Music for the month of February 2017
Our monthly round-up of Leicester’s music offerings.
This is where we publish reviews (or links to reviews) of what we saw in February.
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Yes. Your write-up of a gig or show that you went to can appear on this page.
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You don’t have to write a huge, learned essay – just tell us who played, what they did and where they did it. And what you thought about it.
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with Jet Set Killers, James Cull and the Blackstorm Nation, Monachopsis, and Metal Artois
This was the fourth heat in the competition. The audience was able to vote on the bands of their choice after all the bands had played.
Metal band from Hinckley, Jet Set Killers delivered some powerful energy from the stage in a set that was laden with aggression and energy. Songs that offered plenty to listen to, the tempo was fast and furious as they launched the evening off to a frenetic start, making their presence felt in no uncertain terms.
Previous heats have produced music of high quality and impressive bands and tonight was no different. Tough for the bands though.
It was good to see this well established group again. James Cull and the Black Storm Nation, a band that crops up in our coverage from time to time. James Cull is also noted for his solo performances. Tonight we heard blistering vocals, scorching guitar lines and I noticed Boppa on the drums. The group made an appearance at Uprising last year. Culls’ voice – distinctive, full of character. There was much to like in this set.
It was good to see well established bands on these lineups alongside new bands that are emerging. Several bands have returned that have been seen in previous rounds last year. A good sign.
Monachopsis. Melodic death metal from Leicester. Having started in December this was the band’s fifth show. They bashed out some pretty furious stuff. Angry, intense, pugilistic, propelled… scintillating passages of guitar work. What this band did was primarily about atmosphere and in that respect they scored. It wasn’t easy stuff though; this band is to mainstream metal what Shoenberg is to the classical symphony.
Metal Artois. Leicester band. Thrash metal. A climax of yelling, shouting, adrenaline drenching, no-holds-barred bollicky music. The forest of fists and horns that went up said it all. They laid it on thick and hard.
The riffs were amazing. Ant Howley was good at engaging the crowd and pulling them into the action – which did not require a great deal of effort but even so he grabbed their attention all the same. What an end to the evening!
At the Scholar Bar
with Day of the Moon, Ferris and Traps. Promoted by Andy Wright. Photos and videos by Kevin Gaughan.
The Scholar Bar. Pretty much full. Not been in there for a long time. The evening was opened by Leicester band Day Of The Moon. I saw them first at The Shed on 25th November when they auditioned for the Glastonbudget festival. Six young musicians who played well. It was good to see a young band, only recently started, getting a support slot with two established, high-status bands so they could play to room full of people at a key venue. I’ll make sure we report on their performance at the festival in May. Tonight they were on good form. Impactful, robust vocals from singer Tom Davis. Vibrant songs delivered with commitment. A band with plenty of promise. Very enjoyable.
A band that I have followed for a long time. A cornerstone of Leicester’s music scene. Ferris put on a set that rocked the room. Rock and roll with great gusto. They all sing.
These musicians have worked together for a long time. They started in 2001; that means they have been out there longer than I have. As it says on the band’s Facebook page: ‘Notably supporting The Alarm and Reverand and the Makers. The band continued in 2014 with high profile support slots with , scouting for girls, Toploader, Reef and a spot on the Isle Of Wight festival.’ Ferris played at the Glastonbudget Festival in 2015 and at the Foxton Locks festival in June 2014.
Ferris ended tonight’s set with a cover of George Michael’s song Freedom. George Michael died on Christmas day; so this was a fitting tribute. All of Ferris’s performances have been memorable.
Over the years I have followed them they have put in some unforgettable appearances; just like the Traps (in their former line-up.)
You can see Ferris at the Y Theatre on 24th May when they will be on a line-up with The Riffles. See more Ferris Gigs.
I saw Traps recently; the new Traps. It was at The Shed; on December 16th. I said: “Traps gave a remarkable performance. Surprising. Not what we were expecting. What we saw was a new band with a re-engineered sound, a set of songs unlike anything that has been heard before. Stylistically modern, laced with electronica from keyboards and synths, performed with plenty of passion, scintillating rhythms and sumptuous melodies. Top notch. [Music in Leicester]
Traps are Jamie, Lewis, Scott, Leigh, Jack and Matt. Two keyboard players. Out standing vocals from Jamie Williams, one of Leicester’s more characteristic vocalists. There is a tangible buzz in the room tonight; enthusiastic response from the audience.
