Alvarez Kings, Bluehearts, Lateral Vision, Shermer and The People: The Leadmill, Sheffield

When it comes to a gig hosted by SBSquared, you can expect an evening of quality home grown acts. Not only do they give up and comers a starting point at some of Sheffields finest venues but there’s a sense of everyone’s equal when it comes to the acts involved, tonight was an example of this.

Starting us off were The People, a young four piece who seem to have raided their parents music collections and got busy with the fizzy and produced somewhat of a sound beyond their tender years. They brought about an aurally pleasing mix of alternative and occasional progressive sounds there’s clear influences from bands such as Foo Fighters and Muse. Lead singer, Rowan Scott, certainly has some power to his voice as noted on tracks such as Little White Lights and Revolution and mixed with the rock edge and sporadic synth escapades from bassist Peter certainly showed there’s a lot of promise for the foursome. It has to be said at times, it felt as if they were holding themselves back in energy (maybe nerves got the better of them, being first on isn’t always easy). It’ll be good to see what comes of the The People over time.

Barnsley lads, Shermer were up next, they’re certainly not a shy lot with their on stage banter, that the audience was welcomed into. With their looks, charm and wit, they certainly seem the full package, but the question is, is their music any good? Well if you like a pounding bass drum (c’mon let’s be serious here, who doesn’t like a pounding bass drum?!) and throbbing guitars then yes. Fast paced beats raced throughout their performance, there are hints of ‘college rock’ akin to Weezer with the rise and fall in This Was Great, as well as early lo-fi Feeder vibes; it’s actually quite a delicious mix. Having only been together since 2011, they’re certainly developing a bit of reputation as one of ‘the’ local bands to see at the moment.

When it comes to a band such as Lateral Vision, there’s a smile and a bit of a cough. It’s hard to know where to start, as singer Andy is, a bit of a character. There’s no actual real way of defining them or their music unless you put prog, folk, funk, rock and indie too into a blender and let it whizz around for a bit then poured it into a glass with a then popped a cherry on top. It’s a bit fun and a bit crazy, but we do like that. The most memorable note was the track Disco Chair as, lead singer Andy strutted around the Leadmill to the backing of the band in a somewhat huggy bear style picking up a copy of their new album ‘In The Blink of An Eye’ and encouraging the audience to participate and purchase a copy.

The penultimate band of the evening, were Bluehearts, a Sheffield five piece who seem to thrive on good ol’ fashioned rock and roll. If you’ve not heard the Bluehearts expect a 70/80’s style rock experience, Jon Bon Jovi stances, Led Zep riffs even a bit of Poison thrown in. True to say that front man Clarke Vaughan certainly knows how to work a crowd of mainly family and friends, though I’m not sure he’s Motorhead material just yet with the rock cliché of swigging from a bottle of JD on stage. Still not a bad gig and may be not my cup of tea music wise, I prefer my rock a bit faster and heavier and without faux American accents.

Our headliners for the evening, Alvarez Kings have been rather busy of late; spending most of last year travelling America and Canada, including time spent on the Vans Warped tour, in turn, gaining them a bit of a following stateside. Having last seen them play back in 2012 at SOYO, it was time for a catch up on all Alvarez.
With drummer Rich and lead singer Simon taking to the stage to start the proceedings, they were soon joined by guitarist Sean and bass player Paul leading into a bit of a bouncy start as they worked through their back catalogue with tracks such as Cold Conscious and You, Me, Them, Us. Alvarez Kings’ style of progressive pop simply rippled through the Leadmill with force. As Simon announced that it’s enough of the old tunes and time introduce newer tracks that included Fear to Feel and a stunning version of No Resolve (joined by Jimmy on keys) it was more than impressive. The energy simply spills off stage and works its way into the audience. Despite a couple of technical hitches, they simply carry on and we didn’t really notice because we’re simply too busy enjoying the show.

In the last few years, Alvarez Kings have simply grown in their ability to produce a darn good indie-pop tune, which could beat most of the popular bands of today hands down on the riff attack. A great show, great music and a great band.

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