Dead Like Harry: O2 Academy Sheffield

After frequenting Soundclash regularly over the last few months… I was quite surprised to see the room half full tonight…but if I know Soundclash nights, it won’t stay half for long! I like the way Soundclash is done in this venue…the lighting is just brilliant and the sound system is so complimentary to all the bands.

Stripy Jack was the first band to hit the stage…their entrance music was a lot to be desired however…! ‘Let’s get ready to rumble’ by Ant and Dec…! my initial thoughts was “oh dear…” but after the entrance music had finished, some good listenable music kicked in…The vocalist appeared very young…but his voice could have quite easily come from a person twice his age…their influences are obvious too, during their set their sound at times was reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Milburn…and even Queen with the their own Brian May look a like! However I will say the band needs to improve their stage presence…but that will come with even more experience…at times it appeared as though they were watching each others moves far to much…as if to see what each other were doing… Their most memorable track of their set was a Milburn cover called ‘Well Oh Well’…which was a good interpretation of their song.…obviously this band has a good ear for music especially with ‘Jackbob’ which made the crowd dance and made me tap my pen quite rapidly on my note book…must be good.

Next up was the band ‘Friends of Heros’…who I’d seen before and I’m not likely to forget with their melodic screamo tracks and the vocalists war painted face! I have to say their sound check was very particular and carefully done before they started their set…which I particularly noted…but then I really felt for these guys tonight…because their set was really ‘dogged’ by technical hitches pretty much whole the way through….One guitarist had to make a plea for help through their first track… “Can someone get me a new guitar and amp please” he said politely but with a slight panic in his tone…Then after a few attempts to put things right the vocalist summed up their feelings of disappointment and embarrassment… “well this is a disaster…” he said in a matter of fact kind of way…eventually a sound man came to fix the problems while the bass player tried to entertain everyone…then came “he’s fixed it announcement” and the band continued. They got straight back into it and to their credit they didn’t let the technical hitch knock their confidence too much. ‘Waiting for yesterday’ had a fantastic drum and guitar start and was the most danceable track they did which encouraged some dancing in the now increased crowd. They were now back on form…its just a shame their actual playing was cut short due to the technical hitches…but everyone in the crowd gave the band a good send off, it was obvious everyone appreciated the bands effort and commitment.

Century Kids were the next band and it’s obvious from the off they have a strong fan base…because now the crowd had doubled. They kicked off with ‘Losing Time Losing Sense’ which really showcases their excellent timing and live performance. I have to say I’ve bought their EP called Tank Tops & Ewoks… but I don’t think their EP really does them justice….its their live performance that make these lads special – they always make the dual vocals look so easy. The crowd just loved every minute of this band, because you could see people singing and dancing along to every track. The difference in Jake Whislecraft and Thomas Hoyland’s voices are very complimentary with each other…one has a voice with attitude and the other harmonises so well… it’s just so pleasurable to listen too. This band has catchy lyrics with catchy music – excellent combination.

Dead Like Harry was the headlining act tonight…and because they are quite a large band (six of them) and they had so many different musical instruments…they looked quite tight on the fairly small stage. This band had an older fan base and it seemed some of the younger crowd disappeared after the Century Kids had left the stage – but the auditorium was still full. Their energetic start captured the crowd’s attention straight away. This band obviously has talent and with their piano, 3 guitars, harmonica, tambourine and strong confident vocals…their skill really makes the sound have a listenable depth so deep you need a submarine just to get the full pleasure of it. Their music, well written lyrics and backing vocals reminded me of Deacon Blue from the late 80’s/early 90’s…..so enticing and singable. The enjoyment from the crowd is perfectly clear with the cheers and applause which were quite deafening. This music is a complete contrast from the rest of the nights acts…. so ‘easy listening’ and it definitely has the ‘feel good factor’. I can imagine one day we will hear one of these songs as a theme tune to a TV program similar to ‘friends’….and I have to say this is what Soundclash is good for… discovering bands like this…this is an excellent band who one day will be big.

Another success for Soundclash.