Music for the month of November 2017
Our monthly round-up of
Leicester and Leicestershire’s music offerings.
Too see other monthly reports for 2017, go to the Contents page on the main menu ↑.
Local music artist Jonezy performed at the Christmas lights switch-on today, in Loughborough.
The hip-hop singer entertained the crowd in the town centre as part of the ceremony to mark the switching on of the lights.
Jonezy is an artist who has performed many times in both Leicester, Loughborough and other parts of the UK. In September we reported on Jonezy’s audition at The Shed for next year’s Glastonbudget festival.
Back in Easter time this year, Jonezy performed in Leicester, in Humberstone Gate, to a very large crowd as part of the Good Friday observations.
November 26th 2017
Luke Broughton at Natterjacks
By Kevin Hewick
Luke Broughton is on a voyage of sound and feeling. Bathed in psychedelic light of Lumière Ogbanje’s liquid light show he is often just a dark silhouette that wails a song of sighing mystery into the ether. But this trip into the zone is right on the edge. This venue is spilt between listeners and casual drinkers and Broughton tells them there’s to be nothing jolly or accessible here. Even his interpretation ( you can’t call it a cover) of Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ is defiantly un-crowdpleasing. But having said that many in this crowd are very pleased. Word had traveled about this extraordinary young man and his beautiful otherworldly performances.
Suddenly he steps out into the crowd to thrash the guitar with turbo punk aggression. He says this is his last time in the city for a while. He really drains himself before our eyes. This intensity will have other places to go when his batteries are recharged but here at Natterjacks, and at The Western, The Y Theatre and Simon Says Festival earlier this year I’ve seen constant quality and passion from Luke.. and originality. I will say Tim Buckley keeps coming to mind but this is no mere copy of that most uncopyable of artists. Broughton is a new kind of starsailor, totally 21st century and impressively breaking the conventional one man and a guitar singer songwriter boundaries.
Demons of Ruby Mae
Tonight we were at the Shed to see Demons of Ruby Mae. Here is our feature article.
Skam’s album launch at the Musician
with The River Chickens and Those Damn Crows
On Facebook I read: ‘We will be releasing our new album on 17th Nov at our favourite venue The Musician in Leicester. We will play the album in its entirety along with some other SKAM classics!’
So, for me, this was a ‘must see’ gig. Same was true for the couple of hundred people who also packed into the Musician tonight. Boy was it hot inside; but cold on the outside. But what a great night of music. The two support bands were good. But the show was about Leicester’s longest-running rock band: Skam.
That gives some of the background to the band and is worth reading, if this is not a band you have heard of or seen before.
The show was started by The River Chickens, a local group headed up by singer Joel Wildgoose and backed by two solid backing vocalists. Even though I had seen them before, I was very impressed by their music, their sounds and their performance.
Those Damned Crows had come all the way from Bridgend in Glamorgan, Wales, to play for us tonight. Everyone in the room was very glad that they did; after their set the good comments came in thick and fast. If you do not know their music – think Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Led Zeppelin,The Beatles, Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen, Iron Maiden. “They were good” – I thought so and many others told me the same thing. Shane Greenhall did the vocals and boy was he a strong singer, or what!
So, Skam. Why is this such a good band? How long have you got? It’s not just about them being able to write incredibly good songs, or that they have an exciting stage presence or that they are the longest running unsigned rock band in Leicester, but it about them being a legend in their own time.
The band has just released it new album: The Amazing Memoirs of Geoffrey Goddard.
Bassist Matthew Gilmore commented: “2 years of writing, recording, artwork and PR meetings have all led to today. I’m so proud of our achievements with this album, it has everything! I hope you all enjoy it. ”
As someone commented to me last night “There are only three of them. But they sound like a much larger band.” Which is very true. There is a power they give out which you would normally expect for much larger groups of musicians. And then there is Steve Hill. He is the rock singer and guitarist against which all others can be judged, in my opinion.
Skam are: Steve Hill – Guitars – Lead Vox, Matt Gilmore- Bass – Backing Vox, Neal Hill – Drums – Backing Vox. Notice that all three of them sing. That counts for a lot, in my book.
it would be remiss of me not to mention that the stage lighting tonight was done by Jamie Borland. Nice one Jamie!
Newton Faulkner at the O2
by Lauren Raybould
Formerly dubbed the “British Jack Johnson”, Newton Faulkner graced the stage once more at the 02 Academy Leicester on Monday, as part of his current tour. His latest album, Hit the Ground Running, was released on 1st September and it kind of returns him to similar styles that he released in his first album. The album is beautifully put together, with happy, upbeat guitar and drum rhythms; his songs are definitely feel-good.
