Music in October 2015
Our round-up of the live music events attended by our team of reporters and photographers during the month of October.
Including gigs that we went to and some mentions of other events.
Dates are entered in descending order; the latest dates come first.
Saturday 31st October
Leicester Oxjam Takeover.
Oxjam was great! We at MIL covered as many acts as we could but with 128 of them performing on 11 stages, we still gathered only a fraction of what took place. The Saturday coincided with the celebration of Halloween, which gave many of the performers a chance to add an extra layer of colour and theatre to their acts. A long and exhausting day for all concerned but one which will stick in our memories. I saw many of the bands, singers and rappers that have featured in these monthly diaries this year and it would would seem invidious to pick some out and not others – there were so many many that were excellent. With wristbands priced at £10 per person (giving access to all the venues from midday to midnight) Oxjam provided a showcase for much of our local musical talent and it was good to see so many popular and well-loved musicians giving up their time to support this worthwhile charitable cause.
Tuesday 27th October
Tonight I went to The Soundhouse to see Instrumentalist Sam.
Performing the featured artist slot at Rhett Barrow’s open-mic night, the celebrated guit
arist Sam Bradshaw delivered a spell-binding set of his compositions, displaying his amazing range of techniques. He played two of his most iconic pieces: Serenity and Fusions Part I and Part II. It was an awe-inspiring performance.
Another artist I have seen before was Poetman. Will Horspool used loop pedals to add backings to his songs and recitations. An unusual act, he was warmly received by the audience.
Monday 26th October
Tonight I went to Jukebox for the first time. This venue opened earlier this year and now offers live music on Friday nights and on other dates. Tonight it was used as the venue for an auditions show for the Glastonbudget Festival 2016. It’s at the top of the High Street (quite near to Mosh) facing on to Jubilee Square.
I had gone there to see Chasing Deer, the West Midlands band that often plays in Leicester; a band we have covered several times before here at Music in Leicester.
There are not many bands from outside Leicester that attract a local following but this is one that is steadily attracting interest, having played here quite a few times this year. the band had already developed a large and loyal fan base in the home area and a large group of them had travelled to Leicester tonight to support the band’s audition for Glastonbudget. We saw them when they played at Pi Bar on 23rd July [Music in Leicester]
So what makes this band so popular? Two things. Firstly, they are excellent musicians and Rob Hodkinson is a particularly fine lead vocalist. Secondly, the band plays popular songs, both their own and the covers that they play including, for example, Bastille’s Pompeii. Their set list is one that appeals to a wide cross section of music-lowers. What I also like about them is their professional image; they play the part of a properly turned-out group and on stage you can easily see that they all five of them enjoy making music.
You can see Chasing Deer when they are at The Shed on 12th November.
So, my first visit to Jukebox went went; as a venue I liked it a lot. The stage is in a separate room from the main bar and the place as plenty of character and atmosphere. Glastonbudget told me they plan to hold some of their audition shows there, as well as the regular Friday slots at The Shed.
Incidentally, they have a show coming up featuring Alexander O’Neal, an artist we featured in MIL when he was in Leicester in 2013. With support from Hannah Boylen.
Saturday 24th October
The Soundhouse with Samoans, Freeze The Atlantic, Mammoth and Log Fox.
The two headline bands attracted my attention; I saw them at the Handmade Festival in May [Music in Leicester]. Added to that I was keen to see Mammoth again.
