Music Diary for November 2013
Live music events we went to in Leicester.
Our selection of live music shows from the stages of Leicester.
Reviews by the Music in Leicester writers group.
Saturday 30th November
Satelitte Empire to retire
Leicester band Satelitte Empire announced that would be throwing in the towel, saying ‘Our headline show on the 28th of December will be our last. We’ve had a fantastic time as a band but we’re calling it a day.’ Despite the gloom of seeing a talent band bite the dust their last gig promises to be a blinder, with support from electro ravers Axis Mundi, The Bench That Rocked and Black Room Fiasco. Get on it here.
Friday 29th November 2013
Keith Jobey reports
Photos by Keith Jobey
Charlotte Carpenter’s Tea Party at The Cookie Jar
If you haven’t been to one of Charlotte Carpenters Tea Parties then I suggest you do. They’re usually held on the last Friday of the month in the Cookie Jar at the Crumblin’ Cookie. There’s tea and cakes to be had, cocktails in teapots, bunting, candlelit tables (sometimes) but most importantly, a great line up, in which Charlotte always features.
Tonight’s line up was no exception and had attracted a large number of advance ticket sales, including one person who had traveled from Belgium just for this gig. The large crowd meant that the candlelit tables were left out to make more room.
Matt Henshaw got the evening underway. Having recently re-located to Leicester, the well dressed Ilkeston born singer is rapidly gaining attention here. Not surprising considering the excellence of the voice he possesses.
It was a much stripped back performance, with only his delicately plucked acoustic guitar and some hand clapping backing up the soulful bluesy vocals. A great performance, only tainted by the distraction of constant chatter that started at the back of the room and crept forward throughout the set.
Port Isla were the next to perform, a four piece from Norwich who have had a good round of festival dates this year, including an introducing slot at Glastonbury. They play a kind of nu-folk / folk-rock style, but not like Mumford and Sons, more like Goldheart Assembly, and they went down well here tonight.
Then it was time for the hostess Charlotte Carpenter. Charlotte is one of Leicester’s treasures. Like a Malteser in a packet of Revels. Playing here in her now natural environment of the Cookie Jar, the Desborough born guitar loving songstress is at home. Which is unusual, because when you hear her voice you’d think she’d be more at home in Tennessee. She’s normally backed by ‘her boys’, Lee Russel (guitars) and Dan Wright (drums). They don’t intrude too much but do lift the overall sound to a higher level.
This lift, coupled with Charlotte’s great voice and song writing explains why she is so special. New single ‘Whole’ is due out early next year, delayed we’re told because of some exciting news to be announced soon. Looking forward to hearing what that news is.
Orla Gartland. That’s a name I think we’re going to hear a lot next year. She describes herself as an 18 year old music making ginger nutcase from Dublin. She’s influenced by Regina Spektor, Laura Marling and Imogen Heap, influences that come through in her songs.
Songs, that when self released earlier this month took her to the top of the iTunes charts in Ireland and won her fans worldwide. At the Cookie Jar tonight, she demonstrated that she is a witty, quirky, confident and chirpy performer who captivated the audience. Real star quality from a genuine person. As well as her own great songs, she played an excellent cover of The Wall by Pink Floyd. I don’t normally like artists doing covers, but when they change it to the extent that they stamp their own personality on it, that’s ok. And Orla wrote her name all over The Wall here tonight.
Add to all of that a show that ran to time, as well as any Swiss train, and sounded as clear and balanced as it could be, and you have all that you could ask for at just £5 admission. I suspect if this line up were brought together again in a year or so you’ll be paying a great deal more to gain entry.
Friday 29th November
The Shed hosted another night of auditions for the 2014 Glastonbudget Festival.
Photos by © Kevin Gaughan
The two members of The Bob Cats opened the show to give the audience a generous helping of the blues. Armed with some impressive guitar showmanship and some lovely gravelly vocals, the mood and atmosphere created by these two accomplished artists wow’d the crowd. Well known musician and sound engineer Bopper took control of the drums for some of the songs joining regular members Stu Crown – Guitar and Vocals – and Dan Fraser-Betts – Bass.