The support act, Sam Brookes, a singer-songwriter from London, returned with Newton to Leicester. His voice goes so well with his beautiful playing of an acoustic guitar. His lyrics were very emotional and heartfelt, made even more so by the lack of lighting. It gave a really intimate atmosphere, which was a different feel to how the atmosphere is usually in the 02 – sweaty, packed and stifling.
Former Sunday Times “breakthrough act”, Sam played the likes of “Numb” and other songs as well as his new single, “Always Will.” My personal favourite from his set was “Numb”; from his first line – ‘At my worst, I’m a terrorist of love,’ I was captivated by the beautiful sadness of his lyrics. Goosebumps definitely pimpled by his haunting “oooohs” and delicate notes on his guitar, Sam is one of the UK’s best kept alt-folk secrets. He is definitely an artist to add to your Spotify playlist, with over five million listens.
A cacophony of screams and claps greeted Newton as he made his way on stage. The past few years have been quite a transformation for the singer-songwriter, as his album ‘Human Love’ was released in 2015, the same year he released his cover of Major Lazer’s Get Free. In the video, we see Newton cutting off his trademark ginger dreadlocks that he had been cultivating since aged 15. He now looks drastically different than when he had longer dreadlocks. Introducing his first song as “I’m gonna play a song,” his quirky, humorous comments made the audience laugh all night. Playing a mix of old songs and new, Newton amazed and mesmerised as he played insane guitar, showing off his array of skills in using the guitar’s body as a percussive instrument. Playing up the fret board in songs, the acoustic pop singer is definitely one to watch live. His songs ranged from “Smoked Ice cream,” to “Teardrop,” to new songs (“Hit the Ground Running.”)
Whilst re-tuning his guitar, a string went out of tune and he appeared to talk to himself with “no, that weren’t it – is it a B?” Finally, he said to the audience “someone in my ear told me it’s an F,” which received a lot of laughter. His stage presence was divine. Audience participation was key during his set, dividing them into three and getting them to sing harmony parts to his songs; it was a beautiful, captivating scene as Newton smiled at the harmonies. Taking song requests from fans, Newton sang Professional Dog Food Taster and Full Fat. Dream Catch Me was also performed, with the audience singing along, word-for-word alongside the artist.
During songs, Newton had a “battle between good and evil”, whilst doing Yoda and Darth Vadar impressions; his down-to-earth personality really shone through, something you don’t see every day with artists. Sam Brookes accompanied the singer on stage for their song Plastic Hearts, which was written by both artists. It was amazing to see the bond between headline act and support artist. Newton came back on after the show and played a cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody (only if the audience sang, because of the medical conditions concerning his voice.) However, it seems as if he has been put on voice rest as of a day ago, having to reschedule Norwich and Cambridge tour dates. When he gets back on the road to recovery, I due recommend going to see him; he’s an artist you’ll never forget.
Pop Will East Itself
by Carlos Stein
at Dryden Street with Senser and Temple of Lies.
I had a wonderful night chilling with the ol’ DNF crew at the Pop Will Eat Itself (PWEI) gig. These guys (and their support Senser) both put on a awesome show of likeable techno/punk/rap which had the whole place bopping and jumping about. It was also a chance to catch up with some old friends from the past with scores of familiar faces from the 80s-90s ‘post-punk’ generation music scene.
The Dryden was rammed to its capacity of 450. I was not the only person to point out in conversation that the atmosphere was like “the old Charlotte days” – which would have regular gigs filled to capacity, as would other iconic venues like The Magazine, Royal Mail, Queens Hall, Fan Club, The Poly, Pump & Tap, Kings Head etc.
Both bands go back to the late 90s. The guy from Senser, considering he is a ‘veteran’ of the punk/techno scene has an awesome stage presence and bags of energy. The main vocals are predominantly a very fast and well-timed punk/rap. They have a female vocalist to accompany the main vocals and provide some nice rapping and pleasing vocal harmonies. Even though we were told his techno/DJ had to pull out with a sudden illness they still put on a good show of really likeable punk/techno/rap style anthems.The band has impeccable timing that could only be achieved with lots of rehearsal. PWEI had really successful chart hits with Defcon one and Bulletproof and were on TOTP with 92 degrees and X,Y & Zee. PWEI performed most of their known hits and the audience responded to their wishes, filling in the vocals for a whole verse at one point!). It was hard not to jump around to their infectious beats.Their material is moving with the times and nowadays steers towards a fast paced techno/punk. PWEI had 2 vocalist working together but each was providing their own style of rap. Both acts had a full band to accompany them and it is interesting to see real drummers perform to techno style music. The Dryden Social has that atmosphere reminiscent of the classic gig venues of old but with modern touches such as the cosy balcony bar which gives a superb view of the stage.
Big shouts to my awesome mates from the DNF crew George Spiv, Liz Allan (and hubby Blair) who also joined me for the night. It was ace XX
I’m told that the Temple of Lies set went down really well with the crowd, who had not heard them before. Read about this band in our previous coverage. (Ed.)
