Review – Midnight Wire at The Shed, 2nd November 2018

with The Fazed and Deadwires

Reviewed by Trevor Locke

Two Leicester musicians took to the stage to perform the opening set; one of them was Callum Cook. He used to be a member of No More Heroes. He was accompanied by the drummer Sam Marsh. Deadwires is a Leicester band that started out recently. There are a lot of two-piece bands around these days. Timmas, Earls, Scribble Victory. At this, only their fourth gig, they made their mark with a set of high-powered songs fuelled with ear-smacking riffs and vibrant beats. Lots of powerful sounds came from this duo led by the strong voice of Cal, a singer noted for his gravelly tones and high-octane vocals.

Deadwires has a video of Outlaws, which can be seen on the band’s Facebook page. .

Watch this video, by Kevin Gaughan, of Deadwires performing at this gig.

Deadwires Photo: Kevin Gaughan

The Fazed is local band that has been around for a long time. Not the longest-running band, as such, but certainly one of them. In fact, the lead singer Dave Sherratt has been playing on the Leicester music scene since the late nineties. I have seen this band many times since I first started to write about music back in the early noughties. Sherratt has a unforgettable voice. One full of individuality. The Fazed played a great selection of their songs. Numbers such as Get me the love, Soul revival, Breathe, Breaking my own and Molly’s chambers. Many of which were new.

The Fazed Photo: Kevin Gaughan

It was great to see them again back at The Shed, a venue to which they are by no means strangers. And so good too to hear their offering of indie tunes, laced with flavours of Brit Pop overtones. It was a magnificent performance by Sherratt and the band one that proved, completely convincingly, that the years they have spent on stage have not diminished them. Of course, only two of them are from the original line-up but they have added a couple of impressive new musicians such as Adam Plumb, guitarist and David Gammidge on the drums. The sound of The Fazed is today as much full of character and resonance as it was when I first saw them, many, many years ago. The sound has its roots deep in the soils of British indie and Oasis. A sound that has the history of rock music firmly behind it. The roots that have given us soulful sounds, catchy riffs and upbeat rhythms.

Watch this video, by Kevin Gaughan, of The Fazed performing at this gig.

The Fazed Photo: Kevin Gaughan

I wish Kevin had been at the front of the stage with his video camera for the opening of Midnight Wire‘s set. A cosmic backdrop video overlaid with Music of The Spheres and This is What it Feels Like as a fanfare preceding the entry of Alex Van Roose and his band. Quite remarkable. A startling piece of theatre.

Tonight’s show was billed as ‘Midnight Wire re-launch party’; it is true that MW have not trodden the boards of Leicester for some time, following their spectacular launch at Sub91 in 2011. Of course, one cannot forget the band’s performance at The Cookie in June 2015; or their fantastic show at Firebug in April 2014, or the secret gig they did in December 2013. Moments. History.

Tonight they were joined by their Saxophonist Ben. He played his part in their song We Met on the Dancefloor. Also on stage tonight, Toby Leonard, on the drums, a singer and songwriter we have celebrated several times before in this magazine. Also on stage the guitarist and vocalist Arjun Johal.

Arjun Johal of Midnight Wire Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Despite the fact that Van Roose and his colleagues have been writing songs for a number of years, the same characteristic riffs and rhythms can be heard in their new material that was so familiar in their old songs, going right back to the start. Continuity surviving through years of changing styles and genre fashions.

This was an exceptional show; it had attracted a number of music celebrities who had joined the audience and that was a good thing to see. Of course, there was a large crowd of music fans in the room, as well.

Listen to a recording of Changes taken from their second album Music of the Spheres on YouTube. So many things about this song are vintage Wire..

Alex Van Roose of Midnight Wire Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Incidentally, Van Roose, now 27, does not look much different to when I first met him when he was 17. He sounded much the same when he sang tonight as he did back then. He has one of the most characteristic voices of all the Leicester vocalists I know. I might add that he is also one of the most accomplished song writers of our local scene.

Alex Van Roose of Midnight Wire Photo: Kevin Gaughan

As I watched MW on stage, it caught a sense of it being a moment in my musical history (if not for others who were also there). This was partly the vibe you get at one of the Shed’s top shows, the music, the crowd, the atmosphere, sensing the rhythm of the night, just as I have experienced it over the years. When it’s all at its best, that is the kind of ‘X-factor’ that comes from a full-on gig. It is difficult to describe, but when you get it, you know it.

For MW fans see one of our previous articles about them from 2015..

Watch this video, by Kevin Gaughan, of Midnight Wire performing We Met on the Dancefloor at this gig.
Watch this video, by Kevin Gaughan, of Midnight Wire Hurricane performing at this gig.
Watch this video, by Kevin Gaughan, of City Lights performing at this gig.