May17

May 2017

Music for the month of May 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 May.

New items are added at the top of the page.

April was amazing! Let’s hope May will be equally magnificent. A lot of good music is about to happen.  We will cover as much of it as we can.

Looking for a band or artist?

Use the search bar at the top of every page ⇑

Otherwise use the contents page

Later this month it will be time for Glastonbudget music festival. See our page on this year’s event.

See what Leicestershire has to offer in the way of festivals this year.


26th May to 28th May

This year’s Glastonbudget music festival took place in the Leicestershire village of Wymeswold. Our report will be published soon.

20th May

Punk at the Soundhouse

with Gestalt, Try Subversion and Southside Rebellion.

Photographs from Dave Bennifer and KC Photography. Words by Laurence Scrivener.

Punkture Promotions put together a rip roaring trio of local punk heroes, Gestalt, Try Subversion and Southside Rebellion for free (donation bucket towards costs).

First up was Gestalt, a completely original material band in the vein of ‘Cabaret Voltaire’ come electro art punk with a modernist approach to synths style and technology, but still maintaining the smooth bass lines and organic drums to keep the sound as live as it could ever be.

Gestalt at the Soundhouse. 20th May 2017. Photo: KC Photography.

With Stefan Cox looking sharp in full black attire from head to toe wearing a cool red armband scrawled the word “chaos” this trio were the complete opposite, thundering through their 40 minute set list without hesitation or mistake. Playing all the favourites of there ardent followers, Gestalt hammered, coerced and manipulated every sound in their repertoire. The synths (Kev Llyod) were huge and at times frightening, with them often emulating the feedback of an over driven guitar as the banks of effects velcro’d to an ironing board making this a kitchen sink drama you couldn’t afford to miss. The drummer (Paul Chamberlain) a recent addition to the band pounded the beats along with electronic samples and loops with ferocity, matching the BPM of the drum machine without wavering. The set list included titles such as Diameter 7, Yao Ming, Death Threats, including new tracks White lies and Complicit, demonstrating that the band are continually evolving with Cox taking the Gestalt music and brand and into deeper and darker territories. We love it.

Watch a video of Gestalt performing at the Soundhouse on the night.

Gestalt at the Soundhouse. 20th May 2017. Photo: Dave Bennifer.

Try Subversion. You would’ve thought, in a difficult place to follow,  such an epic introduction from Gestalt,  but Try Subversion quickly took the stage as their own with a back drop emblazoned with the bands name and art work of two arrows penetrating a CCTV camera, symbolic of the band’s attitude towards the establishment and the apathetic who blindly follow without question, quick firing successive punk tracks of their own making ‘all things can tempt me’ ( a poem by Yeats) to a 100 mph beat straight into Banal which was anything but, before crashing into and effect laden Afulenza highlighting their own war on want.

Try Subversion at the Soundhouse. 20th May 2017. Photo: KC Photography.

Yet another Stefan on vocals (Stefan Alan) who attacked the microphone with vitriol, spitting venom, he enthralled and encapsulated the sound, layering quality word smithery to what could only be described as ‘authentic’ punk rock but with an intelligence that almost betrayed its simplicity. Tekno Ju the bassist and backing vocalist challenges Alan every step of the way, playing bass lines that match the ferocity of lyrics but firmness that keeps the guitarist (Harston Puncture) in errant check.

Try Subversion at the Soundhouse. 20th May 2017. Photo: KC Photography.

Puncture, who describes himself as a “noise merchant” retaliates by punching machine gun riffs to numbers like No value, quickly changing the soundscapes to huge cavernous echos (Utopia), emulating jet planes crashing (Small minded misery) to the beat of Clive Standish who keeps impeccable time but never his clothes, quickly strips off to the waist, pounding number after number without fault. Try Subversion bring the 45 minute set to an ear-splintering finale with a wall of feedback and dazzling lights (Exposed) before pulling the plug to a rapturous applause of the crowd before sauntering off stage towards the bar.

Watch a video of Try Subversion performing on the night.

Southside Rebellion at the Soundhouse. 20th May 2017. Photo: Dave Bennifer.

Last up tonight’s headliners the heros of the hour complete with loyal supporters, Southside Rebellion. SSR are a four-piece punk covers band who play a massive set (2 hours) covering the whole punk rock genre. These boys are good, they play without fault, emulating the heroes of their youth with style and attitude, smattering the set with their own tracks.

Southside Rebellion at the Soundhouse. 20th May 2017. Photo: Dave Bennifer.

