ALBUM REVIEW: Hey Sholay “((O))”

‘Buzz Band’ is a title that can kill a band before they have even had time to shine. While a group needs to garner attention as they are on the rise, to be suddenly awash with praise can be more than a little bit detrimental. A ‘buzz band’ often explodes, basks in the immediacy of success and glory, then fails to live up to the praise. Sheffield ‘buzz band’ Hey Sholay have done far from that. While they have clearly won over the music press, both at home and overseas, they have far from rush released a product to appease fans. Instead, the five piece have focused their energies on crafting a brief, but fully captivating and most mesmerizing debut album, “((O))”.

Clocking in at just over half an hour, and boasting only nine tracks, “((O))” is a short, sharp, well executed introduction as to what is to come.  Though there will be obvious comparisons to an array of other leading Sheffield acts, notably the jaunty indie pop of Alex Turner and his pals, Hey Sholay have produced a sound that has their signature all over it.

Lead singer Jono is a dynamic presence. His raw, rich vocal sends shivers down the spine. He delivers each line with an emotional punch, yet never overblows his point. With echoes of JJ72’s overwrought Mark Greaney and Starsailor’s commanding James Walsh, Jono is compulsive listening. Surrounded by a cacophony of sound, he takes you on a sweeping, moving journey that allows you lose your inner self along the way to the hypnotic beats and melodies.

Hey Sholay are a band who defy categorisation. Though they are a commercially entertaining proposal, with a radio friendly sound, they are far from pointed solely in that direction. At the core is clearly a love of electro, while the classical also rears its head with tender piano recitals. While “Burning” and “The Bears, The Clocks and The Bees” are easily the strongest contenders for the top of the pop charts, it is the dizzy “Dreamboat” that really gets you going.
‘((O))’ is a stunning debut, but it is also far too brief. While it wows and woos with every turn, you can’t help but want more as it comes to an early close.
Hey Sholay are so much more than a ‘buzz band’. They are a stunning, engaging sensory treat.
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

LIVE REVIEW: Young Peculiar, The Hop (Sheffield), 15.08.2012

Sheffield five-piece Young Peculiar have a lot to celebrate. Having formed at the start of 2011, the quintet have successfully built a local loyal following, who have turned up to their debut EP launch gig with a feverish anticipation. The atmosphere is one of excited support, a feeling that clearly rubs off on the more than competent musicians as they take to the stage. Fronted by the ever self-deprecating, but instantly lovable Bernadette Dales, the troupe launch into the rousing “One”, which is met with whoops and warmth.

Dales is on supreme form. Her rich folk-driven vocal soars through the playful and introspective. With the set veering towards the upbeat, her cohorts Michael Hukins, Chris Boswell, Laura Yie and Martin Bullock are also given plenty of time to shine by the far from selfish vocalist.

A spine-tingling rendition of the sublime “Way With Words” demonstrates Dales vocal prowess, while the tease of “Chemical Comedienne” sees Young Peculiar romp up a stomp. As ever the troupe throw in a handful on colourful covers, opting for a sultry “Maneater” and truly triumphant “Thong Song”.

Young Peculiar are easily one of Sheffield’s finest upcoming acts. The powerful vocal presence of Dales is enticing enough, but when supported by some of the finest musicians in town, they troupe are an unforgettable force.

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

NEWS: Lawson Announce Hometown Tour

Lawson have today announced The Hometown Tour which will give Andy, Adam, Ryan and Joel the opportunity to play an intimate gig in the individual cities they grew up in. Lawson will be traveling the country this October and November through Liverpool, Sheffield, Brighton, Nottingham and then finish off by playing their biggest ever headline show to date at London’s KOKO. Lawson tickets go on-sale on Friday 17th August and are available from www.livenation.co.uk or www.ticketmaster.co.uk.
Lawson have had a very busy summer with T4 On The Beach, Hard Rock Calling, BT London Live, they rocked the games at the Olympic Volleyball, T In The Park, V Festival and the release of their incredible top three smash, ‘Taking Over Me’. Now it’s time for them to make a few trips home, but the guys are by no means slowing down!
Guitarist Joel Peat said:
 
“We’re all so excited to release our debut album, we’ve been building up to it for the past 4 years so doing shows in our Home Towns feels like the perfect way to celebrate. Performing live is what we love the most so to be able to play our biggest venues to date in the Cities where we grew up is very special.”
LAWSON UK TOUR
October 31st                 Liverpool Academy 2
November 1st               Sheffield Leadmill
November 2nd               Brighton Concorde 2
November 5th               Nottingham Rescue Rooms
November 6th               London KOKO