It was splendid!
The first full band on the stage upstairs was Eden Avenue, a band which, though young, knows how to deliver a set on stage. Yes they played well, yes they had some good songs and yes they are five musicians who perform their songs and a jolly good set they did too. The front runners brought the music to live with Harry Pentony (Guitar), Will Hayter (Guitar) and Conor Linnett (Bass Guitar) throwing some suitable shapes to the vocals of Rebecca Maurice and the work of Kieran Langley on the drum kit came in for some plaudits too. Ear pleasing music that had a bit of bite and edge made them a hit with the large groups of fans that had come down to support them and won over those who were there to support other acts – just as it should be.
Eden Avenue will be launching a new EP at the O2 Academy on Saturday 1st February 2014.
Hinckley band Dig Lazarus put on a great set and, even though not well known around here, they certainly caught the audience up in their rockin’ set of full-on songs. When the audience needing something big to keep the party going the three guys from the shire gave it to them.
Thursday 28th November
City Link-Up Unsigned held its November show at the Music Cafe.
Thursday 28th November
Leicester Label at The Shed
Jamie Borland reports
Eighth Ocean : A Young four piece Alternative metal band from Corby playing all originals opening up at the shed, being together as a band for just four months and the second time playing Leicester, with an amazing drummer only being 12 and the rest of the band being 16.
Of Kings And Captains : First time playing Leicester and the shed, Fresh off a Bon Jovi UK tour the four piece pop punk band from Dudley, playing a smashing cover of Chuck Barry’s – Johnny Be Good, definatly keep an eye out for this up and coming band, check them out on the bands facebook page / twitter
FourPointOh : a four piece hard rock / metal band from Leicester with a great stage presence from rob not standing still and getting the crowd going, the rhythm guitarist Lorenzo wasn’t able to make the gig but a great stand-in took the Italian Stallion’s place for the night, if you haven’t already seen Four Point Oh Be sure to check them out on the 19th of December back at the shed.
Cable 35 also played. We have already reviewed this band that originated in Malta. Arts in Leicester wrote ‘Liking a band from Malta is rare but I happen to be a fan of Cable 35, and their nicely produced album Louder, reminds me of them and their infectious sounds and the times they played at The Shed. I just hope they keep coming back but if not I have this very good album of theirs to remind me how good they are as a band.’ (Dec 2012)
Well done to David Norris and Jonathan Rapper Jones of Leicester label for putting on a great gig
Tuesday 26th November
The DMU Music Society held one of its regular nights at The Looking Glass.
The theme of this show was “The 80s”
On the line-up were
Patricia Reed, Niall Riches, Richard Cartledge, Josh Hart and Johnny Richards
Adam Walker, Richard Aries, Dan McKenzie
Monday 25th November
Trevor Cobbe at The Soundhouse
A cold damp Monday night in Leicester was, for me, one of the highlights of 2013.
Yorkshire’s two finest Barnsley rockers descended on the Soundhouse tonight to deliver a superb set, of what I would term, a mixture of drone and melodic alt rock.
The show was opened by Worcester band Institutes. It took me a few numbers to get into their set but from the third song on I was hooked and their singer worked hard to engage the growing and enthusiastic crowd.
Next to come to the stage we had Pusher, formerly known as Toba Caldera, one of my favourite bands of the last two years. With a new drummer and possibly slightly more upbeat than their previous incarnation, lead singer Gilroy delivered a superbly assured vocal performance to the wonderful guitar backdrop. Their new single Cold is just the Dark is due out at the end of this month and the current one Shoot Life is on YouTube and gives an excellent taste of what Pusher are all about. Alt rock at it’s finest.
