Aakash Odedra

“Echoes & I Imagine”

World Premiere at Curve – Review

Echoes and I Imagine – World Premiere – Curve
Posted on 10th Oct 2015
By Trevor Locke
Rating: *****

The solo dance performance of Aakash Odedra tonight was sensational. I have not seen male dance of this calibre since I last saw Rudolf Nureyev in the 1970s. Odedra’s first piece was a stunning performance based on the Indian classical dance genre Kathak. Dancing to the choreography of Aditi Mangaldas, Odedra demonstrated the sublime artistry of his abilities, with movements that had razor-sharp timing, perfectly synchronised with the music. The work opened with gloriously evocative sounds creating a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere, heightened by the lighting and the floor of the stage being spread with long filaments of golden threads studies with tiny bells, laid out to look like the ripples of a lake.

The piece drew on the image and symbol of bells, which hung from the top of the stage in clusters of long strings. As the programme notes explained ‘The resonance of the bells awakens us to the now. A breath and senses awaken. LIFE awakens me.’ The Kathak dance form is story-telling in motion. The elaborate footwork, enhanced by bells, attached to the ankles, was characteristic of the dance form; Odedra pulled down two of the long strands of bells and wound them around his ankles before proceeding to display amazing footwork, in his bare feet. In something that Western audiences would recognise as tap dancing, he also used his feet as percussion instruments, drumming on the stage, producing sequences of intricate rhythms. Echoes is a work that plays with the idea of bells, their tradition in classical dance, their ritualistic significance and their potential as a metaphor for freedom and awakening.

The piece also included many of the spinning movements – the chakkars – so characteristic of classical Kathak. What Mangaldas has done is to bring the ancient art form into the 21st century without losing any of its resonance and vibrancy. Some of Odedra’s spins were like those of an ice skater; he has a fluidity of movement that is remarkable but he combined this with dynamics that are amazing. All the time we watch those extraordinarily impressive hand movements, the fingers that wave and flutter like the wings of a bird. It was like seeing dance from another planet; something that moves forward what we understand about solo dance. Utterly enthralling and spellbinding throughout.

Echoes celebrated the form of classical Kathak, but the second piece – I Imagine – brought a totally new approach and direction to the stage. In it, Odedra demonstrated his sense of humour, his consummate capacity for entertaining his audience. It was another demonstration of his story-telling powers, using mime, antics and even spoken word to engage us in a meditation on the theme of travel and migration (very topical.) Odedra came on to a stage stacked with suitcases – like the bells, another evocative metaphor. This piece used a variety of masks to signify characters, not unlike those used by actors in classical Greek drama, I thought. At the beginning of the piece, one of the larger suitcases begins to move and Odedra emerges from it, foot by foot, leg by leg, rather like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. It reminded me of Ernest being found in a handbag. The story goes on to depict arriving in a new country, migration to a new and alien culture, the feelings evoking loss of homeland, leaving behind the ones that are loved, the challenges of accommodating a new style of life. And then Odedra does something totally innovative for a dancer – he engaged in a spoken monologue in which he used surprising skills of characterisation, speaking in accents to bring his characters to life, much to the amusement of the audience. It was a sequence that bore similarities to stand-up comedy, recollecting the Kumars, I thought. Towards the end of the piece, Odedra walked across the top of a line of suitcases, having used them beforehand to make an armchair and a house. It was a gleeful deployment of the props and one that took us a long way from the previous classical dance routines.

I Imagine included spoken word by the celebrated Sabrina Mahfouz, the British Egyptian poet, playwright and performer who was born in South London. Odedra’s collaboration with the award-winning Mahfouz created a work that was supremely one of theatre, one that gave us dance, drama, comedy and gymnastics. It reminded me of my previous experience at Curve when I saw Bromance, the production by the Barely Methodical Troupe that created a new genre of dance and gymnastics. Odedra commissioned the masks used in this production from circus practitioner David Poznanter (it must have been the association of circus that conjured the idea of the work by the Barely Methodical Troupe in my mind.)

Tonight’s World Premier of Echoes and I Imagine crowns the previous appearance made by Odedra at Curve, including Inked and Murmer in 2014.
Speaking after the performance, Odedra paid tribute to his teacher, the internationally renown Kathak dancer Nilema Devi MBE.

Aakash was commissioned by Curve Theatre in Leicester to choreograph a piece for the opening of the theatre in November 2008. This piece, called “Flight” was the only one invited to perform for HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on their visit in December 2008

Aakash Odedra was raised in Leicester and his company is based here.
Curve has over the years given us so much that is new and exciting in the arts and tonight was no exception.

This entry was originally published at http://www.artsinleicestershire.co.uk/ in News on March 12, 2016
This entry was posted in News on February 2, 2017.

Taken from: http://www.aakashodedra.co.uk/echoes-i-imagine-world-premiere-at-curve-review-2/

Akash O’Dedra

Midnight Wire 2011

Midnight Wire launch show in 2011

Gig reviews for September 2011

Banner for Arts in Leicester magazine

Midnight Wire’s launch at Sub91 on 2nd August 2011

[This page is a copy of an article published on the old Arts in Leicestershire website, in 2011]

Trevor Locke reports, with videos by Kevin Gaughan and photos by Will Poulton.

Midnight Wire at the band’s launch gig in 2011

After a series of secret gigs, used as dress rehearsals, Midnight Wire finally appeared in public for the first time, as the four band members walked on the large stage of the Sub91 venue in Granby Street.

After much publicity, fans and rockerati alike, got to hear what they could do, through the top-notch PA system of the large city-centre venue. A substantial crowd of teenage fans had gathered in front of the stage to cheer them on. Further back in the audience were members of other, established bands curious to see if the delivery would live up to their expectations.

The members of Midnight Wire are no newbies, still wet behind their musical ears. Most of them had previously played in successful bands. So, as you would expect, they delivered their songs with a healthy dose of confidence.

Their forty-minute headline set was filled with exquisitely good songs; catchy tunes, compelling beats and memorable lyrics. From start to finish, the band unleashed one stonkingly good song after another. The crowd lapped it all up with relish.

Here’s the band performing their song Coming Clean.

On the lead mic, Alex Rooster Van Roose. Behind him on the skins Adam Horton. To Rooster’s left, guitarist Chris Merriman and on the bass, Arjan Johal.

Alex Van Roose

The audience soon got into it, as you can see from this clip of Kings of the City.

Link to It’s got that fizz that young audiences love. Watch the kids responding to Alex, raising their arms and clapping in time. Listen to those crackin’ guitar parts. Chris helps out with the vocals.

It made me wish I was thirty tears younger and could get in there and mosh with the rest. To me, it’s all about the let’s ‘ave it, let’s go mental music that teenage music is about.

Here’s their song, Answers.

Their set finished, the kids were not going to let them go. They had to come back for an encore, here they are playing Keep on Falling.

They weren’t short of extra songs. Since their formation earlier this year, they have penned a catalogue of new songs that would have taken most established bands several years to complete. These guys are driven by youthful energy. Songs writers in the band have been doing a great job spinning out new tunes.

With a launch like this, they have a defiantly bright future ahead of them. They are full of ambition, they are insatiably restless and they are dripping with adrenaline-fuelled talent. Artsin will be following their progress with keen interest.

Alex Van Roose of Midnight Wire, 2011

Supporting Midnight Wire were two bands. The well established Leicester boys Weekend Schemers and, also launching their career, the newly formed Vincents.

Weekend Schemers have something in common with the headline band: their ability to fire up a crowd and ply them with intoxicating songs. Frequently likened to MUSE, either in a complementary or in a derogatory way, depending on how you see things, these four lads always lay on a party when they take to the stage.

Weekend Schemers on stage at Sub 91 in 2011

Photo of Weekend Schemers on stage

They love their sing-along numbers, even if, at times they have a little difficulty in getting the audience to sing the right words at the right times.

Watch this video of Weekend Schemers.

