Music Diary for December 2013
Live music events we went to
Our selection of live music shows from the stages of Leicester.
and don’t forget to keep up to date with next year’s festivals
Monday 30th December
The last live show of 2013
for MIL but not the last Leicester gig of 2013 because there will be the show at the Firebug on new year’s eve when the venue will be hosting The Robot Needs Home Collective Party Band (with members of awesome Leicester bands) returning for a set of perfectly chosen covers, plus ridiculous DJs playing Punk, Hip-Hop, Indie, Pop and Limp Bizkit …
not to mention a large number of other live music and other music events taking place at venue around Leicester and Leicestershire.
For the MIL people, this was our last working night out and we look forward to sharing with you our annual new years pick of the outstanding and memorable shows of 2013.
Monday 30th December at The Shed
By Jamie Borland and Trevor Locke
Tonight however, the stage at The Shed was filled with wonderfully good bands, singers and artists.
Opened by Leicester band Castle Hill – who warmed up the room, only being a solo artist for the night Reece Pickett played very well, he seemed a lot more confident. Jack Birtwistle became Ill the night before the gig so was unable to attend, I would like to personally wish Jack a speedy recovery.
Jonezy performed a very lively and energetic set bouncing around and not standing still on the stage, everything you want to see in a live performance, he was joined on stage by Reece Pickett, myself (Jamie Borland), Owen Thomas and Oscar Wright during ‘Stronger Now‘. I hope everyone enjoyed Jonezy as much as us four did.
The show really took off when Jonezy came to the stage to deliver half an hour of his high-energy numbers packed with blistering beats, wacking out megawatts of drum and bass and compulsive dub step dance blasts laden with pop and rock rhythms. The Leicester rap artist soon had the room buzzing with a set of seizmic sounds that had all the kids in the room jumping and arm waving. A style of music that is unique in Leicester hip-hop, Jonezy’s set is always a popular and party-pumping experience that has singled him out as one of the most innovative music artists of 2013.
Deep Red Thread is a Leicester band that has made an impact in 2013 and I predict we will see them climbing the ladder over the year head. Lead singer Sophie Garner put on a spectacular performance and with a great set of songs, which included The Beastie Boy’s Fight For Your Right .. to party, ft Jonezy on the vocals, you can imagine how the room was set alight and the party started to bounce.
Deep Red Thread – had a lot of energy to follow up on after taking to the stage after Jonezy but they did it really well, Sophie was still feeling a little under the weather from the last time we saw Deep Red Thread but she still gave the show 110%. They closed on Evanescence – Bring Me To Life, but then followed up on a more successful cover of Beastie Boys – Fight For The Right (To Party) and thanks to Jonezy learning the words for this time around and it was brilliant! Well done Jonezy and Deep Red Thread
Eden Avenue is another Leicester band with a solid track record over this year; formed in 2008 under the name Vengeance, they have established themselves under this new name and consolidated their success with a series of quality performances and a set of crowd-pulling songs. Eden Avenue is set to launch a debut EP on 1st February to be held at Leicester’s O2 Academy. With their lead vocalist Rebecca Maurice and backing by some star guitar players (including Harry Pentony) this band has made their mark on the local scene and is very likely to become a strong attraction at the gigs of 2014. Their numbers are strong on attack and they put on a good show from the stage to deliver songs that have catchy breaks and ear-pleasing riffs. When it comes to playing, they really put some welly into it.
Indie rock band from Peterborough, Albion, delivered a brilliant set. The five-piece band, with their free-standing lead singer Harry Preen, tore up the stage with a set of songs that had the crowd committed. Their infectious tunes and stage presence, that was not lacking in confidence, made a set of highly enjoyable songs come alive. Harry Preen’s voice was clear and articulate and as a front-man he certainly made it happen.
The night was rounded off with a fun set from the three members of The Elastic Bandits, whose perky set of covers was the dessert after the main courses. The three punk poppers had fun and so did the crowd.
A good conclusion to the Shed’s offering of live music for 2013.
Saturday 28th December
The Charlotte comes back to life
A unique one-off gig saw the doors open again to one of the country’s legendary music venues. Having been to the old venue as it was I could make out various features that were still intact, although much had changed. The performance area is now out of doors, a patio which, for today, had been covered by a marquee. What’s the place like now: ‘work in progress’ is one way of putting it.
Just after 3.35pm Mike Kerslake took to the stage to sing a set of songs that was top of the range – his tunefully ear-pleasing voice, engaging stage manner and ability to charm even a cold audience – making a very pleasing start to this section of the programme. Having seen Kerslake in action a few days before (at Fubar) I was impressed by how good this singer and acoustic artist has become, building on his previous successful career in music (Moving Mirrors, Rassoodocks), his solo appearances have gone from strength to strength.