Songs that were relentlessly compelling. Rhythms rich in musical content. Engaging dancy beats. Varied in pace and mood. Creative music-making of high calibre. Quality.
Tonight traps performed their songs Love, Call to Arms, Feel it, Never go, Heart Beat, Churches, Rhythm’s g.g.y, Native and Tell Your Friends.
Back in the day, the Boobytraps could always pull a large crowd. Good to see Traps have retained their fan base.
Interesting to see the four light boxes on the stage. A band that comes with its own light show.
This was a really good night; music at its best; a sizeable audience, a room with many people that I knew.
at Duffy’s bar
with Fractions, Lodestone, Septolith and Blood Oath.
Sunday. Duffy’s bar. Must be a metal night.
When writing about bands always try to find the positives. Fractions. A band from Leicester founded in 2011. Genre: metal, metalcore, progressive. The vocals were good; the music was robust.
Plenty of sounds that made their mark on the ears, compelling… not too difficult to like what this band does. Plenty of passages and phrases that were rich in drama; backed by frenetic drumming. Just what you would expect from a well established band. Seriously good music-making. The audience was fervent in its acclaim for this band.
Real metal fans will be more finely attuned than me to the subtle differences between one colour and shade of the metal genre. But even I could immediately hear the differences made by Lodestone. Differences in tempo, rhythms, riffs and the feel of the songs. Assiduous followers of these gigs will, of course, go online, find recordings of these bands and judge for themselves. Many of the bands that play at these gigs are well enough established to have recordings up there on the web-o-sphere somewhere. To my ears, Lodestone had a bit more bounce to its music, more intense use of vibrant rhythms and large, well rounded phrases all of which were sharply executed and shot through with impactful vocals. Their set had an infectious joyousness. This band from Derby calls it music style: ‘Heavy groovy stoner rock.’ Oddly, we do not seem to have said anything about them before. There is a clip from the band’s performance tonight on their Facebook page.
The first thing to be noticed about the appearance of the third band was that two of its members had donned costumes – crimson gowns with pointed hoods. A bit Gandalfesque in some respects.
Striking; but then so was their music. The ‘grunge/prog/doom/metal’ trio from Leicester – Septolith – gives as its influences: ‘Death, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Opeth, Uriah Heep, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Mastodon, Black Sabbath, Raw Material, Spring, Cressida, Morbid Angel, Crowbar, Enslaved…’ and so on. An eclectic collection. Music that was quite complex, intricate arpeggios, serrated beats, it was a hit with me. A slow number evoked a different mood in which the singer’s characteristic-sounding vocals came across in this lyrical ballad decorated with sumptuous guitar solos. This was followed by a song that soared majestically gilded with cunning dynamics and laced with silvery riffs. Their set demonstrated considerable mastery of the style. An altogether excellent set (but that was just my opinion.)
When Blood Oath started to play it was time for something altogether more visceral.
In the song with which they began their set the atmosphere became supercharged, the hardcore fans moshing and head-banging at the front. In the intimate confines of Duffy’s there was an intense atmosphere.
Fans might remember that Blood Oath made it through to the finals of last year’s Metal2TheMasses and went on to play at The De Monfort Hall. Thunderous, volcanic, seismic, they took it to the next level of hardcore. Bloody marvellous.
The next instalment of Metal 2 takes place on 26th February again at Duffy’s. Watch out for Final Coil band coming up at the one of the heats – another of last year’s finalists.
with The Harrowbrooks, Chambers, Paranoia and The Albion
Apparently tonight’s appearance by The Harrowbrooks was their last ever gig. The band had decided to split up, the band announced on its Facebook page
‘It is with heavy hearts that we announce our last gig this Friday at the Soundhouse.’
It was nice to see them again.
Just two members of the band were on stage tonight. Lewis Grewcock on vocals and guitar and Gary Starie.
The lead singer had a good, strong voice which was not short on character. They played a selection of their own songs and entertained the crowd providing a welcome start to the evening.
