December 2015

Before The Crash at The Shed

Music in December 2015

Our round-up of the live music events attended by our team of reporters and photographers during the month of December.

If a piece is not attributed to a named reporter, then it was written by the editor.

Including gigs that we went to and  some mentions of other events.

Dates are entered in descending order;  the latest dates come first. Meanwhile

Read about White Noise Festival

New Years Eve always offers a lot of options and one on our must not miss list will be the night of Hardcore, Pop Punk and Metal at The Shed with music from Cult47, Alpha State, Dead Question, Dr Watson and Over The Influence. Many more NYE events to choose from in Leicester.

See all gigs at all venues on our gigs page (edited by Keith Jobey)

If want to catch up, see our report on November

December has been another amazingly good month for music in Leicester;  what a fantastic city we have for bands, singers and music artists of all kinds.

Tuesday 29th December

Published review of the year – our pick of the best gigs of 2015 mentioning the bands aned singer that defined it as a year of quality live music.

Sunday 27th December

JM Music’s night at The Shed with Ash Sherlock, The Lids and Aztec Temples.  A well-attended show saw marvellous singing from Manchester’s Ash Sherlock, a superb performance from Leicester band The Lids and a brilliant set from Aztec Temples. The last gig of the year for me and it ended on a high note.

Wednesday 23rd December

Stating The Obvious band brought their friends together for a great night of music at The Shed, with Her Burden, The World Can Wait and Flight15.  Altogether an outstanding night of musical talent. Stating The Obvious attracted a goodly gathering of fans to its night at The Shed and the atmosphere was enhanced by the lighting provided by Jamie Borland; STO is a band I like and they make good music. Music you can enjoy, music that is appealing, ear-pleasing and vibrant.  They might be young but they sure know how to rock.  The Shed not only survives – it goes from strength to strength.  STO ended their set with their song Monsters and as soon as they started to play the whole room started to clap in time with the music. Her Burden were, I was told, playing their first gig tonight. They sounded more like a band that had been going for years. Her Burden consists of: Joshua Jones – Lead vocals, Electric guitar, Luke Spencer – Electric guitar, Mathew White – Bass Guitar and Mathew Newton – Drums. They could not be that good on a first gig. I liked Joshua Jones, he reminded me of the lead singer of Green Day. Quite a stage presence. This band gave us rock that was full of emotion, energy and magnetism. The World Can Wait is one of my favourite bands. I think I was at their first gig; or at least at one of their very first performances. I have followed them ever since. They have grown, developed and got better and better all the time I have known them. The lead singer Sulley Archer is a legend; it’s easdy to say that I know but I think he has star quality. It is something special you cannot easily put your finger on but it is clear when you see it. This band has risen up the ladder of success this year, starting out where Saracuse started out, in the powerhouse of new talent where so many of the most legendary bands of Leicester have played. Another band about which I could say much the same sort of thing is Flight15. They are just phenomenal; one of the most impressive bands in the city right now and many have said much the same sort of thing to me. This band has put on some sensational performances this year and tonight capped off their work in 2015 in a way that was simple magnificent. A band taht has shifted ground musically but one that is always razor sharp and tenaciously tight and never anything less than totally thrilling. They have a star drummer. Tonight has been a gathering of musical mates and one I am so glad I did not miss.

Sunday 20th December

Winter Footprints Fundraiser Event at The Queen Of Bradgate

by Keith Jobey

Organised by Silver Vine Arts this charity fundraiser was held in the empty rooms up above the Queen Of Bradgate pub on the High Street. Music was organised on Saturday by Myoptik and on Sunday by Magic Teapot. There were art installations and crafts for sale.

Find out more about Silver Vine Arts

So that being said, I went along on the Sunday to listen to the music on offer. In a week that saw the battle between good and evil return to the big screen and while the consumerism wars raged along the High Street outside, it was good to see Kevin Hewick take up arms (his guitar) and fight for what is right.

Kevin Hewick at the Queen Of Bradgate, Photo: Keith Jobey
Kevin Hewick at the Queen Of Bradgate,
Photo: Keith Jobey

Sounding great, as his voice resonated about the stark, bleak room. I particularly enjoyed Our Friends The Rats, an ode to the bankers, that Kevin described as being so apocalyptically bleak that even the Corbynisters cried when he played it at a labour party event.

