Oblong, Fallen Trees, The Blame and Alvarez Kings: The Shakespeare, Sheffield

The Shakespeare, since it’s reopening in the summer, has been a force in putting on a good night in support of local music; tonight it was Oblong, Fallen Trees, The Blame and Alvarez Kings turn to take the stage. In a room above the pub there was much promise on the horizon and a crowd looking forward to a good night.

Despite running behind schedule due to the tardiness of drummer Ally Fraser, Oblong picked up the beat and began bounding into the set. Vocalist Tracey Deakin, she the tiny stature with the loud voice began pounding her way through the first two songs until a broken guitar string caused a halt to the performance. Guitarist, Steve Genn in his usual charismatic way, began charming the crowd and showing them how to fix the said string with added banter from Hugh Ruiz.

Once the interlude was over it was back on to the show, Deakin and the boys began getting things a back on track with the aptly titled song, String. Tracey’s mellow vocals echo force; it’s uncontrived and laid back. Bringing the beats back up tribal style, Ally certainly knows how to smash a drum kit in all the right places during The Knife. Oblong provided a sterling performance given a few shaky episodes at the start of the set, and definitely a powerful beginning to the night.

Fallen Trees, our second band of the night, provided a vast terror of dirty blues rocked up in a frenzy of noise. Paul Littlewood rampaged around the stage and provided a sea of falsetto-esque vocals merged with diverse grunge sound. Couldn’t fault the musicianship at all with added keys, thumping bass and beats in all the right places Fallen Trees certainly know how to put on a show. A guy not averse to putting on a show is Ian Britt, accompanied by his new band The Blame it is pretty strange to see him joined by friends on stage doing something very different to his usual ‘guy with a guitar’ set.

Three-piece band The Blame, are tonight’s new kids on the block. With their second ever performance tonight, it’ll be interesting to see what the score is. In a previous interview with Counterfeit we were told expect a Back to the Future musical interlude…well we got just that. Riff’s, solos, beats and verse were the order of the set. Think ‘80’s icons Huey Lewis and the News, with the main man in a flat cap take it from the Americana style to pure Yorkshire. Music wise, it’s not your usual indie band tripe depths there’s a certain poppy charm hidden amongst the angst of the lyrics. They step up on a rockier edge that brings about a bit of cheekiness to the forefront of the music. The Blame were lost in a trilogy of sounds 80’s epic-ness mixed only with an air of desire. For a second outing it showed promise, given time I reckon The Blame will be a force to be reckoned with.

Our headliners for tonight, Alvarez Kings seem to have a Queen edge to them as front man Simon Thompson, supporting the Movember looks a bit like young Freddie Mercury. He introduces the bands as ‘we are Queen’. Heading straight into the set with The Sequel a few members of the crowd are already bounding about singing along. From track to track they provide the antidote to the winter blues there’s dancing and more singing with a bit of banter from the band. New song Cold Conscience has the notable Alvarez riff, with melodies in a difference league to a lot of high power bands it’s true that Alvarez Kings have their own unique sound, it simply gets you in the mood to have a good night. It’s easy to see why they are one of Sheffield’s superior bands (they just don’t realise it) of the moment, they simply get better every time they play. If these guys don’t get hit up on by the national music press and get on the festival circuit in 2012 then there’s something seriously wrong with music.