The Soundhouse is close to the centre of Leicester, but slightly out of the way, between the Leicester Mercury building and the Curve theatre. If you want a glass of wine with posh people before the doors open at eight, you can go to the Curve or the Phoenix. If you want lager with ordinary people you can go to the Fountain or the Black Lion. For real ale go to the Ale Wagon, except that tonight it’s Oxjam, so you have to pay to get in there.
The venue is a converted pub, with a low stage at the end of a narrow room and a bar along one side. There’s a small, quiet area at the back, out of sight of the stage.
This is a Magic Teapot gig. Magic Teapot gigs are always interesting. If they put it on, you know it’s going to be worth seeing. The Lovely Eggs are supported by Seazoo and Echolocation. It’s the last day of British Summertime – the dark days start tomorrow.
First on are Echolocation, from the West End, as they tell us. That’ll be the West End of Leicester. They’re a six-piece, with keyboard and brass. It’s Ben the keyboard player’s first gig. He does ok. They’re The Fall meets Chumbawamba, in a good way.They sing about miners and Mandela, but it’s difficult to make out the lyrics because the sound is bad, and you can’t see the singer’s lips because he holds the mic in both hands. But he sings like he means it, and it’s a good start to the night.
When Seazoo take to the stage there’s suddenly a powerful smell of Pitchouli.They’re from North Wales, with a melodic and slightly European sound, a bit reminiscent of Nico, but with a male vocal. (The keyboard player is female, for what it’s worth.) They’re the poppiest band of the evening, amiable and entertaining. Part way through their set a massive bloke appears at the front and starts dancing and waving his arms around. Because the stage is low, and the room is intimate, his prancing is the main thing you see, rather than the band. By the end of the set he’s taken off his shirt.
You hope he’s a fan of the support band, and he’ll be gone when the Lovely Eggs come on.
More and more people arrive during the interval, and by the time they take the stage the place is packed. And they’re proper fans, who know the songs. But the sweaty, shirtless ape has not gone, he was just warming up. He’s now thrashing around, and deliberately throwing himself into people. He’s knocking people over. Beer is flying around. Holly Egg asks him to cool it, but later seems to change her mind, encouraging him by asking for “big love for that mental guy”, and saying this is not a museum. One of the things about the Lovely Eggs is that they’ve got lots of female fans. There are far more women here tonight than you’d normally see at a venue like this on a Saturday night. And some of them are frightened. People are intimidated enough to move away to the back, where they can’t see the band. At one point Holly gives “a big shout out to all the people at the back who can’t see us”.
The Lovely Eggs are a quirky English band with songs that are original and clever. At her best, Holly sings sweary lyrics with the voice of an innocent little girl. But that’s not how it is tonight. Tonight it just feels mean and aggressive. I blame Brexit.