Music for the month of September 2017

Our monthly round-up of Leicester and Leicestershire’s music offerings.

See also: Music for the month of August.

Too see other monthly reports for 2017, go to the Contents page on the main menu ↑.

16th September

Ming City Rockers at The Soundhouse

with Russian Girlfriends, Try Subversion, Produkty and Gestalt.

I missed the first band. Not on the advertised bill. A late addition. A group from Albuquerque. ‘With roots in the Bay Area metal and Albuquerque punk scenes, Russian Girlfriends strikes a careful balance between raw youthful energy, infectious melodies, and thoughtful, story-driven lyricism’ suggests to me that they were very good. Story: the band had its tour bus broken into in Grimsby. The band was forced to cancel its European tour. They lost some important items of kit and some of their passports were stolen.

When I arrived, Try Subversion was on the stage. Leicester band; music that is punk and/or alternative. Fairly old skool to my ears. Fast and angry songs; you would have thought that the audience would have been moving around at this; not at all. Static listening was the order of the night. A largely ‘older’ collection of people. A lot of noise marked the end of the last song in the set. Back in May of this year, a somewhat similar gig took place at the Soundhouse with this band, Gestalt and Southside Rebellion.

Try Subversion at the Soundhouse. 20th May 2017. Photo: KC Photography.

Produkty is a Leicester band that has been around for a long time. Their Facebook page says they were founded in June 2009. Signed to Leopardskin Records. Naïve Art Rock is what they say is the band’s genre. Big vocals from lead singer Andy. Some of the riffs I heard would not seem out of place in a metal context. Songs that break into stomping beats. Punchy songs with plenty or purchase. Produkty has a good helping of recordings on Soundcloud. Some of their songs saluted what they called their ‘pop tradition’ without portraying their roots in punk and grunge. Their set was varied in tempo and it provided a strong sense of rhythm throughout.

Produkty. Simon Says… 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

We have seen Gestalt before. June 2017. At The Soundhouse. And, of course, in May at the gig they did with Try Subversion and Southside Rebellion. ‘a completely original material band in the vein of ‘Cabaret Voltaire’ come electro art punk with a modernist approach to synths style and technology, but still maintaining the smooth bass lines and organic drums to keep the sound as live as it could ever be’, wrote Laurence Scrivener.

Gestalt at The Soundhouse. 24th June 2017. Photo by KC Photography.

Gestalt brought a different set of sounds to tonight’s stage. The keyboard and/or synth added an extra layer of colour to the tunes. Plenty of punch and presence; when they are performing you certainly know about it.

They came from Immingham and Mad Monkey Records. From the moment they started, things really took off. Bad boys. Sick. Lots of rude things said – lovely. Ming City Rockers gave rocket-fuelled performance, rocket rock the like of which is rarely seen. In fact it was ‘garage punk.’

Clancey Jones of Ming City Rockers, 16th September 2017.

Talk about wild. They shredded the place. Someone on that stage certainly knew how to play a guitar.

Ming City Rockers, Soundhouse, 16th September 2017.

Morley Adams probably. Probably the rudest band I have ever heard – marvellous. Loved it. Prior to them coming on stage there was a lot of hype about this band. Totally justified in my opinion. Bloody fantastic.

Ming City Rockers, 16th September 2017.

15th September


at The Donkey.

There are some gigs you just have to go to. When a legendary band from Leicester comes back after an absence of around 15 years or so, that is a must see event. I think so. So did a lot of other people because tonight the Donkey pub was packed to capacity. First, some background.

Crazyhead is a band from Leicester that rose to prominence following its formation in 1986. In the same year they scored a number two hit in the UK indie chart. The band appeared at the Glastonbury and Reading festivals and had another hit in the indie charts when one of their singles reached number four. The band’s second album was released by Revolver Records in 1989. They toured extensively in Europe and briefly in the United States. They supported Iggy Pop, The Cult, The Mission, and several other bands well known at the time.

The band released an album in 1999, the last in a line of such works. The band played its farewell gig in December 2000. Some might say that this was a relatively short-lived band; no one would deny that, in its day, it achieved a lot. Clearly, they have not been forgotten, if tonight’s turn-out is anything to go by. A quick look round the crowd packed into the room at the pub in Welford Road, tonight, suggests that many of their old fans had turned out to welcome them back.

There are other things that make this band stand out when it comes to annals of Leicester’s musical history. The band was joined occasionally by the likes of Gaz Birtles, John Barrow, (Saxophonists) and Tony Robinson (Trumpet.) Three members of the band joined a member of Gaye Bykers on Acid to form the current band Swamp Delta. In 1989 Crazyhead shared a release of an EP with Jesus Jones and Diesel Park West. One member of the band worked as a record producer in Leicester and his studio recorded artists such as Cornershop, Kevin Hewick and Diesel Park West. Swamp Delta played at the 2014 Bearded Theory festival in Derbyshire. What this tells us is that there are connections between some of the great Leicester bands of the past – connections that continue to this day.

