Tag Archives: Review

The Sonik Seeds review

This four pieced performed beautifully (at The Leadmill, 16/08/14) with just the right amount of modesty and showmanship which made them very charming and endearing.

It was a short but superb set but it certainly left the audience wanting more. These guys have a delightful raw rock and roll sound with a sixties vibe. It is remarkably refreshing seeing bands explore older sounds from previous generations and give them a new lease of life, and this has been executed perfectly by The Sonik Seeds.

You may have already heard the band, either featuring on a video for popular cosmetic brand Rimmel with Georgia Jagger, or after they had their first play live on BBC Sheffield Introducing… with their single Shine On. They play as beautifully live and have a chemistry together which is rare and wonderful.

Once again Sheffield and the surrounding areas have done us proud. I firmly believe we are still trying to make our voices heard in Sheffield, being a smaller city than our neighbours Leeds and Manchester and not always being first choice with bigger artists, but with bands like these coming off our Sheffield streets and on to the stage people have no choice but to hear us.

Rolo Tomassi at Tramlines – review

Returning to Sheffield for their first live performance of 2014, Rolo Tomassi tore up Corporation for the Tramlines festival.

The show follows a period of creative hiatus for the band as they have locked themselves away writing their fourth album, four years since their first, Hysteric (2008).

Eve Spence and the band did not disappoint, playing with true exertion and energy to a crowd of dedicated and surviving festival goers on the third and final day of Tramlines.

Rolo Tomassi played their half-hour midday set like they were headlining the bigger rock festivals such as Download and after thanking fans for their continued support they indulged the audience by playing a few new unreleased tracks during the set, unfortunately due to the sheer energy of the crowd (not at all a complaint) I was unable to hear the titles.

These new tracks followed the same winning Tomassi formula as their previous work, using a mixture of vocal registers with complimenting heavy instrumental thrashing and softer building up pieces.

The songs weren’t the only new things Rolo Tomassi had to offer either: mid-set the band introduced a new member, drummer Tom Pitts, to the group noting it was his first show with them. Something a casual listener might have overlooked as the band played with a united harmony as if they were still all the original members from when they formed in 2005.

Looking back at the previous Tramlines that Rolo Tomassi have been involved in one thing is always a guarantee for their shows and that is the energetic crowds. Whilst the scene might have been different in the dark Corporation main room from their sunlight shows in front of City Hall, the ‘pit’ emerged loyally again in front of the band.

Not many bands evoke audience participation in the way Rolo Tomassi does. There’s a sense of passive adrenaline that comes with the sight of all those bodies being thrown about to beat of their music. With the crowd being constantly combed over by an intense industrial light display, and the strobe lighting flashing in unison to the music, you can’t help but feel energised and pumped even if you daren’t enter the ‘pit’ yourself. During ‘the scales of balance’ the movement in the crowd was so electric there was a moment I almost forgot what I’d come to see, the band or the crowd.

Sadly there are currently no more confirmed shows for the rest of this year although Eve ended the set with a very promising and exciting “see you guys later in the year.” Personally I hope to see them again next year at Tramlines, as it’s become some sort of a ritual for me. Rolo Tomassi were followed onstage by London’s instrumental trio Three Trapped Tigers (Sunday’s Corporation Headliners), who brought their own unique captivating noise to round off the show – and round off Corporation’s live contribution to the festival.

The Jezabels at The Plug: review

I’d not heard of The Jezabels until relatively recently when I stumbled upon a huge poster in the city centre advertising their new album The Brink; later the same evening I decided to stick it on Spotify and have not looked back!

Quite often I need to hear an album in its entirety several times to be able to make what I believe would be an informed opinion but it became evident immediately that new release was completely saturated in magic.  Much to my delight I was notified that the group were soon to play the new release at one of Sheffield’s renowned live music venues – The Plug. With regret, on this occasion I was unable to attend in time to see the support act Shermer however, I keep my fingers crossed that I will catch them on another occasion.

The Jezabels were outstanding, and there were so many factors that contributed to it being such a wondrous evening. At this point I feel that I must confess (if it has not been evident already) that I am very fond of most music that involves a keyboard, so having Heather Shannon looking beautiful beside one gave them a slight advantage.

