If you’re in any way familiar with local music, you’ll be familiar with the oft-repeated lament that there’s no local scene. Either there aren’t enough bands coming to town, or there aren’t any good venues, or perhaps there are both of those things but no-one goes. However, perception is a funny thing, and increasingly it seems to be the case that if you’re prepared to look there are some amazing venues and some amazing bands, and the people complaining are largely doing it on Facebook rather than going out and trying to find them. Leicester is a prime example. Many times I’ve heard people bemoan the lack of gigs, and yet we are blessed with venues like The Shed (a great, friendly local venue) and Firebug and it is in the latter venue that one Simon Yarwood (also guitarist of the recently resurrected Resin) has been steadily building up one of the best nights out in town. You think there’s not a Leicester scene? Simply hit up one of the Resin Promotions gigs and you’ll see how wrong you are.
Although we’ve been unofficially to a couple of the Resin gigs of late, this is the first one we’ve been to for the purpose of a review. It was a good choice too because the place was packed and the atmosphere jumping. Like Bloodstock festival (from whom Simon has managed to coax many excellent bands) the first thing you notice is how friendly and relaxed the vibe is. Firebug is a great bar anyway, a friendly and interesting place with good music upstairs and down, but as a live venue it excels with enough space to house a decent-sized crowd and yet small enough to appear easily full. There’s an excellent bar downstairs and, happily, a decent one upstairs too (serving the nectar of the Gods, or Hobgoblin as we like to call it), one of the best sound systems in Leicester (run by a top sound guy who does a fantastic job of filling the venue without deafening everyone and achieving a clear mix with whatever’s thrown at him) and a decent stage space which lets even the folk at the back have a decent view of what’s going on. These are all important things and there is no doubt that the work Firebug have done on their live space helps to make the night what it is.
And what a night. Four bands, all hand-picked by Simon before he was even certain Resin would be able to return, and a cracking crowd. First up were the amazing Beckon Lane. It’s not often that you get a bona fide headliner opening the night, but as a chat with the lead singer Lewis later revealed, these guys are very much in it for the music and were simply proud to be on the line up with other such talented bands. Nonetheless, you start to realise just what a lottery getting signed is when you see a band with such powerful riffs and a singer who does a deeply impressive Bruce Dickinson opening the show. Capable of dealing out both killer metal and power ballads with a more commercial edge, these guys should be peering out of national newspapers, but the mainstream’s loss is very much our gain and with songs like the brand new ‘fire’ they set one hell of a standard for the other bands to follow.
Next up are the hugely popular and powerfully melodic Captain Horizon. Generating the night’s first singalong (well, several singalongs actually) there is no doubt that Captain Horizon are rising fast and gaining a massive following in the process. It is much deserved and their show is both professional and laden with excitement. Here you’ll find hard-hitting riffs, seething bass lines and a vocalist who visibly inhabits the role whilst on stage (a stark contrast to the calm and collected person seen strolling around the venue beforehand), captivating the audience throughout an all-too-short performance. Songs like ‘shadows and vampires’ and ‘patch’ boast killer hooks and plenty of attitude and you’re left wondering, once again, why Firebug isn’t fighting people off at the door for such a line up. Not that it’s not packed, mind you, but seriously, this sort of quality should be a guaranteed sell-out.
My personal favourite of the night are the amazing Sumer. More progressive than full-on metal, Sumer still know how to rock, but comparisons to Tool, Judgement-era Anathema and Radiohead can be drawn within the band’s shimmering sounds and well-crafted harmonies. Tracks like ‘the animal you are’ demonstrate a band unafraid to push the boundaries and Toby Bonney’s tribal drumming keeps the music moving forward as the track builds to a fiery climax. Another band that deserves to go on to greater heights, Sumer are consummate professionals who overcome the irritation of a broken string, adhering to the age old maxim that the show must go on, and it certainly does not hamper the immense power of their performance. A powerful and passionate performance, Sumer are an absolute gem of a find and I cannot recommend them highly enough.
In all honesty, that Resin are here at all is something of a minor miracle and a testimony to the strength and determination of long-term members Simon Yarwood and Mark “Chez” Roseby. Following a cracking 2014 that saw the band play to a huge crowd at Bloodstock (the second time the band had played on that hallowed ground), things inexplicably fell apart and yet, just a year later, the band are back with a new EP, a new line-up and a renewed sense of purpose. Not quite as slick as the Resin of old, the band are now a tougher proposition. The new EP, ‘persecution complex’ is already making powerful waves and the band no longer pepper their set with cover versions, preferring to unleash their fine, original material. Throughout the gig Chez tears into his guitar like the demon he is and new drummer Stu Reynolds lays down a suitably crushing foundation to a crowd clearly excited to see the band return. It’s not a perfect set, and a few issues beset the band throughout the performance, but what shines out most brightly is the potential that Resin have. In my opinion, the Resin of 2015 may, as yet, lack the gloss of old, but they have the potential to be an altogether better band than they were, and when one considers the heights to which they soared, that is no easy statement. Songs like the unreleased ‘monster’ kick a serious amount of ass, and ‘printing money’ (from the new EP) also demonstrates plenty of growth and a sense of confidence that, whilst deserved, is remarkable considering the band underwent a setback that might have killed off a lesser act. It is a triumphant return and clearly the audience enjoyed every minute (if the Resin chant that went up at the gig’s close was anything to go by).
If you’re a Midlands metal fan then you need to head on over to the Resin Promotions page and check out the amazing gigs still to come this year. The events are professionally run, increasingly well attended and they offer killer line ups mixing new names and established bands, but always with a common theme. All too often you come across gigs where the promoter simply doesn’t care – that is certainly not the case here. Simon lives and breathes music, whether it be his own or the bands that he supports, and his commitment and passion are serving to make Resin Promotions gigs the night to attend if you’re in the Midlands (hell, even if you’re outside the Midlands and are prepared to travel for a series of near perfect musical events). If you’ve not made a gig yet, you have missed out, if you don’t check out the listings for forthcoming events you will miss out – you want a Midlands scene? It starts here.