Soul Circus
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Soul Circus

Leeds, England, United Kingdom | SELF

Leeds, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Rock Pop




"Leeds Festival Review – Soul Circus"

As I stood waiting for the second act to appear on Friday’s BBC Introducing stage, the sun had finally begun to shine and its sudden appearance through a slightly ominous-looking collection of clouds was a welcome sight, one which I had hoped would be a premonition of things to come. After appearing on stage for a few minutes to organise their instruments the band all headed dutifully back down the ramp from where they had come, waiting t0 be formally introduced. Moments before they walk back onstage the compere enthusiastically remarks “Big lads these, aren’t they?” This phrase would become a wonderfully accurate way to describe the band in a nutshell.

With Soul Circus, the description of big isn’t only appropriate with regards to their size. Each member has a huge and distinctly individual persona, which collectively seem to struggle to fit on the stage. Contrary to the limited renown of the band on anything but a local scale, the five of them swagger about the stage with a confidence few would find hard not to admire. The crowd is unfortunately not as full as I would have hoped for the first half of their set; no doubt most of the Festival’s clientele were still tucked up safely in their tents recovering from the night before. However, the numbers did pick up quickly after a few songs and I find it a credit to the band that even through a limited response they still managed to react so brilliantly as to put on a thoroughly entertaining show.

Their opening number has obviously been very meticulously picked and begins with a slow and very ponderous drum beat which quickly opens up for the guitar and bass into a far more raucous chorus which for me showed an energy I didn’t expect. From the offset, lead singer Lloyd Bradley is walking back and forth about the stage and when these efforts were physically limited by the guys at either side of him he can’t seem to resist the temptation to lift his feet up and down absent-mindedly.

The entire band had something that many other bands of their stature could do with, which I can only describe has a headstrong bravado. It’s obvious to anyone watching that the band has something that clearly works; all the members know what they are doing and are all pushing in the same direction, but have a certain quality which seems to push against the boundaries of the stage walls. If you were simply passing by their set, the meticulously-styled hair and vigorous boot-stomping might give you a certain ‘lad rock’ feeling in the pit of your stomach, but the band definitely shows far more than that label can possibly suggest.

As the set progresses the songs seem to become more energetic, with numbers like ‘Last October’ and ‘Sarcastic Smile’ being fast enough and bright enough for the audience to jump or dance at its own discretion. ‘Last October’ especially hints at a band with a lot of potential for creativity, much of their music seems confined within an indie-rock spectrum that you could be forgiven for thinking you’d heard all before, but ‘Last October’ is faster and tighter and highlights how secure a unit the band are. This isn’t to say that the rest of their songs aren’t entertaining, but they don’t stand out in a way you might hope a band with such swagger might make them. One song in particular, ‘Let You Down’, might sound like a clichéd attempt at a love song, but its slower tempo and more thoughtful lyrics were welcoming and a handful of fans who had clearly turned out with great expectations from Soul Circus still took the opportunity to partake in some moderately uncalled-for moshing.

At the end of the set the crowd is finally in full swing and the band’s momentum is pleasing; the danceable number they finish on giving everyone a good enough reason to get up and move around, which produces the weather-matching aura of happiness and smiles I’d been hoping for. The band were confident and strong throughout and although they were occasionally predictable, in music and Gallagher-esque swagger, they more than made up for it with some more creative musical moments. The band were straightforward but never boring and definitely have the defiant ambition that will ensure them a place on a stage which fits their egos slightly better in years to come. - The Ark Magazine

"Review: Soul Circus – Artists and Artisans EP"

Some great things have come out of Leeds; the festival, Whitesnake (well, near enough) and now Soul Circus. Hailing from the West Yorkshire city, this five-piece has had a very eventful year. The band played at Reading & Leeds Festival as guests on the BBC Introducing stage, have been touring all over the country for the past few months and have now released their debut EP.

‘Artists and Artisans’ is a five-track release and comes in at around twenty minutes, but it works to engage the listener from the opening bars. The most striking aspect of this EP is that it’s lacking in that rich production sound a lot of contemporary British bands are going for at the moment. This has a more raw appeal and it has an earthy, ‘real music’ feel that carries each track.

