Friday 5th June 2015
at The Cookie Jar
with Lacura, Ash Mammal and The Jackobins.
As soon as we arrived at The Cookie, I could tell it was going be one of those nights; a night that had a certain magic you do not get at run-of-the mill gigs. For a start, ‘Midnight Wire’ was emblazoned above the doorway, like the sign at the front of a cinema. It was a warm, pleasant summer evening and the forecourt of The Cookie was full people. Inside, the bar was packed full of friends talking excitedly in groups, musicians greeting other musicians, people from Leicester’s little music industry deep in conversation… the show had not yet started.
What a show it promised to be: headlined by one of the city’s top indie bands and supported by a star line-up, this was going to be the gig of the month. The effervescent Alex Van-Roose, lead singer of the ‘Wire bounced up to us to say hello. One thing you always notice about this band is their ‘meet and greet’ way of making their fans feel welcome.
The throng of people descended into the basement for the start of the show. On stage was Lucura, the Midlands dreamy psych-pop trio signed to a record label. Remarkable music. In fact Keith Jobey was listening to this band in this very room on 28th May. Keith said
Their brief history to date can be summed up as follows: debut gig in January of this year, second gig supporting the Vryll Society at the Cookie in March and two songs uploaded to Soundcloud in May. Not much to go on but I’d heard mention of them and had a listen to the two available tracks which are good. Plus, if the Cookie were happy to give them a headline slot I figured they had to be worth seeing. [Music in Leicester]
Lacura’s music is out of the ordinary. A very contemporary sound, and one that I reckon will take them a long way. With its appealing vocals, ear-grabbing instrumental lines and compelling rhythms this is a trio a lot of people will to want to see again.
Ash Mammal – a amazing band – their songs have astonishing inventiveness, not least with the way they describe their genre: ‘witch punk, goblin crust’ – now that’s inventive! Songs brought to life by the sensational performance of the lead singer Cass, amplified by the vocals of the drummer Anya. Impressive musicality. Ash Mammal performed at the OBS in 2014 and Adrian Manning’s review of their set is well worth reading [Music in Leicester]. The band appeared at the Simon Says… festival last month [Music in Leicester]
A band we have not seen before (even though they have played in Leicester already) was Liverpool’s The Jackobins. A great pity we missed their previous appearances and an act we would definitely want to see again. The singing of Dominic Bassnett was astounding. Star quality vocals and a stage presence that was charismatic. Understated as ‘alternative rock’ the band’s songs were rich in pop rhythms, sparkling sounds and fervent dynamism. The five-piece group included a keyboard player and delivered a set of listenable songs that yelled ‘you must see us again.’ Certainly, I for one would. Captivating, vibrant music that fizzed with energy and passion.
The time came for tonight’s headline band. The basement room was packed to capacity. Many of Leicester’s rockerati could be seen in the audience. At the front of the stage stood Alex Van Roose, the lead singer of Midnight Wire. What a star! Rooster, as his friends know him, is an accomplished singer but he also has a personable and engaging stage presence, a loveable and somewhat cheeky persona that endears him to so many of his fans. On stage Rooster is sparky, cheerful and has an infectious giggle. It is a pleasure to see him at work, chatting to the audience as if they were all his close friends, pulling them into the music, introducing the songs with a variety of stories and anecdotes – in every respect the consummate performing artist.
Midnight Wire is a band that has an outstanding set of iconic songs. Tonight they performed some of their best. I can’t think of another local band that is so good at writing popular, tuneful melodies. Tonight we heard one great song after another.
In the audience were two of Rooster’s one-time colleagues: Alex Totman, now the lead singer of Leicester band Selby Court and Alistair Lee, a member of The Heroes, the band that he, Rooster and Alex used to be in. The Heroes will be playing a one-off reunion gig on 11th July at The Shed. Many of those present tonight will want to see that – it will be a moment in the life of Leicester music.
Midnight Wire is a band with a unique set of memorable melodies, chanty choruses and tunes that are peppered with catchy breaks. They play songs which, however many times you have heard them before, you always want to hear again. Rooster’s vocals are backed by Arjun Johal, the bassist, to provide a rich vocal layer. One totally infectious dance tune after another comes from the stage. the band traces its musical roots back to Two Door Cinema Club and The Libertines. Many of the songs we heard tonight were from the band’s album Crossing The Rubicon, launched in December last year at the Y Theatre, reviewed by Music in Leicester [Music in Leicester]
But if you think that these are songs that are just about catchy tunes, you would not be completely right – they ended with with a number that had all the redolence of rock and roll – Shake It Baby, bringing an evening of top quality music to a resounding conclusion – a band that knows how to rock out. Midnight Wire left the stage to sustained cheering and clapping.
Songs like Running Forever, Shake It Baby, Honey, New York City Lies… these are tunes that many people have come to know and love. People of all ages could be seen moving to the rhythms of these songs. The audience cheers and screams as each of the songs is announced. This is a band that has a devoted and enthusiastic fan base. People can be seen bouncing to the songs, caught up in the beats and rhythms – it’s music you just cannot stand still to.
Midnight Wire launched in 2011 and since then have appeared at several top-level shows in both Leicester and other parts of the UK. In 2012 the band won the Original Bands Showcase and put on a series of sell out shows at the Y Theatre.
Our coverage of the Riverside festival 2015