The band has a big asset in the form of Andy Cooper, whose big voice and intense stage presence adds a big slice of dazzle to the band’s output.

Andy Cooper on stage with Weekend Schemers in 2011

With sterling support from guitarist Connor Evans and bassist Joe Doyle, not forgetting the resounding work of Harry Radburn behind them, they know how to wow a crowd.

Talking to me after the show, Andy Cooper was quick to assure me that a clutch of new songs is on their way which definitely represents a move away from their Muse-like origins. “The band has found its own sound now”, he said, confidently.

They were only 16 when we wrote the feature about them. Now, older and more experienced, with an extensive gigography behind them, they have been surprising everyone with their work. They started out as an indie-pop ice cream van of a band. This year, they have shown us their new side, their ability to metamorphose into a bunch of guys that can rustle up some nouvelle cuisine musical offerings.

Watch this video of Weekend Schemers performing at the show.

The Vincents played their first public gig tonight. The Leicester four-piece delivered an eclectic course of songs, ranging from medium-paced melodies to fast numbers in which individual musicians could showcase their skills.

With Pascal Mowla (ex-Capture the Flag) on lead guitar, they focused intently on playing their instruments, keeping in time and consequently didn’t project much stage presence. It was all rather new-bandish.

It took them a while to warm up. A noticeable lack of backing vocals is something that is being addressed, the bassist was keen to tell me afterwards. Despite their wet-ears newbieness, they punched out some respectable pieces. Drummer Sam got to show off his skills on the skins in a fireworks solo.

Clearly some instrumental talent here but until they get to grips with the vocal layer, they won’t amount to much, unless they decide to follow Maybeshewill down the purely instrumental route, but I doubt that.

What makes the other two bands stand out from the local scene generally, is their ability to manufacture memorable songs. Where samey is the norm, alongside instantly-forgettable music, it’s always exciting when bands turn up with stuff you do want to listen to again and can actually remember on the way home. Pascal reassured me that The Vincents are still developing. Others wondered why they had decided to launch at this moment in time when most other newbie groups would have played multiple smaller gigs to get the flying hours to justify a big venue launch party.

All in all, a magnificently good gig. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something huge. It’s a testament to their ambition that they chose a big venue to launch their act, confident that they could fill it with their reputation and self-confidence.

Midnight Wire at the Sub 91.

This page was published on 14/5/19

When this page was published, the magazine was being run by ArtsIn Productions Limited.

Henry Lowther

From Arts in Leicestershire magazine, 2013

Jazz and blues in Leicester and Leicestershire 2012 to 2013

Interview with Henry Lowther

Jazz trumpeter Henry Lowther was born in Leicester in 1941. In our interview, he talks about his early days in Leicester, playing at Woodstock, The Leicester Jazz scene and his advice to today’s young jazz musicians.

Jazz musician Henry Lowther

What are your earliest memories of Leicester?

I was born and spent the first years of my childhood in Boundary Road, adjacent to the old Aylestone Road gas works and some of my earliest memories are of the coal heaps behind the red brick wall across the road from our house and of the Victorian gasometers. As a child, I was fascinated by these and also by the little pannier tank railway locomotives that pulled the wagons of coal about. Another early memory is of a lounge area by the toilets in Lewis’s department store where my mother used to take me. There were two rose coloured mirrors facing each other on opposite walls and these created reflections that stretched images to infinity.

When did you get into music? Did you come from a musical family?

I grew up in a Salvation Army family and from an early age was surrounded by music and musicians. There were brass instrument players on both sides of my family and I was taught to play the cornet by my father. I was so young when I learnt to read music that I can’t remember a time in my life when I couldn’t. My mother also enjoyed listening to opera. My first jazz playing was also in Leicester, playing with students in the Queen’s Hall at Leicester University.

I’m told you played at Woodstock. Which artists do you remember most from that?

I played at the famous Woodstock festival in August 1969, with the Keef Hartley Band. We played on a Saturday afternoon. Whether you played or not depended on whether you could manage to get on a helicopter. We were never included in the Woodstock film because our brilliant (sic) manager wouldn’t let them film us without money upfront! What a genius! During the two or three hours we were there I saw Santana and the compere, John Sebastien. The Incredible String Band were playing as we were leaving.

What do you think of today’s Jazz Scene?

It’s often said that jazz is dead but won’t lie down! In many ways this is true but it is also true that jazz is having a harder time than ever these days. There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is a lack of interest and therefore a lack of exposure in the media. One possible effect of this is that, with some exceptions, the average age of the jazz audience is now about my age (in my 60s) and young people are not being attracted to the music. Jazz has always been a bit maverick in the sense that neither the media, the music industry, the broadcasters or the Arts establishment can decide what to do with it. Is it high brow art music or low brow light entertainment? Of course, it’s neither or both, some of it is and some of it isn’t. The present Government has not been supportive either, even obstructive, with it’s insane and irrational Premises Licence Act which came into force in November 2005. I know of a number of venues that no longer host live music events because they couldn’t be bothered with the red tape or weren’t prepared to meet the extra costs involved. On a more optimistic note, there are dozens of wonderful and many outstanding young jazz musicians emerging and they all do it for no other reason than the love of the music. In London there are now one or two venues which these young musicians run and organise themselves and, indeed, they are also attracting a young audience. I wish them all well! They deserve to be supported as much as possible.

Did you play any memorable Jazz concerts here in Leicester?

I’ve played in Leicester many times over the years, right back to my teen years, in Salvation Army halls, in the wonderful De Montfort Hall (playing the violin with the Leicester Symphony Orchestra), the old Granby Halls (with Manfred Mann), in pubs and in recent years in the Y Theatre. Perhaps the most memorable gig was 30 odd years ago when I played in the Queen’s Hall in Leicester University with a band called the BBC Radio Leicester Big Band. This was led by Roger Eames, who at the time was a BBC Radio Leicester producer. I was a guest soloist along with saxophonist Alan Skidmore and the brilliant drummer Tony Oxley. We were actually the support band for a quintet led by the legendary American bassist and composer Charlie Mingus.

Your band was called “Still Waters” – are they still playing? What happened to them?

Still Waters is still in existence even though we haven’t been doing a lot recently. We do have a couple of gigs in London in May and will be appearing at the London Jazz Festival in November. This latter gig will also be with the Royal Academy of Music’s Big Band which will be featuring compositions by myself and two other members of Still Waters, saxophonist Pete Hurt and pianist Pete Saberton.

Do you have a message for young jazz players in leicester starting out on their musical career?

Perhaps the most difficult question, particularly after my earlier comments! My advice would simply be to be determined to play, don’t give up, practice and above all to love and live the music. I’m not a romantic about jazz but Charlie Parker said it when he said, “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn!” Also, don’t play only for yourself but remember that there are other musicians on the bandstand with you. Listen, learn from and play with them! On a practical note, at one time I would say go to London because that’s where all the musicians are but now an additional problem is that many musicians can no longer afford to live there so they are now scattered all over the place so there is, sadly, less of a community than in the past.

Find out more about Henry Lowther on Wikipedia.

Our pick of the arts events for 2013

From Arts in Leicester magazine, 2013

We look back through the pages of Artsin and pick out some of the arts, heritage and cultural events that stood out for us in 2013.

