Leicester’s Oxjam Festival
in 2011 and 2012
Oxjam Leicester Takeover 2011 – Saturday 22nd October
Leicester Oxjam took place on Saturday 22nd October 2011, located in the Cultural Quarter. This report is organised by the time at which acts took place at each of the 14 venues. We have included those acts which at least one member of the Artsin Team saw and had at least one photo or video; even with five reporters there all day, we would still have missed some acts.
Oxjam was a charity musical festival, using music to raise awareness for the international famine relief charity Oxfam. Find out more about it, on the Oxjam website or on the Wikipedia website.
Oxjam events have been held in various parts of the UK; also taking place on the 22nd October were Oxjam Festivals in Camberwell (London), Islington (London), Cheltenham, Beeston, Oxford, Cambridge, Winchester and various other cities.
Leicester loves music and festivals
The organisers are setting up, the artists are arriving, the sun is shining, venues are getting ready, the cultural quarter is a hive of activity. The city centre is coming alive with bustle and activity. Leicester loves it music and its charitable causes. Leicester Oxjam is certainly one of the best in the country and it’s all driven by young people.
In Leicester/shire it has been a year of festivals: Glastonbudget, Download, Summer Sundae, Pride, Caribbean Carnival, Strawberry Fields and now Oxjam, to mention only some of the bigger ones.
12:15. Orton Square, outside CURVE, is where the main stage is located. The square derives its name from Leicester’s most famous playwright, Joe Orton. The main stage is the only free part of the festival. Wristbands could be purchased from the box office for £10, giving admission to all the venues throughout the day, or less for those who purchased them online before the event (over 200 were sold prior to the close of online bookings.)
Adam Thomas and the Souljers are putting on a wonderful song and dance act. Their popular songs and vivacious dancing are drawing a crowd in the bright midday sunshine. The Leicestershire ensemble’s medley of popular songs includes some Motown classics and the audience is loving their beautifully choreographed dance routines.
Leicester comedian Kirsty Monroe is here, comparing the main stage.
13:00. Singer Carly with her accompanist started the day of musical treats at Manhattan 34 bar.
The Soundhouse has filled with people eager to see Raptusound. Their big rock beats are filling the venue and a large number of people have gathered in front of the stage to enjoy their really good, synthy electro-rock music, laden with beat and rhythm. Raptusound has been played on BBC 6 Music by Tom Robinson, the band has become established and have their own web site, Facebook and Reverb Nation pages.
13:45. Leicester singer/songwriter Oli Dickinson performed at Mahatthan34. Accompanying himself on the electric piano, Oli is singing some enchanting songs of his own and a couple of covers (including one by Leonard Cohen). A wonderful songsmith, his performances are always a great pleasure.
14:00. The Ale Wagon is noted for its fine selection of real ales; now it has more people in it than I have ever seen before. Dan Wright, until recently with the band Davenport, is singing. The band, sadly, has split up but the irrepressible Dan continues with this musical career. His folk songs are delighting the crowd of pub-goers and other artists. Almost a one-man band, he is playing the guitar and working a variety of percussion instruments with his feet.
14:25. Veteran punkers First Wave are tearing up the stage at the Soundhouse. The trio played at Oxjam last year. One of Leicester’s finest punk bands.
14:50. On the main stage, celebrated Leicester singer Carol Leeming is in fine voice; she is one of the great artists of Leicester. Jazz singer, poet, diva and artist, she is one of the outstanding figures on the Leicester arts scene.
15:15. Graffiti artist Lightboy is putting together some artwork at the top of Halford Street, as part of the official programme of the festival. He completed his artwork and the results can be seen outside where they are building the new hotel. The artwork can be seen before the hoardings are taken down when the new hotel opens.
Loughborough’s stars of hip-hop, Megadub are making a rare appearance, bringing their infectious beats to the basement of The Exchange Bar. The six musicians are crowded into a small space, with a keyboard player, saxophonist, guitarist, bassist and drummer, not to mention the two vocalists. They are putting on a stormingly good set of songs, laced with rap, hip hop beats and compelling ska rhythms.
At the Shed, Scams are on stage. Not seen them before. They played to a minute audience, probably the musicians from the next band on and some of their mates. A distinctly Bob Marley-esq sound, the young musicians gave it some welly despite the lack of fans.
