Blog

Welcome to our column about live music

This page has replaced the previous postings called Trevor’s Out and About. It will be a permanent page. You can always come back to this page for the latest reports about live music in Leicester and Leicestershire. Please bookmark it.

New items will be added at the top of the page. Older items will be taken off from the bottom upwards. These will then be placed in an archive, so that they can still be read.

All the material on this page is by Trevor Locke.


Coming soon…

3rd November

Duffy’s bar with Carlos Stein, Poetman and Greg Semple.

My report on the work of Leicester’s music education project.

A trip to The Echo Factory to find out what is happening.

30th October

Arguably one of the best concerts this year

John Coulson and Arthur Tyers of Swing-Gitan from Nottingham at Regent Jazz club, 30th October 2018.

An evening at Regent Jazz with the Gypsy jazz tunes of Swing-Gitan was sensational.

27th October

The Shed

with Earls, We Give In, Timmas and Barracuda.

Tonight’s gig was presented as a ‘Halloween Special.’ That did not interest me; I am too old for such things. The venue had been decorated with a variety of materials including spider’s webs and many of those who attended arrived in fancy dress, several of them with their faces painted, including some of the artists. It was all ritually iconographic, as is also the case with the Santas, Reindeer and decorated pine trees associated with the mid-winter festival once called ‘Christmas.’ The word ‘humbug’ comes to mind.

The duo know as Earls began the show, though tonight, they had re-named themselves as GEARLS. Anthony and George had taken to drag for their performance. Anthony wore a very short dress and George, a blond wig. This is the first time ever that I have seen a pair of fishnet tights disappear into a pair of Doc Marten’s boots. It was a metaphor that had a certain resonance, given the nature of their act. Earls began their set with their song I’m a man, in which the wig-wearing Anthony sang about masculinity in his delightfully deep voice. Appropriately enough, they later sang a song about boys in which they use the refrain ‘…the boys are orl right.’ Fabulous.

Despite the contradictory appearance, it was still the same lad’s grunge that we have come to know and love. In fact, there was a point at which I thought their performance was a little more polished than usual. Quickly hoping that it would not become too polished. That would not be becoming for Leicester’s best Skum punk band. Members of the audience formed the usual mosh pit during the songs. During the singing of We Are Skum, Anthony’s wig found its way into the audience while he remained on stage.

As I watched, some of the lyrics reminded me of what I had been writing recently about youth culture in chapter two of my novel The Trench. I won’t bore you with it now, but several passages from their lyrics were, I thought, spot on. It was all delightfully bonkers. The pair ended their set with their hymn to wanting to get drunk and wanting to get laid. Something tells me I was not the only one who absolutely loved this whole set. Whilst reading their blurb on Facebook my eye caught the phrase ‘toxic masculinity.’ Wonderful. I must use that in The Streets of London.

Barracuda at The Shed. 27th October 2018.

When the next band took to the stage, I recognised the lead singer. Jazz. He works at The Shed. I felt sure I had seen these guys before. It was certainly a busy night at the venue. What I liked about We Give In was the sound – punchy, fast, engaging, the enticing rhythms of grunge and pop punk. Songs with a fury all of their own. Jazz certain puts out strong vocals. The band plied the room with some primeval beats. No wonder the crowd gave them their enthusiastic support.

Several people suggested I should go upstairs and see Cud. Well. They got me interested. So I did. Cud. A band from Leeds. Britpop. Clearly, a band that has been around for a long time. Well, when I got back I headed for Wikipedia. Formed in 1987, they broke up and reformed. That was in 2006. Now they are playing on the main stage of the Shed. Not the first time that a band has played here that has an entry in Wikipedia. But it is significant. Well, a fair few people gathered at the venue to support the band they clearly knew and loved. They sang a song called Hey! Wire from 1990. It was a long set – about an hour and forty minutes. With their back-catalogue they were not short of songs. They had the whole crowd bouncing with their infectious rhythms and ear-licking beats. Their support band was Jack Adaptor, from London. I was downstairs at the time, so missed them.

Barracuda at The Shed. 27th October 2018.

Timmas is a Leicester band (technically a duo) that I have seen many times before. Tim Baker (vocals and guitar) and Tom Carnell (vocals and drums) always make enough volume of sound you would think they were a full band. They began tonight’s set, as always, with their own version of Feeling Good. When I saw them, earlier this month, at the DMU Music Society night at Firebug, I said their performance was ‘sensational.’ Adding, ‘Tim Baker’s voice blistered with incandescent energy.’ Once again they did it. Once again, the crowd erupted into volcanic dancing. It was a lot of fun; despite this I have to say Timmas is a serious band. Seriously good. Not just dancing but also crowd surfing too place – with an inflatable airbed. It was all about the experience – you just had to be there to get that. The band. The music. The audience. The songs bring the audience alive and the audience brings the music alive. Even from a distance, I could feel it.

Barracuda at The Shed. 27th October 2018.

The headline band. Barracuda. Having reviewed bands in Leicester for years (many, many years) I have seen quite a few young bands make it. Too many to mention at this point. I think they have been around since 2017. I certainly remember seeing them playing down here in April. They very kindly got in touch to tell me about themselves. They mentioned that they had played at the Western Park Festival in 2017.

