Live Music diary September 2013
A diary of gigs we visited in September.
Scroll down to find more months to read about the many bands, artists and venues whose show we have covered this month.
From October, dates will be in descending order, the latest date being at the top.
On this page: Flying Kangaroo Alliance, Glastonbudget auditions, Rhett Barrow’s open-mic night, bands at The Shed, Clubs and Over The House at the Cookie, EdgarFest at the Soundhouse, Alligator and 8Miles High, City of Ashes, Madam Fade, Satellite Empire’s anniversary show at the Music Cafe, The Furies launch their album at the Firebug, Little Night Terrors at the Cookie, Jaws, Clubs and Hallowed People at The Soundhouse.
Sunday 1st September
Flying Kangaroo Alliance Single Launch.
Keith Jobey reports from The Musician:
As September moved in and Summer started to pass and as my recent holiday faded into the past, I tried to motivate my Sunday, with some light. It shone from the windows of the Musician as I approached it, and from that point I knew I was glad that I had gone along to witness the Flying Kangaroo Alliance’s single launch.
There were a lot of acts on the bill for a three hour gig, so there was no hanging about. The night opened with some classic rock and roll blues from The Bobcats. Setting the standard high for the rest of the acts that were to follow.
Local legend Kevin Hewick captivated the audience with an acoustic set delivered with great precision and deftness. A truly talented musician showing that age is no reason to withdraw from the scene. Kevin revealed that he is a big fan of FKA, and speculated on a great gig featuring them with Pale Faces and We Three and The Death Rattle. Sounded good to me too.
Kevin was quickly followed by Siobhan Mazzei. Thankfully talented enough to keep the ball rolling, playing a lively acoustic set. And managing to shift a few copies of her album too.
After Siobhan, it was time to increase the volume of the gig as The Dedbeats took to the stage, led by another stalwart of the Leicester music scene, Rhett Barrow. The grunge element of the night started to awaken as they delivered a solid, enjoyable set.
The final changeover of the evening was supplemented by some beatboxing. At times a little astray, occasionally faltering, but a decent job was done of providing a little extra entertainment while amps and drums were swapped on stage and guitars were tuned. Something different.
Drawing the night to a close, the headline act, Flying Kangaroo Alliance. I first saw FKA as a support act in the Autumn of 2012. Supporting is a tricky task. The crowd generally aren’t there to see you or may not even bother getting there in time to see you. But tonight FKA showed they didn’t care about that sort of thing and the few of us who were there were given a great show.
With two guitars and a thundering, rolling bass, their music is a touch heavy, a bit grungy, with a little bit of punk added. It always includes plenty of variation which coupled with some great song writing soon wins you over. A little rough at times, they laugh off on stage errors, which is good. As a member of the crowd, I can forgive a band a few errors. For the Musician gig though, they were well rehearsed, tight and benefited from a decent sound that came from playing at places like the Musician. The set ripped along at a steady pace, slowing down for Prince of Darkness, speeding up for Mr Sic, a string of fast, short, poppy, noisy, dark tunes, that gets the crowd dancing and that to me, after seeing them half a dozen times, were already familiar.
All to quickly, it seemed, the last song was played. For this, Meri Everitt put down her guitar and gave full throttle vocals to the song Feel Free with its anthemic, sing-along chorus. A true classic (if an un-released song can be called a classic.) The reason for the gig was to officially launch their debut single, Hit The Wall. Released recently on Punk Fox label and available from their band camp page and Rough Trade records. The single itself was a treasure … to me, all vinyl is a treasure. The format appeals to me more than CDs. Both those formats, and even cassettes beat digital downloads. Vinyl is like your fine china – delicate, precious, lovely. CDs are akin to the mug range, you get some nice mugs but some are just plain. Digital downloads are your styrofoam cups – cheap, disposable and harmful. I don’t dislike downloads. I regularly listen to digital music, out of convenience, but I prefer to have something physical in my collection too. Just to look at and occasionally play, when I want to indulge myself.
Anyway, this vinyl is speckled green and purple, with a picture sleeve and even a CD included for those who don’t own a record player. So there’s no excuse for not buying it.
