Review of the year 2015
Our pick of Leicester’s best gigs and the bands and singers who defined the music scene during 2015
The first night of the obsUnplugged series took place at The Musician with a strong line-up of singers that included Lucy Davies-Kumadiro and Scribble Victory, a duo from Derby who returned to play in Leicester several times throughout the year.
London singer Tom Bem headlined a gig at The Shed with Remy Turi, The Blueshine Brothers and from Nottingham hi-hop artists Ashmore and Motormouth. Tom Bem returned to The shed several times this year.
The Shed played host to a memorable show with headliner Roboter, Wolfe Sunday (solo artist from Essex), The Blueshine Brothers, The Vigilantes and The Rooby Doos.
At the Musician, Trevor Cobbe reported on the visit by Cohesion supported by French Leave, Homeless Shakespeare and Trilogy.
Leicester bands Midcity and Alligatr played at The Cookie.
Melton band Great Imitation were at The Soundhouse with Mark Elliott and Karl Phillips. At The Shed we saw Loper.
Leicester’s FourPointOh rock band headline a show at The Shed with The Chase (from Nottingham), Before The Cash and Velocity.
Chris Ostler, a one-time resident of Leicester, sang at The Shed for his Glastonbudget audition; also on stage was Nazarene and Final Coil.
Linear was the star attraction at Sumo with Alpha State, Joe Smith and Stating The Obvious.
The finale of the series obsUnplugged took place at The Musician with James Cull, Reuben Wisner, Mikey Vickers, Andessa Martin, Gavin Bradshaw, Olivia Rose Deane, Emily Crane, Blue Skies in June, Edd Saffell Band and Blueshine Brothers.
Promoters Dreaming in Colour Productions presented one of its series of shows called Upstairs/Downstairs at The Shed. On the two stages were The Stations, Weak Knees, Creatin’ Havoc, The Summer War and The Sedations, upstairs and Homeless Shakespeare, Times to Kill, Small Pond Big Fish downstairs.
Omaha headlined at The Soundhouse with support from Cavalier, Super73 and Pavilions.
A sensational night of music at The Shed was delivered by Emily Carr, New Priorities, Jack Fletcher Band, and 8Miles High.
Leicester’s Bloodsugar did its audition for Glastonbudget at The Shed with FourPointOh. New lighting by Jamie Borland improved the stage a lot.
A night showcasing the work of young bands, organised as part of the OBS, saw MidCity, Flight15, Before The Crash, Stating The Obvious and special guest band The Chase take to the stage of the Musician.
Manhattan34 was the venue were we saw a memorable performance by funk and blues band Smokestacks.
Also tonight, The Shed provided the stages for an Upstairs/Downstairs show featuring Ryan Dunn, The Barmines, Aztec Temples, Regale and Scribble Victory. and Wet Lettuce and the Magic Beam, The World Can Wait, Silhouettes. The Barmines was outstandingly good. This is was one of the first performances by Aztec Temples, a local band that was to grow and blossom this year.
Singer Siobhan Mazzei featured in a live broadcast from The Soundhouse.
Leicester’s Abandon Her headlined a show at The Cookie with support from Reuben Wisner, Emily Carr and Jolanga from Manchester. Reuben Wisner was one of the outstanding male singer/songwriters of the year (if we gave awards he would certainly have got one.)
In addition to the usual gigs the year also saw a number of other kinds of music entertainment, including tonight’s début at Curve of Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾, the musical.
International bands came to play in Leicester featured at several shows this year including the appearance at The Shed of Spanish band El Violento Frankie supported by The Wild North West, Flight15 and Bloodsugar. This took place in a city gripped with Richard III fever as his remains were interred at Leicester Cathedral.
Trevor Cobbe reported from The Donkey where he saw Trilogy with Siobhan Mazzei, Quadra and Mikey Kerslake.
On the same night The shed put on Nazarene with Bella Diem and We The Brave.
Mancunian band Alias Kid play at The Shed with support from The Fores.
A good line-up of bands were at The Musician for the OBS call-backs. On stage: Ladies, Bloodsugar, Linear, Velocity, English Guns, Aztec Temples, Once Vagrant Souls.
Sumo was the setting for a night provided by Sepia Sun (they played at the Handmade festival in May), Great Imitation, Flight15 and Coventry band Boundary.
OBS semi-finals 1 with Flight15, Not My Good Arm, Linear, Ash Mammal, Velocity and Beneath The Lights – a prestigious line-up of Leicester bands that gave quality performances. Only three acts were put through to the finals.
