Music Diary August 2013

Live music diary August 2013

A diary of gigs that we visited in August.

See also: See our main listing of forthcoming gigs

It’s a long page – and this is only the tip of the iceberg!

It shows what a busy month August was for live music in Leicester.

Scroll down for other months. Scroll up for the Search Button.

Saturday 3rd August

Cosby Big Love

FourPointOh at the Cosby Festival
FourPointOh at the Cosby Festival

Our day at the Cosby festival was spent watching Ian Lovell, Steve Faulkner, Caleb Lane, Luzon Bleeding Heart, Nuala, Eden Avenue, Four Point Oh, Markus Revees … read our festival review.

Music First Promotions at The Shed

Straight back from the festival to the Shed to see Three Thirds Below, Strike Up The Colours, Static Soul, Morning Star,  and a band from Australia called Dallas Frasca at the all-dayer put on my Music First Promotions to celebrate its second birthday.

Three Thirds Below at The Shed
Three Thirds Below at The Shed

Three Thirds Below, a post-hardcore band from Nottingham, brought three vocalists to the mics for a bletin’s set of energy-filled, exhuberant songs. Post-hardcore is might have been but there was no shortage of strong melodic content from this likeable band. While most bands destroy Killing in the name of, this band’s rendition of it was actually not bad at all, they caught the song’s edge and sounded like they really meant it. Three Thirds Below on Facebook.

Strike up the Colours
Strike up the Colours at Music First Promotions show

I love Strike Up The Colours; I always enjoy their appearances. They are, in my view, one of Leicestershire’s foremost pop-rock bands, and whenever I see them I just want to get up and dance. They have some of the most memorable tunes I have ever heard from local bands. This band’s music in cheerful, ear-pleasing and delivered with a compelling good humour that conveys a sense of fun. Strike Up The Colours on Facebook.

Static Soul at The Shed
Static Soul at The Shed August 3rd

Static Soul came down from Newcastle upon Tyne to play at this gig. Having checked them out before the gig,  we got a strong sense that this band was going to be really good – and we were not disappointed.  With their infectious  infusion of electro, pop and soul, the band brought some really fizzing sounds to our ears.  With vocals from Jaimie Johnson, backed by the the guitar of Alex Campbell and with David Black on bass  and Mark Thompson on drums, they really rocked the place out with an amazingly good set of songs, performed with a healthy dose of dazzling stage presence. Follow Static Soul on Facebook. Static Soul has an EP out on iTunes. See our review of Static Soul at Loughborough’s Phantom Fest on 25th August.

Morning Star at The Shed
Morning Star at The Shed

Morning Star is another of the ‘out of town’ bands that we have seen many times before and have always liked what they do. They deliver a theatrical level of a rock show. The Rugby fivesome go to some lengths to stage their songs and all credit to them for this because the end result is always very entertaining. They have played in Leicester several times, and tonight, it was good to see them back again. Their set sparkled and the room was filled with the huge vocals of lead singer Beth Tysall.  Referring to their genre as Victorian Deh-Core, they reminded me of the early days of Axis Mundi when their fans used to dress in similar costumery. Rhythmically compelling, visually stunning and musically magnificent, Morning Star put on a  really great set.

Dallas Frasca
Dallas Frasca at the Shed

All the way from Australia, Dallas Frasca stopped their tour-bus in Leicester to play for us tonight and deliver a set of firey, pounding beats combined with a strongly powerful stage performance. I caught up with lead singer Dallas before she went on stage. She told me:  “We arrived in London on the 23rd July.  We were in France for a month before that.  We played with Patti Smith, which was a great honour and we played with Earth Wind and Fire. Our first UK tour was in January this year, when we did some shows in London and then we went over to France again.

“This is our first time in Leicester. It’s really good touring, meeting new people, living the dream, it’s really cool. Jeff (guitarist) and I have been playing together for eight years. We started off as a duo in Melbourne.  Zane (drummer) has been with us for four months. We had a feature in T&T, last week, we were on a pirate radio station in London; these are very popular. We don’t get this in Australia!

“We have played in Canada, we represented Australia on Earth Day a couple of years ago. This was in Montreal. We recorded an album in New York. The Shed is totally cool – rally awesome bands. The last band was really cool, Static Soul from Newcastle, the vocalist was really good.”

