Indie-pop outfit Sophie and the Giants rode into The Leadmill on a wave of momentum after sweeping through the UK’s festival circuit during the summer.
Sheffield is home for the four-piece and there was tangible excitement in the crowd as the packed room awaited the band’s arrival on stage.
Effortlessly engaging and energetic from the beginning, the band showcased an array of influences as they rifled through their catalogue of singles. The defiant opener ‘Waste My Air’ proved to be the most captivating offering, allowing Sophie to present her polished yet passionate vocals in an intensely emotional reflection on a toxic relationship.
The influence of Mercury Prize winners Wolf Alice is evident throughout, although the band are very much blazing their own trail as they operate at a swifter pace than their indie counterparts. Comparisons between the band and Florence and The Machine are understandable, as Sophie’s vocal delivery and vibrant energy matches that of fellow songstress Florence Welch. There is even a Foals-like sound to the slower-paced ‘Monsters’ and further versatility in the band’s style was demonstrated in a cover of Gym Class Heroes hit ‘Cupid’s Chokehold’.
One of the band’s most impressive skills is their ability to bring intensity and grit into their pop anthems, enabling them to offer more than just catchy hooks. Sophie and the Giants encapsulate the spirit of Bastille but deliver with the attitude of seasoned rockers.
The self-confidence that Sophie and the Giants have as a collective is most clear during ‘Runaway’, as they bounce around the stage with feverish excitement in front of an animated crowd that remained hooked throughout a captivating set. Sophie’s energy is matched by flanking guitarists Antonia Pooles and Toby Holmes, as well as drummer Chris Hill, all of whom help to morph the band’s well-crafted ensemble of songs into live favourites that create an electric atmosphere.
Despite being youthful, a mature social consciousness sets them apart from many of their fellow newcomers, as ‘Bulldog’ tackles domestic violence and ‘Space Girl’ frankly discusses the harsh realities of doubt in adulthood. The latter was particularly well-received by their growing legion of admirers, who greeted the announcement of the song with noise that drowned out attempted orders at the bar.
In a scene awash with male leads and many more that are unwilling to lend their ear to female-fronted bands, Sophie and the Giants give naysayers a reason to sit down and listen. Or stand up and bounce.
image: Chuff Media