Weekly Music News – 01.10.2019

press to meco

Welcome to this week’s Cool As Leicester Weekly Music News, which is brought to you every week in partnership with PPL PRS Ltd.

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Neon Waltz – The Cookie
Wednesday 11 December

neon waltz credit Ronan park

Neon Waltz are a powerful six piece psychedelic indie rock band who honed their melodic, sun-drenched, sonic soundscapes in a remote croft, located in the wilderness of Caithness, Scotland. With their first set of demos drawing the interest of former Oasis Manager Marcus Russell, Neon Waltz went on to be named one of the finest new British bands of the year by the likes of Q, NME (“Scotland’s coolest new gang”) and Shortlist to name a few. Tickets on sale on Wednesday.

Uncle Frank – The Cookie
Saturday 1 February 2020

uncle frank

Multi-instrumentalists Frank Benbini (one third of Fun Lovin’ Criminals) and Naim Cortazzi from here in Leicester are the founding members of Uncle Frank, making music with soul, funk, rage and love. “The world needs this kind of music – because it’s real and self-made, feel-good and original.” The Daily Express. TICKETS.

Jason Donovan – De Montfort Hall
Tuesday 22 September 2020

Jason Donovan leicester

Who’s old enough to remember when Jason Donovan came into our lives as Scott Robinson in the hit Australian series, Neighbours? Throughout 1988/89 he had several hits and his album, Ten Good Reasons was the best-selling album of 1989. His hits included Too Many Broken Hearts, Especially For You (with Kylie Minogue), Any Dream Will Do, and many more. He’s since been a star of the stage in various hit musicals and is now back on the road with his old hits. TICKETS.

Gazelle – O2 Academy Leicester
Saturday 21 December

Leicester’s rock ‘n’ roll lads, Gazelle, are back at O2 Academy for a special Christmas show. Brought together by a mutual love of British Subculture, influences include Oasis, The Stone Roses and The Courteeners. Their show earlier in the year was packed out, so expect tickets to go quickly for this one. TICKETS.



Open Mic – The Soundhouse
Tuesday 1 October (and every Tuesday)

bring the paint

The weekly open mic happens at The Soundhouse every Tuesday night from 7.30pm. The night is hosted by Rhett Barrow and acts are encouraged to arrive early if hoping to get a slot. Each week there’ll be a featured artist play from 9.30 – 10pm, so if you’re wanting to play a longer set then get your name down. Discover some brilliant new acts. The Soundhouse is on Southampton Street in the Cultural Quarter.

Bring Your Own Vinyl – The Globe
Tuesday 1 October

the globe leicester

Head to The Globe on the first Tuesday of every month for Bring Your Own Vinyl night in their back bar room. A great night to talk to like minded people who love music and have a go at spinning your favourite records.

Penguin Cafe – De Montfort Hall
Tuesday 1 October

Penguin Cafe was founded in 2009 by Arthur Jeffes, following in the footsteps of his father, Simon Jeffes of the iconic Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Arthur formed Penguin Cafe with a brand new line-up, bringing together a talented and disparate group of musicians from the likes of Suede, Gorillaz and Razorlight. Penguin Cafe’s music bears all the hallmarks of PCO that its disciples will know and love, continuing to transcend popular and classical music. Their fifth studio album is due for release this autumn. TICKETS.

Theatre of Hate – The Soundhouse
Wednesday 2 October

theatre of hate

80s Post-punk gothic rockers led by by Kirk Brandon (who later formed Spear Of Destiny) joined by Stan Stammers and John ‘Boy’ Lennard alongside Adrian Portas (New Model Army) and Danny Farrant (The Buzzcocks). Their back catalogue of classics include Legion, Do You Believe In The Westworld?, Original Sin and Rebel Without A Brain and their music takes a similar path to John Lydon’s PiL. TICKETS.

