Saturday 12th April 2014
Original Bands Showcase Callbacks, at The Musician.
The OBS is the longest running band showcase series in Leicester, now in its tenth year. Tonight we saw the callback event, in which bands chosen from the first round heats played, for a second chance to get through to the semi-finals.
Tonight, the bands that went through were – Suicide B’s, Ash Mammal, Matchstick Men and Murmur play the Semi Finals which are 26th Apr and 3rd May. Join the Fb page for the Grand Final on 17th May.
For photos from tonight’s show, see Philip Vernon’s album on Facebook.
A young band from Leicester The World Can Wait opened the show. Having seen them before I knew what to expect. They are part of a pack of new young bands that have recently emerged into the local scene. What makes this band stand out? All four of them sing. They play a set of enjoyable cover songs, amplified with their own songs, including the now well-known Rabbit in the headlights, which they deliver with a good deal of vitality.
Tonight’s line-up of bands brought plenty of diversity to the room, as far as musical styles is concerned. Sean Grant and The Wolfgang has distinguished itself as being a band that is setting the bar for style and originality. Sean Grant, leading the vocals, has a voice with an iconic sound and a stage presence to go with it. This is a band that has brought something fresh a new to the music scene. Listenable, pleasing and enjoyable songs sit hand in hand with mindful lyrics to give you a band that is extra-ordinary.
From the first bars of the first song, you could tell you were in the presence of a band that makes its own music. Ash Mammal is a band that has been making waves in Leicester. Vigour, verve and vivacity is what they gave out, led by the distinctively stylish presence of singer Dan Rhodri Gould, the band was soon pumping plenty of energy into the room. Not a band to inhabit the world of the mundane, Ash Mammal do their own thing, in their own way and very good it is too.
A collection of familiar faces arrived on stage as the Suicide B’s assembled for their set. Most of those we saw tonight had been in or in fact are in bands, including Alex Freeman (vocals) and Rhett Barrow (The Dedbeats) who joined the band for the first two songs with his harmonica. The ‘B’s plied the room with a set of inspiring rock songs, drawing on their collectively fulsome workbench of musical knowledge. They played songs that were laden with colour and rhythmic resonance.
The first band to introduce a keyboard to the stage was The Matchstick Men. This quintet provided lead vocals, with some backing from the bassist and keyboard player, for their selection of indie-style numbers. Foot-tapping, clap-along songs delivered plenty of rhythmic verve and immediacy drawing the sap from roots of their musical influences. A young band with a plentiful supply of talent.
The four musicians of Murmur put on a show that was strong on attack, bristling with sharpness and a set that sparkled with energy and vitality. On stage you could see four young men committed to playing at their best, squeezing every ounce of energy out of their set and clearly enjoying what they were doing as much as the audience enjoyed it too. Their set of beltin’ indie-rock numbers crackled with the fire of youthful exuberance. Not short on passion and pulse, their set had effervescence and their performance zeal, in impressive proportions.
The style changed when Part of The Problem brought their funky beats to the stage, mixing a cocktail of reggae and dance beats with a dash of drum and bass, propelled by their front-man James summers.
Having such a welter of musical styles in one night is by no means easy to cope with but the scope and variety of what was on offer tonight, whetted the appetite and kept the audience engaged. Seven bands in one serving what a lot to get through in one sitting and a far cry from the olden days of going out to ‘see a band’, where one group of musicians entertained the audience for a whole evening. This is the norm for modern music – a line-up of bands playing half-hour sets, where most of what is heard is their own, original compositions, most of which the audience will not have heard before. That demands a special kind of crowd, one which is open-minded and willing to assimilate the new, the novel and the unfamiliar.
The first semi-final of the OBS takes place at the Musician on Saturday 26th April.
with Spartan Skyline, 8 Miles High, Stop That Train, Tapestry, Matchstick Men and Part of the Problem.
The second semi-final, on 3rd May, has Beneath the Lights, Strangler Figs, Ash Mammal, The Della Grants, Murmur and Suicide B’s.
The grand final is on Saturday 17th May, also at the Musician. Acts we know that have got through, so far Tapestry, 8 Miles High and Stop That Train. There is one more semi-final to play on 3rd May
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