Barefoot Festival 2017…

Now, personally, I haven’t camped out at  Festival all weekend for 6+ years, so this weekend was a particularly exciting one for me.
Not only was I going to be camping out alongside the rest of Siobhan Mazzei & Band, some good friends from The Brandy Thieves, TC Costello and muso’s alike of Leicester, but I was also going to be performing as part of Siobhan Mazzei Band on Friday, and as Homeless Shakespeare on Saturday. Not just double, but triple excitement!

After setting up camp at the tape-bordered Barefoot Wildbunch camping area (they called it the band camping area, but we’re more fun than that), the Friday night was in our grasp! I head over to the band tent, treated with some top blues rock from The Midnight Honey, who also treated us to a Tom Waits cover (something I was particularly happy to hear from the first band I saw all weekend)!
The Saturday had a lot on, as besides from the music, they also have a huge cabaret tent, which featured burlesque, circusry, magic from Colin Skinner, bollywood classes, and the audio-visual time capsule that is The Vixen Trio. There was a lot to see and little time to see it in, luckily enough it was a 60 second walk between the tents and everything was conveniently timed out for what I wanted to see.
Siobhan Mazzei Band were on at 7, so we collected our stuff to setup & rock the place… Which, we did! We managed to sell some CDs as well as adequately warm up the audience for The 40Hertz Band, Idle Empire and The Brandy Thieves (the initial cause of the swampy, muddy ground left behind by their panting audience, after the DJ of course).

Barefoot Festival 2017
Me, Siobhan Mazzei, and Les Hayden with our wolf tails for Mythical Creature fancy dress on Saturday

Now, I know the Friday sounds hard to follow, but the Saturday did so in true style. I awoke to beer, greenery, friends and wildlife (No I didn’t mean wildlife when I said greenery), so it was already off to a great start. I head over to the band tent early to drop off my guitar and get some food (this must have been the most affordable festival I’d been to – everything was pretty much normal prices as far as food stalls go!).
After a well needed nap, I took to the stage with a setlist I would soon ignore & freeform the setlist, which worked well! It was a lovely honour having to have the 20+ Wildbunch slowly emerge from the campsite to come watch me, so a huge thanks to them for their humble support! As I played, there was a group of kids that mid set taking full advantage of my interactivity, and soon had me playing something I was trying to avoid doing in front of a family audience – Without Me by Eminem. Following that, a lot of originals, and for once minimal puns, my set was over. A success with no swearing and post-performance praise, and with my last song my duty for the weekend had swept away, so quickly I almost felt the pre-emptive taste of hungover regret.

So, I was free and ready to take on the rest of the weekend with a full stomach of beer, disaranno and Iron Bru. The music that followed me was also fantastic, with my first experience seeing Kenneth J Nash with a full band, Jesse Wright Band, TC Costello and his impossible-to-complete drinking game, and the last band I saw on the Saturday, the incomparable Goldwater, who had people moving from the bottom to the top of the festival dancing spectrum (would’ve been short a moshpit if it wasn’t for me & Siobhan too. We’re glad others joined in, not much of a mosh pit with 2 people, more a consensual fight).

Barefoot 2017
Me, Magician Colin Skinner, and Goldwater frontman Grant Decker being all street and urban following their sterling set.

Once the band finished, the charismatic chaos continued as the DJ would mashup some of the most obscure combinations of songs I’ve ever heard in my life, people wold flail and spin relentlessly, Colin Skinner (by this point, draped with golden wings) blowing people’s minds with mere decks of cards, and the personal highlight of the evening – The Brandy Races. The tournament of 3 rounds of racers in children’s pedal cars, and one race for the ultimate winner (it was me. I won in a digger. Sadly the other winners didn’t want to take part so I won by default, which is only half winning, but I still won). Taking place upon the slippery, soaked mud pit outside the band tent, the races were as intense as they were messy as I’m sure Joe Tapely of the Brandy Thieves, decorated in a luxurious fur coat, would have laughed over as the overseer of the races. I believe I raced a naked woman too.

What a weekend. I enjoyed every last second of it, I didn’t mean a single nasty person, I properly felt a part of what was going on and it was marvellous! So, in hoping they find and read this, the biggest, most sincere thanks has to go to the staff and organisers behind Barefoot festival, from the litter pickers and stewards to the sound engineers and food vendors, a huge thanks to all of you!