Exit Calm topped the bill and I have Pusher to thank for introducing me to the beautiful embracing alt rock tones of this Yorkshire four piece. On the strength of their latest video single, I bought both their albums – debut album, self named, Exit Calm and recently released The Future isn’t what it Used to be. Both are masterpieces of melodic alt rock and Exit Calm transferred this mastery to the stage at the Soundhouse in front of a very enthusiastic audience. The band delivered a wonderful wall of sound and apart from the odd monitor issues for the vocalist, they sound just as good as their studio performances. Here are three recent media articles which sum them up wonderfully:
“…blown out psychedelia, bad vibes and breakbeats…” CLASH
“Exit Calm are so far out in front of the rest of the competition at present it’s frightening. In fact, you can almost imagine bands forming in their wake as we speak.” (DROWNED IN SOUND)
“With ragged vocals and swathes of widescreen guitar effects reminiscent of early verve, South Yorkshires four-piece Exit Calm have a penchant for all.”
They are playing the Crauford Arms in Milton Keynes this Friday and then touring again next January to promote their new single Promise.
Miss them at your peril.
Saturday 23rd November
The O2 Leicester was full tonight for the home-coming show of By The Rivers band.
Saturday 23rd November
Raptusound’s home-coming gig
at St. Martin’s tea and coffee merchants, Leicester
Kevin Gaughan reports:
Having arrived at the venue in good time, as I was locking my bike outside, I could hear a rapturous applause emanating from upstairs which concerned me on two levels – a) the gig was already well under way and b) this coffee shop was packed!
Having made my entrance, I was greeted by the friendly face of Tristan (Raptusound’s drummer) who kindly alerted me to the warm beverages and cake on offer, to which I replied ‘where’s the bar?’. Unusually for a gig venue, however, he pointed out that there was no bar – but then this was no ordinary gig!
It was indeed packed upstairs at the coffee shop, as I entered to the sound of local singer/songwriter, Ellie Hutton, with a cup of hot chocolate in hand, I sat on one of the last remaining seats.
Ellie Hutton. Photograph (c) Kevin Gaughan
Soaking up the warm, cosy and intimate atmosphere of the coffee shop, her delicate vocals and thought provoking lyrics immediately got me into the zone. The attentive and appreciative audience gave a rapturous applause between songs.
At the end of Ellie’s set I was able to admire the colourful and abstract art work from local painter, Beth Watson, which provided an almost inspirational interlude.
After a short break, and still nursing my cup of not-so-hot chocolate, Christopher (lead singer of Raptusound) introduced the band which launched into an acoustic version of their classic, Alibi. I say acoustic version, all their songs start life acoustically and they ‘rock them up’ for when they do their electric set. So I guess this would be the original version of Alibi, and what a gorgeous masterpiece of a song it is, too.
Raptusound. Photograph (c) Kevin Gaughan
Performing other classics from their two EPs, The Filter (as played on BBC Radio 6) and Course of the River, every song was an emotional journey expertly written and faultlessly performed by these three gents.
Raptusound don’t just ‘do’ an acoustic performance, they make it a special occasion, and you feel as though you are part of something special. Lifting the mood between each song, Christopher entertained us with amusing stories from their tour, making this an evening of fine entertainment and art.
Still nursing the dregs of my cold cup of chocolate, at the end of the performance, we were reminded that the coffee shop will be getting a licence to sell alcohol in a few months time. Phew!
Friday 22nd November
It’s Friday, so it must be Glastonbudget. For several months, the festival organisers have been at The Shed on Tuesday and Fridays to audition bands and singers for next year’s festival. Not all festivals work in this way but this is how the guys from Glasto do it.
The highlight of tonight’s line-up was the young band 8Miles High, who not only performed a superbly good set but also brought a massive crowd of people with them (71 to be precise.) On 18th September I wrote: 8 Miles High is one of the most exciting and impressive young bands around at the present time and their performance tonight was nothing short of spectacular. Lead vocalist Oliver K-M delivered a sensational performance; as I said on the night, “you see a performance like that only two or three times a year.”
