MIL’s round-up of live music
for June 2015
Each month we look at some of Leicester’s live music.
Trevor Locke looks back at the music, gigs, shows, festivals, singers and bands that made June another huge month for Leicester.
Tuesday 30th June
Quite a varied day for music! On the hottest day of June, Leicester basked in a mini-heatwave. So, it was a good evening to pay a visit to the Soundhouse for the open-mic night. Tonight’s line-up was opened by Joe Doyle (aka Homeless Shakespeare) who sang some songs, with his usual highly individual voice, and also told the audience about his showing coming up on Saturday at The Soundhouse (there’s more about this on Facebook.) Joe told his audience to expect “violent grindcore and free cupcakes”, at least that’s what I thought he said. All the acts tonight were very good. Shannon Lodge, a regular at this shows, sang a song that drew enthusiastic acclaim from the audience. A moody number that she delivered with an impressive voice, using her vocals to full effect. You can watch a video of Shannon performing tonight, on her Facebook page.) The act I had gone there to see was Alpha State. Although they did not perform as a full band, lead singer Wayne Cooper was accompanied by the scintillating guitar work of Matt Hicken. Wayne delivered impressive vocals (despite complaining that he had a sore throat) and made a particularly engaging rendition of a song dedicated to the actor Robin Williams, who died last year. We look forward to Alpha State’s EP launch on 2nd August at The Musician.
Earlier today I had been at Leicester Cathedral for a rather different kind of music. Hundreds of children from schools in Leicester and Leicestershire had gathered there for the premier of a new composition – a cantata – composed by Benjamin Vaughan and Philip Goss. The King in The Car Park told, in song and music, the story of Richard III’s life and times up to his death at the Battle of Bosworth and his eventual interment in the full glare of the media and live television, earlier this year. It was a complex piece of choral writing but one which the children delivered with impressive technical success and confidence. Leicester is a place that is full of surprises.
Sunday 28th June
the legend from South Indian as at The Soundhouse today. I was covering the Leicester Writes festival at the Exchange bar so I missed this one. But, I have seen The Raghu Dixit Project several times before, having discovered them at the Summer Sundae festival.
Friday 26th June
Leicester’s rising stars of the bands scene, Aztec Temples, were the main attraction at Pi Bar tonight. Heading up an impressive line-up brought together by Dreaming in Colour Productions, it was a night to remember. This is a venue that often delivers good evenings of musical entertainment. Tonight was one that hit the mark, from its first band right through to the finale. As DICP commented on their Facebook page: Good lord last night was just bloody brilliant! It certainly was. With a spectacular performance by The Fores and solidly enjoyable supporting acts by The Harmonics, The Mocking Jays and The Thieves, Aztec Temples provided the icing on the cake.
The line-up for tonight’s show was: The Thieves, The Fores, The Mocking Jays, The Harmonics, Aztec Temples
Thursday 25th June
The Shed was the venue that gave us Chasing Deer. Tonight I made sure I got there in time to see their performance. Having come from their home town of Stratford-upon-Avon, they had gone to some trouble to invite me down to see them. Respectful of the band’s diligence, I sat on my chair at the bar and wrote:
What makes a good band? It is a question I keep coming back to. One answer to this question is like this: ‘a band you see for the first time but which you immediately like and want to see again.’ So, even though I had never seen Chasing Deer before I went out of my way to see them when they came to Leicester and I am glad that I did. I noted ‘a good band is one that plays good music.’ [A seemingly trite thing to say but one that begs an awful lot of questions.] They play it well and choose good songs – whether their own or covers – and they have a sense of what music works.
I continued in my notebook: Chasing Deer played Pompeii – Bastille’s much-loved song that I have heard from many acts before. I read on the web ‘Bastille lead singer Daniel Smith in an interview with Australian Radio’s nova FM describes the song as a conversation between two of the inhabitants of the city of Pompeii as the city is destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.’ Many of you will be able to sing
And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above
Even though I have heard this before – for example from the acapella group The Simpletones – I have to say that Chasing Deer gave it their own take and delivered one of the better covers of this famous song, that I have ever heard; they gave it a new interpretation in which multi-levelled instrumental orchestration enriched the tone and flavour. Rob Hodkinson provided very pleasing vocals, backed by the rest of the band in a performance that led me to add
When this band comes back to Leicester, I will be first in the queue to see them.
You can see Chasing Deer when they play at Pi Bar; then you can make your own mind up. Join this event on Facebook.
Saturday 20th June
Top Leicester indie band Casino Empire was headlining at The Musician tonight. We couldn’t get anyone from MIL to go but we got the impression it was a pretty good night from reading the comments on Facebook.
We didn’t make it to the countryside this year for the Foxton Locks festival. Too many people away on holiday. But, we heard it went well.
Tuesday 16th June
The Car Man at Curve
Sometimes it is actually refreshing to go to a show that is not about rock music. So, tonight I was at Curve for the musical Car Man, the song and dance spectacular which uses the music of Georges Bizet and the incredible dance routines of top British choreographer Matthew Bourne. You can see from my review of the show that I enjoyed it very much.
Friday 19th June
Having filled myself up with white wine and stir fry I was ready for an evening with some bands. Long have I been a fan of Great Imitation. My opening remark to James was “Hi James. Good to see you again. I have come to see Great Imitation. I am your fan.” James giggled and said something about being relieved that they had least one fan. another superbly good performance from one of Leicester top music acts. Sepia Sun brought us some smooth and richly woven sounds, mixing instruments with electro. sounds into brilliant colours, laden with mood and atmosphere. Senser attracted a large following of enthusiastic fans and gave us a set that had its own light show.
The band provided music that was rich in rhythms and compelling beats. Bringing together the elements of several genres, a special feature slot with a female vocalist and a frenzy on the dance floor…the band that gives its home town as ‘London and Paris’ (signed to the record label Imprint Music) had been referred to as ‘…hammer heavy, incisor sharp guitars and right-on rapped out vocals, regularly blowing the likes of Rage Against The Machine off stage’ – Rock Sound Well, I cant disagree with that.
Friday 12th June
She and the Junkies, Chris King Robinson band, Those Fine Strangers, Kirikai and The Bad Flowers at The Shed
Keith Jobey was at The Musician with Clubs, Laura. Midcity and Fossa
Friday 12th to Sunday 14th June
Our media team was at Download festival; see their photos and read about the bands they saw:
Thursday 11th June
Too much going on in one night. But, I was at The shed to see Oblivious, Last Half, Hope for Return and Of Blue Skies and Youth before moving on to The Cookie to see Reuben Wisner, Abandon Her, Vagrant Souls and Blackwell. Well, you can see I caught some of the acts…
Tuesday 9th June
Music in the Midlands
Check out my review of music, bands and singers across the Midlands in
Saturday 6th June
We were down by the Riverside for the annual festival of water, boats and bands.
Friday 5th June
A night at The Cookie with Lacura, Ash Mammal, The Jacobins and Midnight Wire.
The Tip of the Iceberg
In case you are thinking that writing a round-up of music in Leicester is easy, let me hasten to disabuse you. Last month I thought I had covered all of May and then found that I has missed one important gig.
So, check out what I wrote about Victory Heights at The Shed when they played there on 29th May.