Band Line-Up: Band Members: Gem Russell-Hills (Lead Vox), Leon Russell-Hills (Guitar), Sir Francis Watson (Drums, Percussion), and Jonny Lyons (Bass).


The Banquets performed at Leed’s renowned Brudenell Social Club to kick off 2023. With six scheduled new single releases every six weeks in 2023, the year will be busy. It will culminate in a 4-city tour in November (Whitby, York, Leeds, and Doncaster) to promote a December EP release. In 2019, The Banquets burst onto the music scene. Fans adore their boisterous energy and distinctive fusion of rock, indie, and country music. They are hailed by the media as “a modern-day Fleetwood Mac.”  Leon, on guitar, and Gem, on lead vocals, are a songwriting powerhouse. Lyric masterworks portray human experiences that everyone can identify with. Check out “Mary Mary” (sexuality), “Red Sky Morning” (addiction), and “Two Little Acorns” (death of a parent). The quasi-political songs “What Ya Saying” and “Restless” convey significant messages to listeners.

A BBC Introducing segment highlighted the band’s upcoming release ‘COLD WAR’, demonstrating that this is a band that is on the rise! 

Songwriting comes from the powerhouse duo of Leon (guitar) and Gem (lead vox). Lyrical masterpieces depict personal experiences many relate to. Check out – “Mary Mary” (sexuality), “Red Sky Morning” (addiction) and “Two Little Acorns” (death of a parent). Quasi-political/societal anthems “What Ya Saying” and “Restless” give listeners important messages.


The Banquets EP – 2020

Red Sky Morning – 2020

What Ya Saying’? – 2021

Black Mirrors – 2021

Folsom Prison Blues (Live) – 2021

The Pieces –  2021

Mary Mary – 2021

The Beautiful – 2022

Restless – 2022

Two Little Acorns – 2022

Cold War – June 2023

“Full of moods and with a vibe that reminds us of bands from the 60s/70s.” ~ Roadie Music

“Like a modern day Fleetwood Mac” ~ The Music Files

“Barely like anything I’ve recently heard before!” ~ Music for the Misfits

“The Banquets are turning heads left, right and centre!” ~ The Other Side Reviews



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Release Date: 6 June 2023

About the Song: 

Gem originally began writing these lyrics with a misogynist predator in mind, who preys on the virtuous at night. It came together very organically.

The song has, however, taken on a whole new dimension, so although I still relate to that when I sing the song, it also resonates with the current cultural cold war.

Our times are strange and we guess the song reflects this. The song also explores the internal conflict that we all have between the desire to be pure and good and the desire to let it all go and enjoy life. Virtues and vices are constant inner conflicts within us.

Press Kit is restricted to request only until release date 6 June 2023. Email shay@thebuzzr.net or generate request by clicking link above

band member bios

Gem (lead vox)

At the front of the shop is the enigmatic and exceptional singer/ songwriter Gem. Gem is the driving force and energy in the group. She writes most of the band’s lyrics and makes sure the boys deliver exactly what she dreams. She comes from a very musical background. Her dad filled their house with rock & roll throughout her childhood. “Two Little Acorns” honours her father. Many members of her family are involved in the local music scene in Cleethorpes.

Leon (guitar)

Leon 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. He provides simple and catchy tunes for Gem to lay melodies and lyrics over. He writes some of the lyrics himself. Leon epitomises raw talent. He hails from working class roots with no musical education or musical inspiration in his family.

Francis Watson (drums, percussion, backing vocals)

On percussion is Sir Francis Watson. Fran is a pure music man. Both of his parents were professional musicians. His sister is a singer in a four-piece acapella 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 percussion. He can play a plethora of instruments. He offers the band both backing singing, arrangement and the fine details to the music. Fran co-produced “Two Little Acorns” with the band’s mainstay producer Luke Mathias.

Jonny Lyons (Bass)

Jonny Lyons, born and raised in sunny Bradford, is new to the band. But with his Yorkshire charm and northern sense of humour, he fits right in. Jonny’s played bass for over 20 years now. He’s played in a range of bands and has toured all over the UK and Europe. He’s recorded EP’s and albums that have had worldwide airplay – in the UK, US, Asia and Australia. His main influences are John Paul Jones, Paul McCartney, Flea and Sonny T. The Banquets are very happy to have found him!!

notable shows 2023

LEEDS, Brudenell Social Club

notable shows 2022

DONCASTER, The Leopard, Supporting Sam Scherdel
STOCKTON, THE ARC, Supporting The South
LEEDS, Santiagos
MEXBOROUGH, The Imperial Music Venue
LINCOLN, The Drill, Supporting Bootleg Blondie
LEEDS, British Oak
ELSECAR, Elsecar Heritage Centre
YORK, Old Bank

PUDSEY, The Commercial Inn
PUDSEY, Pudsey Bowling Club
LEEDS, The Vinyl Whistle
LEEDS, Northern Guitars
PUDSEY, Jug & Barrel
LEEDS Headingley Enterprise & Arts Centre

festivals 2022

DENABY MAIN, Summer of Love Festival 

HOLMFIRTH, Holmfirth Festival of Folk 

LEEDS, HYDE PARK, Unity Day Festival


YouTube views up 330%. Instagram up 90% in 2022

Press Contact: Shay D shay@thebuzzr.net 226-332-6117 text/call/WhatsApp