Tonight’s festivities at the Harley have a very northern feel with Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield all represented.
Blessa have just signed to No Self Records and release their debut single (‘Between Times’) next month. It’s fair to say that the Sheffield band have blossomed over the last couple of years, seemingly improving with every live performance. They are on top form tonight, and it’s easily the best gig I’ve seen them play. The new material sounds more rounded and complete, whilst on stage they look more assured and self-confident. With songs such as ‘Unfurl’, ‘Pale’, and ‘Between Times’ (which they end on) they have every right to be. Blessa seem set to have an exciting few months ahead, and with the level of interest they’re currently generating in the music press, they look odds-on to be the next Sheffield band to “make-it”. Building on their early potential, they finally seem to have all the pieces of the jigsaw in place.
Surprisingly, it’s Post War Glamour Girl’s first time in Sheffield, and given that they’ve been around for a few years now, it’s a long overdue (I think it’s safe to say Sheffield doesn’t hold the best memories for the lead singer!). The Leeds quartet open with the down tempo ‘Sestra’, showcasing the angular post-punk which pervades their set. They are refreshingly down to earth, impressive musicians, and have the songs to back it up. New song ‘Gustave’ and next single ‘Light Bulbs are impressive, whilst James’ throaty vocals on ‘Jazz Funerals’ add a touch of the Tom Waits before it breaks down into a beautifully maudlin chorus; harmonising perfectly with Alice. They are an incredibly tight band and hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the near future.
PINS were one of the bands who impressed the most at Tramlines, but in a smaller venue they really come into their own. Tonight their personalities shine through and they are clearly having a blast; Faith even having a wander into the crowd. With an impressive debut album (Girls Like Us) these “she-wolves” are going to be hard to stop; as they howl and prowl around the stage, it’s hard to tear your eyes away. They fly through songs like a whirlwind, firing out fantastic non-album tracks ‘Shoot You’ and ‘LuvU4Lyf’ along with a selection of the best songs from the record (‘Say to Me’ and ‘Get With Me’ amongst the highlights).
They end a spellbinding and sweaty set with ‘Girls Like Us’ before coming back out for an unexpected, yet thoroughly deserved, encore. PINS have clearly enjoyed their night’s work and given an enthusiastic crowd a performance to remember. It’s not often you get a whole bill of great bands and an attentive and responsive audience, but tonight is one of those special evenings.