Bryan Rhys-Crisp is the singer, songwriter and guitarist of the group. Toby Newton is the bassist. The drummer is Billy Kenney. Together they have put together a band that has attracted a sizeable following, plays at ‘sold-out’ shows and is first among equals with The Lids, Kynch, Smack Jack, Aztec Temples, Event Horizon and several other contemporary bands from Leicester that are making the scene good these days. These three young musicians are not short of talent. I could reel off a long list of local bands that were, in days gone by, as exciting as this group is. Bryan is someone worth watching – to see just how convincingly star-quality his performance can be. When I next write about the young bands of Leicester, the name Barracuda will be on the page.

All in all, a very good night at The Shed. Well worth going out for.

Barracuda at The Shed. 27th October 2018.

26th October

Countesthorpe

Trevor goes on an adventure. Well. For me going out of town is an adventure. An expedition. A journey into the back of beyond. I had been invited to a concert, in aid of a cancer charity, to hear the KGB Jazz Band. Not only one of my favourite jazz bands but also its leader singer Gemma Laken is an artist I particularly admire. Countesthorpe. Not sure if I had ever been there before. Two bus journies and a very long walk later I arrived at the ‘venue’ – a building I incorrectly thought of as an old people’s home. In fact, a sheltered housing project. Incidentially, the person who invited me was Brian Spiers. Some of the older readers might remember that he fronted a tribute band called Iz Iggy, a tribute to Iggy Pop. Very enjoyable night of excellent music.A nightmarish journey into the unknown but – in the end – well worth the effort.

23rd October

Great American songs

I had a very enjoyable night at Regent Jazz listening to the Great American Songbook concert presented by Mike Kemp and his band. Read about this on my column about Jazz in Leicester.

19th October

Oxjam report has been published.

Lead singer from Our City Fires for Oxjam 2018.
Photo by Trevor Sewell.

It might have been a long day for us; it might be a long report. But.

It is now ready for everyone to read.

12th October

Steven Faulkner

There are some artists who I would not willingly miss. One of Leicestershire’s longest running solo acts is one of them. Steve Faulkner is a singer I have known for years. Many, Many years. Tonight I went to see one of his epic performances at Parcel Yard – the bar next to the railway station.

Steve Faulkner at Parcel Yard, 12th October 2018

I was glad to see him again. His previous performances in Leicester are part of my musical archive and, I guess, of many other people as well. I discovered him long ago, singing with his band in a bar called The Half-time Orange.  That was in 2009. Since, then I have followed his career with considerable interest and enthusiasm. Tonight, Steve’s set lasted from 17:30 to 19:00. Not the longest non-stop performance I have seen him do, by any means. There are few solo artists around here who can sing continuously for two hours. Steve’s set included many memorable rock and pop songs. he even sang the one cover for which he has become justifiably famous – Billie Jean. If you hear Faulkner’s version of this one, you might never want to listen to Michael Jackson’s original ever again.

Steve Faulkner at Parcel Yard, 12th October 2018

Just to show how we do not forget performancse, here is a vintage photo, just for the record.

Steven Faulkner at Simon Says 2016.
Photo: Pascal Pereira Photography.

9th October

Firebug

DMU Music Society

The beginning of a new academic year and students are gathering to sample what our city has to offer them by way of music. Tonight there were two bands on the bill that I particularly wanted to see.

The evening began with a performance by Leicester band Groove & the Bathtub Pings. Very good. Very enjoyable. A set of popular songs that appealed to the crowded room. Lively music that set the atmosphere for the night.

Timmas

Timmas at Firebug. 9th October 2018.

On stage two musicians who were once themselves members of the DMU music society. Now, one of the city’s best rock bands. Just two of them –

They put on a sensational performance. They opened their set with their own take on a well-know cover song – Feeling Good – a song that has been covered by man notable artists but which began in 1965 with Nina Simone. The version by Timmas was volcanic. Tim Baker’s voice blistered with incandescent energy. Backed by drumming from Tom Carnell. They went on to sing their own sings as members of the audience moshed to the head-banging rhythms.

Earls followed. Anthony Lamb and George Prosser. Another duo that had made a very definite name for itself and in doing so has attracted a considerable following.

Earls at Firebug. 9th October 2018.

A performance by Earls is always thrilling. The duo recently released an EP called Skum King. Until you have heard their music, it is difficult to describe what they do. Having heard it, it is an experience you would not forget. It’s loud and in-your-face. It’s ballsy and full of attitude. Something that has made them famous in Leicester’s music circles.

Tonight was billed as the Fresher’s Welcome Party and was presented by the DMU Music Society – information about which is available on Facebook.

The full line-up was Groove & the Bathtub Pings, funk, soul, disco bangers from Leicester.

Timmas and Earls reviewed above

and Phatfoxx drum and bass, reggae, jungle and dub from Derby.

Earls at Firebug. 9th October 2018.