Follow Dallas Frasca on Facebook.

Dallas Frasca at The Shed
Dallas Frasca at The Shed

Also on the line-up tonight was Black Room Fiasco, a hard rock/post grunge band from Northampton and Leicester. ‘Black Room Fiasco are a 4 piece alternative rock band based in Leicester. With a mainstream rock/grunge sound and a collection of well written catchy songs that will appeal to a mixture of different music listeners, Black Room Fiasco are definitely a band worth looking out for. ‘

Tuesday 6th August

Dance and party … at The Shed

Strike up the Colours and Jonezy at The Shed
Strike up the Colours and Jonezy at The Shed

Not quite a night off but a a good excuse to drink plenty of cans and dance around to Jonezy

Jonezy at The Shed
Jonezy at The Shed

and then Strike Up The Colours

Strike Up The Colours at The Shed
Strike Up The Colours at The Shed

Shock ! Hazard from Dereham in Norfolk was particularly good. Lead vocalist Jake got up on the bar to perform.

Shock Hazard at The Shed
Shock Hazard at The Shed

Oh and  Shock Hazard got up and jammed with SUTC.  One good night at the Shed! Impromptu jamming and unexpected music delights – its what makes Night At The Shed special.

Friday 9th August

Carlos Stein The Shed

Carlos Stein at The Shed
Carlos Stein at The Shed

Carlos Stein was on stage for tonight’s acoustic show. Carlos has long been a champion of alternative music and his set of satyrical songs, pointedly lampooning  various personages (Bankers, Car Drivers who ignore cyclists, slovenly lodgers) and the tackier end of modern life (fast-food outlets) have won him a following from those who like music at the edge. Now almost a cult figure in Leicester’s music scene, Stein Time is without equal. Armed with his hall-mark harmonica holster, Carlos is a distinguished exponent of the ‘mouth organ’ and he is the only artist known to make a roll-up in the middle of his act.    Carlos Stein was featured in our Singers of Distinction shows this year.

In the Basement, I saw part of a performance by  Final Coil, a band I have long admired.

At the end of the show there was an impromptu jam session on the main stage with Chris Armson on guitar and vocals, Bopper on drums, Carlos Stein on harmonica and some others.  This was the highlight of the week; people making music on the fly and everyone agreed it was one of those defining musical experiences that happens in Leicester and if you are in the right place at the right time, you are very lucky. Vocals were also delivered by Murray Stewart from the Glastonbudget Festival. Amazingly good.

Strawberry Fields Festival started today and our media team were there to review the bands.  Watch out for the review.

Saturday 10th August

Hard core at the Shed

On stage tonight:  Due Vendetta, Luzon Bleeding Heart, Ashes of Maybelle and Drowning Grace. A night of hard core rock which saw some astonishing scenes of musical theatre from the bands. Billed as the Audio Violence Tour  tonight saw the start of the tour.

Leicester metal/hardcore trio  Due Vendetta opened the show. In a previous incarnation they performed as Mind The Gap.  We reviewed their EP on Arts in Leicester. Back now with a complete set of new material.

Leicester’s Luzon Bleeding Heart‘s set marked the release of their EP Gatecrash The Waltz. Copies of the EP can be obtained from the band. LBH recently won the Heather Battle of the Bands and their performance at Cosby Big Love was really very good. It was a blisteringly good set with lead vocalist Patrick Tams, backed with the synths and rhythm guitar of Ben Swan, and Coco Stretton’s Lead Guitar, with Jack Hall on Drums and Ben Devoir on Bass Guitar.   Their songs got the  crowd moshing and dancing as they delivered another beltin’ set.

Coventry five-piece hard-corers Ashes of Maybelle put on a storming set every bit as good as when we saw them back in April, when we wrote

The lead vocalist of Coventry’s Ashes of Maybelle brought his voice to the crowd by scurrying amongst them, his microphone trailing behind him a long snaking lead. The crowd of mainly young men, responded to the excitement of the music by engaging in that dance we call moshing. It’s music ‘in the round’, throwing down the space between performers and musicians, encouraging the audience to become part of the show, to participate in the frenzy of the sounds.

