Music for the month of June 2017
Our monthly round-up of Leicester and Leicestershire’s music offerings.
This is where we publish reviews (or links to reviews) of what we saw in June.
New items are added at the top of the page.
Looking for a band or artist?
Use the search bar at the top of every page ⇑
this month, were Laurence Scrivener, Keith Jobey, Gav Squires and Trevor Locke.
Room for plenty more in next month’s round-up.
The Shed, The Musician
with Bitter Pill, Chambers and Timmas at The Shed and English Guns and Dig Lazarus at The Musician.
It just had to be done. Friday and there are two must-see shows. So, I had to get my skates on. Starting the night at The Shed, I saw Bitter Pill. A trio of engaging alternative rock musicians from Leicester but one not before seen in these pages. Two vocalists. Cool. Good. Blending styles. I see they performed at the Riverside Festival as part of the DMU Music Society set on the main stage.
Back in May, they were at Sumo and they have been at The Shed and The Cookie. Looks like a new band. Worth seeing; if you get the chance. They have a page on Facebook.
Chambers we have been before.
Another Leicester trio, this is a band that has been making waves recently. Lively sounds, punchy songs, they really rocked. Strong vocals from Laurence Findley. Flashback. February.
Chambers was a band that Keith Jobey saw in July 2016 when they played at Duffys with Mountaintop Junkshop.
Keith Jobey 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.
Meanwhile, over at The Musician…
English Guns was on stage. Banging. That’s what they were. Stomping vocals, shouty, yelling vocals. On stage in the group: James Cull. Plenty of beats; loads of traction. A fuelled performance. Powerful presence. Several musicians singing at once. Stunning. Some old songs and some new.
Ska rhythms that got the audience going; punk speed beats. Beards were the order of the day. One hairy band. They clearly enjoyed what they were doing.
Stomping vocals from the lead singer who has a glint in his eye and sparkly stage presence all of his own. They played Mob Mentality at Western Park festival in 2015 – watch it on YouTube.
Engaging stagecraft, uplifting, compelling rhythms, energising.
And then Dig Lazarus.
Now, just in case you have forgotten about this band, here are some reminders
and so on; and you can read about them on here when they won the original bands showcase
What a fantastic band. What a stage performance. It was amazing. They threw themselves into their set and gave it they’re all. Bursting with energy. Fizzing. Great songs. Full of melodies and musical brilliance.
But then it was time to race back to The Shed to catch the headline band – Timmas.
28th April. The Shed.
Timmas – a duo – lead vocalist on guitar and a drummer. Quite amazing. They opened their set with Feeling Good, a song that has been covered by many artists; they put their own, very individual interpretation on it. … Blues delivered with an inspirational spirit of rock. Punchy, plenty of purchase, an impressive performance. It was a set that resonated with the audience and afterwards, several people commented to me about how good they were.
Kevin Gaughan got them on to Demon FM
During their set, Timmas announced that they plan to go on a tour of Europe, during the summer.
Tonight’s show marked the start of that tour. Here’s what they said about tonight’s show
Timmas are throwing a massive party before heading off on a busking/gigging/vlogging tour of Europe, and everyone’s invited! There will be live music
There will be merchandise giveaways
There will be FREE CAKE Free entry
It was a remarkable set. This is a band that is set for something big.
Timmas announced on their Facebook page:
Our debut EP is out now!!
It is available to stream and download from Bandcamp here: You can also listen on Spotify here: You can also buy physical copies and more from our online store here.
The Musician with ist
No More Heroes and Siobhan Mazzei band
Tonight I went out to see a band. In fact, I wasn’t intending to write anything; I just wanted to see the band – the one I had known for many, many years. But in the end, I thought ‘why not?’ To have gone and seen and enjoyed (so much) commands respect – enough to write something.
No More Heroes.
Were good. Very enjoyable. Rock flavoured with styles. Laced with multiple influences.
Siobhan Mazzei with her band. Fantastic. Incomparable. Amazing. Super. And the rest.
The band is called i.s.t. Perhaps it is an abbreviation. The lead singer is the Canadian-born singer, songwriter and film-maker Kenton Hall.
Now, back with his band of musicians. After a long absence. Now, back with a set of hugely attractive songs, rhythms and ear-pleasing melodies. Kenton owns the stage; a character and presence all of his own. Full of vitality and vivaciousness. An impressive performance by a group that was a delight to hear.
Flashback. To 9th August 2012.