The Kaje talks realisation to Young Peculiar

Sheffield’s Young Peculiar have been busy building their reputation on the local circuit since January 2011, and their dedicated approach has seen them rewarded with a growing fanbase and raised profile. However, after nearly a year and a half of test-roading material,Young Peculiar are finally ready to reward their loyal following with their eponymous debut EP and here at The Kaje we can confirm that beats all expectations out of the basket. Sheer musical gold, Young Peculiar prove that they are more than an exciting live prospect, as on record they an edgy pop project that demands attention from radio stations up and down the country. With the band launching the EP at The Hop, Sheffield on Wednesday the 15th, we caught up with vocalist Bernadette Dales to find out more…m

You must be pretty excited for the launch of your debut EP-can you tell us a little more about the journey to release…

We are very excited – it’s been a long time coming, seeing as Young Peculiar first came into existence in January 2011! But we’ve had line-up changes and a transition from being an acoustic band to an electric band so the timing was never quite right until now. Hopefully it’ll be worth the wait!

The EP contains four tracks-how did you select these songs?

We picked them because we felt they best summed up the first chapter of YP’s life. They are some of the first songs we wrote together, and the ones that our fans sing along to when they come to our gigs! In a way it feels like we needed to get these songs out there in the open before we could move on to the next ‘phase’ and write more tunes.

Can you tell us a little more about each one…

Hmmm… well from a musical perspective we tried to explore as many musical styles as we could during the composing process. Variety has always been a major part of our group’s sound. “Way With Words” was the first song Mike and I ever wrote, and is particularly special and personal to me; without going into too much detail, I wrote it about surviving physical and emotional abuse. My theory was that if I wrote a song about it I could take the shitty experiences and turn them into something positive that would make me a stronger person. I like to think it worked!

“Red and Gold” and “Chemical Comedienne” are more upbeat, thankfully. “Red and Gold” is about that relief you feel around three months after ending a relationship and realising how terrible you felt the entire time you were with that person!

The first three tracks were recorded and engineered by Mark Mynett (Mynetaur Productions) but the bonus track “PGRS” was recorded by Young Peculiar’s very own Mike Hukins as part of his undergraduate portfolio. Mike has a really original style when it comes to production, and it was great to be able to play around with our sounds in the studio and see what we could come up with!

If you had to pick one song as an introduction to the EP, which would you suggest and why?

I think I’d probably pick “Chemical Comedienne”: it’s loud, upbeat, danceable… it shows off my bandmates’ awesome instrumental abilities through their solos and the vocals are still gritty and personal.

You are well known for your quirky covers-were you tempted to include one?

We do love doing covers… we knew we couldn’t put any on our EP though to be honest. We didn’t know what the rules were for recording someone else’s music and making money from it so we decided to just stay out of that legal minefield! In the near future we will be recording our covers and allowing people to download them for free from out bandcamp page – it’s next on our to do list!

What, in your eyes, makes a good cover?

In my opinion, it takes a delicate balance of making the cover as original as possible, without losing the passion and musicality behind the original version of the track. My pet hate is watching acoustic artists strip a brilliant song down to its bare bones and making it dreary and lifeless…

If you could pick any act to cover Young Peculiar-who would it be and why?

Somebody entirely unlike us… like a death metal or reggae band or something!

With the EP ready to go, what is next for Young Peculiar?

More songwriting! And hopefully traveling the country a bit more – we’d love to get some gigs in different cities and support some great touring bands.

Young Peculiar play The Hop, Sheffield on August 15th.

Interview and Photographs by Jeremy Williams

ALBUM REVIEW: The Crookes “Hold Fast”

Sheffield based indie popstrels The Crookes are finally back and ready to rule with their second studio album “Hold Fast”. While the troupe may have only taken a year to write and record the follow-up to 2011’s “Chasing After Ghosts”, The Crookes have changed in so many ways. Obviously the departure of founding member Alex Saunders has provoked a profound change in the m the line-up now completed by guitarist Tom Dakin, as The Crookes have raised the bar and deliver “Hold Fast” with a sexy swagger.

Though title track “Hold Fast” provides the album lowlight midway through proceedings, the album as a whole has a lot to offer. From the dizzying heights of “Stars” through the radio friendly ambitions of “Afterglow”, The Crookes induce a euphoric state of frenzy.

While they may veer towards the up-tempo Americana – we advise skipping straight to the anthemic “The Cooler King” – The Crookes really excel at the sentiment driven ballad. Given that “American Girls” and the mind blowing closer “I Love You Bridge” offer the album highlights, you can’t help but wonder if “Hold Fast” might be slightly better off with a stronger sentiment vs frenzy balance.

“Hold Fast” is without question The Crookes strongest release to date. Given the marked growth in a year, there is little doubt that The Crookes will breakthrough to the big time-the question is whether “Hold Fast” will be the record to break them…

NEWS: 42nd Street Hits Sheffield

West End glitterati Dave Willets and Marti Webb bring Broadway razzamatazz to the Lyceum Theatre from Tuesday 12 to Saturday 16 June with the legendary musical 42nd Street.