Female fronted punk band Gone Feral has returned after a bit of an absence in recent years. Playing at the Shed, they brought back some memories of when we used to see them a lot a year or two ago. They finish their set with a cover of Weak by Skunk Anansie.
15:30. Down at the Shed, Black Page Turns are on stage. Featuring some members of the now-defunct Authentics, the guys are putting some really well good songs. Their blistering guitar flourishes remind us of Iron Maiden.
At The Soundhouse, The Splitters were putting on a fantastic set. The five-piece band including trumpet players got the crowd dancing and left them shouting for more.
Mike Vickers is singing at the Chutney Ivy restaurant. Like Dan Wright, now his band has gone, he is pursuing a solo career.
Over at the Exchange Bar, Danny Greet is doing a set of his vibrant songs. We saw him at Strawberry Fields festival in August. His acoustic set wow’d the audience; his presence entranced the audience.
Young local band The Headstarts put on a credible set of their skanking songs at the Exchange. Though still teenagers, their singing and playing deliver quality music usually seen only from bands twice their age. Lead singer and guitarist Jack used to be in an even younger band called Kid Vicious.
Curve had activities throughout the day and so did Phoenix Square, here are some dancers in one of the workshops at Studio 79 which is across the road from The Phoenix.
Polaris at the Shed, superb guitarmanship from this student band. Always a pleasure to hear them. Top level hard rock from this talented four-piece.
14:30. Elizabeth Cornish is singing at the Ale Wagon, accompanied by Jason Smith on bass. Jason is using a remarkable device that I have never seen before. He holds it on one of the strings and it produces a drone note. He calls it an “emo gadget”. Elizabeth is singing exquisite songs, a moment of calm and tranquillity and a great pleasure to hear.
On stage at the Ale Wagon is Leicester singer/songwriter John Anthony. Rapidly becoming a star of the popular music scene, his busy schedule takes him on to many stages and on to the radio.
Martin Luke Brown is singing on the main stage in Orton Square. Martin performed at Summer Sundae festival earlier this year.
It would be remiss not to mention the many sound engineers who played a crucial role in keeping the music going. Here band musician Richard (left) is doing a great job for Elizabeth Cornish and Jason Smith and the audience at The Ale Wagon. Ollie Petch, Andy Mann and many others worked tirelessly all day and the festival would not have gone so well without them.
16:30. It is always a pleasure to hear Charlie & The Martyrs. They are playing here on the main stage. One of our most popular music bands, they have had a busy year and have been seen at many local festivals.
Citizen Smith played at the Soundhouse. A band with a strong stage presence and a set of listenable songs, they added their characteristic sounds to the day’s line up. Professional rock for connoisseurs of fine music.
Stephen and the Heathens did a fantastic set at the Soundhouse. They really rocked the house.
In Queen Street Sonido are holding what looks like a rave in a disused warehouse. DJs are playing, there is a bar and in the evening there were a couple of hundred music fans in there having a great time. Awesome.
18:00. The nine-piece Leicester Jamaican-style ska band Kingsize ska band brought the main stage to a resounding close.
A huge vote of thanks to all the Oxjam organisers for bringing this massive celebration of music to Leicester.
Saturday 20th October 2012.
(Oxjam had its own section on the magazine. As usual, the report contained a large number of photos that broke up the layout of the text. Unusually, many of the reports were linked into other pages.)
This is the home page for our coverage of Leicester’s Oxjam festival, organised in aid of the Oxfam charity. The event took place on 20th October.
With over 15 stages featuring more than 200 acts, our team of reporters and photographers could cover only a sample of what was going on throughout the day. Our report gives a cross-section and sample of what the festival was like.
Oxjam – The Leicester Oxjam Takeover, the biggest live music event in the city this year. One of the biggest, if not the biggest, of the UK’s Oxjam fundraising events. Over £10,000 was raised for the Oxfam charity to fight for the relief of poverty.
