obsUnplugged launched

Sam Idwal at The Musician obsUnplugged 2014

4th January 2014

obsUnplugged launch night

Scroll down for more reviews of obs Unplugged shows

Thursday 16th January 2014

at The Musician

Tonight show was opened by Daniel James Perry who performs under the title:  We All Fall Silent. This singer from Grantham had a voice with character and song lyrics embued with an attractive sense of humour, delivering a light-hearted and entertaining set. You can hear his tracks on Soundcloud.

James Heathen, from Leicester, opened his set with a cover before going on to sing some of his songs. Delivering expressive vocals, accompanying himself on the guitar, James gave us likeable melodic lines and appealing emotional colours. James’s song I’m on my way demonstrated his vocal abilities; an agreeable song.

Roll 13s, from Lutterworth, saw four musicians on the stage, starting their set with Back to the blues, backed by strong guitar playing and fronted by strong vocals. Roll 13s’ cover of Jimmy Cliff’s I can see clearly now was particularly enjoyable and they put their own take on it. Whether performing their own songs or their interpretations of well-known covers, Roll 13s presented a set with plenty of verve, culminating in a thumpy, up-beat song Jack Knife.

Acoustic folk group Bellawave brought the strong and clear vocals of Leah Nolan to the mic, as she led the group in a vibrant opening number. With backing vocals from the guitarist, Bellawave delivered an enjoyable set of songs. Hold me closer gave us an attractive melody with some-pleasing bass riffs; a nicely balanced set. Not bad; not bad at all.

One singer I had seen before was George Simpson, who was joined on stage by musicians Benn Hartmann, Josh Bugden and Jack Bains. I my opinion George is one of Leicester’s best male vocalists, his songs are laden with vitality and melodic  melifluence. Benn Hartmann added to the vocal layer in some songs and the instrumental backing was marvelous. A set of extra-ordinary quality delivered with finesse.


You can see George Simpson with the full band at The Donkey on 31st January.

Rhett Barrow can always be relied on to give a resounding performance. A celebrated local singer and songwriter.

Rhett’s band The Dedbeats has also featured in our reviews and has been widely acclaimed.  Rhett was accompanied by  Khalil Amin on the violin for one song and by Alex Freeman on the sitar.


Watch Rhett and Alex performing Music in for Soul at the Musician

Thursday 2nd January 2014

at The Musician

The first show of the series obsUnplugged took place tonight at the Musician venue in Leicester.

The finale of the obsUnplugged weekender will be held on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th February 2014 at The Musician

Find out more about the 2014 obsUnplugged

On the stage tonight:

Dan King, Andessa Martin, Pamella Moo, Initial Thought and Sam Idwal

Dan King at obsUnplugged 2014
Dan King
at obsUnplugged 2014

Opening the show, Dan King, from Leicester, told the audience something about his work and his career as a singer and song-writer. Dan has an EP out. Playing his acoustic guitar, Dan also used a device to put some backing tracks into some of his songs. With his strong and clear voice, Dan delivered an agreeable set with plenty of vitality. His set included some of his own songs and some cover versions.

Follow Dan King on Facebook

Andessa Martin at obsUnplugged 2014
Andessa Martin
at obsUnplugged 2014

Leicester’s Andessa Martin drew enthusiastic acclaim from the audience with her well-articulated vocals and good guitar work. Andessa played a set of her own songs and a cover by Ed Sheeran. It was a good performance, though I thought Andessa had a tendency to race through her songs at times, something often noticed with young singers.

Follow Andessa Martin on Facebook

Benn Hartman and Pamella Moo at obsUnplugged 2014
Benn Hartman and Pamella Moo
at obsUnplugged 2014

An established and successful local artist, Pamella Moo came to the stage with her band – Benn Hartmann on guitar, and Josh and Dan.  Pamella delivered a glittering performance, full of vibrant colours and elegant styles of music. With her ear-pleasing vocals and personable stage presence, Pamella gave us a set flavoured with the resonant vibes of her Mauritian Creole backgound.  Pamella dedicated her last song – an up-beat version of Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks, to Rhett Barrow, who is in the audience – this song being a favourate of his. Greeted with warm appreciation by the audience, she had given us a splendid session.

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Luke Coates, Garth Collins of Initial Thought
Luke Coates, Garth Collins
of Initial Thought

Two singers, playing as Initial Thought, from Leicester, brought their finely harmonised voices to the mics, both of them Luke Coates and Garth Collins playing guitars. The two lads played a set that included their own songs and come cover versions, both having fine voices and a lively stage presence. It was a stylish and vibrant performance.

Follow Initial Thought on Facebook

Sam Idwal at The Musician obsUnplugged 2014
Sam Idwal at The Musician
obsUnplugged 2014

The final act of the night was Sam Idwal, a singer who established himself, last year, as one of the most celebrated and admired singer-writers in Leicester. The 23 year old artist began his set with his song Cobbles, a particularly fine song which I have heard him perform several times and always with great appreciation. You can hear his song Cobbles, on Bandcamp, although this is a rather hurried-pace version. Sam explained that the song was written when he was in Durham, before coming to Leicester. Sam has a marvellous voice which he uses with sensitivity and subtlety, which, with his excellent guitar playing, makes him a singer who is always a pleasure to listen to. This was a mesmerisingly good performance from an artist who has an outstanding degree of talent both as a song-writer and as a singer. Magical.

Follow Sam Idwal on Facebook

See also:

The home page of our singers section

Our page about acoustic and open-mic nights

Our review of Singers of Distinction 2013

Our main article on the 2014 obs Unplugged shows.

About The Editor 536 Articles
The Editor of Music in Leicester magazine is Kevin Gaughan assisted by Trevor Locke