HandMadeFestival2016

Our coverage of the

Handmade Festival 2016

by the Music In Leicester team

Leicester’s Handmade music festival took place at the O2 Academy, from 29th April to Sunday 1st May.

Photos and fuller reviews will be added soon as our team files its material; please come back to this page.

This page was started on 30th April.

The Handmade festival took place at Leicester’s O2 Academy and saw four stages in operation:  O2 Academy 2 (The Queens Hall), Scholar Bar, O2 Academy 3 and Union Square.

The festival covered four stages but the clashes were minimal; the programme gave a clear graphical table of who was playing where,  so it was very easy to get the right place, at the right time,  to see the acts.  Some changes this year in the way that the building was laid out but these were helpful; it is a very modern and comfortable building, very good for this kind of indoor music event. New this year, the use of the students union lounge area – Union Square – as a performance and exhibition area. It was good to see the various art and photography exhibitions dotted around the venue. The range of areas, rooms and spaces available in the venue made it an excellent place for a wide-ranging event of this kind. In late April the weather can still be rather cold and wet making an indoor festival much more preferable to an outdoor one. I know that people were here from all parts of the UK, not just from the local area. Handmade has become established as a national festival.

Bands and singers formed the core of the programme, but it also includes comedy, spoken word, cinema and theatre (held at the nearby Attenborough Arts centre.)

Not bad for an three day event with weekend tickets costing only £40. As far as I could see there was a big turnout and most of the sessions I attended attracted large audiences. Overall it was a highly successful festival.

Union Square at Leicester's O2 Academy, Handmade Festival 2016

Union Square at Leicester’s O2 Academy, Handmade Festival 2016

The programme for this year’s event

Handmade Festival 2016 at the Academy

Handmade Festival 2016 at the Academy

Friday 29th April

Scroll down for links to our reports for previous years

Today’s line-up saw performances byAsh Mammal, Vitamin, Her Name is Calla, The Reckless Youth, Reuben Wisner, 65 Days of Static and many other acts. Reviews of many of these will be appearing on this page over the next few days.

Ash Mammal, O2/2 on Friday.

Ash Mammal at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Ash Mammal at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Leicester band Ash Mammal gave an exhilarating performance on the O2/2 stage (The Queens Hall.) Whenever I have seen this band in the past, I have been impressed; seeing them today I was even more impressed. In a set that was full of good tunes, this band gave us some great music but it was their last song but made its mark with me. I think this band deserves the recognition it is getting now but deserves much more in the future.

See our feature article on Ash Mammal.

[TL]

Lacura played in O2/3 on Friday.

Lacura in the Cave was a great start to the opening day. Now a four-piece since Danny Peel joined on guitar, their sound is fuller. They’ve got a great set of songs which they are regularly adding to. Calls for Slurs as an encore couldn’t be fulfilled because of time. If you want to hear it you’ll have to go to their headline show at the Cookie on May 6th (it’s free).

[KJ]

Her Name is Calla on the O2/2 stage on Friday.

Her Name Is Calla at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Her Name Is Calla at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

They were followed by another local group Her Name Is Calla. As I have said before they “never fail to impress.”

Her Name Is Calla at the Y Theatre - 14th April 2016. Photo: Keith Jobey.

Her Name Is Calla at the Y Theatre – 14th April 2016.
Photo: Keith Jobey.

What they gave us was music that was symphonic, atmospheric, and evocative.  With a back projection, electronic samples, violin part and strong vocal lines this was a concert with moments of mysticism and haunting cosmic impressions. The entire set seemed to be movements from one large composition (it was billed as The Quiet Lamb.) Majestic passages of music combined with intervals of fizzing sounds.  Simply wonderful.

[TL]

See what we said when this band played with Maybeshewill at the Y in April this year.

The Magic Gang at The Scholar Bar on Friday.

The Magic Gang at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

The Magic Gang at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

The Scholar Bar saw a set by The Magic Gang. ‘Music for your mind, body, spirit, soul’ proclaims their Facebook page. With their home town in the ‘New Forest’ (sounds very arboreal) they are currently located in Brighton.

[TL]

Black Honey at the Scholar Bar on Friday.