The Ale Wagon
Steve Faulkner – 15:30. The Ale Wagon pub has a more of a rustic feel to it than the modern, stylish Five Thai restaurants (where I was before.) It’s a smaller venue by far, but it seemed to have drawn in a slightly larger crowd than the one I just left … or at least, the beer and pork scratchings have. Acoustic musician, Steve Faulkner pulled in Dan Wright to play the drums for him on a few of his songs. He begins with one of his own songs, TNT, a vicious tune, with unusually smooth vocals. As he elegantly strummed the guitar, a hint of a western, country sound floated by. It’s a good, all-around opener, but it got blown out of the water by the covers he performed next. His first cover is an eerie version of The Beatle’s, Eleanor Rigby. He just threw his technical ability all over the stage as he played, making the song his own from the offset. Playing the acoustic like an electric guitar, he shredded every rift, making the song harsher and fiercer. The speed at which he strummed was amazing and as he bobbed to his own music, you could tell that he was having a great time. Despite the lyrics not being his own, he put so much emotion into them, and it was difficult to not feel chills as he performed. The highlight of his performance, however, was Elbow’s cover, Grounds For Divorce. Faulkner’s voice was so gritty and raw and was perfect for this song, mirroring Elbow singer, Guy Garvey, almost flawlessly. He made it his own when it got to the guitar solo. He slowed the whole thing down, giving it a haunting, but still satisfyingly catchy and powerful feel. To further make the song his own, Faulkner added his own section at the end of the song, blending the two together seamlessly. As he played the outro, he speedily moved his fingers between chords and got an unusual, heavy sound from the acoustic guitar. One of the finest performances of the day. AS.
Kenny Wilson – 17:00. Arriving a few minutes late for his set, Kenny Wilson was thrown straight into it, giving himself no introduction and restricting crowd banter to a bare minimum. He seemed to be someone who truly enjoyed what he was doing and felt the music he played, but perhaps, doesn’t have the sheen that other musicians did. His music is very old school American acoustic, with a hint of country. A lot of Johnny Cash influences could be heard in the way his music sounded, but his voice stayed out of touch with the country feel his guitar was creating. He was definitely not a bad singer, and his guitar playing was way above average, but he just didn’t seem to have the energy to hold the crowd. The usual chatter and noises of the pub soon resumed over him, and it became clear that, despite his talent, the audience’s attention was wandering. His music was optimistic, but his emotion seemed to stay pretty much the same throughout, and one was left with a very talented man, who seemed to love what he did, but just couldn’t grip a modern audience. AS.
Fay Brotherhood and Lee Burns – 17:30. A very different version of the acoustic genre came next in the shape of Fay Brotherhood and Lee Burns. This folk duet instantly dragged The Ale Wagon back a few hundred years, creating a very ancient sound which pulsed through the room. Their dreadlocked, hippy demeanour went perfectly with their unusual choice of instruments, like violins and a mandolin. A few technical problems held them up, but their first song, Chalk Horses had a strong Celtic sound, and Brotherhood’s almost operatic voice held the song together, contrasting the lightness of her guitar and Burns’s variety of instruments. Burns has a minstrel-like manner as he played, closing his eyes and seemingly getting right into the roots of the music they were playing. They seemed to enthral the crowd, whether through musical skill or just being plain different from the other acts on show. AS.
The Simpletones. Leicester’s top a capella singing group The Simpletones. The guys always put on a wonderful performance of exquisite vocal harmonies. They are one of Leicester’s unique musical acts and extremely popular with our local music fans.
The Dielectric (Soft Touch) stage
Jonezy – 17:30. Something a bit more underground (literally) next, as it was down to Leicester’s grittiest-looking basement for Loughborough rapper Jonezy’s appearance. Dielectric is an awesome no-frills venue, the Victorian arches and battered, graffiti-decorated walls lending themselves perfectly to today’s display of Leicestershire’s urban acts. Jonezy’s uplifting pop-rap lights up the dingy surroundings, his quickfire but clear flow sizzling over a furnace of gigantic beats. JW.
The Exchange Bar
This Motion Picture – 14:30. Leicester band This Motion Picture performing at The Exchange Bar [photo]
Leicester band Superevolver performed at the Exchange Bar. [photo]
Multimorph. Leicester’s psychedelic space rock and poetry group featured Maureen Anderson. The band grew out of Shapeshifter and their installation-style act featured music and animated dancing characters, as you can see in the video below [link]
a band called vanishing point. Vanishing point played at this year’s Strawberry Fields Festival.