It’s good to be different. Musician Carlos Stein brought an assembly of unusual music acts to the stage of the Musician for his show The Stein Collectives. Ukulele band The Nukes, the great Carlos himself, the fabulous songs of Kenton Hall, the wonderful tunes of Paddywax, the powerful raps of Jonezy, the glittering guitar and vocals of Dean Sharman came together for one enjoyable celebration of music at the edge.On stage that night: Carlos Stein, Kenton Hall, The Nukes, Jonezy, Paddywax, Dean Sharman, The Mighty Gyrators. [Arts in Leicester magazine]
How many of those do you remember?
And digging even deeper, around 2009
Funky, often quirky but always highly original.
one might might say.
Written by Laurence Scrivener.
Photos by KC Photography.
Saturday 24th of June at the Soundhouse, looking cool with its new blue wave facelift, taking the edge of the late afternoon heat as I pass through the front door and say hello to the welcoming staff. The venue is clean and fresh and people are starting to arrive for tonight’s three band offering. I’ve been looking forward to this one since first spotting the flyer last month, checking out the band list with Gestalt a local favorite of mine supporting two out of town acts one hailing from Birmingham called Ghosts of Dead Airplanes and the other travelling from London named The Desperate Journalists. The venue steadily fills with new and regular faces, and there is a relaxed buzz as new and old friends meet up.
Gestalt get the ball rolling. Once again they start proceedings uncompromising in attitude and style, with vocalist Stefan Cox taking centre stage with bass guitar, sporting a T-shirt from the merch stall (Desperate Journalist) proclaiming “why are you so boring?” Cox is on form, he is relaxed and in a Jovial mood, having a bit of banter with members of the audience though performing each track with seriousness and professionalism that I have come to expect form Gestalt.
The set goes down well, with the locals and supporting bands, with the level raised immediately from the off, with Gestalt doing 12 tracks in rapid succession adding new tracks White Lies and Complicit to the regular set. Once again Drummer Paul Chamberlain delivers the goods with Kev Lloyd ramping up the synths, samples and loops to make Gestalt one of the best acts on the Leicester alternative circuit.
Second on are Ghosts of Dead Airplanes, a three-piece male indie rock/punk band from Birmingham, with Greg Smith (Guitar), Johnny Rimmer (Bass) and Ben Humphries (Drums.)
They seem a little at odds with themselves, casual in an anxious way, cracking jokes with each other and the audience, displaying razor tongued edgy wit that could go either way, I like them already. They kick off with roaring guitars at hurricane force, performing the first track on the list called Scope. Its an angular progression at blistering pace with a stilted lyric that goes along to the beat in places before letting rip with shouty choruses and droopy guitars. I’m hooked. One track bleeds into another over the next four songs with titles such as Soft skills, Talking heads, and Monkey.
Smith’s vocal style delivers melody as well as well crafted lyrics, that compliments the over all sound being delivered. After the show I try to press Smith on the lyrics and titles; he’s evasive but gives you enough to work it out for yourself, but be warned they have a dark humour and it borders on scathing at times. There’s a bit of a breather before the next few tracks and more banter flies around the stage with Rimmer taking the lead in put downs and bare faced honesty, before introducing “Delaware” which is also the title of their forth coming EP released on Quasar Sounds on the 08th July 2017. The lads blast through the remainder of the set, playing, Don’t, Oh No Oh No, Radequate and Space, which seem a little harder in beat and quicker in tempo with Humphries laying down some heavier styled drums that drive the guitars to breaking point. They did good and have made a solid impression on the audience, the bar has been raised again. After the show Smith informs me that Ghosts of Dead Airplanes will be returning to Leicester on the 19th August, playing Duffy’s bar. Keep that Saturday free, you won’t be disappointed.
Tonight’s headliners are a special treat, with rave reviews from Louder than war magazine for their latest album, titled Grow up on Fierce Panda Records.
Desperate Journalist are a four-piece indie rock/post punk outfit, comprising Jo Bevan (vocals), Rob Hardy (Guitar), Simon Drowner (Bass) and Caroline Herbert (Drums.) As they mount the stage to set up, there is an air of anxiety about them, and, after a few minor adjustments to gear, they blast off with a track from the new album called I try not to. I am rocked back on my heels, I wasn’t prepared for such a delivery of pin-point CD sound quality and preciseness. I am engaged immediately with the their look, their style and above all the sound.