Black Honey at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Black Honey at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Black Honey was also on stage in the Scholar Bar. Members of this band were Izzy B Phillips
Chris Ostler, Tommy Taylor and Tom Dewhurst. As an NME article put it:  ‘This secretive Brighton four-piece combine dark grunge with sweet, sticky Americana – but argue they couldn’t have come from anywhere other than these isles.’

[TL]

Black Honey showed everyone why they are about to take over the world. A fantastic band and a great booking for the festival, resulting in a packed Scholar turning out to see them. Leicester music fans were already familiar with them as they’ve played at the Cookie twice already, wowing the crowd there and gaining a loyal following.

[KJ]

Elizabeth Cornish, Friday, Union Square.

Elizabeth Cornish at Handmade 2016. Photo: Keith Jobey

Elizabeth Cornish at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Keith Jobey

Elizabeth Cornish was playing solo on the Union Square stage in the evening. Akin to playing in a busy pub but she’s good enough to silence the noisiest of rooms. A regular at both Handmade and White Noise Festivals, this event wouldn’t be the same without her. We wrote about her album launch back in March 2014, and did a comprehensive article on her in December 2014. On Saturday 7th May, she’s hosting a single launch party at the Soundhouse. That will be with her band and is one not to miss.

[KJ]

Hannah Lou Clark, Friday, in O2/3 (The Cave).

Hannah Lou Clark at Handmade 2016. Photo: Keith Jobey

Hannah Lou Clark at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Keith Jobey

We’d been tipped off by music mates that Hannah Lou Clark was worth catching and they were certainly right. A solo performer, singing and playing electric guitar. Sometimes raucous, sometimes more mellow, always captivating.

[KJ]

Reuben Wisner, Union Square, Friday

Reuben Wisner performing at Handmade 2016

Reuben Wisner performing at Handmade 2016

I rate Rueben Wisner very highly. In several reviews I have tried to explain what is so good about him. I saw him on 11th January at Manhattan34, where he performed a set of his own songs [Music in Leicester] and I said then that he “was transporting, singing with his hallmark passion and lashings of expression.” Again, in March, this time at The Cookie. I commented ‘It is always a pleasure to hear Rueben sing; his vocals are very agreeable and his songs have a subtlety that makes them ear-pleasing. His guitar playing is of a high standard and in some songs he used a loop pedal. His songs have an acute sense of rhythm and tonight his stage performance was delivered with a particular panache. His songs are about feelings and are delivered with plenty of them. [Music in Leicester]

Reuben Wisner at the Cookie in March 2015 Photo: RhinoFeroSs photography

Reuben Wisner at the Cookie in March 2015
Photo: RhinoFeroSs photography

Today we heard him performing his own songs and they made a considerable impact all round. His song writing is excellent and he performs with resonsnace and vitality. Some of his songs had a compelling urgency about them, whist others were engagingly lyrical.

[TL]

The Reckless Youth, Friday, O2/3.

The Reckless Youth at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

The Reckless Youth at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Leicester band The Reckless Youth played in O2/3. The room they were given to play in might have been small but they packed it out.  This Leicester band has built up a strong following. Their first song sounded very metal to me, it has all the riffs I have heard recently at the metal nights.  TRY is a band that has gorwn, developed and move on consierably from their early days and that is good. It is a band that is just as good as it ever has been and has not taken root in its past. Excellent.

[TL]

Charlotte Carpenter, O2/3, Friday.

Charlotte Carpenter at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Charlotte Carpenter at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Singer Charlotte Carpenter headlined the day’s line-up on O2/3. She is an artist who has appeared several times in this magazine; in 2014 Trevor Cobbe went to see her at the Cookie [Music in Leicester].  To quote what he said then ‘Charlotte describes herself as alternative indie with the promise of darker more electric sounds on forthcoming EP, Whole. I would probably describe the music as acoustically based Folk/Rock, a crowded segment but it’s beautifully delivered on the night. The tempo ebbed and flowed in the songs as well as the set, with Let It Go dedicated to an aunt and uncle in the audience before Charlotte gave us an insight into her darker electric sound with a debut performance of Take It All before finishing with the beautiful Whole.’