They look good and play fantastic, building up to Holidays in Cambodia which was streamed live to the Facebook brethren who couldn’t make the show and, after hearing the performance, maybe they will try a bit harder next time to cancel other appointments and support their local music scene. Use it or lose it people, nights like these don’t come very often but when they do, you’ve got to make an effort.

Watch a video of Southside Rebellion performing at the Soundhouse on the night.

20th May

Arcades
at the Cookie

The Lids. Leicester band The Lids has a new release – It’s not the weather. You can listen to it on Soundcloud. It was played as part of their set tonight. Tonight, a set that featured songs that were sharp, tight and full of solid rhythms.

The Lids at the Cookie. 20th May 2017.

Tonight show was put on by national promoters This Feeling.

Paves

Even before Paves had started people came up to me and said how good they were. This band from London has been doing interesting work of late. Described as ‘smokey blues rock’ laced with a welter of guitar sounds, lead by strong vocals from lead singer and guitarist Luke Shield. Founded in 2015. They have been clocking up plaudits from the press. Paves have a track called ‘Dancing ‘Til The End Of Time‘ which is certainly worth a listen. Just as The Lids were now, Paves were then; their musical style hearkening back to the music of yesteryear and all those magic riffs left to us by the 80s and 90s. Some thumpingly good songs flowed from the stage tonight, ear-grabbing rhythms and a lot of people were in front of the stage listening to them. No shortage of listenable songs. Paves will be appearing at the Isle of Wight festival in June.

Arcades is a band I have not seen before. But of course I have known its members, most of them, for a long time. Previously the lead singer and some of the musicians on tonight’s stage were members of Casino Empire. Arcades played at this year’s Hand Made festival. Keith Jobey saw them, again at The Cookie, on 15th October 2016.

Arcades at the Cookie. 15th October 2016.
Photo: Keith Jobey.

Keith wrote at the time: ‘Arcades always seem to bus a crowd in from somewhere so it fills up quickly for their set. This was the first time I’ve seen Arcades since they became Arcades (having previously been Casino Empire). The line-up is the same but there is a definite difference in style and approach. I don’t think any old Casino Empire songs have survived, yet in a blind listening of new stuff I reckon I could still identify them. ‘

Arcades at the Cookie. 20th May 2017.

Arcades is a singing band. Tommy Cobley, the lead singer, has a magnetic stage personality; as a performer he has a presence. With hi, the voice of up to three backing vocalists. Together they delivered a set of songs riven with rich rhythms and infectious beats.

Arcades at the Cookie. 20th May 2017.

If you are a fan of popular music, then Arcades is a must see band. No shortage of big clap-along numbers in their set of lively and appealing tunes. Tonight, the venue was packed to the rafters with fans. As is the custom at such events, Cobley did a bit of crowd surfing during one of his songs, still holding the microphone, still singing while being held aloft by a forest of hands.

Arcades at the Cookie. 20th May 2017.

I left the Cookie and sent to the Shed; Luckily I got there just in time to see the end of the set by singer Tom Bem. When I walked into the room he was singing Kalashnikov – my favourite Bem songs. From London, he keeps coming back to Leicester and I try to make a point of seeing his appearances whenever I can.

Tom Bem at The Shed. 20th May 2017.

19th May

Kynch and Anoa
at the Musician

with Oak

The first of two days of bands at the Musician; tonight and another session on Saturday. A wet evening. What made matters worse was that I forget to pick up my umbrella on the way out. Having got off the bus in the middle of a downpour I had to take shelter in the Shed. Whilst there I caught some of the set by Emily Carr followed by Joe (Homeless Shakespeare) Doyle. When the rain eased off I made a dash for the Musician – which is where I was supposed to be.

I arrived just in time to catch the set by Kynch – a Leicester trio I like very much.

Kynch at the Musician. 19th May 2017.

Razor sharp fervent rock rhythms. Solidly good music performed with fizzing intensity; it was worth toiling through the rain to see. They appeared to have brought a lot of their fans with them tonight.

Oak. Not a band I know well. I saw them back in February at the Soundhouse. [Music in Leicester]

Oak at The Soundhouse, 11th February 2017.

I heard a strong vocal line backed by compelling beats. As I said earlier ‘…reminded me of the great pop punk bands of the past: Ictus, Neon Sarcastic, and is the kind of music we hear from local bands like Alligatr. The three lads (Tom, jack and Harry) on the stage gave us plenty to like and pretty everyone were pleased with what they heard. So yeah, a band to watch out for. Very enjoyable. ‘

Anoa at the Musician. 19th May 2017.

Not the easiest band to find on Facebook, so here is the link.