There’s something undeniably refreshing about the songs on ‘Artists and Artisans’. After the first listen, it became clear that ‘Last October’ is the strongest track as its demanding intro grabs you and leads you through three and a half minutes of edgy melody, snappy drum patterns and an atmospheric breakdown championed by the gentle crashing of hi-hats. ‘Let You Down’ is more chilled out and really showcases the unique vocal style of front man Lloyd Bradley, who sings with a certain careful tension that gives an emotional and honest sound to the lyrics. There’s something about ‘I Still Believe’ that is evocative of a musical direction from an earlier age, but this up tempo offering is kept very much in 2010 by its subtle reminiscence of the songwriting of The Libertines or Vampire Weekend. Both ‘Artisans’ and ‘Sarcastic Smile’ have a progressive sound that keeps the EP interesting and listeners engrossed.

For a debut, this is a powerful start to the band’s career. After their performance at one of the UK’s biggest music festivals this year it’s promising that this release is so memorable so we can expect to hear a lot more from the Leeds boys. - Hit The Floor Magazine

"Soul Circus - Artists and Artisans"

Artists and Artisans by Soul Circus is an impressive meeting of classic stripped down indie rock and alternative pop sensibilities.

First song, Artisans, starts off with an intro which reminds me of The Jesus and Mary Chain. Within their song writing there is ample evidence of the influence of contemporary artists such as The Killers in the catchy melodic pop sound which forms the chorus and, as for the rest of the song, it is impossible to listen to without tapping your feet.

Lloyd Bradley’s vocals on second track, I Still Believe, hark back to the ardent lyrical musings of Morrissey, during his Smiths heyday, in a song which speaks of continued self-belief in spite of persistent stagnation. The song blends thoughtful lyrics with great supporting riffs and a solid underpinning beat.

Let You Down’s stripped down rhythm sounds like The Doves at their best, combining soaring melodies and chanted backing vocals on the chorus to produce a tune which could easily have crowds singing along at live performances for years to come.

Track four, Last October, was by far my favourite on the EP. It’s infectious melody on the chorus, combined with the brilliant lyric that it was “almost over, last October, when you told me you didn’t like the Smiths” shows the band as a group who have a keen ear for the art of song writing as well as a deep commitment to their influences. With songs this likeable they could be serious contenders to topple contemporaries such as the Keiser Chiefs from their position as the kings of the Leeds indie scene.

Final song, Sarcastic Smile, slows the tempo down to close out the EP in emphatic style with a number that pops with sincerity, boasting lyrics that (I suspect) are an attack on any potential detractors. Based on the rest of the songs on the EP, they may not find too many of these.

On the whole, Artists and Artisans is an excellent introduction to a band which has an ability to write engaging and entertaining indie rock. There are songs on the EP which have the potential to make a massive impact upon the music industry. If they can gain the right promotion and build their reputation then Soul Circus have the potential to forge an impressive future for themselves.
- The Leeds Scenester


"Artists & Artisans" EP, released October 2010.

"The Myth" single, released October 2011.

"Picture Frames" single, released December 2011



Introducing purveyors of British indie rock and roll, guitar wielding Leeds lads Soul Circus.

With their anthemic and memorable songs Soul Circus has forged a live set packed full of epic anthems, thrown together with an impressive mix of energy and swagger. Their performances, supporting the likes of Miles Kane and Various Cruelties, captured the attention of the Isle of Wight promoters who added them to their 2011 bill, following on from their appearances at the Leeds and Reading festivals the previous year.

The unsigned indie five piece released their debut single “The Myth” through Soundpeople Records in October 2011, making the song available online and on 100 limited edition CDs. The song received airplay from Tom Robinson (BBC 6 music) and Gim Gellatly (Amazing Radio).

Soul Circus consists of Lloyd Bradley (lead vocals), Paul Wainwright (guitar and vocals), Tom Matthews (guitar), Adam Marshall (bass and vocals), and Martyn Guy (drums).