Peter Ingram at the Queen Of Bradgate. Photo: Keith Jobey
Peter Ingram at the Queen Of Bradgate.
Photo: Keith Jobey

Having just watched Peter Ingram the night before with his band Echolocation, I was looking forward to seeing his spoken word performance, as I’d never seen him in this role before. It was a mix of live voice and pre-recorded voice, occasionally running alongside. Antwerpen, a tale of Echolocations recent trip to Belgium,  was a memorable moment. Ending with Drone Day, one of his bands songs, stripped down to Peter’s voice and a wailing drone delivered via his phone.

Weikie at the Queen Of Bradgate. Photo: Keith Jobey
Weikie at the Queen Of Bradgate.
Photo: Keith Jobey

It’s been a while since I’ve caught a set from the uber talented Adam Weikert aka Weikie. Not only talented but humorous too, swapping guitar to banjo ‘for the ladies’, and telling us Letters From The Front Line could have been called Shut up Adam since that’s what his mum kept telling him to do when he was composing it. But seriously, he put on a great performance, finishing with Raise Our Sunken Ship from his debut album.

Luke Broughton at the Queen Of Bradgate. Photo: Keith Jobey
Luke Broughton at the Queen Of Bradgate.
Photo: Keith Jobey

The only act on the bill today who’d I’d never seen previously was Luke Broughton. And wow, what a voice he has. Delicate, haunting, lo-fi folk and one of the best covers of Running Up That Hill that I’ve ever heard. I’ll not be disappointed if his name is on the bill again.

Ash Mammal at the Queen Of Bradgate. Photo: Keith Jobey
Ash Mammal at the Queen Of Bradgate.
Photo: Keith Jobey

Showing their bones in a skeleton show and closing the afternoon were Ash Mammal. Yes, the normally noisy, high kicks younglings were going to sit down and play an acoustic set. Could they do it? Could they stay seated? Could they not fight or fall onto drum kits? The answer was yes. A very well behaved quartet played an exquisite set, even taking the opportunity to test out a couple of new songs. A bit different from your normal Ash Mammal show, allowing the well crafted songs to shine without the distractions of the stage theatrics.

So congratulations to Leila Houston of Silver Vine Arts for putting together such an interesting event, and to the consistently excellent Mr Ian Magic Teapot for gathering such a superb selection of acoustic performers together on the panic shopping weekend before Christmas.

Saturday 19th December

Trevor Locke reports from The Donkey and Keith Jobey reports from The Cookie (see below).

The Brandy Thieves at The Donkey

The Brandy Thieves at the Donkey. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.
The Brandy Thieves at the Donkey.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

We were at The Donkey for the Christmas party with The Brandy Thieves, Last Edition, The Jav’lins and Silvia de Sousa.

Read this now.

Echolocation The Cookie

by Keith Jobey

I first saw Echolocation in March 2013,  supporting Public Service Broadcasting at the Musician. ‘We are Echolocation, and we hate you’ I recall being informed by Peter and his megaphone. I also recall thinking ‘what the hell was that?’

Echolocation at the Cookie. Photo: Keith Jobey
Echolocation at the Cookie.
Photo: Keith Jobey

Not in a bad way, not in a way that I must avoid them as best I can. It was in a way that meant I had to go away and let it all slowly sink in and form into what I now feel about them, which is admiration. They may regard themselves as the most unpopular band in Leicester but they’ve got a decent fan base in the city and further afield.

So if this is a 10th Birthday, how were Echolocation born? What happened on that day in December 2005? And how and why are they still around today? Well, the date itself is a bit fuzzy. It’s about right. There was never a first day they all met. They sort of evolved from a scene that they were involved in. There was Bocca, featuring Andy, Alan and Dan, who were moderately successful, touring the UK. Harvey then kind of got involved with them. There was also Chomsky, Bi-Curious and Scud-U-Like. Out of this melting pot of bands, Echolocation came about, moulding together to form the seven-piece eclectic outfit we see tonight. There is also on occasion, probably when stage size permits, additional brass provided by father and son Brassick Bear duo, Geoff and Adam Davison. As to why are they still around today, well I guess they just enjoy what they do. Either that or they can’t be bothered to call it a day.

Dead High Wire at the Cookie. Photo: Keith Jobey
Dead High Wire at the Cookie.
Photo: Keith Jobey

First up, and illuminated by the trippy Lumiere Ogbanje light show, are the aforementioned Davison’s flanking Not My Good Arm. Lively, energetic, infectious, brassed up rock. A solid rock combo as good as many I’ve heard. This is how I imagine the pub rock scene must have sounded back in the 70s.

