Sam Bradshaw

Playing under the name ‘Instrumental Sam’, Sam Bradshaw is an accomplished experimental guitarist from Leicester. Using the slapping style long before a certain advert for an expensive money-lender mad it popular, Sam captivates audiences where ever he plays. A stalwart of Leicester’s music scene, Sam is equally comfortable playing the festivals as he is playing at the local pub. In fact, the very first time I had the pleasure of hearing Sam play was in a City centre pub where he worked; he finished his shift behind the bar, grabbed his guitar and set about enthralling the regulars with a number of his own compositions…

(sorry for the poor quality video but stay with it!!!)


TheGuyWithaStick have had the pleasure of including a couple of tracks from Sam on our acoustic playlist, available on, in fact, without Sam it is unlikely that TheGuyWithaStick would have come into existence… It’s all his fault!!!

Sam is a must have for any gig or music festival, he sets the mood and hints to the crowd of a great time to come. If TheGuyWithaStick was to put on a gig or two, Instrumental Sam would be on the bill, of that there is no doubt!

Finally, I would like to pass-on my congratulations to Sam on becoming a father for the first time, no doubt another great guitarist in the making… like father like son?

Sam is on Facebook:



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18 videos featuring some of the best bands on the circuit!!!

All artists and bands featured on TheGuyWithaStick  Vid-Lists also have reviews on just use the search box on the right of this page… ENJOY!



TheGuyWithaStick Vid-List1+2


Hailing from Ilkeston in Derbyshire, Matt Henshaw describes his current location has Derby, Nottingham and Leicester… he gets about this guy! In fact, Matt Henshaw has to be one of the hardest working musicians around. It often seems there is not a day or night goes by that Matt is not adorning a stage somewhere in the UK, it’s quite understandable to suspect there may well be several Matt Henshaws, all cloned from the original, but no! I can assure you there is only one Matt Henshaw… only one, brilliantly talented, trend setting, soul saving, Matt Henshaw!

Matt describes his style of music as ‘rhythmic gospel’, and in doing so Matt invents a whole new genre which, without the blink of an eye or  a scratch of music journalists head, the genre is accepted… and why not! What Matt does, and does expertly, is his own thing! He’s not bothered about ‘pigeon holes’ or classifications, he is bothered about his life and his life is music!

Matt has had something of a rebirth lately, standing-down from his University job to concentrate on relaunching his career in music, following his epiphany on the road to stardom and alcoholism which saw the demise of his former, and very highly rated, band ‘Censored’ in 2008. Since this time Matt has done some amazing things, from recording a cracking album with MC Rudimental st al, to re-launching his career. You can’t keep this guy down, he is determined, he’s confident and he is one of the most decent human beings I have had the pleasure of meeting he’s also destined for success!!!

TheGuyWithaStick have included a couple of Matt Henshaw tracks on the acoustic playlist on the ‘Feature’ tab at

Matt Henshaw can be seen all over the UK including OSFEST Music Festival in Derbyshire on July 26 and Leicester’s Simon Says on July 27th

For a fuller list of Matt’s upcoming events follow this link



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Matt Henshaw


At we ask our people to write about how they feel about a band or artist, how they are moved and what they take away with them from a gig. We are not professional journalists and we reject, as much as possible, the requirement of professionals to ‘pigeon-hole’ everything and everyone. This is evident in the multitude of musical genres that purport to exist at the moment. If you constantly break everything down to its common denominator you limit yourselves, and, in the opinion of theguywithastick, you force artists to conform to that limited view, instead of enabling originality we stifle it! and then an artist, or in this case a band, comes along and sticks two fingers up to convention and with a swagger in their step and a wry grin on their faces, they set about ripping the guts out for the established ‘pigeon-holes’ and do what the hell they want… I give you The Brandy Thieves!!!

Listed as a four piece outfit, although they played as a five piece at the recent Western Park Festival, The Brandy Thieves, consisting of: Andrea Kenny, Cain Barriskill, Bernardo Mendes and Joe Carey, they play gypsy folk, in a punk rock manner, punctuated with ska… and they do it brilliantly!

Andrea’s mature, enigmatic, vocals start slow and clam enough but then she beats the crap out of you with fast guitar play and equally quick vocal hooks, aided and a betted by a rasping horn with bass and drums ensuring you can’t run off, and why would you want to? Their lyrics come across as joyful but they are drenched in social comment delivered in a rhythmic gypsy style, with two fingers in the air and smile on the face. Their energy is infectious, it’s simply impossible to stand still, you’ve got to move it… and then you’re hooked!!!

The Brandy Thieves are immense! They have won over audiences wherever they play and bit by bit they will take over the nation, the sooner the better!

