The Hosts, The Payroll Union and Simon Thompson: The Leadmill, Sheffield

Sheffield – a city known by all to have a great musical history and when all are in need of that pick-me-up after a hard weeks work, Friday night down at The Leadmill seemed to be the place. A room full of people buzzed with an overwhelming energy and excitement waiting for local Sheffield band The Hosts to take to the stage, with support from Simon Thompson and The Payroll Union.

The night kicked off with Simon Thompson, vocalist from Alvarez Kings, who graced the crowd with a short solo set of stripped back acoustics. Announcing that some of his material was ‘not quite there yet’ the result didn’t suggest that in the slightest. ‘Postcards From Berlin’ brought powerful vocals reaching impressive pitches and the delicate the stripped acoustics, a calming atmosphere was brought over the venue. The modesty of Thompson brought laughs to the crowd as he asked ‘who actually came here to see me tonight? 1…2…3…13? That’s £13 I’ve made!’ – the reality of the rocky pathway into the music industry.

Second support act, The Payroll Union, livened things up a little with a set you’d be tempted to pin as the result of indie rock meeting traditional folk music. Full of rolling drums and a hidden lyrical darkness, there’s an all around sombre tone to the music this band presented. As said previously, it’s hard to pin The Payroll Union down to a specific genre, but they are greatly comparable to the likes of Mumford and Sons.

Finally, after much anticipation The Hosts took to the stage with a huge reaction from the crowd. A reaction so big in fact that it just didn’t appear to die down as the crowd continuously murmured throughout the set. This was evidently a little irritating for fans that had come to appreciate the live music as there were multiple ‘shh’ sounds dotted around, along with a complaint from the sound technician at the back of the room.

Chatter aside, The Hosts filled The Leadmill with music self-claimed to be influenced by the ‘50s and ‘60s pop hits of Johnny Cash and the rock rhythms of The Velvet Underground and this you can definitely pick up on. ‘September Song’ featured punchy percussion and lyrical romanticism with ‘So I was waiting for you to close your eyes / so I could say goodbye’ tugging at your heart.

Front man Tom Hoggs had the crowd singing along to ‘Wake Up’ at levels so loud that even his microphone didn’t project his voice over the ‘wake up, wakeup, wakeup now’ bellowing from the audience. Not only this, but he had the entirety of The Leadmill sing happy birthday to Julia, a member of the crowd, which just goes to show how great these guys are.

Encoring with a slower paced and more delicately melodic new song after a fun and energetic set, The Hosts asked the crowd to pose for a picture, showing that this was a show they wanted to remember and I don’t doubt that the crowd felt the same way. It was refreshing to see a great performance bringing back past eras of music to the stage. The Hosts are exactly the weekend pick-me-up you need.

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