FC-20. a band called FC-20 also played at this year’s Strawberry Fields festival
a band called modern faces. Scottish band Modern Faces were back in Leicester, this time at The Exchange Bar. We saw them when they played in Leicester in September at the O2 Academy.
The Five Thai (restaurant)
Paula Driver – 15:00. The atmosphere of Thai restaurant, Five, was laid back, as I entered. Previous musician Sarah Normington was drawing a close to her set, and the ringing acoustic guitar, white furnishings, and hypnotic pink lights created a calm and relaxing mood. As acoustic guitarist and singer, Paula Driver took to the stage, you could feel the excitement and energy bubbling through her. She seemed genuinely proud to be performing at OXJAM for the second time, and her eagerness to perform was fun to watch. Before she began her set, she pointed to the back of the room and announced that she was dedicating her set to her baby son, who sat where she was pointing, gargling away to himself. This personal touch continued as she began her set. Every one of her own songs seemed to stem from her own life experiences, and it relaxed the crowd to see her open up to us so much. She began with Home, an uplifting song about finally returning to your home after so long away. Her voice can only be described as cutesy and sweet. It had a childlike innocence that ran through it, becoming strangely hypnotic. Her cover of Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made For Walking was less fierce and the fire of the original didn’t really come through in Driver’s voice. She retained her sweetness and appeared slightly shy as she sang, but her strong emotions were clearly visible through her facial expressions. A lot of her own songs, such as Six Dogs Walk, and She’s a Dreamer were full of very poetic lyrics. The way she switched between the different songs was enjoyable to watch, and the experimentation required to do something like it was refreshing. She definitely put herself out there with this combination of tunes. AS.
Siobhan Mazzei, 16:00. I returned to Five just in time to see Siobhan Mazzei begin her set. Her first song was one of her own and immediately, her rough, feminine voice grabbed you. She’s playing her guitar with so much force that a string snapped and as she went into next song, a cover of Slipknot’s (yes, that Slipknot) Danger Keep Away, she has to fall back onto using another musician’s guitar. This didn’t faze her though, and after a brief apology to the crowd, she got straight into Danger Keep Away. Her voice captured the emotion of this song brilliantly, but she didn’t just stop at singing and playing the guitar; she also used her hand to tap out the percussion on the front of her guitar, creating a really rounded sound. It was an odd song to choose to play acoustically, but she made it work, keeping its dark feel, whilst making it slower and eerily calm. A large crowd had formed to watch her and you could tell a lot of them were there to watch her, primarily. She kept them entertained with banter in between her songs, making a connection with her audience that many artists miss. To close her set, she played one of her own songs, Escape, another incredibly emotional song, which seemed to have been the theme of the acoustic set so far. Her amazing voice rumbled as she sang, like a volcano ready to burst, and the crowd got fully drawn in by the feelings she threw out at us. It maintained a simple chord structure for the majority of the song, but the chorus of “We could all escape, our nuclear landscape” was hauntingly spectacular. AS.
Pamella Moo and Benn Hartmann – 16:30. By the time this duet had taken to the stage at Five, they had transformed into a full band, complete with drummer and bass guitarist. From the start, Pamella looked nervous and the way she spoke to the crowd before she began, was slightly over the top and drawn out. They begin by performing Blue, one of their own songs. She announced that it’s about how Blue can be viewed by some as a cheerful colour, and by some as a cold colour. Whatever the metaphor on show, it was a satisfyingly swingy and joyful song, if a bit safe. Some hints of an Indian Bhangra guitar sound glided in every now and again, but it stayed relatively an acoustic pop song. As she sang, Pamella seemed on edge, not appearing very relaxed. She had a good voice and a talented band, but the edginess of it all made it look like they weren’t feeling any of the music they were performing. They finally promised to move away from a very generic acoustic sound with a self-proclaimed reggae song, Breaking Up. The guitars and cymbals used in this one definitely gave it a slight reggae vibe, but Pamella’s vocals staid pretty much the same as before, feeling disjointed with what she declared the song would be. On a plus, it was an uplifting, happy song and was probably one of the better songs of their set, showing hints of originality, and some attempt to mix it up a bit. AS.
Nancy Dawkins. Leicester singer Nancy Dawkins.
