In may I am playing ‘catch up’ with my writing programme.
I am working on an article about the celebrated jazz drummer
Paul Dufour. He once played the drums in The Libertines, with Pete Doherty
I am writing an article about the early history of the Shed. Leicester’s longest-serving live music venue.
I am also writing a piece
about the history of The Regent Jazz Club.
That’s enough to be going on with.
Open mic nights
7th May 2019
Rhett Barrow’s open mic night, at the Soundhouse, has always been a happy hunting ground for new musical talent. Well-established artists perform at these shows, on a regular basis. But, once in a while, someone new comes along who is remarkable. One of the joys of this job is spotting new musical talent. Singer Andrew Moran was the feature act at tonight’s show and that is primarily why I was there. I discovered Moran at the Shed, in 2018, and I, like many others that night, was impressed by his musical abilities. A young singer who is now emerging on the Leicester music scene, Moran is outstanding and extraordinary. I asked him how he had got into music. He told me that he had started when he was ten or eleven when he began to learn the guitar. He is now a student at the British Institute for Modern Music (alumni includes George Ezra.)
One of the benefits of being a music journalist is that you get to discover emerging talent. What stands out about Moran, is his beautifully crafted vocals. His singing reminds me of artists like Samuel Idwal, Ash Francis, Prash Gor and Reuben Wisner. I am not sure how many readers will remember those artists today but when they were active on the scene, they were some of the finest male singers in the city. In Moran’s vocals, I heard some of the qualities that had so enchanted audiences, back in 2016, when these artists were active, particular Wisner, whose abilities as a singer and songwriter were outstanding. Another singer who some might remember (for his exceptional ability at a young age) is Jack Kenworthy. There were people at the Soundhouse tonight who remember the early performances of Kenworthy and how everyone was stunned by the young man’s musical abilities.
Tonight Moran sang extremely well, delivering vocals with delicacy, superb control and backed by exquisite guitar work. He chose, tonight, to give us a set of covers but they were well-chosen songs that suited his voice. He made the songs his own. He has the ability to deliver songs with a sensitivity that charms his audience and there is a sweetness in his vocal style that is captivating.
As I commented to a friend, there are people who sing and there are singers. There is no shortage of competent vocalists in this city but finding one who is an exceptional artist is a rarity. Using the voice, as a musical instrument, is something that Moran knows about and, to my way of thinking, that places him in the league along with Idwal, Wisner and others who have gone down that path before him. Don’t be mislead by his youthfulness; there is a maturity in his work that belies his tender years. Moran is without a doubt an artist who has a promising future ahead of him.
Ohana and Chambers at the Soundhouse
with We Be Beasts and Semper Vera.
I headed to the Soundhouse tonight to see Ohana. And, of course, Chambers. Favourites of mine on the local band scene. Semper Vera opened the show. They are from Witney, in Oxfordshire. A trio of musicians playing alternative rock. They were good. They came up with some agreeably different. Having started in March 2018, they said they had a fantastic night at the Soundhouse. They put a lot of energy and commitment into their songs, which made their mark on the audience.
A local band I had seen before. We Be Beasts. I remember seeing them at The Shed in October last year and shortly before that, at Oxjam festival. I remembered the fulsome voice of their lead singer, Nick Brooker and recognised the drummer, Dan Wright. I liked the twangy guitar-lines. Plenty of punchy sounds and a relentlessly progressing beat. Lots of lovely indie sounds to keep us suitably impressed. I seem to remember them saying that they have recorded some singles, so must keep an eye out for them.
Ohana! What more can I say? That I have not already said. Oh boy! Do I like this band, or what? Yeah, mun. I love the way they throw themselves in their performance. Throwing themselves into positions as they play their guitars. They don’t hold back. They go for it.
In the background, I saw Jack Brooks pounding away on the drums like an Olympic athlete. Big, bold beats and bouncing rhythms, highlighted by the soaring vocals of Luke. A band with a passion. Powerful and full of impact. The music of Ohana.
Chambers. These musicians have so much to offer. They really know how to rock. Deeply rooted in rock, they have got it figured out. They are phenomenal. If you want to sample their music check them out on Bandcamp.
A pretty good night out, I’d say. It’s what the live music experience is all about.
Sad news came in about the death of Tony Knott. A singer and musician I knew personally and wrote about. He will be very missed.
BBC introducing at The Shed
BBC Introducing has long played an important part in discovering, then promoting, the bands and singers of Leicester. And, of course, the rest of the Midlands. It was very rewarding that, tonight, recording company HQ played host to a show featuring local artists who had been on the BBC Introducing programmes. A rich line-up of Leicester musical talent was on offer at The Shed. Some I had seen before and have known well from previous performances, such as Harri Giorgio, Curtis Clacey and Matthew R. The show was promoted by HQ Familia through Yasin El Ashrafi. Also in the house tonight, Dean Jackson, arguably one of the most important music broadcasters in the Midlands. Dean hosts The Beat programme.
Matthew R is a singer I have known for many years. An artist who loves R and B, which he brings to life with charm and passion. As far as I know, I last saw Matthew at the Cosmopolitan festival in August 2018.
