Music in November 2015
Our round-up of the live music events attended by our team of reporters and photographers during the month of November.
If a piece is not attributed to a named reporter, then it was written by the editor.
Including gigs that we went to and some mentions of other events.
Dates are entered in descending order; the latest dates come first.
Edgarfest, Saturday 28th November
Hardly was Oxjam over then we had Edgarfest. Eight venues offered bands and singers in the Braunstone Gate area of the city. I spent the day at The Music Cafe with my artist Jonezy. Other members of the MIL team were out watching acts at some of the other venues and their reports are coming soon.
Carlos Stein – the Lord of the Loops – did a pretty amazing set at TMC; good even by Stein standards. Using a variety of music instruments along with his famous loop systems, Carlos gave us a set much of which I had not heard before, although he added one of my favourite songs Big Fat Bankers.
The TMC had two stages – an unusual configuration – and as one stage was performing the other one was setting up. So, the music kept coming without too much of a break between sets.
Carlos Stein was quickly followed by Leicester’s Once Vagrant Souls. Ear-pleasing music filled the room as OVS played vibrant songs led by David Lewis’s voice. Outside the weather was cold, wet and foul but inside there was plenty of warmth and vitality, as act after act got up to present their musical offerings.
If you have not seen hip-hop artist Jonezy before, you can have no idea what he is like. What he does is unique. You might have seen rappers before but what Jonezy does is nothing like them. Some of the people in the house tonight had not seen him before, but they were instantly caught up in the infectious rhythms, the ear-grabbing songs and the energy of his performance.
If you want to find out more about Jonezy have a look at his website. (Forgive his spelling mistakes please.)
Another of the Leicester bands that we rave about is Flip Like Wilson.
On the way home from TMC, we dropped into The Shed, which had a good lineup that night including The Chase, a really good band from Nottingham, a band we have seen and written about before. Flight15 was the star attraction of the show; a Leicester band that has had a strong track record this year. This trio of young musicians is arguably one of the outstanding new acts of recent times. The band is noted for bringing out a steady flow of new songs. This show was in aid of The Teenage Cancer Trust.
Glastonbugdet at The Shed, Friday 27th November
The Shed played host tonight to another audition show for the 2016 Glastonbudget Festival. On the lineup were five great acts: James Cull, The Ultimate Question, Before The Crash, The Lids and Aztec Temples.
Despite it being a rather wet evening, a fair amount of people came to The Shed to support the acts and enjoy some really good music. Opening tonight’s show James Cull gave an extraordinary performance; his full-on voice and exquisite guitar playing delivered a magnificent set that included some well known songs. James’s vocals were not short of power and impact, his distinctive voice having plenty of colour and resonance.
Nottingham band The Ultimate Question were here in Leicester for the first time. It was unusual to see a four-piece band with a trumpet player but that gave them a sound that stood out. The Shed has always provided a launch-pad for new and young bands to begin their climb up the ladder and this was a band with no shortage of talent and potential. An enjoyable performance although their stage-craft was not exciting.
Before The Crash is a band that we have seen many times before. The band has come a long way since its early days but has matured into an act that is full of originality and style. They played with panache and lead singer Shezza Wileman gave a classy performance. Their music set the room alight and clearly excited people.
The three musicians from The Lids delivered some ear-grabbing songs and gathered an enthusiastic crowd down to the front. Presented with lashings of energy and commitment, their songs had a modern feel and they plied the room with plenty of passion in a set that was foot-tappingly rhythmic and punchy. It was a very convincing performance that held the audience’s attention and won them enthusiastic acclaim from the crowd.
The show was headlined by Leicester’s Aztec Temples. It was a set that created real magic. The ‘temples topped off a night of good music with their set of memorable songs that were leaden with catchy melodies and scintilating breaks. One great song after another came from the band led by the vocals of Conor Simpson, backed by rhythm guitarist Lewis McDermott. These are tunes that stick in your head, the kind of music that comes from songwriters that are at the top of the tree.
Over the years I have followed the best bands in Leicester – The Heroes, Formal Warning, Autohype, By The Rivers, The Screening, The Chairmen, to name but a few – and in my opinion, Aztec Temples stands heads and shoulders with the best of the best when it comes to writing popular songs. No covers, just one set of their own musical offerings and one of which, pretty much most popular rock bands would be proud to have made. If it’s all about the music then this a band that has it all.
Another really good night of music at The Shed. I have to congratulate the festival because Glastonbudget had given the music-going people of the UK the best new and original bands and singers that our local area provides. Not all music festivals do this; some stick to established acts and ignore the wealth of new talent that is around. Glastonbudget has over the years brought us both: well established acts playing alongside new, rising talent. That is something, in my view, that makes it stand out.
So, another good night at The Shed. Superb music. A good crowd of people. At only £5 for four hours of entertainment, this was a night that worth every penny.