The show started with Logfox, not a band we had seen before here at MIL. The trio from Leicestershire delivered a set featuring pumping beats. Not a lot is said about this band on the web-o-sphere but tonight they did attract the interest of the audience with their rolling bass riffs, punchy rhythms and two contrasting vocals. The band’s suitably varied set of songs gave much to listen to that was good. They do have a couple of tunes on Bandcamp; that suggests they have been around for quite some time. I did find one review; it said ‘Logfox revel in the sonic world of mathematics; they’re a fidgeting gang of 3 with a lust for messing with noise and time signatures…’
How many musicians does it take to form a band? Well, the minimum number is two. Alex Beattie and Neal Hill are two who form Mammoth. With musicians such as these two is enough. Mammoth’s set presented the amazingly powerful vocals of Alex, combined with those of Neal who is also one of the best drummers in Leicester, I would argue. Put these two together and what you get is something hardly equalled by much larger ensembles. The pair are what remains of that much-loved band The Furies. Back in June 2014, the Furies played at The Musician; it was billed as the band’s farewell gig. As I wrote at the time ‘Guitarist Joe Connor is leaving is leaving the band to pursue a new like down there in the big smoke.
The Furies have been together for a long time’. After recalling several of the performances at which I was present, I went on to say ‘The Furies is a band that combines a superb vocal layer with matchless drumming , stunning guitar work and which takes the art of rock to levels that most bands can only aspire to. In a busy life of going to gigs and writing about bands, you get used to seeing what is ok; you can accommodate the mainstream; but there comes a time when you have to acknowledge that a band stands out and be really passionate about their achievements.’ [Music in Leicester]. It was very satisfying to see Alex and Neal on stage tonight not least because it brought back those magic sounds.
Samoans played at the Handmade festival in May. I said at the time ‘In the Queens Hall I saw Samoans. A band with songs that were hard, heavy, powerful and full of taught phrases and sharply executed sounds. Their songs were driven by copious volumes of adrenalin and powered with a high-octane fuel but delivered with technical accuracy. Stunning vocals from their lead singer and music that sparkled with embellishments and flourishes from the guitars. For me, this was one of the highlights of the festival. Last year they played at The Firebug.’ [Music in Leicester].
I think several people in tonight’s audience had been there and, like me, had come back to see them again. Intricate guitar lines,cunningly woven rhythms, volcanic passages backed by some pretty stunning drumming, it was all there and it was all good. It was in the Queens Hall I saw Samoans. A band with songs that were hard, heavy, powerful and full of taught phrases and sharply executed sounds. Their songs were driven by copious volumes of adrenalin and powered with a high-octane fuel but delivered with technical accuracy. Stunning vocals from their lead singer and music that sparkled with embellishments and flourishes from the guitars. For me, this was one of the highlights of the festival. Last year they played at The Firebug.
The band is currently on a mini-tour with the next band…
Freeze The Atlantic. A fizzing performance from the lead singer back by plenty of action from the other musicians, they delivered a set that was full of energy and bursting with real passion and resonance. With driven drumming, glorious guitar backing and plenty of punch, these guys were sensational. The band is from Farnborough and signed to Alcopop Records.
Things you should know about Samoans:
- They are from Cardiff.
- They run their own label called Apres Vous
- Formed in 2008
- They have been reviewed in Metal Hammer, Rock Sound, Q, and Bearded
- The band likes Foo Fighters, Reuben, Deftones, Oceansize
- They have performed at The Reading festival in 2012 (see the video of this on YouTube)
Friday 23rd October
At The Shed I saw
This young Leicester band makes spectacular sounds;their set packed full of superb musicianship and terrific traction. The band has come a long way since they started and demonstrates how new, young bands can make it to become widely acclaimed.
The show tonight was lit by JB Lighting, making it very different from run-of-the-mill shows, even though photography takes a hit sometimes. Lasers, big washes of colour, stroboscopic effects… Jamie Borland made it all happen.