On the events promo it said: ‘Strangling Vinyl Promotions presents its biggest gig to date and first at Dryden Street Social. The gig most people talk to me about is Pop Will Eat Itself when they played Leicester over two years ago.The only way I could top it is to do it bigger and with Senser in tow as special guests this is gonna be one brutal night.
This was a sold out gig. (Who said the Leicester music scene had died? – Ed.)
11th November 2017
Kevin Hewick at The Criterion
by Keith Jobey
Kevin has a new album out ‘Driven By Love, Driven By Hate‘ and this afternoon show at The Criterion was branded as the official Leicester launch show. There had already been an official launch show in London, remarkably his first ever headline show in the capital. A show at which he received a standing ovation no less. And jokingly he states that he’s going to continue doing official album launch shows around the country.
It was a packed out room for this less formal gig in a venue Kevin holds dearly, his Royal Albert Hall. It was a room full of appreciative fans, there to witness an artist who can entertain you throughout an epic two and a half hour set. The set played heavily on songs from the new album alongside some from the previous and the nod back to his Factory Records time. The closing half hour saw Autumn Dawn Leader join him on stage to perform some excellent duets, namely the two tracks from the album that she appears on. A highlight worthy of its own slot.
I’ve witnessed Kevin perform many times, but this one was something special. His voice was in fine form and the guitar playing was top quality, but above all Kevin was enjoying it, having a great time letting the set pour out over the attentive audience. This show was truly driven by love.
(Kevin Hewick’s album Driven by Love Driven by Hate, is available from the singer’s website: for the price of £10 plus package and postage. – Editor)
University of Leicester Big Band
at The Shed.
Tonight one of the largest group of musicians ever to play at the same time, at The Shed, performed to a packed house.
How many? Martha O’Sullivan told us:
23 band members in total including 2 lead singers (male and female)
We asked how the band got started. Martha said ‘
It’s actually 20 years this year since the band was formed! It’s student lead and student run by a committee of eight, not a single person in the band studies music as there is no degree program at Leicester, so it’s all just a hobby that we love doing.
She continue: We meet once a week to rehearse and do regular gigs around the city at pubs and also play at balls and events at The City Rooms and the Athena. Our biggest performance to date is our gig at Ghent Festival in the Summer just gone, where we played in the early evening on one of the main stages to around 800 people.
Martha added: The festival has asked us back this summer to play a main stage again but in an evening slot, which is an honour!
This was an amazing experience. It was music of high quality.
The fact that the room was full of people added to the atmosphere.
The solo singers were extremely good.
The tunes they played were wonderful.
It is rare to hear such a big band in Leicester.
Altogether an incredible experience. Can’tg wait to hear them again.
Milburn at the O2
with Neon Waltz and Traps
Leicester’s Queens Hall – at the O2 – was only the second stop on Milburn’s 2017 tour. After playing in large UK cities, the band moves on to Europe, visiting places like Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne, Hamburg, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Prague, Vienna, Milan and Solothurn Kulturfabrik Kofmehl (no we don’t know where it is either.) I say this because it gives you some idea of just how big this band is now that they have re-formed. Oddly enough, we have not reviewed Milburn before. Not altogether surprising since they split up in 2008. Now the band is releasing its third album and had just embarked on a massive come-back tour.
Indie rock, Sheffield… what’s the next thing you think of? Arctic Monkeys. Well, according to what I read on Wikipedia, it was Milburn who helped to launch their Sheffield counterparts back in 2005. They might have only just got back together but it looks like one of the most successful reunions in recent times.
Tonight I came to see our local band Traps. I also had recollections of seeing Neon Waltz before. When I arrived in the hall, Traps were on stage with their hall-mark light boxes. I have spoken about traps before, saying how stunning their harmonies were, how remarkable their vocal layers were and spoke of the amazing singing of lead Jamie Williams. And I went on: ‘A large band – with two keyboards – their songs were lyrical, rhythmic and highly appealing. Embroidered with electronic samples, the music was richly woven. Inventive compositions this cornucopia of musical delights was full of inventiveness.’ Tonight Traps was in top form and gave everyone a thoroughly enjoyable of their songs. All of which are engaging and highly listenable.
Neon Waltz has been to Leicester before. They played at The Soundhouse in April 2015. Our reviewer at that gig wrote: ‘I’m not quite sure how to categorise their music. It has touches of psychedelia, alt-rock, anthemic rock and shoe-gaze and is always melodic. Often there is a melancholy feel to the songs, not in a depressing way but more a contemplative moodiness. ‘
The six-piece band from Scotland did a hugely enjoyable set. Cool, energetic, tuneful and ear-pleasing. Well-constructed songs. Much to like about this band.