New Hope Club – O2 Academy Leicester
Wednesday 2 October

new hope club

Young pop 3-piece, New Hope Club, are making waves in the pop world. Since forming in 2015, the boys went on to support The Vamps, playing to 10,000 people a night. Now they’re making a big name in their own right and seem certain to only get bigger. TICKETS.

Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage – The Musician
Thursday 3 October

Hannah sanders ben savage

Huddled round a single vintage microphone, singing intimate duets with just mountain dulcimer, dobro and guitar, Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage are an acoustic duo that sound classically timeless, yet their music is individual with the sparkling beauty of their acoustic style. TICKETS.

SoulJam – Dryden Street Social
Thursday 3 October

The UK’s biggest Funk, Soul & Disco party returns for the 8th year of bringing the funkiest sounds to the most fun dance floors around. Pack your bags and get ready for a night of dancing to the best in Funk, Soul & Disco! 11pm – 3am. TICKETS.

Ferocious Dog – The Shed
Thursday 3 October

Ferocious Dog offer a full-on six-piece sound that encompasses folk infused with rock, reggae and Celtic vibrations. The combination of instruments creates a palette of sound that offers infinite variations: going in hard to get the audience up and moving, or slipping into melodic passages and dub-like fusions. SOLD OUT.

Julie’s Haircut – The Donkey
Thursday 3 October

Julie's haircut

Julie’s Haircut is a band from Emilia, northern Italy who formed in the late 1990s who are devoted to spacey, hypnotic sounds. The band’s music has evolved in time from the garage-rock soulful energy of their debut towards more experimental grounds, focusing on improv and sound research, without losing touch with the groove and melody that characterised their music since day one. They have been making music with Damo Suzuki, Sonic Boom, Philip Corner, Valerio Cosi and more. TICKETS.

Blues & R ‘n’ B Open Mic – The Donkey
Thursday 3 October

the donkey

The famous blues open mic at the Donkey is back, reborn and renamed but still the same crucible of molten blues talent. Are you a blues or R’n’B addict, musician or fan? Have you been starving for live blues performances from all genres of the blues and R’n’B? Well this night is for you.

Band of Friends – The Musician
Friday 4 October

The Band Of Friends is a celebration of Rory Gallagher’s music. Rory’s legendary rock and blues was popular around the world throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. TICKETS.

Inhaler – The Cookie
Friday 4 October

inhaler band

Inhaler, the four piece rock & roll band from Dublin, is made up of Josh Jenkinson-Tansia, Robert Keating, Elijah Hewson and Ryan McMahon. Inspired by artists such as Joy Division, and The Stone Roses, they recently supported Blossoms on their UK dates and were a hit on the summer festival scene. SOLD OUT.

Live Jazz with Major Ruse – Brick & Beam
Friday 4 October

Featuring saxophonist Marcus Joseph, guitarist Joe Egan and drummer Jamie Sykes, Major Ruse is a modern jazz trio heavily influenced by Hip Hop, R&B, Soul and a variety of other genres steeped in melody and groove. Hailing from both Nottingham and Leicester Major Ruse bring energy and warmth to all of their performances, providing audiences with a beautiful mix of exciting rhythms and intensely catchy hooks. Music from 8.30pm with drinks deals from 4.30pm throughout the evening. Free entry.

Fox Jaw – Duffy’s Bar
Friday 4 October

Once described as ‘a modern band with an old soul’. join Irish post-punk band Fox Jaw at Duffy’s with support from The Lost Future. Free entry, music from 8pm.

Anthemics Acoustic – Natterjacks
Friday 4 October

Join The Anthemics Acoustic Duo for a night of classic tunes in an acoustic style at Natterjacks (Braunstone Gate) on Friday. Free entry, music from 8.30pm.

Kenny Wilson – The Exchange
Friday 4 October

Jump into the weekend with Kenny Wilson on guitar and vocals playing the best of Dylan, Cohen, Americana and so much more. Music from 8pm. Free entry.

The Electric Swing Circus – The Soundhouse
Friday 4 October

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

The Electric Swing Circus is a 6-piece fusion of saucy ’20s swing and stomping electro beat, with an explosive sound that reverberates back through time. In demand across the UK and the international circuit, the ESC’s live set includes electric double bass, vintage samples, gypsy-jazz guitar, keys, drums, synths and electro beats. Fronted by a sassy female double-act, the ESC delivers a consistently dazzling show. TICKETS.

The Drugstore Cowboys – The Donkey
Friday 4 October

Rockabilly, Blues, Country and Roots – The Drugstore Cowboys promise a rousing performance with a heavy dose of their own originality. With a vast set list and energetic stage presence, they always guarantee a great show.

The South – The Donkey
Saturday 5 October

the south

Join The South as they play all the hits and more from the back catalogue of great British institution, The Beautiful South. The night promises to be emotional, uplifting, heartbreaking and messy. TICKETS.

Press to MECO – The Shed
Saturday 5 October

Anthemic choruses, three part harmonies, powerful hooks and possibly the most highly charged rhythm section you’re ever likely to hear define the unique sound of Press to MECO. Bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan, Reuben and Manchester Orchestra continue to provide significant creative influence, but their biggest inspiration is rooted in the live circuit, feeding off audiences who are now singing their songs right back at them. TICKETS.

Black Parade – The Shed
Saturday 5 October

The UK’s biggest emo night! Celebrating 00’s emo playing all the bangers from Panic! At The Disco, Jimmy Eat World, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, Paramore, All American Rejects, The Used, You Me At Six, Enter Shikari and loads more. TICKETS.

The Fisters – Duffy’s Bar
Saturday 5 October

Enjoy sleazy rock and gritty covers. Expect AC/DC, The Cult, Circus Of Power, Zodiac Mindwarp, The Datsuns and more. Free entry, music from 9pm.

FuFu Sailors Grease Tribute – Old Aylestone Social Club
Saturday 5 October

Join in a Grease themed evening with rock n roll DJ! Expect live music from the soundtrack performed by the Fufu Sailors, plus hot dogs and ice cream sodas as well as prizes for best dressed. Tickets available from the Old Aylestone club or through Fufu Sailors Facebook page. £10/ticket.

Out of Karma – The Real Ale Classroom
Saturday 5 October

out of karma

Enjoy Leicester favourites, Out of Karma, with their soulful blend of rock and funk grooves. Music from 8pm, free entry.

Verity White – The Shed
Saturday 5 October

Hard-hitting Verity White and her band are quickly becoming a serious contender in the regional rock scene. They believe in what they do and continue to deliver catchy anthems with soaring choruses. This female-fronted powerhouse combines influences from grunge, punk, indie and rock and mashes them up to create brutal yet beautiful alt-rock music, for fans of Dream Wife, Shinedown, The Pretty Reckless, Pearl Jam, Skunk Anasie and Tori Amos! Here they bring their second album, Reclaim Set Fire, on tour alongside favourites from their other releases. TICKETS.

The Backbeat Drivers – The Barley Mow
Saturday 5 October

Enjoy some of your favourite classic rock tunes to kick off your Saturday night. Free entry, music from 8pm.

The Midnight Dogs – The Musician
Saturday 5 October

Join The Midnight Dogs for their special album launch show, with special guest Tony Wright (Terrorvision). TICKETS.

Glastonbudget Auditions – The Soundhouse
Saturday 5 October

the soundhouse Leicester

Head down to The Soundhouse to see 5 brilliant bands battle it out to secure their slot at Glastonbudget 2020. £5 on the door.

TEEN – The Cookie
Saturday 5 October

New York all female four-piece featuring Teeny Lieberson on vocals, originally the keyboardist with Here We Go Magic, joined by sisters Lizzie and Katherine plus friend Sarah Galdes. Musically falling somewhere between Haim with the sonic fuzz of Frankie Rose and electro outfits like Purity Ring, TEEN combine cool slacker guitar and synth with glorious vocal harmonies. TICKETS.