Tonight they followed up their September success with an equally good set of songs and a gold medal performance to boot. Describing their genre as ‘Punk/rock’ (not at all accurately) they delivered an impressive set that reminded me of the early days of The Heroes and Midnight Wire. Whilst being rather more indie than punk, their songs had the kind of edge you would normally associate with FourPointOh. Big bold riffs and dazzling guitar parts augmented ear-licking melodies to produce a set that fizzed with good music.
Though still quite young, I hope these guys stick around because if they do we are sure to see them rise through the ranks of Leicester’s bands and they will surely attract a following from young and older alike.
Wednesday 22nd November
Preacher and the Bear at Pi Bar
By Adrian Manning
Where do you go to find excitement, drama and a damn good time? Where do you go when you want music that electrifies the soul, that pumps blood in its veins like the heart on overdrive? The answer is anywhere where the Goodtime Recordings Collective flag is flying and tonight that place is the Pi Bar.
Now, they got the blues down at the Pi Bar tonight, but brothers and sisters they also have the cure. A good sized crowd are gonna get some healing and and a chance to wail their blues with Preacher & The Bear – Super Blues – and it never felt so good! I’m on record as saying GRC band The Pale Faces are one of the most original acts around and even though the blues has been writ before the BLUES was writ, Preacher & The Bear make it sound as new and fresh as the morning we have woken up to. It’s a good crowd tonight – members of the aforementioned Faces, and a Subtitle show the GRC are all on board plus those wise folks in the know and a good number of new listeners.
So what’s the cure? Garry Greenaway’s solid, on the beat, heavy, rolling and pounding drums (even when one of them collapses!) allows the Bear room for alternating heavy blues riffs or gentle guitar caressing. Plenty of fantastic, tight soloing and the best blues voice this side of the Mississippi Delta.
The Preacher adds his manic, flash, stabbing and slashing keys that can be used as a weapon of destruction or a lovers caress depending upon the mood or pace of the song and this band know when to rip it up or simply allow you to breathe. The Preachers gospel style calling and responding vocals add to the mix and when he’s stamping on the keyboard or is suspended at a 45 degree angle with just feet on the wall and his hands on the board you know we are really exorcising the ghosts. I use the word ‘we’ because it is a communal sharing of band, audience and the hell yeah of the gospel blues!
An additional element tonight is the honking sax of Joel Owen who joins the band for a couple of numbers and this added an extra dimension to the melting pot which was incredible. You want song names? Can’t Afford No Train, Sweet Black Angel, Sittin ‘ On Top Of The World and the classic warning of Weed and Wimmin are played amongst others. What’s important is that they add up to the whole – the SUPER BLUES and this is gospel! Amen brothers and sisters, Amen! We have seen the light and remember, the blues never sounded as good as this!
Thursday 21st November 2013
The Grafham Water Sailing Club at The Cookie Jar
Review by Keith Jobey
I can’t think of matchstick men without the song by Brian and Michael popping into my head … and I bet it’s just popped into your head now. So here’s hoping Leicester band Matchstick Men can put an alternative song in our heads.
Matchstick Men consist of Chris Bowron (Drums), Ieuan Cox (Keyboards/Backing Vocals), Joe Cross (Bass/Backing Vocals), Noah Goodliffe (Rhythm Guitar/Lead Vocals) and Lewis Warner (Lead Guitar).
Five mates who met at school and formed a band whose sound they describe as ‘alternative/Brit rock.’
They haven’t played many gigs yet, I believe this was their fourth, and I’d go along with the alternative/Brit rock tag. There is a nice mix of styles in their set, sometimes getting more heavy, other times tending towards the rock ballad, sometimes new wave but more often Brit rock. Their sound is currently pretty raw, and the vocals occasionally let them down a little, but hopefully things should mature as the gigs add up.
There are many bands that can be located on a map, Chelsea, Texas, Boston, Chicago, Europe to name a few. But few are as specific as Grafham Water Sailing Club, which can be found just outside Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, and has no connection whatsoever with the band, other than sharing the name.
I think it’s fair to say the atmosphere was as flat as Grafham Water itself – on a still summer dawn. Only a press gang of the support band and their crowd from upstairs could boost the numbers a little and lift the mood. Credit to them all for that.