Read more about Crazyhead on Wikipedia and Facebook.

Tonight marked the first gig in Crazyhead’s reunion tour. The ‘text books’ say that Crazyhead play garage punk and were influenced by the garage rock scene of the late 1960s. Names like The Ramones, The Stooges and Captain Beefheart come to mind. They were, we are told, ‘lumped in with the largely media-created grebo scene.’ Grebo. It’s a new one on me too. Perhaps a word used in the West Midlands to describe goths/skaters/alternatives. More likely a sub-division of alternative rock that was in vogue in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Music of this ilk drew on punk, electronica, dance, hip-hop and psychedelic music. Certainly, some of these styles could be made out behind what Crazyhead was doing tonight. It was a type of music that was centred in the Midlands, particularly in Birmingham. Grebo is associated with bands like Pop Will Eat Itself, The Wonder Stuff, Carter USM and also Crazyhead.

Tonight was a great retro experience; music coming back from the past. Something that happens now and again both nationally and in Leicester. Crazyheaders might call this as a rebirth moment. Our rock scene is full of roots and always has been; but in recent times there seems to have been a nostalgic hearkening back to music of yesteryear. A bit of a punk revival going on around here? During Crazyhead’s performance tonight you could feel the presence. Theirs was a big sound, full of energy, drive and motive. Massively punchy beats and resonating rhythms with a performance from lead vocalist Anderson that was iconic.

Earlier this year, the band played at Indie Daze. The event, hosted by Mute Elephant’s Grant Holby, continued its tradition of curating a line-up of old-skool independent music. Also on that bill were The House of Love, Voice of the Beehive, The Wonder Stuff and quite a few more.

Supporting tonight’s performance was Mystery Action.

For a much better review of tonight’s show read what is said by Adrian Bloxham on Fighting Boredom.

13th September

KGB at The Shed

Musical experiences in Leicester comes in many forms; in all shapes and sizes. Something different was available at The Shed tonight with the Swingaroo – a regular music event offering dancing and bands.

The KGB band at The Shed, 13th September 2017.

After the first session, in which people could learn dance moves, it was time to hear the KGB Jazz band. Led by Gemma Lakin, song and music of quality greeted our ears. Gemma was once a well-known name on the acoustic solo circuit.

A set of good dance tunes got people on to the floor. As for me – I just sat and listened. That was enough for me.

The KGB band at The Shed, 13th September 2017.

8th September

Jonezy at The Shed

with a strong line up of acts for the Glastonbudget auditions plus more bands in The Vaults.

The second night at the Shed this year for the auditions for next year’s Glastonbudget festival. Presenting their musical offerings tonight for the festival selectors were Jonezy, Vertigo Violet, Shine, Grande Quattro and The Zufflers. These gigs are streamed live on the Internet; so, if you cannot get there to see your favourite bands and artists, you can always watch the whole thing online.

As if this was not enough – downstairs there were yet more bands.

On the main stage, music artist Jonezy opened the show. Armed with a set of his own new songs, the singer and rapper from Leicester put on a really great performance – one of his best, in fact. If you do not know Jonezy, you can find out more about him on our page about him.

As everybody says, his act comes with lashings of infectious energy and a big dollop of stage presence. Jonezy has appeared at the festival before; on 23rd May 2015 he was on the Icon stage.

Jonezy at Glastonbudget 2015
Photo: Jesper Joergensen

Our report noted that: ‘What Jonezy does is unique: a blend of hip-hop, rap and hardcore sounds fuelled by a rocket-propelled stage act. This year, he was supported by singer Sophie Garner. We heard two new songs – the lead from his new album Stories and Stars alongside some of his established crowd-pleasers.’ The year before that he was on stage with the boy band star from Norway Alexandru who is still a member of the singing group Sweet Sixteen (now signed to a major record label.) Many Jonezy fans will remember his appearance earlier this year when he performed to a huge crowd in the centre of Leicester as part of the Leicester at the Cross event on Good Friday.

Back on stage in Leicester city centre performance to a very large crowd. Jonezy. 14th April 2017.

Still producing new songs, videos and tracks, this industrious artist is continuously coming up with new numbers – some of which he sang tonight.

In the Vaults singer and songwriter Toby Joe Leonard took to the stage with a selection of his own songs, delighting the audience with his poignant lyrics and captivating tunes. The singer, now based in Leicester, recently published an album of his work which we reviewed in this magazine. Despite his superb vocals and impressive guitar playing, Toby has never had either singing lessons or instrumental instruction; self-taught, he gave a very pleasing performance that was a great success.