Tonight saw lead vocalist Lyle deliver yet another rocket-fuelled performance as he danced around the room, did back flips across the floor and joined in with the mosh-pit, still keeping the vocals going.  It was an exhilarating experience, even just watching from the sidelines.  On their Facebooked stage is says: ‘A UK post-hardcore band known for their violent stage shows.’   I can see what they mean but don’t be too alarmed because everyone came out of it standing up and there wasn’t too much blood letting! It looks worse than it is. It’s a bit like a WWE Wrestling Show only much more entertaining.

The show came to a resounding finale with a brilliant performance by Drowning Grace.  As always, Drowning Grace delivered a volcanic set with a gymnastic performance from vocalist Ben Cotton that would put an Olympic gold-medalist to shame.  Roaming around the room on the end of a long mic lead, Ben brought the music into the theatre-of-the-round which works at the Shed in way that it would not in many other venues. With up to three singers on the mics, the band blasted huge volumes of explosive sound into the room, Ben waving a mic-stand around like a Javelin,  like Achilles in the Trojan Wars.  Much moshing ensued, with head-banging a-plenty from the sweat and testosterone dripping fans,  in response to the anger-fueled, growling bass vocals of the Ben and his singers. It was a full-on experience, a highly charged theatre of hardcore which you either like or you don’t like.  I stood on the edge and watched and loved every minute of it.

Drowning Grace on Facebook.

Saturday 10th August

Bleech Box  at Sumo

By Jonathan Jones

No More Heroes provided a good opening. Nice easy listening songs with nice heavy rock moments. Good vocals. Nice grooving music to dance too.

Follow No More Heroes on Facebook

Leicester band punk/pop band  Bleechbox put on an energetic set, delivering a good mix of  their own original songs and a cover.  The band was better tonight than when they played at  I wanna be a rockstar – more work is still needed (in my opinion.)

Bleechbox’s forthcoming gigs:  18th – with Music First Promotions at The Shed,  24th – Headlining Lock 42,  26th – Supporting I,The Writer at The Shed.  The band told us:  “we are writing alot of new stuff at the moment so there could be an EP/Full Album on the horizon.”

Follow BleechBox on Facebook

Wednesday 14th August

Singers at The Exchange

Singers of Distinction at the Exchange, see our review

Midnight Wire played on by Huw Stevens on Radio 1.

Thursday 15th August

Michael Vickers at The Shed.

Michael Vickers at The Shed
Michael Vickers at The Shed

At the Shed, Michael Vickers was on stage now with added band, including Brigsy from his old band, Kicking Habits.  After a solo set from Michael, his two musicians joined him on stage and the added vocals from bassist Brigsy provided a strong vocal layer to the songs, with bass from the said Brigsy and drumming from Tommy.  Also on stage a very good singer called Rebecca Vaughan, from Lincoln, who was amazing.

Friday 16th August

Headwires at the Soundhouse.

At the Soundhouse I saw Headwires, whose crashing cymbals drew attention to the stage at the start of their set. Strong vocals from Callum Wimhurst were backed by both the other two members of the band Laura Fisher (bass) and Amie Chapman (drums).

Headwires at the Soundhouse
Headwires at the Soundhouse

So with all three of them singing this made a mark in my books, and with some scintillating guitar work from Callum, this blend of classic rock and heavy metal went down a treat, not just with me but also with quite a few of the musicians who were in the audience. If other band members like it, it must be good! It was set that fizzed and sparkled and I was impressed. Matt Fraine commented “…a very good mix of punk and mid-80s metal. Very tight, good bassing and good banter with the crowd.”

Eden Avenue at the Soundhouse
Eden Avenue at the Soundhouse

Eden Avenue (previously known as Vengeance) provided a set of songs that were chilled-out, full of melody and stage presence and engaging vocals from the lead singer Rebecca Maurice.  The band appeared earlier this month at the Cosby Big Love festival.

Later that night  Ivy Mike (IVMK) took to the stage. Matt Fraine told us “Very energetic, good reaction with crowd, enjoyable to watch, drummer proposed to his girlfriend midway through set, got few people bouncing around, grabbed most people’s attention.”