The Grafham Water Sailing Club (or XTXGXWXSXCX for short!) were scintillating. A four piece consisting of Lee Yeomans, Nathan Rewhorn, George Barr and George Miles, who have been making waves in the canals of Birmingham with their dark, brooding, goth tinged experimental sound for a while. This was their first visit to Leicester and their first headline show. Unfortunately, Leicester doesn’t seem to have picked up on them yet.
Gathered about a central lit plinth like sailors around a rum barrel, there was relentless drumming, constant Hookyesque bass, low almost spoken vocals, overlaid with key and guitar sounds that occasionally whipped like a cat o’ nine tails. The end effect delivering a sound that could blast the barnacles of your bow, particularly during last song The Butcher Of Barcelona. A short set but really, really good stuff.
Enough of the nautical puns though, seriously, gig goers of Leicester, you missed out here. Their next gig is supporting the Crystal Fighters in front of a crowd of 1500. That’ll be a bit different to this one.
Wednesday 20th November
The Shed’s young bands night saw an amazingly good performance from Derby band Parasight. These five teenagers played like seasoned professionals; unlike a lot of young bands, they made a splash with their scintillating stage craft in which the musicians threw some shapes and put a lively dose of energy into what they were doing. The band’s lead vocalist certainly knew how to rock out and he was well backed by the other members of team Parasight. Adding to the overall wow-factor were stunning guitar solos and good vocal layers from the bassist and guitarist. When it comes to big, bold classic rock songs, these young guys have got it fixed.
Also on stage tonight, Countesthorpe band Stating The Obvious. They played a good set, despite having no dress sense. They played a cover of Greenday’s Holiday. Armed with backing vocals from the bassist and guitarist, they added some of their own songs into their set.
From Coalville came the female-fronted band Before The Crash. They dressed up big time and put on a show full of razzmatazz and verve. Strong vocals from Shezza Wileman gave the night a pretty good launch as the band played some of their own songs and some covers.
Sunday 17th November
Leicester singing group The Simpletones was on the main stage at Light Up The Night, a festival that attracted 15,000 spectators to the city centre. At Curve and Exchange Bar there were plenty more singers and bands to entertain the crowd.
Saturday 16th November
The Old Phoenix 50th Anniversary
Carol Leeming told us about the show at the Old Phoenix theatre in Upper Brown Street.
The Old Phoenix celebrated it half century it’s with an open day in which Local Arts including: music, theatre, spoken word and dance will be taking centre Stage. The whole building will be open to the public and the main stage will be used to showcase local art, while the famous Phoenix Foyer will house an array of archives showcasing the history of the building. Rob Gurney.
Friday 15th November
Jonezy‘s birthday bash at The Shed was really good. As I said to him during the show “Party Hard Dude!”
The bands that played tonight
It was a LARGE night out for me and quite a bunch of other people and Planet Jones was buzzin’ all night. All the bands were top notch and the whole night was one hell of a do.
Friday 15th November
Stu Crown and The Bobcats played at the Looking Glass.
Saturday 9th November
The Shed. Tonight I saw Shrink, a trio that I have seen before. A Leicester bank with influences like Placebo, Nirvana, JJ72, Smashing Pumpkins, we saw them at the OBS this year and Arts in Leicester wrote:
The Leicester trio that is Shrink finished off the night with a set of vigorous indie/grunge songs, pumped up by an outstanding stage performance and the lead vocalist Faz giving out an intoxicated delivery, using his strong voice to great effect. It was fun.
Young teenage band The Bench That Rocked put on a remarkably good set. The guys from Coalville opened with Sweet Dreams by The Eurythmics before going on to Blink 182’s All The Small things, and also played some of their own songs, which were pretty good too. They treated us to Alien Ant Farm’s Smooth Criminal and that kept me happy! I was so impress that I posted on Facebook ‘… they were a group of young teenagers and I have to say I have seen bands twice their age play half as well. Apart from performing some of their own original songs (which were very good) they covered some of my most favourite rock tunes.’
