The Strangler Figs

Tonight, I’ve been to another showcase night. 

But, this wasn’t at the Musician in Leicester, a venue where I feel so comfortable. This was downstairs in the Exchange bar. The Exchange has been open for a few years now and I’ve never really warmed to it. It’s at the heart of Leicester’s cultural quarter, over the road from the expensive and soulless Curve Theatre. 

This ‘cultural quarter’ was something imposed upon Leicester people by Local Authority types and Arts Council executives. I must be lacking in culture because for me the whole area feels unwelcoming, divisive and as devoid of creative excitement as can be. 

I bought a lime and soda for £2.20. I then bought a designer bag of pork scratchings for £2.50. I never knew that you could buy designer pork scratchings. They saw me coming eh? 

I digress. There were 4 acts on tonight and The Strangler Figs played last. I’ve seen them once before and their brand of pop swing is creating a buzz around town. Think smoky Parisienne bars, cultured cabaret and witty wordplay and you won’t be too far wide of the mark.

 I wrote about Birmingham based, Steady Hands, in an earlier blog and The Strangler Figs occupy a similar space. It’s music laden with quirks and charm and they might be influenced by The Real Tuesday Weld. They also might never have heard of Stephen Coates and his brand of Antique Beat. 

Here’s a track that The Strangler Figs released in January. Tonight, they put the cultural into the quarter. 

Steady Hands

It was a busy day for me yesterday. 

The Greenlight festival was a huge success and as expected the music went down incredibly well. I’ll write more about that another time. 

Last night, I went along to a lovely Leicester venue, the Musician. It’s been my mainstay for watching live music now for longer than I can remember – fab staff and always great production, sound and live music whatever the genre.

It was a showcase night and there were four wildly different but good acts on. I might well write about the others some other time but this is a posting about the opening band of the night, Steady Hands. 

It’s the third time now that I’ve seen them this year. I first saw them on a cold January Sunday night and was blown away. From what I understand, this five piece (currently) are all studying at Birmingham Conservatoire and that classical training is never far from the surface in what they project. With a sound based around the keyboard and acoustic guitar of front man, Josh Herring, it’s layered with double bass, violin, clarinet and percussion to make a very timeless cacophony. It’s pop without a doubt but not pap. Clever, intelligent lyrics dispatched in a void that exists somewhere between Sufjan Stevens and The Divine Comedy. Last night, they played their song ‘The Librarian’ which strikes me as a a direct descendent of Hannon’s ‘The Booklovers’. 

Indie rock this is not. It’s full of ideas and not for everyone I suspect… But here’s a link to an EP of theirs. Give it a listen over your cornflakes..