Andrea Kenny followed, to deliver another sensational solo set, at one point being accompanied on the guitar by Alexandra Taylor, because Andrea’s hands had got too cold to play her instrument. Her performance as a singer is remarkable but added to that her songs are some of the best that you will hear from our local songwriters.
The first band of the day was Linear. They started their set with an impressively good cover of The Eurythmic’s Sweet Dreams, making it their own and bringing out the full essence and mood of this iconic song (which is frequently slaughtered by a variety of lesser bands) but which, in this performance has laden with mood and colour. With wonderfully evocative vocals from Jack Franklin, this was an exceptionally pleasing half hour of music.
Our reporter Jamie Borland was there in the evening; he told us
The Harrowbrooks – the four piece from Leicester, band put on an outstanding set and I am sure it was a memorable one for them as well; defiantly look forward to seeing and hearing more from this band.
Rabid – a Punk band from Leicester performed a tight set of all originals expect for one UK Subs cover, they got the crowd moshing, singing along and having a full on blast. If you are into punk music you should defiantly check Rabid out.
Midnight Wire – headlining the Charlotte’s show tonight; it has defiantly to be a highlight of the band’s career, from playing on the same stage as some big names from Gallows, The Offspring, The Killers, Kasabian, Oasis and many more, Midnight Wire performed a really good set which closed the Charlotte off very nicely indeed.
Saturday 28th December
Satelitte Empire’s last ever gig took place at The Shed.
Saturday 21st December
BIG Saturday night in Leicester
There were more gigs tonight than you could shake a fan base at.
The Musician saw a show hosted by Yellow Bean Studios (details on FB events page.)
Andrea Kenny (from the Brandy Thieves) did a solo set that was sensational, a tour de force of singing that drew enthusiastic acclaim from the audience.
Leicester band Ferris came on stage to deliver a set of highly enjoyable songs, as they always do – a band that is one of the longest established in Leicester and as they say on their FB Page ‘The present line-up of Scott Grocock, Rob Bourgault, Nick Wale and Cam Favell has been together since March 2011. Achieving great success locally and away from their home town of Leicester the band has played a number of high profile gigs already in 2013.’ An evening with Ferris is an evening well spent for lovers of seriously good rock music.
The Firebug was the scene for a massive party headlined by Resin with Mordecai, Hells Addiction and Mage.
A superb line-up of acts and a big crowd of people in party mood made this the event of the night and many people commented both during the show and afterwards that this was a live music moment in the whole of 2013. Headlining the show, Resin gave us a selection of their songs and, for me, they have made some of the best songs ever put out by a local band. Even though the preceding acts were of a very high standard, I have to say that Resin topped the night – listening to their set was an awesome experience.
The Shed had some pretty good bands on its stage with Titan, Ronin, Back Room Fiasco, Craving the Corpse and Goldstien (details on the Facebook events page)
Drowning Grace is a band that never fails to please, I say. Tight, taught and fearsomely good, fronted by Ben Cotton, what an amazing vocalist and performer!
Worcester band Ronin had come all the way across the Midlands to play tonight and play they did! It was a superb set, building up their reputation in Leicester following last year’s appearance at the Firebug gig organised by Resin. One incredibly good band, Ronin tore up the stage with a selection of top notch songs, their FB statement is easy to endorse: ‘Visionary, Energetic and Passionate: Ronin are carving a niche with their unique sound, with foundations firmly planted in rock and elements of alternative, blues, and pop; Ronin are both storytellers and soothsayers.’
Back on stage was Leicester’s Titan delivering a set of big rock songs fronted by the formidably good voice of James Shaw. A tightly performed set from a band with an impressive ability to really rock out.
At the Soundhouse, The Dedbeats were on the line-up (details on FB page.)
Saturday 21st December
Her Name is Calla at Bishop Street Methodist Church
By Adrian Manning
I almost couldn’t write this review. There were, it seemed, no words that I could utter that could do this show and band justice, nothing that could convey how incredible this performance was anyway. But I’m going to try.
I don’t spend much time in churches near Christmas to be honest, leaving that religious experience to others, and I long ago gave up believing in Father Christmas. But tonight I got a sense of what it is like to be lifted from this world and into another as Christmas came early to the good folk gathered here tonight.
