9th February 2014
obsUnplugged finale shows
Friday 7th February and Saturday 8th February 2014 ∏
By Trevor Locke
The 2014 obsUnplugged series of shows, organised by VJT Promotions, at The Musician, reached its finale over the weekend of 7th and 8th February. 22 acts took part in these finale events, out of the 80+ artists that had performed at the previous shows. This was the fourth obsunplugged.
The quality of the singers and groups that appear at obsUnplugged is always high but over these two nights we saw the Crème de la crème of the whole line-up. For those who love singers and acoustic music, obsUnplugged offers a panoply of musical talent. The soloists and groups who took part this year were some of the best that our local area has to offer; the same is true, of course, for previous years.
Many of those who performed were from Leicester and Leicestershire but a few came from further afield – places such as Coventry, Grantham, Nottingham, Birmingham …
Was it a folk festival? No. Whilst many of the performances were broadly folky in nature, the range of the musical styles was broad, including blues rock, rap and many other idioms that were sometimes hard to pin down.
Obsunplugged has always been eclectic, drawing in a spread of musical styles – not the whole gamut by any means but a fair cross section of what’s out there when it comes to acoustic music. Solo singers accompanying themselves on the guitar might have predminated but they did so alongside a variety of ensembles, including bands and one non-instrumental singing group (no prizes for guessing who that was!)
All the acts appearing at the finale shows were of high quality, drawn from a group of very good artists that had played at the previous events. Would it be invidous to pick out the best of the best? I suppose it is the lot of music writers to award themselves the privilige of selectivity (and any such choice does not reflect the views of the obsUnplugged organisers) but I would like to share my take on this. For me personally the stand-outs were:
Male singers: George Simpson, Samuel Idwal, Matt Henshawe, Guy Jones, Dan wright.
Female singers: Polly Yates, Elizabeth Cornish, and newcomer Lucy Davies-Kumadiro.
Stop That Train, Steady Hands and newcomer The Strangler Figs
Acapella: The Simpletones.
All those who took part were of high quality, it has to be repeated, but some stood out as being excellent, based on the kind of criteria I have written about before
and a Google search of “how to be a good singer.”
Now that obsunplugged has finished, I am looking forward to the obs (as in the showcase for original bands, as plugged as plugged can be.)
For me at least, the value of obsUnplugged lies in its giving a good musical experience to both the fans and the artists, in that the sound at The Musician is difficult to equal and all of the shows were well attended. There is a great wealth of talent in our local area – singers, song writers, groups and bands and their talent deserves to be celebrated in shows such as these.
Throughout the year music fans can see nearly all these acts at open-mic nights, venue concerts and festivals in Leicester and its environs and those who appeared at the finale will almost certainly be seen again on a variety of stages over the summer.
Each year that I have gone to these shows, I have learnt something new about the art of singing and marvelled at the artistry that has been brought to the stage. For someone who enjoys music of every kind and flavour, who attends a wide cross-section of gigs and festivals, listens to albums, EPs and tracks on a daily basis, this was a richly rewarding experience and I am sure I can say the same for my follow writers who attended some of the shows that I did not.