Saturday saw a 3pm start at Leicester’s Handmade festival so we were allowed the treat of a very leisurely morning before heading off to the venue for a second day of quality music and a really unexpected treat.
We started our day watching Jurrasic Pop. Seriously whoever thought that a rock band could make a set out of writing songs about Jurrasic Park but these guys do, all of their tunes have the hit movie as their central theme. Somewhat amazingly not only do these guys do this but they pull it off. They were a great fun start to the day.
It was great to see that BBC Radio Leicester had converted the Academy 3 stage to a BBC Introducing venue for the day and in the spirit of the scheme we were introduced to an excellent lineup of new and largely local bands. For me at least the pick of the day was Arcades, a young band from Leicester who had brought along a considerable bank of support. It is always great to see a young band with a dash of flamboyance and a huge slice of confidence. These boys are already working their audience with aplomb and for me they look to have a bright future.
Over the course of the weekend so far Union Square became my favourite spot at the festival. it is a bright and airy space with tables, sofa’s and seating as well as a Starbucks and a couple of eateries that were closed for the weekend. The Starbucks had become a real ale bar, the diner a comedy and cinema club. The feature a small stage with an acoustic vibe. We thoroughly enjoyed Fallers and She Makes War in that space, it was just lovely to be able to relax with a beer listening to great sounds and watching the world go by.
Union Square also offered what turned out to be my favourite experience of the weekend to date. At 7 PM the square was taken over by House Of Verse which saw us treated to a non-stop stream of spoken word artists, poets and beat boxers. I have to tell you that I would normally give this sort of thing a wide berth but I am so glad that we took the decision to check it out. The whole evening was incredibly entertaining, so much fun alternatively hilariously funny and jaw droppingly amazing. The skills employed by all of the artists was simply mind boggling.
Of course the central theme of Handmade is the music and there was plenty on offer for audiophiles. I enjoyed all of the bands I saw across the day but Lonely The Brave and Deaf Havana were both outstanding.
Lonely the Brave have been on my radar for some time now but I had not managed to catch them live. The Cambridge based Alt-rock outfit turned in a blinding set that was really appreciated by the large crowd who had gathered to pay homage. The band treated us to a high energy 60 minute set but I was struck by the contrast between singer David Jakes and his bandmates. Jakes spent the majority of the set stood still on stage, arms folded across his chest his face hidden under a baseball cap. The sense of Jakes isolation was added to by the lack of front of stage spotlighting for their set. Onstage lighting was dramatic but for a photographer the lack of front lighting makes for horrible photographs.
The day was rounded out by headliners Deaf Havana. The Norfolk five-piece’s star is certainly rising and their set showed just why this is the case. This is a band who ooze confidence, they are tight and dynamic, they connect with the crowd in a way that few bands manage.