Keston Cobblers Club – The Musician
Sunday 6 October

Siblings Matthew and Julia Lowe join with their old Keston school friends to make foot-stamping mod-folk music based on an old folklore story. TICKETS.

Hannah James & The JigDoll Ensemble – The Y Theatre
Sunday 6 October

BBC folk award winning visionary Hannah James presents: The Jigdoll Ensemble. As an English clog dancer, accordion player, singer and star of British folk, Hannah James has been in the industry for over two decades. THE JIGDOLL ENSEMBLE is her most ambitious project yet. Starring an international line up of award winning performers, this stunning multi-discipline show combines dance, music, body percussion and spoken word in a spell-binding tour de force. TICKETS.

Open Mic – The Grand Union
Sunday 6 October

grand union leicester

Join the hosts Carter & Hartmann for the regular open mic at Leicester’s newest venue, The Grand Union on New Walk. From 7pm, plenty of drinks offers.

David Allred – The Cookie
Monday 7 October

The Robot Needs Home Collective presents David Allred at The Cookie. Folk-inspired songs sit comfortably next to experimental/contemporary music on David Allred’s impressive list of artistic endeavors. Following on from last year’s acclaimed debut with Erased Tapes The Transition — named #17 album of the year by The Sunday Times — Californian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist David Allred returned earlier this year with mini album, The Cell. Support from Leicester’s Adam Weikert. TICKETS.



John Bramwell – The Soundhouse
Saturday 12 October

John bramwell

I Am Kloot’s songwriter and frontman, John Bramwell, is back in Leicester for a Friday night date at The Soundhouse. John’s live shows are all about connecting with his audience and punters can expect a special, intimate performance. Grab tickets to see the Mercury Prize nominated songwriter for £15. TICKETS.

Declan Welsh & The Decadent West – The Cookie
Wednesday 13 November

Declan Welsh

Glaswegian singer-songwriter, Declan is influenced by performers such as Billy Bragg, The Proclaimers, Jarvis Cocker and Alex Turner. His music is about finding the beauty in the quirks of everyday life. TICKETS.

Reel Big Fish – O2 Academy Leicester
Wednesday 13 November

reel big fish

Ska-punk legends, Reel Big Fish, are back in Leicester on their new tour. The band were one of the legions of Southern California ska-punk bands to edge into the mainstream during the mid-90s. Known for their electric stage shows, juvenile humor, ironic covers of new wave pop songs, and metallic shards of ska. TICKETS.


The Robot Needs Home Collective celebrates 15 years on the DIY scene in Leicester

Olafur Arnalds credit Oliver Bellamy

Few people know the Leicester music scene better than John Helps. From city-wide gig promotions and setting up Handmade Festival to launching Great Central, he’s had a hand in a number of the city’s leading collaborative music and arts projects. This year his company, The Robot Needs Home Collective, celebrates 15 years of gig promotion, tour management, record label services and more. We caught up with John to find out about his plans to celebrate 15 years and how the DIY music landscape has changed.

The Robot Needs Home Collective turns 15 years old this year, did you image when you started out that you’d be here celebrating 15 years later?

Absolutely not! It was a project I started at uni to put on my own band and friends bands. Even the name was a throwaway idea that we came up with in two minutes. It is endlessly surprising and pleasing that I’m still able to do it now. It’s grown beyond anything I imagined and is now a (more than) full time job. Wish I’d spent a bit more time on the name though.

The collective includes promotion, touring services, a record label and more; what have been some of your personal highlights from the last 15 years?