Wild, furious, jolly, sparkling… Anoa pulled off another sensational set. I had seen them back in January at The Soundhouse and liked them. That was the night they played with The Lids. We wrote

Anoa, 28th January 2017
Tonight the house was full. It reminded of the days when I used to go to see The Heroes. Anoa’s set offered a varied musical offering, a mixture of styles and very enjoyable. Out of the ordinary, it is was sufficiently different to sustain my attention. Their performance had no shortage of verve, energy and presence. Lead singer Alex Harris has plenty of pizazz and interacted with his admirers in the crowd. I had seen this Leicester band only once before, back in October when they auditioned for Glastonbudget festival. Must watch out for them when I am there. [Music in Leicester]

It was clear that the musicians on stage tonight were really enjoying themselves. They spilled over into the crowd. You could see they were having an impact.

Very nice to be back at the Musician pub. There have been times, back in the day, when I went there on a regular basis. Alas, these days, visits have grown fewer. It’s a much-lowed venue and a really nice place to be – even on a wet Friday night.

14th May

Metal2TheMasses Semifinal 2

The second of two semi finals took place at Firebug.

with Fractions, Morti Viventi, Seven Hells, Dawn of Anubis and guest headliner Ten Ton Slug.

On 2nd April, Fractions played at Firebug in the first quarter final having got through the first round heat in February. Our comment: ‘A theatrical performance from lead singer. Musically very expressive, delivering considerable traction.’

Fractions at Firebug on 2nd April 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Morti Viventi appeared at the April quarter-finals. It was on 12th February that we saw Mörti Viventi and said “These thrash metallers are from Stamford in Lincolnshire. They have influences that include Slayer and Metallica. So that’s a good start. With the excellence of their guitar work, the band brought us the sound of thrash in kick-ass proportions. They blasted it. Plenty there to get excited about. “ [Music in Leicester].

Morti Viventi at Firebug, 9th April 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Seven Hells were at heat six in March. We said: ‘Three vocalists. One thumping set. Something more muscular, more shouty, more growly, more screamy, as the band took us back to the vulcanism of vigorous metal to which we have been accustomed. Metal in large volume, deep-throated, pounding rhythms. The audience thickly gathered in front of the stage. They played Inferno. Not sure if it’s recorded yet. But if it comes out, listen to it. It’s a good example of what this band sounds like. ‘

Seven Hells at Firebug 12th March 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

We saw Dawn of Anubis on 12th March at the heat six show. ‘Tonight, the band played their own songs. Featuring the powerful vocals of Billy Chamberlain on bass guitar. These are guys who know how to fuel a set. Sam Rossell gave some vocals from the drums. This is a band I have seen before, mainly at The Shed, as for example, 16th October 2015 when I said ‘These are experienced musicians; they executed tight, sharp songs that blasted the room with an ample injection of power. There is no doubt about it; these guys certainly know how to rock.’ ‘

Dawn of Anubis in 2015
Photo: Trevor Sewell

The Night Before Uprising takes place on 26th May at Firebug.

With Internal Conflict ( Bloodstock 2013), Witch Tripper ( Bloodstock 2016), Garganjua (Bloodstock 2016 ), Ramage Inc. ( Bloodstock 2016), Opening the night and the whole weekend
Seven Hells ( m2tm semi finalists)
Uprising takes place at The De Montfort Hall on 27th May. Get all you need to know from the website
or from Resin Events on Facebook

13th May

Duffy’s Bar

with Sam Bradshaw, Southern Rum Line, Earls and Seconds Apart.

Photos by Kevin Gaughan.

What happens when you mix some seriously good music, with loads of booze, a great bunch of music fans and a kick-ass atmosphere? Well, once a year, the result is, Ian Bedder’s birthday bash. This event has, over the past few years, established itself as one of the most celebrated parties in Leicester.

The date of this event has been in my diary ever since it had was set and Ian told me when it would take place. This year the party would be held in Duffy’s Bar; that pleased me. Duffy’s is a venue to which I have been many times before.

It an evening of singing “Happy Birthday” and there was a cake. As one does.

The birthday cake at Ian Bedder’s (right) birthday bash. 13th May 2017 at Duffy’s Bar. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

The musical programme of the evening began with a performance, by the guitar virtuoso Sam Bradshaw, in which he played his own compositions. Many of us knew these well. Pieces like Serenity and Fusions parts I and II are in his established repertoire.

Sam Bradshaw. 13th May 2017 at Duffy’s Bar. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

As always, ‘instrumental Sam’, as he is known, played a set of impressive guitar pieces. Sam closed his set with a song – The House of the Rising Sun – saying that he rarely ever sang but not to worry because most of the audience joined in to help him. Always a considerable pleasure to see an artist of this calibre.

