OBS Unplugged – Lucy Davies-Kumadiro

January isn’t an easy month for live music venues. Many of us have overspent and over-indulged in the build up to Christmas and so as a result we become austerity hermits on health kicks. We’d rather relax with cups of tea and home comforts than brave the frequently freezing world outside.

The excellent ‘Musician’ venue in Leicester has, however, found a neatly compelling way to drag me from my sofa. Now in its fifth year, OBS unplugged is the acoustic little brother of the band showcase that I featured last year here. Running over ten or so nights in January, promoter Val McCoy puts a heap of effort into ensuring that the line-ups are varied and interesting. More established acoustic based acts mix with those newer to the scene. Gems are often unearthed.

Last night, I went along to the first of the 2015 series. It was a night in which quality shone through. I bought my first EP of the year from Birmingham-based songwriter, Guy Jones which I plan to review on Sonic Breakfast in the coming weeks. I can’t actually remember the last time I bought a CD at a gig.

And then there was Lucy.

Lucy Davies-Kumadiro is a 17 year old singer-songwriter from Loughborough. Last year, she played her first ever gig as part of OBS unplugged. Everyone who saw that set knew that they had witnessed something pretty special. With a calm charm and serene style, Lucy’s delivery melted the most cynical of hearts. When I overheard a punter at Leicester’s Simon Says festival enthusiastically ranting about ‘the most wonderfully stunning artist who was a hybrid between Lianne De Havas and Kate Nash (before she got punky)’, I gave myself a secret pat on the back for already realising how captivating a live performer Lucy is.

A year on and Lucy plays OBS unplugged again. Her guitar playing has developed over the year as has her on-stage banter. Her pristine and pure voice has always had the ability to melt hearts but there’s now an added layer of soulful husk that sometimes comes to the fore. She plays a new song, only finished the night before, about how when you run it’s not always an act of running away. Lucy is following a dream and heading off to University in America in the next year. 

If you’re at a loose end an in Leicester over the next couple of weeks I wholeheartedly recommend having a peek at the listings and taking a trip to the Musician. OBS unplugged can get you through January.

 

Sean Grant & The WolfGang

Another showcase night at the Musician in Leicester tonight and seven bands took to the stage for twenty minute slots. Hard work for the compere (me) who earned his lime and sodas tonight. 

Sean Grant & The WolfGang made the short trip up the M1 from Northampton for this gig. They’re becoming regulars at the Musician (this is their third performance here in 2014 and Sean has played an acoustic set in addition). They’ve already been confirmed on the line up of Simon Says, Leicester’s local summer festival, with a line up pulled together by key venues. It’s fair to say that they’re getting noticed in these parts.

And it’s entirely right that they’re getting noticed. A cool image without tunes is worth nothing in my book but thankfully this is a band that has both. You suspect that they spend hours grooming their facial hair before a show but the rewards are fine and the moustaches sharp. Tattoos and designer Dr Marten boots with white laces complete the image. 

It’s energetic folk music channelled through a Britpop filter. Sean sings stories about prize fighters and working class heroes. He references the industry and drinking culture of Birmingham and Kilburn. There’s political and social history in these tunes, a dash of romance and a pint of pain. 

Sean announces tonight that an EP is coming out sometime in May. But, the exciting label on which it’s going to be released have yet to give him a date. Videos have been made to accompany each track on the EP and one of those has already seen the light of day. It showcases well the excitement that this band are generating.