Concert Review

Broken Witt Rebels Rock Leicester’s Academy2

The Broken Witt Rebels started their many-times-postponed UK tour, promoting their album OK Hotel, on 25th Nov in Leicester.  Having played their hometown of Birmingham a few weeks prior, the attendance in Leicester was a disappointment – be it because people were still staying away from smaller venues, or the gig had been moved so many times people hadn’t kept track of the new date.  It didn’t deter the band, who put on the show with as much enthusiasm as they would have to a sell-out crowd.

Holden James was the support, playing his first UK gig. Holden may write country music for a living, but his own stuff is more on the rock side.  He accompanied himself during his set on electric guitar but used his laptop to add extra instruments for a more rounded sound.

Mixing covers of The 1975 and Machine Gun Kelly tracks with his own music, his eight-song set piqued the interest of this reviewer.  His sound nicely complemented Broken Witt Rebels’  and he is someone worth investigating.  His between-track chat was pretty good, and I’m sure it will win him more attention.

His music has something of early noughties Good Charlotte and Angels & Airwaves about it – it’s worth checking out his SoundCloud if this appeals to you.

Holden James – Photo Credit Claire Stones

Broken Witt Rebels, with a new drummer in the form of Mike Krompass (previously of Smash Mouth, amongst others), took to the stage about 15 minutes after Holden finished..  They didn’t let the smaller crowd bother them, playing as if to full capacity – to the delight of the fans who had been able to make it (or had kept track of numerous rescheduled dates).

They opened their set with Take It, released as a single last year,  before playing seven songs from their latest album, OK Hotel. These songs work brilliantly with Danny Core’s voice and it was great to finally hear them live.

To break up the set a little, they added an impressive (and brave) cover – their version of James Brown’s It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World worked well with Danny’s voice and the playing was just what you would hope for on such a classic song.

James Tranter of Broken Witt Rebels – Photo Credit Claire Stones

Mixing a couple of earlier, heavier songs with further tracks from their latest release, the band succeeded in pleasing the crowd. This reviewer, although owning some of their earlier releases,  has only really listened to their latest.  The older tracks were enjoyable, but there is something about the sound of OK Hotel which made those songs the best of the night.

The show was great and BWR are definitely worth seeing live if you like any of their music. Butthe real highlight of the night has to be Birmingham, from the encore. Easily the best song on the album, getting to hear it live was a real treat.

If you like the sound of a full band bluesy rock with a side of a Birmingham accent, this is the band for you. Some might say playing to a small crowd as if it was a sell-out is arrogant, but when you enjoy the music and have paid to see a band you deserve to get the same show as any other crowd.

More photos are available at

Broken Witt Rebels

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | YouTube

Holden James

Website | Facebook | Instagram | SoundCloud | YouTube

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