Mike Hughes + Bromheads @ City Library Theatre.
Picture this: a sort of overcast theatre, in the lower entrails of a city library. The seats are of old fabric, their width is a little inappropriate for people of, er, expanded measurements and there’s 50-60s rock and roll blasting from the PA.
It could be a time capsule, it could an educational film of an era long gone by. It could also be that scene from 24 Hour Party People (just without Steve Coogan’s hairdo). But no, it wasn’t. It was Friday 30th of April, it was Sheffield and a few yards away, some snooker was being played.
The theatre below the library? It was the place where the Bromheads were to finally play at a theatre. Before the show started, a busker played in the area near the bar. Although his face looked familiar (swear to Jebus he was on one of those Lenders in the Temple videos by Kestrel), his name escaped.
Finally, after half an hour of waiting, the curtains rose and Mike Hughes played an intimate acoustic set, which included a cover version of Lenders in the Temple (Mike’s group with Bromhead’s Tim). A song in particular caught my attention, it was called ‘Girl in the watchtower’ and although a downer in the mood side of business, it was a perfect set closer.
After a few more old school tunes, the duo of the Bromheads took the stage. Whereas the opening act shone through the power of an acoustic, sombre set, the Bromheads just went for another route. That is, the fucking loudest route they could.
Guitar and drums, that’s all they needed. Taking a few old tunes for a ride and playing the hell out of the free tunes they’ve been releasing for free at their website was their m.o. for the night. Always amused by how good the falsettos in ‘Snow’ and ‘Dedicated’ work live.
Not all was noise. The sadness of ‘Poppy girl’ was a sobering moment amidst the distortion fuelled guitar chords and the mashing/bashing of drums. Whereas Tim was singing his heart out, Dan just kept looking at the drums, waiting for another go at his instrument.
The band certainly was having a lot of fun. They ended up their set with a trio of some of their latest free singles. ‘Magic number’ made some people (okay, girls) stood up and dance. ‘Hole in my head’ made some people (okay, me and two other guys) scream. And ‘Boots’ was simply frantic. Anyone pulling a Nancy Sinatra cover and making it a headbobbing attack deserves all the applauses they can get.
So, in closing: Bromheads > Snooker. Funnier, louder and simply a great, honest session of great music.
About the author: Still needs a vacation!