Sam Bradshaw ‘instrumentalist Sam’. 13th May 2017 at Duffy’s Bar. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Southern Rum Line was introduced as a ‘pirate band.’ Two artists. As set of swash buckling songs and a generous helping of humour. Kelsey Wood on the guitar and vocals.

Southern Rum Line. 13th May 2017 at Duffy’s Bar. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Earls is a band I saw recently. If you scroll down to 5th May you will read what I said about their performance at The Shed, when they supported The Docs. This duo is one that I have reviewed before in glowing terms. Tonight they showed there is even more to them than I imagined.

Earls. 13th May 2017 at Duffy’s Bar. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

The vocalist in the duo is Anthony Lamb. His performance tonight was sensational. Anthony is a force of nature. What he did tonight was festival-level. It was a performance that fizzed and he got the crowd moshing like mad with his set of hard rock songs.

Earls. 13th May 2017 at Duffy’s Bar. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

It was unbridled, unleashed, an experience few people would forget, all the raw vehemence of a punk set mixed together with supercharged, kick-ass hard rock. Impressive is not enough to describe what he did. He projected an image, through songs like

I wanna get drunk/ and I wanna get laid

It was a celebration and everyone went mental. What a set! What an experience! Furious dancing, sweating bodies, a really bollocksy set that swaggered with unbridled energy. “It was two guys and their mates gathered at the front of the stage, loving every minute of it, fast, short punk songs, two lads from Birmingham now based at Leicester uni, defo worth seeing again. Do not judge them by their EP”, Matt Fraine (Sons of Alchemy) told me.

Even thought they had lost their drummer for the night, Seconds Apart, from Rotherham, still gave us an amazingly good set. The two of them did not hold back. The voices of the two musicians when combined produced delicious harmonies. But lead singer Martin Henderson has an exceptional voice and no shortage of stage presence to use it.

Second Apart. 13th May 2017 at Duffy’s Bar. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Even I had forgotten that we saw them on 11th May 2013 when they played at the Shed. Kevin Gaughan was at that gig because he made a video of them.

Back in 2013 I was clearly impressed by them even then. I dug out my notes from that night. ‘It was after eleven o’clock before they got on stage. The trio from Rotherham included a singing drummer. Lots of energy. All three sing. Grunge, thrash, good stage craft’, I wrote:

When Seconds Apart played in Leicester on 2nd February last year I commented ‘Rotherham band Seconds Apart were simply fantastic.’ What we saw tonight was much more than just fantastic; it was magic. Even without their drummer, these two musicians conjured up a set that was highly entertaining and musically enthralling. I wrote once that the mark of a good band was that they could do as well in an acoustic set as they could as a full band. Tonight these guys proved that point.

That Friday Feeling, from Bandcamp

Even though drummerless tonight, the Facebook page for Second Apart suggests that they are a duo. The guys have recently been on a UK tour that has taken them the length and breadth of the country.

Sam Bradshaw and Matt Fraine stage with Seconds Apart. 13th May 2017 at Duffy’s Bar. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Seconds Apart are a two piece band from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK that play Alternative Rock music.

The five track EP “Absence Makes The Heart Grow Stronger” was produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Lower Than Atlantis guitarist Ben Sansom at Titan Studios, Watford in 2016.

The band’s members are Owen Claxton (guitartist vocalist) and Martin Henderson (guitarist lead vocalist)
I liked this, it’s from a review by Madi Brown, July 2016:

‘That Friday Feeling’, a track completely relatable as we hit the weekend, is a clear example of the diversification this band is capable of. Surprising to fans of Seconds Apart, the band use sparkling synth throughout the track, perhaps in accordance to ‘That Friday Feeling’, fulfilling their listeners with the need to dance and feel it with them. The track also infuses pop-like vocal effects alongside edgy and hard-hitting guitar, providing a crossing of genre boundaries between rock, pop, and dance. ‘

Check out some Seconds Apart tracks on Soundcloud.

Ian’s 2016 birthday bash at The Donkey.

Sam Bradshaw on stage with Seconds Apart. 13th May 2017 at Duffy’s Bar. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Ian Bedder (second from right) and friends. 13th May 2017 at Duffy’s Bar. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

12th May

Trevor writing up his notes. 13th May 2017 at Duffy’s Bar. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Katalina Kicks at the Shed

with Finches of Attica and Lost Transmitters

Another good night at the Shed. Meeting up with people not seen for many a long year.

In the Vault there was a grimecore gig underway when I arrived. Not been to one of those for a long time. A packed room saw dancers freneticly hurling themselves around, arms flailing, just like they used to do. A gig put on by Elliott, I think, just like he used to do in the days of the old Shed. Basilisk on stage. Will McLaughlan was there.