Project Live, Thursday 26th November
The Music Cafe, near Braunstone Gate, was the venue for Project:Live, presented by 2Funky Arts.
The event provided a showcase for new and upcoming music artists. It was the culmination of a three month artist development programme under music director Carol Leeming. The programme was supported with fund from the Arts Council.
Tonight’s artists had a three-piece band to play their backing music. On the line-up were Michael ‘Sly’ Simpson, Cara Michelle, Loaneski, Linzi Wells, Zeropence, and Ayolah.
Opening the show was Michael ‘Sly’ Simpson who performed a set of rap songs of his own. An artist whose progress I have followed for many years now, Sly now looks like a seasoned performer, delivering a set that showed he was relaxed and confident; he ended his set with a series of break-dance moves. ‘A hip-hop artist bringing old skool vibes combined with a new skool twist.’
Cara Michelle used her strong voice to give us a set of songs, which she had written herself, and these were full of feeling providing ear-pleasing music. Cara is a singer and songwriter with deep lyrics echoing sweet soulful vibes.
Returning to hip-hop Loaneski delighted the room with his heart-felt raps. With several costume changes during his set, he was not short on humour and delivered a lively and enjoyable performance that won over the crowd. He achieved national recognition with his debut single Black Thoughts.
Sadly, I had to leave at the end of the first half (my band was playing at Pi Bar) but I am sure that the other performers were as good as those I saw in the first half of the show.
The Shed, Wednesday 25th November
Sometimes a band from out of town makes an impression and last night that happened, for me, when I went to see Anonymous, from Uttoexeter, at The Shed. Even though they had been at The Shed a few times before (I was told) I had not seen them. The band’s infectious performance and compelling set of hard rock songs found a lot of traction with the audience and with me. With its richly crafted chords, ear-smacking hooks and breaks, blended with plenty of dazzling guitar work, it was all good. Rob Baynes did a top job with the vocals and the music delivered punchy songs and plenty of attractive rhythms. Exciting stuff from a young band and one that I definitely want to see again.
Another band I liked very much was BluesDeLaCeaux, from Leicester. This young five-piece band played a very engaging set of blues rock songs. An impressive set from them delivering energy and commitment and set of scintilating songs.
The evening ended with a performance by three of Leicester’s most celebrated musicians. As this was a secret performance I can’t tell you who they were. I can’t even tell you the name of their band. All I can say is that we heard some awesomely good music from them. So, why all the secrecy? Well, I can’t say. I cannot even put up a photo of them on stage because everyone would instantly recognise them all. It was the kind of incredibly good music you would expect from three musicians of their calibre. All three of them sang whilst playing their instruments. It was one of those moments of music magic that was toally unexpected. Now, if you think I am teasing you all I can say is ‘I certainly am.’ However, if you come back to us in December, I am sure all will be revealed.
Auditions, Friday 20th November
The Shed for the Glastonbudget Auditions show and the Not My Good Arm gig. Upstairs with The Moon, Four Point Oh, 5th Pier, Sharna-Mae & The Mayhems, The Smarties.
Down stairs with Not My Good Arm, The Burnout and English Guns.
There are often good nights on Leicester’s music scene; but there are special nights, nights that stand out for their musical excellence and tonight was one of them.
Upstairs, Glastonbudget was holdings its auditions. Five bands played top-class sets for the judges, hoping they would be selected for the stages of the 2016 festival.
Two girls with good voices started the show; The Moon was also joined by James Summers of Part of The Problem, a band we have seen before.
For me, one of the main attractions of the night was the performance by Leicester band Four Point Oh. A band I know well and have seen them many times before. On stage were four very good musicians: Oscar Wright (guitar), Lorenzo Morandi (guitar), Oli Frost (drums) and on bass Becky Woolman, doing the lead vocals.
Four Point Oh is a well established Leicester band; one that is well known around our local venues and at festivals. The music they put on is full of energy and passion and they perform it well on stage; they are a joy to watch. They live the music and perform like real rock stars (which of course they are.)
The main room of the Shed was pretty full tonight; a crowd of all ages and despite the foreboding weather forecast they had turned out to enjoy some really good live music and support their favoured acts. People were seen greeting friends they had not met for a while and the atmosphere was friendly and upbeat.
Downstairs, there was a gig with Not My Good Arm. Supporting them were The Burnout and English Guns. Not My Good Arm, very different to what was happening upstairs, but just as good, with lead vocals by Tom Haywood and the two brass players Geoff and Adam Davison. The band performed on the main stage at the Riverside Festival in Leicester on 6th June. As I said then, ‘Now a firmly established band, Not My Good Arm has become a popular part of the local music scene.’ [Music in Leicester]
What they gave us was another outstanding performance.
The night rolled on from one good band to the next. Music as it should be; music as we wish it could always be.