Luzon Bleeding Heart has always been one of my favourite bands, ever since they started. They featured on the new bands page, 2012, on Arts in Leicester.
Since then they have done really well, getting into festivals, playing with other bands, getting on to good lineups. I like their recent YouTube Video of their track Killer. A band with a phenomenal energy and spirit, their music never fails to enthrall me.
Friday 8th November
The Fores, Jonezy and The Dirty Future
played at the Scholar Bar at Leicester’s O2 Academy.
The Fores, Jonezy and The Dirty Future at the O2 Scholar Bar.
Friday 8th November
Demons of Ruby Mae at the Y Theatre
Friday 8th November
Big Deal, Sisters, White Giant, B-Side Resorts at the Soundhouse
Keith Jobey reports
The buzz was big for this gig. Big Deal were on a roll, a band on the rise, picked out by many as one to watch, and they were coming to Leicester to be scrutinised under the blistering Soundhouse lights.
Leicester band White Giant featured lead singer Kieran Fowkes. Follow White Giant on Facebook.
B-Side resorts is an Alt Folk Synth Pop group from Coventry.
Getting the evening underway, in front of the few early attendees, were Coventry alt-folk electro pop duo B-Side Resorts. Consisting of Jo Drury and Dan Faulkner (previously of the much missed Minnaars) and playing only their third gig, the performance was at times a little unrefined but so what. Time and gigs under the belt should sort that out. And I’m sure there’ll be more gigs because they have a good enough set of songs which I thought were best when the folk style was backed by the 80s electro sound. With Jo standing in front of her keyboard and bearing a passing resemblance to a 1980s Gillian Gilbert of New Order and with electronic drumbeats straight out of that era, you could mistakenly believe you’ve gone back in time to a gig by ‘The Other Two’. Really looking forward to seeing how this duo develops.
The place had filled up well by the time Sisters took to the stage. A London based trio from Limerick. Sisters could probably tour themselves and I’m sure they will soon, but currently are tagging along as main support to Big Deal. Their blend of blend of fuzzy pop with catchy guitar riffs is sung over with a clear Irish drawl that reminds you of a punkish Cranberries at times. They are still in their early days, developing and learning as time progresses. Expect them to be on next years ones to watch lists. Check out debut single ‘Clearhead’ and latest single ‘Hush Hush’ if you need proof.
Then it was time for Big Deal to prove their worth, to show they were… the erm, the top dog. Expanding from a two piece to a four piece to create a fuller band sound for their second album seems to have worked well for them, coming to Leicester fresh from recording a BBC6 live session for Lauren Laverne. They pulled in a crowd consisting of fans and those checking out the buzz, oh and was that really Lauren herself in the crowd at the Soundhouse? If the noisier, more muscular sounding approach has upset fans of their first album it didn’t show tonight. Two tracks from the first album going down well despite being given the raucous treatment. One thing lacking though was that the new rhythm section didn’t seem fully part of Big Deal yet. They appeared a little unadventurous, as if they had been told not to do anything to distract from the founding twosome. Or perhaps it was just they felt like gooseberries to the musical attraction of the front two.
And so ended another great night of music at the Soundhouse on what was a busy night of music across the city.
Tuesday 5th November
Leicester singer Dan King was the featured artist at the Soundhouse open-mic night that is run by Rhett Barrow. Dan has been playing for about five years and has been writing his own songs for about a year and half. We first saw him at the Exchange bar in July 2012. Follow Dan King on Facebook.
Sunday 3rd November
40 years of Black music in Leicester is celebrated with a premier of a new film on this subject.
Read the review on Arts in Leicester.
Saturday 2nd November
The Vamps play at Abbey Park with support from Jonezy and Curtis Clacey.
Saturday 2nd November
Formal Warning bow out with a headline show at the Musician which included Satellite Empire.
Friday 1st November
Skam headline at the O2 Academy’s Queens Hall.