“Time has not diminished them”

I wondered if grimecore (or perhaps hardcore) would return to the Shed. Superbly amazing.

I was eager to see Finches of Attica; one of its musicians is Bryce Newbold, someone I remember well from the days of Neon Sarcastic.

Bryce Newbold of Finches of Attica at the Shed. 12th May 2017.

A fantastic performance from this new band playing their first gig. A set of songs that rocked the room. A strong performance from the band’s lead singer. Punch and bounce in plentiful supply.

Finches of Attica at the Shed. 12th May 2017.

They have a masterful grasp of what compelling rhythms are all about. A rip-roaring successful start to their career. The band has a track – Stars –  up on YouTube. The band’s cover of The House of the Rising Sun was spectacular. Whilst they do covers, the band’s strength lies in their skill at writing their own songs.

Finches of Attica at the Shed. 12th May 2017.

Lost Transmitters is from Leicester. My colleague Keith Jobey has seen them before – at the Shed in fact – on 20th April last year. A trio of musicians, one (at least) who we know from previous bands, like to delve into various styles and genres for their inspiration.

Lost Transmitters at the Shed. 12th May 2017.

What they presented to us tonight was clearly deeply rooted. Plenty of vibe and resonance in the music. Exultant guitar work from their lead vocalist. I think they are booked to appear at the Glastonbudget festival later this month.

Founded in 2010, Katalina Kicks, from London, has been flying the flag for alternative rock since then. From London, the band is signed to Snappi/Soundhub.

Katalina Kicks at the Shed. 12th May 2017.

Now doing its Vice tour, they were in Leicester tonight. Not a band we have seen before. The three-piece had a set that had kick, punch and impact. They performed some of the tracks from their Vices album, released today. They previously released a single – called Guns – in April 2016.

Katalina Kicks at the Shed. 12th May 2017.

They have been dubbed as ‘heavy garage’ and rock and roll but there are influences in there from punk and blues. To some they are ‘scuzzed-up.’ As they played, the screen behind them displayed images that evoked the content of their songs. A pretty impressive act to round off the night.

Katalina Kicks at the Shed. 12th May 2017.

7th May

Metal2TheMasses – semifinal 1

with Blood Oath, Final Coil, Ubiquitous, My Legacy and guest band Two Tales of Woe

Firebug, Sunday.

Photos by Kevin Gaughan.

Blood Oath at Firebug, 7th May 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

I have seen Blood Oath before. I knew what to expect. In fact, I have seen them so many times now I grown rather fond of them. What! They are a primeval, manic, blood curdling, fearful band and all you can say is you are fond of them! Music that is supercharged, thunderous, bludgeoning, beguiling, beating, breathing dark, vaporous threads and tendrils of fear, loathing, excitement, winding us into a shroud of exultation. Bloody marvellous.

Blood Oath at Firebug, 7th May 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

If there could be such a thing as the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud of metal bands, then it is Final Coil. So, I say.

Final Coil at Firebug, 7th May 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Tonight’s magnificent performance justified this accolade. Vocals that blended together harmoniously. Majestic songs that were cunningly orchestrated. Tracks that ran with hardly any break between them, in one relentless set of music. A performance by Phil Styles that was unremittingly fervent.  Songs that were rich in sumptuous sounds, unmistakably distinctive; it added up to a genuinely satisfying musical experience.

Final Coil at Firebug, 7th May 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

For someone who is used to listening to all types of music – from furry funk through to hooray hip-hop – the sound of Ubiquitous is initially difficult, challenging, unsettling. My first reaction was to think of it as all noise and no knickers.

Ubiquitous at Firebug, 7th May 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

First of all it is a sound that is very intense and raw, and in some ways presents itself as stark, brutal, uncompromising. The more you listen to it the more you catch its visceral vibe. It attacks your ears with a ferocious, almost barbaric, incendiary extravaganza.

Ubiquitous at Firebug, 7th May 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

It’s only when you realise what it is doing to your senses that you begin to get what it is about. It grabs you by the throat. It shakes you. It lacerates your ears. That is why this band had earned its place in these semi-finals.

Ubiquitous at Firebug, 7th May 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Many of those in tonight’s audience were fanatical fans of this next band. My Legacy has its devotees. They love the volcanic levels of energy that issue forth from the stage. They love the thunderous explosions of sound that roll from the band. They love it when the lead singer performs to them, as though they were the only ones present.