Special guests for the night were Dead High Wire, all the way from Antwerp, Belgium. It was kind of an exchange visit since Echolocation have recently been over to Belgium to play with them. Which was fortunate for us as tonight was a treat. Very post punk at times, guitars sounding like Keith Levene’s distinctive style. At other times more rock, but always engrossing and entertaining. And the band and their travelling supporters had a great night too, enjoying the welcome and the surroundings.

Then it was time for the birthday band. Sadly lacking cellist Sam who was too ill to make it. It was a warm night, despite being mid December, and the movement of the decent size crowd soon got the sweatbox Cookie basement up to temperature. Peter’s spoken word delivery is underpinned with some brilliant music, ‘Softer’ and ‘Don’t Walk On The Grass (Kasabian Are Playing There)’ really coming across well tonight. I had to run for the last bus at the end of the set, missing the deserved encore, but hey, I’ll see them again… and again… and again, hopefully.

Echolocation are: Peter Ingram (vocals), Harvey Sharman-Dunn (guitars), Andy Askey (bass), Sam Sharman-Dunn (cello), Alan Tang (keys), Dan Hessing (drums) and Paul Hing (Flugelhorn and other brass).

Not My Good Arm at the Cookie. Photo: Keith Jobey
Not My Good Arm at the Cookie.
Photo: Keith Jobey

Friday 18th December

Matt Henshaw at the O2

Matt Henshaw and band at the O2
Matt Henshaw and band at the O2

We were at Leicester O2 Academy to see Matt Henshaw, Abandon Her, Once Vagrant Souls and Toby Leonard.

See our feature article on Matt Henshaw and the Love, Peace and Tea band.

Thursday 17th December


Trilogy at Duffy's Bar, December 2015
Trilogy at Duffy’s Bar, December 2015

I was very lucky to be at Duffy’s Bar to see a performance by blues/jazz trio Trilogy.

Saturday 12th December

The Firebug for the Resin Events Christmas party.

Resin at The Firebug Photo: Kevin Gaughan
Resin at The Firebug
Photo: Kevin Gaughan

We joined Resin and supporting bands for their party at The Firebug.

See all of Kevin Gaughan’s photos from the Firebug show.

In the meantime, read about Resin’s Christmas party in 2013.

Resin at Firebug
Resin at Firebug

Friday 11th December

I went to see Alligatr and The Fores.

If it’s Friday it must be Glastonbudget. I went to see Alligatr, a band I really like, and The Fores. It is always good to see a band playing to a room that is full of people. Sadly, this is not something that always happens here in Leicester. Other towns are no different. So, as Alligatr began their set, there was no shortage of people to enjoy the happy, tuneful sounds that were coming off the stage. The great thing about this band is that they have a good set of songs and a very satisfactory lead singer in the shape of Jack Birtwistle.  Alligatr formed in 2013. The band is from Leicester and calls its genre ‘indie.’ On Facebook their influences are Tom Milsom, Frank Turner, MGMT and Tame Impala.  Jack Birtwistle , guitarist, also sings. Having more than one vocalist gives a band ‘Brownie Points’, in my book.  Not that I was ever in The Brownies. Back in May (2015)  the band played at Glastonbudget.

Alligatr at Glastonbudget 2015

Before that, in January, Alligatr was at The Cookie with Midcity.

Alligatr at The Soundhouse in 2014
Alligatr at The Soundhouse in 2014

Alligatr gave us a very impressive set, well worth getting off the sofa for on a cold miserable night.

A bonus for me tonight was Hollowstar.  The band from Cambridge that I saw when they played on 10th October at The Shed.

Cambridge band Hollowstar performing at The Shed in October 2015
Cambridge band Hollowstar performing at The Shed in October 2015

Pleased to see them back again. Last time they were here I wrote ‘They were solidly exciting, exhilarating with a lead singer/bassist – Joe – and two guitar players. A set in which they displayed lots of energy.  Jack the drummer did a great job too. Well worth seeing again.’ Kynch was also on stage at that show.

The Fores is a Leicester band legend. Power rock at its best.

Lead singer from the Fores
Lead singer from the Fores Photo Martin Crosbie, 2013

The Fores started in January 2010 but Rhythm guitarist Liam Hopkins goes back even further, to the original line-up I think.  Liam was at The Soundhouse recently doing a solo performance. They all sing. Most of the songs they play are their own. This is oen of the bands that makes Leicester’s music scene as good as it is.

