Hey Sholay are a mysterious band, existing in the rumours and mutterings from fans who saw them years ago and surrounded by myth that they themselves created. These five boys specialise in unique sounds, beautiful melodies and honest hard work for something they believe in. Most importantly, they’re doing it for you, not for themselves.
The boys returned to Sheffield after a long absence from the music scene to play a sold-out show at Picture House Social. Hey Sholay have been tucked away, gathering fresh ideas and writing new songs, and now they’re finally ready to share those stories with everyone who wants to listen.
Two Skies were playing when I entered the venue, filling the space with brutally loud music. These boys seem to focus more on reverb than melody, making sure your ears will be ringing for the rest of the night.
After a short break Modo Stare took to the stage with ‘Lud’, a powerful song that immediately grabbed the attention of everyone in the room. This band of six have phenomenal energy on stage, using strong percussion and powerful voices to be heard above the rest.
‘Wake Up Telescope’ was popular with the crowd, probably because Modo Stare’s lead singer jumped into the crowd and danced wildly during the instrumental part of the track. I’ve never seen Modo Stare before yet it’s safe to say I was not disappointed.
Finally, it was time for the band we’ve all been waiting for. Hey Sholay began the evening with ‘My Blood’, one of the most popular songs from album ((O)). The stage was dark; the only light coming from the large projector screen at the back of the stage. It’s a photographer’s worst nightmare but it created the perfect atmosphere for Hey Sholay; mysterious and a little bit eccentric. ‘Eyes For Me’ came next, a new song that few in the audience had heard before. This song is softer than the rest, as lead singer Liam Karima delicately utters the words “you and I, we almost blew up” over the charming melodies from the rest of the band.
The night had just begun but Liam was already overflowing with gratitude as he shouted “thank you for lending your ears!” He guided the audience through the night, telling them stories about the songs and asking for their involvement in the show: “Let’s see your hands up!” These instructions were for ‘Down The River’, a song which builds up to something fierce with screaming vocals and wild gestures.
“Thanks for your patience. How fucking arrogant of us to play shit you don’t know” Liam apologises once again, not quite understanding how much fun his audience is having. The crowd have waited months to hear new material from Hey Sholay and the night is going well.
It was time for something we all knew, though, so the band kicked in with ‘Shut The Devil At The Backdoor’. Claps echoed down the microphone as the audience were encouraged, once again, to join in. This song still holds same power as it did two years ago, and the same could be said for any number of their old songs.
“We’re gonna play another fucking song that you don’t know / and if you don’t like it then you can just go” sings Liam, improvising a small verse between songs. He seemed anxious, not expecting everyone to like the new songs but hoping that they might.
The humble appreciation of their fans continued throughout the evening: “It means a lot for you to come and see us. It gives us hope again, you know? So this one’s for you!” The band fired up ‘Wishbone’, one of the best songs I’ve ever seen performed live.
At the start of the chorus, Liam sings two words before pausing, knowing the audience would finish the line for him. They don’t let him down and room is suddenly echoing with the band’s best support; their fans show unbound enthusiasm for a song they know so well.
Halfway through the song the band stops dead, confusing the crowd as the momentum grinds to a halt. Once the awkward silence becomes painful, leading man Liam pipes up: “We were gonna have a joke and pretend to have a fight. It’s fucking embarrassing now. Let’s just skip to the next song…” The room filled with protests and the boys had no choice but to continue – it’s almost as if they wanted that to happen.
With their final song, Liam tells us: “See you soon, we’ll book another gig soon. After this we’ll kick your ass at ping pong!” and the boys strike up ‘The Bears, The Bees, The Clocks’. As one of my favourites from ((O)), it provided the perfect end to the homecoming show.