The Great Central Review of 2016

When we started writing this piece, we were going to ask each of our writers for their top five best and worst five moments of 2016, but it quickly became apparent that 2016 has been one of the worst in living memory for a lot of people. To kick things off we said our farewells to Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and countless other inspirational artists that meant so much to so many of us – then depending on your political inclinations Brexit, Donald Trump and the refugee crisis would all be riding high on our lists as well.

But we’re all about positivity here, and there was some incredible moments throughout 2016 that just about saved it for us. Here’s what blew the minds of the Great Central staff in the last 12 months.

becca-1– Yerma at the Young Vic,London.
– Groundhog Day: The Musical at the Old Vic, London.
– Kasabian’s “surprise” set at Viccy Park (plus the whole atmos of the city generally in those weeks).
– My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast.
– Helen/Rob storyline on The Archers (yes, really).

Natalie Beech– People, Places and Things at Wyndham’s Theatre.
– Hib Word and Guests, Tetrad’s Here & Now at Attenborough Arts Centre.
– WIT at Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre.
– 14/48 at The Y Theatre.
– Bridget Christie: Mortal at The Stand, Edinburgh.

Stefanie Creten– Listener at Firebug.
– Handmade.
– Jonathan Safran Foer Here I Am.
– Eleanor Tiernan at Leicester Comedy Festival.
– Maybeshewill at Koko.

ALICE GIBBS (writer)
Alice Gibbs– Boston Globe journalist flick ‘Spotlight’.
– Being surrounded by excitement the evening of Leicester’s Championship win.
– The People V. OJ Simpson.
– De Montfort University’s #LoveInternational campaign launch.
– Sticky Fingers at The Cookie.

leicester City“Watching more than 240,000 people line the streets to watch Leicester City celebrate their Premier League title win was breathtaking. The atmosphere was joyous and filled with excitement. Cheers and laughter filled the streets and as Kasabian took to the stage on Victoria Park they started their surprise set with saying, “This one is for the underdogs.” Young and old, fans and just there for the ride, it felt like the whole city was partying. Truly a once in a lifetime experience.” – Alice Gibbs



Adam Pickering– Moderat at Pitchfork Music Festival Paris.
– Stranger Things.
– PC Music’s Pop Cosmos at The Scala
– Great Central Issue #1’s publication

Tiernan Welch– Deftones Gore.
– Russian Circles at Dunk! Fest.
– Frightened Rabbit Painting of a Panic Attack.
– Kubo and the Two Strings.
– Having a baby, I guess.

JOHN HELPS (editor)
John Helps– Stars of the Lid at Nottingham Contemporary.
– Venetian Snares at Firebug.
– Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool.
– Deftones Gore.
– Warpaint Heads Up.

Venetian Snares“I think everyone was pretty stunned when we announced that Venetian Snares was going to be playing at Firebug. The show sold out in about a week, and everyone I spoke to was talking about it – it was a really proud moment. He bought a totally unique modular synth with him, and you could get completely lost in the music – something that I find pretty rare.” – John Helps




Dylan Whatley– Reading Festival.
– Frank Ocean releasing two albums in a day.
– Handmade.
– Leicester City winning the Premier League – obviously.
– Moose Blood at The Cookie.

Moose Blood“I’ve been to a lot of shows at The Cookie in the past and a heck of a lot of shows this year. It was my first time seeing Moose Blood, so for it to be held at an intimate venue like The Cookie, made the night even better. It was a month or so before their second album ‘Blush’ arrived so the band seemed very excited and blessed to be gifted with such a loving crowd. They didn’t hesitate to start their set with a bang with new song ‘Honey’ and personal favourites ‘Bukowski’ and ‘Swim Down’.

I think what made it so memorable, was them (obviously), the support band, Dead!, who are great, and just the overall atmosphere created. Seeing a band so thankful is so great to see, and if they’ve got plenty of bangers, it helps.” – Dylan Whatley

LIAM SEXTON (writer)
Liam Sexton– Britain First being trounced out of Leicester… Twice.
– Handmade Festival.
– The final Maybeshewill show.
– Mooseblood Blush.
– The Foreign Office getting a new cat.

We Are Scientists Handmade FestivalHandmade is built on the ethic of bringing new and exciting artists and performers to the city. As the stage manager for the main stage, I can honestly say it is one of the highlights of my working year. The opportunity to bring a whole host of exciting new bands to our little, and sometimes overlooked, city is incredible.

Leicester is currently dazzled by a bright football shaped light, which can, on occasion, overshadow the other amazing events we have to offer. Handmade Festival is utilising that newfound attention to pull the best possible entertainment for the most attractive price. Offering headliners like Deaf Havana, We Are Scientists, 65daysofstatic, Slaves (all of whom have played the main stage – and are the friendliest humans ever) in addition to an innumerable amount of impressive and fun acts, Handmade is a fantastic event worthy of even the most humdrum of musical fans attention.” – Liam Sexton

Jodie Hannis– JOAN at Attenborough Arts Centre.
– Burning Doors at Curve.
– Jouska at Spout and About Fest.
– One More Time with Feeling at Phoenix.
– House of Verse at Handmade.

MATT CAWREY (photographer)
img_0387– Burning Doors at Curve.
– Butley at Little Theatre.
– Clash of Drums at New Walk/Victoria Park.
– Das Kapital at Museum fur Gegenwart, Berlin.
– Urban Bush Women at Curve.

Dan Wallbank– Public Service Broadcasting at Rock City.
– The Final Maybeshewill Show at Koko.
– David Anthony Wood at Leicester Comedy Festival.
– Handmade.
– New Horizons’ flyby of Pluto.

DAVID WILSON CLARKE (photographer)
15289196_10153825861326685_5568735840179686621_o– Jodie Hannis at House of Verse, Music Cafe.
– Lucy Suggate.
– Pilgrim at Attenborough Arts Centre.
– The Final Maybeshewill Show at The Y.
– Jenna Kearns – Mark the Spot at Exit Souls, De Montfort University.
– Lantern Walk/Clash of Drums – New Walk/Victoria Park.

MaybeshewillMaybeshewill’s last two shows in Leicester and London were an emotional journey, for me. Having seen this band on stages big and small over the years, and photographed them numerous times, seeing them for the last time was joyous but sad. A last blast of resonant noise to leave us with. The show at The Y felt more personal; a goodbye to friends in the city, whereas the sellout London show at Koko, with its long queue of fans from further afield showed just how much the band were loved by fans from far and near.” 

– David Wilson Clarke


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