Thursday 10th December

Another night at The Shed for the young bands showcase event with The Band With No Name, Corrupt Nation and Kynch.

The Shed is unique among Leicester venues in being an incubator for young and new bands.  The venue has, over many years, provided gigs for many of Leicester/shire’s bands that were starting out and rising up the ladder of success and popularity.  The Shed’s young bands showcases have provided a platform for the next generation of musicians and singers. That is something that has happened for decades and I have been priviliged to have seen the majority of those events.

Band With No Name at The Young Bands night at The Shed
Band With No Name at The Young Bands night at The Shed

In May 2014, The Shed put on a young bands night with a selection of bands that have gone on to be established elements of the local music scene – including Before The Crash and a band that was, in those days called Radio Active.   Back then they looked very young; they still look very young.  Now called The Band With No Name (a bit of a problem because there are others with the same name), the four lads opened tonight’s show with a set of covers that were appealing and that put smiles on the faces of many of those in the audience. With their Santa hats they really got into the spirit of the occasion and delivered a set of songs that clearly went down well with the audience (it was a good turn-out by the way.) Let’s hope these guys will still be around in the years ahead, because they will undoubtedly grow from strength to strength. Think Foo Fighters and Nirvana.

Corrupt Nation at The Shed
Corrupt Nation at The Shed

The four musicians from Melton Mowbray who form Corrupt Nation delivered a blistering set of their own songs, led by the magnetic performance of Ben Wilkinson. With the addition of some solidly good covers, Corrupt Nation gave us a glittering set. This is clearly a band with a bright future. Well worth seeing again. Ben’s rock star presence included some spectacular guitar work.  Melton has spawned some of the county’s top bands over the years and I have a feeling that this will be another of them. Excellent.

Kynch at the young bands showcase, December 2015
Kynch at the young bands showcase, December 2015

One young band that has made a considerable mark this year is Kynch. The trio is from Nottingham, Derby and Leicester and has two singers. They play their own songs and covers which they deliver with star quality presence. Having seen them before.  The cover songs they do are from Foo Fighters, Oasis, Green Day, Killers, Kaiser Chief and others, not necessarily at all their sets; they have a repertoir of good songs from which they can choose.  On stage Kynch look like professionals, season rockers, even though they are still all under 18. The energy and commitment they all of them put into their songs is phenomenal. Jack, Will and Ollie are outstanding. Whether playing their own songs or well-known covers, Kynch give us music that is enjoyable to listen to. Spectacular.

Interviews with tonight’s bands will be broadcast on 103 FM The Eye. Find out more about this on 103 The Eye website.

Read Ellie’s review of the night.

Kynch at The Shed, December 2015
Kynch at The Shed, December 2015

Over the years The Shed has championed young bands. Several have gone on to become legends of the Leicester music scene.

Tuesday 8th December

Chambers The Cookie

by Keith Jobey

A short while ago, chatting to gig promoter Ian of  Magic Teapot, he asked me for recommendations for support slots. I came up with Chambers for him, a relatively new band from the Leicestershire village of Cosby who are just starting to venture into the city to play gigs. I’ve been following them for a while but it was the release of their debut EP that prompted me to mention their name to Ian. My tip was taken heed of, and so tonight, I’m at the Cookie to make sure Chambers do themselves proud (and don’t ruin my reputation.) Let’s fill you in a bit first. The band consist of Lawrence Findley on vocals and guitar, younger brother Ed Findley on bass and Alex Pearson on drums. The EP is a pretty lo-fi affair, it was recorded in their kitchen after all, and it features five tracks which give a good impression of what they’re about. You can get it off their bandcamp page.

Chambers at The Cookie Photo Keith Jobey
Chambers at The Cookie
Photo Keith Jobey

Find Chambers on Facebook

On stage it was straight down to business as they opened with Mary, the title track from their debut EP. As the songs racked up it was clear they have a bluesy rock vibe about them; one song reminiscent of Chuck Berry’s Johnny Be Good although there are hints of punk in there, particularly in the music. I did hear (through the floor of the Cookie) them sound checking with In The City by the Jam,  so there’s a bit of an influence there. It was a full set of original songs for the show though, apart from, at the end, when realising they had two minutes left. Time to squeeze in a Kings Of Leon cover, yep, you’ve guessed it Molly’s Chambers!

