GIG: Leicester Indiepop Alldayer
DATE: Saturday 24th March 2012
VENUE: The Firebug, 1 Millstone Lane, Leicester, LE1 5JN
COST: £7 in advance
OUR VERDICT: Leicester’s got a crush on you


The format of the day was forty five minutes for each of the eight bands on the bill, including set up and take down time, which gave about 30 minutes actual playing time (not unlike the International Pop Overthrow). By the time we got there, the second band was coming to the end of their set.

The third band on the bill was The Sweet Nothings – a three piece who seemed to be well rehearsed with lots of off-beat (and totally unnecessary) time signatures. The vocals came from the guitarist who had a bit of an Emo Phillips haircut. They sang about “Peace, Love & International Socialism”, the Daily Mail and one that made The Beeb smile, called “She’s An Accountant!” Not a bad start, we agreed.

As the next band set up, we thought “oh a bit of a Honeycombs type look” with a girl drummer…… appearances can be deceptive, as Anguish Sandwich sang about The Bermuda Triangle and we wished that they had found it! They kicked off the set at a frenetic pace, with the lead vocalist screaming into the mic, with a really high pitched voice. Towards the end of their 30 minutes, things did slow down a little and they sounded a bit better as their songs gained a half-decent beat, but this was not our cup of tea at all.

Next up was a band who never actually introduced themselves, so we are assuming the band noted on the bill was them (!) – Just Handshakes (We’re British). We felt this band had not been together very long and were very unsure of themselves and their set list as the gaps between each song was really drawn out as they all looked at one another as if to say “What’s next?”. They just didn’t flow. The girl who was the lead vocalist, behind a Moog and a keyboard, had a marshmallow voice – sweet and sickly with little substance. No power behind it at all. The Beeb picked up on a comment she made as the set was drawing to a close, “I have 2 more songs for you” as though she had forgotten there was a band behind her!!!

Then the evening really warmed up, as one of the highlights of the day took to the stage. Putting aside the fact that the lady who shared vocals was the spitting image of The Beeb’s sister, MJ Hibbett & the Validators was a FUN band. They have obviously played together a lot – they were very comfortable with their music and set list and had brought their own audience who knew the words and dance steps to what we felt was a terrific song called “Do The Indie Kid”. With everyone dancing, the floor shook!
Their set included some songs from (what we would describe as a concept album) called “Dinosaur Planet”, plus another good song “My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once”

MJ Hibbett & The Validators

It’s not often you see a violin in an indie band, but this worked perfectly throughout the set. They impressed us so much we purchased the CD’s and vinyl single immediately afterwards. We actually ended up with 3 CD albums, an EP and two vinyl singles. Plus, one of the CD’s at least, has another album worth of downloads on it. This was worth the entrance fee alone.

Next up was The Rosie Taylor Project. The set up included a trumpeter. They had a laid back, melodic beat, but we felt the lead singer was a bit miserable, only seemed to know one chord on the guitar and even had the band sit out one song while he did a solo gig! Having said that, the audience was a bit disrespectful, with many people chattering through their set, something we had not noticed while any of the other bands were playing.

Last and certainly not least on the bill was a five piece (but centred on three lassies) called Tender Trap. Wowzer! Minty absolutely loved them – a 60’s type girl group who kick ass! Their songs were short, punchy, and full of harmony and sounded absolutely terrific. They pitched a couple of songs form their forthcoming album, one of which they wanted as the single (“Step One”) and the other (“Kings Cross”) the record company wants as the single. From the audience “clap-ometer” there was not much in it, but we felt the former probably had a bit more commercial oomph to it. We felt this band would go down a storm at the International Pop Overthrow sometime.

Tender Trap

With the bands packed away and the stage cleared of the drum kit, the time came for the main attraction for us – the screening of Jim Burns’ music documentary Serious Drugs – The Film About BMX Bandits. It was exactly what it said on the tin….. celebrating twenty five years of that great Scottish band the BMX Bandits. The amount of music they have given us in that timeframe is phenomenal, and the credits at the end of the film just reiterated just how big their back catalogue is. The documentary is extremely well thought out and put together, covering the various line ups of the band over time and touching at times on the sensitive topic of depression but overall, commemorating the music the Bandits has released to the world since 1986.
We really hope that there is a DVD release of this, but in the meantime, if you have the opportunity to catch a screening of the film, then go see it. You won’t be disappointed.

The night ended with a short Q&A with the producer & director Jim Burns and BMX Bandit head honcho Duglas T Stewart. Unfortunately it was shortened as the “host” had had a lot to drink through the day and couldn’t put two sensible words together. But not before The Beeb made him look like the total buffoon he was, with one of his acerbic bits of repartee. It was good to hear the audience laugh at the idiot. (The host, not The Beeb.)

Both Duglas and Jim showed amazing stoicism with the host – a bit of grin and bear it! All the questions thrown at them were answered interestingly and informatively. Of real interest to us, was finding out the wonderful BMX Bandits 25th Anniversary gig we attended in Glasgow (see http://mintyandthebeeb.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/bmx-bandits.html)  could very well be on the DVD release.


GIG: Paddy Casey
DATE: Saturday 10th March 2012
VENUE: The Oliver Plunkett, Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork, Ireland
COST: €15 on the door
OUR VERDICT: Irish Charm