The gig ended and I headed off home, speckled vinyl in hand, having seen five great acts for just £5 and wondering if the dream gig Kevin Hewick mentioned will happen soon. I hope so.
Tuesday 3rd September
Glastonbudget Festival Auditions at The Shed
The main room at the Shed venue filled up with fans anxious to show their support for the acts performing tonight in the hope of a place at Leicester’s biggest festival next year.
From Derby a young band gave an amazingly good performance. Parasight put on a top-class performance. I have seen bands twice their age play half as good as these young fellas. Follow Parasight on Facebook.
Hallowed People, the four member indie band from Leicester, gave a set of set of bouncy indie numbers and they reminded me of the early days of Midnight Wire. Strewn with catchy breaks and twangy riffs their music went down well with the delighted audience. They were finicky about technical issues, no bad thing maybe, and had a reasonably good stage presence, delivering their songs with commitment. Hallowed People on Facebook.
Tuesday 3rd September
Rhett Barrow’s open-mic night at the Soundhouse saw One Suspicious Monkey doing the featured act slot. OSM is a band with a difference; lead singer Georgio Maroder has oodles of style and pizzazz to front up the flamenco infused dark folk songs that have made the band famous on the Leicester scene. Drawn from both Leicester and Nottingham the seven members of the band are nothing if not stylish and the music they produce is far out of the ordinary. People who like their music with full-on flavour love this band. One Suspicious Monkey on Facebook.
Others on stage tonight included singer Mary-Anne Ratcliffe and Nancy Dawkins was also in the house. The evening finished with an impromptu jam session; gathered on stage was a group of talented musos including Rhett, Ciara Green Fly (with her whistle), Mary-Anne, Sam Winterton, Jesse Wright and a few more for one hell of a good Jam. This is a ‘moment’ in the live music of Leicester and it was all about the luck of being in the right place at the right time – but man, was it good. I would like to say more of this but it’s rarity was what made it special.
Friday 6th September
More Shed; upstairs more Glastonbudget auditions – this time with hard rockers Four Point Oh and The Unknown. Downstairs in the basement a group of bands were having a rave up with Project Mischief, Piezo, Fractions, Headwire, My Legacy and Entity.
Friday 6th September
At the Cookie Jar music fans had gathered to see Hallowed People, Clubs and Over The House.
Clubs is a band I have kept missing so tonight I made sure I was there. With lead singer Chris Pandit (ex Panda Youth) backed by a squad of good musicians, Clubs set off on a set of cool, smoothly glassy tunes and foot-tapping rhythms. Chris has stood out for some time as being a distinctive band singer and the cleverly constructed songs built up their dynamics and passion. The sound of Clubs was rich in colour and full of musical invention. With plenty of catchy breaks and clappy passages, they kept the momentum going. They played their song Velvet (listen to it on Soundcloud) and this if what they are all about. Colour is another song they did tonight with its snare-drum marching intro. Clubs’s progressive indie sounds have strong, stompin’, clappy beats laced with intricate guitar riffs soaring over a crashing backline in a set that was varied in pace and style. As a mate said to me “it’s like Kings of Leon’s fourth album.” [Only By The Night, that’s the one with Sex On Fire.] I got what he meant. Follow Clubs on Facebook.
Over The House headlined the show to celebrate the release of their new single. Upbeat, dancy songs were soon vibrating into the room with vocals from Ieuan Jones. All very immediately compelling. Performing in front of thickly-packed throng of fans, it was good to note some prestigious rockerati in the house (always a good sign when members of bigger bands go to a gig to check out what’s going on.) Songs with ear-grabbing melodies and cantering beats got the crowd going. Brisk, ear-pleasing and tuneful, summoning up The Kooks, The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys. Pretty good happy stuff. Over The House on Facebook and listen to Break Me Out on Soundcloud. See what we said about the band’s EP Bonfires.
Saturday 7th September
EdgarFest at the Soundhouse
The charity show held at the Soundhouse featured a line-up of really good singers, groups and bands. Here are a few that we saw:
Slide show from Flickr
Photos © Arts In Productions Ltd.