So I’d say they put on a decent show. They’re pretty competent with a bit of character about them, I’ll be back to see them again. Hopefully my reputation remained intact.

Saturday 5th September

Dreaming In Colour Productions provided another of their Upstairs/Downstairs shows, with two stages of acts and bands.

Siobhan Mazzei at The Shed
Siobhan Mazzei at The Shed

with Siobhan Mazzei, Scribble Victory, Flight15 and Midnight Wire on the main stage. Downstairs were Hatter, Over The Influence, The Relinquished and Obiquitous.

Over The Influence at The Shed
Over The Influence at The Shed

The Shed was full of people tonight, eager to enjoy live music from a succession of top bands and singers. Some gigs have a certain magic about them, that makes then extraordinary, and tonight was one of those. Saying ‘all the bands were good’,  is an under-statement. When people stand in front of a stage and see what is happening now most of them will see only what is happening now. When I stand in front of a stage I see what is happening now, but I see it through the lenses of what has happened before, over the years, and I see its signifiance in a wider context, the context of the bands, singers, audiences, gigs that I have been to in the past. My ears hear what is coming through the speakers now and my inner ears hear the sounds of previous performances; I see an act and remember previous images; it is like a stream of consciousness where the present and the past flow together into a single unity.

Midnight Wire at The Shed
Midnight Wire at The Shed

On the stage, Alex Van Roose. I still cannot refrain from calling him Rooster. I remember all his songs. They are songs that impressed me when I first heard them and they continue to impress me to this day. There are not many song writers can can do that.  One other singer and songwriter who can do that is Siobhan Mazzie. To my mind, she is Leicester’s greatest fmale songsmiths. When Siobhan performs on stage, there is sense of occasion and a sense that something special is taking place.  Even though I have seen Siobhan Mazzie at many venues and festivals, I cannot help but be enthralled by her, by his music, by her tantilising stage presence, her wonderful voice and her exquisitely pleasing songs. We are so blessed to have local artists of this quality.

When Midnight Wire was on stage, what started as a gig became a party. Few other bands can create such complete happiness in a  room. Ther main room at The Shed is small enough to feel as though you are experiencing a gig in your own living room at home. Alex jumps off the stage and walks around the audience singing to individuals. The crowd is a sea of happy faces. Even Rooster’s ex-bandmate Alex Totman has started to dance. Live music in Leicester is usually good but sometimes it gets this good. This is kind of experience is only available live;  it is not something you can download. It is one-off; it is unique.

Scribble Victory at The Shed
Scribble Victory at The Shed

Having seen Scribble Victory several times before, I knew I would be in for something good; and I was not disappointed. These two guys are excepotional; they make quality music and they perform it with panache.  The Derby duo have played at a gig with Alex Van Roose before – in May 2015.

Scribble Victory at The Soundhouse in 2014
Scribble Victory at The Soundhouse in 2014

Northamptonshire rock band Over The Influence as at The Shed for the Oxjam festival in October. Seeing them again tonight was great. Katie Hill’s vocals are top-notch. They play music that is full of resonance and vitality.

Flight15 at The Shed
Flight15 at The Shed

A Leicester band that has really found its place is Flight15. Tonight they were on top form and so many people commented, after their set,  how good they are and just how fantastic they have become since they started.

Downstairs all the bands that performance were excellent; I can say that because others who saw them (if if I did not) told me so.  In particular, Ubiquitous came in for especially enthusiastic acclaim.  Their offering of death, black, melodic metal did just what they say on their Facebook page:  ‘deliver an angry and energetic fist to the face of the listener.’ Think of Alestorm, Behemoth, Cradle of Filth and Slyosis.

Nights at The Shed are special for me because they are landmarks in the wide plains of Leicester’s music scene. Whether you love the place or loath it, there no denying that this is a venue that defines live music in our local city.

White Noise, 4th and 5th December

White Noise Festival

by Keith Jobey (KJ) and Trevor Cobbe (TC)

So what is White Noise Christmas? Here’s the ‘corporate’ blurb:- Created over a pizza in 2008 by Scott West (then of the band  Death of London) and John Helps (of Maybeshewill band) it celebrates the best of Leicester’s musical output, and brings some of the best, under-rated national talent to the city.