2013: Leicester year for the arts at a glance


Nilima Devi is Awarded MBE

Snow hits live music

Remains confirmed as King Richard III

Live Music in January

Singers appear in the music showcase

February The exhibition opens around King Richard’s remains

Curve hosts clinical depression show

Comedian Kirsty Munro at Cookie show

Ceri Dupree at Curve show

Live Music in February

The Ladykillers at Curve

The youth of Loughborough launched

March Leicester’s bid for 2017 confirmed

BalletBoyz in The Talent at Curve

Live music in March

We look at the New Walk Museum

The opening of Makers Yard craft centre

April City art collection goes worldwide

Pagan burials found in the city

New look for Silver Street

Free give-away at World Book Night

Live music in April

Crowds gather for St. George’s day festivities

Architecture and art celebrated

New show highlights music artists

Funeral For A Friend play in Leicester

May By The Rivers band launch album at O2 show

Success for singers in a national competition

US author visits Leicester

Live Music in May

Music celebrated by a photo exhibition

Urban music festival

Music podcast launched

Students win an award for cinema design

Los Angeles band OPM play at Soundhouse

Leaving Party wins OBS at Grand Final

Singer Siobhan Mazzie launches an album

June Indian Summer Festival success

Music in Leicester web site launched

Event highlights cultural quarter

July Photographer Harjinder Ohbi dies

Coffin unearthed in Greyfriars dig

Sweeny Todd opens at Curve

Work on the new art gallery


Thousands celebrate Gay Pride

Judge reviews Richard III bones claim

Huge crowds at Mela festival

The city holds the first festival

Alice Hawkins honoured by a statue

History of music project launched

September Kasabian back 2017 bid

Twelfth Night show at Curve

Food and drink section updated

October Diwali lights up the city

Rocky Horror show at Curve

November Arts Council chief comes to Leicester

Chicago opens at Curve

Premier of Black Music History film

Kasabian to play in Leicester festival

Leicester loses 2017 bid to Hull

We urge the world to Come To Leicester

December The landmark for the redevelopment of the city market

Singer Sam Bailey wins X-factor

Live music reviewed for 2013 in MIL

Painter Greg Harris featured

Phoenix hosts a charity screening

See a facsimile copy of the original page (requires a PDF reader), Review of the arts in Leicester for 2013.

This post was published on 22/2/19

Literature 2011

Page from 2011 on Leicester writers and literature

Literature books and poetry news 2011

This is an archive of the page in the old Arts in Leicestershire magazine from 2011. It was copied from an off-line archive file.

This page is part of the literature section.

For dates of spoken word, poetry, comedy and other shows see our events page

Reviews of spoken word shows and performance artists.

See our page on literature for 2010

See our new page on Poets and Poetry of Leicester.

On this page: Poetry at the Red Tent | Poetry Prize 2012 | Everybody’s reading | John Cooper Clarke | Timothy Grayson | Hardeep Singh Kholi | Adam Taylor | Michael Waters | Nigel Slater | City Libraries|

9th February

Gay History Month

February is LGBT History Month. In both the UK and around the world lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and trans people are celebrating our heritage. In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland we are adding to that sense of celebration. Untold Stories is the LGBT History Project in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland dedicated to collecting the personal memories of local LGBT people over a three year period. The Project will become a permanent exhibition to our community for future generations to learn how we used to live in years gone by.

On 23 -29 February Untold Stories will have a week-long event at Leicester Central Library, Leicester LGBT Centre and other venues to commemorate the journey our community has taken to where we are today. Everyone is invited and encouraged to visit and participate in the events that are taking place.

Details from the LGBT Centre web site

2nd February

Local author steaming along

The last few years have seen the rise of a genre dubbed only as Steampunk. Usually set in the Victorian era and taking the lead from authors such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, books, films and music are taking a fresh look at the life and technologies of the time. Imagine a time when the skies were filled with airships, the first computers were just being created and we were at war with creatures from Mars, and you’re not far off the mark.

Recently Hinckley based author Rae Gee has gotten in on this wonderfully imaginative genre. Her first book, Mars On The Rise, takes a look at the life of storyteller Cedo Reilly, a young man who unwittingly gets involved with the country’s largest weapons manufacturer. Mars On The Rise is being released in 2012 by US publisher Torquere Press and Rae is having the book launch right here in the Midlands.

Of her books, she says, “It feels quite natural to be writing about machines that people would never have thought existed (and possibly never did, but that’s half the fun!). My family has a long history of engineering and it seems to have seeped into my writing. The whole thing with being published has been a crazy ride. The launch is going to be a lot of fun. We’ve got two fantastic bands who are going to be playing on the night. One performs old music hall songs, while the other is an industrial/metal band with a Victorian twist.”

Mars On The Rise has its UK launch on May 12th at the Century Theatre in Coalville. Tickets are available £20, for which you’ll receive a copy of the book, various Victorian themed goodies, entrance to the Century Theatre, and live entertainment all night. There are a limited amount of tickets available

More information about this on Facebook

29th November

A night of poetry magic at the Rent Tent

Rob Gee, Carol Leeming and Timothy Grayson were among the poets who performed their work tonight at Leicester’s increasingly popular spoken word and music venue, The Red Tent, in Pocklingtons Walk

Poet and songwriter Alex read some of his work; ex-band member and painter, this talented guy had some of his work exhibited in the Galleri Gestur touring gallery.

Yevgeny Salisbury is a poet and a painter; his miniature St.Lad by the Chip Shop is reminiscent of a Russian Orthodox icon. It was unveiled tonight and is now part of the Gallerí Gestur, touring exhibition in a box. Yevgeny explained the background to the piece, which was inspired by one of the students he taught who wore a blue hoody, which reminded him of the Virgin Mary. It was a picture and a poem that set out to challenge the demonisation of teenagers.

Yevgeny Salisbury with Magnus Gestsson

Carol Leeming compared the evening and read some of her own works.

The headline performer tonight was Leicester’s Rob Gee. His work is spoken poetry which blends into narrative and rap at times, but always hugely enjoyable and happily peppered with one-liners that had the audience in fits of laughter.

Rob Gee looks at the picture St Lad by the Chip Shop

Recently returned from his tour of the United States, Timothy Grayson took to the floor to read some new works. Tim is a champion of the Poetry Brothel and the Brothelian Movement.

The Rent Tent has become a notable venue for live music, poetry performances and art exhibitions. It’s at 8 Pocklingtons Walk.

See our news item on events at the Red Tent

Find out about Timothy Grayson and the poetry whores on tour.

See our review of Rob Gee’s show Smart Arse.

27th October

Poetry prize 2012

English Association Fellows’ Poetry Prize 2012

Your reader, supporters and contributors may be interested to hear about the English Association’s Fellows’ Poetry Prize, writes Elizabeth Howard-Laity. The prize is sponsored by the late Professor Emerita Miriam Allott. This year’s entries will be judged by John Lucas, Philip Gross and Val Warner. Submissions are invited from any UK resident aged 16 and over. The theme this year is ‘Dickens’ and poems should be a maximum of 30 lines. Entry is £5 per poem (max 3 poems) and prizes are £500, £300 and £200.

The winning poets are invited to read their poems at the award presentation in May, and their poems are published in our flagship journal English, and, later, on the English Association website. Full details and submission form (including details for electronic submission) are on our website www.le.ac.uk/engassoc/fpp.html

Deadline for entries is 31 December 2011.

Library central to city’s reading festival

LEICESTER’S Central Library will be at the heart of a nine-day programme of events celebrating all thing’s book-related as Everybody’s Reading returns to the city.

Everybody’s Reading 2011 runs from Saturday, October 1 until Sunday, October 9, and the recently revamped Bishop Street library will host a number of events and workshops with high profile writers and performers as part of the citywide festival.

Highlights at Leicester Central Library include a chance to celebrate National Poetry in the company of national treasure John Agard (Oct 6) or enjoy Britain’s best-selling sci-fi novelist Peter F Hamilton in conversation with Professor George Fraser, Director of the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester as they debate science fiction versus science reality.

And Leicester authors Bali Rai and Dan Tunstall will be taking questions in a panel discussion as part of the Central Library’s Young Adults Day on Wednesday (Oct 5). The festival bows out with a four-day Finale WeekendER at Leicester Central Library where visitors can read, write and relax with books, tea, live performance and great company.

Catering will be provided by Art-Tea events and visitors can take part in a range of workshops including art inspired by the library’s collection of recipe books or a Knit and Think poetry session led by Leicester Libraries’ Book Doctor Alison Dunne.