Singer Nuala Bennett-Wilford
Another stunning performance from the amazing voice of Nuala. She has a CD out now which we reviewed recently.
Singer Jordan Conteh
Very impressive performance from singer Jordan Conteh. With a very listenable voice and good guitar playing, his set of R ‘n’ songs was most enjoyable.
Singer Daz Lynch
As always a top performance from Daz Lynch, a champion of the music of Oasis and part of the backbone of Leicester’s music scene.
Singer Jessie Wright
Lovely singing from Jessie Wright; vibrant, engaging, a very engaging artist with a good set of songs. I particularly liked her version of Feeling good by Nina Simone.
Leicester band Feedback Voice
Feedback Voice is a young Leicester band but despite not being well known their set tonight was really impressive. Good songs, played really well, big bouncy tunes delivered with considerable verve, amazing guitar solos, beltin’ rhythms and a modern style, Feedback Voice’s set was shockingly good. I think this band could well go a long way.
Leicester band Flip Like Wilson
Pop/punk is not dead; it’s alive and kicking and FLW do it incredibly well. With a fizzing lead singer – Jake Sterland – a team of musicians that has stage presence and a thumping set of high-powered songs, FLW brought the day’s show to a resounding end. This band can shine whether they are in a small venue or on a large festival or arena stage. Entertaining, dance-compelling music and with lashings of youthful energy, this is a band that has delivered plenty of really memorable performances.
Tuesday 17th September
The Soundhouse open-mic night
Matt Henshaw – a singer with a good voice and an engaging set of original songs.
Pamella Moo – always comes up with something that is musically fresh and appealing.
Benn Martmann – a singer with considerable presence, he delivered a fine set of songs.
Peter Hinds – an artist I had not seen before but who gave us a really enjoyable set of songs backed with fine guitar work.
A really good night with Rhett Barrow and his artists.
Thursday 18th September
The first of a series of nights for young bands, we saw
Alligator is a young five piece band from Leicester with quite an unusual sound. Distinctively different from the run of the mill newbie bands they performed with plenty of energy and attack.
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.”
Oliver showed real rock-star quality. Some acts are said to have “the X-factor” and he makes them look tame. For a group of 15 and 16 year olds this was particularly outstanding. If 8Miles High can continue doing sets like tonight’s, they will go a very long way up the ladder. Their set ticked all the boxes: kilowatts of energy, strong commitment, ability to deliver famous covers with real conviction, original songs that have got it, lots of sparkle … they delivered a beltin’ set that you seldom see from new bands.
Other acts on stage tonight included Parasight (seen before) and The Bench That Rocked.
Forthcoming Shed gigs for young bands: 16th October with Casino Empire, 20th November with Luzon Bleeding Heart and 23rd December all-dayer from 3 pm to 10 pm
Thursday 19th September, The Shed
By Olly Stabler
First to take to the stage was Sirens in the Delta. The band were fronted by a female vocalist, Katie, who, I felt, had a pleasing tone as well as a particularly impressive range. Their songs were melodic and catchy with a stand out hook being Come on Baby that was heard in the opener of their set. The band themselves were very well polished with both guitarists delivering technical guitar solos with a major stand out riff being found in their song Tale of Two Cities. Overall, I thought, this band played well together as a unit and delivered a good contemporary rock sound. My only criticism is that the bass player spent the entire show with his back to the audience. Fortunately the rest of the band were filled with energy and succeeded in moving around the stage and thus being an entertaining watch.
Lakeshore Avenue, a four-piece band from from Northampton, reminded me a lot of You Me At Six’s new material. They delivered a strong set with the final song being a particular highlight. The whole band had lots of energy and special mention must go to their drummer who was particularly talented and really was putting his all into this gig. Their front-man sang well and featured very effective backing vocals from their guitarist and drummer. My only criticism is that after a while the songs became slightly repetitive, but otherwise a very strong set.
City of Ashes really stepped up to the mark and performed fantastically. They were filled with lots of energy and had a very polished sound, with high praise going to their guitarist for achieving a big sound despite the fact that he had no rhythm guitarist to help him out. Their lead singer had a really good vocal range and didn’t struggle to hit any high notes at all, which is particularly impressive considering it was the end of a two week tour for the band. Overall, tuneful songs, good stage presence from all members and a well constructed set. A particular highlight was that they took it down for a more relaxed song mid set which helped keep things interesting and different. City of Ashes have their debut album out on November 11th and we were lucky enough to be presented with a copy by the band, so keep out an eye for a review on it a week before the release.