Little Dead Town
Leicester band Little Dead Town were seen at the Western Park festival earlier this year [Music in Leicester]. A newish band, they are getting more widely known and securing some good slots. I saw the in May at The Soundhouse and said “Powerful vocals from the front-man led the songs in a set that was excellent. This is clearly an up and coming band that deserves recognition. Delivering a set that was strong on attack and with ear-grabbing sounds, their music blended passion, power and melody into a cocktail of sumptuous flavours.” [Music in Leicester] The band’s lead singer gave an incandescent performance and the songs – thunderbolts and lightening…
The Reckless Youth
“I love your band”, I said to lead singer Ash Ingram just before we on stage and this is true; I have effused about The Reckless Youth before, may times. I doubtless will extol this band’s considerable virtues again. They play marvellous music; they play it with gusto, they live it on stage, they are all amazing musicians. See what I said about them when they played at the O2 Academy in April [Music in Leicester].
and Press to Meco
Crawley/Coydon band Press to Meco have played at The Shed before (I am told) so it was good to see them back again tonight headlining one of Leicester’s successful nights. The three-piece band gave us great music, a sizzling stage performance, and some seriously good songs. They are a signed band and all three of them had microphones; resulting in some hugely harmonious vocals. The band’s music reminded me of some of the top pop-rock bands that played at the Shed in the past (must try to remember their names). Bounce, infectious rhythms, energy… plied together with creativity to give a set full of bite and vigour. This might have been the first time I have seen them but I like them from the word go.
and that was just upstairs; downstairs there was also a prestigious line-up of bands, as Angela Turner reports:
Playing in the basement, local punk band The Sedations consisting of four members – Phil and Joe on vocals and guitar, Cam on bass and Tom on the drums. I’d say their style is comparable to American rockers Bad Religion, Social Disorder and Minor Threat; all songs played were of a fast consistent beat which, if you like that sort of thing, you can’t help but bop your head and bounce your feet to it.
However, if you aren’t a lover of the quicker, skater-punk sound, then this band won’t really satisfy you, as although I’m sure any punk rocker loves a good fast paced and hot-blooded song, I’d say they perhaps still need a little work in defining differences in songs, as is the old devil with any musician sticking to one sound, The Sedations I’m afraid do seem to fall into the trap of song-sameyness. Great for a laugh though with their upbeat attitude, lead Phil’s quirks in between songs was fun showmanship, advertising their merchandise in saying, “t-shirts are £7, give us £10 and you’ll get £3 back, not bad!” His interesting non-anecdotes were a light-hearted break in between songs, jumping back and forth through time, reminiscing about how he was once a robot, but after that he was in the Viet Cong (and thus introduced their track ‘Go-Go Viet Cong’, a memorable one of toe-tapping rock). After being a robot and in the Viet Cong he was in fact an alien on earth and feeling like a lost misfit (as you would do), of course as an introduction to, in my opinion their best track ‘Lost on Earth’, a nice traditional mix of happy music, sad lyrics, ‘Lost on Earth’ is jolly good knees up sort of song with ironically relatable human messages of what it generally feels like to be alone in the world.
All around The Sedations are a decent band if you’re after some good old fashioned, American-style punk rock.
Following The Sedations, was a band of very few words…mostly because they were essentially an instrumental band and were all wearing Halloween masks. A band of lovely, loud alternative surf rock, The Terrorsaurs rocked and lured the audience in, with their enthusiastic presence. This is a band worth seeing, not only for the musicianship of all three members but also for the vibe they create and interaction with the audience. A creative trio by the stage names of Crawlin’ King Fink on bass, El Guapo on guitar and T.T Shaker on the drums, these three seemed to have the ability entertain for hours with no lack if given hours to perform. With no real introduction given, when the time came to perform three men burst onto the stage wearing identical uniforms of tame psychobilly fashion, all in black with a leather waistcoat, dingo-teeth necklace and a fully disguisable horror mask in classic skull and horns. Personally, I love to hear a lot of noise given by very few band members, showing off just how much of a racket they can make on their own, the Terrorsaurs did this and it was delightful.
