The Milk, Renegade Brass Band, The Gentlemen, Adam Kay: SOYO Live, Sheffield

I had been looking forward to the 19th of March for some time. This would be The Milk’s night, a band I had sampled at Kendall Calling last year. From what I could remember, I left with a smile on my face and an appreciative nod. I was expecting good things tonight, but not to leave believing it was one of the best local gigs I had ever attended.

First to grace the slowly filling room was Adam Kay, a acoustic solo guitarist squatting on a stool. This was his first gig in two years, so naturally one would assume he would be a bit rusty around the edges; but he wasn’t. He has a beautifully rolling voice that builds to a crescendo then falls back into melancholy. One thing I noticed about his set was that it was well constructed. No song sounded the same and each varied in pace. At times I found his lyrics to be slightly clichéd, but overall he was an impressive character.

The Gentlemen were not how I was expecting them to look. I expected them to be suited and booted, not simply boasting t-shirts and jeans. Their music was different to anything I have ever heard in Sheffield; and I mean that in a good way. It is reminiscent of Rusted Root. The use of bongos gives it a slightly tribal feel whilst the music in general has a hypnotic quality to it. Singer Josh Cana has a voice with excellent range, particularly his ability to sing in a really high pitch. It didn’t sound overly-feminine, but beautifully poised. This was an acoustic set opposed to their usual style, but I think it did not detract from their quality.

Next was Renegade Brass Band who Nick had been bigging up for quite some time. I could see why; they were outstanding. It isn’t just a brass band tooting away, but a full brass onslaught. It had a kick to it that made you stomp your feet and bend your knees. I don’t usually expect brass to be heavily blended with an urban twist, but for them it worked very well, having a grimey side to the seductive brass attack. The thing is with this band there was no rest, you were always on high alert waiting for the next opportunity to go a little crazy. It was music which you could just let your hair down to and go mental.

Finally as The Milk. The only way I can think to describe them on that night was absolutely bloody brilliant. The next day I was asked to describe their music and it was a little difficult, but words finally came to me. They are a funky, jazzy rock cocktail with a wedge of soul and when consumed, enough to make you feel a little dizzy. They did not stop the music between song, and consequently the crowd never stopped moving either. Their music makes you want to dance; it makes you want to grab the nearest person to you and shake them, it is just simple feel good music. A significant weapon of this band  is Rick Nunn’s voice. When you look at him, it doesn’t quite seem to fit. It is full of soul, like a white man’s James Brown. It has class, style but most importantly, passion.  My favourite song of the night was B-Roads, which introduces a ‘badass’ feel to their music; it just makes you feel a little cool. (All I Wanted Was) Danger also deserves mention for its tantalising guitar riffs and sway-happy mood it creates. The finale was what made this night stand out from others. Lead singer Rick Nunn came into the crowd and transferred his enthusiasm over to them. You saw people just explode into action. He then went back on stage but not without casting a sole finger in the air beckoning people to accompany him on stage. As well as others, I leapt at this opportunity and enjoyed a final little musical release on stage.

A gig of this quality is something of a rarity. That’s not to say others gigs are mediocre, it just epitomises how damn good that night was. I don’t think I ever had a car journey home in which I involuntarily smiled to myself (but maybe that was due to the alcohol).