Morgan Munro was from Leicester but now lives in London. Her songs, accompanied by a guitarist, were captivating and she had an astounding voice.
Mae Florence I remembered from when she was the vocalist with the legendary punk band The Docs.
Harri Giorgio is someone I have seen for many years. A singer with a lot of style and personality, his set tonight was highly entertaining.
Curtis Clacey is one Leicester singer who has enjoyed considerable success, since the early days of his career. I remember 2013 in Abbey Park when I write, ‘A massive crowd at Abbey Park hears rising boy band stars The Vamps with support acts from Leicester’s Curtis Clacey and Jonezy.’
It was an enjoyable evening of live music brought to is by talented and agreeable artists.
Saturday 20th April
Oceans Apart at the O2
with Finches of Attica and We Give In
The Scholar Bar at the Leicester O2 Academy. I am here to see bands I like and know well. And a lot of people I like and know well. Musicians and their friends. It is a fine warm evening; more like summer than spring. Finches of Attica play first. Powerful. Strongly pulsating. Great vocals. Compulsive beats. Songs with impact and bite. Exhilarating.
We Give In, with lead singer Jazz Hunt, deliver melodic and pop punk. Lashings of powerful rhythms. Immediate impact. No end of energy. Songs that rocketed along. Punchy songs. Engaging sounds. They smashed it.
Oceans Apart. Spectacular open with lights and sounds. They always were good at making an entrance. The whole set is theatrically staged. All part of the total experience; the one you get only from live music. A new five-piece rock band from Leicester.
A set of songs that speak to us. The voice of experience. The vice of Ash Ingram. Memorable. A voice that has character, all of his own. Instantly recognisable. Strong on melody, backed by beats that move the music along. A stage performance full of passion and energy. Altogether, a musical experience of considerable quality. These are musicians with music in their blood. They know what rock is all about. They have been rockin’ us for years. Musically, they have moved with the times. Not a group of artists who want to stand still. The boys in the band: Ash Ingram singer, Jordan Harrold lead guitar, Leon Harrold bass, Kyle Harrold rhythm guitar and Kyle Palmer drums.
It was good to see the lads from the old Formal Warning, still active in the music business. Ash, Kyle and Leon. Nice to see Jamie Borland on the sound and lights desk.
Tuesday 16th April
Most open-mic evenings at Rhett Barrow’s open-mic night at the soundhouse are good. Some provide exceptional artists. Tonight was one such occasion. It was a great pleasure to see a young, up-and-coming singer that I had not seen for some time.
Andrew Moran. A fine voice. Good guitar playing. He has a feature artist slot coming up at the Soundhouse, on 7th May. Not be missed. Also tonight, a much younger singer Harrison Gent, performed with the confidence and panache of an adult, professional singer. Remarkable. The act I had come to see, tonight, was Tony Alles.
In my opinion, one of the finest blues guitarists and singers in Leicester.
Read my reports from the Regent Jazz Club.
Saturday 30th March 2019
The Whiskey Rebellion at the Shed
with Seas of Mirth, Not My Good Arm, Inlak’esh and Homeless Shakespeare and others.
It was promoted as Rebel Fest.
What a good night out! Good music. Good friends. It’s what it’s all about.
In the Vault, Joe Doyle and his Homeless Shakespeareans played an assortment of tunes including some of the gyp hop for which they are noted. It was all rather wonderful.
Not My Good Arm is a band I have been following for years. Many, many years. The vocals of Tom Haywood, the trombone of Geoff Davison, the trumpet of Adam Davison, all adding up to a hugely enjoyable offering of catchy rhythms and engaging beats. Music you can dance to. Not that I did. But then…
The Whiskey Rebellion was the headline act of the evening. Absolutely lovely. Much dancing on the floor to a set of very infectious rhythms. Great tunes. Ear-pleasing songs.
Inlak’esh. Extraordinary. Charming. Compelling. They came with their own light show. Hyper-energetic metal grooves played acoustically, this group from Milton Keynes was not just unusual, they were unique.
What made it an extra special night for me was meeting so many musicians, both old and new, ones I have known for a long time and ones I am not getting to know.
Two floors of good music. Quite reasonable prices at the bar. Not much to get in. What is not to like about a night at The Shed?
Before it disappears; what’s what we said in the preview:
Leicester’s own gipsy-folk bandits The Whiskey Rebellion are back in town, hosting a night of high-octane music with a rag-tag gathering of some of the best bands on the circuit. Teaming up with the indomitable pirate sea-shanty merchants Seas Of Mirth, and the hyper-energetic acoustic metalheads Inlak’esh, this night will feature a whopping six bands spread across two jam-packed stages, making this one event you literally cannot afford to miss. Also on the bill are local favourites Homeless Shakespeare & The Pigeon Collective, Not My Good Arm, and Hatstand.
Jazz night at the Regent
26th March. I was at The Regent Jazz Club to see the band The Sunday Painters. Read my review.
I enjoy all kinds of music. A regular attendee at the Regent Jazz Club, I often write about the concerts I see there on my Jazz Page. Burt Bacharach. Duke Ellington. Richard Rodgers. So much to choose from
Content from this page is moved into an archive, from time to time, in order to prevent the page from becoming too long.
Last edited: 3/5/19