Titan at The Shed
Titan at The Shed

At The Shed, Leicester band Titan did their audition for the 2014 Glastonbudget festival. What stage presence! Five guys working as a team to put on stonkingly good show. One set of ear-grabbing songs from this five-piece band offering memorable melodies, big ballsy beats and sensational instrument playing.  They are all really nice guys too!  Lead singer James Shaw thanked the members of the other bands for staying to listen to them (they were last on the bill.) One stupendous band whose power-rock music is always top-notch.

Saturday 17th August

The Brandy Thieves at The Shed.

I could not have missed The Brandy Thieves, so it was back to The Shed again. Great to see Evangeline, a duo of good singers and guitar players who I had not seen for a long while.  Sadly, I missed the set by T C Costello, the Vancouver based ‘ Mozart of Multi-Instrumental Folk-Punk’ but many people told me he was very good; he played the accordion and dazzled a lot of folks there with his amazing fingering techniques.

One Suspicious Monkey at The Shed
One Suspicious Monkey at The Shed

One Suspicious Monkey was there with their highly colourful and distinctive stage presence and set of flamenco-infused folk songs, lead by the glittering presence of singer Georgio Maroder. Nice too to see Chris Swirls on the drums. OSM occupies a special place in our musical scene; a band that exudes colour and character.  I compared them with Gogal Bordello for style and originality.

The Brandy Thieves at the Shed
The Brandy Thieves at the Shed

The night was headlined by The Brandy Thieves, a band that has rocketed into the ‘must not miss’ charts recently, drawing swathes of fans to their gigs, justifiably so, because they put on a first class show. From the very first sounds from the trumpet, the band immediately created a sense of magic  which they continued as they delivered a set that was iconic, passionate and exhilarating. They are playing at the famous Monto Water Rats venue in London on 7th September.  On sale tonight were their new T-shirts, which you can see on the band’s Facebook page. Excellent!

Tuesday 20th August

Steve Shuter’s beatbox feature at The Soundhouse.

An astonishingly good performance from top Beat Boxer Steve Shuter whose hour long feature set delivered displays of technical agility that were amazing.  Joining forces with Rhett Barrow on the harmonica, they did a spell-binding duet together. Leaving his harmonica with Steve, Rhett left the stage. Steve said “This is only the second time I have played on a harmonica” and then proceeded to push out some inspiring chords, combining Harmonica with beat boxing sounds.  Amazing.

Wednesday 21st August

Singers of Distinction at the Exchange.

A hugely good final night of the 2013 Singers of Distinction shows with Nancy Dawkins, The Skunk Boy Project,  Carlos Stein, The Simpletones, Sam Hutchinson and Alex Van Roose.  A night to remember.  See our review of this show.

Friday 23rd August

Titan and The Furies at Lock42

Lock42 was the venue for a night with Electric Rains, Swansea band Trampoline, the magnificent Titan and the equally magnificent Furies. Tonight only one member of Electric Rains duo was on stage.  A set of classic rock songs. Entertaining. From Swansea, Trampoline did a good set with a solid vocal layer from all three band members. Lots of energy went in to their set which they delivered with a sizzling stage presence.  Throwing themselves into the performance they delivered some big, ballsy sounds.

Titan band at lock42 venue
Titan at Lock42

Leicester’s Titan ramped up the show.  Titan’s set of listenable, memorable melodic songs provide music that people can relate to, driven along by plenty of rhythm and compelling beats.  It’s all ear-lickingly good and visually the band members live the music, making it convincing, looking like they are enjoying it as much as the audience.

Titan's James Shaw at Lock42
Titan’s James Shaw at Lock42

The varied set-list and the presence of lead vocalist James Shaw produced music that has colour and character. Above all they have songs you can take home with you – in your head.  Not all bands achieve that.  Titan is a band that knows how to move people, engage with them and deliver musical moments that matter. Though comparatively new to the scene, they have done some great work at festivals and gigs, playing a lot in  Leicester since they launched, winning I Wanna Be A Rock Star earlier this year and always putting top performances, they are a band that deserve to go somewhere and my guess is that they will soon be wow-ing crowds around the UK as much as they have done in our local venues.

Follow Titan on Facebook.