Theatre company Maison Foo will out and about around Central Library on Friday quizzing people on their favourite books and cataloguing memories and pre-schoolers are invited to come along dressed as an alien and enjoy some storytelling inspired by outer space at the Friday morning Toddler time session.

There will also be lots of opportunities to meet and mingle with Everybody’s Reading festival patrons like Bali Rai and City Mayor Peter Soulsby. Cllr Sarah Russell, assistant city mayor responsible for neighbourhood services, said: “The new Central Library is the perfect venue to be at the heart of a festival that celebrates books and the joy of reading. This is a fantastic and exciting programme of events and it’s wonderful that the festival has attracted so many big names from the literary world.”

Everybody’s Reading 2011 takes place at a variety of venues across the city. Full details and times for all events are available from

Everybodys reading Leicester

John Cooper Clarke in Leicester

See our interview and feature article on the legendary beat poet John Cooper Clarke.

Leicester poet plans American tour

Poet Tim Grayson is busy raising funds for his planned tour of America. Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s visit to America to give speeches on Aestheticism, Tim plans to tour the US in October to unite artistic dissidents and instruct them in the teachings of the Brothellian Movement.

You can see the full story on his website including a video of Tim explaining the background to the idea.

Hardeep Singh Kohli 6th July 7pm

Leicester Central Library, Bishop Street, Leicester LE1 6AA

Hardeep Singh Kohli is back in Leicester by popular demand! Broadcaster, writer and all-round ‘character’, Hardeep will entertain with tales of his life and writing, travel and cooking and how he became The Nearly Naked Chef.

Tickets are £2.00 and are available from the library, or reservations can be made by phoning 0116 299 5401. Please note tickets must be paid for by 5pm on July 5th so that any spare ones can be sold on the door. Last time we were a sell-out for Hardeep!

The author at the city’s central library

A CELEBRITY author, cook and comedian will be entertaining visitors to Leicester’s Central Library next month. Hardeep Singh Kohli, who is a renowned broadcaster, writer and entertainer, will be talking about his life in writing, travel and cooking on Wednesday, July 6, at 7pm, at the library in Leicester’s Bishop Street.

Hardeep, who was born in Glasgow to Indian parents, studied law before joining the BBC and directing children’s television shows, including the Bafta award-winning programme It’ll Never Work. He has presented a variety of television programmes, including Newsnight Review, and wrote the book Indian Takeaway, about food and travel in India.

Tickets for the event cost £2, and booking early is advised.
Contact the Library on 0116 299 5401, or email central-library at leicester.gov.uk

22nd June

Leicester poet publishes a new blog for his work

Leicester poet Adam Daniel Taylor has set up a blog and has published some of his poetry on it. The 23-year-old poet finds creative writing appealing because ‘ it cleanses the heart and soul and completely frees your mind of any tension you may hold in it.’

You can see Adam’s blog and read some of his work.

Michael Waters plus three poets from Leicester July 13th 6pm

Leicester Central Library, Bishop Street.

Come along for this rare chance to hear a reading by leading American poet, Michael Waters who is launching his 9th and the latest book published by Shoestring Press. Michael’s poetry is beautiful, human and accessible. He will be accompanied by three of Leicester’s most accomplished spoken word artists. Lydia Towsey, Bobba Cass and Fatima Al Matar. This is a free event


The Grassroutes project is now inviting applications from writers living in Leicestershire for a £1,000 creative writing commission, which will take the form of a short story, long poem, poem sequence or performance piece that is also suited to the page.

The work should be a maximum of 5,000 words or should take up no more than 5 pages in the case of poetry. The commissioned work will be featured at two GRASSROUTES exhibitions of creative writing in Leicestershire Libraries and in the David Wilson Library at the University of Leicester (to coincide with the Literary Leicester festival).

The commissioned work should take ‘transcultural Leicester’ as its central theme. The successful applicant will receive £1,000 for their work, including all expenses. Applicants should submit the following in electronic form: A CV detailing your writing experience, A publications list, A sample of creative work (3 pages max), An outline proposal for the commission

These should be sent to Corinne Fowler at csf11 at le.ac.uk no later than 20th April 2011

For more information see this web page

ArtsIn gave away 50 free books as part of World Book Night on Saturday 5th March

As part of World Book Night, ArtsIn gave away free copies of the autobiographical novel Toast on the evening of Saturday 5th March and Sunday 6th March.

The copies were handed out, for the most part, to fans attending live music events at the Musician and the Shed.

Toast is Nigel Slater’s multi-award-winning story of a childhood remembered through food. Whether relating his mother’s ritual burning of the toast, his father’s dreaded Boxing Day stew or such culinary highlights of the day as Arctic Roll and Grilled Grapefruit (then considered something of a status symbol in Wolverhampton), this remarkable memoir vividly recreates daily life in sixties suburban England.

Nigel’s likes and dislikes, aversions and sweet-toothed weaknesses form a fascinating backdrop to this incredibly moving and deliciously evocative portrait of childhood, adolescence and sexual awakening.

Find out more about the one million books give away by World Book Night.

All change at City Libraries

Adrian Wills, Head of Libraries at Leicester City, told us:

The Central Lending Library will be closing on Saturday 19th March in final preparation for Leicester’s new and improved centralised service. The service will close to allow for the transfer of furniture, books and equipment from the Belvoir Street-based library to the new revamped ‘Leicester Central Library’ (the former Reference and Information Library in Bishop Street).

The revamped ‘Leicester Central Library’ will open its doors to the public on Tuesday 26 April. As a result of the closure, due dates on all Central library loans will be extended until the new library opens. Alternative study space is being made available in the Adult Education College in Wellington Street between March 23 and April 21.

Library users are also encouraged to access any of the other 15 community libraries across the city while the work is being completed. As part of the transition process, the Belvoir Street library will close so that the furniture, books and computers can be transferred to the new centralised service in Bishop Street. The revamped service at Bishop Street is really exciting and the building improvements are looking very good.

Many of the original features of the 1905 Carnegie Library building are being restored. The refurbished building will bring all central library services together under one roof including books for loan, reference and information resources, public access computers, an IT training suite and an exciting programme of author events.

We hope that the closure will not be too much of an inconvenience to users and we have tried to minimise the impact by extending due dates on all central library loans. Centralising the city’s library service will deliver a number of benefits to members of the public including a refurbished, lighter and brighter building with plans to open out both floors to provide additional space. It will also enable improvements to stock layout and signage, both of which were flagged up during the earlier public consultation held in February 2010.

Once vacant, the former Lending Library building in Belvoir Street will be used by Leicester Adult Education College. The college will extend its current City Multi-Access Centre (City MAC) into the building, which supports local people into work. In addition, the building will provide more public space for voluntary and community groups. The building is expected to reopen to the public in its new role in early summer of this year.

Leicestershire Libraries told us:

Tell us who your favourite book character is, and why, in no more than 50 words and win your Top 10 favourite paperbacks.

The closing date for the competition is Saturday 9th April 2011.

There are prizes for under 12s and adults. Entrants must be library members. (If you’re not a member already it’s very easy to join at your local library or online.)
Competition entry forms are available from your local library or from our website:

Entries will be judged by Pippa Goodhart, Leicester children’s’ author, Farhana Shaikh, editor of The Asian Writer and Councillor Sarah Russell.
A special prize-giving event will take place in our refurbished Central Library in Bishop Street on May 12th.

Special World Book Day events on 3rd March

All events are free but prior booking may be required.

Bali Rai, Leicester author of teenage novels will talk to school groups about his writing.
Belgrave Library 10.00 am – 12.00 noon
The event also open to the general public.
Westcotes Library 1.00 pm – 3.00 pm – this event is for schools only.

Ned Newitt, local history author will show slides and talk about his book, The Slums of Leicester.
New Parks Centre Library 10.30 am – 12.00 noon.
For bookings telephone 0116 229 8200 (Early booking is advised as numbers are limited.)

