Friday 16th January 2015
Roboter CD Release Show
It’s Friday; it must be The Shed. When I arrived I was completely sober. You can see that from my neatly penned notes. By the end of the night the pages had descended into a spidery scrawl.
Anyway, on tonight’s line-up were: Wolfe Sunday, The Blueshine Brothers, The Vigilantes, The Ruby Doos and the headline act Roboter.
One guy got up on the stage and all I heard him say (by way of introduction) was that he from Essex. He was Laurence Crow, performing as Wolfe Sunday. Several people looked round to see if the doors to the room were open and I must confess, I was one of them. But I thought – no I am here to do a job. After the first few minutes of the first song, I for one had decided that this was going to be awful.
By the time his set was finished, I was applauding enthusiastically. Wolfe Sunday was one of the most unusual music acts I have seen in a long time. It was rather like Carlos Stein meets Joe Doyle in bed with Preacher and the Bear. The word Marmite came into my mind, for some reason. Here was a guy that started badly but then turned his act around, like no one else. He hopped off the stage, with his mic stand, and asked the audience to gather round. Waiving them in towards him, he began to raise the bar for his act. Standing in the middle of a circle of fans, he showed us that he is in fact one of funniest and most energetically flamboyant singers seen in this hallowed hall for many a long year. People warmed to his ferocious energy, his manic delivery and his overwhelming charm. His intensely sharp wit made up for his unremarkable musical content but he won people over, in a way that more conservative singers frequently fail to do. Now that’s not something that happens every day.
The fun continued when The Blueshine Brothers arrived on stage. Led by the remarkable vocals of Stu Crown, the bluegrass trio gave a supercharged performance. The joviality was maintained between the songs with Stu’s banter and the comments from his friends on the stage. They regaled us with their take on ‘Sex Bomb‘, their own version of the Tom Jones classic. Stu’s full-throttle singing drove the set forward, with vocal contributions from the other two members. That impresses me – a trio where all three of them sing. Whatever Stu Crown turns his hand to, you can be sure it will be a success. One of Leicester’s more enjoyable bands is one where talent is not in short supply. I will have more to say about them soon, I am sure.
The Vigilantes had come over from Boston, in Lincolnshire; only recently we had enjoyed another Boston band – The Ultra Violet. Boston! Well, well. The quartet of young musicians, with their two vocalists, delivered a set of garage rock songs with liveliness and energy. Their music had plenty of bite and their songs were armed with vivacious rhythms. Not a band that stood out for its originality, they nevertheless gave us an enjoyable half hour of their music.
Things changed when the Ruby Doos came on. I remember they played at the obsUnplugged in January 2013; our reporter was there to see them and he said:
The Ruby Doos finished the night with some “very old songs”, as they put it, and “some new ones” as well. The band looked sharp, the women in their 50s halter-neck dresses and the gentleman in his suit and bolo tie. Their first song, Killing the Blues showed off the harmonies of Sarah Rawson and Annie Smith along with the superb guitar skills of Steve Burton. The trio was an incredibly confident force on stage and had a rapport with each other and the audience, as they exchanged light hearted banter and created a relaxed atmosphere … this was a counterpoint to the mood of one of their covers The One I Love is Gone which was full of emotion and heartbreak. It was an enjoyable set, and differed greatly from the rest of the acts. [Arts in Leicester Magazine]
There is that word ‘different’ again! Tonight’s selection of musical confections had some offerings that were different; not just by comparison to what you would get on a standard line-up but also in the way the running order changed from one act to another. But then as I always say “nights at The Shed are full of surprises.” When I came out tonight I thought I was not going to be ‘working’ but just enjoying some live music and a few beers. The two singers from the Ruby Doos – Annie Smith and Sarah Rawson – started the set with some unaccompanied vocals, blending together their beautifully harmonised vocals. Their acoustic set – no drummer – captured the atmosphere of folk. As the band says on their Facebook page ‘We play contemporary and classic songs with a retro twist, ranging from early bluegrass through 50s harmony swing, heartbreak ballads and Brill Building hits to present day songwriter gems.’ That sums it up – apart from the ‘Brill Building’ bit. What do they mean by that?
The headline act brought the show to a resounding conclusion. On stage were Flav Giorgini and David James Wright; at the back drummer Nik Coley. Collectively they form Roboter.
Tonight was a celebration of Roboter’s debut CD, released by Round Dog Records. Together they delivered a set full of energy and vibrancy, with gloriously engaging songs. It was a moment of musical excellence from these three auspicious musicians. The audience really loved them and their response was warm and enthusiastic.
Roboter were joined for a song by Stu Crown. I remembered Nik Coley from when he was in the pop/punk band Despondent and David Wright is or was in More Amour. Flav was from Seattle, now living in Leicester, (his biography on Facebook reads like a roll-call of American pop-punk idols.) One of his previous collaborators – The Queers – played at the Soundhouse in March 2012 and Flav was one of the band’s support artists. Writing about that night I said
When a legendary punk band from Atlanta, USofA, turns up to play at one of our small venues, on the final night of their UK run, this is an unmissable event. Formed in 1981, The Queers have played a part in the development of American punk music and have gathered a considerable reputation. This band has been playing all over the world for nearly 30 years. Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1981, they derived their name from their dislike of the ‘art fag community that acted all high and mighty strutting around town like they were better than everyone else there’.
They held the Ramones and Black Flag in high esteem and based their infectious brand of pop punk and surf on them. The night was opened by Flav Giorgini, Originally from Indiana and now living in Leicester. His brand of robust, vibrant acoustic songs celebrated some of the bands who have played with The Queers and the songs of the American punk scene. [Arts in Leicester Magazine, 30th March 2012]
Another good night at The Shed – a venue with a history of bringing exceptional music to the fans of Leicester and a great many people around this town have memories of it. As I always say “The Shed is full of surprises.”