In the traditional surf rock manner, their music was loud, devilish and reminiscent of music like the Tornadoes ‘Bustin’ Surfboards’ (otherwise known as the opening titles to Quentin Tarrantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’). A masculine sound which has unfortunately faded from this generation, the Terrorsaurs gave a seductive performance as guitarist El Guapo enticed people to come closer, luring in audience members with fun Halloween fear. What was particularly nice was the amount of fun they were having (no one wants to see a band being bored), as the friendship between Crawlin’ King Fink and El Guapo was obvious, bouncing off each other with musical encouragement throughout the performance, whilst T.T Shaker bashed away on the drums with great energy and pizzazz. All members complimented each-others musical abilities as well as vitality, as all were obviously experienced in their skills as musicians and performers. The only criticisms I’d give is that being musicians of surf rock, there weren’t any massive leaps of differences between songs (although if you enjoy a bit of psychobilly-style surf rock then it shouldn’t bother you too much), that and no one could understand a word of what they were saying in between songs because of the masks, on the other hand, it didn’t seem to bother anyone as all were enjoying what they were seeing.
All in all, go and see the Terrorsaurs if you like it loud, musically well executed and enjoy a bit of showmanship to a gig… best not to bring the kids though, they may never sleep again!
Saturday 17th October
Tonight I was at The Shed and saw Skinner, AKAQ, Tom Bemm and Alias Kid.
The show was organised by Adz Bosworth and a pretty good night it was too. I arrived to find Skinner on stage; a large band armed with an assortment of instruments. The female lead singer was wearing a strontium-90 blouse. They played a pretty good selection of songs.
It was good to see The Shed packed with people; people of drinking age too. All Kings and Queens gave a lively performance. The female lead singer gave a glitzy performance. Tom Bem I have seen a few times before, and you know what – I like what he does a lot. He sang my favourite Bem song – Kalashnikov. Tonight he had a packed house to perform to and on stage with him was his guitarist and synth-player. Tom does pop music with plenty of pizzazz and in my view he is a star performer. Bem was the headline act in January here at The Shed. [Music in Leicester]; I said then ‘Tonight’s performance showed that Bem is a master of mood and a singer of distinction. His vibrant voice, sizzling stage presence and line-up of ear-grabbing songs showed him to be a purveyor of sweeping ballads and swooning love songs. Whether he is singing pop, dub or electro, Bem always has something for everyone.’
Alias Kid was a wonderful band. What a privilege to see them playing here at The shed in little old Leicester. The crowd went mad. There w as a real atmosphere of occasion in the room. They had come from their home town of Manchester. According to the Daily Mirror the band has been ‘dubbed the second coming of Oasis.’ Alan McGee (their manager) said “They are supporting Shaun Ryder and Black Grape at the moment and if they’re told they have to climb in the van with him and go to a gig for a hundred quid they’ll do it. They are up for any task. They don’t give a f***.” Well it was a an impressive set of music-making magnificence.
Over at The Musician, Keith Jobey saw a show headlined by Girls Names.
Courtney Askey was due to support tonight but was struck by a virus that meant she couldn’t sing. So some last minute arranging brought the talents of Kevin Hewick to the stage. Sadly it was too late in the day for the trio to play but to compensate Kevin came with electric guitar. As always, Kevin delivered an entertaining set with some old songs, some new songs and some stories. A troubadour extraordinaire.
Belfast band Girls Names are touring to support their latest album Arms Around A Vision. It was a stunning set dominated by tracks from the album, played to a crowd that really should have been much bigger (it was a busy gig night in Leicester).
Friday 16th October
Tonight: Dawn of Anubis, Ash Mammal, Mia and the Blackhawks, King Crawler and Final Coil.
Friday nights in the autumn and winter are dominated by the auditions held at The Shed. In these public shows, acts perform to the judges from the Glastonbudget festival, who then decide which ones they want to invite to play at the event. In this regard, the evening is not a competition, since any number of acts may be selected. Or none, as the case may be. Acts from the local area play alongside those from out-of-town. Acts are mainly bands but can also include singers, rappers and acoustic ensembles. These shows provide an invariably excellent line-up of musical artists and are often well attended.
