Popped along to The Musician one of Leicester’s premier live music venues offering new acts as well as established ones, a chance of getting down close and personal, with a knowledgable audience. I went along with one purpose in mind, to find out more about a local band… The Strangler Figs.
Considered by many to be ‘the next big thing’, we had previously heard The Strangler Figs at The Exchange, Leicester, at an event designed to give talent a chance of playing to a substantial crowd at this years Western Park Music Festival. There were some good acts on that night, I had gone to support Sam Bradshaw, a solo experimental guitarist I had come to know. Sam was at his provocative best and well worth seeing.
Sam, along with Becky, a great soloist, made it a good night.
I had been sat by a group of young lads who appeared a little nervous. When asked, they told me they were the first ‘band’ on that evening and that their name was… ‘The Strangler Figs‘.
The Strangler Figs are a five piece indie outfit from Leicester, Hinckley and a smattering of Wigan. They are brothers Joe and Freddie Pickering on guitar/vocals and keyboard respectively, Joel Hanson on double bass James Lyons on drums and Rosie Price on backing vocals. they told me they were once asked if they were a ‘Stranglers’ tribute band. Well I can tell you with certainty they are not!
Moments before their gig at The Exchange, I passed two of the band members of the stairs, they looked a little concerned, which made me wonder if they would get up and play. I need not have been concerned.
They took to the stage amid mutterings of… ‘look at the size of that double-bass’ (True, this double-bass did look particularly huge! huge enough to make a cello look like a fiddle.) As they tuned-up and began their set, it was clear, any nervousness, imagined or otherwise, was channelled right back into their music; enough to be edgy, enough to be different.
The Strangler Figs set started with a cover of The Pixies ‘Where is My Mind’, which they owned, and included a memorable rendition of Jungle Books ‘King of the Swing’ and which demonstrated both their expertise and their sense of humour. After a couple of their own numbers, including the aptly named ‘Attack of the strangler figs’, the set was, all too soon, over.
They left the stage as true professionals and true to the principle of ‘leave them wanting more’. I wanted more, hence popping in to The Musician on that Friday… and I’m very glad I did!
‘The next big thing’, well we’ll see. They are certainly good at what they do and not just what you see on stage either; they are very good at encouraging others (something you may expect from a band that had ‘arrived’ but not necessarily one just embarking on the journey themselves) just as ‘they’ had been when they formed, at a workshop in Brighton ( take a look at some of their videos on YouTube, the picture quality on some is not great but you will get a feel for what I mean). These guys demonstrate a level of maturity greater than their years suggest and more than a hint of fun, that demonstrates their genuine affection for each other and, importantly, for their music… and it shines through!
So… The next big thing?… I hope so… they are most certainly good enough!
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STOP PRESS: Strangler Figs to play at Simon Says 2014
Video courtesy of DemonFM: