Don’t Sleep Dream, The Kickliner, Empty Churches and Low Duo: The Harley, Sheffield

Tonight we found ourselves in The Harley, a venue I had never frequented before, and discovered that nobody was there. We saw the familiar faces of the bands performing but that was it. Worries began to arise as to whether we would be the only ones present during the performance. We began to arrange battle plans of where to sit or stand in order to minimise the awkwardness of our sole presence. But we were saved by a flock of people ready to listen to Sheffield twosome, Low Duo.

Low Duo consists of brothers Adam and Leigh Greenwood. With only one guitar and one voice, you would expect that they could never fill a room with their sound, but they did. The music is surprisingly textured despite the lack of band members and feels as if three or four are actually on stage. Adam hunched over his guitar like a gargoyle whilst stroking the strings. His sound was technical and poised. I found Leigh’s voice to have a striking resemblance to Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Their music was very atmospheric. The song ‘Ambulance’ was particularly good due to the morbid feeling that surged through the room.

Next was Empty Churches which featured Jubby Taylor as their frontman, the first person I had ever covered live. This was a pleasant surprise. Jubby Taylor appears to be a man who knows a microphone, able to project his voice throughout the room effectively. I found that his songs were a little dominated by the drums at times, but this did not detract from the quality of music being played. It ranges from soft and slow to a powerful, knockback attack. I was impressed by this band.

The next to grace the stage were the younger looking band The Kickliner. Musically, this band was on top form. Their music is lively and gave me a flavour of the old Artic Monkeys at times, but the music overpowered the singer. I could not make out the words; his voice blended in with the music rather than standing out on its own. After listening to their recorded stuff, I realised his voice is good, but sadly on that night I could not get a great sample of it. But high praise is due for the music; it was of a good quality.

Lastly was Don’t Sleep Dream. I found these to be an agreeable band. Their music had a good solid structure and I felt the songs flowed very well from start to finish. I particularly found the drums pleasing to the ears as well as the melodic rhythm of the guitar. But there was a problem. After two bands that had a bit more oomph about them playing previously, I found the change to be unsettling and slightly awkward. The band’s music was good, but I feel it didn’t fit in with the night.

All in this entire gig was good, but nothing spectacular. The set lists of the last three bands went on for a little too long, but this may be because of last minute changes due to two bands dropping out. I got the impression that this night suffered due to this detriment, at times it seemed a little unprepared.