Coalville band The Bench That Rocked as been reborn; now called Dawn of Anubis, the same group of faces now grace the stage that we saw before. Lead singer Billy Chamberlain pumped out the same level of powered vocals with the two guitarists putting on a hair-shaking show. Armed with a new set of songs DOA provided the night with a sparkling start. These are experienced musicians; they executed tight, sharp songs that blasted the room with an ample injection of power. There is no doubt about it; these guys certainly know how to rock.
All change; Ash Mammal is on the stage. With their singing female drummer (a rarity), the band showed what makes them stand out – their originality. One of Leicester’s most creative bands, they have cart-loads of character. They are a work of art. Musically, lead singer (what’s his name?) is something else. They are so unusual. Many have commented about them in favourable terms. They are one of Leicester’s assets.
Birmingham band Mia and the Blackhawks gave us some memorable old tunes; much-loved epics like Smoke on the Water, fight for your right to party, School’s out for summer, you don’t need no education… and more. It’s all about enjoying classic rock for what it is. It was a dance down memory lane. Blistering guitar solos were the order of the night. They paid homage to the great classics. That’s entertainment. I saw this band on 26th September 2014 when they auditioned then, when I noted ‘Their cover of I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll (originally by Arrows) was very entertaining.’ [Music in Leicester]
From Nuneaton, The King Crawlers were three young men with enough energy to power a small town. This band kept the party going rocking out with considerable tenacity. Having seen them at the 2015 festival, we wrote ‘The Nuneaton based, Indie-rock brothers, The Kingcrawlers are back after popular demand since performing at the festival for three consecutive years. Following the release of their debut album, Ride on Cowboy, the boys achieved fame on BBC Introducing in 2013, whilst featuring on radio shows around the UK. The Kingcrawlers are a festival favourite and will no doubt act as a popular feature across the three days. ‘ [Music in Leicester]. The band’s infectious tunes had the audience dancing with its eclectic selection of well known tunes. Party hard dudes!
Final Coil brought the evening to a resounding finale. Tonight we saw them as a full electric band (and I do mean full) compared to the acoustic set they played at Duffy’s bar. I have been following this band since 2010. In April 2011, Kevin Gaughan wrote of them ‘As you would imagine, they had a strong guitar sound which was sublime, often at a medium pace, but with oodles of grungy, distorted guitar – the guy can sing, too!’ [Arts in Leicester magazine]. Today they were no less magnificent. A colossal set of magic proportions.
See our piece about the band’s new album Closed To The Light.
Thursday 15th October
Tonight we feature two gigs: at The Cookie and at The Donkey
A night of good bands at The Cookie.
This was the second time I had seen Leicester band Gloss. The first time I saw them, also at The Cookie – on 5th September – I thought that this new band was good. Their electro sounds had plenty of mood and atmosphere and what they did had punch and traction. Seeing them again tonight, I thought pretty much the same. Gloss opened their set with their song Electric Blue, putting out some powerful sounds backed with vibrating vibes. Two good singers added a suitable ear-pleasing layer and I made a note that this was a band I would want to see again.
The headline band for tonight was The Vyrll Society (pronounced ‘Vrill’, we think), a group of five musicians from Liverpool who are making their name in their neigh of psychedelic rock. Even though they did not have a keyboard or a synth, they produced some scintilating sounds as the guitarists worked their foot pedals; sounds that were cleverly worked through some rhythmic build-ups. Sumptuously woven harmonies and ravishing string chords, it was a monumental set. These masters of mood pumped up the reverb to catch that psychedelic vibe.
The band’s melodic psychedelic/space-rock sound which has seen them compared to Spacemen 3/ Spiritualized, The Horrors , NEU and even the Stone Roses!
Also on tonight’s show, the opening set from The Jangles, we say them at The Firebug in May [Music in Leicester] and wrote about them when they supported Neon Walt at The Soundhouse in April [Music in Leicester] when we commented ‘The music is upbeat and catchy and they deliver a pacey set, with quite distinctive vocals. I liked the occasional foray into more instrumental segments of songs, a bit of a departure from the norm in the crowded indie rock sector.’