Lest we forget, here are some Harrowbrooks memorabilia:
Leicester’s The Estates opened the Arts in Leicester stage at the Musician with a great set. Well played and with a strong performance from lead singer, Lewis Grewcock, this relatively new band launched the show in fine style. Drawing a positive response from both the audience and members of other bands, the young band delivered a good set. [Arts in Leicester 2012 archives]
Soundhouse 15th February 2013
I did however arrive it time to see the end of the set by young Leicester band The Harrowbrooks. Gutted that I missed some of it, their set was great, judging by the last song. The Quartet had a really attractive set of songs, and is a band that shows a lot of promise. If there are any weaknesses with them, it would be their rather limp stage presence, commented on by more than person tonight. They need to beef up their music and bring it alive on stage and then they will really start to motor. Anyways, a good performance by lead singer Lewis Grewcock, and a set of listenable rock songs that did them credit. Previously called The Estates, we liked them enough to book them for one of our own shows. [Arts in Leicester 2013 archives]
We saw The Harrowbrooks at Firebug in January 2014
Headlining tonight’s show was The Harrowrooks, four lads from Leicester who know how to rock. Lead singer Lewis Grewcock was in fine form tonight, helping the Leicester quartet to deliver a ripping set of rock ‘n’ roll songs fulled by their passion for Kasabian and Oasis, not forgetting the Stone Roses, The View, The Smiths… they certainly know where to get influences from. Topping off a night of solidly good music, The Harrowbrooks with strong vocals and plenty of rolling riffs, chanty choruses, thumping beats and enough power to light up a hosing estate. Music that rolls off the stage in waves you could surf. A set of varied songs with contrasting tempos and styles, they have a sound which is recognisable as their own. Excellent.
Supporting Casino Empire at The Cookie in 12th December 2014, Keith Jobey wrote
‘Support for the night comes from The Harrowbrooks. A well chosen band with similar influences as Casino Empire and who also have a rock and roll swagger. They’re an accomplished band with some good songs like
This Could Be My Ecstasy. They get the crowd moving and manage to hold their attention as the excitement builds for the main act.’ [Music in Leicester magazine]
Chambers was a band that Keith Jobey saw in July 2016 when they played at Duffys with Mountaintop Junkshop. Keith commented:
‘Headliners Chambers were who we went to check up on. I last saw them play live in December last year. It’s been a busy time since then for the bluesy rock trio as they’ve been recording an album. Their set was a mixture of their own songs plus a few covers and I reckon they’re sounding good. I’ll be off to see them again. And that album, it’s due out this month. ‘ [Music in Leicester magazine]
With strong vocals from the Findley brothers tonight, their set readily evoked positive reactions from the audience and from the promoter who clearly acclaimed their set enthusiastically.
Delivering vibrant rhythms they really rocked out. They played their own songs for the most part I assume.
Puppet Paranoia is an ‘alt-rock/grunge band from Nottingham’, I read on the band’s Facebook page. There is a video on YouTube of the band performing at tonight’s show.
Sitting at the back of the room I had a clear view of the stage; but this time most of the audience had left. Earlier on the room looked quite full.
The band I was here to see was The Albion; four musicians from Leicester – a band that I liked before and, after tonight, like even more.
The band’s original songs were pretty damn good but they also did a cover of Come Together by The Beatles released in 1969 and recorded at the Abbey Road studios. There is a video of the band performing this at The Shed (on the band’s Facebook page) in 2016.
The Albion’s rendition of this famous song was ace. Bryn Williams did a great performance, bringing to the stage that extra factor; good singing applied with zeal and real star quality.
They had a set of songs that grabbed my attention (and pretty much everyone else’s) if you are going to be the lead singer of a band you do need to put some effort into it and Bryn certainly did.
Not a band night out; not bad at all. And thanks to Paul Collins of Wakeup for organising it all.
Metal 2 The Masses, heat 2
with The Relinquished, Hollow Heart, The World Can Wait and Mörti Viventi
Photos by Kevin Gaughan
Tonight’s show was well attended; it was standing room only. So when The Relinquished began their set plenty of people were there to get it and get it they did. Feverish, fast-paced, belting beats, sparkling guitar sounds pumping drum action, the room still filled with compelling sounds as they caught the spirit of the night.
This has become the most popular attraction on Sunday nights in Leicester’s live music scene. Not only metalheads turn up to these events, though there are of course plenty of them too. These gigs attract a cross section of the gig-going public and quite a few musicians from other bands.
Metal 2 The Masses had adopted a flexible approach to the selection of bands to take part in these heats and that is all to the good; we get variety. I like that. It’s not all doom and gloom. I was delighted to see this band again; The World Can Wait gave us a set that was tuneful, melodic, graced with glistening guitar parts and strong vocals from lead singer Sully Archer.
All very good. All laden with verve and vitality. The band’s set included some brand new tracks. This is a band that have travelled far from their early days. The guitar solos were dazzling. What is not to like about this band. In one song metal met the blues; that was champion.
