Hawk Eyes, Turbowolf and James Cleaver Quintet: Corporation, Sheffield

Absolutely mental would be a fairly accurate summary of tonight’s events at Corporation in the heart of Sheffield. The James Cleaver Quintet are one of the country’s most talked about up-and-comers at the minute and it would seem, on tonight’s evidence, that it’s totally warranted.

The first of tonight’s exceptionally noisy trio of bands have only got half an hour to prove their mettle but that’s not going to stop them and it’s a surprisingly full room that greets them this Friday night. It’s a brilliant cameo too, even if it is greeted by the typically static ‘first support band’ audience. Hawk Eyes deserve better in all honesty, mixing hardcore riffs with some Rolo Tomassi-esque soft, keyboard-led breakdowns before crashing back with even more thumping verses. It’s a vicious mix of punk, thrash and hardcore laden with some brilliant vocals from lead singer Jack and with their stock steadily rising the sky might well be the limit for this band. We might even let that Lucozade advert slide..

Continuing with the theme of ear splittingly good rock music (and decidedly dodgy shirts) are Turbowolf who are quite simply a brilliant live band. They’re obviously in a playful mood and are all smiles, especially lead singer and keyboard player Chris Georgiadis who implores the crowd to ‘Get into the groove, be the groove, feel the groove’. Believe it or not he gets away with this and receives raucous applause, which he should because the band play an absolutely brilliant set. It’s terrifically loud again with a perfect mix of swirling keyboards and crunch-rock riffs, and it could be stoner rock, if the band weren’t so energetic. Chris even leaps off the tiny stage at one point, almost taking out two unsuspecting punters beneath him. One of them being me. I can’t hold it against him though as they’re definitely enjoying themselves and by the time they close their set the place is packed and they don’t disappoint, wrapping up an electric 45-minute show and coming off stage to whoops and cheers of a steadily more drunken Friday night crowd. And two girls who are definitely too young to drink, and may just like Turbowolf  a BIT too much… but who can blame them?

Then it’s the turn of Hawkeyes, who are in some respect a band reborn. They’ve changed their name in March this year from the somewhat misleading ‘Chickenhawk’ and with a new EP to be released soon you could say they’ve got a point to prove. Tonight’s a good place to do it, as the people in Corp have been adequately warmed up by Turbowolf and The JCQ and they don’t waste any time getting on with it. Thankfully, for the first time tonight there are no dodgy Hawaiian shirts on show, and they’ve got a blistering stage presence. They have a truly in-your-face demeanor onstage, especially guitarist Rob Stephens who, it has to be said, throws some world class poses and generally throws himself around the stage like a maniac. Their music, especially their soon to be released tracks, is a real mix of sounds. In parts it’s straight up metal, with choppy punk vocals from singer Paul Astick but there are also elements of bands like Pulled Apart By Horses, with helter-skelter guitar riffs and off-kilter drums. It makes for a brilliant sound, especially live and there’s definitely a feeling that we’ll be hearing and seeing a lot more of these boys, no matter what they choose to call themselves.