Herman Dune and Sean Flinn & The Royal We: The Harley, Sheffield

The Hee Haw Sessions are swiftly gaining a reputation of hosting top quality gigs round these parts.  Tonight is only the third Sheffield outing for the Leeds-based promoters, and judging by the healthy size of the crowd, they are already making their mark.

Sean Flinn & The Royal We exchange high-fives before kicking-off the evening with Fossil Radio.  The Portland band then segue straight into Salt That is in Our Blood. Their set revolves around their highly impressive self-released album Write Me A Novel occasionally tossing in other tracks such as Broken Arrows.  It’s an accomplished set, a masterclass in melodic bitter-sweet romantic indie-pop, which no doubt has gained them some more fans tonight.

Despite surnames that would suggest otherwise, the wonderfully named David-Ivar Herman Düne and Néman Herman Düne are distinctly French.  Herman Dune are now up to album number ten in almost as many years, but as they point out at the start of the set, they’ve not played Sheffield for a long, long time. Their return is timely and very welcome.

Whilst I like their new album, Strange Moosic, I love their previous effort, New Year in Zion.  Happily, as they play a long set lasting the best part of 90 minutes, there is plenty of time for them to treat us to an array of new songs and also delve into their back catalogue.

They open with In the Long Long Run, following it up with Be a Doll & Take My Heart. Clearly enjoying themselves on stage, they up the pace a notch, much to the delight of the support band now staffing the merchandise stall. One of their great strengths as a live band is that they don’t just play their songs, they get right into the music, jamming around the studio version and giving the crowd something extra.  The Rock sounds uncannily like Simon & Garfunkel and it’s clear that the crowd are really up for this.

The highlights of the evening were My Home is Nowhere Without You and I wish I Could See You Soon.   They end by serenading the crowd with When the Sun Rose Up This Morning, bongos and all.  Their encore sees David play an acoustic version of I’d Rather Walk Than Run on a ukulele which is a fitting end to a rather marvellous evening.

Next up for Hee Haw Sessions is Singing Adam on 26th October. Same time, same place.