My Legacy at Firebug, 7th May 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

They love the way that the musicians put everything they have got into their music. This is a band you do not simply listen to; you feel them. Their songs are laced with sparkling guitar riffs. Their passion is palpable. Being there is exhilarating.

My Legacy at Firebug, 7th May 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

As if four of our finest metal bands was not enough; the night also included a performance by Two Tales of Woe. Founded in 2005 they are from Dublin.

Two Tales of Woe at Firebug, 7th May 2017.

6th May

The Shed

with Crooked Flames, Aztec Temples, The Albion and Playing House.

So, here we are again. The Shed. A venue that is attracting acclaim, especially for the many new attendees seeing it for the first time since its dramatic conversion.

‘Frantic Art Pop’ is not a term with which I am familiar. But it has a certain ring to it. The band from London, Playing House, brought five musicians on to the stage. It was, they explained, the last gig of their twelve date UK tour; one that celebrated the band’s EP Jocelyn. I found their music disconcerting. It was some time before I got what I was hearing. Well into their set, I had finally decided that what they were doing was rather good. Why, I am unsure. But several people, after they had finished, reassured me that it was pop, somewhat frantic and quite artful.

The Albion at The Shed, 6th May 2017.

I am worried that I have already commented, somewhere, that the lead singer of The Albion reminds me of the young lead from The Arctic Monkeys. Alex Turner from around 2011. Worried, because I don’t want to typecast the poor fellow. Bryn Williams that is.

The Albion at The Shed, 6th May 2017.

The Albion is a band known principally for their own songs. As with the previous times on which I have seen them, I liked what they did. They also play covers; some very good ones; which they do well. The whole set was, once again, top notch. However, there was a flaw, only for me, personally. Their first song. It was a varied and vibrant set, but in it, the first song stood out like a sore thumb (it was, they told me, a cover.) It was as if a string quartet, noted for its repertoire of Hayden, had started with a piece by Arnold Schönberg, let’s say Verklärte Nacht. Which reminds me of a joke. ‘Schoenberg walks into a bar and says “I’ll have a gin please, but no tonic”‘ An atonal jibe.

The Albion at The Shed, 6th May 2017.

Well, what can I say? What can I say that I have not already said? Aztec Temples. At the risk of repeating myself; it’s all about the songs. That is where this band excels. The more songs they write; the better they get. The more they play, the better their performances become. Listening to them tonight I felt I heard a Kasabian vibe in some of their pieces. AT does not necessarily sound anything like them; neither do any of the band members look anything like Tom or Sergio, I am relieved to say. It’s just that rather magical vibe that you get, from both bands.

Aztec Temples at The Shed, 6th May 2017.

Having started their work in, in around 2015, The ‘Temples has grown steadily ever since and now have one of the more impressive touring calenders of any Leicester band. If you have not yet heard them and want a taste of what they are like, listen to The Other Side. It’s on their Facebook page and it’s also on the band’s Soundcloud page.

Aztec Temples at The Shed, 19th November 2016. Photo: by Kevin Gaughan.

Punchy songs, bouncing beats, tenacious traction, fizzing performance, Crooked Flames had a lot going for them. I would like to tell you something about them; but finding out anything is hard to come by. They are a new band. Perhaps that is why reviews are thin on the ground, as yet.  They are playing at The Leadmill soon. I did however note the lead vocalist’s strong voice and energetic performance. The band’s tunes were fast-paced, full of rhythm, and they brought a night of good music to a resounding finale. They got up there and they gave it their all. What more could you ask for?

5th May

The Docs

at The Shed with Gestalt, Earls.

The main stage at The Shed. Two musicians are on the stage Anthony Lamb and George Prosser. One is playing the guitar and singing the other is playing the drums. This is Leicester band Earls.

Earls at The Shed, 5th May 2017.

Duos have to be good. After all, there are only two of them. These two qualify. Together they pushed it along energetically. Strong vocals. Plenty of confidence. Copies of Earl’s EP Skum King were available at the gig. On this were the songs The Boys (Are Alright), Sensate and Slog It Out. Details of this are on the band’s page on Facebook.

Earls at The Shed, 5th May 2017.

The band told me that some of their songs were “heavy.” As I needed to worry. These songs fitted in perfectly well with the rest of their set. What I liked most about the music of Earls was their firm grasp of melody and this relentless commitment to rhythm. Duos are not rare but they are unusual. The duo that is Scribble Victory comes to mind – two chaps who are unanimously popular on the Leicester scene, if not the music scene in most of the East Midlands. So, might the two fellas from Earls follow in their foot steps? I don’t see why not. What they gave us tonight was vibrant and highly entertaining. If you don’t already know Earls, give them a listen. You might like them. I know I did. We saw them on 1st March 2016. Read what we said then. [Music in Leicester magazine]

‘an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts’ is the basic definition of the word Gestalt. A word I had come across before in the context of Gestalt Therapy, a philosophy of mind that came out of the Berlin school of psychology in the nineteenth century. This Gestalt however is a three-piece band from Leicester.