All the way from Vienna, Austria, Lost in Desire had a really heavy rock sound but also blended in elements of synths into their music. The band was extremely well rehearsed, had bags of energy and their front-man, Stephan Sutor, interacted with the crowd very well. Stephan also had, at least I thought, the perfect vocal tone for their style of music. Overall I felt this band was very original but would have loved to have heard some more synth elements, maybe even a vocoder. Definitely a band to look out for though. Lost in Desire have their debut album out on October 25th and we were lucky enough to be presented with a copy by the band, so keep out an eye for a review on it a week before the release.
Now we move onto the final two acts of the night, who were both from Leicester. Grunge/punk/rock band Flying Kangaroo Alliance has just released a debut single Hit The Wall – listen to it on YouTube. FKA played very well indeed. Every song that the band played was melodic, catchy and very original. These guys and gals definitely have their own distinct style and sound like no other band that I have heard. Particular praise must go to their front-woman, Meri Everitt, who has just the right voice for this kind of music and to their drummer who punched out drum beats that fitted the songs perfectly and didn’t go over the top in terms of technicalities/playing crazy fills. The band even played a slower/softer song and managed to keep it within their well crafted style of music which was particularly impressive. Overall, the band had an excellent sound, great stage presence and were very well rehearsed. My only criticism is that a band this good should definitely warrant more of a serious name. They could even just change it to FKA. That’s just my opinion though.
Finally, Madam Fade closed off the night. The three piece showed great talent so it’s just a shame it was their last ever gig! The band had a real alternative rock/gunge/thrash style with many of their songs being progressive in nature by changing tempo mid song. Special praise must be given to front-man Rob Cronin’s bass playing which was exceptional, easily the best bass player there that evening. Rob also managed to deliver some good vocals and at points showed that he has a fairly powerful voice. Criticisms would have to be in the lack of stage presence of their guitarist and certain parts of songs felt under rehearsed, but as it was their last gig I don’t think the band were too fused about little mistakes-they were clearly there to have fun and enjoy the last time they play together (Rob is moving to New Zealand.) Overall, a talented band with great songs, if they had carried on as a band for longer they would undoubtedly have gained a large following.
Friday 20th September
Satellite Empire’s anniversary show at The Music Cafe with Strike Up The Colours, Eden Avenue and Black Mesa. Our review is on its way. Just waiting for the photos to come in.
On the lineup:
Strike Up The Colours, Eden Avenue, Black Mesa, Satellite Empire.
Friday 20th September
Also at the Music Cafe, a night of local urban music with rappers and other artists. A good set from Leicester rapper Synopsis.
Saturday 21st September
The Firebug for the album launch night of Leicester’s The Furies, supported by Slow Motion, The Monday Club, Layers and headlined by The Furies.
Saturday 21st September
Keith Jobey reports from The Cookie Jar
So what is this Club Milk thing all about? At first it appeared to be promoting milk as a super food and perhaps local rockers Little Night Terrors had won some sponsorship. Wrong.
Superfood is indeed a band, the headline band for tonight’s gig.
Club Milk is not a sponsor, it’s the name for the new club night venture between the Crumblin’ Cookie and Little Night Terrors, whereby, we’re told, they will bring us the latest, hottest up and coming bands to our humble town.
Nice idea, and it’s set to occur monthly, but sadly, not with Little Night Terrors on the bill each time. Oh, and if you wish, you can have your drink served in a milk bottle.
First thing to note, it’s a ‘club night’ and kicks off later than your average gig. Doors at 9 pm, headline act towards midnight. I approached the venue. thinking that it could go a couple of ways. People either don’t bother coming because it means lack of public transport home, or see it is an alternative to going to a club.