[TL]

I saw Leeds band Vitamin in the Scholar Bar. With their lead vocalist, they put in a pretty tight performance. It was interesting to see quite a few of the other musicians coming to see this band. They gave us a bouncy set of songs; very listenable tunes.  Described to me as ‘Breakthrough indie soul-pop.’ Vitamin is touring with Magic Gang and Clean Cut Kid. Vitamin recently unveiled their video for recent single ‘This Isn’t Love‘, which you can watch on YouTube. They are all 19.

[TL]

Pretty Vicious, Scholar Bar, Friday.

Pretty Vicious at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Pretty Vicious at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Pretty Vicious was on stage in the Scholar Bar. From Merthyr Tydfil in Wales the band was founded in March 2014 and are signed to Virgin/EMI records.

[TL]

I went to see 65 Days Of Static. Not a band I know well, I have to admit. I just turned up and listened. A lot of people in the room were clearly fans and the O2/2 was pretty full. What I heard were large, orchestral swathes of expansive sounds, generating volumes of mood and atmosphere. They are described as an instrumental, electronic post math/rock band that formed in Sheffield in 2001. They have played alongside such bands as Metallica, Lostprophets, Linkin Park, and Deftones.

[TL]

We Are Scientists, O2/2, Friday.

We Are Scientists at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

We Are Scientists at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

The headline slot in the O2/2 saw a stunning performance by We Are Scientists. This band is BIG; big enough to have a page in Wikipedia. It tells us that they are an indie rock band based in New York but originally from Berkeley, California. The band has performed at Glastonbury, T in the Park, Reading, Leeds and the Isle of Wight festivals.

[TL]

See more photos by Kevin Gaughan from today’s acts:

Handmade Festival, O2 Academy, Leicester, Fri 29/04/16

Watch out for photos and write-ups from our team – coming to this page soon.

Saturday  30th April

Scroll down for links to our reports for previous years

Today’s programme saw a headline slot by Deaf Havana. Several well-known Leicester acts performed today including Speaking in Italics, Michael Kurtz, Arcades, Clubs and some of our local stand-up comedians.

The audience in the O2/2 Queens Hall. Photo by John Helps used with permission.

The audience in the O2/2 (Queens Hall.)
Photo by John Helps used with permission.

Yes, today was Deaf Havana day.

Deaf Havana at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Deaf Havana at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

All day people had been commenting to me about how big this band is and how astonishing it is that they are playing here tonight. I arrived before they had started and you could feel the atmosphere in the room, even before they had started. There was a tangible atmosphere of anticipation.  As the band members walked on stage the crowd erupted. Soon the music was in full flow. It was a fantastic set of songs. I felt so tingling to be there, sharing with hundreds of other people this intense experience.  This band from London formed in 2005 and are now signed to SO Recordings. And they come from Kings Lynn and Hunstanton. They started life as a small band playing at local venues;  just like hundreds of our local bands do today; and now they are huge. I guess there were a few musicians in the audience tonight who found that inspirational. Hardly more than 10 years ago now.

[TL]

Speaking in Italics was the first band today to play in O2/2, the Queens Hall.

Speaking In Italics at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Speaking In Italics at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

This is an important Leicester band. Last year, they performed at Handmade in O2/3, The Cave. We saw them in May 2013.  We also saw them in 2013.  The band is signed to the record label known as Robot Needs Home. if you look on the band’s Facebook page, it tells us that ‘The band grew up within the Leicester post-hardcore/math rock scene, releasing three EP’s through local DIY/indie label Robot Needs Home, and developing their own unique and intense brand of intricate, emotionally-charged, melodic rock music. During 2014-2015 the band began touring extensively throughout the UK and Europe with bands including Maybeshewill, Max Raptor, Flood Of Red, Allusondrugs, and Press To Meco.’  Anyway, to my ears,  they played music that was fervent, urgent and charged with powerful vocals.

[TL]

Kagoule, O2/2, Saturday

Kagoule at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Kagoule at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Lonely The Brave were in 02/2 on Saturday.

Lonely The Brave at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Lonely The Brave at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

One of the bands that once played at The Charlotte when they were breaking, Lonely The Brave has made it into the big time. A lot of people came to see them; and I could see why people liked them.  We reported a while back in MIL:  ‘Cambridge band Lonely The Brave is to play at Leicester’s Handmade festival in April. After the success of the recent epics “Black Mire” and “What If You Fall In”, Lonely The Brave  released the video for the album’s first single proper “Radar”. Both anthemic and immediate, the track was debuted by Annie Mac as her Hottest Record In The World on Radio 1, alongside an interview with Mark and Ross from the band.’ The band’s new album – Things Will Matter – is due out on 20th May.