Anyone who’s looking for a family friendly festival, with the perfect balance of responsible play and unconditional partying, a different fancy dress theme each day, for paint fights, for great music and entertainment, great food and opportunities to discover something new, for great people and community vibes, and for some great views, be sure to keep your eye on the Barefoot Festival website to get your tickets for next year!


Siobhan Mazzei – In Wolf’s Clothing

Siobhan Mazzei has been a singer songwriter of Leicester for years, and once had a band with the release of her first album.

Recently starting from scratch, with a self-produced, self titled EP in 2015 (also available on her Bandcamp), and since February 2016 a new band behind her. The band recorded and produced the entire EP themselves, with lead guitarist Tom Scarlett taking the reigns.

Her ghostly, haunting sound is not over shadowed by the noise of a rock band, rather accentuated. Her emotive songwriting is expressed with bipolar arrangement. The last track ‘Slaughter’ certainly captures the passion and energy the song oozes.

Download your copy now!

A Quick Update…

So as you know, or should know, I’ve been slowly setting up and upgrading my DIY studio at Stayfree Music, recording George Mitchell, Tom Scarlett of Ease, Aaron Dudfield and more to come. I released some rushed acoustic tracks on my birthday at The Soundhouse, and uploaded a few to Soundcloud, but I felt I could have done a better job on the production side of things, so decided to have another go.

These won’t be the last acoustic drafts of these tracks you’ll hear, but they’re certainly an improvement on the last lot.

Have a listen, if you like it feel free to download (I could do with the £0.79), and if you’re an artist, get in touch about my competitive rates



It’s Quiet Here…

It’s Quiet Here…

Hello, readers! I’m sorry I’ve been quiet, hopefully you’ve not missed my nonsense too much.

Last week, well, waht can I say? O’Neill’s was absolutely fantastic, and House of Verse was as per superb! I’m still finding glitter here and there from the latter.
Since then I’ve been up to quite a bit; learning some songs on bass (lots of Santana), writing and recording the new material, booking shows, planning (of course) and, oh yeah, of course, setting up the Homeless Shakespeare band!

Since finding saxophonist Goerge Mitchell (and since the House of Band’s absolute stellar improv on Saturday), drummer and artist in his own write Matt Hellard has showed eagerness to lay down the jazzy drums. I Wanna Dissect You sounds particularly cool.
Hopefully we’ll have it ready for Sunday at Jukebox, where we’ll be doing a public audition to perform at Cosmipolitan Festival. Please do come and catch us at 12:15! We’re only doing the one track though, so maybe save your anticipation for a later date.

Today, I’ll be recording Oscar Prince, singer and guitarist for Grunge rock band Dead Question (I’m looking forward to this one!) and showing a surprise bass player the ropes of the gyp-hop, swing-stomp and bruised-blues.

If you still haven’t seen me live with saxophone, I and others would implore you to do so!
You can do just that at Duffy’s Bar next Thursday for my next official gig, being The Brandy Thieves’ festival warm up party! Featuring Jackie Duffy herself, The punk-girl Pyrate Queen using her distortion pedals and ukelele, myself and George Mitchell, The Whiskey Rebellion’s high energy gypsy-folk, TC Costello’s mix of traditional and original accordian music and alcoholism, and of course the Brandy Thieves providing us with the needed gypsy-punk attitude! Get tickets NOW because it WILL sell out! If there’s any left it’s a miracle…


That’s enough for me today, you’ve had your catch up & know whats going on now, so I’ll see you Sunday or Thursday, yeah? Sound. Bye.



House of Verse (as per)

House of Verse (as per)

Well, as per with House of Verse events, that was just fantastic! Although the fantabulous Hib Word was mostly out of action for the event, we were treated to a double hosting from Sam Plummer, and for maybe one of the last times before she escapes the western headlock to live & work in Cambodia, Caroline Rowland (who also did a spellbinding set, as per!).

It’s always an exciting night, and of course this one was no exception. The first act was Rhymes Against Humanity, an improvised musical theatre group from Nottingham. With nothing but a name and a job, they created an inspiring 20 minute piece with rice sorting, hipster food, corporate bodies, Phase2: ?, Profit, and charming singalongs.

The eclectic night has so much to offer, from a living room away from home to (nearly) every performance art under the sun. There was inspiring freestyle rap, acoustic music, epic and engrossing poetry and blues from Jamie Brown, alien like Beatbox from Yan (the last time before he returns to China!), Doo-wop and Motown from vocal trio The Vixens, grime from Hayche GriiiM, the winding worldly words of Hibword, comedic charisma of Dan Nicholas, and the mastermind musical ingenuity of Stuart O’Connor.