YoungHusband opened the show. Recent NME Radar stars and a couple of songs in, you can see why and there’s a bit of dancing in the crowd and plenty foot-tapping and head-nodding. Their sound edges towards a shoe gaze style, with low vocals and plenty of guitar. Reminded me a little of Ride. This date forms part of a nationwide tour and it is nice to hear that Leicester has provided the largest crowd they’ve played to on the tour. They hail from Watford and tell us that they like Leicester, it reminds then of Watford and Brighton!
Taking to the stage next, local lads and very decent chaps, Little Night Terrors. Over the last three years, Little Night Terrors has transformed. Transformed in many ways – line up, look, musically. Each transformation seems to raise their game. Here is a band that look the part. They’re not just playing at it, they live it. A focused band.
The crowd is buzzing and by now the room is filling up and the temperature is hot enough to curdle milk. They open with a relatively new song Amelia, already becoming familiar to regular ‘Terrors watchers. As the set progresses, there is a fair bit of movement, clapping and singing along, fist pumping and briefly a bit of crowd surfing. It doesn’t quite match the antics of the last time they played this venue but that night will take some beating.
All songs are well executed, latest single Pure highlighting the levels to which they have now risen. Anthemic crowd favorite Young Lion is saved for towards the end, and the set is closed with All My Friends. Dedicated to the crowd and I for one have a general feeling that all here are friends.
If you haven’t heard Little Night Terrors, go listen to them now. Then catch them live for the are a great live band. You do wonder, with an albums worth of great, catchy tunes sitting waiting, why no deal is on the table for our boys. When is that debut album going to appear?
The crowd thins out a little for Superfood. Perhaps last buses, perhaps Little Night Terrors fans moving on. But a decent enough gathering witnessed an excellent set from a band on the rise. Hailing from Birmingham and tagged with the B-town gang of Peace, Swim Deep and Jaws, they have a Brit pop feel to their sound. Bright guitar riffs and catchy melodies. Although one melody did sound a bit too much like Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise so no wonder it was catchy.
I take my leave after Superfood, draining the last of my beer from the milk bottle in which it was served. Leaving the more hardy souls to listen to the sounds to be served up by the Wide Eyed DJ set. The night proving to be a success for all concerned with three excellent bands and near sell out crowd.
Monday 23rd September
We went to see Jaws, Clubs and Hallowed People at The Soundhouse. If you see an empty block below, this is because there is a fault on the code we used to make the slideshow. If this shows, the fault has been fixed!
Photos © Martin Crosbie
Birmingham band Jaws headlined this Soundhouse night with support from two Leicester groups.
Leicester’s Hallowed People, an indie/alteranative quartet, launched their set with a song Ocean Blue that started with a slow intro that soon broke into a lively beat. Good melodic lines and bouncy rhythms soon followed. Musically Hallowed People is pretty good, having a strong sense of beat and putting out some zippy guitar lines. Although their stage craft is a bit limp (they all look rather solemn on stage), their bass player stands out because he puts some movement into his work but they are not a band that reflects their music too well visually.
I saw Leicester band Clubs recently (at The Cookie Jar) and was impressed, so tonight was another opportunity to be equally impressed. Playing songs that were slick and atmospheric, laced with plenty of complex instrumentation, they were ‘Radiohead-ish’ and lead vocalist Chris Pandit has a particularly good voice, which bumps up the musicality of the band no end. He sang with passion, having the ability out bring out the feeling of the song and his voice has a character all of its own.
The songs were excellent, if there is one weakness it was lack of a strong vocal layer as I didn’t see that much in the way of backing vocals. Their music has a contemporary sound, bolstered by impressive dynamics and I rate Clubs very highly in the world of Leicester’s music.
From Birmingham, pop/rock band Jaws is: Connor Schofield (vocals), Alex Hudson (guitar), Jake Cooper (bass) and Eddie Geach (drums.) It was clear they are popular in Leicester as a lot of people had turned up to see them. Armed with a strong lead vocalist, Jaws delivered songs imbued with colour and edge and the band’s second song featured an electro intro and some attractive twangy guitar riffs that move along at a graceful canter. Following this up with a livelier, bouncing tunes it wasn’t log long before the crowd began jumping to the infectious rhythms.