[TL]

Lonely The Brave at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Lonely The Brave at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Kagoule, Saturday, O2/2

Alternative rock trio from Nottingham, Kagoule made an impression when they were in Leicester in December. Keith Jobey saw them at The Cookie.  [Music in Leicester] Back in 2013 we flagged them up in our round-up of the top gigs in that year, saying ’26th February – at The Cookie Jar, Kenworthy, Kagoule, Kappa Gamma and the Cream Tangerines was applauded at the time as being a significant night of really superb bands.’ [Music in Leicester]

[TL]

Crosa Rosa, Saturday, O2/3.

Crosa Rosa at Handmade 2016. Photo: Keith Jobey

Crosa Rosa at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Keith Jobey

Crosa Rosa came down from Nottingham to entertain us and from the start we knew they were going to do just that. Kind of grungy, full of energy, they were one of the discoveries of the festival for a number of the Cave dwellers watching.

[KJ]

Cassels, Scholar Bar, Saturday.

Cassels at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Cassels at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Cassels are brothers Jim and Loz Beck. A stripped down guitar and drums duo playing a punk style full of anger and frustration. Still young but a band to watch.

[KJ]

Crows, O2/2, Saturday

Crows at Handmade 2016. Photo: Keith Jobey

Crows at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Keith Jobey

Crows are a bit special. Dark and fearsome and with a cult following. Another fantastic selection for the festival, they first played Leicester at The Cookie’s What Became Of Us Festival in October 2014.

[KJ]

OhBoy in the Scholar Bar.

OhBoy at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

OhBoy at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

This five-piece band played to full room; their punchy songs featured a strong vocal layer. On facebook they describe themselves as a “noisy bunch from the Midlands” though they seem to have a lot of connections with Northampton.

[TL]

Rich List, O2/3, Saturday.

Rich LIst at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Rich List at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

I always like to catch Rich List when I can and managed a quick visit. Down to a three-piece,  their electro- driven 80s beats are so catchy.

[KJ]

Dayfloweer, O2/3, Saturday.

Dayflower at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Dayflower at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Michael Kurtz was in O2/3 on the BBC Introducing stage.

Michael Kurtz at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Michael Kurtz at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

I have seen Michael Kurtz before. I saw him for the first time last year at Simon Says… festival. I noted that he was then 17 and from Loughborough and I said “…his voice and its deep, rich timbre.  A natural singing voice if ever I heard one. He writes his own songs and several people had mentioned to me how good he was.” He is still good;  in fact he is very good. His songs were very agreeable and his guitar playing very acceptable. He mentioned that he has an EP coming out soon;  something I for one will definitely want to listen to. A talented song writer with a fine voice his performance was excellent. [Music in Leicester]

[TL]

Arcades played in O2/3.

Many of you will remember Casino Empire. Now, they are called Arcades. The same people musicians led by the singer and front man Tommy Cobley. When I saw Tommy Cobley for the first time, I thought ‘now there is a rock star in the making.’ One of the best things about my job is following a band from when they started and seeing them climb the ladder of success. Cobley still has that magic and that attitude as when he started; he still gives his performances one hundred percent of himself. They might have changed their name but they have not changed the quality of what they do – still the same good tunes, still the same infectious beats.  Keith Jobey wrote about them when they played at The Cookie in December 2014 [Music in Leicester]  See our feature article on Casino Empire.

[TL]

We Three And The Death Rattle, 02/3, Saturday.

We Three And The Death Rattle at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

We Three And The Death Rattle at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

The brilliant but elusive Leicester trio We Three and the Death Rattle made another appearance after storming White Noise back in December. With a new album being worked on we got a set of newer songs such as Bomb Mars and latest single Black Lightning’s Daughter. They even threw in a Prince tribute, playing When Doves Cry, warning all fans of Prince to leave the room prior to it.

[KJ]

Clubs played on Saturday in O2/3.

Clubs at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Clubs at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Leicester band Clubs has become something on a legend already, after founding themselves in August 2012.