Her Name Is Calla is an incredible live act and these surroundings suit them perfectly. Up to their full compliment tonight, and hot on the heels of a gig in London, they start their set as headliners of the White Noise Christmas show with the beautiful ‘Moss Giant’ featuring Adam Weikert on piano and the addition of some spoken word samples which sound acoustically wonderful in the church. This was followed by ‘Navigator’, the title track of the next album. This long track builds until it takes off and soars around the room – the phrases “set the controls for the heart of the sun” came into my mind at the end section and this is where we seemed to be going – somewhere away from here and heading to something better.
Another track from the new album followed – ‘The Roots Run Deep’, heavier beats and that funny machine they use to make lovely, strange sounds accompanied Nicole Robson on the keyboard – slightly different to other more familiar Calla work, but a great addition to the canon. Back to the heavy guitar sound with the thumping chords of the previously aired ‘Meridian Arc’ next (a personal fave) and this will undoubtedly sound awesome on the new record!
‘I Was On The Back Of A Nightingale’ started off like a Tom Morris solo track, but again built to a majestic coming together of the whole band. Sophie Green’s violin and John Help’s bass adding different textures.
‘Burial’ is another track that has been played live before and is overdue release on the next album. It is simply beautiful! The harmony vocals and melody of the spun lines that weave and intermingle are astounding. ‘It Was Flood’ followed and the sense of a religious experience only heightened – with eyes closed, the sound and the ambience of the whole piece was illuminating.
The final track of the evening and neatly bookending the set with the second track from ‘The Quiet Lamb’ was ‘Pour More Oil’ – in my mind the perfect Calla track. What an ending.
I said I can’t do this band and gig justice, but I’ve tried. The only way you can get any sense of the beauty, majesty and immensity of what Her Name Is Calla is, would be to buy the records, go to the shows and sing in a host of angel – headed voices to anyone one who will listen – Her Name Is Calla! And that is the word!
Friday 20th December
IzIggy at the Shed
The Shed provided the stage for a two hour set by the band that tributes Iggy Pop.
Iz Iggy & Some Weird Sinners, from Kettering, put on a show at which they headlined, with support from The Barronaires.
Iggy Pop look-alike, Brian Spiers, led the band in a two hour set of songs from the great rock star artist Iggy Pop (the USA singer born James Newell Osterberg, Jr.), ‘known for his outrageous and unpredictable stage antics.’
The Iz Iggy tribute band started in 2008 and the current eight member group is the latest in a long line-up of changes, lead singer Brian Spiers always being the iconic front-man of the group. During the set, the audience heard some of the classic songs of Iggy Pop, such as I wanna be your dog, The Passenger, Search and Destroy, Real Wild Child and many more.
Still going strong, Brian Spiers is a dyed in the wool rock star of legendary proportions and, as a band, they capture the essence of the iconic Iggy Pop (an artist that I first saw live at the Reading festival in 2001.) As a band, the current line-up comprises a group of very able musicians, one that can withstand scrutiny its own right, the guitarists delivering some explosive string-work and a drummer who also contributes to the vocals together with Beth James who sings alongside Brian Spiers.
Iz Iggy & Some Weird Sinners know what power rock is all about.
The Barronaires, also from Kettering, had two good front singers to deliver their set of covers combined with some of their own songs. Very enjoyable.
The Harrowbrooks at the Soundhouse
At the Soundhouse, the night was headlined by Leicester band The Harrowbrooks, with support slots from Kin and the singer Dean Welch.
The booming voice of lead singer Lewis Grewcock was backed by the pounding guitar lines and thrusting beats of the band in a set that was tight and intense.
The band rocked the house with an energetic performance of their own songs, flavoured with the influences of The Rolling Stones, The Courteeners, The Jam and the Libertines. This is a band that has long been on my radar and although I have heard them play live many times, I have never been disappointed by their work. The Harrowbrooks is an outstandingly good rock band that has gathered together a group of highly able and skilled musicians with a front man who attacks his role with vigour and personality.
Thursday 19th December
Leicester Label night at the Shed with
Castle Hill, Carlos Stein, Crisis, Deep Red Thread, Jonezy, The Fores, FourPointOh, Izzy Marie Hill, Lacky C, Three Thirds Below
Jamie Borland reports with additional material by Trevor Locke
A good gig, with a brilliant lineup of artists delivering a wide range of music and well attended.
Jonezy: What can I really say about Jonezy that everyone doesn’t already know? It was my first time seeing Jonezy perform but I had heard a lot about him and hung out with the guy before now. The only thing I can say – for those who haven’t seen him perform – is go check the guy out. He is extremely passionate about music and giving the fans a really great time. So for everyone who goes to a Jonezy gig may I say this for all of us – LETS GET MENTAL!
Mental is the new song from Jonezy coming out soon.