Just when you think “it can’t get any better”, on to the stage come The Furies. Band of the month on Arts in Leicester in 2012, The Furies’ debut CD got an enthusiastic review in 2011, when I wrote ‘Big, bold, blasting chords backed by fervent drumming introduces the vocals. The first of 8 tracks ‘Falling Down’ is attention grabbing and its compulsive rhythm makes you wake up. It bristles with adrenaline pumping energy.’

The Furies - Alex Beattie
The Furies – Alex Beattie

I can honestly say that tonight’s set was every bit as thrilling as when I first them for the first time on 20th August 2009 at The Lansdowne. Since then The Furies have established themselves as one of the top bands in Leicester.  Another band with some really great songs, strengthened by the lead vocals of Alex Beattie – one of the foremost band singers in our local area – matched by the Olympian drumming of Neal Hill – The Furies has established a reputation for sensation hard rock. Never disappointing, always gloriously good, The Furies are a premier rock band.

Follow The Furies on Facebook.

Saturday 24th August

Lock42 again, this time for a line up of young bands including We Came As Thieves, 8 Miles High, Black Mesa and Bleechbox.

Opening the show was We Came As Thieves. A five piece group with a female lead vocalist.

They were followed by 8 Miles High, a quartet with the guitarist doing the lead vocals. Good vocals and some impressive guitar solos, they played a cover by Kaiser Chiefs –  I Predict a Riot, which went down well, as did their Blink 182  All The Small Things. Plenty of likable pop-punk riffs driven with passion.   A sparky performance indicting a band with nascent talent, expect good things from them.

Black Mesa is a band that people are glowing about.  This five piece Leicester Hard Rock band is getting a lot of attention.

Black Mesa at Sumo

With influences from My Chemical Romance, Foo Fighters, Them Crooked Vultures, QOTSA, Paramore, Shinedown, MUSE, The Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Cage the Elephant, SOAD, Linkin Park, Pearl Jam, Nirvana … you get the idea what their music is like.  Bleech Box told us “We thought they were very good – quite experimental with the effects on the  vocals and we cant wait to share the stage with them again on the 24th of August at Lock 42!” The drummer from Satellite Empire rates them “… as the best unsigned band in Leicester!”

The five member band had a free-standing lead vocalist and they delivered a varied set of songs.  I think they could develop into a very respectable band, though in my opinion, they are currently weak on backing vocals and more work on this would amplify their vocal layer and produce a richer sound.

Photos of Black Mesa at Sumo are on the band’s Facebook album | Follow Black Mesa on Facebook

Bleech Box at Lock42
Bleech Box at Lock42

Bleech Box headlined the show, telling the crowd that they had returned to Lock42 tonight because this was the venue where they had started. The Bleechos put on a beltin’ performance with a set of rocking pop/punk songs accompanied on stage by some impressively high jumps from the band members. They fully caught the fizzing energy of the pop/punk genre, fulled by two strong vocalists and some Kalashnikov work from the drummer. It was a nerve-tingling set that roared along at a furious pace. Splendid!

Bleech Box on stage at Lock42
Bleech Box on stage at Lock42

Read our interview with Bleech Box | Follow Bleech Box on Facebook.

Sunday 25th August

 Loughborough, Beacon Fest

The Beacon Inn, Loughborough, put on a day of live music with a stage and a line-up of bands and artists, attracting a large all-ages crowd for the warm, summer afternoon. Local artist Jonezy put on one of his famous highly-fueled performances that delighted his fans and won him quite a few new ones from the assembled families.

Jonezy at Beaconfest
Jonezy at Beaconfest

Jonezy is not just a rapper – he is a musical entertainer, his shows being warmly appreciated by today’s crowd as much they are when ever he appears on stage. His act makes him highly suitable for out-door events, particularly festivals and this year he has been seen at quite a few of them.

Jonezy at Beaconfest
Jonezy at Beaconfest

Jonezy has got that larger-than-life show that combines a big stage presence with emotional songs and upbeat and uplifting numbers that audiences love to hear.  Not your average rapper and not a singer, Jonezy works a magical cocktail of live music fuelled by a big, exhaustingly energetic performance and a rare ability to instantly connect with the crowd.

