Our round-up of live music events in Leicester and Leicestershire.
Our team of reporters and photographers have been to gigs and filed their thoughts, comments and pictures.
If a piece is not attributed to a named author, then it was written by the editor.
Come back to this page regularly; it gets updated day by day.
The latest dates get added at the top.
So, here is May
May bank holiday weekend
This year’s Glastonbudget Festival
Wymeswold, near Loughborough, was the setting for the 2016 Glastonbudget Music Festival.
27th May 2016
Summer Art Trail Fundraiser
by Keith Jobey
Some of you may remember last year’s Summer Art Trail; in particular the launch party at LCB Depot that featured a fine selection of Leicester bands. Well it’s coming back (20-29 August) and tonight, at the Musician there’s a fundraiser organised by Leila Houston of Silver Vine Arts and Ian of Magic Teapot.
Summer Art Trail 2016 is a non-profit, ten-day, contemporary visual arts festival taking over the city of Leicester, with an accompanying programme of exhibitions, residencies, performances, live music, art stalls, family workshops and artist talks. Prior to the festival, Summer Art Trail has implemented a training and internship programme for aspiring artists, equipping them with the tools to succeed their career goals. Last year Summer Art Trail attracted an audience of 7,368, exhibited 78 regional artists and held events at 12 venues over 10 days.
Here’s a link to the website for the Summer Art Trail. You can also donate using this link, and the more money they can collect, the better the event will be, so it’s in your own interest to do so. Summer Art Trail.
The event begins with a poetry reading from Adrian Manning. Despite being a good friend of mine and one of my gig gang, I’ve never got to hear him do a reading. And I nearly didn’t tonight either. It was a sharp start, ahead of programme and we just got there in time. But we caught the full reading of his poem Wide Asleep Fast Awake, which was excellent, and had the added bonus of Harvey from Echolocation adding a nerve tingling guitar edge to it all.
Next it’s an acoustic performance from Meri Everitt. Having just recorded some tracks in Nashville she’s returned with a touch of Country in her vocals, which sounds superb. Perhaps that why when asking for requests someone called for a Johnny Cash song. She obliged with a snippet of an Emmylou Harris version of a Cash song. She’s been absent from the local scene lately, and I for one have missed her.
Luke Broughton brings his voice, guitar and talent to the stage next. The minimalism of his songs requires silence from the audience, and that’s what he gets from the appreciative crowd. Apart from at the end of each song when there would be an eruption of cheers, whistling and clapping. He ends his set with a song he claims is not easy for him to play and as such never plays it live. I’m not sure which part he struggles with because I didn’t hear any problems with it.
Is this thing on? Can you hear me now? Yes it’s the brilliant Echolocation next. Watching this band is an indulgent pleasure. The anti-pop heroes can make you laugh and groove with such ease. I thought they would have played their song, Keep Off The Grass Kasabian Are Playing There, and changed it to Keep Off The Pitch considering the weekend’s events in the city. They didn’t, but that may just show how far removed from that event this gig is.
Courtney Askey brings the evening to a close, headlining for the first time since her single launch back in January. So it’s straight back on stage for Echolocation’s Dan and Andy. Courtney and band are really hitting a rich vein now. The sound of the band is really coming together, the songs are sounding polished and the set is brimming with great tunes. Slipping a cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box, Courtney’s shows her grunge roots that tinge her own songs.
It was a great evening, filled with great music and friends which hopefully raised some money for a worthy cause. With 10% of real ale sales on the evening being donated I did my best to help out!
19th to 21st May 2016
Leicester Artists at The Great Escape Festival
by Keith Jobey
In a break from the usual write-ups that Music In Leicester publishes, here is a review about bands playing in Brighton. The link being that the acts covered in this article all have strong connections with Leicester, and they were performing at possibly the best festival in Europe to showcase new and emerging talent, The Great Escape Festival in Brighton.
The Great Escape Festival is massive. Held over three days it features over 400 acts in over 30 venues. And if that isn’t enough there is the Alternative Great Escape running alongside it, providing about another 200 acts in another 20 or so venues. Covering every style of music, with artists from all over the world, if you can’t find enough to see to fill your days then you might has well give up liking music, put your slippers on and fall asleep watching the X Factor.
One of the better small alternative venues turned out to be the East Street Tap (formerly the Fishbowl), a newly refurbished bar with stripped furnishings, decent beer and a capacity of no more than 50. I’d spotted the name White Giant on the programme for the venue.
