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 ↑.

Coming up…

A visit to Duffy’s Bar to see Not My Good Arm. Traps at the O2 with Neon Waltz and Milburn. And then The University of Leicester Big Band.

In progress now; come back soon.

18th November

Demons of Ruby Mae

Demons of Ruby Mae at The Cookie in 2015
Photo by Kevin Gaughan

Tonight we will be at the Shed to see Demons of Ruby Mae.

In the meantime here is a review we did earlier.

17th November

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.

We have a feature page on this 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.

Joel Wildgoose of The River Chickens at the Musician, 17th November 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

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.

Ben Milner of The River Chickens at the Musician, 17th November 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

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!

Those Damn Crows at the Musician, 17th November 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

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.

Steve Hill of Skam at the Musician, 17th November 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

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. ”

Skam’s Matthew Gilmore at the Musician, 17th November 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Check the Skam website for details.

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 at the Musician, 17th November 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

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.

Neal Hillland Matthew Gilmore at the Musician, 17th November 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.


it would be remiss of me not to mention that the stage lighting tonight was done by Jamie Borland. Nice one Jamie!

More later

Here is a taster video thanks to Kevin Gaughan.

Skam at the Musician, 17th November 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

13th November

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.

Sam Brookes at the O2, 13th November 2017. Photo by Lauren Newbould.

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.

Newton Faulkner at the O2, 13th November 2017. Photo by Lauren Newbould.

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.

12th November

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


Temples of Lies we saw last year at De Montfort Hall, June 2016, Uprising

Temple of Lies at the De Montfort Hall for Uprising 4th June 2016

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.)

Watch Dance of the Mad by Pop Will Eat Itself.

and watch Eject by Senser.

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.

Kevin Hewick & Autumn Dawn Leader.
The Criterion – 11th November 2017.
Photo: Keith Jobey

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.

Kevin Hewick & Autumn Dawn Leader.
The Criterion – 11th November 2017.
Photo: Keith Jobey

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)

3rd November

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.

See also:

Music for the month of October