42nd Street, winner of the 1980 Tony Award for Best Musical, brings the magic of old Broadway to life in the timeless and inspiring tale of small town Peggy Sawyer’s rise from chorus line to stardom. Fresh from Pennsylvania, Peggy gets caught up in the drama and delight of 1930’s show business as she debuts in the latest musical Pretty Lady.Peggy’s journey is fraught with backstage intrigue and inflated egos as she negotiates the show’s diva and notorious director.

Starring West End favourites Dave Willetts (Phantom of the OperaLes Misérables and South Pacific) and Marti Webb (Blood BrothersCats and Oaklahoma!), 42nd Street is directed by the show’s co-author and Broadway director Mark Bramble. With dazzling sets, glamorous costumes and well-known hits We’re in the Money¸ Keep Young and Beautiful and the showstopping title number, this sensational production promises all the sparkle and spectacle of New York City.

Audiences will find themselves in musical comedy paradise as this production demonstrates the show’s enduring appeal and just why 42nd Street is the 13th longest running show on Broadway.

Tickets for 42nd Street are on sale now from Sheffield Theatres’ Box Office, priced £22.00 – £34.00. Call 0114 249 6000 or visit sheffieldtheatres.co.uk to book.

NEWS: Sheffield Theatres Presents The First International Student Drama Festival

Sheffield Theatres becomes home to the first ever International Student Drama Festival from Friday 22 – Saturday 30 June, as the National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) goes global to celebrate the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Co-produced by NSDF and Sheffield Theatres, in association with the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, this nine-day festival brings together the brightest and best new theatre-makers from across the world to perform a range of live theatre, workshops and late night entertainment.  Ten international student shows, from countries as far afield as Iran, Zimbabwe, Georgia, Japan and America, will join ten ground-breaking UK student shows selected by the ISDF team in this celebration of worldwide student theatre.

Judging the student productions are local award-winning playwright, John Godber,  award-winning American actor Richard Schiff (Toby Ziegler in the West Wing) and Malaysian actress, writer and director Rani Moorthy (Handful of Henna, Children’s Theatre Festival), chaired by writer, Professor and NSDF Board member, Robert Hewison.

Alongside the shows will be 200 cutting-edge workshops and discussions from world leading theatre companies, drama schools and technicians exploring topics from acting, writing, devising and directing to design, lighting, sound, costume, puppetry, choreography, and stage fighting.  Companies leading the workshops include the LAMDA, Menier Chocolate Factory, Old Vic Tunnels, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Sunday Times and locally-based companies Slung Low and Forced Entertainment.

Completing the activity, a festival newspaper will be published every morning, to which anyone can submit reviews and articles on work they have seen, as well as a daily discussion.  There will also be competitions, the opportunity to audition for drama school, free head shot photo sessions, and the chance to win work experience placements and cash prizes for forthcoming productions.

Anyone aged 16 years and over can take part in this unique festival, and Yorkshire students have the opportunity to attend for free with help from the Foundation of Sport and Arts who have paid for 200 3-day festival tickets.  Students may apply independently for the free tickets or teachers may apply for up to ten free tickets per school byMonday 4 June.  Applicants will know if they have been successful by Monday 11 June.  For more information, terms and conditions and to apply visit http://www.nsdf.org.uk/buy-tickets/fsa/freetix/

Sheffield Theatres Chief Executive, Dan Bates said: ‘A big part of our work at Sheffield Theatres is discovering, nurturing and developing new talent so we are very excited to be hosting the first and only International Student Drama Festival as part of the Cultural Olympiad.  It’s also great for the city to be hosting another prestigious, high-profile event and we look forward to welcoming the hundreds of international students, visiting artists and companies through our doors.’

NSDF Director, Holly Kendrick added: ‘We are all incredibly excited about this year’s ISDF 2012 Festival as it’s shaping up to be an extraordinary event.  Those who buy a ticket can expect to see some exceptional shows chosen from around the UK and all over the world, as well as take part in workshops and advice sessions from some of the world’s leading theatre companies and drama schools.  We are also truly thrilled that through the support of the Foundation of Sports and Arts and with the help of London 2012, we are able to offer 200 free tickets to this year’s International Student Drama Festival which will be allocated to young people in Yorkshire who have never been before.’

The full festival runs for 9 days and there are 9, 6, 3 and 1 day tickets available which entitles you to see all the shows and workshops on those days.  For more information and to book visit: http://www.nsdf.org.uk/

Single event tickets are available for just £5.00 and can be purchased from Sheffield Theatres’ Box Office in-person, by phone on 0114 249 6000 or online at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk.


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