After reading that they had described themselves as “intensindie” I was curious to find out what this meant. I think those who see themselves as ‘serious’ music critics could  perhaps cast this off as just another pop group but to see them perform I think it’s evident they have a lot of depth.

Hayley Mary has such haunting vocals, she possesses a voice that seems to get inside your head as well as your ears, and there is a particular element of ‘moodiness’ that seems to hold genuine emotion.

I particularly enjoyed the aesthetics of the band, all in dark clothing which made them eerie in the best possible way, I was especially happy to see the women fully dressed and looking smart which for me helps me to take them more seriously. It’s clear they care more for the art of their music than taking the route a lot of female musicians do by wearing as little as possible to sell records.

It was plain to see that the band were serious about what they do and that showed with the pure emotion that came from all of the members, Hayley especially, who was dancing with genuine emotion along with the crowd. The band manifested a breath-taking atmosphere and I would happily see them over and over again.

Heavy Duck EP Review

Heavy Duck EP – Who the Duck!?

I have been fortunate enough to have once again been given new music to take home and listen to . This time it is the brand new EP from Sheffield’s own Heavy Duck, Who The Duck!?

When I first listened to the EP in its entirety it struck me that within seven tracks the group have very cleverly managed to use everything in their itinerary to showcase the range of genres and sounds they are capable of.

If I’m honest there were points where the vocals seemed almost a little foreign to the music, as if two totally different bands were performing together and lyrically there is room for improvement. The song Big Balls performed by a growling Slimmbob was a significant contrast to the rest of the EP and proved that for Heavy Duck although music is about being deep and meaningful, a little bit of humour never hurts.

I found it really difficult to pin Heavy Duck down within a particular genre as they clearly have taken so many wide influences from rock, indie and punk bands and mixed them together. Combining genres in this way is certainly a courageous act and can produce wonderful pieces of music, however, it is a double edged sword and can be a very risky move.

People do tend to purchase music based on the genre, often other things follow from this choice of a particular sound of music for example the way somebody may choose to dress. Having a band that doesn’t seem to have found its sound yet is both a wonderful thing as they have so many options they can take and will excel in any direction they go in; I just believe a direction needs to be decided on.

I’m very excited, not only to see what the band come up with next, but finally to get to see them perform live.

What next?

  • Heavy Duck are playing The Hop on the 23rd July and The Royal Standard at Tramlines on the 27th July
  • You can download their Who the Duck!? EP from their Bandcamp page

The Horrors – Luminous review

Fantastic, I thought, finally a new Horrors album for me to sink my teeth into, writes Jade Knox.

Having first heard the band in 2008, a year after they had brought out their garage punk style album Strange House, I had a feeling that this was the start of something glorious and continued to follow them on their musical journey.

Strange House was perfectly timed for me as that was exactly the genre I was exploring and I thoroughly enjoyed the slightly darker image of the band. With their Chelsea boots and incredible hair they brought such personality to the table at the time when nothing similar to this was really knocking about.

Gradually, over time, the group lost the look and seemed to settled for simple leather jackets and I supposed for Primary Colours and Skying I was relatively happy, they had calmed down, and so had my teen angst, so I appreciated the move to something a just a little more mellow than ‘Jack The Ripper’.

Now, on to Luminous… Well, I may have gotten older but I’m not in my eighties yet. I was SO disappointed listening to this album, the moment the first track kicked in I felt I knew what was going to happen. Songs seemed to plod along one after the other with no great enthusiasm. I can appreciate a slower more ambient track, ‘I Only Think of You’ is my all-time favourite but it’s a long shot from dull which is genuinely how I felt about the majority of this release. There was a time for me that when I heard The Horrors I would jump out of my seat and dance; songs such as ‘Scarlet Fields’ and ‘Monica Gems’ from ‘Primary Colours’ and ‘Skying’ respectively but in the case of Luminous, there was not so much of a foot tap.

I am not completely writing this album off for everyone, if you had not really followed the group from the start and this is where you are starting then maybe it will seem much more impressive. I could definitely use it to study with as nothing about it is particularly distracting or it could be a good method if you are having trouble sleeping. Some magic has definitely been lost somewhere along the road to this album for me and I don’t know whether this has been a conscious decision by the band or whether someone else may be pulling some strings to get these fellas more and more mainstream.

Hopefully when I see the band on 30/09/2014 at the lovely Leadmill the live performance may add a little bit of substance or passion that I’ve not found simply listening to the album.