Bevan is phenomenal, exuding intelligent poetical lyrics with power and emotion that ranges from the melancholic to angry frustration. She sees the world through adult eyes, searching for truths and answers that can’t always be given. Her vocal style is her own, adding sublime texture to the jangle guitar melodies and repetitive bass grooves that drive the progressions along. Hardy holds his corner brilliantly, he looks good, clad in black, playing a Rickenbacker 330 guitar, adding reverbs to the melodies that make me feel like I am standing in a cathedral. He looks at Bevan through out the set, bouncing her emotion through the licks, turning the power on and off, using effect to colour the tracks, taking you from shadow to vivid light. This relationship between vocals and guitar is countered and matched by Herbert and Downer. With Herbert skilfully laying beats and fills that drives Downer’s bass grooves. They all look as beautiful as they play and sound and I get a real feeling of camaraderie as they move through their moods and emotions, with sly smiles and looks between the band as they play, they take music seriously but themselves – not so much.
The stand-out tracks, for me, were the latest ones from the recent album, with Purple, Hollow and Lacking in your love that made the hairs on the back of my neck bristle. After the show I meet the band back stage and there is an evident strong love between them. They are comfortable, relaxed and funny with their feet firmly on the ground. They take time to talk to members of the audience and nothing seems too much trouble as they talk to me about their influences, and life that drives their songs and music. It’s been a great night. I recommend you put Desperate Journalist on your to see list, failing that treat yourself to an album. I did and it was £8 well spent.
The Soundhouse again have produced yet another blinding gig with quality sound and lighting. Keep your eye on their website for future gigs.
Friday 23rd June
Eden Avenue makes a massive comeback at the Soundhouse.
with Earls, Joe Smith and The Orchid Family.
Photos by Kevin Gaughan.
It was one of those magic nights. A gig that had attracted a swathe of the local rockerati. A warm evening in the height of summer and a programme of top-class music.
Earls opened the show. Not the first time we have seen them. They gave their set an incendiary start. Pyrotechnics from the guitar soon followed. An explosion of sounds from the two musicians. The lead singer explained where they were from; we just think of them as a Leicester act but there is clearly more to it than that. The phrase “yam yams” came into it somewhere. They launched into the one song that properly portrays their style: “I wanna get drunk and I wanna get laid.” Skunking. It reminded me of ‘Oi!’ – the punk sub-genre of skinheads. Late 1970s, Sex Pistols, Ramones, The Clash. Big boots and braces. That kind of stuff. There might have been only two of them but what they did was as powerful as a full band. Thumping punk. The boys are alright.
Making his return to the stages of Leicester, after a long absence, was Joe Smith. OK. There was a time when we called him Joe Walker. But that’s history. So is him being in a band called White Ashes. As an historian, I would say that. The Joe Smith story is a long one.
Joe sang, played the guitar and used loops from a big pedal board on the floor. Nothing new about that. But can’t remember him doing that kind of stuff in the old days. Lot’s of effects. With his loops, several layers of sound, the large degree of skill needed to keep everything in sync. What came from the stage was amazing. I have heard four-piece bands produce less power than this one guy. He sang some of his old stuff from about a year and a half ago and then went on to his newer works. Playing the guitar with considerable dexterity. Excellent.
October – Winner Takes All finals show at The Shed with The Fuss, Product Recall, Weekend Schemers, White Ashes, Kill The Batman, Azidify and Formal Warning (3/10/09)
June. Third Time Lucky headlined a show at The Y Theatre with White Ashes, The Weekend Schemers, White Fix and Six Lost Souls in support. Later the same year, this appeared:
White Ashes is one of Leicester’s young bands and, although there are many good ones, this indie/pop punk foursome has achieved much acclaim from the other bands, of all ages, and are now in demand at the best gigs. Great vocals from Joe Walker (and including a singing drummer), tight playing and thrilling songs make a White Ashes set entertaining and enjoyable. A dedicated bunch of teenagers, they often can be seen in the audience at gigs, seeing what the bigger bands are doing. [Arts in Leicester magazine]
The Orchid Family. Playing in Leicester for the first time. So, no previous to go on. But wow! They got me listening hard. Four guys from the North West – Huddersfield, Southport area. Hard rock, merging into melodic rock, sliding into anthemic melodies. Dashes of metal.
What I thought: Radiohead on speed. Plenty of punchy, volcanic presence. Good vocals from lead singer. Melodic anthems bursting into fuelled crescendos; some songs sounding operatic, oratorio-level.
This band goes back a long way; so long I had to open a trench in the archives to find them. Now they are back. That’s good. Let’s flash back to 17th July 2015.