Lynda Page, the author of No Way Out and Secrets to Keep, will talk about her books and how she started writing.
Lynda is a very popular local author who loves to share her memories of Leicester. (She’d also like to hear yours!)
Highfields Library 2.30 pm – 4.00 pm

Stephen Booth, crime writer and creator of the popular Cooper and Fry series, will talk about his books.
Stephen sets his novels in Derbyshire and is a very successful Top 10 author. (His books have been flying off the display shelves at Beaumont Leys Library since we started to promote this event.)
Everyone is welcome, and we think you will find it particularly interesting if you’re a budding author as Stephen will be holding a question and answer session after his talk.
Beaumont Leys Library 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm
For bookings, telephone 0116 299 5460

See our review of Luke Wright’s appearance in Leicester


Performance poet Luke Wright

See our review of Performance Poet Luke Wright’s show in Leicester.

Read our review of Byron Vincent’s show at the Y Theatre.

Creative Writing School

Masterclass in Performance Poetry

Course no. 1005, Mondays from 7pm to 9pm, starting 28 February. Five sessions, £50. Renowned performance poet Jean Binta Breeze will share her considerable skills in creating poetry, especially for the stage. Over five sessions, students will learn the nature of performance poetry, gain an insight into types and styles of poems, learn how to note them down and then how to perform them

Writers’ Manuscript Clinics
Course no 1013, Mondays 10.00 – 12.00, starting 28 February. Seven sessions, £70. These manuscript-in-progress workshops are ideal for students who have started a piece of work and want to take it further. Under the guidance of experienced tutors, members share their work with the group and tutor, then offer and receive peer feedback in a friendly, supportive environment

Course no 1021, Wednesdays 10.00-12.00, starting 2 March. Seven sessions, £70. Under the guidance of award-winning writer Rod Duncan, and through group and individual work, students will learn to identify the genre, discover how plot works, to create characters and identify how to use them in longer fiction, and to write dialogue and how to use it effectively

Courses in writing are available at the Writing School Leicester

The East Midlands Poetry Slam – Saturday 12th February

Organised by spoken word promoters WORD and Leicester Libraries, this live poetry competition is open to everyone from the novice to veteran. All you need is a maximum of three poems (none longer than three minutes) and the ability to speak. Compered by Rob Gee and Lydia Towsey.

The Y Theatre, 7 East Street, Leicester, £6/£4 (performers free).

Word Poetry

International Women’s Month – with Aoife Mannix – Tuesday 1st March

Aoife Mannix is an Irish writer and poet based in London. Her first novel Heritage of Secrets was published in 2008.

The Y Theatre, 7 East Street, Leicester. £3/£2. Full details are on our events page.

Word Poetry

Voicing Things … with Leicestershire’s Open Museums – Tuesday 5th April

A showcase of performance and film, facilitated by established poets Steve Carroll and Mark Goodwin and featuring a selection of people from across the country. The showcase will draw inspiration from a variety of museum objects and demonstrate how words and objects can be good for the soul.

The Y Theatre, 7 East Street, Leicester. £3/£2.

Word Poetry

Review – Tuesday 25th January – Open ‘mic’ poetry night at the Gay Centre

This was surprisingly good! Headlined by the legendary Carol Leeming, the open mic contributors were also impressive: Jacob and Tim Grayson did a particularly impressive performance of their work. The indomitable Bobba Cass pulled it all together and got everyone involved, as well as reading his own work. Tim Grayson’s fine work was laden with finely formed rimes and Jacob did an amazing rap which really was scintillating.

Lots of events coming up, organised by Word – the longest-running poetry and spoken word night in the Midlands. Not to be missed is the East Midlands Poetry Slam on 12th February at the Y Theatre in East Street.

The floor contributors were thoroughly good but the night was headlined by the legendary poetess and singer, Carol Leeming, who read a selection of her amazing poems. The British born singer/songwriter (who lives in Leicester) gave us a selection of her superbly well-written poems, laden with spellbinding images and incandescent stories. A particular favourite of mine was the story about the Black Russian. The poem was laden with glorious lines and phrases, stunning images and with a sharp, surprise ending.

Find out more about Carol Leeming on Pineapster | Wikipedia | LACAF | MySpace

Word Poetry

Other pages you might like:

Rob Gee at the Y, 13th February

Inspired Quill – literature review blog

Recommended books

Leicester authors

Writing East Midlands

History of Leicester Music

Archived article about history of music in Leicester from November 2017

20th November 2018

Previously published in Music in Leicester Magazine

Going to Gigs Round 11

Wednesday 15th November 2017
by Trevor Locke

In this issue: how the rise of the Internet changed the face of music.

I tried to figure out when I first used the Internet. As far as I can make out, it would have been in 1997. That was the year that I started my own web design business. It was before I got involved in Leicester’s live music scene. Around this time I got involved with the Internet service provider AOL (America On-Line). I worked for them hosting live chat rooms. It was not until 2001 that I started to be involved in rock music. That was the year I went to my first ever rock festival – at Reading. I am sure there was a website for the Reading festival that year. So, I can confidently say that by the early noughties, music has found its place on the Internet. In 2005 I launched my first website that included a substantial amount of content about music in Leicester. It was in February 2005 that I registered the domain name artsinleicestershire.co.uk and used it to publish a website concerned with the arts in general and music in particular.

The MP3 file format was introduced in 1993, although some sources trace the origins of the music audio file format back to 1991. However, the first MP3 players did not really get going until 1997. As the Internet became widely available in Britain, people took to downloading music tracks and sharing them with their friends.

December 2010 I wrote this comment:

We are all passionate about live music. We want to see more people attending gigs because we believe it is a really great way to spend an evening. But how do we do it? One solution that is being delivered, is to print a monthly listing of gigs across all venues and distribute it as widely as possible. I support this. Even though I spend a lot of my working day pushing out information about gigs – on the Internet – I realise that there is still a proportion of the population who do not go on the ‘Net every day. Even if they do, they tend to use it just for e-mail and don’t spend time surfing the web sites and social media outlets where they could come across info about live music.

The key point from that was that, back then, it was widely realised that not everyone used the Internet on a daily basis and a significant proportion of people never used the world wide web on their computers – I say ‘computers’ because, even in 2010, mobile phones were not as widely used as the main device for web browsing as they are today.

People take to the Internet in large numbers

The growth of the Internet, from 2002 onwards, brought huge changes to the way that music was distributed. It also allowed bands to reach a wider audience through the world wide web. This period saw a huge growth in music festivals and live music venues. The advent of personalised music-playing devices, from the Walkman in the 1960s to the iPhone, allowed listening to become a personalised experience. By contrast, the rise of the big festivals, the raves and the construction of high-capacity arenas, brought back a social element to the experience of music, one not seen since the demise of the music halls in the early twentieth century.

One other thing, that the rise of mass Internet usage brought about, was the ability of bands, musicians and singers to publish their own music. This was challenging the industrial supremacy of the Record Labels. Mass broadband and the popularity of first Myspace and then Facebook, enabled the rise of the DIY artist, those who could record in their bedrooms and reach a market very cheaply, compared to the days when the production of gramophone records was prohibitively expensive for the group or individual. YouTube, ReverbNation and Soundcloud further aided the rise of the self-production of music.

In Leicester, as in many other cities and towns, the live music venues allowed bands and artists to put on their own gigs. This fuelled the growth in bands; it became unnecessary to be signed to a record label to achieve anything and for thousands of young men and women in Leicester, producing music for their fans became a realistic possibility. The age of the DIY music artist had begun. Hundreds of bedrooms became recording studios. Shops began to sell recording equipment; in Leicester, retail outlets like Maplins did a roaring trade in cheap microphones, amps and mixing devices. As laptops became increasingly affordable, musicians could download software and begin to mix and master their own work in a way that was impossible before.

Arts in Leicester magazine developed a timeline of music history, as part of its series of articles on the history of Leicester’s music.

The 1990s

Some general things that give the flavour of what happened in the 90s.

