The Cartel’s / Wiretown + others: Practice Sheffield

It seems remarkably fitting that one of the workshops which fuelled Sheffield’s ascendancy as an industrial juggernaut should now play host to the city’s latest lucrative export; quality tunes performed by quality bands. Practice Sheffield aims to be at the forefront of this audio revolution; the brainchild of Luke and Ryan, offers aspiring musicians the opportunity to hone their craft in private rooms, kitted out with the latest state of the art equipment, and a smart chill out area / reception its a far cry from the buildings previous incarnation as a steel foundry. Tonight the drum kits, guitars and amps are being put through their paces for the opening night. Over 100 guests form an enthusiastic, steadily intoxicated throng, about to be treated to some of the finest artists that the city can produce.

First on swagger the depleted “Cartel’s”, two members down after an on-the-eve walkout by their lead singer and a drummer at home awaiting the birth of his child. But the remaining members, vocalist DT and bassist Darren proved the glass was still half full, treating the crowd to a scaled back acoustic set. This may have been a wise move on their part, the lack of amps and overblown riffs perfectly showcased a brace of extremely well crafted tunes. ‘Heart of Gold’ stands out, reminiscent of the La’s tight, crunchy riffs and stand alone lyrics but with a touch of Ian Browns northern swagger thrown in for good measure. Next up are “Wiretown”, touting an Eels/MTV Unplugged era Nirvana sound which follows on smoothly from “The Cartels,” the inclusion of a percussionist to their number (happily tapping away on some Djembe Drums) adds a touch of depth to their set. The crowd are still shuffling their feet along appreciatively, but you get the feeling that they’re just about primed and ready for some cataclysmic guitar wielding.

“GoldSoul” sound like the ensuing chaos that would occur if you threw Iggy Pop and BRMC in a padded room with nothing but a 6 string and a fucking big amp. They seem to be able to conjure vintage rock out of thin air. The bass, manned by Peggy, thuds along fluently, providing the perfect canvas for lead singer Mapson to spew his funky, gritty bile all over a suddenly animated crowd. “Waiting a Lifetime” takes the highlight spot, even if the riff does resemble the start of Iggy & The Stooges, “I Wanna Be Your Dog” something terrible!

The night winds up with perhaps the finest set of lungs to grace the stage tonight. “The Unfortunate Incident’s” Russ Palmer can certainly hold a tune, entwining his versatile vocals between brother Daniel’s joyous bass strumming and drummer Tom Wilkes energetic beats. Judging by the riotous pleasure with which “Cause and Effect” is delivered, it’s clear to see that this is one of those rare bands worthy of the accolades, they are simply wonderful to witness live and they close the night’s proceedings on the highest of notes. It is warmly reassuring to see a building with so much potential; that could do so much good for Sheffield packed with people of equal prospect.