The Furies at The Musician

Alex Beattie of The Furies, at The Musician.

Friday 20th June 2014

The Furies at the Musician.

On stage tonight at The Musician: Casino Empire, Super 73 and The Furies.

In the glow of a warm summer evening, music fans made their way to The Musician, anticipating an evening of good music, an expectation for which they were certainly not disappointed. On stage tonight three highly regarded bands held the promise of a night of enjoyable and memorable music. Everyone was talking about tomorrow’s Kasabian gig on Victoria Park, for which tonight would be a suitable warm-up. Only three bands on the line-up tonight; I commented to a friend how nice this was. I find line-ups of six or even or even eight bands wearisome. After a marathon spring season with so many competitions to attend, it was nice to go to a gig that was just a gig.

Casino Empire opened the show; they are a young band that is rising to prominent status on our local music scene. Winners of I Wanna Be a Rockstar, and semi-finalists in the OBS and Play@LMF their musical talents have come to the notice of a very large slice of the local rock fraternity. You can see them at the Leicester Music Festival in July and they were on stage at the recent Glastonbudget Festival.

Casino Empire at The Musician, June 2014.
Casino Empire at The Musician, June 2014.

Lead singer Tommy Cobley puts on an x-factor quality show. His stage presence is amazing. Casino Empire is a team band that performs with endless energy and enthusiasm. They all work together to produce a seamless quality of sound and they are a band that has a recognisable style; you can feel the energy as it flows off the stage. The music and the way they make it is infectious and compelling. Singer Cobley absolutely lives the music as the songs pour off the stage with relentless drive. He never runs out of fuel, he burns with the same fire throughout the set. You can see the focused concentration on the faces of the three string players, the drummer keep time faultlessly on the skins. Jack plays like he is totally into what he is doing and the two guitarists looked a cool as cucumbers throughout the set. The guitar solos were blistering. There were backing vocals from the guitarist and bassist. The band’s music is exhilarating, delivered at the speed of a jet fighter and dripping with adrenaline.

Casino Empire at The Musician.
Casino Empire at The Musician.

Casino Empire is recording an EP in Wales which they hope to have out in September. Their slow number came almost as a relief from the fierce kinetics of the rest of the set. Casino Empire is a band with considerable technical abilities. Playing tonight – for the first time at The Musician – they showed just how well organised they are; when a string broke, the guitarist just picked up a fresh instrument. The songs have an electronica layer but it is not over-obvious; it’s just there to add depth to the sound; their sound is not simple, it is complex but easily digestible. The music that they write is as ambitious as the band itself. After their slow number, they played an instrumental track that was big on atmosphere and astonishingly moody. In LE9 tapestries of craftily woven sounds glittered with riffs that were artfully threaded through the music. As one music industry person said to me after the set “It was like Pink Floyd meets Radiohead. “Casino Empire is not a disposable ‘boy band’ – they are a group of talented musicians with a rock star front man; they are so good in so many ways. I will finish with a quote from my review of their set at the Play@ final:

I can see them being really big in years to come. The next Kasabian? It’s possible. Those who saw Saracuse at The Shed can correct me if I am wrong. [Music in Leicester]

I don’t usually do band trivia but tonight Cobley was wearing one of Tom Meighan’s old t-shirts.

Casino Empire’s set tonight was Bray Road, Can’t me mine, Ain’t coming back, Untitled, Shine On, Night Trip, LE9 and Iguana.

Super73 is a band that I have seen before.

Super73  an Alternative-Rock band from central England; emerging from the ashes of previous bands – Themselves, Ictus and Citizen Smith – a fine set of songs, interestingly packaged, 8BP Records, 2013. Debut EP.

Was mentioned in our record reviews.

Mark Whinkless, lead singer of Super73, at The Musician.
Mark Whinkless, lead singer of Super73, at The Musician.

I saw Super73 last year when they supported Santa Fe at The Soundhouse. Our reviewer wrote

Super73 headlined.  They were at the same venue a year ago when our reporter Kevin Gaughan saw them; he wrote ‘The band comprises of ex-members from some of Leicester’s long establish and well respected rock bands, namely, Themselves, Ictus and Citizen Smith. As far as I was concerned, there was no room for error, complacency, or putting in a wooden stage performance‘ following that up with ‘even before they started, they surpassed my expectations by playing a pre-recorded intro, during which the background chatter was replaced by silent anticipation. Launching into the first song of their high-octane, hard-rocking set, I wasn’t disappointed – musicians who have become masters of their craft, culminating in a show that seemed greater than the sum of it’s parts.’ Well said Kevin because tonight’s set was a cracker: full of rivetingly good tunes, lashings of charisma,  driving rhythms and a relentlessly good set of high-octane songs. That’s what makes an ace band – the music, the energy, the commitment, the passion to give it all they have got and they for sure achieved that tonight. [Music in Leicester]

Tonight Super73 was no less thrilling. They brought a different style of sound to the stage. Big ballsy, thrashing songs, ferocious delivery and laden with cunning musical ideas, strengthened by vocals from the two guitarists. Strong on attack, explosive passages, full of power and incandescence laden with inventive riffs. On yes and a singing drummer. Sharp, angular phrases pumping out atmosphere to highlight angry, passionate songs that were fired into the room like ordnances. Pyrotechnics would normally associate with metal bands but with an idiom all of their own, Super73 had songs that had traces of blues, undercurrents of punk and inventive lyrics all delivered with astonishingly good dynamics. All the songs they played were their own. If you want to hear more, get their 2013 CD Remember. Bulletproof. Well worth it.