O2 Academy’s Scholar bar was the venue for Riding The Low (with film star Paddy Considine), The Reckless Youth and Not My Good Arm.
The Firebug was the venue chosen by Resin Events for a memorable evening with Martyr de Mona (from Stourbridge), Fahran (from Nottingham), Ronin (from Worcester) and Linear.
The Reckless Youth played at The Shed (this Leicester band comprises musicians from the previous Formal Warning); also playing tonight was Evanstar, Eva Plays Dead and Patriot Rebel.
The Handmade festival took place at the O2 Academy, a huge line-up of bands and artists were on a variety of the stages, including the main hall, and to pick only a few, included Baby Godzilla, Dark Dark Horse, Grace Petrie and Eagulls stood out for me. On Saturday I saw Samoans, Max Raptor and a few others.
Huron played at Download but tonight they were at The Shed. Also tonight there was Invictus, Temples of Lies and more.
The grand final of the OBS saw a huge line-up and hugely good bands – Not My Good Arm, Ali Clinton, Ladies, Ash Mammal, Beneath The Lights, English Guns and Dig Lazarus. Any one of them could have been a worthy winner but it was Dig Lazarus that was chosen for the winning slot.
Glastonbudget Festival. MIL covered the entire event but today I attended with my artist Jonezy.
See our report on the Glastonbudget festival as a whole.
Read about Jonezy on stage at the festival.
USA band Victory Heights played at The Shed.
Leicester’s Aztec Temples played at The Musician and the Leicester Mercury publishes an article about the band.
Midnight Wire headline a show at The Cookie Jar with support from Lacura, Ash Mammal and The Jacobins (from Liverpool).
The Riverside Festival took place this weekend; on the stage were Not My Good Arm and The Brandy Thieves. Memorable performances.
At Curve I saw The Car Man, a musical loosely based around Bizet’s opera Carmen. An infectious cocktail of music, dancing and drama though oddly, no singing. Billed as a ‘dance thriller’ it caught the gritty realism of life in a garage in small-town America. Scenes of violence and sex spiced up the exhilarating dance routines.
West Midlands band Chasing Deer was at The Shed tonight. One of the touring bands that came to Leicester many times this year, they are a favourite of mine.
The Western Park Festival saw many of the acts that played at the OBS on the stages today.
Our report on the Western Park Festival.
At The Shed, there was the Oxjam Skabecue. Playing outside in the smoking area was Grave and the Magic Roots whilst inside we saw Goldstien.
The Soundhouse played host to solo singer Luke Walker (ex Chairmen) and a set by The Lids.
The Heroes play a reunion gig at The Shed and I publish my biography of this legendary band: The Heroes in Golden Times… the story of a band. This was the gig of the year. It saw an amazing performance by the one-time indie stars of Leicester who have not performed together since 2010. To come back together tonight and deliver a set of this quality was nothing short of sensational.
Leicester band Flip Like Wilson was at The Firebug with Eden Avenue and Another Day Down.
The Soundhouse was where Cashbah Music Management and Promotions presented The Frankleys (from London), The Vendettas (from Leeds) and Leicester’s Bloodsugar.
The opening day of the Simon Says… festival at the De Montfort Hall. So many stages… so many bands. Ah but I have to mention the spectacular performance of The Brandy Thieves. British Sea Power should not go without a mention. Prash Gor, Jersey Budd, The Simpletones and Michael Kurt were among the many vocal acts I saw.
Read our report on the Simon Says… festival.
The Vans (from Australia) were at The Shed. I also saw the head-bangingly good metallers Our World Below.
In one of my rare trips outside Leicester I went to Coalville for the festival held at the rugby ground; on stage were The World Can Wait, The Lids, Before The Crash and Jonezy, among many others.
Sumo. Revival (led by Daz Lynch), Aztec Temples and others. This was the gig that was televised that had the hen party in Don’t Tell The Bride. Revival did its EP launch at the Musician a couple of days later with support from Rhett Barrow and the Dedbeats.
Demons of Ruby May, Prash Gor were two of the acts worthy of mention.
The Cosmopolitan Carnival takes place in the city centre with performances by Jonezy (outside Leicester Cathedral) and at The BBC, Elisabeth Barker-Carley and me hold a seminar on how to promote bands and artists.
I held by birthday bash at The Shed with Stating The Obvious, Jonezy, Steve Faulkner, Once Vagrant Souls and Aztec Temples. A good time was had by all, as they say.