Toby Joe Leonard at The Shed, 14th May 2017.

Upstairs, the band Vertigo Violet put on a dazzling set, lead by singer Charly who, she told me, is also an actress and used to be in Kerosene Queen. A sparkling and compelling performance by this band from Birmingham. Drawing on their love of Rancid, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Sabbath and Rage Against The Machine, among others. So with that pedigree you can imagine what their set was like: kick-ass lyrics and nerve-tingling melodies. Super.

Downstairs I went to see Chapter and Verse. I am glad I went to see this band; they were sensational and their lead singer’s performance was magic. Launched in April 2016, this alt-rock band from London is on tour and have been raking in the plaudits. Rock Sound said ‘A Turbo Blast of Raw Emotion’ and Punktastic thought they were ‘Stunning. ‘ Josh Carter gave an exhilarating, high-octane performance that had all the hall-marks of rock greatness. The small room downstairs was packed out for their set and I came away from it fizzing with admiration for what they had done. They so need to come back to Leicester and play for us again.

Upstairs we saw Grande Quattro a rock and pop covers band from the Northamptonshire area. A well-experienced band they gave us an excellent set of likeable tunes. All four of them contribute to the vocals; that is something worth noting.

Leicester band The Zufflers brought the evening upstairs to a fitting finale with their offering on indie pop anthems. We saw them at a previous auditions gigs, on 21st October 2016, when they also headlined the line-up. They gave a rocking performing that had the audience jumping for joy.

The Zufflers at The Shed 21st October 2016 for the Glastonbudget auditions.

Friday nights at the Shed are well-attended events that guarantee a varied evening of live music; a good night out, I say.

2nd September

Traps at The Cookie

with Dandelion Rose

Leicester band Traps headlined a show at the Cookie in the High Street tonight. One of the most tuneful of our local bands, we have been traps a few times before and have always been impressed by what they do.

Traps at The Cookie on 2nd September 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

They certainly know how to write good songs. On stage the band’s hallmark lighting installation – a set of four square columns that changed colour and flashed in time with the music. The music of Traps is compelling, melodic and very entertaining. You can tell that I like them a lot. Since they started, they have made a place for themselves in Leicester’s music scene with their gloriously ear-pleasing set of modern songs. As I said before ‘Stylistically modern, laced with electronica from keyboards and synths, performed with plenty of passion, scintillating rhythms and sumptuous melodies. Top notch.’

Traps at The Cookie on 2nd September 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Tonight’s gig was a sell-out event. A capacity audience turned out for them and it was a terrifically good evening out. Traps played at the Glastonbudget festival this year; in fact, the band won an award from Glastonbudget Band Of The Year.

Traps at The Cookie on 2nd September 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Supporting Traps was Dandelion Rose, a three-piece band. They gave us an energetic set with some vibrant stage stage craft.

Dandelion Rose at The Cookie on 2nd September 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

The vocals were a bit shouty but I think the audience enjoyed what they did. Not my cup of tea personally, to be honest, but they were good. Kevin said he liked them; so they might have been a bit of an acquired taste. That’s just my view; others were much more positive.

Dandelion Rose at The Cookie on 2nd September 2017. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.

Watch this video (by Kevin gaughan) of Traps performing Call to arms at the cookie on 2nd September

1st September

Finches of Attica

at The Shed with The Albion, Of Kings and Captains, The Moho Filters, and No More Heroes.

Glastonbudget started its annual round of auditions for its next festival tonight. A big line-up of well known bands took to the stage tonight in a bid to get a place in the 2018 festival. That was on the main stage.  Downstairs, in the Vaults, we also saw Red Tape Riot, a band from South Africa. This act from Cape Town was pretty good. Their music was groovy, packed with plenty of punch. The four-piece group did a very congenial set. Good to see another band from overseas coming to Leicester to play.

Back upstairs it was time to see Finches of Attica. On stage I could see Bryce Newbold and the band’s new bassist. They really rocked the house. Superb performance from the vocalist.  Sounds reminiscent of the Stone Roses, perhaps. Their version of The House of the Rising Sun went down a treat. Their set included many of the band’s established songs and the crowd loved it. They attracted a large gathering of their supporters tonight. Altogether an excellent performance.

Tom Howarth of Finches of Attica at The Shed 7th July 2017

another good performance came from Leicester’s No More Heroes. Punch, pounding, songs made of the stuff that rock is all about. These are four musicians that have a lot going for them. They have an EP. A plentiful supply of energy and commitment. All in all this was a good night out. I really enjoyed myself.

No More Heroes at Western Park festival 2016.
Photo: Kevin Gaughan.

More soon

See also:

Our report on the Cosmpolitan festival.

We report from the Simon Says… festival 2017.