An interesting mixture of mayhem and anarchy onstage could only mean The North were midway through their set as I arrived. This band makes and breaks their own rules and their rock/indie style always attracts interest. Tonight they look more composed and having not seen this band for some time, they have progressed beyond all expectations. Sadly they were coming offstage by the time I was settling in for the night.
Shady Acres may not be as full on as The North when it comes to stage presence, however, their general confidence dominated their performance without the need for antics and shenanigans. This Barnsley four piece delivered well-timed and tight rock influenced songs.
Headliners, The Dirty Jeans came on stage bare-chested (except for the female keyboardist). Why? We don’t know either! Each song was drowned out with far too much bass and vocals were not as consistent has once remembered. Although The Dirty Jeans are always embraced dearly by their fans, I doubt that this was their personal best.
With the Barnsley bands warming the crowd up ready for guest DJ Gary Powell (former drummer The Libertines/Dirty Pretty Things), things looked promising. Sadly the DJ didn’t! Fair play to Lucorum and Burn Down The Disco team for providing top names to entertain, but this one wasn’t a highlight. In-house DJ ‘Westy’ would have been far more value for money and more tuned into what the target audience expect and require for a good piss-up. Powell made no attempt to interact or pacify fans that had once respected his former bands. Basically, he presumes he’s still famous!
All was not lost, with the highlight of the night coming from a surprise visit from comedian Sean Hughes who had performed at Civic earlier that night. Sean happily mingled amongst the Barnsley folk with plenty of banter. Dare I say it, he made a bigger impact than the guest DJ.