Jonezy at Beaconfest
Jonezy at Beaconfest

Jonezy is an artist who is totally people-focused and that attracts audiences to his shows, who do not normally like rappers but like showmanship and the razmataz that he brings to the stage.

Follow Jonezy on his web site.

The Dave Band put on a high-octane set of classic rock songs, featuring some powered guitar work.

Dave Band at Beacon Fest
Dave Band at Beacon Fest

The band’s music went down well with a couple of jars of the amber nectar and led to some members of the crowd dancing and doing a bit of air-guitaring as they watched the lead guitarist throwing some awesome shapes on stage.

Loughborough, Phantomfest

After a very enjoyable afternoon at The Beacon, it was time to walk across town to The Phantom for another festive dose of bands to round off a superbly good day out of town.

When I arrived, The Flying Kangaroo Alliance, from Leicester, was on the band stand.

Flying Kangaroo Alliance at Phantomfest
Flying Kangaroo Alliance at Phantomfest

Singers Meri Everitt and Keeley Knight were at the mics delivering some ear-pleasing songs.

After the sun had gone down, Static Soul arrived, in the nick of time, having driven all the way from Newcastle Upon Tyne, to play in Loughborough.

Static Soul at Phantomfest
Static Soul at Phantomfest

The Geordie electro pop quartet pumped some deliciously lively songs, featuring Jaimie Johnson and Joanna Kasner on vocals, and David Black plucking away at the bass, Alex Campbell on Guitar and Mark Thompson on drums. Static Soul’s set of electro, soul and rock sounds attracted attention from the crowd, most of whom would not have seen them before (even though they had played at the Shed recently) and jumpy, bouncy beats flowed off the stage.  Distinctly different from anything we have heard in our local area, their beat-based, rhythm-redolent tunes soon had festival go-ers holding their camera-phones up to get a video or some pics. Band member Jaimie Johnson’s musical progression and output has impressed every since I started to work him over four years ago.  As a singer, band member and now as a music producer this is one guy who has consistently turned out impressive work that makes him stand out and is an example of someone who has come a long way. A remarkable talent.

Follow Static Soul on Facebook.

Read about the same set of festivals in Loughborough in 2016.

Monday 26th August

The world brings its music to Leicester for the 30th Belgrave mela and the city fest including Journeys festival .  We see numerous bands, dancers and singers and there will be a full write-up on Arts in Leicester magazine. Musiic from the Indian cultural tradition, a congolese band, Zimbabwe Choir, traditional Romani folk, African percussion, Rumba, Soukous, Kizomba and Salsa, an artist from Iran and a band playing songs from Russia, Ukraine and Slanvonic traditions.   Not to forget a performance by Loughborough’s rapper Lacky C …  it was a hugely big celebration of music. To top off the day, The Shed saw Eden Avenue, Bleechbox, Ascend The Skies and I-Writer doing some theatre of mosh in the evening. Enough to keep my keyboard going for many days to come.

Thursday 29th August

Tanni Browne
Singer Tanni Browne

City Link-Up Unsigned show at the Music Cafe, with a host of stars including Tanni-Browne, the wonderful Polly Yates, Rebecca King from Nottingham, female rapper Kriss Riss and the stunning Nuala.  Read our review.

Friday 30th August

The Shed tonight played host to the audition show for the Glastonbudget Festival 2014.  On stage was singer Dan Wright.

Dan Wright
Dan Wright at Singers of Distinction

Dan Wright appeared earlier this year in the 2013 Singers of Distinction shows. On stage tonight, Dan delivered a strong set that was enthusiastically received by the audience. A singer with a large, powerful and a set a vibrant songs, Dan showed what a great artist he is.

In the basement, Leicester trio Goldstien put on a set of enjoyable songs, laden with foot-tapping ska tunes delivered with a punky edge.  I really enjoyed their set.  This separate event also saw performances by French band Project Reject, Toecutter and Leicester’s  punkers  First Wave. First Wave will be supporting punk legends UK Subs at Lock42 on 8th November.

On the main stage, Leicestershire band Floral presented their set of Indie/Psychedelic/Shoegaze songs.