Mark Whinkless of Super73, at The Musician./
Mark Whinkless of Super73, at The Musician./

The Furies is a band that I really like. I have followed them since they started. Tonight saw them put on another brilliant performance, from a band that ticks all the boxes. Tonight was billed as their ‘farewell’ gig. Yea right.

Joe Connor of The Furies, at The Musician.
Joe Connor of The Furies, at The Musician.

Guitarist Joe Connor is leaving is leaving the band to pursue a new like down there in the big smoke. The Furies have been together for a long time. Back in July 2009, they played at Sumo. I was there and I wrote:

The trio pumped out a set of exhilarating songs full of gusto and firm vocals, featuring solidly good drumming, vibrant bassing and sharp guitar work. Catchy, energetic, angry and good stage presence. A strong response from the audience. [Arts in Leicester magazine, 2009]

Neal Hill of The Furies, at The Musician.
Neal Hill of The Furies, at The Musician.

Later, in August of the same year, I saw them at The Landsdowne and said:

I had heard good reports about them from top bands in Leicester and I certainly was not disappointed. They launched into their opening song with a large slab of raz, laced with some lovely twangy riffs and driven along by infectious beats. The songs had a crisp, contemporary sound and they played with passion and style. Lead singer Alex Beattie was backed by vocals from ace drummer Neal Hill (brother of Skam’s lead singer) and riveting basing from Alex’s brother Dan. This band of brothers lived up to their reputation as a group with an exhilarating set of songs and enthralling presence. Piling out volumes of sound, laced with delicious chords and pulsating beats, it was sharp, tight, occasionally darkly coloured and massively engaging. A remarkably good band full of dynamism and energy, their razor sharp delivery, sizzled with modern idioms and sparkling guitar solos, anchored down by the virtuoso drumming of Neal Hill. A splendid performance by a band with a oodles of potential. [Arts in Leicester magazine, 2009]

So, this is not a band that is going to pack up just because one member leaves. They have, over the years, proved themselves to be a group that produces music of high quality; one of the elite bands of Leicester.

Alex Beattie of The Furies, at The Musician.
Alex Beattie of The Furies, at The Musician.

The Furies write really good songs; tunes that stick in your mind and get you singing on the way home from the gig. Tonight they also threw in a cover America’s Horse with no name. Very enjoyable. These are four top-notch musicians – a phenomenal front-man in the shape of Alex Beattie, a world-class drummer, Neal Hill, on the skins and, for tonight at least, a very fine guitar player Joe Connor with solidly good bassing from Matt Wright. They put on a performance that fits the band with the music. Perfectly. They rock out, making exhilarating songs that are played with skill and inexhaustible passion.

Matt Wright of The Furies, at The Musician.
Matt Wright of The Furies, at The Musician.

The Furies is a band that combines a superb vocal layer with matchless drumming , stunning guitar work and which takes the art of rock to levels that most bands can only aspire to. In a busy life of going to gigs and writing about bands, you get used to seeing what is ok; you can accommodate the mainstream; but there comes a time when you have to acknowledge that a band stands out and be really passionate about their achievements.
The Furies’ album Death Valley was launched at the Firebug.

The Furies Death Valley Album launch
The Furies Death Valley Album launch

Tonight’s three bands all had their own qualities and each one gave the audience its individual take on rock music. I would not want to single out one of them and say they were the best; all three were amongst the best that our local music scene has to offer, and it offers a great deal. It is because our city is a gold mine of musical talent that fans have such a wealth of bands to choose from. As for The Furies – I doubt that tonight’s gig will be their last. If was their last gig then they certainly went out on a high. The Furies ended their set with one of their most memorable songs and one that is a high-water mark of rock songs from Leicester – On Your Own.  You can still hear it on Myspace!

Matt Wright of The Furies, at The Musician.
Matt Wright of The Furies, at The Musician.

The Furies will be on stage at The Leicester Music Festival in July (one hopes, guitarists permitting. They used to play as a three-piece.)

Follow the bands on Facebook: Casino Empire || Super73 || The Furies.

See also:

Kasabian in Leicester

Young bands play at The Shed.

Charity night at The Shed.

Smokin’ The Profit album launch.

Play at LMF final.

About The Editor 535 Articles
The Editor of Music in Leicester magazine is Kevin Gaughan assisted by Trevor Locke