English Guns rounded off the show in the basement with another of its superb performances. The band was joined by the two brass players from NMGA for some of the songs, making the whole thing ever more wonderful than it already had been. Together they created a phenomenal music experience; one which would have been difficult to have predicted. More than many gig-goers would have expected but then that is what the music scene is like in Leicester – full of surprises.
Up stairs the night drew to a resounding finale with The Smarties, a band from Leicestershire/Northamptonshire that formed in 2010. The band’s set of popular songs included rock, blues, indie and pop. The three guys gave a performance that was full and life and energy.
Both stages had provided the stuff that musical dreams are made of. Overall the whole night was one that deserves to be celebrated as one of the best gigs of 2015.
Thurmaston, Saturday 14th November
The Humberstones were at The Harrow Inn in Thurmaston. Making a come back. You might recognise the lead singer in our photo: Mr Murray Stewart (aka Muz) the head honcho of Glastonbudget.
Got Talent, Friday 13th November
A rather unusual night out for me. I went with the artist I manage – Jonezy – to see a show called Leicester’s Got Talent. It was held at the Platinum Suite. Jonezy was performing in that half of the evening that was devoted to adult artists (the over sixteens.) The first half had been all about those aged 16 and under and I have to say there were some amgazingly good singers, some of quite tender years. Also on stage tonight were Leicester’s other rap artists: Lacky C, Dibbz and Ali Flex.
Jonezy was fantastic; but then he always is. He performed some of his established songs and a new one. Even though most of the audience had not seen him before, it was clear that they responded very positively to his short set.
Jonezy did not win any prize for his act (and neither did any of the other rappers) but the evening did raise a fair bit of money for LOROS and Rainbows, so that was good and made it all worthwhile. One of the judges was Charlie Clpaham, best known for playing Freddie Roscoe in the TV soap opera Hollyoaks. Jonezy managed to get a selfie with him.
Birthday gig, Thursday 12th November
Jonezy held his birthday gig at The Shed. On stage with him were: Alex Van Roose, taking time off from being the lead singer in Midnight Wire, to do some singing for us tonight, always very entertaining and very tuneful.
He joined Jonezy on stage, for part of his set, to sing the parts he has recorded for Jonezy’s song Stars. Known for his collaborations with other artists, Jonezy’s song feature contributions from people like Alexandru (Suite 16, Norway) and Sophie Garner from Leicester.
Tonight also saw sets by the Midlands band Chasing Deer,one that we have written about several times during their frequent visits to Leicester stages. Leicester’s newest young band Kynch put on a terrific set and they were followed by another of the great young bands of Leicester, Flight15.
Kynch plays extraordinarily good music and is one of the youngest bands to be entertaining audiences in the city these days.
Leicester band Flight15 is one that has become well established and widely admired, particularly over this year. They really know how to rock and never cease to amaze pretty much everyone who sees them.
All in all it was a very good night and really good way to celebrate a birthday.
The Cookie, Tuesday 10th November
Andy Askey was at the Cookie seeing Ash Mammal; this is what he said
Well fuck me, I’m still quite pleased to find that even at my advanced years I can be blown away by a previously unknown band on a dead Tuesday night in Leicester. I trekked down to the Cookie tonight to watch the ever awesome Ash Mammal, in the vague hope that the headliners might be worth watching too. Am never disappointed. Cass writhes around the stage in what appears to be a black boob tube, masscara’d George adopts the perfect rock guitar stance, Jeeves is an archetypal study in the art of bass cool and drummer Anya is a force of nature, pounding out thunderous rhythms without looking in the slightest bit interested in what she’s doing. I know the songs now (though not the titles because my memory is shit) though there are no highlights because each number flows into the other and every one is a classic in its own right. I can’t compare them to anyone and that in this day and age is the best thing you can say about any band. They just make the most glorious racket that needs to be heard and that’s all that fucking matters. I could have happily gone home after their performance but Post War Glamour Girls have a great name and the two minutes I listened to on you tube sounded ok so I thought I’d give them a go. Fuck me, they were ASTOUNDING – again, another band that defies comparison, I could pick up traces of Gang Of Four and even some good old fashioned Leeds goth but nothing whatsoever specific. Mainly though they were angular as fuck and distinctly ploughing their own furrow. Frontman James radiates northern sarkiness and bitterly talks about getting old and jaded and ‘joining a badminton club’ (which belies the fact that post gig he was a very approachable, nice bloke – and anyway, badminton is an ace game tbf ) No encore, but after stand out song ‘Organ Donor‘ and the final epic number that couldn’t have been topped, who cares. I bought two CDs and would have bought the all the others if I’d had enough money on me. I felt privileged to be there, but gutted for these two brilliant bands there wasn’t more than 15/20 paying punters there. They are both on tour (seperately) taking in northern cities over the next couple of weeks. I hope some of my northern music loving chums can turn out for them. Cos they fucking well deserve an audience.