5th October

I went to The Shed for the live rock karaoke night. Quite a night; offering more than I was expecting. On stage a band and a microphone.  Members of the audience would volunteer to get up on stage and sing songs they had selected from the list made available by the band. Live music comes in many flavours. Some of it is for entertainment.  Tonight, a band provided the backings for singers from the audiece. The result was a lot of very well-known songs, of a variety of genres, being performed at a variety of levels of aptitude. Quite a lot of people had turned up for this. The room was pretty near full.

The first singer was Sam White. He sang a number by the Kings of Leon. He was pretty good. Many other familiar melodies followed as singer after singer got up to take the microphone. But then came, what was for me, the highlight of the show. Two of Leicester’s best singer-songwriters shared a number together – Alex Van Roose and Toby Joe Leonard. Fabulous. It could not get better than that. To cap it all, it was Elisabeth Barker-Carley’s birthday. So, she too got up and sang. Not something you would see very often.

2nd October

Jazz. Tuesday. Have you read our page on Jazz in Leicester?

If you are a fan of Jazz, there is much you you will find interesting.

28th September

University of Leicester Big Band

at The Loaded Dog

The last time I went to The Loaded Dog I really enjoyed my night out. That was on 29th May. [Music in Leicester magazine]

I was very pleased to return to the pub tonight for another round of Big Band sound. The Loaded Dog is not a venue I go to very often but it does have some memories for me. Years ago, I put on gigs there. Memorable gigs. Once inside, I got myself a pint of beer and then went outside to smoke and prepare my notebook. It’s what I always do. The pub was crowded with young people – students I assumed. Being fairly close to the University, I can see why it is so popular with the academic crowd.

University of Leicester Big band at The Loaded Dog. 28th September 2018.

I can’t tell you how much I love this band. Umm. Well, actually, I can. Going to one of the Big Band’s concerts is one of the most enjoyable experiences available on the Leicester music scene. Tonight, about twenty musicians were assembled. Plenty of brass players plus keyboard, guitars, drums and, of course, the vocalists. I noticed on the Facebook event page

As you may have heard, we’re looking for two new singers as Holly and Brennan have gone onto pastures new. BUT for one night, and one night only, they’re coming back with a couple of others for our Freshers’ Week gig! We’re hoping this will inspire some of you to get in touch about auditioning after seeing what we do and how we do it!

Then. There are the songs. Great tunes. Wonderful melodies. The solo performances are met with cheering and screaming. All these young musicians are skilled at making music. It fascinates me to see them working together and to sense the exuberance of both their music and of their fan’s response to it.

As I walked home after the concert I thought ‘I was so glad I went.’

University of Leicester Big band at The Loaded Dog. 28th September 2018.

The University of Leicester Music Association includes seven of the University’s music groups: Big Band, Orchestra, Concert Band, Chamber Choir, Voices, Chorus and Band and Gig Society.

Find out about the University of Leicester Music Association.

Find out more about the Big Band on Facebook.

21st September

The Robert J. Hunter band at the Musician

The thing about being a gig reviewer is – you have to be organised. It seems easy but, actually, it’s more difficult than you would think. I had a gig in the diary for weeks – ever since it was announced. What I failed to do was book myself into it. I left it until the last minute. The gig was sold out, so even though I went to The Cookie, I could not get into the show. My fault, entirely. You would think that, after all these years of going to gigs, I would have learnt the tricks of the trade. By Now.

The Lids were headlining with support from Baracuda. Two important bands. It would have been a good event. I have been following The Lids for a long time. I saw them at The Cookie in March last year. Tonight, the gig was sold out and there were clearly a lot of young people streaming down into the room downstairs. Two popular bands that can sell out a venue. It’s a gratifying thought that this can happen in a town where filling gigs is not always easy.

The Lids at Hand Made festival 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

I said, at the time, The Lids is one of the bands from Leicester that is rising fast and increasing in popularity. Their music is very contemporary and always compelling. They played at the Handmade festival last year.

Find out more about The Lids from the band’s website.

Barracuda – I felt sure I have seen them before. One of Leicester’s new bands that are making their mark on the city. The indie, alternative band formed in Leicester.

Barracuda at The Shed, 7th April 2018.

Barracuda told me about themselves: “Barracuda are a punk-grunge/alternative rock band that formed last July – after we finished our exams – because we were bored and had nothing to do. All of us went school together. We were all friends but we never thought about making a band in school because we would of got bullied but after our exams we decided to go for it we’ve played at the Soundhouse, the Cookie, Pi bar, 2funky music cafe and the Vault and we are playing Western Park festival in July but we look to play a lot of other shows in the upcoming years.” [Music in Leicester, 2018]

See Barracuda at the Vault on 27th October. Get in the Shed. Details on Facebook.

So, I went to The Musician. Not been there in a long while. On the bill tonight, three good bands. From Leicester, Chambers. A band I have written about before. I saw Chambers earlier this year. Previous experiences of their performances had convinced me they were excellent.

Leicester Band Chambers at The Soundhouse. 14th April 2018.

At the musician, tonight, their set was described as “brilliant.” It certainly was. The event at The Musician this evening, was put on by Casbah Music Management. Carol certainly knows her bands and it was good to see the venue full of people enjoying live music.