So! would I pay good money to see The Brandy Thieves again, well it’s a no brainer… hell yes! However, there’s a gig I would love to see even more and that’s The Brandy Thieves on the same bill as Under A Banner, an electric folk rock band, reviewed by some months ago… I’m salivating at the thought!

Until that happens, have placed videos by both The Brandy Thieves and Under A Banner on the website along with tracks by both on the playlists under the ‘Feature’ tab.

The Brandy Thieves are playing Heather Music Festival on Friday 25 July and Leicesters SimonSays on Saturday 26 July



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The Brandy Thieves


Seen as a 4 piece, Georgia Rose is known as both a soloist and head of a cracking band that has its roots in U.S. west coast blues/rock and influenced by country.

The band, comprising of: Georgie Rose-Vocals & Guitar, Jan Gerighausen-Bass/vocals, Kegan Clark-Drums, Niall Glover-Guitar/vocals, Myles Graham-Keys/vocals. work well together; powerful drums complimenting the guitars and cracking banking vocals that are used as instruments in their own right, used sparingly but relevantly, they lift the set to even greater highs… it works well!

Georgia Rose’s voice is strong with hints of Stevie Nicks but great ‘dollops’ of Georgia Rose, she is familiar yet unique, influenced by Fleetwood Mac and the whole west coast neo-country scene… I l.o.v.e it!



Georgia Rose has/have taken the home City of Nottingham by storm with notable gigs at The Maze and Rock City and have received much local and national attention from the likes of XFM and  BBC’s Introducing East Midlands


one review sums them up well…

‘Superb voice, brilliant songs and with national airplay on XFM and super star fans such a as KT Tunstall and Billy Bragg prepare to be awestruck’ – Nottingham Post

… which all bodes well for, what has to be, a truly bright future, we wish you well and look forward very much to seeing you again soon! have included tracks from Georgia Rose in the acoustic playlist, available at





Georgia Rose


There are some good bands playing the East Midlands at the moment, there are also some… shall we say… not so good! The Flying Kangaroo Alliance are in the shit-hot part of the range!

The Flying Kangaroo Alliance are a 4 piece alternative rock/punk band with influences of the 90’s ‘grunge’ scene. Band members, Meri Everitt – Vocals/Guitar, Ali Findlay – Guitar, Ivan Hunt – Drums (until the 5th July 2014) and Keeley Knight – Bass/Vocals, work well together. Keeley’s bass play and stage craft is great to hear and watch, Ali’s guitar play works well with Meri’s vocals and Ivan’s Drums are absolutely banging. All in all a very energetic bunch who demonstrate their craft as musicians and own every stage they play on. Clearly F.K.A are a band of note!


… but there’s much more to The Flying Kangaroo Alliance than your average rock band, much more indeed! The musicianship and stage-craft are good, but, what sets F.K.A apart from the rest are their challenging  lyrics and the voice of Meri Everitt!

F.K.A write and sing about life as it affects them, its not pretty, it’s not feel-good but it is honest, its born out of adversity and demands you take heed… not in a dictatorial way, but, as an older sister or brother; not ‘do as I say’ more ‘this is our experience of…’ The lyrics are challenging, but, they are very truthful…


When I first saw F.K.A I wondered if they were about effect or were they genuine? and, then, I had the privilege of seeing Meri Everitt doing a solo gig and it became plainly obvious that her music is about honesty… blunt, pure, honesty! If I didn’t get it before, I got it now!

Yes! we get it! what we, at, don’t get, is why The Flying Kangaroo Alliance aren’t playing a stage at Simon Says or Leicester Music Festival? We know Ivan the drummer has now departed, but, would he have stayed until after these gigs?

Meri Everitt will play at Simon Says and that in itself is worth going to see, but, not the band it would seem?

It beggars belief that a local band of such high caliber don’t get on a stage at two of the largest gigs to hit the East Midlands??? I simply don’t git it!!!

The Flying Kangaroo Alliance were made to play at big events and its a great loss, to both Simon Says and Leicester Music Festival, that F.K.A won’t be owning a stage at their events…it’s a real shame!



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Flying Kangaroo Alliance


Casino Empire are a 5 piece, Leicestershire based alt/rock outfit with influences from Arctic Monkeys to The Rolling Stones. Formed in 2013, Casino Empire consist of: Tommy Cobley – Lead Vocals, Jack Hall – Bass/vocals, Matt Gore – Guitar/vocals, Tom Marlow – Guitar and Ollie Dennis – Drums

Energetic and charismatic, Casino Empire have been likened to The Rolling Stones of the early 1960’s. The lead vocalist demands attention from the audience, his style is theatrical his voice strong, almost rasping! Yes! you can see an early Mick Jagger but more so, you can see an early TOMMY COBLEY.. and thank you for it! its hard to understand how the rest of the band can get a look in BUT THEY DO and they do it in style!!!

