known in a previous incarnation as Bury The Ladybird, this Derby band has grown in stature. Now a well established band, they (like Satellite Empire) are noted for a strong female lead singer (Tiggy Dockerty) and tonight’s performance revealed them as as an impressive talent on the East Midlands music scene.
Follow Eva Plays Dead on Facebook and on the band’s website.
It was good to see Leicester’s Satellite Empire on stage at tonight’s show. Although fairly new to the music scene, they have made strong progress and with their set of hugely listen-able original songs; I for one, would not be surprised if they get signed in the near future. SE’s lead singer Liv Armon is among the best singers across the board. We attended SE’s EP launch and anniversary show at The Music Cafe in September, when we commented : As a band, Satellite Empire has got it sorted – they have a group of fine musicians, an outstanding lead singer and a set of songs that are well written and highly likeable. The band’s performance tonight showed them to be a group with set of tunes that would appeal to the cross section of fans of popular rock music and their set was greeted enthusiastically by the rooom.
Formal Warning is a band that has been good at writing songs throughout their career. Over the years they have penned a series of really good numbers that have delighted their followers and won them new fans. Memorable melodies that have become part of the oeuvre of the Leicester music scene.
A band with rare international experience, where our local cadre of bands is concerned, Formal Warning played in Belgium at Genape’s Nouvelle Vague Festival in 2010 and again in 2011. They supported The Kaiserchiefs and Scouting for Girls and several other UK bands. When one looks back over their career they are a band that has achieved a great deal and arguably more than many other local unsigned bands.
It was a monumental gig with a goodly-sized crowd but it was a celebration edged with sadness, the band having announced that this would be their last ever gig. As they have grown older and several of the members have started families and full-time jobs, they have found it increasingly difficult to reconcile their commitments to the band with their commitments as working adults.
I doubt that this is the last we will see of at least some of the band members; there is talent there that must out, experience that will propel them onwards and for some of them music is in their blood and the desire to be on stage is something that will lever go away.
Tonight however, surrounded by their fans, family and friends, it was Formal Warning’s swan song. If we do not see them again (in this format) they will go down in the Leicester’s ‘hall of fame’ as a band that earned itself a place there. Their music has thrilled and delighted many people over the years and their stage performances have been everything one would have wished for in this style of music. Ash Wright is one of the lead male rock band vocalists in this city and he has always been backed up on stage by the stage craft of Leon and Kyle. Together they deliver team bandmanship, not just a set but a show. They know how to play to a crowd. You go to hear their music but, in the live context, you go to see them perform.