1991 – formation of the band Cornershop. Cornershop was formed by Tjinder Singh, his brother Avtar, (both of whom lived in Leicester at the time the band was formed), David Chambers and Ben Ayres. Their music is a fusion of Indian music, Britpop and electronic dance music.
1994 – Pink Box opens. Pink Box was set up as a hobby business by record collecting fans Sue and Chris Garland in 1994, not as a record label but to sell rock and indie records at record fairs around Central England. The name Pink Box coming from the record storage boxes. Frustrated by the lack of national coverage to bands from the East Midlands we decided to release a record on our own label [Pink Box Records]
1995 -The Abbey Park Show was axed in 1995, nearly 50 years after its inception.
1995 – Stayfree opens in Conduit Street. Before that, they were in Friday Street.
1996 -The start of Takeover Radio.
1996 – Flat Five records set up by the Potts brothers in honour of their father the legendary jazz trumpeter Mick Potts.
1997 – the formation of Kasabian (previously known as Saracuse, reputed to have played under that name at The Shed.) The original band members were from the Leicestershire villages of Blaby and Countesthorpe. Kasabian has won major music awards and has been nominated 27 times to date. They are one of the biggest indie bands in the country.
1998 – formation of The Young Knives in Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Formed in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, the band is known for its energetic live performances and trendy tweed outfits. They broke into the music industry in 2002.
1999 – Forerunner of Kasabian – Saracuse – plays at The Shed.
Kingsize formed in 1999…still going. First gig at the Royal Mail pub.

The noughties – bands and music

2000 – Alan Freeman’s account of bands in the 2000s.
2000 – Darren Nockles becomes a promoter at the Musician. Previously it was called The Bakers Arms.
2001 – the first Summer Sundae festival is held.
2001 – formation of Ist, a Leicester band signed to Pink Box Records.
June 2002 – Live rock music in the city centre. Music Live rocks in Leicester. More than 1,000 performers packed six stages across Leicester city centre this Bank Holiday.
2002 -The Abbey Park Festival, 2003 to 2005

With the birth of Myspace, every band and singer was able to have a presence on the Internet. Fans were able to befriend their favourite acts and original bands could distribute their recorded tracks free of charge or for a small price. Before the rise of Facebook, from 2004, Myspace was the dominant platform on the Internet.

2003 to 2005 – Myspace became the dominant international social networking platform.
Leicester bands were mainly on Myspace from 2003 to 2010, when Facebook began to replace Myspace as the Internet outlet of choice for the majority of bands and artists.
Leicester developed a live music economy as venues, bands and festivals began to grow. As the number of live music venues grew, adding to pubs and clubs as placed where live music could be performed, band and artists began to put on their own gigs.
2003 – Mosh night club opened.
September 2004 – Kasabian release their debut album, having started life as Saracuse, playing one of the first gigs at The Shed, in 2009. The Shed opened in 1994.

Music takes to the ‘net

The earliest websites made for bands in Leicester. Ictus was one of the first unsigned Leicester bands to have its own domain name and website.

2004 – March – maybeshewill.net registered.
2004 – The old Musician closed its doors for the last time on 31 December 2004. It re-opened in 2005.
2004 – Facebook founded. By 2009 it had become the most used social networking site on the planet. By the end of 2012 over half of the UK’s internet users had a Facebook account.
2004 – The first OBS (Original Bands Showcase).
2004 – Ainley’s record store closed. Wayne Allen was the manager of the store between 1983 and 2001. It was situated opposite the Clock Tower. He is credited with bringing some of the biggest names in music to the Leicester store, including Englebert Humperdinck, Radiohead, Del Amitri, St Etienne, Stereophonics, Shed Seven and Bananarama. He died in 2012.

Several other record shops in the centre of Leicester are remembered, including BackTrack Records and Boogaloo, and in current times HMV, 2 Funky and Rockaboom records. People remember Revolver Records, Cank Street Records, Virgin Records, BPM, Archers, Reef, Chakademas, Pliers, MVC, Village Square, A G Kemble, Archers, A T Brown, Brees, Dalton & Son, The Record Cellar, World Records in London Road, and Carousel.

2005 – the first Glastonbudget festival. To hell and back, Meatloaf tribute band, Ded Hot Chilli Peppers, One Step Behind (Madness tribute), Oasish, The Jamm, were amongst the bands that played.
2005 – Arts in Leicestershire founded. The domain name was registered on 22nd February. Soon followed by the publication of the early version of the Arts in Leicestershire web site.
2005 – The Donkey in Welford Road becomes a live music venue.
2005 – Kevin Hewick started on Facebook.
2005 – The Musician reopened on 1 February, actually smaller than before because of the toilet repositioning, and live music continued unabated until May.
2005 – formation of Leicestershire band Roxum.
2006 – Horus Music established in Birmingham, later to move to Leicester which is where it is now.
2006 – The Glastonbudget Festival starts to put on local original bands such as The Authentics, UgLi, Jack of Hearts, The Stiff Naked Fools, Ego Armalade, Proud to have met you, Platinum JAR, Ictus.
2007 – many more local original bands (‘new acts’) play at Glastonbudget, such as Ictus, Patchwork Grace, Skam#, The Mile, Subdude, Jack of Hearts, Black River Project, Utopians, Squid Ate Lucy, Codes, C*Bob, Purple and the Rains, amongst many others. Playing at Glastonbudget was for many of the new, original bands a premium achievement when this was one fo the new local festivals of any importance.
2008 – July, the Heroes win a competition to be opening band on the main stage at Summer Sundae.’ Thousands of you voted and the results are in… The winners are… Leicester band The Heroes are to open The Weekender in Leicester.’ Guitarist Alex Van Roose went on to form Midnight Wire and lead vocalist Alex Totman went on to form Selby Court band.
2009 – May, Glastonbudget Festival.

The Facebook Generation

2005 to 2014
The growth of Facebook saw the demise of Myspace, as the new social networking platform took off in the UK. Now bands set up a page as soon as they start. Music venues and festivals depend on social media to attract fans and ticket sales at a minimal cost. Previously paper-based music magazines and newspapers begin to close down in favour of online versions. Record label A&R scouts work more on the Internet than at music venues. Contemporary music of Leicester’s bands, singers and rappers as presented on Facebook, Twitter and other parts of the Internet. Leicester bands and singers that have made it on the national and world stage. Through YouTube, Soundcloud, Reverb Nation and Beat 100, people all over the world can listen to Leicester’s music. Twitter becomes a social media outlet for most bands and music artists.

The Internet – early adopters

2006 – the launch of Twitter.
2006 – Trevor Locke joined Facebook
2007 – The first gig reviews published by Arts in Leicester.
2007 – Val McCoy joined Facebook
2008 – Pick of the gigs for 2008 published by Arts in Leicester.
2008 – gig reviews for the year 2008.
2009 – Leicester rock bands in 2009 and earlier published on Arts in Leicester.
2009 – Alan Freeman publishes an online list of Leicester bands.
2009 – Dawson Smith is on Facebook
2009 – Pick of the gigs for 2009 published on Arts in Leicester.
2010 – Reviews of gigs in 2010 published on Arts in Leicester.
2010 – Videos released by Leicester bands in 2010 published on Arts in Leicester.
2011 – A list of all known Leicester bands was published by Arts in Leicester.
2011 – January, The Donkey puts up a page on Facebook
2011 – a list of bands known to exist in Leicester in 2011 was released as a PDF document.
2011, 25th August, By The Rivers band register their domain name.

Some of the milestones on the road to the Internet for everything

The first decade of the new millennium saw the Internet become the default platform for all things to do with bands and music.

