The Violet May - Sheffield Leadmill, 08/10/11
The wonderful Leadmill in Sheffield held a massively loud gig with 3 strong Sheffield acts (and an Australian act that making quite a few waves).
First on the line-up for the night was The Hope Explosion. Three guitars, one drum kit and a lot of musical ideas and dynamics were offered to a very attentive crowd. Proggy, but never overbearing nor taxing. The sound of the band is always expansive, full of powerful licks that never go for virtuoso-like chest-thumping and more into blue-tinted feelings. Playing tracks from their new EP, they got great response to 'Talk Is Cheap' and the catchy, playful 'Gone'. Nice job on getting an extra guitarist to play some dreamy post-rock bits over their already cool stuff.
Ah, Wet Nuns. Always a band that entertains you. You might be there for the incredible, organic banter that these fellas have (in Southern USA drawl, of course) or you might be there for their pounding blues-death-rock sound. You might even be there for both. Suffice to say, they are always a pleasure to see and classics 'Laura' and '7 year old itch' really get me in a good mood. The recently remixed (by Matt Helders) track 'Don't wanna see your face no more' sounds great live. Really looking forward to their upcoming tunes.
Hailing from Australia, All Mankind were a slight change in the decidedly heavy stamp of the night. Starting with some breezy tunes, the band started to slowly depart from pop and go into dreamier/spacier territories. With a bass player that was clearly having a lot of fun (and who was furiously working over the frets), the band gathered more and more applauses towards the end.
It was a good gig for The Violet May. The second to last stop on their recent UK tour, the band swaggered like kings on their home turf. Roadtesting a couple of new songs and playing some great cuts from their recent EP ('TV', 'Jennifer lies') really got the crowd roaring, but there were two big highlights on their set: 'Bright or better' got the front line of the audience into headbanging (and body moving) and 'Queen Teen' even achieved a moshing crowd that clearly was having one heckuva night.
It was a right excellent night, not only for on-the-rise acts like The Violet May and All Mankind, but also to “keep an eye on them” powerhouses like The Hope Explosion and Wet Nuns. One of the strongest line-ups that the fair city of Sheffield has seen in 2011.