Could it really be the White Giant I’d seen several times as a support act in Leicester? I’d not seen mention of them for a few years. Friday 8th November 2013, I reviewed them at the Soundhouse supporting Big Deal and that was about the last time I’d heard of them. A little investigation confirmed it was the same band and their slot time fitted in rather nicely with my itinerary. They are a three-piece now (they were four-last time I saw them) but still have a similar sound, a melodic math rock groove. They drew in a decent crowd and got a few people dancing. Unfortunately, Steve Lamacq, who was in there watching the band before them had moved on. If only he’d stayed a little longer!
At the heart of the Great Escape is the festival hub. And it is here that you will find the Spiegeltent, a marvellous, historic portable structure, constructed of wood and canvas and filled with stained glass and mirrors. We had come to see Mahalia perform here. I’m sure she needs no introduction to many of you, she used to host regular shows at the Cookie and featured on a track with Rudimental.
Now signed to Asylum records, a subsidiary of Atlantic Records, she’s releasing some of her own music. Within minutes of starting to perform it was clear why she’s been signed. She was simply stunning, a feeling echoed by the suddenly silenced 300 or so people listening. A feeling emphasised by the gasp from the crowd when she informed them that she had just turned 18. Her lyrics are brilliant and she charmed the audience throughout with her inter-song banter. As she stood there singing latest release ‘Back-Up Plan‘ acapella, I kicked myself for never getting to the Cookie for one of her shows. Anyway, she came with a suitcase full of CDs and she must have sold copies to at least half the audience judging by the queue afterwards. Looks like Leicester has another star in the making.
Down at the end of the pier in Horatio’s Bar, well known Leicester brothers Andy and James Stone were playing. Yes, Lusts had an afternoon slot in the Alternative event as part of 1965 records showcase, the label they’re signed to. This was a gut wrenching decision for me but they were up against probably the toughest of competition in the form of Dream Wife and Crows, and as such I didn’t get to see them. So, so sorry guys. I know they’re regular Great Escapers and I’m sure they had a great time playing. They put a photo up on their Facebook page of the crowd and it looked pretty busy down there which I was pleased to see.
Another one I missed was Anchoress headlining the BBC Introducing stage. Anchoress is a project of Catherine A. Davies, and for her live shows she brings along a band. And the violinist in the band is none other than Sophie Green from Her Name Is Calla. I had intended to catch her show but the show I was watching prior lasted longer than I expected. So by the time I passed the Paganini Ballroom where she was performing the set was over.
Ironically, a Leicester artist I did get to see wasn’t actually performing. It was great to bump into Meri Everitt in the dying hours of the festival. The Flying Kangaroo Alliance frontwoman performed solo here last year but was here mainly as a punter this year. I say mainly because she was using the opportunity to do a bit of networking to promote the recordings she recently made in Nashville.
There were no doubt countless other connections to Leicester represented, but these were the ones I spotted. So Leicester singers/bands/artists, get your applications in for next year and hopefully I’ll see you there!
Sunday 22nd May
Kevin Gaughan was at Firebug tonight for the second of two semi-finals of Metal2 The Masses.
Thursday 19th May
Dreaming In Colour Productions at Natterjacks
A busy night for our photographer on the ground. Pascal Pereira went to see
It was Dreaming in Colour Productions hosting the event at Natterjacks. There were four bands on:
Lippy, Yodaclub, Ceauxfly and Exile84.
Exile 84 is a blues/rock band from the Midlands founded in 2012.
Ceaux Fly is a funk and pop band from Leicester founded in 2014.
Yodaclub is an indie, pop, rock band from Corby founded in 2012.
Lippy is a five-piece band from Leicester that plays msuic from a variety of genres.
Yodaclub was the second band on stage. They are originally from Northamptonshire. I could not associate them with any particular genre as all the songs performed were of a different unique genre and they were all beautifully performed.
The lead singer’s presence could hardly be unnoticed as he was very energetic and dynamic on stage. They’ve thrown in a couple of their new compositions, which went pretty well and the addition of a keyboard to support the music was a plus.
According to the band members, Yodaclub’s heritage is diverse; indie, alternative and pop, and like all good evolution none of that completely describes Yodaclub.
The other band on stage was Ceauxfly fronted by the talented Megan Astbury and supported by Alice Watson in the backing vocals.
The band formed back in 2014 and have been influenced greatly by funk and soul materials. Ceauxfly started predominately with cover songs but are working on original material as well.