The five members of this alternative rock band with metal influences put on a resounding good set tonight. Rebecca Maurice (Lead Vocals), Kieran Langley (Drums), Conor Linnett ( Guitar), Will Hayter (Guitar) and Charlie Broughton (Bass) are a group of local musicians who have become well established… After many years of gracing the boards of our local stages, this band still knows how to perform; their stage craft was impressive and their songs were full of thrilling sounds. It was remarkable performance from a band that can still command admiration from a crowd. [Music in Leicester]
22nd May 2015
The five-piece rock and alternative band from Leicester originally formed under the name Vengeance back in 2008 and went on the perform at previous Glastonbudget festivals (2011 in the Charnie Arnie stage.)
Tonight. Every bit as good as when we saw them last time. Compelling songs. Engaging tunes. Fine musicianship. Quality performance. Plenty of ear-pleasing songs and gripping traction. Catchy, memorable, just the ticket for a good night out and what a superb finale to the show.
What a Fantastic evening. Glad to be back at The Soundhouse again.
O2’d The PYRVMIDS
We report from the O2 on the night headlined by PYRVMIDS.
Our report is now live on Music in Leicester. Sorry for the delay.
with Emily Carr, Toby Joe Leonard, Siobhan Mazzei and Joseph Knight.
Did I go to do a gig review? Or. Did I go out to drown my sorrows? Well, in the end it was a bit of both. Anyway, it was good to get out of the house and away from the endless election broadcasts. It was also good to hear some excellent music from talented artists.
Not been to The Shed in a long while. Emily Carr opened the show. A 19 year-old singer and songwriter from Leicestershire, she performed her own songs. Emily has a beautiful voice and she knows how to use it to good effect. Added to that she plays the guitar well.
Toby Joe Leonard gave us a very good set. It hearkened back to the evening in which he launched his album Pain Relief back in the middle of May. [Music in Leicester]
During the set Toby announced his engagement to Elisabeth Barker-Carley. She is head of Dreaming In Colour Productions. An outstanding singer and songwriter.
One artist I had not seen in a long time, so was delighted to hear her again and that was Siobhan Mazzei. She was magic. ‘Magic’ – a word I use only rarely and only to describe performances of the very highest calibre. It’s one of the those words that is reserved. Tonight Siobhan went solo; she also has a band of her own with which she plays. A flashback – 27th March 2015 at The Donkey.
I said at the time: ‘Siobhan takes to the stage and immediately engages with the crowd in her effortlessly friendly manner. I’m guessing quite a few of this crowd haven’t encountered her before but her impassioned plaintive, powerful delivery soon draws everyone into her web of intimate, personal songs. The applause at the end of each song is prolonged and genuine and her rapport with the crowd is a sure-fire sign of a musician comfortable in her own skin and with her craft. ‘ [Music in Leicester]
Now from Nottingham, Joseph Knight was not an artist I had seen before. His album Rediscover is out now on iTunes, etc. His singing was a pleasure to listen to; firm and well articulated. Songs full of passionate intensity and expressiveness. “This is my first time at The Shed since its refurbishment” he told the audience and he seemed to like it. A fittingly good finale to a good evening of acoustic music.
The Wedding Present
by Keith Jobey
I can tell you where I was when I first listened to George Best by The Wedding Present. I was driving through the old mill towns of Lancashire on a grey weekend as it was blasting out of the car cassette player. I was hooked immediately and it became one of my most played albums of the time. I could probably still sing along to all of it. Strangely, I never got to see them live at that time, that marker didn’t occur until quite recently. And of course those recent times have been in large venues. So seeing them play George Best, in its entirety in the small, intimate Firebug venue, offered some form of recompense, a throwback to the late ’80s, with only the door price and the ageing audience reminding you it was 2017.
It’s 30 years since the Wedding Present released their debut album George Best. A tour has been arranged (at much larger venues) to mark the occasion and this was a warm up for that brought to us by the Cookie. The band opened with 30 to 40 minutes of non-George Best material, which acted as a kind of support slot to the main event. The capacity crowd (all 135 of us) watched on appreciatively, but I think we were all there to hear the main feature really.
And when it came it was fantastic. Every track on the album played in order, the only bit missing was the little ‘discussion’ Gedge has at the start of Something And Nothing. Sure, they play songs from the album at other shows, but there’s something about hearing all of them in the order that’s ingrained in your mind. Closing with a couple of bonus tracks it was a well spent 90 minutes. No encore though; this is the Wedding Present, after all.