Reproduced with permsission
Scholar, Monday 9th November
We were at The Scholar Bar to see Seafret, Tyler Nugent, Tom Lewitt and Martin Luke Brown.
The gig was organised by Andy Wright. Tyler Nugent opened the show, not an artist I know well but I can see why the audienced liked him. His gravelly voice delivered songs with passion and colour. I could not help thinking of Jake Bugg as I watched him. The singer from Nottingham got the show off to a good start. One time member of the Screening, Tom Lewitt, certainly knows how to sing. In a performance brimming with confidence, Tom sangs his own songs with plenty of presence, musical traction and lyrical appeal. He now performes in a band called The Atlantics with other members of the Screening.
I had not seen Martin Luke Brown for a long time. From the very first bars of his first song, Martin’s magical voice filled the room with brilliance. One of Leicester’s most successful singers and ssongwriters, Martin is the living proof that it can be done. Playing keyboard and singing, Martin gave a performance that was sensational, a set that had all the hallmarks of the MLB experience: passion comitment and energy. He sang Knife Edge, a song releeased a few weeks ago. You can listen to him (and see him) singing it on his website. Martin knows how to hit those amazing high notes and his vocal range and total command of techniques makes him an outstanding artist. When he needs to he can crack open some volanic sounds. His debute EP was released by Parlaphone. Interesting to see he is a fan of Leo Stannard, another top Leicester singer, we have covered before now. For his last number, Martin chose a track from his EP Take Out of Me. Seafret headlined the show.
Three musicians from Bridington. The band launched into a set of foot-tapping, vibrant and engaging songs as their large posse of supporters in front of the stage. Plenty of punch and with a set that was varied, they drew an enthusiastic response from the audience. You can find out more about them and hear their songs on the Seafret website.
Female fronted, Saturday 7th November
Flappy Duck presents…
Female fronted rock night
at The Shed with Lilith’s Army, Drag, Velocity, Primer and Beth Morris
I promised Sylvie I be there; she is the lead singer in Lilith’s Army, a band I knew from way back. Velocity had been billed to play but sadly they had pulled out shortly before the show. The show was opened by Beth Morris; she sang and played guitar, her ample vocals filling the room with sweet sounds. Beth’s set of her own songs (with a couple of covers) showed that she was a very able singer.
Primer, from Dudley, was the first band of the evening. This five-piece group had a female lead singer and a violin player. Funky, folksy, foot-tapping tunes were pleasant listening; they were what I call a ‘leather hat’ band and I did very much the violin playing.
Lillith’s Army featured the lead vocals of Sylvie and I know I have seen them before and I think I might have put them on in Leicester one time when I used to promote gigs in the old days. The trio of musicians packed plenty of punch and I particularly liked the bass player who also did some vocal backings. LA certainly knew how to rock and I thought their sound was metal blended with punk. Very good to see this band again and very enjoyable.
The night was brought to a climax by DRAG, another band I knew from the old days. The Birmingham group put on a stunning performance of songs that everyone liked. It was a scorchingly good set of musical delights, full of energy and traction and many of my friends commented on how good they were.
Underground, Saturday 7th November
The Sunshine Underground at The Cookie
by Keith Jobey
So let’s get this clear. Tonight at the Cookie it was rammed. It was hot, it was sweaty, it was crazy, and if you weren’t within five feet of the stage you couldn’t see the band, but tonght wasn’t about seeing the show, tonight was just about being there!
Mountainjam were the first band of the evening. Unfortunately and unusually for me, I failed to make it there (it was a busy day). There’s a video of them on the night on their facebook page performing Lust. Must catch them in the future.
Casino Empire landed the main support slot. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them but they are still on top form. Perhaps a little more professional in their approach and sporting some nice looking new guitars but still full of confidence and attitude. A couple of new songs too, Kings And Queens and Glow sounding ace.
The Sunshine Underground are used to playing bigger venues than the Cookie, but this was an ‘intimate’ tour visiting just Birmingham, Liverpool and here, the Cookie in Leicester. So a bit special really. No wonder it was how it was down in basement venue. It was great watching from the back but I did manage to get down the front eventually, and get a photo. One thing that was clear tonight was that this band commands a lot of love from their dedicated fans. All of whom went home pleased, if not a little sweaty.
Farewell, Thursday 5th November
It was Renaud’s last night in Leicester before he went home to France for good. We visited The Shed – the first venue that Renaud went to in this city.
It was a night devoted mainly to drinking but I do remember seeing Oblivious, a band I had seen before. On 11th June Oblivious played at The Shed; then they had two female artists in the group; now only the two boys were on stage; they were good. I liked their set of folksy songs.
Great Imitation were at Oxjam