It’s easy to see why Huw Stephens likes them and they are getting mentioned in The Guardian (‘sound like Foals or Battles, but without all the shouting’) even if some think them a tad ‘shoegaze’ they showed tonight that they can set the room on fire.
Tuesday 24th September
Carlos Stein was at the Soundhouse tonight playing some new songs. Carlos’s new song about Facebook went down well, under the title Fifty Shades of Blue. Another entertaining addition to the Lord of the Loop’s repertoir. A performance of Big Fat Bankers also went down well with the audience, many of whom knew it well enough to join in.
Later there was a spectacular performed from Rajiv Mohanlal whose guitar playing in one of his songs had the audience cheering and clapping during the song. Later Raj performed with his band The Smokestacks at the Font (see below.)
Rhett Barrow’s Open Mic night celebrates its third anniversary on Tuesday 1st October with a special show at the Soundhouse. Join this event on Facebook.
Thursday 26th September
City Link-up Unsigned’s September show at The Music Cafe, read our review
Friday 27th September
A superb night of live music at The Font with One Suspicious Monkey, Smokin’ The Profit and The Smokestacks.
What an amazing night of live music! Even though The Font is not a venue that one goes to on a regular basis, it has been putting on show really good shows.
One Suspicious Monkey is a highly unusual act and their lead singer Georgio Maroder is one of the best front men in the local business. OSM’s set of flamenco power folk songs is always a joy to listen to. A great start to a great evenings.
I have long been an ardent fan of ska-punk band Smokin’ The Profit, so seeing them tonight, after what seems a long hiatus, was a joy and a pleasure. Tonight’s line-up was good by any standards and everyone who was there that night was treated to three bands of outstanding quality. Now with added Clutterham on harmonica, STP delivered a wonderful set of rhythms that richly blended ska, punk and rock, layers with the fine vocals of Tommy Bee, Hilary Fox and Andrew Morgan. A group of highly talented musicians who know how to write seriously good songs. STP is a great team band; they work together as group and watching them performing together is always insightful and fascinating.
A brief retrospective:
Follow Smoking The Profit on Facebook.
The night was headlined by one of Leicester’s legendary blues rock bands The Smokestacks. Comprising three superb musicians – Raj Mohanlal on Guitar and Vocals, Joel Hanson on Bass and Vocals and Dan Drage on Drums and Percussion – this band is outstanding within its genre, for its sheer virtuoso playing. Back together again after a long absence, this great trio delivered a jaw-droppingly good set and one that bears comparison to any of the finest musical performances delivered anywhere, any time in Leicester. Tonight the three members of The Smokestacks were clearly enjoying themselves. You only ever see performances like this in old films. The three musicians could be seen feeding on each other’s vibes. The whole night was good but the final set of the evening had a magic, a real sense of being a special occasion, a unique experience that you get only once in a blue moon.
Saturday 28th September
Bands at the Firebug
Tonight I saw Floral, Mondigreen and Soundtrack at the Firebug
Photo: © Martin Crosbie
Floral opened the show. On Facebook they are described as Psychedelic/Shoegaze Sound from Leicestershire. Much of the band’s impact stems from the remarkable vocals of Ellis Turner. Follow the link below to read more.
Photo: © Martin Crosbie
I like Mondigreen; they made a big impression on me when they performed at the OBS (Arts in Leicester, 2013) and reviewing their set at the semi-finals I wrote
‘Their lead singer George Mander worked the crowd, engaging them in the action and when singing, displays that special magic of the nascent rock star … In a set that delivered lashings of fire and energy, laced with some ear-licking guitar solos, we saw a band with real character. Mondigreen’s songs were powered-indie, fizzing, stomping and and charged with a frenetic level of commitment …This is a band that performs its music; they put on a show with a goodly level of audience engagement, talking to their fans between songs, looking right on stage, three individual personalities that blended well together, interacting with each other during the songs, and playing with the kind of conviction you would expect from a much more experienced band.’
Five months later and they still have that special quality that marks them out.
Soundtrack delivered a spectacular performance, especially from lead singer Mark Ryman-Tubb. More about this band in our October gigs diary.
Read a related post about tonight: Twisted Wheel in Leicester
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