Putting Foals on at The Luminaire in London was an early landmark, but obviously we didn’t know they’d go on to be the band they are today. This year we put Olafur Arnalds, the Icelandic composer of the Broadchurch soundtrack on in Haymarket Theatre to a near sold out audience and that was the real pinnacle of what we’ve been trying to do with bringing interesting and spectacular shows to Leicester. I just like putting music that takes you a little out of your comfort zone in front of people. The reward when it really touches people is huge.

On the touring side of things, getting to travel across five continents with some of the loveliest bands in the world (and some not so lovely ones) has been super rewarding. Getting to join Leicester’s own Grace Petrie for shows supporting Frank Turner at Alexandra Palace was a recent highlight.

John helps leicester

To celebrate the 15 years you have a series of gigs taking place at venues across Leicester, including Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Nordic Giants and Kelly Moran to name a few. How did you set about programming for the birthday events?

We’re doing some of our regular shows through until November – a series of piano shows including Kelly Moran, Lambert and David Allred through October as well as a handful of others – but December is when the 15th Anniversary shows really get going with a couple of weeks of near solid shows from friends old and new across the whole spectrum of what we’ve been bringing to the city over the 15 years. Some things fell in to place by coincidence – Japanese experimentalists Boris are a band we’ve been trying to bring to the city for a long time and it just kind of fell in to place. Around that we’ve gone back to some friends of ours that we’ve been working with for years, and some others that we’ve been wanting to put on for a while. It’s a bit of everything really.

You’ve been very active in promoting the DIY scene in Leicester, what advice would you offer to other promoters starting out?

Be prepared to lose a lot of money. Leicester is a really hard city to bring acts to as the audience is disproportionately small, and if you’re not specifically catering to mass market audiences, you’re going to have a hard time. There is a dwindling set of tools to help with promoting events and reaching new audiences in the city. We’ve worked hard to build a ‘brand’ around the shows, so some people will come and check out some of the acts we bring to the city just because our name is attached – and that’s really important when you’re bringing a large number of essentially unknown names to the city. The most important thing is to put audiences and artists first. Make people feel welcome and looked after and they’ll keep coming back.

Reaching a milestone birthday, what are some of the main changes you’ve seen in the Leicester music scene during that time?

We’ve seen venues come and go and people scream that their closure meant the end of the music scene (spoiler alert: it didn’t). We’ve seen people demand an arena when we can’t fill the venues we do have. We’ve seen peaks and troughs of interesting music being created in the city (I like to think it’s creatively peaking at the moment with a brilliant scene of DIY bands, but that definitely hasn’t always been the case). Everything’s a cycle really.

robot needs home collective

How positive do you feel about the future of the city’s scene?

Neither optimistic nor pessimistic really. We have a handful of acts making a national impact, across a broad spectrum of music – Mahalia, Grace Petrie and Easy Life to name three, and a really vibrant DIY scene. We also have an underfunded city council who can’t prioritise supporting local music and creativity, and fragmented efforts to create large scale music events. A little more collaboration and unity is needed to “put leicester back on the musical map”. Something I’ve heard people saying endlessly over the last 15 years. I feel like collaboration is something Robot Needs Home has been good at fostering – bringing people together to create Handmade and Great Central and numerous other things over the years.

Do you have any artists still very much on the RNH wishlist?

We always have a list as long as our arm, but it’s hard to single anyone out really!

Once the 15th birthday celebrations are over and we head into 2020, what does RNH have planned for next year?

We’re actually going to be taking a bit of a step back from promoting shows. Our touring work is keeping me very busy and it’s time to prioritise that I think. We’ll still do a few major events, and support the acts that we ‘look after’ from within Leicester and beyond, but you’ll definitely be seeing less of us in Leicester for sure. Although I have said this maybe 30 times over the 15 years so we’ll see.

To keep up to date with all of the latest news and events from The Robot Needs Home Collective, including their 15th birthday party on Saturday 21 December, you can visit www.robotneedshome.com and follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Anyone who attends 5 of their birthday shows will also receive a free Robot Needs Home t-shirt. Contact them for a loyalty card.




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