It’s good to know that Will Bryan, the keys player, is also the occasional trumpet player, giving the band this funk\soul distinct brass sound.
The night was headlined by Exile84 which is a five-piece blues rock and roll band from the Midlands, formed early 2012.
Just what was needed to round off a night of good music. The rhythmic guitarist and the lead guitarist are the main singers of the band with a female keys player on the backing vocals, but all of them were singing in the choruses of each song.
Exile84 performed some of their old records but songs from their last EP Lies and Propaganda. The band is currently working on their album.
Apologies to the band Lippy, which I missed on this night.
Ceaux Fly have released their new EP called So Fly with Funk Yourself Records.
Thursday 19th May
The Illusive Trio
Pascal Pereira went to see The Illusive Trio.
Sometimes also known as The Illusive Quartet, tonight there were three musicians: Mike Sole (Keys), Chris Lee (sax) and David Anderson (Drums).
Mike Sole is one of the finest jazz players in the county; his work on the keys is widely acclaimed.
The group was playing at the West End Brewery in Baunstone Gate.
Thanks to Pascal for taking the photos.
Tuesday 17th May
Keiran Marshall’s showcase night with James Cull, Kieran and Charlotte, The Lids, Albatross and The Harmonics.
The evening began with the amazing voice of James Cull giving us a splendid session of singing. It is not just the power of his voice that impresses but the skillfull technique with which he employs it.
Kieran Marshall came on stage with Charlotte; he played the guitar, she did the vocals. They opened with their own rendition of Jackson’s Billie Jean. Kieran’s guitar playing was amplified with loop pedals and Charlotte’s sang beautifully. Very enjoyable.
The Lids is a good band. Now that might, to some, seem like an understatement. It is but then I have said much about this band before, much that might be tortuous to repeat over again. Each of the three musicians played their instruments well; tight musicianship and a really committed delivery, they tick many of the familiar boxes when it comes to ‘good.’ What makes them more than good is, I would argue, the songs that they perform.
It’s all about the music. At the end of the day it’s about the impact of the music and in this respect The Lids is a good band. This is a group that has the skill to put together listenable songs that have a contemporary feel and which resonate with passion and celebratory rhythms. Tonight their set was champion; but then it usually is.
Keiran Marshall’s band – Albatross – gave us a chirpy set of songs which they delivered with energy and enthusiasm. Keiran played the guitar and sang the vocals. The set was appealing and they had selected a pleasing line-up of tunes for the audience.
The night was headlined by a band from Nottingham called The Harmonics. I felt sure I had seen them before. In fact, I was to discover later, they had been on a line-up with The Lids before, back in January. I also saw them in June last year when they were on stage with Aztec Temples.
This four-piece group is a proper rock and roll band. Just what you want to round off a night of good music with some real razmataz. All four of them sang. That ticks one of my bigger boxes. They gave us a set that fizzed with energy, kick-ass guitar playing and sparkling stage presence. They played a cover of Twist and Shout, which was without any doubt, the best live performance of that song I have encountered since I heard it for the first time in 1964. Magnifico.
Monday 16th May
at Victoria Park for LCFC
It seems hardly worth reporting on because most of you were there anyway, if Facebook is anything to go by.
But, you know what historians we are here!
Sunday 15th May
Metal2 The Masses
Our report on the first semi-final of Leicester’s Metal bonanza is on its way.
Tonight we saw The Mire Deep, The Midnight Dogs, BloodOath, Final Coil and special guest appearance from Collapse.
It was all utterly awesome.
Saturday 14th May
Bedder’s birthday bash
Take a walk on the wild side
Well known rock fan and music afficiando Ian Bedder held his birthday celebrations at The Donkey night with a little from his friends: Sam Bradshaw, IVMK, Seconds Apart and Lockjaw.
Wow! What a party is was too! The stuff of legend…
Here is what I have to say about it.
Good music, good friends, a great atmosphere and some ridiculously cheap shots (“Tastes like Heaven. Burns like Hell.” Very true.) It all added up to one of the best birthday celebrations I have been to in a long time (well, since Fraine’s bash at Odd bar anyway.) Sam Bradshaw opened the evening by playing a selection of his instrumental numbers. Bloody marvelous. The way he plays that guitar is jaw-dropping. So many techniques. Dexterous finger-work. Ear-licking tunes and melodies. One of the very best guitar virtuosi around these parts, for sure. A superb set was delivered by IVMK. I remember seeing them in April at The Shed when played with The Vibrators.
