Tropic of Youth, Fickle Friends, Laced and Pet Rock: Sheffield Cathedral

Crowd surfing in a cathedral? I bet that’s something you never thought you’d see, or hear. But never fear, thanks to Sheffield’s own Tropic of Youth who held their first EP launch in the cathedral in Sheffield, it happened.

The night opened with 3 piece support group Pet Rock who delivered a set full of cruising basslines and punchy percussion. Pet Rock are a multi-talented group with the drummer and lead vocalist and guitarist swapping positions half way through the set. This could have gone one of two ways with the lead vocalist now on drums, something that is rarely done, but they pulled it off excellently.

Next up were the female fronted Laced and signed to Rattlepop Records, home to Birmingham indie band Jaws, expectations were high. Laced played a set reminiscent of 60s underground indie rock, featuring rumbling guitars and striking percussion, with vocal interplay between female lead and male backing vocals. They showed great stage presence and crowd interaction, however there was definitely room for improvement in their live performance.

Third in line were Brighton based quartet Fickle Friends who wowed the crowd with a pleasantly upbeat performance. Self-described as ‘80s new-wave pop’, front woman Natassja delivered refreshing vocals, holding qualities not dissimilar to pop-singer Kate Nash. Pieced together with infectious synth, funky basslines and glittering guitar riffs, the music presented by Fickle Friends was full of feel-good fun making you want to dance your socks off.

Finally, the greatly anticipated Tropic of Youth graced the audience, opening with their latest single ‘Poa Kichizi Kama Ndizi’ – Swahili for ‘Crazy Cool Like a Banana’. Relevant? Who knows… But moving on from the question of how relevant or not the song title is, the track gave off a summer haziness featuring lilting guitars and bouncing basslines, alongside dreamy vocals and guitar riffs and licks. The turn out was greater than expected as the bands’ truly humbled vocalist exalaimed ‘I just can’t believe how many people have come tonight!’

Just three songs in, the crowd were getting unexpectedly excitable and began crowd surfing their way to the front, much to the amazed and somewhat amused members Tropic of Youth. Lyrics ‘I want to walk in the summer light / where the faces glow with happiness’ gave the cold cathedral glowing warmth alongside the beachy vibes and danceable melodies surrounding the youthful sound presented by the band.

‘You’ featured rolling drums, accompanied by rhythmic guitars and coasting basslines that danced gleefully around the cathedral, creating the dreamy atmosphere of that hot tropic summer we all wish we had here in Sheffield. A dancing-dreaminess that was present throughout the whole set. Soulful lyrics ‘when you wake you realise you / could not see with your closed eyes’ added even more to this, lulling you into a state of senseless euphoria.

Tropic of Youth closed with a cover of ’Africa’ by the ‘80s rock band Toto, ending the night on a high note and tying in their self-stated African influences. It’s safe to say that the EP launch was a definite success and if it holds even half of the innovative, fun, african-inspired pop songs performed, this upcoming EP is definitely one to be adding to your iTunes library.


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