Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th September 2014 ∏
Young Bands Showcases at The Shed.
The Shed hosted two of its showcase gigs for young bands and artists. The two shows were held on consecutive nights. No other Leicester venue has done more, over the years, to support young bands and artists and to give them special nights devoted to this age group. Many of the city’s established bands have started their careers at The Shed. Large numbers of musicians and singers have had their first public performances at this venue.
Wednesday 24th September
Tonight: Becky Field, Sophie Percival, Lydia Mason, Horizon, Cool times.
Becky and Cameron opened tonight’s showcase. Cameron, with his guitar, provided the instrumental accompaniment to Becky’s vocals. Her voice was clear and her words well articulated. She sang a nicely chosen set of cover songs. You could tell from the applause she received that the audience was very satisfied by her performance.
Sophie Percival sang and accompanied herself on the guitar. Sophie has appeared several time before at The Shed; in June, she sang with the band Three Thirds Below and in February she was on the main stage at a gig and we noted in that review that she had played at the Oxjam Festival in 2013. Tonight Sophie’s strong voice filled the room with her set of atmospheric songs, delivered with clear articulation that brought the lyrics to life. Standing up to perform, she showed that she is an artist of promise and ability. We should not under estimate the challenge of performing to a room that, from the stage, appears to be empty. With strong lights blazing into the eyes it is not always possible to see the audience, many of whom are sitting in dark corners. The ability to sing to an audience you cannot see sometimes challenges even mature artists. Towards the middle of her set, Sophie removed the mic. from its stand and sang with it in her hand. Much better.
Many of the young artists present at tonight’s show knew each other and events such as these provide an enjoyable social occasion.
Lydia Mason is another artist who has performed at The Shed before. Lydia sang to pre-recorded backing tracks. She likes to sing the blues but tonight her set list was varied. Lydia appeared at the showcase event on 29th June; we wrote:
Lydia Mason is a young artist with a lot of talent and voice that can easily fill a room. Her performance had vitality and she performed well on stage. She holds the mic, taking it off the stand to use it. Lydia’s set of songs was enjoyable. Music in Leicester.
Lydia also performed at the young bands night at The Shed on 17th April; we said:
Another night for younger acts was opened by 14 year old Lydia Mason, the singer from Coalville whose voice is simply stunning. Lydia’s set of well known cover songs were delivered with ease and plenty of passion, a vibrant and enjoyable set that went down a treat with the audience. It is not difficult to see her developing into a singer of distinction if she can ply her natural talent for singing. Music in Leicester.
Blessed with a powerful voice, Lydia easily filled the room tonight with her songs. Like many young artists, she has not yet developed a stage presence and tended to hold on to the mic. stand rather too much. That aside, Lydia had a voice that would be the envy of many an older artist. Her set drew enthusiastic acclaim from the audience.
Horizon’s three musicians provided an energetic set of songs, carefully chosen for their melodic appeal. On stage, they looked like they were enjoying their performance. Singing some of their own songs, they showed that they had more than one singer in the band and delivered their tunes with plenty of attack and zest. Alongside the covers they played, they also did their own songs including one that was newly written; it sounded a little tentative but it showed their ability to make music and it gave the drummer (Ethan Joyce) a chance to show off his skills with the sticks in an impressive solo. When Horizon played at The Shed in February we said:
In the basement, Horizon‘s two musicians created a buzz. Vibrant and up-beat songs proved to be a hit with people.
Ali Hillyard and Ethan Lang provided the vocals. A set delivered with commitment. One of the covers in tonight’s set was Fluorescent Adolescent by the Arctic Monkeys, a tune that we all recognised. They also performed Mr Brightside by The Killers, although they plodded through this, providing a less than inspiring rendition. Overall though, a good set.
Leicester band Cool Times was the final band of the evening. They played a song of the same name. This teenage band has two vocalists – Sam Brown and Ryan Chapman – and their set included their own songs and some covers. On the band’s Facebook page they describe their genre as ‘coolcore’ though to most people it sounded like ‘indie.’ They delivered a solidly good performance with plenty of verve and a set of well-chosen tunes that gave the audience an enjoyable finale to the evening. Using some pedal effects to highlight their sounds, their songs were ambitious and showed good dynamics. Cyrus Robert’s work with the sticks was impressive. They were able to capture mood and atmosphere and projected an air of quiet confidence. These four talented teenagers display potential and could go far. At times all three of the string players were singing, a good sign and something they should work on. You can see Cool Times on 17th October when they will be supporting Happyness at The Cookie Jar.
Thursday 25th September
with Alessia, House on Fire, Rise of the State, Alligatr.
Plenty of people were at The Shed tonight to see the next generation of rising music acts in the second of two Young Bands showcases.
The first act was Alessia and wow – what an act! Singing to backing tracks, Alessia’s set of big ballad numbers was plied with her fabulous voice that was astonishingly good for a teenager. You could wait for a long time to see someone as good as this on the X Factor. Her songs certainly went down well with tonight’s audience of mixed-aged music lovers, both young and old loving her sparkling performance. A sensational voice and the ability to bring songs alive. Impressive.
Alessia performed at the Glastonbudget auditions on 9th September.
House on Fire, from Leicester, was the band with the singing drummer. They certainly put the house on fire tonight with their lively set, getting the teenagers in the crowd to mosh furiously throughout the performance. Their rendition of House of the Rising Sun had plenty of resonance, pumped up to rocket-fuelled levels. Big, bouncy, crashy sounds from a band that loves to rock and tonight they threw out some fireworks with their infectious music. With plenty of stage presence and more than one singer (in fact all of them contribute to the vocals) they certainly looked like a band destined for popularity.
Rise of the State kept the momentum going. The four-piece band from Leicester write their own songs and fired off salvos of good tunes into the room. Led by their bass-playing vocalist, whose strong voice brought the music to life, they added some covers that worked well and had the audience clapping along to their songs. Fun, entertaining, they gave the room a good time.
Alligatr. Leicester indie/poprock band topped off a really good night with a vibrant set of songs. The five musicians on the stage tonight had plenty of character and held the crowd in the room. A band that is no stranger to the stages of The Shed, they took the time to introduce each other to the audience. It was good to see that most of the audience stuck around to support all the bands tonight. Singer Jonathan Doughty received backing vocals from other members of the band (always a brownie point in my book) and he delivered an impressive set with the help of the other musicians.
Altogether an excellent night of music from the young bands and artists of Leicester.
Previous reviews of young bands nights
Young bands in June
Young bands night 29th June