Mia and The Moon. singers called mia and the moon.
Havanna (nothing was reported under this heading.)
Preacher and the Bear. See our review of Preacher and the Bear playing at the OBS.
The Midas stage
Refuge. Singer Peter Hirst led his acoustic, folk band Refuge in a delightful set of their own songs, at Yeoman Street venue Midas Bar. A group with outstanding musical talent, their polished performance was excellent. We have reported before on the band’s involvement with the mental health campaign Rethink Your Mind. Refuge has a single All we have is now which they are launching soon. TL.
Dean J. Sharman – 14:00. Midas Cafe Bar isn’t the most obvious venue choice for Dean J. Sharman; its trendy modern chic was somewhat at odds with his raw Delta-style blues. Somehow, though, it worked: Sharman filled the room with the filthy slide-guitar stomp of Drunk Blues and Belly Full of Whiskey. His voice, a rough, husky yowl akin to Mark Lanegan after a particularly heavy night, was the perfect accompaniment to his highly expressive fretwork. In the space of his short master class in an intimate performance, he transformed the atmosphere of this city centre cafe; the audience could just as well have been watching him play on a Tennessee porch. JW
Arts in Leicester mounted a stage for Oxjam at the Musician. See below for full report.
The Estates – 13:00. the Estates band performing at the Musician [photo]. Leicester’s The Estates opened the Arts in Leicester stage at the Musician with a great set.
KY – 14:00. One of Leicester’s top rap artists Kyle Jarvis went on stage to provide another style of music for a show that was an eclectic selection of what our vibrant music scene has to offer.
Dirty Jack – 14:30. Time for Coalville’s very own Dirty Jack to throw down the hard rock gauntlet.
Drongo – 15:15. Northampton’s alt-rock wunderkinds Drongo took to the stage.
Linear – 16:15. It’s hard to stay away from the Musician’s stellar line-up for long though, and Linear was the latest band to take to its stage.
Living Mystery – 16:45. If you thought McFly’s evil influence had long since dissipated, Living Mystery was there to prove you wrong: they cite the band as their number one influence.
Aftershock – 17:30. We saw Aphtershock at their first gig and now Artsin celebrated this band’s achievements by putting them on at their last gig.
Kieran Fowkes – 20:00. The unique and beautiful voice of Leicester singer-songwriter Kieran Fowkes opened the evening session of the Arts in Leicester show.
The Delis Mix – 20:45. Alt-rock with burning songs and a great stage presence came when The Delis Mix took to the Musician stage to flood the room with soaring guitar passages and pounding rhythms.
Jonezy – 21:30. Even though he had already performed once at the festival, Loughborough’s rocket-fuelled rapper provided a hip-hop interlude between the two big bands.
Vows – 22:00. Last time we saw the Nuneaton mega-band was when they were on the main stage at the De Montfort Hall during the Summer Sundae festival, earlier this year.
Orton Square open stage
The Accidents – 12 pm. Kicking the festival off on the main stage were pop-rock humorists The Accidents. Taking mid-nineties American punk as their main reference point, they bulked out their sound with solid vocals and infectious enthusiasm. JW.
Their punchy set ended with a cover of Aqua’s bubblegum classic Barbie Girl, bringing a cheeky smile to the Oxjam early birds. JW
Social Ignition – 15:50. Quickly over to the Orton Square Stage again to catch some of Social Ignition’s upbeat ska. Their conscious but bouncy songs fitted the sprightly atmosphere around Curve and some sparkling horn work soon got people skanking madly. JW.
Splitters – 17:50. Despite apparently being one member down, Splitters took to the stage with a confidence befitting their status as Leicester’s premier ska-punks. Their set drew the biggest audience of the day so far, and with good reason: the band’s move-your-feet beats and buoyant lyrics were sure-fire crowd pleasers. Won’t Last Forever saw things take a more morose turn, with the band’s inimitable stage presence giving it a powerful resonance, bringing both the party and the emotional pull, can’t argue with that. JW.
Manic Music Productions put on a special Next Wave line-up of young artists featuring those who have played there at previous Next Wave concerts. Solo singers included:
Nina Rubesa, whose performance we covered in our recent coverage of the Saturday matinee shows, Hannah Haley, Matt Zara, Anna Pinckard, James Coulson, Grace Jenkinson, Matt Dobson, Theo Miller, Leo Stannard, Mark Elliot.