Clubs at The Musician on 12th June 015. Photo: Keith Jobey

Clubs at The Musician on 12th June 015.
Photo: Keith Jobey

Keith Jobey reviewed one of the band’s gigs in June 2015 [Music in Leicester]; they were at The Musician with with Midcity, Lacura and Fossa – he said then ‘The slow and steady rise of Clubs continues. This gig being their biggest headline show to date and it brings to an end a UK tour. They also have some great festival slots this summer including Simon Says and T in the Park, where they’ll be on the BBC introducing stage (we might see them on TV). They’re also due in the studio again to record more tracks. As for the gig, the Musician has filled up, including fans at the front holding up a ‘We love you Matt’ sign. It’s a pretty comprehensive set from the band, with most of their songs getting an airing. A set that gets the crowd dancing, singing and partying. A set that shows off their excellent collection of songs, all delivered with confident ease.’ One of the bands that people most often comment to me about in very positive terms. Tonight’s performance brought it all back and reminded me, if I needed reminding, just how good they are.

[TL]

Are times a changing for Clubs? CJ (lead singer) tells us they have a new single out soon but then a summer of uncertainty, as lives move on. A couple of more shows and then see what happens. Regardless of any uncertainty, the set was the usual string of catchy tunes, spanning their history.

[KJ]

Fallers, Union Square, Saturday.

Fallers at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Fallers at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Happy Accidents, Scolar Bar, Saturday

Happy Accidents at Handmade 2016. Photo: Keith Jobey

Happy Accidents at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Keith Jobey

Happy Accidents played in the Scholar bar. The trio of musicians gave us a bouncy selection of their songs that tasted to me like pop, punk; vocals coming from the guitarist with backing vocals from the bassist. A band from London, the band told the audience that they were “playing in the Midlands for the first time.” Their actively energetic performance seemed to go down well the people who probably had never seen them before.

[TL]

I spent a while in The Diner at the comedy gig. Comedy and Cocktails, as it was billed, provided several funny comedians but no cocktails. Michael Crump, from Birmingham, provided a set of witty, funny material and he had a nice line in banter with the audience. He was on stage for six minutes but, as he said, “I only have 3 minutes of material.” Well, I enjoyed it.  Chris Purchase had some unusually original material especially his piece about how animals mate and what it would be like if human could do the same.  He mentioned cuttlefish (or something like that) who swim past females and fire packets of sperm at them. If humans could do that it would make life at parties and nightclubs rather more interesting.  Linz Santoro, also from Birmingham, had a lovely Brummy accent and we loved her naughty style, which, I thought, I was similar to the stuff that Sarah Millican does.  By the time I left  to move on to my next band, quite a lot of people had gathered in the room; so, nice to see that comedy was a popular part of the programme.

Later in the day I went to Jokes On Us, and saw Lisa Thompson who talked about some of the weird gigs she has done. Her fast-paced set was very funny. She mentioned having been at the comedy gigs at The Exchange bar in town. House of Verse saw a line-up of acts performing in the Union Square area. One of these was Daniel Nicholas, who we saw at the Us & Them show on 3rd May, reported in Arts in Leicester magazine. Also on stage was Raj Mohanlal, one of Leicester’s finest blues musicians providing musical backing for some of the acts.

[TL]

Jurassic Pop opened the Scholar Bar, Saturday.

Jurassic Pop at Handmade 2016. Photo: Keith Jobey

Jurassic Pop at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Keith Jobey

Jurassic Pop sing songs only about Jurassic Park, they tell us. Rather limiting but they sounded good, and credit for covering the Osmonds’ hit Crazy Horses. That’s not about Jurassic Park, I hear you say. It is when you reword it Crazy Raptors.

Saturday – a very full day and a lot going on. Often, you didn’t know where to go next. But what a selection of top-class acts to choose from!

See more photos by Kevin Gaughan from today’s acts:

Handmade Festival, O2 Academy, Leicester, Sat 30/04/16

Sunday 1st May

Scroll down for links to our reports for previous years

Sunday offered headlines sets from Swim Deep, Beans On Toast and two sets of comedy as well as theatre from the Tetrad company over at the Attenborough Arts Centre.

Swim Deep at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Swim Deep at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Beans On Toast, 02/3, Sunday.

