Surprisingly the gig tonight, for Sheffield Hallam Uni freshers is in the downstairs bar rather than the upstairs auditorium and a makeshift stage area has been created next to the outside windows to draw the passing crowds in.
Opening are local trio Unfortunate Incident, fresh from their track Cause And Effect being aired on Steve Lamacq’s Radio 2 show after being voted listeners choice. When the guys open its immediately obvious the sound levels aren’t right, with the drums drowning out the guitar and vocals. After a few tracks the vocals are more audible but the guitar licks remain a mystery to the listening crowd apart from the relatively quiet phases of music. Not to be daunted they produce a set of edgy chaotic sounding indie music the audience take to. With the drummer Tom seemingly beating the skins at 100mph for the full 30 minutes and the front man Russ eventually losing his glasses in the cause of rock and roll they knock out some impressively energetic tracks, the pick of which is probably Exact Recollections. They do have a 4th member the mysterious Johnny Sock, a punk sock puppet who makes an appearance at the end of the set promoting the bands new album Build Your Own Ark. Having caught them a few weeks earlier at another venue I can recommend the Unfortunate Incident, if you don’t like formula indie guitar music, but prefer a more quirky offering, these boys maybe for you.
Headliners Dead World Leaders have no such sound problems, blazing away through a set of top guitar driven tracks that instantly have the growing crowd dancing. From cracking opener Right Side Of Wrong to closer Still I Think What I Think their brand of melodic masterpieces have the throng enthralled. Kyle’s haunting guitar licks and Andy’s powerfully emotive vocals are a perfect fit. Their new single House Of Frauds, with a driving rhythm section and a feel of classic Beatles track Tomorrow Never Knows is mighty impressive. The undoubted highlight for me though is Vitamins, a breathtaking song showing Robs prowess on bass, watched tonight by his big brother, former Arctic’s bassist and current Book Club member, Andy Nicholson, proving it must run the in the genes !
With a very strong back catalogue and some excellent new tracks added to support slots most recently with The Enemy and a standout set on the Tramlines Festival main stage, it beggars belief that DWL aren’t a household name by know. A band not to be missed, if you get the opportunity go and watch them, you won’t be disappointed.