The growth of Facebook saw the demise of Myspace as the new social networking platform took off in the UK.
Now bands set up a Facebook page as soon as they start.

iTunes started as a multi-national platform when Apple bought it in 2000. iTunes store started in 2003. It was not until 2007 that iTunes started to become available for Windows computers.
Myspace was launched in 2003. Up to 2008, it was the most visited social media site in the World, when it was overtaken by Facebook.
The rise of the search engines and Google.
In 2004 arcticmonkeys.com was registered. The band, which formed in 2002, was signed in 2005 but before that they had established a sizeable fanbase on Myspace.
YouTube was founded in 2005 and taken over by Google in 2006.
ReverbNation was launched in 2006, as a site for the independent music industry.
Soundcloud was started in Germany in 2007. Between 2007 and 2009 it began to challenge Myspace as the main site for distributing music tracks.
Bandcamp was founded in 2007.
Music venues and festivals depend on social media to attract fans and ticket sales at a minimal cost.
Paper-based music magazines and newspapers begin to close down in favour of online versions.
Record label A&R scouts work more on the Internet than at music venues.
Contemporary music of Leicester’s bands, singers and rappers as presented on Facebook, Twitter and other parts of the Internet began to take off from 2006 onwards.
In Leicester, there were some early adopters of customised domain names and websites.
Many bands took advantage of free social media platforms, especially Myspace. In the list of Leicester rocks bands, published by Arts in Leicester in 2009, links were given to each band’s website and the majority of these were on Myspace, most of them having dedicated addresses, e.g. http://www.myspace.com/bandname.
Kasabian.co.uk was registered in 2002. One of the earliest domain names to be used by a band originated in Leicester. Someone in Leicester registered thescreening.co.uk in 2004.

People on Facebook – the early adopters

Trevor Locke joined Facebook in 2006 with a personal account in his own name. He added a photo album to his account called ‘Leicester rock stars’ in 2007.
Andrew Stone of the Displacements and later Little Night Terrors joined Facebook in 2007.
James Shaw and Jason Westall of The Utopians joined Facebook in 2007.
The Utopians set up a group on Facebook in 2007 and has a single release at The Shed, on 9th October. In July 2007. The Utopians played a ‘guerilla gig’ at a warehouse in Leicester. The band set up a band page in January 2009. They also had a page on Myspace.
Luke D’Mellow (The Utopians) joined Facebook in June 2007.
2007 – An events page for the Utopians at The Shed on 20th December 2007 showed 17 guests going, including Raj Mohanlal, the members of the band and some of their close friends.
2008 – August, Connor Evans (Weekend Schemers) joined Facebook.
DJ Lisa Lashes joined Facebook in May 2009.
2009 – Trevor Locke creates a photo album called “Leicester rock stars” on his Facebook account.

Next time on Going To Gigs: we trace the roots of rock by going back in time to the early days of popular music.

See round 12 of Going to Gigs.

See round 10 of Going to Gigs

Read the introduction to the series.

History of Music

History of popular music in Leicester. Home page.

Home page for the section

History of Music in Leicester

This page provides links to the series of articles about the history of popular music in Leicester and Leicestershire.

In the old magazine, we published several pages that plotted the history of popular music from Roman times to the present day.

As these pages are added, links to them will be published on this page.

Midnight Wire 2011

Leicester bands

Leicester bands

Bands 2013 Home Page of the magazine

Arts in Leicester magazine archive

Rock bands from Leicester

In 2013, Arts in Leicester magazine published a great deal of content about bands (from the local area) that played all styles of rock music, including pop, metal, punk, hip-hop and several other flavours of sound.

Here is a facsimile of the home page for the Bands Section of the magazine from 2013.

Bands homepage

At this time, Leicester and Leicestershire had around four hundred working bands. All of them played live at gigs held in the local venues, pubs and festivals.

Working Projects.
Source folder /bandphotos 2010/

The magazine had thousands of photographs of bands performing at gigs and festivals.

Weekend Schemers. Photo by Kevin Gaughan.
Source folder /bandphotos 2010/

As our archive project develops, we hope to post extracts from gigs reviews, to provide examples of what the magazine published about the shows and gigs its reporters attended.

See also:

Home page of the music section of this magazine.


New tracks recorded by bands from leicester 2011

New tracks from Leicester/shire bands 2011

On this page we flag up new recordings and tracks from Leicester Rock bands.

[Originally published on Arts in Leicester magazine, 2011]

30th December 2011

Black Page Turns


Listening to this BPT track on Youtube – Things that make us hate

Black Page Turns will be releasing 12 brand new songs in 2012 as part of their 12 in 2012 project whereby the band will give one FREE download every month throughout the entire year to fans through their website and mailing list.

Beginning with January’s Things That Make Us Hate, the band have already finished the first 5 tracks so please send the band an email at blackpageturns at yahoo.co.uk to get the first track next month!

2nd December

Witches – Little Night Terrors

Album cover of Witches by Little Night Terros, 2011

Featuring the bass of Dan Holyoak. You can download it for free from the LNT web site.

After the success of their first release, the Fangs EP (which has now sold out), the band are putting out the Witches. Their music is a mixture of fuzzed-up rock and roll, heavy guitars and catchy, harmony-soaked melodies. Think The Rolling Stones, Primal Scream and The Cure jamming together on undiscovered Motown tracks, with Beck popping in every now and then, bringing more drinks.

The lead single and title track Witches is an upfront barrage of psychedelic imagery, John Entwistle basslines and a chorus that will be lodged in your head for ever. The next track Heaven is all heavy, reverberating Mary Chain guitars and driving pounding rhythms, with an upbeat vocal that hides a dark tale of suicide underneath.

What’s Your Persuasion Baby? is a live favourite, with big riffs, swirling leslie organ sounds and a menacing anthemic vocal. The final track on the EP is the dark but hopeful Two Weeks, with a lower wistful vocal which opens out to a powerhouse chorus with screaming harmonies. Dan and James set up a groove fuelled rhythm which comes to a head in the breakdown middle eight with shakers, and a chanted group singalong. The recordings were tracked live with Alan Smyth (Arctic Monkeys, Jarvis Cocker, The Black Moths) at 2Fly Studios, Sheffield.

The tracks have already been played on BBC Radio The Beat with Dean Jackson. They play at Leicester’s White Noise Christmas Festival on Dec 18th and are playing their own headline show at the Firebug on January 19th.

See Little Night Terrors on Facebook

Read our interview with Little Night Terrors in 2010

27th November

Lily – by Flip Like Wilson

Another really good track from one of Leicester’s promising young bands

8th November

New song from Flip Like Wilson

Leicester’s rising pop punkers, Flip Like Wilson, have a new track Further Education, up on You Tube.We like this song, it’s a great poppy, dancy tune, full of Blink 182 riffs. You can get more like that from the Flip Like Wilson page on Bandcamp.

Listen to Lily by Flip Like Wilson on YouTube.

28th September

New track from I Am In Love

Call me an animal

Listen to it and see the vid on YouTube

15th August

New single out today from Go Primitive. We are one is available now from iTunes.

Get We Are One by Go Primitive | Also available from Amazing Tunes

26th July

Jersey Budd

and Leicester City Football Club team up for terrace anthem When You’re Smiling

It’s an absolute honour to be releasing When You’re Smiling, writes Jersey Budd. As a massive Leicester City fan it’s a dream come true. To have Sven and the boys backing it is incredible too.

Hopefully it will raise a massive amount for the charity and act as a catalyst to get our club back where we belong, The Premier League.

The digital download is available now (iTunes) and the physical CD release is slated for August 12th, and will include majestic coming-of-age anthem She Came Back which features Tom Meighan of Kasabian.

The CD will be available from the LCFC club shop as well as Rock-a-Boom, Leicester. ALL proceeds from the release will go to charity. There will be 10 charities to benefit – under the banner of ‘One in a Million.’

More information on Facebook.

4th July

New album from the Elephant band

What’ s interesting about the Elephant band is that the tracks were sent to me by Callum Goddin (ex Aromattics.) That was recommendation enough. I saw the Aromattics playing at Oxjam last year and commented:

Featuring the ear pleasing and vibrant vocals of Callum Goddin, well supported by the expertise of Jordan Birtles on the drums and Mickey Burnage on base. Full of delicious rhythms and catchy harmonies, their set was laden style and vitality. Thoroughly enjoyable.