Gestalt at The Shed, 5th May 2017.

At first I found it difficult to my head around what they were doing. That is not a bad thing, however, because some music needs to make you feel puzzled; it’s challenging, rather than being easy. What threw me a bit was there being a microwave oven on the stage. Not sure what that was for. Hazarding a guess, I would say it produced a noise which was filtered into their music. A lot of what I was hearing was punk; well that figured, given tonight’s line-up. But it was not punk as know it. For one thing they had a heavy layer of electronica sounds, not usually associate with this genre.

Gestalt at The Shed, 5th May 2017.

Some members of the audience were clearly enjoying this band; that was plain to see. Others, might have been struggling with it as I was. Several people commented to me after their set “what a great band Gestalt were; what a great set. They were seen in November 2016 by Keith Jobey; he said “Gestalt were first support, a band I’ve never seen live before but one I often listen to online. The four-piece have a punchy, abrasive punk style with a side order of electro and set the tone for the evening both musically and age wise. For it is fair to say the bands and the crowd are from an older era.” [Music in Leicester magazine]

Gestalt at The Shed, 5th May 2017.

Further researches reveal links between this band and some of the legendary Leicester bands of times gone by including Swamp Delta, Cornershop, Crazyhead and Gaye Bykers on Acid. It would take someone with greater knowledge than mine to plumb the depths of what Gestalt achieved tonight and what it all meant.

And then it was time for The Docs. Having seen them before, I knew what to expect.

The Docs at The Shed, April 2016.
© Pascal Pereira Photography

Despite having lost their guitarist, they found a replacement (at short notice) and still put on a storming set. “that’s rock and roll” they said. Kicking off their set with The Ramones’s Hey Ho Let’s Go, they performed with a slide show of pictures and images playing on the screen behind them; iconic images from the band’s time on the music scene and the world in which they lived.

The Docs at The Donkey, 24th September 2016. Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

Not long ago we saw The Vibrators at The Shed – another legendary band from back in the day… [The Vibrators, 22nd April Music in Leicester magazine]

We saw The Docs on 20th May 2016.

The Docs at The Shed, April 2016.
© Pascal Pereira Photography

That night we wrote: ‘A band full of raw grit and, you know, it’s the way that they do it. That’s what makes them what they are. They have a style, all of their own. Some of the songs came from May Gillingham who stepped into the add a spot of glamour and vocal finesse to the proceedings. These guys provided a fine warm-up for the night, delivering a selection of good ole songs that we all know. ‘ [Music in Leicester magazine]

Several images came up on the screen; such as New Rose the first single, by The Damned, released in 1976 by Stiff Records. It was time when punk music was fresh, daring and sometimes shocking. It was a song that changed the face of popular music in this country. Other acts popped up, like The Stooges, Iggy Pop, and the song Now, I wanna be your dog’ by The Stooges, from 1969. It was a night of touching base with what this genre of music has been and still is about.

The Docs at The Shed, April 2016.
© Pascal Pereira Photography

Things got interesting when Elisabeth Barker-Carley was invited to join the band for a song.

A legendary band with a superb show.

4th May 2017

Damnably and Magic Teapot present

Otoboke Beaver
The Musician

Almost a year to the day since they supported Shonen Knife, Japanese punkers Otoboke Beaver made a triumphant return to the Musician. The tour was organised by Damnably and billed the Golden Week tour. Golden Week/Greenery Day is the longest Japanese holiday of the year and it’s the only time Otoboke Beaver can tour as they all work full time and Japanese don’t get more than a week of holiday at a time.

Courtney Askey at the Musician. 4th May 2017.
Photo: Keith Jobey.

The collective Courtney Askey began the evening, fresh from the terror of opening the Saturday of Handmade Festival on the Queens Hall stage, tonight brought a different set of nerves, with a big crowd gathered early on to claim their spots at the front. Not that any external signs of nervousness were dislayed at either event. Solid support from one of our local favourites.

Say Sue Me at the Musician. 4th May 2017.
Photo: Keith Jobey.

South Korean band Say Sue Me, are touring with the headliners. They seem to have a varied mix of styles, possibly too varied, but they’re an engaging band and it was a treat to catch them live in Leicester.