Meanwhile, over at The Donkey…
Keith Jobey was seeing Evil Blizzard.
A busy evening of music in Leicester led to much discussion, consideration and listening before we opted to go to the Donkey to see Evil Blizzard. After some great tunes from the DJ, Nylon 9 got the live music underway.
The five piece band are relatively familiar to me, being two parts Jesuscarfish (bass and keys), but this is the first time I’ve seen them live. Shame on me. There’s dominant keys and samples a plenty, fuzzy guitar, crashing drums and thumping bass lines, all brought together with vocals that are a mix of 70s female rock (The Runaways, Suzi Quatro) spat out with a punk venom from a garage blues heart. That’s good enough for me.
Evil Blizzard are just extraordinary. A five piece band with one drummer (called Side, who sings) and four bassists (Prowler, Filthydirty, Kav and Stomper). OK one of the basses is a 5-string and there’s stack of effects pedals. But four bassists, really? And then there are the masks. Each band member wearing a different full head mask, kind of like Slipknot but a bit more sinister, a little more menacing and far more Northern housing estate.
Musically they could be said to sound like early PiL, post punk, bass driven rhythms (obviously), with anthemic chanting lyrics. They certainly appealed to my tastes. OK there’s a fair element of performance art in their work, but it’s underpinned with the music. They’d still sound great without the get up, just not as theatrical. Judging by the response tonight’s performance, they’ll be back at the Donkey again, catch them if you dare!
Tuesday 13th October
We look at Final Coil’s new release
Sunday 11th October
The Firebug was host to Music Without Borders: an event in solidarity with refugees.
Mariangela Veronesi said on Facebook:
“Dear friends of Music Without Borders – what a fantastic day we had on Sunday! We heard from some of the most talented people in Leicester from all genres and different types of performance, the from music to spoken word and even some live art! We raised £750 pounds for Doctors Without Borders Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the equivalent of £200 of item donations for the British Red Cross too!! I hope you’ve had a fantastic time at the event, and would like to thanks all for coming and spreading the word.
Thank you also to the co-organisers, Andrea Kenny and Ambrose Musiyiwa, who came up with the idea and worked so hard to make it happen, thank you to all the performers that have their time, talent and energy for free, thank you to all the volunteers, in particular Amy Knott, Laura Avril Dove, Mirjam Twigt, for their fantastic commitment to helping in the event, and to our compères, Brigid Macdermid and Kirsty Munro to the Red Cross’ Eric Nk and Gullivan Abrar Zada; and to Helena McLeod and Daron Bhacstair for collecting the donated items and for making sure they get to the Red Cross, thanks to Tess Farlowfor the beautiful beautiful poster, thanks to all the photographers for documenting the event, to Russel for sound and to all Firebug staff for having us there and for Matt Kirk for coordinating with us over this!!
And importantly: thank you to all those who donated generously, either in money or in item donations. It’s really been fantastic and we’ve been happy to raise money to people working to support refugees and asylum seekers both globally and local.”
Saturday 10th October
One good night at The Shed. With Kynch, Hannah McNally and Hollowstar.
We liked what we heard from Cambridge band visitors Hollowstar.
They were solidly exciting, exhilarating with a lead singer/bassist – Joe – and two guitar players. A set in which they displayed lots of energy. Jack the drummer did a great job too. Well worth seeing again.
Kynch is a young band that we like; playing mainly covers, such as several by Greenday, they also had some of their own songs. We were told they were 15 but hey with playing like that they are certainly going somewhere. You can see them again at The Shed on November 12th. Wish them luck and will follow their progress with interest.