Back then I said ‘IVMK (pronounced Ivy Mike) opened the show and their first song thrust into the room at a frenetic pace. As a band, IVMK sparkled with energy; the two singers penetrated the audience with their staccato vocals. This trio of musicians delivered a volcanic performance that sizzled with heat and brilliance. Powerful vocals combined with feverish string-work and adrenaline-fueled drumming. It was a set that was thrilling..’
Tonight IVMK was just thrilling
Back in Leicester again, another top band – from Rotherham – Seconds Apart. The star attraction earlier on this year at another birthday gig
A very good band with an excellent set of tunes and a sparkling stage performance.
No stage is big enough for them
The evening reached its climax with Broken Jaw. As it states on the band’s Facebook page: ‘Too Punk to be Metal, too Metal to be Punk. Fireball swigging loons!.’ That aside, they were phenomenal. From Stroud, in Gloucestershire, they gave us something hard and heavy and kept Ian and his friends moshing like mad and even joining in with the singing at times.
and in the audience a few ex-musicians from well-known Leicester bands
and the party-goers helped out with the vocals
It wasn’t a particularly hot night but what is a gig without a bit of nudity?
There was even a wizzened old music journalist in the room
Even the bar staff seemed to be enjoying the night
A really good night out.
Find out more about Broken Jaw on Facebook. (Gosh! That almost rhymes. )
See more photos from this gig by Kevin Gaughan
|Broken Jaw at The Donkey, Leicester, 14/05/16|
Friday 13th May
The Brandy Thieves
at The Music Cafe
The show was billed as ‘A night of gypsy punk magic and blues! Leicester favourites The Brandy Thieves launch the debut album ‘Old Tattoos’. Featuring Paul-Ronney Angel (URBAN VOODOO MACHINE), Goldwater, The Siobhan Mazzei Band, Magician Colin Skinner, Forture Telling, Busking Sessions, Free Brandy and more! Friday 13th May, Music Cafe.’
Some sensational acts were on the lineup, including one of Leicester’s greatest singer-songwriters.
and even our own local magician
See all of Kevin Gaughan’s photos from tonight’s show:
|The Brandy Theives at The Music Cafe, Leicester, 13/05/16|
Friday 13th May
Biff, Bang, Pow present STAY
by Trevor Cobbe
If Saturday night is alright for fighting then surely a ‘Biff Bang Pow’ titled event should not be on a Friday but it is and there’s an intriguing line-up in store at Duffy’s.
First on stage it’s Escapade. I’ve not seen or heard of them before, which maybe isn’t too surprising as they only formed as a four piece last year. They self describe as Psychedelic/Rock/Britpop, which is very much the theme for the night. Escapade is a four piece from Leicester/Loughborough and they played a confident set of catchy tunes.
I would describe it as indie rock/pop and impressively they had the fans of second support, Jimmy Amnesia, dancing almost continually throughout their set. They had a mid set pause for a claimed frequent occurrence of a broken string and this did somewhat interrupt the flow of their performance but once they had a replacement they continued with the foot tapping, dance-inducing songs. I picked up their CD after the set and it’s very listenable too. Perversely my favourite song of theirs, which they intro’ed as “A Banger”, isn’t on the CD but that will only ensure I keep following this band to hear it again because it had some superbly catchy riffs.
and if you want to see them live you can catch them playing Glastonbudget on May 28th at 9.40pm headlining on the Icon stage.
Next we have Jimmy Amnesia who seem to have become particularly active on the Leicester scene over the last six months. Responsible for the majority of the crowd tonight, it’s no surprise to see a surge to the front by eager fans as they start their set.
Another Leicester four-piece who deliver Britpop/Indie Rock, there’s a definite Oasis swagger to frontman Ryan as he leads the band through a fast-paced set of 90s influenced pop, punk, indie songs. The crowd are fully immersed in Jimmy Amnesia’s music and banter and the song Beautiful seems to particularly resonate, perhaps their anthem song. With a midset swap of guitars between the Alexs and then back, the sounds kept pumping out. Another entertaining support to tonight’s headliners, STAY.
[Read more about Jimmy Amnesia in the entry below for the OBS final]
STAY are a Catalonian five-piece who are over in England for a two gig flying visit before returning to Barcelona on the Saturday to play a local festival. They had played in London the night prior to their Leicester gig. I’d done a bit of homework on YouTube prior to the gig and was really looking forward to STAY’s mix of 60s influenced psychedelic rock.