The Jupiter Blues gave us a a lively and punchy set of songs. These four musicians have attracted favourable comments from other reviewers. I can add to that. A very ear-pleasing cocktail of blues, Southern rock, and soul, mixed by Dale Orenda’s sizzling vocals and the three top-class musicians of the band. Plenty of scintillating guitar solos to move things along. This is a band that crackled with musical energy. They played a really stomping set.

I enjoy going to The Musician. It is a venue that looks loved. Its walls lined with photos of acts that have played there and they always have a range of tasty real ales.

I felt sure I had seen the Robert J. Hunter band before. What they provided tonight was a performance that was nothing short of sensational. A set of songs styled ‘dirty blues’ heavily laced with rock rhythms, it was somewhere along the borderlands between jazz rock and metal.

Robert J. Hunter band at The Musician, 21st September 2018.

What a great group of musicians! Their songs were full of presence. They really rocked out on the stage. It surely was a memorable performance.

Robert J. Hunter band at The Musician, 21st September 2018.

18th September

Jazz concert

I report on a concert of jazz given by Leicester band The KGB, with photos by Kevin Gaughan.

Gemma Lakin. The KGB jazz band in concert. Photos by Kevin Gaughan. 18th September 2018.

15th September

Glastonbudget auditions at the Soundhouse with

Rise of the Tomahawk, Kynch, Fat Lip and Blink2.

A large crowd gathered at The Soundhouse, tonight, for another of the auditions for the Glastonbudget music festival in 2019.

Rise of the Tomahawk started the show. A five-piece band that played rock and roll tunes. Well-known cover songs. The audience gathered in front of the stage to support the band. It went down well with the fans that had come to see their favourite group.

Kynch at The Soundhouse. 15th September 2018.

The band I had come to see tonight was Kynch. What I love about this band is their boundless energy. (I wish I had a set of jump leads.) Their unbridled enthusiasm. This is a band with Jack – their star-quality singer and guitarist. And two Wills. Their music is a like a volcano. Erupting into the room with fire and force. Kynch are from Nottingham. But for me. They are an honorary Leicester band. I rate them very highly.

See this video interview, I made of Kynch when they were at The Shed in October 2017.

Watch this video, by Kevin Gaughan, of another of Kynch’s performances at the Soundhouse. In April 2018.

Read about when Kynch played support to the Virgin Marys.

Kynch at The Soundhouse. 15th September 2018.

Fat Lip. ‘A tribute to pop punk.’ ‘Playing the best anthems from Green Day, Blink 182, The Offspring, Sum 41, Bowling for Soup.’ That says it all. Very enjoyable. Very entertaining. Songs we all knew and love. From the golden age of rock pop. Or was it pop rock? Dance songs that got the audience bouncing. Back in the day when … those tunes were in the top ten. And they played Wheatus. ‘Oh how she rocks/In Keds and tube socks.’ Well, not even I can remember those. And also, ‘The Boys of Summer.’ One of my favourites at the time. ‘Nobody on the road/Nobody on the beach/I feel it in the air/The summer’s out of reach’

The finale of the evening was given by Blink-2. A Blink 182 tribute band from Colchester. I would have loved to have stayed and listened to their entire set. Sadly. Not possible. I had to rush for the last bus. Maybe I might see them at next year’s Glastonbudget Festival.

7th September

The Shed

with Brandon Neal, Not My Good Arm, 94 Gunships and Homeless Shakespeare.

Well. August. What good month that was. For music. Let’s hope September offers half as much, to beat it! The month started, for me, well enough. A night at The Shed. With some incredibly good bands and artists.

So. Tonight. I am downstairs. In the Vault. Having a good time. Writing stuff in my little notebook. As I do. Call me old-fashioned. But I can’t write notes with my thumbs. How they do it, I don’t know. Youths with mobile phones. Typing with their thumbs. Not a skill I ever learned. Give me a pen and a piece of paper, any day.

The evening started well enough. Brandon Neal took to the stage. What a performer! He is unique. Often very funny. Extraordinary lyrics to his songs. He’s so full of energy. At one point, he was lying on the floor. Still singing and playing his guitar. He certainly knows how to work an audience. Very unusual. Very idiosyncratic. Highly entertaining.

Brandon Neal at Phantomfest, Loughborough, August 2016.

During the interval, Will Horspool, a.k.a. Poetman, went round the audience doing magic tricks with people. From what I could see, he was as good at that as he is when he is on stage singing and telling jokes. Nice touch that. Magic at a rock gig. Always have liked that, me.

Not My Good Arm. The first band of the evening. Been seeing quite a bit of them lately. Ah! Look! There is James Robinson on bass. I remember him from the good old days. He’s played in a few bands, over the years. There are the Davisons. Dad is on the trombone. Adam is playing the trumpet. I love bands that have brass. There is the lead singer. Tom Haywood. What great songs! What amazingly good tunes! What a spell-binding performance. From all of them. Scroll down to read more frenzied fan love.

Not My Good Arm at the Simon Says Festival in July 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

The next band I saw once before when they played at the Vault. 94 Gunships. A group from Nottingham, they presented a set loaded with good sounds. A fusion of blues, indie, pop and rock that worked extremely well. Hugely good rhythms. I saw them, here, at the start of this year. I warmed to their funky beats and tunes that were propelled by energy and craft. Their lead singer has plenty of style and presence.