Thursday 8th October
I went to Duffy’s Bar, in Pocklingtons Walk. It was good that I decided to be there because musically it was an extraordinarily good night. Tonight’s stage saw first class performances by Jake Manning, Luke Walker, Tom Iliffe and Final Coil. Now that was an acoustic line-up well worth seeing. Long have I liked the work of Jake Manning. With his 12 string guitar, Jake gave us some of his best songs including my all-time favourite The Mutineer. ‘Good morning captain, stand aside, this is my ship now‘ has a jaunty melody and plenty of ear-licking lyrics. One of the best folk singers in the area, Jake has been going for many years and long may he reign. I remember seeing him at Oxjam in 2014 [Music in Leicester]
Interesting photo! On the left, is that James Jarvill now in The Brandy Thieves?
Luke Walker is perhaps not as well known but giving one of his iconic solo performances tonight, he ticked all the boxes as strong and remarkable singer. For me I scored a hit tonight because I had missed several of his previous appearances. His strong voice ably drowned out the cheering from the Ruby fans in the other room and his guitar playing was delicious. It was set that had plenty of punch and traction.
Many readers will remember Leicester band The Jav’lins and their lead singer Tom Iliffe. Now set to make a comeback, following Tom’s absence for a couple of years, this is a band that many will want to see again. They have a date coming up; they will be supporting their friends Speaking in Shadows on 16th October at the Queens Hall in Nuneaton.
Tom’s solo performance tonight was stunning. He is a performer who comes armed with a magnificent set of songs and no shortage of character and stage presence to make them flourish.
The evening concluded with a hugely good acoustic set from the usually full electric sounds of Final Coil. Another Leicester band that I have long admired and loved; they have produced some exceptionally good music over the years. Their forthcoming EP – Closed To The Light – is hotly anticipated. If you want to see them they will be appearing at The Shed for their Glastonbudget audition on 16th October.
See all of Kevin Gaughan’s photos from tonight’s show.
|Final Coil at Duffy’s bar, Leicester, 08/10/15|
also on the 8th
at the Scholar Bar
by Keith Jobey
Andy Wright put on an evening of shoegaze heaven at the Scholar Bar on Thursday. Three bands, each of whom I’d have paid seperately to see, on one bill for under a tenner.
The finest shoegaze band from the East Midlands, Spotlight Kid, have effectively spilt up. But that didn’t stop them from playing a belter of a set. Long may they continue to do so!
Fever Dream returned to Leicester for a third time this year (lucky Leicester). The Club AC30-signed London based three-piece are deservedly establishing themselves as a favourite band of many.
Russian bands don’t come around very often, Russian shoegaze bands are even rarer. But Pinkshinyultrablast haven’t let that get in their way. Club AC30 label mates of Fever Dream, tonight they demonstrated why they’ve made it so far.
Saturday 3rd October
Dreaming in Colour Productions has established itself as one of Leicester’s foremost promoters of live music events. Tonight was the birthday of its founder and head honcho, Elisabeth Barker-Carley, so there is a party atmosphere in the house tonight.
Upstairs were The Ladz from BBK, Aztec Temples and Midnight Wire (billed under their nom de plume The Flakes.)
Downstairs, James Cull (English Guns) gave an impressive solo performance. You want to to see a video from his performance, made by Nile McGregor. Also tonight downstairs a performance by Goldstein, the Leicester band who play just about everything but whose main style is punk.
The show upstairs started with the Ladz from BKK, a foursome who started in 2013. According to the band’s Facebook page, they all met up when living and working in Bangkok (BKK), and if you like musical stories, this is one worth checking out. Tonight they delivered a set full of traction and pulse. With their two vocalists, they gave us music that was pleasing to the hear.
