Screaming Maldini, Laurel Canyons and Bang Bang Romeo: Queens Social Club, Sheffield

412105.

This number has been following Screaming Maldini for months; it’s been hidden across their social media and carefully placed in the artwork for every single they’ve released this year. It was only when they announced their disbandment that we finally knew what it meant: 412105 was actually 05/12/14, the release date of their second and final album, and the last gig they’d ever perform together. Queens Social Club was full of friends that night; everyone had come to see their favourite band for the last time, ready to say their goodbyes and wish Screaming Maldini luck for the future.

Bang Bang Romeo were the first band to perform, opening the show and welcoming everyone to the party of the year. Lead Singer Anastasia Walker held her own with strong vocals that impressed the crowd.

Before long the room was filled with the warm, indie sounds of Laurel Canyons. This band have been lucky in recent weeks, supporting High Hazels and The Crookes on tour before being invited to play at Screaming Maldini’s show. The boys played songs from their latest EP Now We’re Rebuilding, showcasing their golden melodies that tug on the heartstrings and allow you to stop and think. Laurel Canyons have perfected the art of silencing a crowd, causing them to stand still and listen; a huge feat in today’s music industry.

Their final song, ‘Led Me Astray’, was performed in the centre of the crowd. The nature of the song lends itself to the acoustic set, and the surrounding crowd marvelled at their harmonising vocals. It was the crowd near the bar that were less appreciative; the large room meant acoustic sets were difficult to hear and people standing further back decided a conversation was better than a song. You can’t win them all, but Laurel Canyons are certainly trying.

It was then time for Screaming Maldini. This band of six walked on stage to a clip from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: ‘If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe…’ These words feature at the beginning on their song ‘The Dreamer’ but this time the introduction was used to start ‘Islands’, the first track on their latest album Everything Unsaid.

‘The Awakening’ is a popular song from this group, and credit was given to those in the audience who participated in its music video. ‘Albatros’, normally a delicate, dreamy song, was met with giggles when the poignant silence halfway through was interrupted by feedback from Nick Cox’s guitar. Luckily, the band laughed too and lead singer Gina Walters finished the song as if it were spoken word. Surprisingly, it worked.

Playing a stripped back version of ‘I Know That You Know That I Would Wipe Away That Snowflake From Your Eye’, the band showed their ability to look back on songs and improve their sound. This wistful song is perfect for the winter months, showing a romantic side to the bitter cold. ‘Everything Unsaid’ was, perhaps, the most emotional song of the set. The lyrics spell out the trials the band have faced over the years and everything that may have gone unnoticed to anyone on the outside. Gina Walter’s voice was full of passion and made it apparent to everyone that it was not an easy decision to end Screaming Maldini.

‘Life In Glorious Stereo’ led on to leading man Nick Cox to give thanks to everyone in the room for their support over the past six years. Screaming Maldini have had a terrific journey and they endeavour to thank everyone who helped them along the way.

The band weren’t going anywhere without an encore; after a bit of persuasion Ben Hoblyn, on trumpet and synth, led the way back on stage and began ‘This Symmetry’. Gina returned without her shoes and they were ready to give their all for one final time.

There was only one choice for the last song of Screaming Maldini, and that was ‘Summer Somewhere’. Their oldest and most popular song truly brought the message home that this band were setting down their anchor and ending their journey once and for all.

Friends, fans and family in the audience knew all of the words to ‘Summer Somewhere’ and made sure the band noticed: their singing was louder and more emotional than anyone could’ve predicted. Gina had stepped over the front of the stage on to large boxes, getting closer to the crowd for her final moments as lead singer of Screaming Maldini.

Suddenly it was all over and Gina, Nick, Annie, Ben, Jonny and Tim bowed to their audience, embracing each other and unsure of what to do next. Is it really over? Perhaps.