Here’s my (KJ) blurb:- The first White Noise Festivals were held in the Firebug using two stages so you could watch non-stop live music. Then Handmade Festival was born, which grew out of White Noise and the Firebug and began using other venues before becoming what Handmade is today up at the Academy. While this was happening White Noise Festival took a break, but now it’s back. And it too has grown out of the Firebug and into other venues, namely the Cookie, Bishop Street Methodist Church and Duffy’s Bar. And it’s all arranged by hard working volunteers with the aim of raising money for local charities.

Friday evening for some began with a bit of a White Noise pre-show. The early curfew at the Academy allowing us to catch Clubs and Nai Harvest (both supporting Jaws) before heading to into the city centre for White Noise.

I don’t like missing the opportunity to see Leicester indie faves Clubs when they play, especially on a big stage like the Queens Hall, so it was a White Noise bonus gig when I found out they were on so early. The crowd weren’t there to see them so initially there was a bit of chatter amongst the excited teens. But I think Clubs won their attention pretty quickly with their pacey guitar driven indie sound topped off with CJ’s powerful vocals. My mate commented that he sounds like Caleb from Kings Of Leon. A reference I’d never picked up on before. Download their latest release East Coast for free and see what you reckon.

Nai Harvest I suspect were new to most of the crowd there too. But about three songs in a small mosh pit emerged that caused a chain reaction, spreading across the front section of the hall like wildfire. The band deserved it as they are a great act with some brilliant songs. Sadly, as they were building up to the crescendo of closing their set with album title track Hairball they got cut off. Time up apparently.

Leaving Jaws for the youngsters to mosh themselves messy to, we headed for the Cookie and White Noise Christmas proper.

Haiku Salut at the Cookie (KJ). Ordinarily I like noisy guitar bands. So on paper Haiku Salut shouldn’t appeal to me, but they do. They have such quality and are so mesmerising to watch that I can’t help indulging in them every now and again. And tonight it wasn’t long before I was captivated by them again.

Haiku Salut at the Handmade Festival 2014. Photo Keith Jobey.
Haiku Salut at the Handmade Festival 2014.  Photo: Keith Jobey.

Thought Forms at the Cookie (KJ). Thought Forms are a band to immerse yourself into. Lining up a load of beer bottles along the front of the stage and inviting the audience to help themselves is one way to endear yourself to a crowd. Not that Thought Forms need to do that. Largely instrumental and playing songs that build and build until you’re swamped by them. Always a good act to catch and a great finale to a fun filled Friday.

TE Morris at Bishop Street Methodist Church (KJ). Saturday was an earlier start with TE Morris at 4:45 in Bishop Street Methodist Church. A fantastic venue. Everyone is so quiet when they’re in a church, it’s wonderful, and especially when it’s Her Name Is Calla frontman Tom Morris you’re watching. He’s got an extensive back catalogue now and we got a good selection from it. This is close to being his last gig as TE Morris though. He’s planning one last album and a couple of more gigs and then that’s it, TE Morris signs out.

TE Morris at Bishop Street Methodist Church. Photo: Keith Jobey.
TE Morris at Bishop Street Methodist Church.
Photo: Keith Jobey.

Elizabeth Cornish at Bishop Street Methodist Church (KJ). After grabbing some food it was back to Bishop Street Church to worship Elizabeth Cornish. Standing there by herself at the front with just a few lights picking her out, this had the makings of something special. Seeing her without her band you get the chance to really hear the wonderful voice she has, every whispered line, every emotion, every heartfelt word. Another airing of a few of her new songs today alongside some older ones, but fan favourite Above Ground omitted! A bit loud (even when solo) for the environment. See today’s performance of Tears With Tea by Elizabeth on YouTube.

Elizabeth Cornish at Bishop Street Methodist Church. Photo: Keith Jobey.
Elizabeth Cornish at Bishop Street Methodist Church.
Photo: Keith Jobey.

Duffy’s was next to catch BiT but sadly there had been a serious PA problem and all events there were either moved or cancelled. BiT were moved to the Cookie into a spare slot so we caught them later. But we lost Sepia Sun and Freddy Lobos, travelling bands rightly being shoehorned in above local bands.

I Am Lono at the Firebug (KJ) Back to White Noise central (the Firebug) then to see Nottingham duo I Am Lono. I’ve known of this band for some time but only just had a good listen to them. That listen prompted me to catch them live today. The duo, one on keys/synth and vocals, the other on bass and rhythm guitar, are electro sounding, quite 80’s at times. A few more listens needed and I think I’ll be hooked.

