Archive for June, 2011

Photo: Tom Martin @ The Harley, Sheffield


Calum Gunn, John Bailey Jnr, Paul Carlin – drums, Ryan McGinness – bass, David Roy and Duncan Robertson – guitars, six-piece…Reshuffle after bassist Laura Hyde’s departure…Glasgow, Scotland…E-numbers evoked least energetic response…Piggyback ride (Bailey jnr + Gunn)…Crammed onto ‘stage’ but thrive in enclosed allotted area…Drummer old enough to be Gunn’s Dad…HARLEY = curious, enigmatic, underground venue, pub, restaurant and hotel, incredibly raw sound system, bass dominated, bumbling/overpowering/crackling speaker on left, condiments and diners still at 9 o’clock!…Rattling, wobbly speaker on right…Fantastic version of Devo – “Whip It”…Shania Twain outburst… Think and Feel… Amusing on-stage chemistry, natural not trying…Enthusiasm and energy unrivalled…Intimate affair…Duly rise to ‘we want more’ – “1 more won’t hurt”…Floored, sit-in, crouching tigers…Hairy meatballs moshing, Gunn: “we don’t like violence”…Vocals complementary to squawking…Not to be missed at Harley or live…2008 showing – little changed, sustained, manic, fun…Fear for The Harley’s windows and blinds…Passers-by must wonder as to the commotion…Fire Escape open…Brings drum out into crowd…Makeshift stage…Wall of cuddles…Bouncing off the ceilings, three contrive to anneal, well utilised space, exploit their surroundings, adventurous…Gunn makes this venue his own, ventures…Gunn crowdsurfs…Bailey Jnr leaps – unwise considering his past injuries at gigs…Songs off new album – ‘I honestly can’t believe you got that much ham into a solitary sandwich and still went to see Metallica’ or working title ‘Better Boadies’…1st album = Hey Everyone!…Ends on Pink Sabbath…Singles Black Wax and Some Dresses mingle cute introductory guitars with complementary singing…Hey Everyone opens with a Rage Against  Machine – esque thrashing…Ability to craft smart, ear-pleasing tunes but heavy backdrop is not commercially-friendly…One of ‘best live bands’ in UK…Springing in unison to Pink Sabbath…Thrilling to audio racket/ uncoordinated hammering noise torture

Rating: 7 out of 10

The Pogues

@ O2 Academy, Sheffield


Fabled festive farewell or not, this was a grand performance from The Pogues in a season which they dominate. The agonising wait until they take to the floor is warmed by recited choruses of Body of an American from the eager crowd.

     When the doddery Shane MacGowan finally blunders onto stage he’s greeted with a hero’s reception and passionate chants of ‘Shano’ despite appearing as if he has been unceremoniously awoken or directed away from the backstage bar. Is that a sloshing pint of vodka or water accompanying his constantly lit cigarette? For most of this evening’s gig MacGowan mutters unintelligible snippets to the crowd which tin whistle player Spider Stacy on our right translates as song introductions.

     First up is Streams of Whiskey, aptly appreciated by the average beer-fuelled bald nut at the front, followed soon after by the jumpy If I Should Fall from Grace with God. Thereafter the tempo of the set oscillates perfectly with the terrific two-paced The Sick Bed of Cúchulainn inciting a riotous response while And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda provides respite and swaying material.

     The Irish outfit also sandwich in the brass instrumental Metropolis, the beautiful accordion-led London Girl and the much anticipated, energetic The Irish Rover. Not even a minor wire-slip/blown amp sound explosion can dampen the celebratory carnival atmosphere created by the loyal gathering packed inside the often soulless Academy. This is further fuelled when MacGowan dons the band’s green and white scarf which is hurled onstage later on.

     And so The Pogues return for their encore (Shano’s fifth) which culminates in a classic rendition of Fairytales of New York which sees him grapple his female compatriot in an awkward arm-in-arm waltz under a sea of confetti. They finish with Fiesta and the baking tray head-bashing antics of Spider Stacy which, although many are too-spent to sustain their bouncing for, has the balcony viewers swinging and leaves us with a special something to hum and whistle along to into the freezing Sheffield night. This one will live long in the memory – or at least until this time next year?

Rating: 9 out of 10

This review was published by CLUAS and can be found at:

 @ Livewire, Foundry, University of Sheffield


DIOYY’s returning UK tour to promote their forthcoming second album Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You (pictured) looks set to satisfy their existing faithful, while attempting to make closer contact with the sprawling arms of the kingdom of mainstream.

I wouldn’t have guessed, but mid-set lead vocalist James Rushent non-too politely confesses his embarrassment when introducing one of the band’s new ‘pop’ singles; created solely to please radio, and ultimately downloading, chart influencing types. If only every ‘pop single’ instilled its audience with the explosive energy of a Lucozade and pack of Dextrose concoction.

The self-proclaimed house, acousmatic and indie Reading quartet have a solid live set, well blended with original and new numbers which equally offer no repose for their raucous live following. With a well-presented entrance, cued by dazzling light and a growing synth sound, the dominantly instrumental act already have the Union’s Carlsberg plastic pints projectiling, dousing unsuspecting first timers. Welcome to a DIOYY gig all newcomers.

In amongst the promising new material that must certainly have cast shadows of snake pits on the Foundry’s walls were the old barnstorming tunes With a Heavy Heart (I Regret to Inform You) that loosened the belts of most jeans early doors, inflicting the first wounds and attracting the first wave of crowd surfers. The crazily named sonic, speedy, two-minute train track, mad dash Attack of the 60ft lesbian Octopus (which is hard to take seriously, dance accordingly or describe concisely) arrived later. The indistinguishable, live perfected, pogo artist favourites Battle Royale and We are Rockstars cater for all, from floppy haired types, Pendulum lovers to hardcore house fans.

New single We Are the Dead offers an interesting blend of melancholic guitar solo with a mosh-building background beat that the crowd so appreciates. It may even flirt with the UK top 40 if it receives the airtime it deserves, is advertised effectively and the myspace version is replaced with a stonking live recording.

Rushent bemoans the lack of interest at their previous Sheffield outing. Maybe the Berkshire band should question their tour manager’s decision to book a gig over Easter in a city so heavily reliant on its student population. A minority of the long standing fans are peeved at the exclusion of Lets Make Out and Epic Last Song as well as the painful slow murder of Dawn of the Dead which was surely only lengthened to offer some respite to their lary, typically energetic, sweat drenched crowd.

Most however left the Union buzzing, assessing their physical damage, clad in rags seasoned in a beer-sweat recipe, while searching for lost socks and other property. How my plimsolls stayed on I will never know.

Rating: 7 out of 10

My first blog

Posted: June 24, 2011 in News

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