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.

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)


Home page of the music section

This is the home page for the

Music section

16th October 2018

This section will contain articles written about music in the city of Leicester and county of Leicestershire (in the UK.)  This material was previously published in the old Arts in Leicester magazine.

There will also be a series of postings about the History of Music in Leicester. This was an ambitious project to plot popular music in the city from Roman times to the present day (2016)

Music on Arts in Leicester magazine

Music formed an important part of the art coverage of the magazine, ever since it started in 2005. Most of the music covered was rock and pop although we did sometimes also review classical music. Towards the end of the magazine’s period of publication, over half the entire content was about music. It was for that reason we decided to split the music content off to a separate website – which still exists – Music in Leicester.

This is what the home page of the music section looked like in 2012.  (requires a PDF reader.)

Music section home page

(NB. Even if your browser does show the links in this PDF, please DO NOT click on them because they are no longer valid. The PDF is an archive document from 2012.)

As you will see from the image, there were many genres of music, each of which had its own landing page, and these were indicated by logos.

Look at the boxes outlined in red borders. They list pretty much all of the pages in the music section.

The art website also set out to list every known band in Leicester and Leicestershire that existed at the time. Over 400 working bands had been identified (within the area) from 2012 to 2013. Many of them also had their own pages on the website. If any band performed in the city or county, the chances are that the arts magazine reviewed them.

A note about method

The problem facing me in compiling this archive is that the original Arts in Leicester website had written in HTML code. That means it cannot simply be copied to this WordPress blog either as a whole or in part. At present, the only method I can find of replicating pages is to print PDF files of them. It was much later in the magazine’s existence, that it was converted to the WordPress CMS format.

Articles forming part of the Music Section of this magazine

The problem of starting a new band.

New tracks and records from Leicester bands in 2011.

Leicester rock bands of 2013.

See also:

The home page of the History of Music in Leicester.