Drop Dead Angus – Apocalyse Now EP review

I feel as if I’ve been waiting my entire life to review a local band that have managed to avoid being sucked in to the incredible black hole that the Arctic Monkeys have left behind in Sheffield. It’s nice to see some other genres emerging that perhaps aren’t quite as in fashion as the folky/indie scene that is prominent at the moment.

These tracks are energetic, exciting and entice you to get up from your seat and start moving which is exactly what this genre expects from you. It’s the kind of music that makes you want to learn every lyric and sing along. If I were to draw comparisons they remind me very much of a slower paced Rise Against and this is huge compliment.

There are hundreds of people in Sheffield sat twiddling their thumbs waiting for something like this to happen and here we have it. It appeared that when MySpace died so did Sheffield’s love of heavier alternative music and I think I could be time for it to make a reappearance and genuinely believe that Drop Dead Angus could be the ones to start things up.

I would really like to see these guys play live – I can only imagine the atmosphere to be incredible.

The digital album can be bought here https://dropdeadangus.bandcamp.com/ for just £5! Can I also just mention how wonderful that artwork is!

1930 Berlin Diary – Review

Marmalade Inspired presents… 1930 Berlin Diary – Review by Gemma Crump

On Sunday the 8th of June, the public put on their dancing shoes, suits and 1930s fancy dress and headed down to Crystal Bar on Carver street for a night they would never forget.

1930 Berlin Diary is an account of Warren Peace’s time in 1930s Berlin. The show takes the audience back to a pre-Nazi Germany where Peace lived, worked and performed at Madame Lola’s Cabaret establishment. Throughout the evening we were transported back in time and introduced to a wide range of characters who entertained us all night long.

Arriving early I had the privilege of going back stage and meeting members of the cast while they got ready for the evening performance. There was a sense of excitement about the upcoming show with a healthy batch of nerves. I watched perplexed as preparations were made and makeup was applied. Rotherham College hair and media department’s tutors and students were hard at work preparing the performers and making them all look glamorous.

So many aspects of this show gave it an edge and set it apart from other touring performances. For one having artists, soldiers, magicians and popcorn girls encouraging the audience to get involved. This gave a good sense of immersion to the piece. I for one am still baffled by the French magician Benoit Pierre’s fascinating coin illusion trick which was flawless and incredible. A big hand must go to the Soft Dance Jazz Band who had us all dancing the night away until our feet ached.

The show itself went off smoothly. Although there were a few technical hiccups with the music, this did not faze the performers who stayed in character and used it as an opportunity for audience involvement. A fond moment of the night for me was when the music went down and so we had to sing the can-can for the audience members on stage. This added a comic value and had me in hysterics at the back of the audience.

The vast range and talent of the performers was unlike any show I have seen. There were moments when your breath caught in your throat at the sheer beauty of the dances. A good example of this was in Scarlet Butterfly and her astonishing control while dancing on a pole. I can only imagine the stamina and practice it takes to be that elegant.

There are many acts I could mention: the two funny clowns played by Jennie Swift and John Slater certainly made me laugh; all the way to Stella Overdrive who played Warren Peace’s feisty landlady. Warren himself was bursting with talent and comedy. However the man who stole the show was comedian Sam Skinny, with his hilarious weight lifter routine to his French comic act. There was not a person in the room who didn’t have a smile on their face.

After interviewing the audience at the interval it is clear the show was a hit.

  • Quotes included “Brilliant”
  • “fabulous show!”
  • “Really good atmosphere”
  • “It is the simple things that make this show so good”
  • “The most bizarre thing to be doing on a Sunday night (in a good way)”
  • “Best night out we have had in a long time

The audience’s reactions speak for itself as this truly was a mind-blowing show. The company Marmalade Inspired in my opinion is going places. I highly recommend keeping up to date with future events and shows so that you don’t miss out on experiences such as this.

Major congratulations to the cast and crew that put the evening together and did such a good job. All the performers should be proud of themselves as well as backstage and all the volunteers that made it all a success. A truly amazing show, something that I would come and see over and over again. Well done!

Review: Gareth Malone’s voices tour

Gemma Crump

Gemma Crump

By Gemma Crump

Gareth Malone’s voices tour, which came to Sheffield City Hall on 28th May, was equal parts fun and emotional. The haunting beauty of unaccompanied voices harmonising together was hypnotising.