If you remember them, Leicester band Aromattics were a three piece alternative band from Clarendon Park, Leicester. The band consisted of Callum Goddin, 18, with Guitar and Lead Vocals, Michael Burnage, 18 on Bass and backing vocals and Jordan Birtles, 16 on Drums and backing vocals

Now that’s a talented lineup. Now based in Sheffield, where they formed in late 2010, Elephant consists of Robin Gabriel-Smith, David Westley, Joseph Todd, Ben Winter and Callum Goddin.

The two tracks they sent me were pleasing enough. I Should Be, was to me the better of the two. The vocals were stunning, delicately laced with restrained instrumentals in the introductory passages. A gentle, lyrical story about love and relationships. Sung with real passion, the song was full of charm and poetic colour. The band breaks in to develop the introduction, as the song unravels. Elephant is a product of real musical talent; it’s vocals are sumptuous and the recording is excellent. It’s and astutely restrained piece and three and half minutes of real musical pleasure.

The second track, Big Nose, took me a bit by surprise. The first 40 seconds failed to grab me until the vocal line comes in, then I really got interested. The song glides over the moody backing. It sounds likes blue and certainly it laden with mood and colour. It was dissapointing that the vocals were restricted to the middle part of the track. The instrumentals and electro parts were possibly a little over played. I just wanted to hear more of that fabulous singing.

Both tracks indicate real artistic talent and musical quality. Delightful songs delivered with finesse and creativity.

Elephant by The Elephant Band – Download | Elephant on Facebook

28th June

Leicester hardcore band Through These Eyes

have released a new track – Swirls.

8th May

Hybrid Trend’s

new tracks. We say they are a hit.

Leicester band Hybrid Trend have issued four new tracks. We love them.

25th April

New track from Leicester band I Am In Love

I Am In Love’s new single “I want you” is out today

Hear it on iTunes

K.Y F.t J1,Bizzi,L.J,Chezza,Snidee and Wanda – Be With You girl remix

See the video, hear the track

16th February

White Ashes

Joe Walker of White Ashes, 2011

Leicester band White Ashes have released a new track called Same Old Feeling. Vocals are by Joe Walker. It’s a pleasing tuneful ballad with some big backing from the band. Joe sinks a good deal of passion into the vocals and the whole track has some splendid dynamics. A good song from one of our hard working bands

28th January

I Am In Love

Latest tracks from new Leicester band I am In Love: it’s called Call me an animal. Have a listen.

26th December


Ashes (Welcome Home)

24th December

The Hordes

The Hordes have released a new four track album called Burn the Lies. You can listen online. We liked it!.

28th November

Formal Warning

New single “A million is better than one”

14th November


Paladin’s new track PG is up now on their Myspace. Go listen! It’s rockin’

11th November


New single “Makes Me Go”

Recorded at Park Farm studios and released on SiZe Rcords UK, the track also features B-Side, ‘Make Love’ and a remix by our massively talented label mate Glover.

Autohype fans will love this new recording. It’s got all the great electro sound and massive beats that makes Autohype the dance kings of Leicester. It’s got all the stomping vocals and compelling riffs that we love so much. Well worth buying.

Glover Remix Version

Fans who liked Makes Me Go also liked Make Love

Info from Facebook

8th November


Kasabian’s Tom Meighan will feature on a new single being released to raise funds for UNICEF’s Pakistan Flood Children’s Appeal and the Harley Staples Cancer Trust.

The Kasabian frontman has recorded the rollicking ‘Viva La Revolution’ with Leicester band Superevolver, joining them in pledging all proceeds from sales to UNICEF and the Harley Staples Cancer Trust, a Leicester charity set up in memory of local eight year old Harley, who lost his battle with cancer last November.

Written by Superevolver frontman James Mabbett, ‘Viva La Revolution’ ft. Tom Meighan will be available to download from iTunes, Amazon, Zune, last.fm, Myspace and Spotify from November 8th through Telescope Records. The download also features a bonus remix from Dan Thomas.

New song Viva la Revolution, featuring Kasabian’s Tom Meighan, is available from Itunes.

The Stiggz

The Stiggz Indie Disco Album £2.76


Reviewed by Sam Topley

Syren are an all female alt-rock trio with members from the UK and US. Their beautifully arpeggiated acoustic guitar melodies are complemented by raw, distinctly fretless bass lines. Add their driven, explosive percussion and powerful yet mellow vocals- Syren are definately one to listen out for!

Syren’s subtle, eclectic blend of genres and ability to perform is shown throughout their debut, self released album, ‘Dehumanized’. With thirteen, excellently arranged tracks by three female artists from both sides of the Atlantic, be sure to order your copy from their website. Syren will shortly embark on an extensive UK tour with plenty of shows in and around Leicestershire.

[Some links have been removed from this article because they no longer work]


Starting a new rock band

New bands starting up

[Originally published on Arts in Leicester magazine 17th August 2014

How do bands cope with the pressure of starting up?

Watching a new band playing on stage for the first time, I asked myself ‘how do they cope with playing at their first gig?’

When you watch a band playing on a stage, you are looking to see how they appear – are they relaxed and confident or are they nervous? Are they enjoying being in front of people, playing their own music? Some new bands look like rabbits caught in the headlights. As a writer my task is to observe musicians intently and try to feel what they are feeling. In a way, this is about trying to empathise with them. I watch for the signs: what do I see on their faces? Do I see excitement or fear? Or both? Do I see a bunch of guys who are confident, relaxed, exited? Or, do I see a group of people who are nervous, fearful, worried? Being under pressure does not mean that they will make mistakes or play badly. When they get on a stage and lights go up the adrenaline kicks in. They probably can’t see the audience in the glare of the stage lighting. Their hearts start to beat twice as fast; their minds start to work at a furious pace. They have a lot to concentrate on, whether it’s singing, remembering the lyrics, remembering the tunes they have composed, watching the strings of their instruments to see where their fingers should go. Determination sets in. It might not be until the last couple of songs, of their half-hour set,  that they really get into the swing of the music.

You can tell when a band really wants it. Their faces and the way they perform on stage show how their ambition is burning. They want to be successful. They want their fans to love them, they want to win over people who have not seen them before, they want to leave the room with adulation and their reputation secured. They want to play a set which is going to mark them out and make a name for their music on the scene. If they are to win over audiences, they have to really want it. They have to win over the sceptical and the curious. People who might be hard to convince. People that are not there to see them. These are people who are watching closely to see what this new band is made of.so when they start to play they all have to say to themselves ‘let’s ‘av it.’

How do young, inexperienced musicians cope with that kind of pressure, at the start of a music career as a performing band? Can they get to that level of stage craft where they can portray themselves as a strong, confident, determined group of people who believe in themselves and their music? How do they do that? Maybe that is not what they are actually feeling on the inside, but what do we see on their faces? As a group of people, do they all share the same level of commitment? Do they want it, individually and collectively? Are they really ready to make the sacrifices needed to become a serious band?

When you watch a band performing on stage, it is not always easy to tell what is going on their minds. Some musicians have a knack of smiling and looking happy, whatever they are really like on the inside. Do they look like they are just playing another gig or is this a special event for them? Are they feeling the crowd and are they getting that buzz, that reaction,  that is flowing on to the stage? The older a band gets in its musical career, the more difficult it is to see what they are feeling. Mature musicians tend to get used to live performances (just another gig) and have a professional manner that hides anything going on inside. If something goes wrong,  they joke about it and carry on. It’s just what happens to bands. It comes with the job. They appear as polished professionals, doing a job, well rehearsed, steadily working away at their chosen craft. Some young bands can also look like this.

You can never really tell what’s happening on a stage. You might be able to watch carefully and write about it in such a way as to convey (to readers) what it was like to be there. But all gigs have layers of experience, seams of reality, and you can never really report everything. Fifty people might go and see a band; they will take home with them fifty different reactions and experiences.

(Written at a festival in July between gig slots)