Last night four bands blew the roof off the Leadmill in Sheffield. Local acts Black Mamba Fever and Bear Chest were supporting BlackWaters and Strange Bones on their UK tour and everyone had a hell of a time! If this is the future of British post-punk and alternative rock, the future is very bright indeed!
Playing to their home crowd, Black Mamba Fever opened the show in their usual nonchalant way, bringing with them a large crowd of fans. With the Leadmill have full, the band enthralled the audience, many of whom had come especially to see them, with wonderful showmanship and some of the finest heavy post-punk this side of the Pennines. At times their sound reminded of a young Jello Biafra crossbred with the Pixies, though the set did feel disorganised occasionally, with too much chat between songs.
However, once they got into it, they absolutely rocked it. The local band finished with their best song that got even the most rigid spectator moving along. Overall Black Mamba Fever put on a fantastic show, suitably warming up the crowd for the mayhem that was to follow.
With the crowd suitably limbered up and in the mood for dancing, alternative rockers Bear Chest took to the stage, shaking each other’s hands before launching into their ferocious musical attack. The trio from Sheffield are well known for their high energy heavy sound with hypnotic thumping bass runs, and this sure as hell wasn’t going to change last night. Bear Chest are one of the few bands, who pull off a fantastically clean and clear distorted sound with absolute ease, while still creating a thunderous musical growl.
Following the light-hearted Black Mamba Fever, the audience took a moment for the change in pace and ferocity. But after the first song, they were truly hooked, with shouts and whistles after every tune. The three excellent musicians make it near on impossible not to head-bang along. Ending on Chug, it was time to make way for the main act Strange Bones.
What is there to say, other than “You have to go see this band!!”. Strange Bones came out firing on all cylinders, encouraging the crowd to get up close and get ready for a fast-paced show. They immediately won over the crowd with their unique blend of socio-critical heavy post-punk and alternative rock. With an infectious amount of heartfelt raw energy, that left singer Bob breathless at times, Strange Bones hit out musically with all they had.
There was a great synergy between band and audience, with the crowd singing along to the songs and positively engaging with the band’s excellent stagecraft. Feeling the connection to the crowd and wanting to make sure that everyone experienced a gig to remember, Bob spend a good chunk of time of each song in the crowd, singing, dancing and playing either the bass or the guitar.
With the high intensity and positive energy of the show it wasn’t long until a mosh pit formed in the middle of the dance floor to the delight of the lead singer, who promptly joined in the fun. Musically all four members of the band are outstanding and are clearly comfortable playing together. Last night, Strange Bones left nothing behind and played all of their hits, such as God Save the Teen, We the Rats, and Big Sister is watching, which was dedicated to one of the country’s proclaimed terrorists.
Keeping the momentum and energy at 100, Bob was caught by the audience during one of his many stage dives and carried around by the crowd while singing, cementing the bond between band and audience. If you want to experience a high-octane balls-to-the-wall show that will leave you sweaty and aching, make sure to catch Strange Bones live – you’ll love them!
The problem with putting on shows with too many acts is that the crowd can dwindle before the last band is on. This is what happened last night with the crowd shrinking to a half full venue before BlackWaters took to the stage. However, it was evident from the start, that this wasn’t going to deter the young lads from Guildford from giving it their all and having a tremendous amount of fun, which clearly translated into their music. BlackWaters are a group of young and hard-working musicians, who take their craft seriously. A little too seriously one may say, which makes their set sound a look too rehearsed at times.
Belting out their deep and fast heavy indie-punk sound, that they have become known for, BlackWaters tried their best to generate some interaction with the crowd and to get people to dance, though to little avail. Pumping out their best known songs and generating an almighty barrage of musical energy, the set was over after a rather short 25 minutes. The band have a lot to offer and produce a rich and primal sound. However, I felt that yesterday’s performance was not one of their finest. With their sound akin to the Toy Dolls and Sex Pistols, but with an up-to-date punk’n’roll sound, BlackWaters are clearly destined for the big stage. Watch this space!