Riverside fun and music in the sun
We made our annual pilgrimage to Leicester’s Riverside to see the bands and artists that make our city famous for its musical talent. Riverside Festival 2017.
Bands at Firebug
with Thunderian Summer, Prime, Damage Protocol, Beneath the Lights, Weallfallsilent and The Albion.
Billed as ‘Pop Up Rock’ at Firebug, this was a night of bands, bands and more bands. The night was hosted by Phono Media UK, specialists in ‘social media management, marketing, sponsorship, promotions, event & gig management’, according to its page on Facebook.
Owing to the weather (why is it that buses run slower in the rain?) I missed The Albion. A great shame. This is a band I like a lot and have reviewed them several times already.
Weallfallsilent from Leicester. Indie folk rock. Melodic. Sanguin sounds. Electronica from the keyboards added a layer of colour.
Prime. From Nottingham. Normally a six-piece band. Tonight – just two of them, Lee Heir on vocals accompanied by one of the guitar players. They gave a forthright delivery. Left Lion magazine said of prime: ‘A British melting pot of infectious vocals, catchy guitars & heavy rhythms’ The two musicians showed their skills in an acoustic set, as all good band musicians do.
We saw them at the opening night of the Echo Factory in March.
Damage Protocol. Every time I see this Leicester trio, I am more and more impressed. Now they are heading up the ladder. Post-punk and metal blended into infectious sounds. Much traction in their tunes. Impressive guitar lines. A set that had pace, thrust and momentum.
I am a huge fan of Beneath The Lights and have been for many, many years. Excellent stage craft. A band worth seeing. Three vocalists at the front. Mainly original songs laden with bounce, beat and ear-licking rhythms. Songs that are seriously good. This is a band with an enormous repertoire of songs. Their playing is razor-sharp. One of this magazine’s featured bands.
From Corby, Luna Rosa headlined. I remembered seeing them in September 2015. Back then I said: ‘Resonant songs blending sounds together in an ear-licking way. Rich in rhythm, they pumped out some really socking beats, A very good band.’ Strong vocals, compelling melodies and a set of contemporary-sounding songs.
A wet night so not a huge turnout but the music was good throughout.
with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Night Flowers and Weallfallsilent
at The Cookie
By Gav Squires
With their new album, The Echo Of Pleasure, due out soon, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart bring
their tour to The Cookie.
Opening the show are Leicester band Weallfallsilent. Usually a full band, they are playing as an
‘unplugged’ two-piece with just acoustic guitar and child’s Casio keyboard. They sound good as a
two-piece, all very Frightened Rabbit, especially the last song, All Hell Broke Loose. Although
they also have a song, Hair Of The Dog, which cribs Clint Boon’s keyboard line from This Is How
It Feels by The Inspiral Carpets.
Night Flowers (from London) have clearly been enjoying being on tour with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and they really are the perfect support band for the headliners. The song Embers sounds just like the headliners. They have that early Teenage Fanclub sound, slightly rocky but with the west coast sun kissed sound of erm, later Teenage Fanclub. They play lots of new songs from their forthcoming album, which is due in September. I thought that they were brilliant and the crowd clearly agreed as they bought the last of the band’s tour tapes that they had for sale.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
A band from New York. Where the guitarist from Night Flowers was wearing a The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart t-shirt, the drummer from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart is wearing a Night Flowers t-shirt. Until The Sun Explodes is still a stone-cold classic, basically the poppier side of The Cure given an undue twist. This is followed by Heart In Your Heartbreak, a brilliant 1-2. They then get into some new songs, The Garret has a more angular 80s sound.
Come Saturday, from their eponymous debut album, is introduced as a song about homesickness. Followed by Young Adult Friction, which has a definite sound of British Sea Power. New song Anymore, really rocks out, which counters the lyrics, “I wanted to die with you”, which bring to mind The Smiths.
Then there’s still time for Kip to say how impressed that they are that The Cookie actually has cookies. Then it’s onto the encore. Due to the design of The Cookie they don’t do that thing where they pretend to go off stage, wait a bit and then come back on again. Although they do ask us to imagine that they’ve gone off. Kip plays Contender in his own, while the rest of the band sit slightly awkwardly at the side of the stage. They rejoin him for one of the undoubted highlights of the set, an incredible rendition of This Love Is Fucking Right.
So, an absolutely amazing show, one that has got me really excited for the new album. I just hope
that they come back touring after it’s been released.