The evening concluded with one of Leicester’s most remarkable singers and his band. I have known Joe Doyle for years. Many, Many years. I read up on the set. On Facebook it said, ‘Homeless Shakespeare and The Pigeon Theatre launch their first release as a band! Caravan O’Funk will feature the idiosyncratic Gyp-Hop sounds performed by Homeless Shakespeare & The Pigeon Theatre. The live DIY album will be available on CD and digital streaming/download. Expect nonsense, sense, a lack of sense, sensuality, tingling senses, sensibility and sensibilia. Get on your dancing shoes and prepare your insides for inordinate alcohol intake.’

Doyle, as I call him, gave an amazing performance. A really ear-grabbing set of songs. Adam Davison reappeared with his trumpet. Lon Fisher was on the drum kit. Tom Carnell was on guitar. Or was it the other way round? To be honest, by that time, I had drunk too many Desperados to really know. Any way. I really liked what I heard. Joe’s performance put the whole thing in place. Strains of jazz, blues and gypsy rock laced with ragtime. You can’t get better than that. Splendid!

31st August

Midnight Wire

I went to the Soundhouse to see Leicester band Midnight Wire. This is a band I have followed since they started. That was back in 2011.  I saw them at The Cookie in June 2015. Lead singer Alex Van Roose used to be in a band called The Heroes – one of the very few bands from Leicester to have performed at the Glastonbury festival. Midnight Wire’s songs were lively, dancey, memorable tunes full of indie-pop vibrancy.

Midnight Wire at the Soundhouse, 31st August 2018.

They played one or two of their old numbers from the band’s extensive back-catalogue. On stage, Alex was his usual effervescent self; many people commented what a great front-man he is. Alex’s bubbly personality makes him hugely popular with the audience. He is one of Leicester’s most successful and celebrated song-writers. Midnight Wire has a new album due out soon; tonight they played one or two tracks from it.

Alex Van Roose of Midnight Wire, Soundhouse, 31st August 2018.

This is a band that would not sound out of a place in a large arena. A really good set; a band I will want to see again.

Callum and Alex of Midnight Wire, Soundhouse, 31st August 2018.

Other bands I saw tonight were We Are Beasts, from Leicester, and Ninth Wave, from Glasgow.

28th August

My birthday bash at The Shed

with Smack Jack and the Many Grams and Not My Good Arm

What a great night! Two bands played. Only two. But, two of the best. I chose strongly contrasting styles of music. I wanted that to signify something about the music of Leicester. Smack Jack and the Many Grams. A new band but one that is making waves on the local scene. And attracting an enthusiastic following. Me included. Songs that are laden with energy and vitality. Grungy Post-hardcore. Drastically different. Raw. psychedelic.  I saw them at Glastonbudget, back in May. Good music. Catchy song-writing. This is a band that just gets better and better. Josh St Clair. Star quality. Sizzling vocals. Everyone said how good they were. I was so glad they came. As I said on the night, “This band will go a long way.”

Smack Jack and the Many Grams, at The Shed, 28th August 2018. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Smack Jack and the Many Grams, Josh St Claire, at The Shed, 28th August 2018. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

But, if that were not enough, they were followed by Not My Good Arm. A band I had been following for years. A band that has already come a long way.  Musicians I have known for many years. Tom Haywood. Lead singer. Flanked by Geoff Davison on the trombone and Adam Davison on the trumpet. Nu Soul Grunge. “…full-throttle genre-defying, movin-and-a-groovin.” It was an exhilarating set.  Tracks delivered with passion and energy. A big sound; thumping, exultant, glorious. Few other bands do that to me. They absolutely smashed it. They gave us kick ass music. What an end to the night!

Not My Good Arm at The Shed, 28th August 2018. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Geoff Davison, Not My Good Arm, at The Shed, 28th August 2018. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Adam Davison, Tom Haywood and Geoff Davison, Not My Good Arm, at The Shed, 28th August 2018. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Not quite an end; I continued with my DJ set and managed to get in one of my all-time favourite dance tracks – Heaven by DJ Sammy. Surprisingly, some of the young members of the audience knew the words and sang along. Gone. But not forgotten. Earlier in the evening I played some of the songs that had moved from over the years. All of them by local bands and artists. From 2007 right up to the present days.  I played songs by Autohype, Capture the Flag, Jonezy, Kenworthy,  The Chairmen, The Heroes, Razmataz, Strike Up The Colours, Weekend Schemers. My way of celebrating the sounds of Leicester over the past decade.

Adam Davison, Tom Haywood and Joe Doyle, at The Shed, 28th August 2018. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Watch these videos of the bands playing at this show – taken by Kevin Gaughan. Smack Jack and the Many Grams. and Not My Good Arm.

26th August

Loughborough – the annual pilgrimage to Phantomfest

A wet day did not deter the fans. Or even me. Many good bands and artists. The lineup included several bands from Loughborough – Easy Target, Next Year, Head in the Sky, Aztec Temples from Leicester, singer Chris Quinn and other acts, some of which I missed.

