Martyr De Mona

Saturday 25th April 2015

Martyr de Mona

at Firebug

A gig promoted by Resin Events

Photos: RhinoFeroSs; words: Trevor Locke

It is rare for this magazine to feature a band from out-of-town; but Martyr de Mona from Stourbridge in the West Midlands is a worthy exception that proves the rule.

On stage tonight: Linear, Ronin, Fahran and Martyr de Mona.

A comfortably large audience assembled at Firebug tonight for a specially notable evening of rock. Presented by Resin Events, the night had been extensively advertised for a long time and rode on the back of several other successful shows previously mounted at Firebug.

Martyr de Mona

Martyr de Mona at The Firebug Photo: RhinoFeroSs

Martyr de Mona at The Firebug
Photo: RhinoFeroSs

The headline band – Martyr de Mona – from Stourbridge is one that has played in Leicester several times before. Out of town bands can have a following not just on their home turf but also in several other places and this is one band can certainly has that.

Fronted by Louis Hale (vocals and guitar), with Josh Jones (guitar and vocals), Ashley Letherland (drums) and newly joined member Joshua Wooldrige (bass and vocals) Martyr is a band that enjoys considerable distinction in the Midlands.

Let’s start by looking at what we have said about this band before: MDM played at Firebug in December when they supported Resin with Temple of Lies, and Slam Cartel.

Martyr de Mona, December 2014 Photo:  Kevin Gaughan

Martyr de Mona, December 2014
Photo: Kevin Gaughan

[Music in Leicester]
See a full set of photos from that show

I have to confess: MDM is my favourite hard rock band – their music as not failed me over the years that I have been following them. Happily for me, MDM has played in Leicester many times. A band that is a natural headliner, MDM has attracted much acclaim:

We were formed in 2007; have released a few records over the last few years and enjoyed several UK tours and big shows. We’ve supported some big bands including Skillet and Sonic Syndicate and also played acoustic shows at the LG Arena with bands like Guns N’ Roses, Black Sabbath and Alter Bridge. [All Heavy Metal website]

Lead singer Louis Hale is an amazing front-man; his vocals are ferocious and his stage presence is mesmerising. MDM’s music is staggeringly good; tonight it evoked in me the memory of the iconic riffs of nu-metal and the compelling rhythms of progressive rock. MDM’s songs have passages of gloriously ear-pleasing melodies soaring over a rocket-fuelled back line of deep, resonating bass riffs and crashing percussion, the sounds exploding from the stage like a pyroplastic flow emitted by a massive volcanic eruption. Some might say that the songs of MDM sound like other bands of this genre; but that truism cannot detract from the fact that this is a band that has its own distinctive sound. Their songs have glittering guitar solos, the powerful vocal layer of two superbly good singers and tunes that are apt to end in razor-sharp stops.

The band concluded tonight’s set with Eva – my favourite track of theirs and the one that always brings to mind what this band is all about. They also got called back for an encore.

It was complete magic.

Read this review of MDM’s Imperia release on Global Onslaught

Visit Martyr de Mona’s website

Listen to MDM on Soundcloud

Linear

Linear at The Firebug Photo: RhinoFeroSs

Linear at The Firebug
Photo: RhinoFeroSs

Tonight’s show was opened by Leicester band Linear. The band’s first song set the mood for the night with its driving bass lines, pounding riffs and lead singer Jack Franklin’s voice punching a hole in the air of the room. On stage tonight was Joe Doyle (Homeless Shakespeare, Weekend Schemers, etc.) standing in for their regular bassist. Linear’s songs tend to be darkly coloured, often sombre, always full of drama, passion and intensity. Linear is a band with a set of songs all of which are equally listenable; they ended their set with an up-beat number

I seem to have been in front of this band several times recently. I saw them at the OBS at the Musician on 4th April and on 13th March; I wrote:

With the vocals of Jack Franklin giving the bands its characteristic sound, Linear delivered a set of songs that was outstanding. Lauded for sounding like Morrissey, Franklin is a force of nature; he delivers his vocals with lashings of feeling and panache. Many flavours of rock were being sampled tonight but Linear gave us something that was in a class of its own; their set had moments of drama, supremely commanding flashes of atmosphere and waves of sonorous ballad-ising. Linear reminds me why rock music is so entrancing, so uplifting; they have the ability to weave glorious melodies with exuberant rhythms to provide music that is as exciting as it is satisfying. Linear has a magic that puts them above the rest; they are a phenomenon. Sensational. [Music in Leicester]

and at Sumo on 7th February, when writing about that gig I quoted from Arts in Leicester magazine:

Linear was sensational. Amazing vocals from Jack Franklin tightly backed by the other four musicians in a series of dramatic songs that were tingling. A posse of fans gathered in front of the stage to support them, listening to a set of tracks that were dynamic and that glittered with clever orchestration. For their second song they played a cover but even this was good. Real passion and on-stage movement added up to irresistible music. This band will go a long way. [Arts in Leicester magazine, 2012] [Music in Leicester]

and that would apply equally well to tonight’s performance at Firebug.