Malone took to the stage with his 16 talented young singers to give the audience an unforgettable evening. Each member was given a chance to shine and shine they did, displaying technical skill in the way they harmonised on a wide selection of songs.

Malone’s charisma and charm put the audience at ease and even encouraged us to have a go singing in songs such as ‘Fields of Gold’. He made the audience feel as if we were one big choir – even the shyest members of the audience got involved with giant smiles on their faces.

Malone showed us his talent to get anyone to sing by plucking a young doctor out of the audience to sing ‘Stand by Me’ on the stage. His natural charm put her at ease, she sung exquisitely and got a wonderful reception from the audience.

The songs were varied but each beautiful in its own way. Naomi Bank’s solo of ‘Try sleeping with a broken heart’ had a gorgeously Smokey undertone to it and was a great way to open the show. One of my favourites however was the rendition of Fleet Foxes’ ‘White Winter Hymnal’ with its catchy tune and beautiful harmonies. I have not stopped listening to it or singing it since leaving the concert. Other songs included ‘Wherever You Are’ written for the Military Wives choir, leaving the audience with a tear in their eyes and Gary Barlow’s ‘Sing’ that had such a magic to it.

Apart from assistant musical director Michael Higgins wonderfully playing the keyboard and a backing of beat boxing on a ‘looping’ machine, the rest of the songs were unaccompanied. It was magical to see how beautiful a sound you can make putting different voices together. Each and every member of Malone’s voices were spectacular and incredibly talented. It has left me with a renewed love of choral music and has rekindled my passion for music. An emotional and enjoyable evening that I shall never forget.


Lifesigns review

Lifesigns Webpage Review PicLifesigns performed at The Greystones on Monday 27th May. Graham Marshall, co-presenter of Sheffield Live!’s Spirit of the Wapentake programme was there – here’s Graham’s review.

Lifesigns released their debut album to great acclaim in January 2013 and have since been No.1 in Amazon classic rock and prog charts in the U.K., U.S.A., Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Japan. Their album sales show little sign of abating and as such the demand for Lifesigns to tour has continued to grow. They were nominated this year by PROG Magazine for their best newcomer award.

Lifesigns are: John Young on keys & vocals (ex Asia, Scorpions, Greenslade, Strawbs), Frosty Beedle on drums (ex Cutting Crew), Jon Poole on bass (ex Cardiacs & Wildhearts) and Niko Tsonev on guitar (ex Steven Wilson).

Graham and Bona from Spirit of the Wapentake review this relatively new Prog rock band that on paper sound as though they ‘cut the mustard’.. but its what they sound like live that really matters.

Here’s what they thought after the gig:

What next?

Miss Nightingale – Review

Gemma Crump of Sheffield Live! reviews Matthew Bugg’s Miss Nightingale.

The bewitching musical that is Miss Nightingale will make you laugh, cry and go home with the catchy songs stuck firmly in your head.

Set in war time Britain, a feisty northern singer Maggie Brown (played by the amazingly talented Jill Cardo) and her refugee friend George (played by Harry Waller) struggle to find their big break. They meet Sir Frank Worthington-Blythe (played by Tomm Coles) who agrees to take on the act in his Nightclub under the name ‘Miss Nightingale’. With the saucy costumes and innuendo filled songs, they soon become a hit.

Behind the glamour of the stage the love lives of the characters are in turmoil. Maggie is in love and having a relationship with Tom Fuller (played by Adam Langstaff) a married man who feeds her love stories and yet will never leave his wife. Whereas George and Frank fall in love, however in a time when homosexuality was illegal, they have to hide their love from everyone.

Other supporting characters were also acted with élan, such as the waiter and stage manager (played by Tobias Oliver) and Maggie’s brother Harry Brown (played by the one and only Matthew Bugg). This show deserves to be a huge hit.

The storyline is beautifully put together with songs ranging from hilarious to deeply emotional. The amazingly talented cast not only act but harmonise and play different instruments. The whole show draws you in, keeping you on the edge of your seat the whole way through.

There is no other show like this in the theatres at the moment. A story of friendship, forbidden love and learning to trust again, it is the hidden gem of musicals. My only regret is that I only saw it once.