Beans On Toast at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Beans On Toast at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Today we are looking forward to the headlines slots by Swim Deep and Beans on Toast.  Leicester artists on today’s bill include Weikie, Grace Petrie and others and a lot of the day will also provide cinema screenings, more comedy and a theatre performance by Tetrad’sUs & Them‘ company at the nearby Attenborough Arts Centre.

Read about Tetrad in the review of their show in 2015.

Weikie, Union Square, Sunday

Weikie at Handmade 2016. Photo: Keith Jobey

Weikie at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Keith Jobey

Adam Weikert aka Weikie closes the Union Square stage. Alone, with only his banjo, acoustic guitar and stomp board, he weaves beautiful songs – drawing on bluegrass, folk and incredible storytelling – which captivate and stir the soul. Some older favourites are played: Hare, Letters From The Front Line and  The Wasting plus previously unreleased tracks such as The Sapling From The Ash  as well as a new song for his band Her Name Is Calla called Echoes. The songs are serious but Weikie has a great sense of humour – mostly at his own expense – but his set showcases how talented a musician and composer he is. He sings one song a cappella and, pushing himself to a different level, it is great. Another fantastic set from Weikie!

[Adrian Manning]

Los Campesinos, O2/2, Sunday

A large group of musicians – I counted seven in all – had gathered on the stage of the Queens Hall for a performance by Los Campesinos. A set of jolly tunes attracted a large number of people. They are from Cardiff (although none of them are Welsh, I read) and they play indie pop. Formed in 2006, they are signed to the Whichita label. The band has a large number of albums, EPs and singles to its name.  Very enjoyable.

[TL]

Colour Me Wednesday, 02/3, Sunday

Colour Me Wednesday was a big tick for me. One of those bands you follow for years but fail to see live. Well that’s now rectified thanks to Handmade and more specifically Grace Petrie. I knew they’d be good but they were even better that I thought they’d be. Catchy tunes, pop with a hint of ska at times, boundless energy I managed to buy one of their EPs afterwards with its lovingly handmade cover, very appropriate considering the festival name. Here’s hoping they’re back in these parts again soon.

[KJ]

Alpha Male Tea Party, Scholar Bar, Sunday.

Alpha Male Tea Party at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Alpha Male Tea Party at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Grace Petrie & The Benefits Culture, in O2/3.

Grace Petrie and The Benefits Culture at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Grace Petrie and The Benefits Culture at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Playing at Handmade for the fourth time, Grace Petrie is always a highlight of the festival. One of Leicester’s widely celebrated singers and songwriters. Grace describes her work as being “predominantly left-wing protest songs.”  On stage with her today two musicians, who also sang with her.

Grace Petrie at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Grace Petrie at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Their opening number was sung a-capella until they came in with the instrumentals. if there’s a fire in your heart, I noted. Read what I said of her performance last year at the festival [Music in Leicester] – ‘I rate Grace Petrie as being one of Leicester’s finest solo artists. A friend and collaborator of Billy Bragg, her songs are often political and she refers to herself as a “protest singer” but, unlike a lot of other protesters in music, Petrie is also one of the most entertaining and personable acts you will see on the local circuit.’

[TL]
Grace Petrie is a local, national (BBC Radio 4) and international (Vancouver Folk Festival) treasure and it was great to see her curating stages and inviting some of her favourite artists to the festival. It was also great to catch her own set on the Academy 3 stage. Her political leanings are clear and she’s preaching to the converted, but it’s how she hits the nail on the head so precisely yet so wittily that is so entertaining. Her songs, including You Pay Peanuts You Get Monkeys, You Pay Nothing You Get Nowt and Workshy are sing-a-longs that get the crowd moving, singing and laughing in equal measure whilst being more honest and sincere than many a politician. Grace is lovely, human and passionate – a winning combination!

[Adrian Manning]

Oscar, Sunday in O2/2 (Queens Hall)

Oscar at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Oscar at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

A five-piece band from London, Oscar gave us some bouncy electro indie melodies with plenty of appealing rhythms in a set that was well varied. Enjoyable.

[TL]

Chris T-T, in O2/3.