In the evening Phoenix was the venue for The Daydream Club and Circle O Family band.
Fuster Cluck. Fuster Cluck performing at the Shed.
Son of Glenn. Son of Glenn was the runner up band at I Wanna Be A Rock Star.
Resin. Resin, from Hinckley, was our band of the month in March 2012.
Micro Jupiter – 14:30. Nottingham Derby pop and dubstep band Micro Jupiter took to the stage at the Soundhouse to provide Leicester with one of their sizzlingly great sets. Rocket fuelled songs burst into the room, laden with lots of keyboard, synth and electro layers, this set was well worth seeing. Their song Armaggedon is particularly enthralling – shot through with compelling beats and rhythms. Micro Jupiter is one of the most promising bands in the Midlands, likely to follow the phenomenal rise of other bands like Park Bench Society. TL.
Ivy Mike – 19:00. Ivy Mike took to the Soundhouse stage like a demon from hell, blasting the crowd with their extremely heavy punk-rock. From the first smash of the drums to the last guitar strum, they went out there to start anarchy, and they seemed to have done a damn good job. It was the most energetic crowd I had seen all day, with small mosh pits forming in the cramped room, and several over-excited groupies throwing themselves around at the front. Sound-wise, the band was very heavy, bordering on screamo, although they still label themselves as a punk-rock band in the shape of Blink 182 or Rancid. Named after an American thermonuclear bomb test in the 1950s, it should come as no surprise really, that their sound is so destructive. The vocals of singer, Callum Sutton were often drowned out by the band’s instruments, but he got to show off in Shackles, a song that sent vibrations through your whole body as they played it. As they hit the chorus, the front of the audience began to sing along with them, and it was nice to see that this ‘vicious’ band already has some fans.
Furies. Furies were filmed by Trevor Cobbe – watch it on Vimeo [link]. See our feature article on Furies [link]
(Venue in Yeoman Street opposite the Shed.)
Kenworthy. Kenworthy band was on stage at Thread club in the evening. The Kenworthy Trio won the OBS in 2011.
Images of Oxjam
An artist with flame appeal outside Curve in Orton Square.
Harry Pentony from Vengeance I saw hundreds of people while I was running around the Cultural Quarter. I said hello to Harry Pentony from Vengeance – one of our featured bands.
Oxjam Organiser Anna Webb shot past me; she was going so fast all I got was this blurred image of her.
We would like to express our thanks for all the Arts in Leicester volunteers who turned up on the day to help with our coverage of the festival, including Alex Sheldon, John Wray, Kevin Gaughan, Kyo Murtagh, Trevor Locke, and several others. Videos by Kevin Gaughan and Kyo Murtagh. All photos are copyright of those who took them. ArtsIn can supply unedited, hi-res photos of bands and artists – more photos were taken than are shown on this page. We are sorry that there were many, many fine bands and singers that our media team failed to get to. It was a massive event and even with a team of people on site for most of the day we caught only a sample of what was going on. We have covered many of the acts already in this magazine. I do however have to thank all the reporters and photographers who gave up their time to catch what we could of this important event. TL
[Arts in Leicestershire Magazine, Oxjam Festival section]
The Arts in Leicester stage at Leicester Oxjam 2012
For the first time, Arts in Leicester had its own stage at the Leicester Oxjam music festival. Held in the Cultural Quarter, the festival was the biggest of its kind in the UK. Our show was divided into an afternoon session and one in the evening.
Contributors: Alex Sheldon, John Wray, Kevin Gaughan, Kyo Murtagh, Trevor Locke, and several others. Videos by Kevin Gaughan.
The Estates – 13:00. Leicester’s The Estates opened the Arts in Leicester stage at the Musician with a great set. Well played and with a strong performance from lead singer, Lewis Grewcock, this relatively new band launched the show in fine style. Drawing a positive response from both the audience and members of other bands, the young band delivered a good set. TL.
