Visits to live gigs – not any more

Trevor writing up his notes. 13th May 2017 at Duffy's Bar. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

2020

June. Leicester forced to endure another two weeks of lockdown as COVID-19 cases increase in the city. Pubs will not reopen on 4th July here.

Leicester Music History continues the last instalment being about the years 2010 and 2011

When will the venues reopen? Listen to our interview with Sue Lavender from The Soundhouse about how COVID-19 has affected them on

Music in Leicester Coronovirus podcasts.

Podcasts are now a feature of our magazine; see what we have published.

See what we have been doing during the lockdown.

5th June

MIL continues to interview musicians and artists about the impact the lockdown is having on them.

See our page of interviews.

10th April

Hello again.   Trevor here. How are you all?  Well. I hope. Live – a thing of the past. Gigs – what we used to be before the lockdown. Last time I went to a gig was 10th March. I went to see Jonezy perform at the Soundhouse. Seems like a long time ago now.  These days, musicians and singers are streaming performances over the Internet. This magazine has started a page about musical streams – Coronavirus – Live Streams. It’s one way of keeping music going. Thanks to Kevin for doing all that. So. Not a lot more I can say really. Except “stay safe folks.”

19th March

As Coronavirus impacts Leicester, live music is hitting the dust. Many concerts and gigs have been cancelled. All events organised by Regent Jazz have been postponed until further notice. At the Musician pub, some gigs have been cancelled, others postponed. In some cases, this was because of travel restrictions affecting the bands and artists. The Shed continues to operate, albeit on a limited basis. Some gigs postponed. Interestingly, the Shed now refuses to accept ‘hand money’ a.k.a. cash accepting only payments by card.

The Music Venue Trust has published advice about live music and the COVID-19. The article draws attention to Government support for live music venues. It says’ The following is the latest information available (as of 11 am Wednesday 18 March) of the various measures that are being made available by Government to support Grassroots Music Venues (GMVs) in England during the COVID-19 crisis. In each case, this is the best information that Music Venue Trust has been able to acquire from the government at this time. We are in contact with departments across government to ensure that as soon as additional advice on how to access this support becomes available we can deliver it to GMVs, together with instructions on how to qualify for it and access it.’

The article advises ‘The government will support small and medium-sized businesses and employers to cope with the extra costs of paying COVID-19 related SSP by refunding eligible SSP costs.’ and explains the eligibility criteria.

Many people in the music business are self-employed and some are sole traders. This will cause a severe loss of income if these people have to self-isolate or stay at home to care for children or elderly loved ones. There are information and advice for people who are self-employed, on the government website. The Government has published guidelines for business affected by the COIVIS-19 virus.

Many newspapers and websites have published advice and information about help for self-employed people. Search fort ‘support for self-employed uk’

March 10th.

The third instalment of Leicester’s Music History has been published.

The page from the previous series about the history of music – Round 7 – has been republished. It is about the rise of the festivals.

My series about History of Music in Leicester continues with the second instalment about the Internet and live music.

Read about the current series of articles concerning Leicester’s Music History and see a list of all available articles in the series.

After 20 years…

The Musician is a venue that has played a key part in my journey over the years and it was a huge pleasure to be back there again on 2nd February 2020 to support its 20th-anniversary celebrations.

Dawson Smith at the Musician, 2nd February 2020

The Musician at 20

Sunday 2nd February 2020

Trevor Locke at the twentieth birthday celebration

The Musician is one of the city’s celebrated permanent live music venues. It opened in the year 2000. Previously, the building had housed the Baker’s Arms, a pub that occasionally hosted nights of live music for the entertainment of its existing customers. Over the years, the venue has seen many great artists and has played host to many important music events. It was fitting, therefore, that the line-up for tonight included some of Leicester’s most prestigious music acts.

Kevin Hewick, Steve Cartwright, Steve Parker, Kenny Wilson, Ali Sperry (USA), Tony Alles, Sally Hossack’s dream band, The Ruby Doos, Andy Griffiths & Andy Wales, Dawson Smith & The Dissenters. The night also raised money for Hope Against Cancer, local homeless charities and Rainbows.

Ali Sperry at the Musician, 2nd February 2020

All the way from the USA, Ali Sperry was on her first tour of the UK. So, performing at the Musician for the first time was an engaging singer from Nashville who captivated us with her own songs and delightful personality.

Tony Alles at the Musician, 2nd February 2020

Tony Alles started playing at this venue shortly after it opened, he told me. He’s been coming back ever since. Many other of tonight’s musicians have been performing here over the years. Alles is one of the city’s most celebrated blues musicians. Tonight, he shows what he could do with a selection of jazz and blues numbers. It was a magnificent set.

Sally Hossack and her Dream Band at the Musician, 2nd February 2020

Another artist I have known for a very long time is Sally Hossack. Her trio gave us a delightful and dreamy selection of tunes full of atmosphere and resonance.

I have attended many gigs at The Musician and I jotted down a few of those that I could remember. Not least, the finals of the Original Bands Showcase. Always a significant part of the musical calendar, in those days. I remember seeing the singer Siobhan Mazzei performing a solo set there. It was one of the most astonishing performances I have ever seen. I put on a couple of gigs there including one headed by a band called Leaving Party. That was my ‘flash’ gig, put together over two days but which resulted in a sell-out audience. On yes, and that night when the Heroes played with Formal Warning and a fight broke out. The night when Skam and Hell’s addiction shared a line-up. Many others. Many, many others.

When Darren Nockles too over the venue, in the year 2000, it was small than it now is. They enlarged it, extending the room to its present size.

And Griffiths and Andy Wales at the Musician, 2nd February 2020

Griffiths and Wales. Two accomplished musicians delivered a set infused with marvellous riffs and melodies. Impressive instrumentals. Fine vocals. Lashings of atmosphere. Lyrics full of poetic images.

Dawson Smith. Another of Leicester’s musical legends. Still going strong. On stage tonight with his Dissenters, I recalled his previous gig where he played a set of songs from the protests of history. Dawson has appeared, over the years, with a number of ensembles including the Dawson Brothers. He makes rock and roll come alive.

What a fantastic evening. Meeting many people who I had not seen for years, catching up with old friends, I was so glad that I had taken the trouble to be there. It was a gig that spoke of Leicester’s impressive musical heritage.

Dawson and the Diisaenters at the Musician, 2nd February 2020

Jazz features in my musical tastes and it was to Regent Jazz that I headed for one of their events of Gypsy Jazz. On 28th January, I saw a performance by Swing Gitan playing songs from the legendary Django Reinhardt.

My first gig of 2020 took place at the O2 Academy. A one-day event, called Together,  for which there is a full write-up.

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Last edited:  20/2/2020

About Trevor Locke 16 Articles
Trevor Locke is a writer and publisher and publisher of MIL magazine.