Reviewed by Trevor Locke
Today’s show was put on by BBC Introducing in the East Midlands and compared by the presenter of The Beat radio programme Dean Jackson.
It was a fantastic day and, although not as well attended as other Gigs in the Garden events, drew a dedicated audience, most of whom stayed there for the duration of the day. As one would expect, given the involvement of Dean Jackson, all the acts were of high quality. Most readers will already know that BBC Introducing has a key place in the identification and development of new artists and in the promotion of acts that have made it. Aficionados of local music make a point of listening to The Beat programme, broadcast on the radio and online every Saturday at 18:00. Competition for a slot is intense and the field, here in the Midlands, is enormous but a few are lucky enough to get air-time and then, a chance to play at the live music sessions.
The Beat is the part of BBC Introducing that covers the East Midlands. Music acts can submit their tracks online, for consideration. IT is the most important opportunity for singers and bands that are unsigned, undiscovered and, as yet, under the radar. Full details are available from the BBC website.
For me, personally, this was a day of meeting people, artists and singers, some of whom I had not seen for some time and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole of it.
Nine acts were billed for today, all of them from our local area. Most of them I had seen before. One or two new surprises. A suitable cross-section of what today’s local music scene has to offer. A rare opportunity to see some of the best names in local music, nearly all of these acts I report on below.
A singer and songwriter I have known for many years, he is still today a singer and artist of considerable ability. After being introduced by Dean Jackson, Vickers gave us a performance laden with presence and personality and good tunes. His songs are highly listenable but he also delivers them with a friendly and engaging style. His set of songs was pleasing and completely enjoyable. On stage with him were a guitarist and drummer.
Usually, we see Vickers performing as a solo artist but he was once a member of one or more Leicester bands. At present, he is a musician with a busy profile, one that is going from strength to strength, with major gigs and new releases of his work.
Michael Vickers Photo: Chris Lay
The last time I saw Gazelle, the band was headlining a show at Dryden Street Social back in December 2015. It was then that I realised just how successful they had become. Since then we have reviewed other performances by the band. This is another group whose singer I have known for many years and whose career I have followed with interest. Ryan Dunn is a musician with considerable ability and presence. The band has a large following and a regiment of devoted fans so its appearance today was one of the early highlights of the programme.
The band’s influences include Oasis, The Clash, The Courteeners and the Stone Roses, among several others, so you can imagine the kind of sounds that came from the stage. All backed, I might say, by considerable energy and enthusiasm from the four members of the band.
Gazelle Photo: Trevor Locke
Those of you went to the Western Park festival, in July this year, will remember Ro Jordan’s performance there. We reported on it at the time. Our reviewer commented that she reminded him of Whitney Houston. Another of the solo artists who has benefited from Dean Jackson’s acclaim and airplay on the BBC. She has a new release called Excuse Me, which can be found on her website and Facebook page.
Ro Jordan Photo: Philip Vernon
An artist with a fine voice, Mason delighted the audience with his singing, accompanied by Chris Bramley on guitar. Bailey delivered his set with energy and conviction. A listenable set of songs that drew the audience in and received enthusiastic responses from them. Bailey is an artist, I am sure, that we will be seeing more of in the not too distant future.
A great performance from Leicester band Oceans Apart, led by the vocals of Ash Wright. Several friends I spoke to, on the day, shared their memories of the ‘Wright brothers’. This is a family band, the key members being related – Ash, Kyle and Leon. Older now and considerably more experienced, these artists have not lost any of the vivacity, energy and stage presence they had when they were teenagers starting out. The huge speakers, high up on the stage, gave us big sounds, powerful beats and massive melodies. I reviewed the band earlier this year when I was at their show at the O2 Academy on 20th April. I realised then how good this band is at putting on a show. A band that knows about musical theatre. What they deliver is a total music experience. The musicians have moved on a long way since the days of Formal Warning and Pyramids. Now there is a maturity in their music that belies their still tender years. Music that still buzzes with energy, rich in rhythms, pulsates with passion and fervour. Oceans Apart – a much-loved part of the Leicester music scene.
Oceans Apart Photo: Philip Vernon
Harri was on stage with a full band. Not something we have often seen in present days. He once was a band singer. More recently, he has made a name for him self as a solo performer and record producer. Georgio delivered full-on vocals and a scintillating stage performance, giving us music of some magnitude, from an artist with a substantial track record. He told his fans that he has a video coming out soon; well worth watching out for. He has several tracks on Amazon. I saw him at The Shed on 25th April. One item in Georgio’s set list is worthy of mention; his rendition of Engelbert Humperdink’s Release Me, an old hit from a famous locally-born artist which was updated for the hip-hop age. Remarkable.
Harri Georgio Photo: Paul Dixon
Someone asked me if I remembered a local band called Casino Empire. The lead singer of that band was the then young Tommy Cobley. They played on the same stage in 2015 when they appeared at the Simon Says festival. Today, Arcades is an established act on our local scene and one that commands considerable support from music fans across the city and county. Cobley is every inch the rock star. The band gave us music that oozed passion, intensity and zing. The whole set worked extremely well both visually and in terms of what we heard.
Arcades Photo: Paul Dixon
Demons of Ruby Mae
This is a band that has made a considerable mark on the local music scene and has won itself a place in the annals of local music. One of the things that makes the music of DoRM stand out is the superb voice of Jonny Gavin. One of the finest band vocalists in the city and county. I saw this band on 10th May and interviewed Gavin before his set at the O2 Academy. Many reviews of the band’s music have appeared over the years and their achievements have been second to none.
Demons of Ruby Mae Photo: Paul Dixon
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