The Firebug is possibly the coolest bar in Leicester, and opens until 4 a.m. at weekends. There is a venue upstairs, but they also hold gigs sometimes downstairs too. I attended the White Noise festival here in Late December, which showcased the city's talent and was surprised that it wasn't all hardcore thrash bands, but that it showcased as well decent Nugaze, Americana, Dylan-like protest singers and even a few potential future pop stars.
The upstairs room has a good sound and is just big enough to get a few chairs in there. It also has very young crowd, but a very strict over 18 rule, so much so that the Silver Factory's merchandise guys were kicked out of the venue before the show began because they were just 17.
Tonight's show is both their debut gig and also the launch gig for their first EP, ‘The Sun Shines Over You’. It is just ten songs and thirty eight minutes long, and, while it could have done with a few more punters coming up from downstairs, is otherwise a pretty much perfect first show.
The Silver Factory lost their original singer Peter Feely last year, but have gained a new one, a guy called Marc Johnston, who wears a feathered hat.
Vocally Marc's singing style reminds me of Neil Innes from the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, but he looks more like Viv Stanshall from that same group.
They open with ‘I am the Sign’, which is a country number with a 60’s flavour. ‘Comedown Cherry’ is from their next EP, and, despite its heart being set in sunny California, is very much a C-86 indie pop number. Rhythm guitarist and main songwriter Fran Feely has moves on it that remind me of early Neil Young.
Marc reminds us that that the next track, ‘The Sun Shines Over You’, is the reason behind tonight’s gig. New boy Matt Vinall has changed the band’s direction. In Matt they have a guitarist as good as John Squire. While this song is still full of Californian sun, it also has hints of the greatness of the Stone Roses’ ‘Sally Cinnamon’.
‘If Words Could Kill’ is from the next EP and very jangly. ‘Tomorrow's Today’ sounds like it should be a Primal Scream number in its title alone, and is joy filled and has its own life.
‘I'm Alright’ sounds like a mid period Beatles number as played by the La’s, while ‘I’m Not Young Enough to Know Everything’ is a baggy number. ‘The World May Bring Us Down’ from the next EP is very welcoming and also quite Stone Roses-driven, but with more of a 60’s drive to it.
‘Flowers on the Scene’ is one of Fran's favourites, but a number that they are not too familiar with playing yet. ‘24 Hours from Heaven’ is a fast-paced track upon which sonic sunshine rays abound. It ends with an instrumental jam that could once again see the band compared to the early Stone Roses.