Bands from the past

Leicester Band Backline in 2008

Leicester bands

in 2008

As part of our celebration of Leicester’s bands and singers – #MIL4Bands – we presented a slide show of the acts we liked from the year 2008.

The slideshow is now longer available due to changes made by Google to the way they present photos.

Here are some notes about the bands and singers that were shown in the slide show:

Aikon – fabulous pop band with a great set of songs and super stage act

Autohype – in their day one of the most popular bands in the city; hugely good indie songs. After they had finished at Leicester University, most of them moved to London and went on to become a band called I Am In Love.

Backline – one of the top young bands in their day with a huge following of teenage fans and a stage set that sizzled with energy.

Beunos Aires – one of the most successful bands in their genre, widely loved and respected.

Chris Armson – still around today and one of the most sought after solo artists for gigs and festivals. A human karaoke machine, he sang almost anything.

Martyr de Mona – although they were from Birmingham area they played in Leicester many times and have appeared recently at some of the top metal gigs. Astonishingly good.

The Mile – a popular indie band with a set of songs of their own that went down well at most gigs.

Boy Hits Car – from Los Angeles, they played in Leicester only once but that was at The Shed of all places. Their music launched me into rock right at the start. Cannot believe they played at The Shed but they did and I was there.

Breek – a band that still exists today;  stunning hard rock from Melton Mowbray they were ace.

Calder McLaughlan – is till around today and is a successful and widely loved solo artist; when I saw him for the first time – at the Shed – I was gob-smacked at how good he was. He is good of course.

Capture The Flag – a very popular indie band; their song – Stickers on The Car – was, in my view, one of the best ever indie songs to have been produced by a Leicester unsigned band.

The Chairmen – with their lead singer Jonny Gavin, The Chairmen was at the top of the tree; hugely popular and with a set of songs that everyone loved. Gavin went to form Demons of Ruby Mae.

Codes – a hugely popular young indie band that played a number of sell out gigs at The Charlotte and supported a lot of other top bands.

Criminals – a young band that played many times at The Pavilion, The Shed and other places; their high energy stage craft appealed to lots of teenage rock fans.

Dan White – is a solo artist whose style has never been repeated; with his hallmark outfit of nipple tassels and black fish net stockings, he is an artist that will never be forgotten and never will his songs, My Gammy Hand in particular.

Dave Voss – represents the many singer songwriters who have graced the stages of Leicester; there have been many that have achieved much and pleased so many people.

Desperados – a band that had style, passion and humour; they would set a room alight with their music.

Dirty Backbeats – noted for their originality and creative zest, they had a lot of dedicated followers.

Displacements – the boys from Blaby were arguably one of the most successful local bands in the golden age of indie; they signed to a record label and played stadia with big names.

Exit Avenue – another out-of-town band that brought something special into Leicester. At their gigs fans would go wild for them and when it came to local supports they signed up some of the best.

Fall of Jupiter – they might not have been the most widely known band of their era but musically they had it all.

Formal Warning – very much a Leicester band; they had fanatical followers and a set of songs that would have the whole room singing. Some of them are still out there now with The Reckless Youth.

For The Record – a pop band with some thumpingly good songs and a strong following.  Lead singer David Lewis now heads up Once Vagrant Souls.

Forty More Autumns – one of a clutch of indie bands that defined the indie scene of the later 80s. Their music was manic.

Freefall Felix. One of the few Leicester bands whose gigs had people queuing to get in. Lead singer Charlie Drew had a solo career in Leicester before moving to London where he is still heavily involved in music.

Full Circle – one of the few punk bands to become legends of the genre; their music was mind-blowingly fast and horrendously hardcore. I loved them.

Ghandis Flipflop – one of the other bands to fly the flag for punk; they were raw, rough and often hilarious.

Glitch – indie darlings with a stunning set of songs; they had many admirers who were devoted to them. I think they might actually have been from Derby.

Great Imitation – in the beginning there were two. A unique act that changed the face of Leicestershire music. Still wow-ing the crowds and often side-splittingly funny, James Scott-Howes is the stuff of legend.

The Heroes – a block busting indie band that made a once-only come back last year.  One of the few Leicester bands to play at Glastonbury festival. I wrote a book about them. Superbly loveable tunes the like of which is rare these days.