BiT at the Cookie (KJ). Next it was time for the rescheduled BiT at the Cookie. The London band who were meant to be on at Duffy’s earlier. Coming on stage in masks and women’s clothing (I should point out that they were generally hairy, beardy blokes when setting up) and delivering a heavy tinged set left a few people stunned. They were good. Invite them to the Handmade Party please.

BiT at the Cookie. Photo: Keith Jobey.
BiT at the Cookie.
Photo: Keith Jobey.

Spoort at the Firebug (TC). Arising from the ashes of Feedback Voice, Spoort were next on at Firebug. This was their first ever gig as Spoort and had they not told us about their previous incarnation as FV, I would have been very suspicious about the first gig claim because they were very polished and assured from the start. They have a confident engaging lead singer who built up a quick rapport with the enthusiastic audience. The songs were catchy and instantly accessible indie rock tunes and reminded me at times of Leicester muses Clubs, who played the Academy the previous night. I will definitely be looking out for their next gig and would recommend that you do to. One to watch – Spoort – that’s with two ‘O’s!

Spoort at the Firebug. Photo: Trevor Cobbe.
Spoort at the Firebug.
Photo: Trevor Cobbe.

We Three and the Death Rattle at the Cookie (KJ). At the Cookie it was time for a rare treat. The first gig since Handmade 2014 of the awesome We Three And The Death Rattle. After releasing their debut album it appeared that they had perhaps called it a day. Then Ex Comets emerged who are effectively an expanded WTATDR and we’ve got Mountaintop Junkshop, but now Amy, Andy and Jon are back. There’s new songs and Amy now has a keyboard as well as the Theremin but it’s undoubtedly WTATDR. There were a lot of new songs in the setlist, over half in fact, but it was so good to hear Split Lips blasted out live again There’s a new album in the pipeline (hence the new songs tonight) so here’s hoping that there will be a few more sightings of them in the future. Hope it doesn’t mean Ex Comets are on the back burner now or is it greedy to want both bands active?

We Three and the Death Rattle at the Cookie. Photo: Keith Jobey.
We Three and the Death Rattle at the Cookie.
Photo: Keith Jobey.

Waking Aida at the Firebug (TC). Next up at Firebug we have a band who I have missed a number of times but thanks to White Noise, that is about to be put right. Southampton based Waking Aida self describe as post medio-core. I would describe them as dancey alt/prog rock. Neither tag really matters but what does matter is that this is music the crowd immediately get into. Lead singer James commands the stage and proceedings, dancing irrepressibly to pretty much every song. It’s infectious and is a real pick me up if you’re starting to flag a bit after 5 bands in 5 hours with three more to come. I definitely won’t miss Waking Aida next time they’re in Leicester – another White Noise hit.

Her Name Is Calla at the Cookie (TC). So now it’s back to the Cookie to catch Leicester’s legendary and quite elusive Her Name Is Calla (HNIC). I’ve only seen them once before, at Bishop St Church but I’m really looking forward to this one because they excelled last time I saw them. Fronted by Tom Morris who opened the second day of the festival, earlier, HNIC have a devoted and dedicated band of followers pretty much filling the Cookie, anticipating another magical night. Tom tells us this is the Christmas Party for Leicester’s music diehard aficionados and looking round the room it’s hard to disagree. This is rock with passion and the band soon have the audience eating out of their hand. A small problem with guitar leads allows more banter with the crowd, most of whom you would guess are on first name terms with the band, such is the ambience of the gig. Alt/Prog/Post rock, call it what you will, Calla really do deliver a beautiful blend of at times delicate, at times balls out melodic rock music. And it was loud!

Her Name Is Calla at the Cookie. Photo: Trevor Cobbe.
Her Name Is Calla at the Cookie.
Photo: Trevor Cobbe.

Rich List at the Firebug (TC). This is also my second time seeing Rich List (formerly Haus and consisting of ex Minnaars members). The previous gig was at Firebug too, when they supported the amazing Slow Magic, another Robot Needs Home gem of a gig. Rich List take to the stage at midnight and there’s still an impressive number of people hanging around for the final slots at the Festival. I don’t think Rich List have been playing for much more than a year but don’t let that put you off. I can hear shades of 80s music in their electronic alt indie rock music. They released a very listenable single earlier this year called ‘All the Love’ and whilst it is probably a touch slower than most of their live set, it gives you a good idea of the quality you can expect. It’s very danceable stuff and their lead singer alternates between synth maestro and strutting frontman to great effect. There’s no chance of energy levels draining with Rich List on the stage, even after midnight.