Linear is one of MIL’s featured bands
Listen to Linear on Soundcloud

Follow Linear on Facebook

Ronin

Ronin at The Firebug Photo: RhinoFeroSs

Ronin at The Firebug
Photo: RhinoFeroSs

This band from Worcester is, like Martyr de Mona, one that has played in Leicester many times before. Tonight the usually full electric band delivered an acoustic set with three of their members on stage: two guitarists (Kit and Loz) and a drummer (Jake) on box-drum and percussion. All three sang. Several other people who heard them told me how good this set was. I very much agreed with them that this was half an hour of extraordinarily good music-making. With their beautifully harmonised voices, led by the fine singing of Kit, Ronin is a band that ably demonstrates is ability to compose attractive songs and to perform them considerable skill and artistry.

We wrote about Ronin in August last year, when we said

‘‘The songs had plenty of energy, laced with crashing highlights from the cymbals and driven by pounding beats. With the room filling up nicely, the show was well under way and the audience warmed to the band from Worcester, giving them an enthusiastic acclaim at the end of each song. Sparkling guitar work and compelling rhythms went down well, the lead singer’s (Kit Kinrade) strong voice giving it all plenty of appeal.’ [Music in Leicester]

Ronin was previously on stage at Firebug on 31st May 2014 when they supported Leicester band Resin. Having seen them on 21st December 2013, we wrote:

‘Worcester band Ronin had come all the way across the Midlands to play tonight and play they did! It was a superb set, building up their reputation in Leicester following last year’s appearance at the Firebug gig organised by Resin. One incredibly good band, Ronin tore up the stage with a selection of top-notch songs, their FB statement is easy to endorse: ‘Visionary, Energetic and Passionate: Ronin are carving a niche with their unique sound, with foundations firmly planted in rock and elements of alternative, blues, and pop; Ronin are both storytellers and soothsayers.’ ‘ [Music in Leicester]

Tonight’s acoustic offering by Ronin was every bit as good as when I have seen them playing a full electric band. I think I must have said something similar about Resin, at some time in the past.

For those they do not know them, some background:

Ronin already had some impressive gigs under their belt: A UK tour with Cherry Suede, sharing the stage with 80’s stadium fillers Then Jerico, as well as supporting musical legends The Blockheads and playing to a sold out 02 Academy 2 with the Jackass and Viva La Bam star Bam Margera (as F**kface Unstoppable), but 2014 saw Ronin performing at Silverstone for the Great British F1, several headline UK tours, playing with Graham Bonnet of Rainbow and a tour in mainland Europe with rock legends Magnum. In 2014 the band also added to their unusual cover repertoire with a studio cover of Destiny’s child’s Survivor [Ronin website]

Visit Ronin’s website

Fahran

Fahran at The Firebug Photo: RhinoFeroSs

Fahran at The Firebug
Photo: RhinoFeroSs

Nottinghamshire band Fahran is one that I have not seen before. The five-piece band had the most hair of the night, which they used to good effect. Their set of head-banging songs, laced with stunning guitar solos, put out megawatts of energy. I read on the band’s biography:

Garnering acclaim and keen attention, the band backed its potent arrival with their just as successful and dynamic live presence. That first year saw Fahran praised as the openers on the debut I AM I tour and appearing at BT London Live in Hyde Park as part of the London 2012 celebrations. Never a band to rest on laurels or indeed ideas though, Fahran continued to expand and explore their melodically fiery and ruggedly passionate sound, supporting Heaven’s Basement along the way in 2013. Not even the departure of original bassist Alex Stroud and vocalist Nick Whitcroft could derail the blaze of the band’s sound and determination to create a sonic invitation as rounded as it was boundary pushing.

The hard rock band includes amongst their many influences Alter Bridge, Blackstone Cherry, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple.

Thrilling stuff.

Visit Fahran’s website

Follow Fahran on Facebook

See also:

Five of the best at Firebug

Neon Waltz at The Soundhouse

The finals of the OBS at the Musician

Our round-up of live music for April

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