Chris Quinn at PhantomFest, Loughborough, 26th August 2018.

It was a good day out. always nice to get out of town.

Next Year at PhantomFest, Loughborough, 26th August 2018.

Get a sense of what’s happening elsewhere.

Head in the Sky, at PhantomFest, Loughborough, 26th August 2018.

I have been going to The Phantom, over in Loughborough, for many years.

Aztec Temples at PhantomFest, Loughborough, 26th August 2018.

Nice to see them; to see Aztec Temples – nice.

Aztec Temples at PhantomFest, Loughborough, 26th August 2018.

I did not get over to The Beacon to see Jonezy and his show; rain. But he said it had gone well.

18th August

Leicester – Cosmopolitan Carnival

I was there. I wrote about it.

and maybe a few notes about important stuff!

18th August

Trip down memory lane

How many bands do you remember from October 2013?

See our page from back then to jog your memory.

17th August

Ohana, Event Horizon, Smack Jack

When I saw the line-up for Duffy’s Bar tonight I immediately clicked “going.” Must see bands and a venue I like going to; what more can you ask for?

Ohana at Duffys Bar 17th August 2018

I have seen a lot of Ohana lately. But then they are one of my favourite bands. They were fantastic. As always. There was a good crowd of people in the room tonight and they got involved in the music. All the way through. It always help if the audience is good. Ohana’s performance was as impressive, just as it was last time. Lead singer Luke Smith – what an all-round star frontman. Ohana got the show off to a good start.

Event Horizon at Duffys Bar 17th August 2018

Then the second band took to the stage. Not the one that had been advertised but a last-minute replacement. Which confused me. Event Horizon is a Leicester band I had seen before. I saw them in April when they played at the Shed. Hardcore. Exhilarating. Energetic. That’s what I thought. Kashif Hussain saw them here when they played as part of the Metal to the Masses. He said “Their set was launched by a long but seriously impressive drum solo that already wowed the packed crowd, before leading into a groovy bass line that started the song proper.” He added “A highlight of their set was the slower, more relaxed track Breathe…” Which I think they also sang tonight. Martin Baker went to see them in April. He commented “For such a young band to be giving off the energy and sheer power they were amazing to watch! After a great intro to their set we got some great songs and Philosophical Paradox was a great change of pace that for me was a favourite, more of that please! I feel like this band has got so much to give and with a good deal of polishing in their act they could be absolutely brilliant no doubt about it.” I agree with that. Me. I thought they were seriously good. A volcanic performance. A performance from the lead singer that crackled with energy. Excellent.

Smack Jack and the Many Grams at Duffys Bar 17th August 2018

The night was headlined by Smack Jack & The Many Grams. I have come to admire their offering of memorable music. This is an outstanding band. They brought together a rich tapestry of riffs and rhythms. They mixed an intoxicating cocktail of musical ideas. That is why they are attracting a strong following of fans that appreciate what they do. To me, they were different. Inventive. Charismatic. I look forward to seeing them again at The Shed – on 28th August – when they will be playing at my birthday bash.

All in all, a really good night out. So glad I went. Too easy to stay at home and not be bothered to go and support the local bands. And it was free! So I had an extra fiver to spend on beer. Can’t complain about that.

10th August

at the Soundhouse with Day of the Moon, Ohana, Kynch and Mellor.

Much relieved that the heat wave now seems to be over, I spent a very pleasant night at The Soundhouse with bands I had seen before.

Some of these bands I have been following for a long time. Some of the musicians look quite a bit older now, than when I first saw them.

Day of the Moon is a band that has featured quite a few times before in this magazine. Six of them on stage. Sounds that blended well together. They do play good tunes, I noted in my book. Sounds that are dynamic, punchy, upbeat; they got the show on the road. They played a new song Take a Stand, which cantered along at a brisk pace dropping engaging beats and romping rhythms. They have a new EP coming out called Nightfall. This indie/alt rock bands is from Leicester. Our line-up is made up frontman Tom Davis, Young Drummer of The Year 2018 award finalist Mark Zanker, bassist Charles Carter, keyboardist Harry Gilmour and guitarist duo Ben Pullen and Dan Youngs. High school friends.

Another chance to see Ohana. But then, I am a fan. There is just so much about this band that is good.

Luke Smith of Ohana, 10th August 2018

With their lead singer Luke Smith, they benefit from star quality. A presence that is scintillating. Backed by a guitarists and drums that makes the whole set sizzle. One of the bands to come out of Leicester recently, they show considerable promise. They played their song 17. Loads of zing; an ear-licking melody. Their string-work always gets me; they really know how to make a guitar sing. Lashing of musical ability. They might still be slightly rough round the edges; even so, every time I see them I am blown away. Pulsing, relentless energy and total passion. These guys really know their music; you can hear their knowledge in the songs. Their set tonight was a tour de force.

Luke Smith of Ohana, 10th August 2018

If I still did Band Of The Month (liked I used to) They would certainly be it.

If you like Ohana as much as I do, listen to their tracks.

Kynch is another band I have been following almost from the start. My, they all look so grown up now.