KY – 14:00. One of Leicester’s top rap artists Kyle Jarvis went on stage to provide another style of music for a show that was an eclectic selection of what our vibrant music scene has to offer. A busy artist who is out there pushing ahead with his career, KY is one of a group of hip-hop and urban artists who are charging up music in Leicester. Speaking on Radio Leicester, KY urged music fans to support their local artists and to counter the “negativity” can often burden the scene. KY is set to perform to a crowd of 16,000 at the Snibstone Fireworks show on 3rd November. TL
Dirty Jack – 14:30. Time for Coalville’s very own Dirty Jack to throw down the hard rock gauntlet. Their shout-along choruses and unashamedly decadent soloing made for a lively and entertaining rock ‘n roll spectacle. The band briefly dabbled in some debatable soft metal, courtesy of a cover of Stone Sour’s Through Glass, but repented for their sins with set closer Walk; preceded by a slightly unsettling acoustic intro, it’s thumping bass line produced a raucous conclusion. JW.
Drongo – 15:15. Northampton’s alt-rock wunderkinds Drongo took to the stage. The pint-sized foursome’s energetic pop-punk was shot through with lightning bolts of emo-tinged hardcore. Singer James produced some surprisingly gruff vocals, though when left on his own with the drummer for the set’s token ‘softer’ tune, the band’s attractively visceral energy gets a bit lost. The rest of their performance, however, was impressively wild. At one point lead guitarist Alex threw himself into an amp and fell over in the most hilariously slow-motion tumble imaginable, then tried to hide his shame by playing prostrate on the floor. If that’s not pro musicianship, I don’t know what is. (I don’t.) JW
Linear – 16:15. It’s hard to stay away from the Musician’s stellar line-up for long though, and Linear was the latest band to take to its stage. Imagine the Vines with Morrissey on vocals and you’ve about got them nailed; their affection for both sludgy rock and emotive balladeering created something pretty unique. JW.
Living Mystery – 16:45. If you thought McFly’s evil influence had long since dissipated, Living Mystery was there to prove you wrong: they cite the band as their number one influence. A bold statement, all considered, but Living Mystery thankfully brought a little more to the table than pretty-boy pop. The original songs they showed off boasted catchy semi-punk melodies and breezy, danceable refrains. Their set was hindered a little by some obvious cover choices (American Idiot, My Generation, All the Small Things etc. etc.), all of which were played flawlessly but with a minimal amount of the band’s own creative input. JW.
Aphtershock – 17:30. We saw Aphtershock at their first gig and now Artsin celebrated this band’s achievements by putting on at their last gig. Setting off for University, the band members have gone off leaving behind them a series of gigs that have galvanised a lot of fans with their nu metal-laced music.
Kieran Fowkes – 20:00. The evening session was launched by local singer Kieran Fowkes. The unique and beautiful voice of Leicester singer-songwriter Kieran Fowkes opened the evening session of the Arts in Leicester show. With vocals ranging from delicate and highly expressive through to exhilarating power, this superb artist is one of the most exciting solo singers in our local area. TL.
The Delis Mix – 20:45. Alt-rock with burning songs and a great stage presence came when The Delis Mix took to the Musician stage to flood the room with soaring guitar passages and pounding rhythms. Launching another new song, lead singer Tom Zbaraski was clad in his iconic Prince-style dream coat. Sparkling with verve they delivered a rocking set of songs. TL
Jonezy – 21:30. Even though he had already performed once at the festival, Loughborough’s rocket-fuelled rapper provided a hip-hop interlude between the two big bands. With a guest appearance from Luzon’s front-man Patrick Tams, the stage fizzed with moving lyrics and compelling beats and the audience waved their arms in the air to the music. TL
Vows – 22:00. Last time we saw the Nuneaton mega-band was when they were on the main stage at the De Montfort Hall during the Summer Sundae festival, earlier this year. So, gig masters at ArtsIn were delighted when the band accepted the invitation to headline at the Musician.
Oxjam volunteers. A special word of thanks to all the volunteers who turned up and helped us with the running of the show, including these two lovely girls whose box shaking helped us to raise donations totalling £79.40 for Oxfam. Special thanks too to Nile McGregor for acting as our stage manager for the afternoon gig and to Andy Mann who did a brilliant job engineering the sound desk throughout the whole day.
[This article was originally published on Arts in Leicestershire Magazine, Showcase Gigs page. It is re-published here as part of the music archive of MIL]