Watch out for ‘Bliss’ a new track about to appear from TWCW, being mixed and mastered as we speak; can’t wait to hear it. Join them on Facebook and get it as soon as it comes out.
Mörti Viventi. The band’s Facebook page states: ‘Founded on 7 July 1777’ I bet Wolfgang Amadeus was a huge fan. These thrash metallers are from Stamford in Lincolnshire. They have influences that include Slayer and Metallica. So that’s a good start. With the excellence of their guitar work, the band brought us the sound of thrash in kick-ass proportions. They blasted it. Plenty there to get excited about.
Leicester’s Hollow Heart brought the evening’s musical offerings to a volcanic conclusion. Vocals from Marissa and Tara really made this band and its sound stand out. Metal core. Ballsy sounds, thumping beats, nerve-tingling riffs it added up to something else; they had the whole crowd buzzing.
Yet another hugely good night of Metal 2 The Masses brought to us by Resin Events. Next gig is on February 19th at Duffy’s Bar, starting at 5.30 pm.
with Dedbeats, Oak, Greg Poole and Full Fathom5
Tonight’s show was organised by Paul Collins of Wakeup. That as enough to convince me that it would be worth going to. It’s like a kite mark. A badge of quality.
Now that The Shed is closed for a while, I find myself going to The Soundhouse more; and Firebug.
Tonight’s gig started with Full Fathom5. Initially three of them. Who is in this band, I ask myself. Since I first started to see them many faces have graced its line-up.
Tonight I certainly recognised the imposing figure of Tom Iliffe (The Jav’lins) and Bernardo. On the box drum Bernardo Mendes (ex Brandy Thieves.) On stage was the leader of the group, Simon Matthews. With a selection of engaging songs they soothed our ears with accomplished musicianship and gave an entertaining started to the night’s music.
The fine voice of singer and band member Greg Poole filled the room. I remember seeing Greg at one of the Oxjam festivals here in Leicester. His set went down very well with the audience judging from the many favourable comments I heard afterwards. His vocals have plenty of character and his delivers them with a real passion.
Oak I had not seen before. Hardly surprising since this was only their second gig. I like them. Why? Because they played pop punk that was rich in rhythms. It had plenty of ear-licking riffs and foot-tapping beats.
What I heard from them reminded me of the great pop punk bands of the past: Ictus, Neon Sarcastic, and is the kind of music we hear from local bands like Alligatr. The three lads (Tom, jack and Harry) on the stage gave us plenty to like and pretty everyone were pleased with what they heard. So yeah, a band to watch out for. Very enjoyable.
Tonight’s show was headlined by Leicester band Dedbeats.
Rhett Barrow has a commanding presence as a singer and song writer in this city. On this stage you can heard all sorts of bands; bands that music competently. Bands that are good at what they do. Bands that make music that most people are satisfied with. But when Dedbeats play you get the extra factor. You get a depth of character in the music which is unusual if not rare. That depth comes from musicians whose roots run deep in the musical traditions of rock and folk and from their long experience of playing their instruments.
It was a superb performance; it was also very enjoyable.
All that we heard tonight was good; that is a credit to the promoter, Paul Collins, a man who knows his bands and can choose the best.
Metal 2 The Masses Heat 1
with Ubiquitous, Damage Protocol, Dead Question and Firenado.
Photographs and videos by Kevin Gaughan
Tonight’s show was promoted by Resin Events. It was the first heat in the series of shows to select bands to play at Uprising at the De Montfort Hall on 27th May and puts band forward to Bloodstock music festival. At this heat, the audience could vote for the bands of their choice and his counted for 50% of the votes, the other votes coming from the panel of judges.
Ubiquitous, from the East Midlands, had three vocalists and their music was seismic (I could feel it through the floor.) The drums were pounding relentlessly like an anti-aircraft gun. It was thrilling stuff, if a little repetitive. Full of angry vehemence but the vocalisations were impossible to hear as far as words were concerned. No idea what he was singing about, if anything but I got the mood and feel of it.
Damage Protocol is a band I have seen before. Probably last November, when they played at The Shed. My comment, on that night, was ‘A set that was varied in style and tempo, all three of them had vocal mics and the guitar solos, with their effects pedals, were top notch. ‘ [Music in Leicester]
Dead Question is a Leicester; its music is rooted in blues/rock. Tonight they were even better than when I saw them last time. I warmed to what I heard; it had vitality and more in the way of recognisable melodic content and variations in pace and tempo through the set.
A good performance from lead vocalist Oscar Prince and David Mayne on lead guitar backed by some formidable drumming from Jamie Brown. Plenty of commitment. Plenty of good sounds.