When I arrived Chris T-T  was in the middle of a poem which he was reading. he hailed it as being “aggressively political” which it was. He picked up a guitar and did a song. Lyrics were insightful and incisive observations on the world and life; well, Shakespeare used to do much the same and so did Bob Dylan. A good warm-up I thought for the Grace Petrie set later. Chris is from Brighton by the way. He also has a band. I read: ‘Active since the late 1990s, Chris T-T has made 10 solo albums and played over 2,000 live shows around the world. ‘ Not bad eh?

[TL]

Colour Me Wednesday, 02/3, Sunday.

Colour Me Wednesday at Handmade 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Colour Me Wednesday at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Waking Aida played on Sunday in the Scholar Bar.

The four musicians of Waking Aida had traveled to Leicester from their home town of Southampton. As their guitarist said at the beginning “there will be no singing”. This was an instrumental band. Well, not the only to play at the festival and we know about such groups from seeing Maybeshewill. Actually, when they said that someone cheered! It didn’t stop the guitarist from referring to the pieces they were playing as “songs.” But then I guess that is what everyone does. There was no shortage of mood and atmosphere to beguile the ears. On Facebook the band claims its genre is: ‘Post Medio-Core’. I Googled that but nothing came up of any real significance.  Anyway, let’s not quibble; what they did was damn fine.

Waking Aida in the Scholar Bar at Handmade Festival 2016.

Waking Aida in the Scholar Bar at Handmade Festival 2016.

[TL]

Big Deal, O2/2, Sunday

Music In Leicester last caught Big Deal at the Soundhouse back in November 2013. A very polished indie band writing some great songs that are built around the harmonies and guitar playing of Alice and Kacey. [Big Deal at The Soundhouse, Music in Leicester 2013]

Harkin, O2/2, Sunday

Harkin at Handmade 2016. Photo: Keith Jobey

Harkin at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Keith Jobey

Harkin is no stranger to Handmade Festival. She played with her band Sky Larkin in 2013 at the Firebug and returns today in a solo role as a late replacement for Theo Verney. Being the major influence in her band, Katie’s solo work is a lo-fi version with many of the songs sounding very Sky Larkinesque.

[KJ]

Jasmine Kennedy, O2/3, Sunday

Jasmine Kennedy at Handmade 2016. Photo: Keith Jobey

Jasmine Kennedy at Handmade 2016.
Photo: Keith Jobey

Jasmine Kennedy was in the Cave, playing delicate acoustic songs. Songs inspired by dead rats and wanting to be an accountant. Worth a listen to if you haven’t heard her yet.

Noyo Mathis, Schol Bar, Sunday.

Noyo Mathis had one of the toughest slots imaginable. They were competing against Leicester City’s televised attempt to win the Premiership title. An event that had drawn thousands of people into the city’s pubs. So it was a small crowd watching the band but they understood and didn’t let it put them off what they came up to do.

[KJ]

See all of Kevin Gaughan’s photos from Sunday:

Handmade Festival, O2 Academy, Leicester, Sat 01/05/16

 

Generally speaking, the festival year has been an astounding success. All credit to the organisers, including John Helps and Andy Wright, for a superb programme of acts and for delivering a well organised event.

Line-up this year

Scroll down for links to our reports for previous years

FRIDAY
O2 ACADEMY 2 (QUEENS HALL) – IN ASSOCIATION WITH LAST.FM

ASH MAMMAL – 17:15
HER NAME IS CALLA – 18:15
65DAYSOFSTATIC – 20:15
WE ARE SCIENTISTS – 22:00
SCHOLAR BAR – IN ASSOCIATION WITH FUTURE PERFECT

ESTRONS – 17:00
VITAMIN – 17:45
THE MAGIC GANG – 18:45
BLACK HONEY – 19:45
PRETTY VICIOUS – 21:15

O2 ACADEMY 3 (THE CAVE) – IN ASSOCIATION WITH DEMON MEDIA

LACURA – 17:00
FRENCH LEAVE – 18:15
RECKLESS YOUTH – 19:15
HANNAH LOU CLARK – 20:30
CHARLOTTE CARPENTER – 22:00
UNION SQUARE