Ictus – one of the very first Leicester rock bands I ever saw play live. In their time they were massively good and their music pleased countless thousands of people. Doyens of pop-punk.

Internal Conflict – kings of the metal scene; their music was awesome and their live performance simply stunning.

Joe Morrell – one of the few singer songwriters and band musicians who is still around; his band Humble He was a blessing to music lovers.

Just Norris – indie boys who enjoyed considerable popularity in their time. Amazingly good musicians and singers; they were just hit material.

Kids in Cars – slick, smooth and utterly musical; they did something very special for the music of Leicester.

Kyte – a band that got signed and had more international success than most. People were fanatical about them and justifiably so.

The Lowreys – an indie band that composed some of the top classics of the time as far as the local scene was concerned. Immensely popular, they did not seem to last for very long and they were a key band at the height of indie’s golden age.

M48 – Jordan Birtles and Nile Barrow went on to form By The Rivers; but in the late 08s they were basking in widespread adulation and seen at some of the city’s biggest gigs.

Naked Gravy – a young indie band that would often be seen at the Charlotte and the Shed, enjoying the enthusiasm of their fans.

Neon Sarcastic – one of my favourite bands, their jolly, happy-go-lucky pop-rock tunes were apt to set a room alight and when they split up many were gutted.

The Pennyhangers – many of you will say “who?” but I can remember when this band was the talk of the town and had a set of songs that made an evening’s music special.

Pickpockets – another of those young bands that lit the fuse of many teenage indie fans. They knew how to make a good song.

Pluto – the lads from Stoney Stanton never got famous but, for me, their music abilities were famously inspiring. Wizards of strings.

Quaternery Limit – a band whose name I struggle to spell even now; but whose musical abilities were unforgettable.

Raj of Smokestacks – one of Leicester’s greatest jazz musicians, he is still out there making music to this day.  he and Smokestacks have given some of the most memorable jazz from any local group.

Razmataz – I met lead singer Nathan Lord the other day;  I said to him “you were one of the finest lead singers I have ever seen, when you were 16.”  Their songs had all the ingredients of smash hits but no one discovered them in time.

The Screening – Kasabian, By The Rivers, Kyte, Freefall Felix… there are some bands from Leicester whose names cannot be denied in the roll-call of history.

Skam – rock ‘n’ roll legends; still going strong and one of the city’s longest-running rock bands.

The cast of secret skins – a massively big show was held at Streetlife club at which all the most popular youth bands played. That group photos brought together most of the top musicians of the day rather like the picture of them that did Live Aid.

Slaine – a young metal band that was seriously good at making music; brilliant guitar playing, stunning drumming and all-round super musicians.

Smokin’ The Profit – a punk/rock bands that penned some of the great songs of any band around here and superb performances from lead singer Tommy Bee. Loved by all, would not be a misleading thing to say about them.

Steve Faulkner – Leicestershire solo singing hero; some of his interpretations of classic cover songs were better than the originals. One of the few solo artists would could play non stop for more than two hours. His band was also very good.

Taste The Chase – they were not around for long but when they were they did some top class work.

The Fores – still around, still making music, still wow-ing crowds; these guys are legends. Not the same line-up now as shown in the picture.

Tired Irie – like Kyte, The Dirty Backbeats and The SCreening, they were in the premier league of Leicester’s indie bands.

The Truth – what did for Leicester’s ska and reggae scene what Bob Marley did for Jamaica.

The Utopians – they defined what indie of the late 08s was all about. They got signed and then split up but not before they had made some incredibly good music. Pissed up in Prague will probably outlive them in the musical memories of fans.

With A Story – not many people remember them now and when they were around not everybody liked them. I did and I thought they were wonderful.


I wrote up the above without doing any research – just trusting my memory to not let me down.  If it’s factually incorrect I will change it. What I cannot change is what I thought and felt then about these acts and what I still believe today about them.

This article forms part of a series in which I looked back at bands from the past – part of my work to weave the story of the history of Leicester’s live music.

Trevor Locke

See also:

Follow our series called Going to Gigs

Our list of current bands from Leicester in 2017.

Our feature article on MIL4Bands.

About The Editor 536 Articles
The Editor of Music in Leicester magazine is Kevin Gaughan assisted by Trevor Locke