The Hope Explosion, Wet Nuns, All Mankind and The Violet May @ Leadmill, Sheffield.
Marvel vs. DC. Daleks vs Cybermen. Metallica & Lou Reed. Barring that last one, they are all collaborations that many a fan wanted to see (or hear for a while). After spending a good chunk of my time in Sheffield soaking up in local bands, one of the several “dream gigs” in my list included The Violet May, Wet Nuns and The Hope Explosion.
Lucky enough, all three were playing at the Leadmill , with All Mankind on tow. The gig played like having all four elements presented to you, in no particular order. All were necessary for life, all were the arjé of the musical delight that fed many a fan’s ear.
Air. Expansive, breezy, slightly playful but thoroughly powerful. A gust of wind emitted from a Rickenbacker connected to never-too-many pedals. The Hope Explosion had the pleasure of opening the night to the few and devoted fans that were there from the beginning. Now with an extra member to handle overdubs (and add a touch of post-rock dreaminess to their sound), the three guitar and drum attack was as solid as granite. Classic cuts like ‘Talk is cheap’ and ‘Pin down the detail’ sounded evolved and the new tracks from their three song EP (‘Get her’, ‘Gone’, ‘The Bored and Broken Hearted pt II’) were just right; catharsis in the ways of sound and chord progressions.
Earth. The stage was as desolate as Lahood after Preacher did his deeds. Two good ol’ boys, Wet Nuns, talked with the audience, nodded and delivered ‘All the young girls’. Sir, thank you sir, yes sir. Wet Nuns will always deliver on stage, whether by their loud rock or by the fantastic stage banter. Subjects included the newly invented sport of “Chair Surfing”, if the guy in the front was enjoying himself, songs about beards and wondering how many songs they had left. Staple songs like ‘Laura’, ‘Seven year itch’ and ‘Don’t wanna see your face no more’ are always welcomed.
Water. Straight from Sydney, Australia (and maybe FIFA 2012) came All Mankind. Their two first songs were ok, but it was the latter part of their set (everything from song 3) that really won me over. ‘Hollywood tonight’ was dedicated to The Violet May‘s singer Chris McClure and ‘Break the spell’ was a catchy Indie ditty. They all had stage presence but gotta give the honour to the bass player’s perfect rock stance (and fret work).
Fire. The only possible element that represents The Violet May. A very aggressive, dark breed of rock is displayed by these five lads (with a keyboardist now helping out on the atmosphere side of things). A new song was played, road-testing it to both check how it sounds live and to gauge the audience reaction. Seemed to go well. ‘What you say’ was leading into more known territory, i.e. ‘Bright or better’, which got a few members of the audience shaking to the harmonies (and energy) coming from stage and ‘Mother’s Milk’ and ‘Queen Teen’ (which closed the set with some proper moshing) were explosive. Their more quiet side is the enveloping, bass-heavy ‘TV’, where vocal duties fall on John Kubicki. The rhythm section of Dan Booth and Alan Whitaker is their solid foundation. A powerful ending to the night (and gotta love the sound of Jono How‘s guitar).
Really had a blast with this gig. In the end, it was a night of proper rock and the new material from these bands