Kynch at The shed in September 2015

Still playing Clubfoot; but then, it’s my favourite Kasabian song. I have always enjoyed their performances. For me, they are a stand-out band. This is band that knows how to rock; ah yeah – they’ve got it.

Kynch’s Jack at The Soundhouse, 10th August 2018

I saw Mellor before, when they were in Leicester.

Mellor, The Soundhouse, 30th January 2016

I wrote about them in January 2016 –  From Reading, Mellor was not a band I had seen before but they made an immediate impact with their songs, dubbed ‘Pop Smack.’ Lead singer (Gary?) gave a good performance and the music was ear-smackingly attractive. Another band I would not hesitate to see again. (Music in Leicester magazine, 30th January 2016.)

Taught, sharp, infectious, their songs bounced along with verve and vitality.

Listen to Mellor on Soundcloud.

My own photos tonight. Failed to get a photographer; I know that sounds like a hint to all your people out there who have proper cameras. Photos on this magazine are seen by many people. Hint.

4th August

What do I do, you might ask, when I am not reviewing gigs? Simple. I go to gigs. I did tonight, just to drink beer and have fun. The show was being worked on my Kevin and Lydia.  I like to attend the auditions for the Glastonbudget festival.  Gives me an idea of who to watch out for at the next festival.

See the post about tonight’s show. Watch the videos; see the pictures.

It was a jolly good evening. Gigs often are opportunities for discovery; tonight’s was singer Liam Iliffe. This Leicester lad is likely to go far.  he was good; exceptionally good.

31st July

Poetry and song

Tuesday. No Jazz at the club this month so an ideal opportunity for me to visit The Soundhouse open-mic night. It was an opportunity to see Poetman, a.k.a. Will Horspool, doing his feature slot. Rhett Barrow reminded me not to miss his single launch at The Donkey on 31st August. Poetman. One of Leicester’s unique acts. Crazy. Funny. Such a mess. Ah! But was it an intentional mess?  Or one that was precisely crafted to appear so? Much discussion about this in the smoking area, afterwards.

17th July

Jazz at the Regent

I was at The Regent Jazz Club, as usual.  This time to see Mike Sole. Tonight he was playing with a band. Also at the concert tonight, one of the Leicester’s greatest jazz singers – Carol Leeming. Sadly, not on the stage. Carol reminded me about the Cosmopolitan festival coming up on 18th August. I am looking forward to that.

Calvin Jeffrey on the Humberstone Gate stage at Cosmopolitan Carnival 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan

11th July 2018

Live Jazz – new page

The Regent Jazz club concert. 15th May 2018.

A permanent homepage for all that jazz stuff that we are supposed to be doing but that gets lost in the labyrinth of articles. A page that readers can always go to to find jazz-related content. Up now.

Friday 6th July

Mike Sole

at Attenborough Arts

Tonight’s show was presented by Parkin and Dean. Mike Sole is a virtuoso pianist, singer and musician. Mike was playing on a Bösendorfer piano.

Mile Sole, Attenborough Arts, 6th July 2018

On the drums was David Bryant. I remember Mike Sole when he played in one of my favourite bands – The Gadjos. They were exponents of Gypsy Jazz. Arthur Tyers also made appearances tonight, as part of the trio. He played the guitar. One of their numbers was by Django Reinhardt, the Romani jazz guitarist. What enthrals and amazes about Sole is the sheer scope and breadth of his musical talent. Music of this quality often calls for a trip to Birmingham or London and high ticket prices. Leicester can offer top-quality music for much less.

David Parkin, Attenborough Arts, 6th July 2018

David Parkin also did a couple of slots. I remember him for his highly amusing comedic musical performances, long ago. He appears in 2012 at the Musician for an event called Broken Mic night. David Parkin’s act was unique. His main song was about playing scrabble with his mother and the spoken lyrics create a strong mood about his experience of mental health issues – it’s a sardonic song about clinical depression. Sole’s musical offerings ranged across many styles of music including jazz, blues and rock. Each piece was stunning for its music skill and quality of interpretation. Tyer’s guitar work was brilliant. Songs from the set list included ‘It Had to be You‘, ‘I can’t Give You Anything But Love,’ ‘All the things you are,’ and many more. Between the songs, much light-hearted banter. What a fantastic evening. A rare treat. Enchanting. Exhilarating.

Mike Sole trio, Attenborough Arts, 6th July 2018

4th July 2018

Here we go

I decided to publish the new blog page. This one. Continuing problems with staffing, backlogs getting worse.  There are many reasons why things had ground to a halt. So, there’s a phrase we use – published and be damned.

Tuesday 3rd July 2018

Jazz at the Regent Club

The audience at the Regent Jazz club was entertained with a varied selection of tunes, tonight. The show we enjoyed tonight was given the rubric Summer Celebration. Tunes included those from films such as Pink Panther, The Ipcress File alongside songs by Gershwin and Irving Berlin, among others.

The Regent Jazz club concert. 15th May 2018.

The bands tonight were Jamms, Cool Jazz Quartet, Andy Kirkland group, Not So Big band, Regenerates and Afro City Swingsters (South African jazz music.) A large gathering. A game from the World Cup was also being broadcast in the bar area.

