** Remember to check out the Are You A Musician? page if you also like to make noise **
In the week before Summer Sundae, there’s a growing Fringe Festival tipping a mixed bag of live music, poetry performances, theatre, moving image and photography events all over the streets of Leicester.
On the last night for just a £5 fluorescent pink wristband, the festival gives everyone access to a whopping 35 bands. There’s even a free bus that runs between all the venues – but most of them are so close to each other, the bus is hardly needed.
So let’s take a look at what the music crawl had to offer. Click on to listen to samples from some of the bands involved….
Just a 7 minute walk from the railway station is The Sound House (capacity:300). Situated in the remnants of an old traditional English pub, you can either join the crowd and watch whoever is on stage in the comfortably sized main room, or hide away in one of its many nooks and crannies.
First on the bill were Laser Beast. There was a large crowd by the time I got there consisting of a lot of strong looking, tall men. Thank goodness the band members were also giants and easy to see from the back of the room. Take a nice deep breath now.
Look out for the posters advertising their gigs – it’s not only their music which will surprise you.
The room cleared pretty quickly after their set had finished, with everyone swapping between venues (the sets generally started at the same time in each venue). While the next band was setting up, an entirely different set of people filed in. The next band was Speaking in Italics, energetic & difficult to resist dancing to.
Just 5 minutes’ walk around the corner and up a back street is The Musician (capacity:220). Their main room is like a very long and narrow tunnel, with the stage lit up and the end. Acoustically it works well and seems to channel the sound right down into your lugholes.
At that time Izzy Marie Hill was on stage. She had a gorgeous voice & a lovely light touch on the guitar but couldn’t been seen through the dense pack of people. Maybe Izzy was perching on a low stool?
A quick 5 minute hop, skip and jump around the corner to the independent art centre that is Fabrika (estimated capacity: 360). It’s a massive but sparsely furnished venue and on one side of the ground floor is the bar / food counter with a few tables and soft seating, then on the other side of the partition is the performance space. There are no seats here, so plenty of people were relaxing and spread out all over the floor.
The white washed walls were lit up with a variety of colourful projected video installations which complemented the abstract music from MSB very well. It was so tranquil I doubt many people managed to get up and visit any other venues that night!
9 minutes’ walk to the end of the High Street was The Cookie Jar (capacity 220). This is a part of the Crumblin’ Cookie which is an interesting & versatile venue set over 3 floors, acting as a coffee shop in the daytime and just about anything else when sun goes down. The live music was set in the exposed brick lined basement.
There was a positive buzz among Fringe attendees about Peter Wyeth and as a result everyone was packed in like sardines. The people towards the back of the room were happy to chat away and Peter would stand at the front of the stage, casting his gentlest but sternest look trying to see who was responsible for the noise.
On next at The Cookie Jar were The Daydream Club. Many in the crowd thought this duo initially sung a cheeky little number about touching bums, but upon checking their website it turns out they were singing about touching bones…..
Then, it was back to Fabrika to see Muted Fnord which were the final band of the evening. Oh, what a way to finish the evening off!
Their music is amazing and without wanting to liken them to other bands, you must click on the above link and visit the Muted Fnord website for yourself. Make yourself a drink, get comfortable and settle down for some ear candy. They obviously enjoy what they do and work very, very well together – sharing instruments and totally trusting each other.
It’s impossible to visit every single venue, to see every single band – but the quantity means there’s so much variety to pick from and the quality of those taking part were extremely good. The Fringe Festival is an absolute bargain at £5 and hopefully will continue to grow year on year.
Remember to join in next year – who knows what sparkling jewels you might find for yourself?