Artmagic compromise of guitarist Richard Oakes, Vocalist Sean McGhee and pianist Gordana Jovkovic, but she was taken from them by the lure of regular paid work, so it was just the two of them.
A small crowd had gathered in the back room of the venue, the stage bit, but without the stage. Dada’s walls are adorned with stars from the Sheffield music scene and stood stage right at the bar was a healthier looking Ronnie Wood lookalike.
McGhee appealed for Ronnie and the crowd to come closer as they launched into ‘The Spark’ a serene opening to the set. McGhee’s sultry vocals could just be heard above the shrieks of the adjoining bar area, where office types celebrated their day release.
Ever the conversationalist, McGhee informed the crowd that next up was their Girls Aloud song [sic] and by the bands own admission it was a little self indulgent and pretentious. ‘Homecoming’ was a rather Manic Street Preachers sounding number with Oakes strong on guitar and McGhee hitting the high notes. This was not the case on a few songs but it was the venue rather than McGhee’s vocal range. The missing stage didn’t help and the soundman sat like an expectant father watching doctors run into the waiting room.
Next came a warning, that the next song was going to be optimistic, but McGhee promised it would be the last of the night. ‘Up’ was a song to his eighteen year old self, who incidentally lived in Sheffield, McGhee didn’t say if the lad was still here.
Artmagic have a debut album out on 2nd July, ‘Become the one you love’ and the first song off the album is ‘Forever in negative’ and Oakes joined McGhee in the vocals, they do seem comfortable in pessimism. The gig was picking up and venue restraints aside the crowd started to acknowledge the vastly experienced musicians performing. A more upbeat number ‘Heaven is here’ was timely met with a dejected Irish supporter who had just seen his team knocked out of Euro 2012. McGhee made reference to whether the song was about Jesus. He left it up to the crowd to make their own minds up, but lyrics like “You take my sins and give me heaven,” may have given the game away.