Hopefully we will be seeing Noen Waltz in Leicester agaion – soon. Fingers crossed.
Even before Milburn arrived on stage, the chanting had begun. Judging from the variety of northern accents to be heard around the venue tonight, my guess is that quite a proportion of the audience had come from outside Leicester. Having said that I met quite a lot of local musicians in the audience. It’s the sign of a big gig when the Leicester rockerati turn out to see a band. As the Milburnites walked on to the stage a huge cheer went up from the room. For the normally sedate Queens Hall, this was a night with some astonishing sights. Forests of waving arms. Guys being held up by the crowd. Something resembling a mosh pit. And by the start of their set, the room was packed. 800 fans – easily. If not more.
Given the size of the audience at this show, something needs to be said about the state of the Leicester music scene. In recent times it has gone downhill. Fewer people now go out to venues to see a band. Many people people have said to me how bad things are generally these days and have been for a couple of years. Yet, when the right bands appear so do the fans. OK, a lot of those who came to the O2 tonight were from out of town. Even so, I could see many local fans in the crowd. Some will have seen Neon Waltz before in our small venues. Traps is a band that usually attracts a large following of devoted fans. Was it an indie crowd? Well, indie is not the huge draw that it used to be. Gigs at small venues around here have not been packed full in recent times. I am still left with the feeling that it’s all about the line-up and if that is right, the fans will appear. Even at £22 a ticket.
Most of those who were in the Queen’s Hall tonight would have thought their tickets were good value for money. Milburn have them a hugely good performance; songs from their vast back catalogue and some new stuff as well. At the front lead singer Joe Carnall. The band put out some foot-tapping rhythms and compelling guitar sounds. They might sound like Arctic Monkeys but they are different. It’s in some ways a rockier sound. Certainly their fans loved it all and you could tell from the way they reacted to the songs that it was all going down very nicely. Some could say that today’s Milburn offers a more mature sound. Understandably. They have grown since the days that they shared platforms with Reverend and the Makers and the Monkeys.
Lastly, I understand from what I have heard, that the University of Leicester plans to close the
Queen’s Hall. Plans have been announced to turn the legendary music venue into a food court, bringing to an end fifty eight years of shows that have seen the likes of Bob Marley, The Cure and Led Zeppelin on its stage.
Outraged music fans and musicians have supported a petition against the closure. It’s not just this university that is trashing our city’s cultural heritage. The rot set in when De Montfort University said it would tear down parts of the historical Leicester castle and dismantle the medieval hall and its Victorian courtrooms to create a modern lecture theatre. Our universities might provide world-class education but do they have to trash our heritage to do it? As someone said to me tonight, the loss of the Queens Hall Would be a “great shame” and that’s putting it mildly.
Glastonbudget night at the Shed
with Blue Skies in June, Code of Conduct, Duke Box Music, James Watt and the Avenues, Vietnam Flashbacks.
Friday night and it is time to go to the Shed for the regular Glastonbudget festival auditions. Time for the judges to see the acts and decide which ones they want to invite to next year’s festival stages.
A five-piece singing band – Blue Skies in June. Not one I have seen before so I had to just take them as they came. Personally, I did not recognise any of the songs they played – so I assumed it was all their own music, I could have been wrong about that. But my ears got the good vocal layer and the harmonies of the female singers. Professional musicianship, I thought to myself. An energetic performance and when gusto was required they gave it. Entertaining.
Code of Conduct brought some punky sounds to the stage. The trio from Bury St. Edmunds featured the lead singer on the guitar. A set of lively songs with some backing vocals from the bass player. Personally, I liked them. They gave us plenty of vigour and compelling rhythms from the ear that hinted at Blink 182 and Green Day. Likeable songs and sounds that took me back a while to a time that I loved. The band related to the audience and got them to clap in time with the music. If they do get to play at the festival I will be there to hear them.
Acoustic duo, Duke Box Music sang covers beginning with the classic Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics. That, I thought, was a good start. Then some Bob Marley. Most of the songs were recognisable classics – well I recognised them! Two good voices offering a delightful selection of music treats.
Trio James Watt and the Avenues. With an electronic drum kit. Which is unusual. On the band’s Facebook page their genre is given as ‘Surf’n’Roll! Mainly Surf Guitar, with the occasional ‘twangy’ Rock’n’Roll song thrown in. ‘ Ideas came up about surfing in southern California in the 1960s. Someone mentioned The Beach boys.
I got into a conversation about what surf rock was and what I thought it might be. They were from Northamptonshire.
The last band of the night was Vietnam Flashbacks. A five-piece group giving out psychedelic rock and stoner rock band with elements of trance and dance. Their set was fervent. It was the end of a night but this band gave us all a second wind; passionate songs and a really fulsome sound. Three vocals in some of the song; voluminous vibes from the stage. Spanking.