The Leicester Belgrave Mela took place in the city centre. On the clock tower stage performances by rappers Dibbz, Sly and others.
The World Can Wait did its audition for Glastonbudget at The Shed. Also tonight Beneath The Lights.
The annual Gay Pride celebrations in Victoria Park saw a performance by X-factor winner Sam Bailey, Lisa Lashes on the decks and a host of other music acts.
Later, at The Cookie, Leicester band Gloss made one of their first appearances with Great Imitation, Flip Like Wilson and Midnight Wire.
Chasing Deer (from the Midlands) were back at The Shed.
Lord of the Loops, Carlos Stein performed at Parcel Yard, the bar next to the station.
The Cookie hosted a show with Trampolene supported by Aztec Temples and a DJ set by Tommy Cobley of Casino Empire. One of those gigs that felt like a big night out.
Kynch, rising stars and young band, did their Glastonbudget audition at The Shed, bringing a huge fan base into the venue to support them. If we did give awards, Kynch would get one for best newcomer.
The Brandy Thieves played at The Musician. I love this band.
Aztec Temples, Ryan Dunn and London’s The Turning put on a top class show at The Cookie.
Very much delighted to see singer Jake Manning again Duffys Bar and a stunning solo performance by Tom Iliffe of The Jav’lins. Final Coil put on a wonderful acoustic set.
Samoans returned to Leicester to play at The Soundhouse with Freeze The Atlantic, Mammoth and Log Fox.
On my first visit to the new venue offering live music – The Jukebox, Chasing Deer put on a stimulating set.
The annual Oxjam Leicester takeover was reported on and photographed by a large team from MIL; it was the final assignment of this year’s top photographer Renaud of RhinoFeroSs photography. He returned to his home town of Paris a few days later.
Read our report on Oxjam.
Seafret at the Scholar Bar with Tom Lewitt (The Screening) and Martin Luke Brown.
The unusual setting of a wedding suite in the middle of nowhere saw Leicester’s hip-hop artists on stage – Jonezy, Dibbz, Lacky C, Ali Flex and Sly. They were taking part in Leicester’s Got Talent. None of them won.
The Shed. Young metal band Anonymous. Instantly likeable. Also a secret performance by a band whose name I cannot mention but who performed at the O2 Academy in December, comprising three of Leicester’s most legendary musicians.
The Music Cafe hosted Project Live with compare Carol Leeming. Backed by a live band, Michael Sly Simpson delivered an outstanding performance.
At tonight’s auditions for Glastonbudget, Aztec Temples won a place at the 2016 festival; also on stage were James Cull, The Lids and Before The Crash.
Siobhan Mazzei was at The Shed doing one of her breathtakingly stunning performances. I wish we did awards; I would love to hand Siobhan the singer/songwriter merit award for outstanding musical achievement. Best out-of-town band to play a lot in Leicester: Scribble Victory. Flight15 merited an award for their performance tonight.
The Shed held one of its now rare young bands nights. Corrupt Nation was amazingly good. The show was headlined by Kynch. The supply of new and young bands has all but dried up this year. Several of yesterday’s new bands have become well established, including Flight15 but we will miss 8Miles High.
The Shed. Glastonbudget. Alligatr fill the room with their engaging sounds and their fans. Hollowstar from Cambridge make a welcome return. The Fores was fantastic.
Resin Event’s annual Christmas party at The Firebug with Stonepit Drive, Temple of Lies, Sumer and of course Resin. I’m dreamin’ of a black Christmas.
A memorable performance by blues band Trilogy was one of the best musical experiences of the year, at Duffy’s bar.
Matt Henshaw held his headline gig at the Scholar Bar with Toby Leonard, Once Vagrant Souls and Abandon Her. Matt Henshaw was on stage with Boppa and Alex Van Roose, the secret band mentioned earlier.
The Donkey hosted the show headlined by The Brandy Thieves with The Jav’lins putting on a spectacular performance too.
I go to the annual Christmas night hosted by Rhett Barrow at the Soundhouse with a hugely good line-up of artists and an amazing set by magician Colin Skinner.
Stating The Obvious band put on an excellent night of music with Her Burden, The World Can Wait and Flight 15.
I know that everyone who got mentioned above will be delighted just as all those who were not will be outraged. Round-ups cannot mention everything. My approach is to give a sample of what went on this year. Leicester is alive with music; this has been the top of the iceberg.
The Music of Leicester in 2015, month by month
This year’s festival reports for Glastonbudget, Download, The Riverside, Simon Says…, Oxjam, White Noise are on our page of festival reports.