Rich List at the Firebug. Photo: Trevor Cobbe.
Rich List at the Firebug.
Photo: Trevor Cobbe.

Paul Wolinski at the Firebug (TC). So it’s 1.00am and there’s a small table on stage resembling one my granny used to serve tea and cakes on. Is Paul Wolinski going to up our energy levels by feeding us? The 65 Days of Static man is compact if nothing else. Two pieces of kit on said table and he’s ready to go. It’s a somewhat detached performance but that’s really no surprise and what it lacks in banter or engagement it more than makes up for it with stunning visuals and hypnotic, trancey electronica. It was a perfect end to the night and as we approached 2.00am a dreamy peaceful mood engulfed everyone still dancing to Wolinski’s digital dexterity.

You can catch his and White Noise Festival 2015’s close on YouTube

In conclusion (KJ)

So that was White Noise Christmas 2015. A lot of good stuff was watched, a lot of good stuff was missed, a lot of friends were met, a bit too much beer was drunk, but hopefully a good wadge of cash was raised for some great causes. Well done WNC15 team, we’ll see you next year. We’re dreaming of a White Noise Christmas!

In conclusion (TC)
So that was a superb appetiser of Thought Forms on the Friday night after JAWS, Nai Harvest and Clubs at the O2 and then 8 bands and 8 Peronis on Saturday. And to end in the style of Match of the Day, two good and two bad. Two good are Nik Sharpe and John Helps (and their army of helpers) for another superb Festival. Two bad? Messrs Symons and Jobey who couldn’t stand the pace and dipped out at 11pm on Saturday night, missing HNIC, Rich List and Wolinski. Stamina dudes, stamina.

The Cookie, Wednesday 2nd December

Kagoule at The Cookie, by Keith Jobey

Kagoule at The Cookie. Photo: Keith Jobey.
Kagoule at The Cookie.
Photo: Keith Jobey.

I’d seen Lacura a few times earlier this year and really liked what they are doing, so it was good to catch them live again to see how they’ve developed. After a little bit of a slow start the momentum built until just about everyone there was into it. They have a decent amount of followers too, who filled the front rows.

Lacura at The Cookie. Photo: Keith Jobey.
Lacura at The Cookie.
Photo: Keith Jobey.

Ash Mammal next. Do I have to say anything about them? If you follow the Leicester music scene you must have seen or at least heard the ‘Mamms. A stunning band that crosses genres and brings together music lovers from all walks of life. As usual it was an over the top display, perhaps even a little more OTT than usual! Especially as it featured George attacking Cass at one point.

Ash |Mammal at The Cookie. Photo: Keith Jobey.
Ash |Mammal at The Cookie.
Photo: Keith Jobey.

Puppy were added to the bill late on the day. A London three piece who have had the music bloggers blogging despite only having one song up to listen to. A song that most say combines their love of Metallica and Pavement. From the start the Metallica influence is evident in the guitar riffs, you can easily imaging a crowd of headbangers rocking along to them, sign of the horns hands in the air. But over the heavy riffs the melodies and the vocals are more approachable. Appealing to the Royal Blood fans I bet.

I first saw Nottingham band Kagoule back in April 2013 in a low key gig at the Cookie supporting a little known band called Drenge. Two years on and Drenge have gone on to make it big, and judging by tonight, Kagoule aren’t far behind them. Touring to support their excellent debut album Urth, which featured heavily in the songs played tonight, they’ve become a top shelf act. They pulled in a decent sized crowd (80-100?) midweek, who provided a bit of moshing, some crowdsurfing and during the encore, a low key stage invasion.

Also tonight at The Shed, I saw Joe Doyle (Homeless Shakespeare) and James Valentine Byrne from Birmingham. James sang some of his own songs and a cover by Queen and Mr. Brightside. He was good. As I said to him “You can come back.”

Tuesday 1st December

I dropped into my local for a beer and a night of music and was rewarded with performances by Tom Iliffe (The Jav’lins), Liam Hopkins from The Fores, JackBishop  and several other artists including the iconic Rhett Barrow. Oh yes and they also had a magician – Colin Skinner – one of the best around here but sadly I missed his act. Anyway I am looking forward to the open-mic Christmas bash on the 22nd. Poetman was there too.

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About The Editor 535 Articles
The Editor of Music in Leicester magazine is Kevin Gaughan assisted by Trevor Locke