Meanwhile, over at The Parcel Yard (previously known as Time Bar), Leicester band Titan were headlining a full days lineup of artists that included Michael Vickers and Siobhan Mazzie and many others.  Supported by a large contingent of fans, Titan put on a  storming set of their powered rock songs, delivered with plenty of wellie and creating some compelling vibes for the substantial Saturday night audience.

Formal Waring with the Kaiserchief
Formal Waring with the Kaiserchiefs, August 2013

Back at The Shed, Leicester’s Formal Warning headlined the auditions show.  Formal Warning has been at the leading edge of Leicester’s pop/rock scene since about 2008. They wasted no time in getting the party started as they launched into their first bouncy number, Friday Night Trip. Lead singer Ash Wright has an incredible vocal strength and a stage act that makes him stand out in the league of local band front men. With plenty of action-packed work from bassist Leon Harrold and lead guitarist Kyle Harrold, the band put on a storming set of songs, including their highly popular songs Tsunami, their much-loved cover of ClubFoot and their latest hit Twisted. Zoe Wright kept the beats driving with Alun Wright on the guitar. One of the few Leicester bands with international experience and a long track record of festival appearances, Formal Warning always put on a fun-filled and exhilarating show.

Formal Warning’s songs have got harder and heavier then they were in the earlier years, but they still have that magic that is the mark of a well-seasoned team of musicians.  They certainly know how to write a big chanty chorus and pour out bucket loads of passion.

Supported by a large posse of their fans, let’s hope they will be at next year’s Glastonbudget, just as they have been in previous years.

Read our report on Glastonbudget Festival 2013.

Saturday 31st August

Tonight at The Firebug three bands were on stage:  Madam Fade, The Botanics and Baltmimore Gun Club.

The gig was started by Madam Fade, a three piece band alt/indie rock band from Leicester. I thought they sounded like the B52s but that’s just me. Apparently they are splitting up and playing their last gig on 19th September.

The Botanics however are a going concern: this young Leicester four piece had a set of fast-paced dancy tunes led by good vocals and driven by compelling rhythms.

The Botanics
The Botanics

Their selection of original songs and covers was enjoyable despite being weakened by a rather limp stage presence but I think they have a lot of potential. They are  clearly doing good things because they got themselves into Strawberry Fields this year.  If they can crank up their act I can see them becoming a top notch band. The Botanics on Facebook.

The headline band was Baltimore Gun Club. Let me just say that their set was musically one of the best I have heard all year. On stage was a group of highly experienced musicians including music producer and DJ, J. Fowkes who worked on the electro deck, bass and contributed backing vocals, Geoff Smith (from Birmingham) played drums and Steve Faulkner, distinguished singer and one-time vocalist with Set In Stone, was on the mic.

Baltimore Gun Club with Emma Redhead
Baltimore Gun Club with Emma Redhead

Together they produced an astonishingly good set of electro songs that fused the beats and rhythms of dance club with rock, grunge and modern jazz. Their music is part of a lode of music, a rich vein that is rare but highly valuable and is currently being mined by bands like Micro-Jupiter,  Tribal Riot, Kickstarter  and which part of the output of Luzon Bleeding Heart, Lysergic Suite  and  I Am in Love and others. This is however  more than just using a synth to amplify natural instruments – it’s about mixing alloys of musical genres. They call it ‘cyber grunge.’

Baltimore Gun Club
Baltimore Gun Club

 BGC started in 2012 but have come to the live stage only recently. Playing in Leicester for the first time tonight, they were accompanied on stage tonight by singers Steve Faulkner and Emma Redhead.  BGC’s first track launched into a a set of complex rhythms which, to be felt like a Bach trio sonata or possibly a Mozart quartet in which it laid down its subjects and then  worked them out dynamically to produce one of those richly woven tapestries of sound that I had heard from the same stage at the last visit of German band Din Martin.

Rich rhythms, blazing dynamics and an amazing ability to blend guitar sounds with the synth’s electro tracks resulted a glorious mix of musical delights that would have made Radiohead proud.  Their last song No Need to Fight is going to be on their forthcoming EP.


Don’t get them mixed up with the German band of the same name: follow them on Facebook.

Watch this YouTube video of Baltimore Gun Club playing at the Firebug.

See also:

Music diary for October

Music diary for September

Music diary for August

Music diary for July

Music diary for June