The gig was near to being sold out and the crowd were a good mix of people. Many must have seen Otoboke Beaver’s excellent Shonen Knife support slot last year and have returned for more of the same. It’s notable that the band’s English has improved since last year, they must have being taking lessons, as all four chip in with comments between songs. The singing remains in Japanese which adds a certain style I think, most of it’s so fast and loud that even if they sung in English it would be difficult to pick up on the lyrics. The crowd lapped it up, enthused by the sheer exhuberance and energy of the band, there was some moshing, plenty dancing and some quality crowd surfing from the guitarist.

Otoboke Beaver at the Musician. 4th May 2017.
Photo: Keith Jobey.

It’s fair to say the our Japenese friends won the admiration of the crowd, here’s hoping they use their next week off in the same manner!

Otoboke Beaver at the Musician. 4th May 2017.
Photo: Keith Jobey.

4th May

Loughborough College The Swingin’ Moon

with students performing at a special concert and charity fund-raiser

After Leicester, Loughborough is the one place in the county I have visited most often in search of musical talent. A variety of festivals took place in Loughborough last year and we reported on some of them; it looks very likely that these events will take place again this year. In March 2016 I was honoured to be invited to report on the work of the  Loughborough Music School, part of the Loughborough Endowed Schools (LES). Some of the talent I saw there in the classrooms was astonishing.  I can also remember previous visits to Loughborough College including the time that I gave a talk to one of the courses there. Tonight, however, was a chance to see the array of talent represented by today’s students.

The concert, held in the Arts Academy Theatre, was called The Swingin’ Moon and the line-up showcased the work of Level 3 music students Ben Lewis-Skeath, Devron Walker and Katherine McGough, Deumi Mjojo and Tak Fumamera, Katie Boyes, Alessia Legrottaglie and the main acts – James and the Robinsons and 50 Shades of Funk.

50 Shades of Funk at Loughborough College concert, 4th May 2017.

Everything I saw tonight was good. The bands, as you would expect, were particularly enjoyable. The solo singers gave creditable performances. The songs performed by 50 Shades of Funk were highly enjoyable and many members of the audience showed their appreciation as each one was announced. Songs by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Marley, Jamiroquai, Maroon 5, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, KC and the Sunshine Band and many others. It was all completely enjoyable and, for many of us, brought back happy memories. A cornucopia of funky sounds. The guitar-playing of Kieran Marshall was impressive; he also played a leading role in putting on the show. Not all the songs the band played were covers; they also demonstrated their compositional skills with one or two of their own songs.

James Robinson band at Loughborough College, 4th May 2017.

The performance by James and the Robinsons introduced a note of sadness into the programmes as this was their last ever gig and their farewell to the many friends and fans in the audience.

If you want to see this band, they are playing at the Glastonbudget Music festival, Wymeswold, over the May bank holiday. Details are on our festivals page.

The alumni of Loughborough College includes the names of several musicians and singers who achieve considerable notoriety on the local music scene and some of these went on to careers in music and the arts.

The final act at Loughborough College concert, 4th May 2017.

We hope to be back in Loughborough later this year for Phantomfest. If you missed it last year, we have a report for you. See the piece ‘Trevor Does Loughborough‘ on our page for August 2016.

The show was a fund-raising event for the Pancreatitis Supporters Network.

Final act at Loughborough College concert, 4th May 2017.

Let me leave you with some quotations from one of my previous articles about music education:

‘Music is an important part of the school curriculum; it always has been, even since the middle ages. There are many reasons why this important; not least the fact that the UK’s export of music is one of the country’s highest revenue earners. The music industry in this country has been thriving for several years and out-pacing several other sectors of the economy. Making music is good in itself but, as many teachers have found, it aids other aspects of children’s lives both personally and educationally. One more thing about music in schools is interesting, I think, it is a leveller. Children today come a wide range of cultures and communities and all of them have their own musical traditions; being able to learn about the music of other cultures helps young people to appreciate and understand each other.’

and I added

‘Loughborough is a town with a growing international notoriety in academia. Its University recently was voted top for students in the UK league tables and its contribution to sporting excellence has been known for a long time. LES is not the only educational institution locally that has won positive acclaim. The work of Leicester College has also received many accolades, for its music courses and for its work in sound technology. The notable singer and songwriter Howard Rose, for example, is cited as one local musician to have benefited from its work.’ Not forgetting the great singer and guitarist Andy Cooper who was once a student at the College.

1st May

Not My Good Arm at Duffy’s bar, 1st May 2017.

We were at Duffy’s bar to see Leicester band Not My Good Arm.


See also:

Live music in April

Find out about the circulation figures for this magazine

See a list of live music venues in Leicester

Read about the Glastonbudget music festival 2017.