Encouragingly, nearly everyone stayed for the headline act, which isn’t always the case for a band not known locally. It’s a cosy fit on Duffy’s stage for a five-piece but the band coped admirably and they were clearly very keen to introduce a new audience to their sound. STAY’s set had a range of influences, dominated by a strong 60s/70s synth/keyboard sound improbably mixed with a melodic Madchester, which again had the crowd dancing along. The only real hint that this wasn’t a UK based rock outfit, came in Jordi’s accent as he conversed with the crowd.
STAY played for over an hour, testament to the fact that they have been together long enough to put out four albums. I’d absolutely love to be listening to this band in the sunshine at a Barcelona Festival, with a few crates of Estrella Damm, not all for me of course. The band very kindly gave me their latest album and I’ve already had it on the platter, belting out it’s psychedelic lushness. I hope they come back to the UK soon and big thanks to Biff Bang Pow for bringing them to Leicester.
Love music hate homophobia
at The Soundhose
A night of really good music featured at the show put on to raise money and awareness.
There was this singer on stage tonight. He was good. He was very good. I put him down as Toby George Stevenson. Ill check that out on Facebook. He is one artist I would like to hear again. He told me he is in a band called Violet Disguise.
One of the bands that played were excellent: Jukebox Heroes. They are not on Facebook (yet) but their lead singer Adam is.
The headline of the night was Kermes. As good as they always are. I took many, many photos. These will appear here soon.
This was supposed to be my night off. LOL. If you are a journalist and want to take a night off – don’t go to a live music event.
Poetry and metal
A night at The Shed that featured poetry and a metal band from the other side of the world.
Upstairs Poetman (aka Will Horspool) was in full swing.
Poetman appeared; opening tonight’s show the spoken word artist, poet and rapper was clearly enjoyed by the audience who listened appreciatively to his opening number about Jeremy Kyle before moving on to lampoon the X factor and Kayne West.
His performance is slick and he manages his foot pedals and visual aids with a busy dexterity. His fast-moving act is peppered with wit, wise cracks and cunning observations which keeps the audience chortling and spell-bound. Poetman performs at all sorts of gigs including lots of live music events; that’s why he is now widely known amongst music fans, comedy followers and the spoken word fraternity. Many of whom would never otherwise have seen him. Well done Horspool!
Downstairs a band from Singapore was on the line-up with Life Is Cheap (ex members of mangle) and NunPuncher (lesta prettyboys) (I read on the Facebook events page).
Losing End gave us a set of highly fuelled vulcanism and got the dancers waving their arms furiously. This band had come half way round the world, as part of their tour of Europe and America) to treat us to their pounding, crashing sounds and bristling banging beats delivered with raw aggression. Brutal and relentless, it was hardcore in all its glory. It did not last long but while it did Leicester shook under its convulsions. Massive.
The line-up of bands at tonight final for the Original Bands Showcase was:
Kermes, Dead Question, Stating The Obvious, Idle Empire, Jimmy Amnesia and James Cull and The Black Storm Nation.
The winning band was Idle Empire.
Our report on the bands that played at this year’s grand final is on our page for OBS 2016.
MIL has covered the final of the Original Bands Showcase in previous years:
6th May 2016
Keith Jobey was at the Musician the see some international bands headlined by Shonen Knife.
by Keith Jobey
I managed to squeeze in a quick visit to the Cookie last night. It had to be done, Lacura were playing a headline show and I was keen to see how it went. They were already playing when I arrived and there was no chance of getting through the tightly packed mosh to get a decent photo of the band.
No problem, bassist John Ives decided to come my way via the crowd. A photo opportunity if ever there was one, and an image that about sums up Lacura. Their band of followers is getting bigger and bigger, they are getting better and better, the crowd is getting moshier and moshier. I had to run for my bus just as they were playing Teenage Dirtbag in honour of Wheatus, who had headlined the Cookie the night before them. Somebody please tell me they closed with Slurs.
Lacura have some new songs uploaded to Soundcloud which you should go and listen to.
Duffys Bar with Final Coil
Final Coil played a superb set at tonight’s gig, organised by Wakeup Promotions.
May 1st. The quarter-finals of Metal2 The Masses took place at Firebug. Not there yet, but when we get it, details will be on our page More metal in Leicester.