Friday 27th February 2015
with French Leave, The Stolen Sea, Trilogy and Roboter
Trevor Cobbe reports
It’s payday, month end, not as cold as it has been and the Comedy Festival has departed for another year. There are at least four other gigs I would have liked to go to, as well, tonight and it certainly feels as though Leicester’s music scene is buzzing. Paul Collins, tonight’s promoter, says he thinks it’s the healthiest it’s been for a long time and tonight’s line-up bears testament to the quality you can find within the confines of this fair city.
So it’s The Firebug and I manoeuvre through the throng at the bar to start the evening with a pint of premium Peroni and then it’s up the stairs, careful not to spill a drop of the Italian nectar (probably brewed in Northampton.) Into the upstairs venue and it’s already buzzing with a good crowd, despite being just after 8pm, a tribute to tonight’s line-up.
The evening starts with Roboter, a new name to me and they have the crowd moving to the music from the off. Visually, I’m seeing The Proclaimers plus a drummer, admittedly Proclaimers with a bit less hair but that’s really just the glasses talking. Aurally, I’m hearing foot-tapping, pop, punk, folksy rock. The guitar riffs are not complicated and the overall sound is very palatable. If you listen to their debut EP on Soundcloud, you’ll be treated to tracks which at times could take you back to the simple sonic delights of the sixties and early seventies. The band are joined by Leicester muso Stuart Crown for the last two numbers and this adds a harder bluesier edge to the music. Check Roboter out on Facebook.
Next on stage we have Trilogy, another Market Harborough band coming to prominence in Leicester and I believe also a product of the musical impetus Robert Smyth Academy seems to promote so successfully. I’ve seen Trilogy a few times before and they’re one of the main reasons I’m at Firebug tonight. For a relatively young band they exude great confidence and their music is an impressively mature mix of blues and jazz influenced rock. They effortlessly swap instruments and vocal duties and weave funky instrumental jams into their songs. My memory tricked me last time into thinking Pocketwatch was an instrumental track – I need to correct that aberration. It’s not. What it is, is a superbly crafted six minutes plus of meandering, funky, bluesy musical mastery. Adam’s vocals and guitar are solidly underpinned by Jake’s bass and Greg on drums. I really like this track as you can probably tell and you can treat yourself to a listen by clicking on the link at the end of this article or searching for it on YouTube. The set progresses with Greg coming to the keyboard and assuming vocal duties, while Adam takes over on drums. A very polished and accomplished set and you really should make an effort to see these guys play; you’ll thank me for it. Trilogy are on Facebook and you can hear them play Pocketwatch on YouTube
Following Trilogy we have another new act to me, The Stolen Sea. Facebook tells me they are ‘the Phoenix, arisen from the ashes of Falling Leaves’, who again I have to confess I don’t know. My loss because The Stolen Sea immediately engage me with their melodic, rock sound. I’ve since listened to two tracks of theirs on Bandcamp and they have a shoegaze, psychedelic feel. Live, the sound was rockier but none the worse for that. If I was being picky, I would say the reverb on the vocals didn’t quite come off for me live or it was overdone but that was a minor point and I really enjoyed their set. Their songs had a rich melodic resonance and went down very well with the crowd. I’ll be looking out for their next gig and you can find out more about them on the band’s Facebook page
The final band tonight was also on the bill last time I saw Trilogy, at the Musician. French Leave are relative newcomers to the Leicester music scene. Self-described as alternative, indie, electronic, I would add melodic because they really do have a warmth to their music. I was first alerted to their sound last year when I listened to their EP In Our Youth. Tonight, as headline act, I thought they started slightly nervously but they quickly got into their groove and by the time my favourite track, So was played they and the crowd were totally immersed in the music. There is a real feel-good vibe to this song, possibly the fact that Chris’ vocals add, for me anyway, a real Celtic edge to what is a wonderful, trippy, melodic tune. It was a relatively short set, possibly time influenced but it is far better to leave an audience wanting more than to overstay your welcome. French Leave’s music would go down a storm at Festivals, where even though you didn’t know the band or the songs you would be irresistibly drawn into singing along. Find out more about them on Facebook and you can see them on YouTube