The House of Band (this month featuring Raj Mohanlal, Jamie Sykes, James Geary and George Mitchell) added their spice and sauce over the night, and did a superb job of it as always! They even helped out with my set, making it one of the best performances some people have seen from me! If you’re intrigued, you can watch the full set below!

That’s enough nostalgic rambling, I just wanted to say a big thanks to them for having me and spread word of this wonderous night!

Until next time, readers



Yes! It’s Friday! The offices are being locked for the weekend, every highstreet store readies a weekend sale that falls just short of the mark of actually being worth it, the bar staff are counting their beads and the A&E happy that the students are gone but still preparing for that classic drunk British idiocy.

Myself, though, I’ll be performing at O’Neill’s tonight. As mentioned in my first post this week, it’s a pretty relevant gig! The O’Neill’s chain, with 32 pubs up and down the country, have recenty had to cut their entertainment budget, meaning they can’t afford to hire a band every Friday night to play your favourite classic songs. However, to counter this negative, the chain has decided to put together a national Battle of The Bands, their Sound of Summer events.

The winners of this national competition will perform live at Bestival 2018 and gets free recording in London! The semi-finals are held in Birmingham, and finals, naturally, in London, so it’s a great opportunity for any original artist!

But that’s it, the main thing isn’t the competition or the awards, but much more the fact that such a big UK pub chain is dipping their toes in the refreshing waters of original, local music. If this goes well, then O’Neill’s will likely start investing in more original music, which, let’s face it, we’d all love to see more of at established pubs & bars.
People are fickle – invite them to a music venue for a show, it’s a no. Invite them to a bar they know & love, they’re comfortable enough to enjoy it and feel like they’re a part of it!
These people would then follow the artist of their choice to venues, but I’d rather not fill you in on the butterfly effect of putting original artists in a pub environment.

You should, instead, come down to O’Neill’s in Leicester tonight, for me playing alongside saxophonist George Mitchell, The Lost Transmitters and the Dedbeats. All from 8pm onwards!


Until tonight (or tomorrow at 2Funky Music Cafe for House of Verse?)



This Week…

… I started off with hosting the monthly Cellar Sessions at Manhattan34. Grand ol’ night I’ll say! Although it wasn’t very busy this time round, the inviting atmosphere brought some great talent down this month, with regular comedian Matt Hollins winning the awkward rock paper scissors tournement to decide whether he or Dan Wright were to be first open mic performer.

Dan Wright, losing RPS, was first to stand up behind the mic. Check him out for yourself! A real talent. Great guitar skills and vocals, his range and clarity is haunting at times. He goes under the name Stylite often, he did mention he’ll be playing with a full band at The Cookie on 4th August!

Matt Hollins came down early, with his fresh piece of paper and a pen ready to write some fresh new material. His deadpan comedy style always goes down well, with stories of Blaby’s excitement, Countersthorpe treks and Tinder.

It was a pleasure to see a Chris Quinn, or ‘Quis’ as we incecently called him last night. A seasoned veteran with all the spices, opening with an original before a tirade of classic ’90s singalongs (there was a fair bit of Tenacious D too). Chris runs the crown of an open mic night in Loughborough on Tuesdays, which apparently gets very student heavy, so be sure to get to the Paget Arms open mic in season!

A quarter of the audience was decided to do a couple tunes too. Two quirky and charming (and in some cases raw) songs came from Miranda Booth, the latter being a blues call & response tune that, after Chris Quinn’s singalong mayhem, had everyone bellowing along.
Miranda is also a Harp player, if anyone was interested (which you kinda have to be, it’s a bloody harp. Its beautiful)


Aaaaaaaanywho, I’ve gotta do stuff. Gotta get to Stayfree to record a song or two for Aaron Dudfield, an artist I’m particularly looking forward to work with. Check him out too!

If you’re here for a quick update about gigs, then you can catch The Dedbeats, The Lost Transmitters and myself (with George Mitchell on saxophone, and maybe some more friendly faces) at O’Niell’s on Friday. I’ll be doing another post about that one, explaining the importance of what O’Niell’s are doing!
If you’re busy Friday, or would simply prefer not seeing a full half hour of me, you can witness a short rap set at House of Verse at 2Funky Music Cafe on Saturday too! Don’t miss out, this HoV looks stupendous with the 25 artist lineup!

Until some point later in the week, like, Thursday or something. Safety!