The Harley is absolutely packed for a Tuesday. Last FM sure know how to pull a crowd. Well, who can resist a free gig? Whilst it seems tonight’s headliners, The Crookes, have an established Sheffield fan base, I am far more taken by the support, Hey Sholay.
Having met with Hey Sholay, back in December, I was eager to see them again in action. Thankfully, they do not disappoint. I am struck by their professionalism and dedication to every note they play. Vocalist, Liam, is passionately absorbed in each song, measuring out every lyric and shaking his hair around as he grips the microphone stand. The first song is a melodic rock song with interesting electro keys here and there. I instantly recognise ‘Dreamboat’, which has an infectious pop sound and appeared on their very first demo. Their use of galactic noises one moment, then euphoric indie choruses the next, make for more varied material. Furthermore, Sholay are the kind of band you can easily imagine hearing on the radio. I then notice the small screen behind guitarist Laurie, measuring the sound. By the end of the highly emotive, ‘The Bears, The Clocks, The Bees’, the green sound waves are in a frenzy. What starts out gently, builds into a psychedelic flurry of breathless shouts over hectic music. Whilst, Hey Sholay are not the most original of bands, their performance certainly leaves a lasting impression.
I’m not saying that all indie is dull. Far from it. But there is a certain type of indie, which accompanies the trendy student image, that is predictable, and quite frankly, boring. Okay, The Crookes are not terrible. They are actually good at what they do. And yes, talented, but many songs sound the same, owing to the use of similar riffs and melodies. The crowd seem happy enough singing along to an acoustic cover of ‘Blue Moon’ and clapping along when the band dare to play a more upbeat tune with a fifties vibe. The crowd, whose vintage attire and floppy hair are mirrored in the band members, appear familiar with the likes of, ‘Just Let Me Dream’ and ‘Where Did Our Love Go.’ When one song contains the line, ‘…in Sheffield.’ The crowd cheers. I guess that’s what people like about local bands. Their familiarity of the city. Just look at Arctic Monkeys. When they sang about taxis not letting six in, and going to High Green via Hillsborough, people rejoiced, saying, ‘That’s so true! This band get what it’s like living in Sheffield.’ I mean, it is nice that The Crookes are appreciated by their local fans, but at the risk of sounding too harsh, they play it safe, bringing nothing new or exciting to indie music. Of course, there is power in numbers, and tonight’s event appears to be enjoyed by most. Is it just me that doesn’t get it?