A great bassline and a drummer who moves from one number to another with ease and professionalism add to that some very good guitar riffs and guitar solo, it is very obvious this is not a one-man band, this is a true rock ‘n’ roll band… a band that deserves your attention!



Casino Empire is a must see band! They are the reason I go to gigs! They are, simply, Sublime!

The guys have an EP out soon and I cant wait to get hold of it!



Casino Empire on line: Facebook; website:

You can see Casino Empire at:

28th June – Festival On The Pitch (4pm)
26/27th July LMF
29th August soundhouse
30th August sumo ( with Formal Warning ).

Casino Empire







Wet Lettuce and the Magik Bean


A 5 piece, alternative rock band from Derbyshire, with an in-your-face stage presence. Their style is, according to guys… ‘fed from their love of Funky-Punky wild sounds, with infusions of a mellow nature’… 

As they were setting up, I thought.. here we go a bunch of mates with instruments… well I was right… in a very wrong kind of way!!

As they started their set, it was clear, these guys were here to impress! As they set about the task of converting the uninitiated. They produced a pretty impressive set of their own compositions including ‘Oceans’ and ‘Bad Llama’ which, incidentally, is not only pretty good, it’s also the title of their debut EP… and yes! I have it (bought and paid for)!

‘A bunch of mates with instruments’ well… yes! BUT a bunch of mates who know their stuff, who can actually play and sound great together and who’s stage presence oozed charisma. They deserve a much wider reputation than they currently have, which I’m sure will come and hopefully soon!

Following the gig I managed to have a chat with the guys, who were very keen that I got their names spelt right, they are: Kyle Jordan – Vocals/Lyricist, Gaz Waddell – Drums, Lewis Hutchings – Bass, Dan Houlbrooke – Guitar and Sam Wyatt also on Guitar. The chemistry between the guys is clear, not just on stage but personally, they clearly have a great deal of respect for each other and, dare I say, a lot of love too… in a barking mad, Burton-beer swigging, macho sort of way that is! Would I pay good money to see them again?… you bet I would… and I’m looking forward to it!


Their EP, Bad Llama, is a little cracker butdon’ttake my word for it, check out some of their stuff on SoundCloudor ‘YouTube’… better still, get off your butts and go see them for yourselves:



16th May              The Victoria Inn, Derby.

Wet Lettuce and the Magik Bean — SIGNED!

Strangler Figs


I have talked about these guy before. I told you how refreshing their style of play is, I’ve said how good they are musically and I’ve talked about Joe Pickering’s voice, yet I feel the need to go further.

Some will know that I’m a sucker for the Hammond organ, a key board is good, if it’s played well, but a Hammond organ… well that’s something else. The Strangler Figs don’t have a Hammond organ but you wouldn’t know it. The way Freddie Pickering uses the keyboard gives the strong impression that he has a Hammond organ hidden away somewhere, up his sleeve or in a different dimension, just out of sight of the rest of us… I don’t know where but I’m sure it’s there… somewhere! You can hear it running through every song complementing Joe’s voice and guitar play and answering the call of the bass line.

Now when I say ‘Bass line’ I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. Sometimes the drums can drowned out the Bass but this is not the case for the Strangler Figs. James Lyons, who, incidental is as mad as a bag of spanners, bangs out the beat with vigour but intelligently, he knows his stuff and does it very well indeed. Then there’s the Bass itself. Well, when I say ‘Bass’ I mean double Bass not bass guitar. It’s often difficult on stage to keep instruments in tune, this is particularly the case for acoustic instruments, so imagine how difficult it must be to keep a double bass in tune for a full set. Well that’s just what you get from Joel Hanson’s double bass, impressive if not ever so slightly barking!

All of this is brought together by the backing vocals of Rosie May Price who is most certainly not there to be part of the furniture but an integral part of the line-up and Joe’s unique vocal range and intellectually mature lyrics adds layers that simply isn’t available to other groups.

If you’ve not yet seen the Strangler Figs then get to a gig, they are playing at The Shed this Friday, Western Park in June and SimonSays in July, so there’s ample chance… no excuses!


Initial Thought


Since their formation in September 2013 Initial Thought have been busy members of the East Midlands music scene. So busy in fact that I sometimes wonder if there is more than one Initial Thought, they a so prolific!


Luke Coates and Garth Collins first got together to perform their first song ‘The Otherside’ and decided to continue as a writing and performing due, playing their own compositions with some covers (some good Editors covers lads!). Although they have been together less than a year, they have managed to craft some really good numbers which is surprising given their performance rate.


Initial Thought are a hardworking acoustic duo that have some smart guitar rifts and pleasing vocal harmonies, we at TheGuyWithaStick are hoping for big things from these guys in the future… good luck on your journey lads!




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