Deep Red Thread : The first band performing on the night, first time I’ve managed to catch these guys too, really enjoyed the band’s set, the band looked like it was having a total blast covering Paramore – Decode, Evanescence – Bring Me To Life and finally doing a cover which included Jonezy, The Beastie Boys – Fight For Your Right (To Party). I have to give it to Sophie the lead singer who was quite ill on the night with swollen glands, so very well done to Sophie and Deep Red Thread for putting on a very good show!
Three Thirds Below : Three Thirds Below played An acoustic set in the basement and what a set it was, it is really good to see a band who play electrically can also play acoustically and play acoustically really well too, it would be awesome to see Three Thirds Below doing a few more acoustic gigs!
Four Point Oh – being Four Point Oh’s last gig of the year – so it was a big one, it was the usual set, the fast headbanging, crowd participation everything you usually see from Four Point Oh but with a hell of alot more fun, dueling guitars even better then before, they did an amazing cover of Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer – it was absolutely fantastic! It was possibly the best set I have seen of Four Point Oh this year and I cant wait for 2014 to see them a lot more and hang out with them a lot more.
Castle Hill – Headlining the acoustic stage they did a various covers, two of NeverShoutNever’s, Radiohead – Creep, Bring Me The Horizon – Sleepwalking, the two guys Reece and Jack have only ever played the shed as castle hill once before on the 1st November so this was a great opportunity for the guys in Castle Hill, next year we hope to hear and see more of Castle Hill.
April33 from Leicester played. April33 is the musical project Of Joe Hawkins from Leicester. Their debut album Hypoxia is out now – message them on FB for a copy.
Four rappers got back together tonight to spit some beats in the basement: Crisis, Jonezy, Lacky C and Dibbz were together again after all having started their careers at the Shed about three years ago.
I personally wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – Jamie Borland.
and a huge vote of thanks to David Norris of Music First Promotions for all his hard work and perseverance this year, putting on some top gigs and supporting the Shed.
Sunday 15th December
The Shed, we saw a good band from Watford. They have an EP out now on iTunes and Spotify.
Sunday 15th December
ITV, Wembley Stadium
Leicester singer Sam Bailey wins the 2013 X Factor competition.
Sunday 15th December
Leicester O2 Academy
Come back for our review.
Saturday 14th December
By Jamie Borland
Ellie Bradley – Playing an array of covers and a few of her own she opened up The Shed very nicely, she is a very talented young lady with a great singing voice.
Horizons – being the first band playing on the night. The three-piece band gave The Shed various covers with the Drummer looking like he was having an absolute blast. The band also gave there twist on a Miley Cyrus song
Three Thirds Below – The Heaviest band of the night are full of stage presence, jumping around the place with clean vocals from the lead singer and screams from the bassist the 4 piece band got The Shed head banging and jumping around with ease
Alligatr. – the headlining band of the night playing the shed yet again the five lads in Alligatr never fail to disappoint, mixing alternative rock songs with a ukulele from Elliot Taylor, they opened up with the bands first original ‘Simple Variables’ a catchy song written by Sam Brown the bands acoustic guitarist and vocalist, the band have improved massively with the band’s stage presence. Overall a great performance from Alligatr once again.
We will catch Jack Birtwistle the bassist of Alligatr in Castle Hill headlining the basement at The Shed on 19th December with Jonezy, Deep Red Thread and Four Point Oh also playing that night.
Saturday 14th December
Christmas Vocal Explosion at The Lancaster Boys School
by Olly Stabler
On Saturday 14th of December, I headed down to the ‘Christmas Vocal Explosion’ at The Lancaster boys school. The evening was billed as containing ‘some of the country’s most talent voices’ and fully lived up to that – every performance was well rehearsed and thoroughly entertaining to watch.
First on was the vocal chorus ‘Tuxedo Junction’ who hailed from Earl Shilton. The group consisted of 17 members, along with a conductor, and got straight into their set by performing a well-known classic, Under the Sea. The conductor then explained that the chorus sings in four part harmony and went on, utilising the chorus, to illustrate just how this works. He pointed out each of the four sections and each section sang their own portion of a song. The entire chorus then performed these parts together, fantastically demonstrating how the group arranges songs. The group were very well rehearsed and continued on performing more classics subsequently receiving a well-deserved and enthusiastic applause from the audience.
We saw University of Birmingham students take to the stage under the name ‘Sons of Pitches’. This group consisted of seven members and blew me away with some of the noises they created-there were times where the group really didn’t sound like an A cappella group and more like they had instruments. The group performed a mixture of old and new pop songs, including Get Lucky and a very original arrangement of Wonderwall originally by Oasis. Every member of the group possessed a fantastic voice, and from what I could hear, a very impressive range. The group have just released their debut EP, ‘Not Too Shabby’ which can be downloaded from Facebook.
