The Banquets are an alternative rock/pop trio based in Leeds. They are pretty new to the music scene, but made quite a big impression in 2019-2020, appearing on the Introducing stage at the Great British Folk Festival, supporting The South (formerly The Beautiful South) on their UK tour, and supporting legendary icon Toyah Wilcox. The Banquets’ sound is a simple mix of rock, blues, and pop music, and they try to maintain the great tradition of British rock. The musical influences of the band stretch far and wide, and go right back to the early 20th century blues scene. Their sound is hugely impacted by the music that has flowed out of America over the last century, and like most British music, it reflects back that sound and rubs in some northern British magic. Although on the surface they might appear to be an acoustic outfit, they aim to make as big a sound as possible, and their sound often leans towards the ecstatic.
After spending the past year establishing themselves as a serious force to be reckoned with in the genre of rock/pop, The Banquets have been busy in the studio working on several tracks and exciting music videos. The first in their plethora of new releases is Red Sky Morning, an acoustic power ballad from their 2020 EP. They wanted to produce a bigger sound with electric guitar and western vibes, accompanied with a stunning music video to capture the story. Powered by the formidable voice of their lead vocalist, Red Sky Morning is one of those songs that stands the hairs on end.
Meet The Banquets
"The Banquets are absolutely divine." (Entheos Media Group)
At the front of the shop is the enigmatic and exceptional singer/ songwriter Gemma Dee. Gem is the driving force and energy in the group, writing most of the band’s lyrics and making sure the boys deliver exactly what she dreams. She comes from a very musical background, with her dad filling their house with rock & roll throughout her childhood, and with many members of her family being involved in the local music scene in Cleethorpes.
Leon Russell-Hills is the band’s guitarist. He taught himself how to play the guitar from an early age, and hasn’t looked back since. He is the creative force behind the band, and provides simple and catchy tunes for Gem to lay melodies and lyrics over, whilst writing some of the lyrics himself. Coming from working class roots and having no musical education or musical inspiration in his family, Leon really does epitomise raw talent.
On percussion is Sir Francis Watson. Fran is a pure music man. Both of his parents were professional musicians, and his sister is a singer in a four-piece acapello group. He has been to Music College both in Birmingham and Leeds, and has been in many bands over the years. Fran is more than just percussion though: he can play a plethora of instruments, and in the band, offers both backing singing, arrangement and fine details to the music.