Tuesday 29th June

A night at the Soundhouse

with Scribble Victory, Kinkaid, Undercover and The Albion.

I fancied a night out. It had been a long hot day. The prospect of cold cider beckoned. Where better to enjoy a night of rock than the Soundhouse.

Two men took to the stage. No idea who they were. Never heard of them. I sat, I listened. The more I listen, the more it liked what they were doing. But the end of their set, I was hooked. This was a group from Bedfordshire called Kinkaid. One man did the singing; the other played guitar and operated a laptop, on which he operated some kind of looping system. What they came up with was different. Not a bad thing – different. In style the music was pop. Chilled. Melodic. Very likeable. To me, it had a bit of seventies vibe.

Kinkaid at the Soundhouse on 29th June 2018

It certainly had plenty of atmosphere. Were they playing covers or their own original tracks? I asked myself. Probably original songs, I concluded. Well the songs were undoubtedly original in the way they performed and delivered them. The music had a passionate resonance that was appealing. Other people also thought it was good stuff. The guitar parts were remarkably inventive. Smashing.

The first full band of the night was a new one. This might have been their first gig. A group of boys who went by the name of Undercover. They began with a song by the Arctic Monkeys. You know the one – all young bands starting up have a go at it. Something about a dance floor.

Undercover at the Soundhouse on 29th June 2018

What they might have lacked in technical brilliance, they easily made up for with their youthful ebullience. They had selected a pretty good set of songs for us to enjoy. That shows they have musical aptitude. All in all, an enjoyable set that went down well with the audience. Good luck to them; I hope we will see them again soon.

The last time I saw The Albion was at the Foxton Locks festival. I saw them, but only from a distance. Standing too far away from the man stage, it was impossible to see the faces. The music was easier to appreciate. This is a band I have liked for a very long time.

The Albion at the Soundhouse on 29th June 2018

Over that time they have gained considerable experience. The attention-grabbing songs that they played well-known. That was in addition to their own original songs. Lead singer Bryn Williams gave yet another solidly good performance. A star if ever there was one.

Seeing a performance by Scribble Victory is always one of the highlights of one’s musical experience. There are but two musicians but together they deliver more than most groups of four or more. They both sing. Two beautifully harmonised voices.

Scribble Victory at the Soundhouse on 29th June 2018

The Derby duo has a real zeal on stage that makes they stand out as one of the remarkable bands of the region. Consummate musicianship combined with spine-tingling excitement. What more can you ask for?

A night at the Soundhouse. One of the great pleasures of the local music scene.

16th June

Foxton Locks

I have been to the Foxton Locks festival many times before. Many, many times. But not recently. So, the opportunity to attend, this year, was something that I could not refuse. Part of my pilgrimage to the rural tourist attraction, was to support my friend Jonezy.

Jonezy on stage at the Foxton Locks festival. 16th June 2018.

He performed on a small stage but his performance was anything but small. Even though he has been in the business for several years now, Jonezy continues to bring out new songs. Today he treated his appreciative audience to a new one.

Jonezy performing at the Foxton Locks Festival, 16th June 2018.

On the main stage I remember seeing The Albion. A band I have reviewed before. One that I look forward to reviewing again.

12th June

Jazz at the Regent

Now that I have acquired a taste for Jazz, the Regent Club, in Regent Road, is my destination of choice on a Tuesday night. Tonight a programme billed as ‘Modern Jazz.’

The Regent Jazz club concert. 15th May 2018.

Many instruments were seen in the performance area – different types of saxophones, keyboard, trumpet, double bass, guitar, drums… that appeals to me. And no shortage of musicians to play or sing.

11th June

The Shed

Tonight I have come to see Rhett Barrow. He was doing the feature slot on the regular Drinks and Jams series of shows. In the upstairs bar. Most of what we heard was his own music. Memorable tunes we have grown to admire over the years. Rhett is an artist of extraordinary accomplishment.

Rhett Barrow at The Shed, 11th June 2018. Photography by Trevor Sewell.

Rhett’s slot was featured by singer Guinevere Newton. From London, I think. Not seen her before. But her powerful voice was spell-binding. She gave us a set of captivating songs. Delightful.

Guinevere Newton at The Shed, 11th June 2018.

Another performer I heard tonight was Jack.

Jack Thorpe at The Shed. 11th June 2018.

8th June

University of Leicester Big Band

at The Shed

when it comes to bands I like them big. And they don’t get much bigger than this. Both in size and in musicality. The University of Leicester Big Band is a must see music extravaganza, as far as I am concerned.

University of Leicester Big Band at The Loaded Dog. 29th May 2018.

I heard that the band is to perform two, forty-five minute slots. It was not that long that I went to see them at The Loaded Dog. Can’t get enough of them, me. The room was crowded with young people; mostly students, one would assume. This is a band that has a loyal and dependable following. The other thing I like is that the musicians dress up for the occasion. Crisp white shirts are the order of the day. They played songs that I recognised. Music that I loved. It was an evening of good sounds delivered with top-class skills. That’s what I like.

University of Leicester Big Band at The Loaded Dog. 29th May 2018.

This blog page was started in early June 2018


See also:

Live music reports for the month of May 2018.