Third on was a four piece barbershop/a cappella group, ‘The Emerald Guard’. This group seems to have had a fantastic year, a highlight clearly being their victory at the 2013 British Association of Barbershop Singers Competition in which they won and subsequently received gold medals. The group performed a variety of songs to which they introduced with stories, of few of which were particularly amusing and entertaining to hear. The group were, as you would expect, exceptionally well-rehearsed and, as a unit, produced a fantastic sound. It was for this reason that they performed 2 sets which the audience seemed to enjoy. Overall, the group put on a great performance that all appeared to enjoy.
Next to take to the stage was Leicester barbershop/ a cappella group, ‘The Simpletones’. I have seen these guys perform on numerous occasions, each time being absolutely fantastic and an improvement on the last. Tonight was no different, with the boys putting on a brilliant and entertaining performance. They are maybe not quite so rehearsed as the other groups, suggested when they started a song in the wrong key (they did this the previous time I saw them) although they always seem to turn any mistakes or errors around and everyone ends up having a good laugh and being very impressed by them. It must be noted that their lead vocalist, Simon Lubkowski, possess an incredible voice that really made The Simpletones stand out from any other act on the line up tonight-not only do their voices work well together, but Simon really does have something special. If you’ve never heard of them then these are the ones you need to check out.
Fifth on stage was the Lancaster Community Choir, conducted by Simon Lubkowski. I am unsure as to how many members were in this choir as it was too large to count, but I’d estimate between 50-60. The Choir were the first act to use backing tracks which they utilised in some of their songs, such as their fun version of the Toy Story theme tune. They were well rehearsed and impressed me with their rendition of ‘Oh Holy Night’. The Choir is not on facebook but contact Simon through email (BigSi@Outlook.com) if you’re interested in joining.
The final group to perform were another chorus named ‘The Major Oak Chorus‘ who mostly all came from Nottingham. They performed a set of crowd pleasers and explained that they offer free vocal session to all in the hope that eventually those who partake on their sessions end up successfully auditioning for the chorus. That evening featured the first performance of some new members, all of whom were greeted warmly by the crowd. They performed two Christmas songs as well as the classic ‘Sitting Ontop Of The World‘.
Friday 13th December
Midnight Wire at The Basement
Sunday 8th December
The Vinyls night at The Shed
Brighton band The Vinyls headlined at show at The Shed tonight with support from Leicester’s Casino Empire.
Friday 6th December
Explicit Youth at The Soundhouse
Tonight’s line-up should have been Hallowed People, Friendly Enemies and Explicit Youth. Seems Friendly Enemies weren’t able to make it.
We saw them at the Third Anniversary show in October and commented favourably about them.
Explicit Youth is a teenage band playing indie music – nothing new or iconic about that – in fact it’s a tradition of the Leicester music scene that teenage indie ensembles regularly drop off the extruder into the hot fat of the local scene’s band fryer. This year has been a bumper year for spotting groups of talented teens picking up guitars and confidently striding on to our local stages to show what they can do.
When it comes to kids with strings and skins you cannot tell what will happen to them or where they will end up. Whether it was the melody-laden Heroes, the testosterone-dripping hardcore of our metal moguls or the ska skills of M48 or the razzmatazz of Formal Warning you could not tell whether they were a two year wonder or a potential force on the rock scene.
Explicit Youth is a group of teens with talent but have they got the staying power to make it in the music business? We shall see but clearly this is a band worth watching to find out where they go. With Dan Peel on the mic and Jack Dearden on the drums, backed up George Wardle and Liam Butler, they were full-on youthful vigor and what they lacked in technical proficiency that made up for with their exuberance and charm.
Friday 6th December
Dizzy Lizzy at The Shed
I remember Thin Lizzy. I even remember when their famous hit The Boys Are Back In Town came out in 1976.
So it was a nostalgic pleasure to see them tributed on the stage of The Shed by Dizzy LIzzy, a band that not only sounded like them but which had a lead singer who looked pretty much like Phil Lynott.
Tuesday 3rd December
What a fantastic night at Rhett Barrow’s open-mic at the Soundhouse
On stage tonight were
Nile McGreggor (featured artist)
and Roy Scammell who played the Hurdy Gurdy with a variety of loops and pedals – totally amazing, never heard anything like it before
Next: The Open-mic night Christmas party on Tuesday 17th December at The Soundhouse
with a good line-up of artists and bands.