Review – Access All Areas: Refugee Benefit gig at Duffy’s Bar, Friday 6th December 2019

Photo: Luke Broughton by Liz Marriott

with No Conflict, Sally Hossack Band, The People Assembly, LION/S, Edgar Broughton and Luke Broughton

Reviewed by Aleksandra Brzezicka and Liz Marriott (who also did the photography)

In times of political turmoil and overwhelming Christmas madness, it’s easy to give in to the utter confusion and the feeling of hopelessness while looking into the future. We need a reminder that power lies in unity. A reminder like Access All Areas: Refugee Benefit Gig at Duffy’s last Friday, organized as part of The Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival. Luke Broughton brought together six Leicester acts to act upon the immigrant crisis and donate over £1000 to refugee charities, LE Solidarity and After 18.

Teen local sweet-heart star, Harrison Gent in collaboration with Sean Harkin and support from Craig Eriksson, Asa Brown and Greg Gent, debuted their new formation, No Conflict. As the name suggests their repertoire consists of mellow, soul-warming songs with bluesy tendencies. Greg’s and Harkin’s vocals pleasingly complement each other, adding a bit of weird melancholy to this charming bunch.

No Conflict tries to be your next-door band who gives you shelter from the freeze outside, makes you laugh and gives a shoulder to cry on in case you’ll shed a tear or two.

No Conflict Photo: Liz Marriott

Sally Hossack, splitting her time between teaching at DMU and redirecting her inner-world into tender tracks, put a band together to accompany her intimate set. Alike folky Lykke Li, Sally, invites us to join her on the escape to the woods of personal struggles where birds sing in an otherworldly acoustic manner.

Her music, despite not being drastically different and occasionally blending into each other, put you in a hazy dream-like state. Quite hypnotic.

Sally Hossack Band Photo: Liz Marriott

‘We are The People Assembly and we are not like anything you’ve seen this evening,’ shouted Joel Page. He couldn’t be more right. The People Assembly are post-space tramps who’ve already lived the apocalypse and came down to dwell on it. Their dark poetry painted on the full-blown distortion reminds me somehow of a crossover of frantic biblical prophecies screaming out to faithful followers with The Doors’ The End.

Their psych-punk circles around the existential crisis of our generation, the ever-present internal and external chaos. That chaos has its reflection in their live performance. By being perfectly imperfect and embracing it, they’re on the way to create a sound of the future on the ashes of the old world. A future where no one has to suffer, as they said. Check out The People Assembly’s new single Mojav E. Smith.

The People Assembly Photo: Liz Marriott

Liz Marriott writes:

Next we delved into the swirling soundscape of Lion/S (Pronounced Lioness). Vocalist and synthesist Leonie announced her presence with a sweeping, atmospheric intro, looping layers of crystal clear falsetto harmonies, underscored by her companion on electronic cello.

Using her synthesiser to create a choral effect, and a variety of sweetly percussive instruments such as chimes and singing bowls, she orchestrated an immersive, ethereal experience. The audience became a part of the performance, as she passed small bells about the crowd, so that the room was filled with a hypnotic ringing.

LION/S Photo: Liz Marriott

Eponymous Edgar Broughton of the renowned Edgar Broughton Band was the penultimate act to ascend the stage. His compelling acoustic melodies incorporated apposite social messages, whilst between songs, he regaled the crowd with amusing tales of his travails as a touring musician in the 70s.

It was easy to see similarities between Edgar’s rich, penetrating tones, with breaks of clear falsetto, and the musical style of event organiser and headline act Luke Broughton. Clearly, this is a talent that runs in the family.

Edgar Broughton Photo: Liz Marriott

Luke assumed the spotlight to conclude the evening with an unsurprisingly poignant and evocative set. His incandescent falsetto perfectly complemented his subtle, softly picked fretwork, to craft a searing, haunting medley of songs. Highlights included an unforgettable cover of Running Up that Hill, and a collaboration towards the end of the performance with the members of Lion/S, which offered further opportunity for vocal layering, intricate instrumentation, and exquisite harmonies.

The beauty of the setlist was juxtaposed by the gravity of the cause for which it was contrived: After 18, a charity which provides support for vulnerable refugees.

Luke Broughton Photo: Liz Marriott

As the music rose to a scintillating crescendo, Luke announced that the event had raised over £1000 in aid of After 18, rendering the night not only an evening of excellent music, but also a resounding success.

Click here to make a donation to After 18

If you would like to share this review, please help us by using the share buttons below instead of a screen print – THANKS!