SOPHIA MARSHALL – 18:45
REUBEN WISNER – 19:45
ELIZABETH CORNISH – 21:15

SATURDAY

O2 ACADEMY 2 (QUEENS HALL) – IN ASSOCIATION WITH UPSET

SPEAKING IN ITALICS – 15:15
CLEFT – 16:15
CROWS – 17:15
WEIRDS – 18:15
KAGOULE – 19:15
LONELY THE BRAVE – 20:15
DEAF HAVANA – 22:00
SCHOLAR BAR – IN ASSOCIATION WITH BIG SCARY MONSTERS AND ALCOPOP

JURASSIC POP – 15:00
HAPPY ACCIDENTS – 15:45
CASSELS – 16:45
OH BOY! – 17:45
GET INUIT – 18:45
AXES – 19:45
THE XCERTS – 21:15
O2 ACADEMY 3 (THE CAVE) – IN ASSOCIATION WITH BBC INTRODUCING

RICH LIST – 15:30
DAYFLOWER – 16:15
MICHAEL KURTZ – 17:15
WTATDR – 18:15
ARCADES – 19:15
CROSA ROSA – 20:30
CLUBS – 22:00
UNION SQUARE

PILES OF CLOTHES – 15:45
FALLERS – 16:45
SHE MAKES WAR – 17:45
HOUSE OF VERSE – 19:00
(NINJA BOB, DOUG DEANS, POETMAN, JODIE HANNIS, DAN NICHOLAS, DAN KENT, MYTHYM, MATT HELLARD, WISEASS, HIBWORD, MY SHAY, SHUTER, YAN, VELVET EXIT, MARCUS JOSEPH, DEF NINJA, HAYCHE GRIIM, NIK NAK)

SUNDAY

O2 ACADEMY 2 (QUEENS HALL) – IN ASSOCIATION WITH WITCHITA

HARKIN – 16:15
JOHNNY LLOYD – 17:15
BIG DEAL – 18:15
OSCAR – 19:15
LOS CAMPESINOS! – 20:15
SWIM DEEP – 22:00
SCHOLAR BAR – IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE ROBOT NEEDS HOME COLLECTIVE

NOYO MATHIS – 15:00
BEAR MAKES NINJA – 15:45
ALPHA MALE TEA PARTY – 16:45
NARCS – 17:45
WAKING AIDA – 18:45
USA NAILS – 19:45
THREE TRAPPED TIGERS – 21:15
O2 ACADEMY 3 (THE CAVE) – IN ASSOCIATION WITH GRACE PETRIE

JASMINE KENNEDY – 15:30
GRAINNE MAGUIRE – 16:15
COLOUR ME WEDNESDAY – 17:15
ROBIN INCE – 18:15
CHRIS T-T – 19:15
GRACE PETRIE – 20:15
BEANS ON TOAST – 22:00
UNION SQUARE

FIND THE RIGHT WORDS – 16:00
(BRIGITTE APHRODITE AND QUIET BOY, JEMIMA FOXRTROT, MARK GRIST, OH STANDFAST, JESS GREEN)
CAROLINE WRIGHT – 19:435
WEIKIE – 21:15

The event overall

Things we noticed about the festival and its venue were many; but here are a few of them:

Weekend tickets were on sale at £40 with single day ticket going for £22.

Art and photography exibitions

Several exhibitions of arts were on display, including photos taken by a  group of photrographers at preveious hand made festivals.

The Handmade Photographers

Prowling round the festival, you will see several folk dripping with cameras: These are the Handmade Photographers. Rather than keeping their pictures in a box under the stairs, we thought it would be nice to show some of their pics from previous Handmade Festivals.

Ash Brown
David Wilson Clarke
Magda Wrzeszcz
Matt Cawrey
Oliver Bellamy

Part of the photography display at Handmade 2016

Part of the photography display at Handmade 2016

In another part of the venue art photographers also had a display of their work.

 

Display at Handmade 2016 by Andy Stafford and Jacqui Booth

Display of work by Andy Stafford and Jacqui Booth at Handmade 2016

See also:

Previous reports on the Handmade festival

Brawlers Hand Made Festival 2015

Brawlers
Hand Made Festival 2015

Handmade 2015 (held at the O2 Academy)

Weikie at the Handmade Festival in 2014. Photo Keith Jobey

Weikie at the Handmade Festival in 2014.
Photo Keith Jobey

Handmade 2014 (held at the O2 Academy

Handmade 2013 (the first year of the festival)

Photos from Handmade 2013

Read an interview with festival director John Helps.