Holy shit it’s roasting in the Harley. That might be because it’s only just gone 8pm, and apparently we’re only 50 people away from full capacity. It is, to say the least, rammed, and Hey Sholay are only just taking to the stage.
Tonight is a more than exemplary example of just how damn good Sheffield’s music scene is. Hey Sholay are a brilliant start to the evening, with each round of applause at the end of their songs louder than the last.
The Crookes’ labelmates take the time to plug their forthcoming debut album in between running through enjoyable and familiar tracks like ‘Wishbone’ and ‘Dreamboat’. New single ‘Burning’ is just as well received, and energetic frontman Liam’s wish for us to enjoy a “sensible evening” towards the end of their set is met by an amused crowd.
But no matter how good the support band is, tonight is about Sheffield’s (adopted) darlings. The Crookes don’t even announce themselves when they take to the stage, instead opting to launch into ‘Afterglow’, the first single from the upcoming Hold Fast, with flair and energy.
For a band whose second album hasn’t even come out yet, the set is impressively varied. Longtime fans are treated to old favourites like ‘A Collier’s Wife’, and we’re also privy to new material; ‘American Girls’, which is available to download for free, is accompanied by apologies to the girls of Sheffield, who are yet to have a song written for them, and another new song is introduced as ‘Where Did the Love Go’, a subtle hint at what gems Hold Fast contains.
An interesting cover of ‘Blue Moon’ also breaks up a potential string of songs from debut album Chasing After Ghosts. The energy on stage is incredible; the boys know when to calm things down for a slower song, but there are moments when it looks as though frontman and bassist George is about to collide with guitarist Tom.
The slightly shambolic appearance of their dancing just adds to the fun – especially in addition to their offer of free vodka for those who come forwards. There isn’t actually much space to move, but a couple of girls manage it and top up their drinks with helpings from the bottle on stage.
At the height of the night, there are genuine screams of delight from young, impressionable girls as ‘Godless Girl’ comes on. It’s like Beatlesmania for the modern day indie kid.
The Crookes close on ‘Yes, Yes, We Are Magicians’, with its majestic finger-clicking. Such is the draw and appeal of the band that George doesn’t even have to sing the refrain – the crowd is loud enough. Special (and free) gigs like this don’t come along every day, and judging by The Crookes’ growing popularity, they won’t be able to manage them for much longer either.