February is known as the ‘graveyard month’ in the licensed trade; apposite for a death metal night perhaps but tonight’s crowd was respectable enough, if a little smaller than for some of the other nights at Firebug in recent times.
The show came to a thunderous conclusion with a performance from Firenado – a band from Coventry. Only one word will do for what they did – exhilarating. They took the night’s music up to the next level. A roof-raising performance. Powered with plenty of passion.
Unbelievable stuff happening on stage. Jet propelled songs that blasted into the room with the force of a hurricane. Several vocalists fuelled the musical content. A climactic conclusion to a night of metallic magnificence.
by Keith Jobey
It’s an early start on a sunny Saturday afternoon as the Musician opens its doors at 2pm to begin celebrating one of Leicester’s finest musical treasures. Yes, it’s Kevin Hewick’s 60th birthday party and the door takings and food donations are going to charity.
Kevin is a little late, but quickly kicks things off upon arriving, shortening his opening set to keep it all on time. There are a lot of acts lined up, willingly giving their time not only to help celebrate, but also to help fundraise, and he doesn’t want to be the one who delays it from the start. The afternoon strolls along, with performances from Kenny Wilson, Mr Plow, Melanie Page and Autumn Dawn Leader before Kevin has another ‘electro/experimental’ slot with Jim Tetlow.
After a short break an unmissable moment occurs. Kevin Hewick takes to the stage with Lee Allatson on drums to play some songs from when they were in a band together in the 90s. But as they’re setting up, bassist from that time, Dominic Bentham arrives, something which Kevin knows nothing about. The trio then play for the first time in 25 years, without any rehearsals, and produce a magical moment. They only have time for four songs, Plenty being one of them (still sounding amazing) and the legendary Haystack another, which brings the set to a close.
That’s all we had time for, but the party continued with The Cadence, Rhett Barrow, Ann Duggan, The Ruby Doos, Bluebird Parade, Po!, Stevie Jones and the Wildfires before Kevin played again with full band. Quite an event, and it was well past midnight apparently before it finished.
by Keith Jobey
Back in October 2016, MIL said of Cabbage ‘They’re in the ‘about to break’ category and judging by tonight’s performance, that will happen soon’. Well here we are, less than four months later and Cabbage are at the Cookie again. Not only is the venue sold out and rammed, their nationwide tour is almost sold out.
It’s an avid performance from Cabbage and the crowd are straight into it, led from the front by the returning Cookie owner Tinny. Uber Capitalist Death Trade seems to get the wildest response from the crowd, but to be honest, the crowd at the front were wild throughout. I must add, I like the addition of a ceiling pole following refurbishment after the flooding. Its sole purpose appears to be to allow band members to hang from it over the front of the crowd, and Cabbage use it to its fullest. It’s a great performance from one of the best live bands around.
So Cabbage have broken I’d say. Expect to see them served up with all sorts this coming year. But before that, Leicester has a last chance to catch them at this early stage when they return tor for Handmade Festival over the May Day Bank Holiday.
by Keith Jobey
It was long time coming and it’s been great watching it evolve, but now it’s arrived, Courtney Askey’s debut album ‘Oh! Softly Goes‘ is out. Naturally, there was a launch show, held at the Music Cafe, with a support line up that couldn’t have been much better if I’d picked it myself.
When Nancy Dawkins performs in Leicester she’s always worth catching. With a voice and lyrics that can crush you at will she’s a treat to listen to. Long may she keep returning and playing here.
Hula Girls come rattling along next pushing their fun, raucous punk. Here’s a band that really should be getting more slots than they do; at least they’ve got some merch now in the form of a 10 track demo for £3.
Stalwarts of the Leicester scene We Three And The Death Rattle shouldn’t need any introduction here. It’s a great set, the classic Bobby Hughes Blues, the rarely aired Alligators, the latest singles and the evergreen Split Lips. But it’s the finale that makes it epic as Sucker Punched gets its first live play in five years.
Courtney Askey then takes the stage with her band to a rapturous welcome. It’s a familiar set, and a one that leaves me in awe of how far the songs (and Courtney) have come since first hearing them. Andy and Dan provide the slickest of rhythm sections, Tiff adds exquisite and confident guitar touches, while Courtney acts as a perfect portal for the music to flow through, delivering each song with great style. There’s an attention to detail about the whole show that pays dividends, including the thrashing ending that allows the crowd to discharge their last joules of energy.