Aztec Temples followed up yesterday’s appearance at The Cookie (see below) with another fine performance. The significance of tonight was that they were appearing before Midnight Wire. Seeing these two bands together, at the same show, was a revealing experience. I have said several times before that Midnight Wire has produced some of the best songs of any Leicester-born band. I have also said much the same thing about Aztec Temples. Both of them are masters of popular melodic song. It’s all about the rhythms, the breaks, the catchy hooks, the memorable lyrics, the power to captivate the audience with music of quality. If an examiner wanted to set a question for A-Level indie rock music, it would have to be ‘Midnight Wire and Aztec Temples – compare and contrast.’ Unlike Midnight Wire, who have a large repertoire of recorded music, Aztec Temples have less that can be listened to online. Having said that, they came from a day-long recording session at Yellow Bean today, where they have started to lay down tracks of their ever-increasing body of songs. The ‘Temples played some of their best and most popular songs: Made His Deal, The Other Side, Come On, Back Of The Line, One Man Army and their acoustic number I Know The World Is Turning. Most of these are eminently song-along pieces.
Midnight Wire headlined at The Cookie in June, when I wrote that their principal asset was lead singer Alex Van Roose who ‘is an accomplished singer but he also has a personable and engaging stage presence, a loveable and somewhat cheeky persona that endears him to so many of his fans. On stage Rooster is sparky, cheerful and has an infectious giggle’ [Music in Leicester]
As I went to say ‘Midnight Wire is a band that has an outstanding set of iconic songs. Tonight they performed some of their best. I can’t think of another local band that is so good at writing popular, tuneful melodies. Tonight we heard one great song after another.’
This is a band that have made a succession of what I call ‘hit songs’, as far as the discography of Leicester is concerned; as in ‘Midnight Wire is a band with a unique set of memorable melodies, chanty choruses and tunes that are peppered with catchy breaks. They play songs which, however many times you have heard them before, you always want to hear again.’ Songs like Running Forever, Shake It Baby, Honey, New York City Lies… these have all been a hit with music fans both in this city and in many of the places that have heard this band during their extensive tours.
Aztec Temples is a band that is following hard on their heals. In terms of musical style the two bands are similar but quite distinct. MW is more of what you might call ‘indie’ and AT might be thought of as ‘alternative rock.’ Not that these well-worn labels mean that much. Tonight’s show gave us the chance to see these two bands playing together on the same line-up and that was a quality experience. For me it confirmed what I have thought for a long time – that Leicester is a powerhouse of popular music, a city that has few rivals for its ability to generate music acts that are outstanding; if only Leicester could get the recognition it deserved from the music media!
Friday 2nd October
The Turning provided the headline slot with The Cookie with supporting from Ryan Dunn and Aztec Temples.
The Turning is a band from West London, that describes its genre as indie/garage/pop and its influences as The Velvet Underground, David Bowie, The Byrds, Elvis Costello and The Stone Roses. In some places they are described as Mod/Brit pop.The four band members are Luke McLaughlin – Vocals/Guitar, David Bardon – Lead Guitar, Louis Gilbert – Bass and Ruben Kenton-Harris – Drums. Tonight the band put on a set that was full of fire and energy. The drummer contributed to some of the backing vocals. Pumping volumes of fizz and sparkle, the four lads really let rip. Clearly, the audience loved it.
The show started with a solo performance from Ryan Dunn, the one-time lead singer from The Tennysons. I got the impression that the Tennysons had split up but Ryan is looking to start a new band. We have seen solo performances from him before. Back in March he was at The Shed [Music in Leicester]
It was noted then that he is an accomplished song writer and performer and tonight’s appearance re-confirmed this. Ryan’s set of own songs was impressive, oozing with natural talent, brimming with energy and passion, a performance full of commitment. Back in December 2012 Ryan was on a line-up with The Struts when they were at Lock42. [Music in Leicester]
Aztec Temples were here again. There is not a lot I can say about this band that I have not said before, but the one think that struck me tonight was the power of their song writing. A band that plays only its own songs, they have written some of the most attractive and memorable songs of any of our Leicester bands, songs that stick in your mind, songs you could easily sing on the way home. Always a good sign. They know how to make a good song.
17th October will be a a big night; Leicester’s top band By The Rivers will be headlining at the O2 Academy.
October 31st is Oxjam festival day.