Notes from the speakeasy

The Hot Soles, obLONG and Exit Calm @ Club 60 (Counterfeit Mag Fundraising event).

It’s not often you get an invite to a secret gig.

A man stands outside a closed shop door and eyes us up and down suspiciously when we approach the street where Club 60, our venue for the evening, resides.

But on announcing we are here for the gig he breaks out into a smile and leads us down a side road to liaise with some bouncers.

Down a set of stairs and we are in.

Club 60 is not a club, or a regular gig venue at that, but a dinky cellar recording studio. It makes the perfect intimate venue to watch The Hot Soles, Oblong and Exit Calm perform. The event? A fundraiser for Counterfeit Magazine, a music and arts website that is planning something big for this year.

The Hot Soles, aka Kieran and Richard, were up first.

The duo play bluesy inspired good-old-fashion rock and roll, with a lot of energy thrown into the mix. There is something about front man Kieran that instantly makes you warm to him. Maybe it is the fact he is smiling throughout the whole of his set – it is clear he is just loving every minute of it.

And so does the crowd. Rockabilly girls sway along to the beats, followed by loud cheers and ‘woo’s’ from the spectators. Stand out track is definitely ‘Ready to Burn’ which is loud, snappy and full of soul.

Kieran also gets into the swing of things by sashaying into the audience and filling the small venue with that big booming voice.

Oblong were next up, given the mighty task of following the previous set.

Post-punk grunge, distorted guitars and female vocals punctuate their style – a whole different kettle of fish to The Hot Soles. Lead singer, Tracy Deakin, is captivating to watch as she trills heart-felt lyrics from stand out tune ‘I am the Noise’.

They’ve built up quite a cult following in Sheffield after gigging relentlessly across the city, but there is still a man in the crowd who interrupts Tracy and obnoxiously asks “Who are you lot then?”

After the energy of The Hot Soles performance, there is more of a lull in the crowd. I think Oblong should maybe have been on first to have avoided this, given the two contrasting styles of both bands.

The headliners Exit Calm are another Yorkshire based band, and another band to deliver a big sound tonight. They play an intense and vigorous set, lead by front man Nicky Smith.

Comparable to the likes of Verve, Exit Calm look to the past left behind from Sheffield’s indie music scene to harness a new sound, perfected in this intimate performance. Think crescendoing guitars, layers of base and soaring vocals from Nicky, leaving the crowd left with their mouths agape, begging for more.

The four-piece are playing a litany of gigs and released début album last year, make sure you don’t miss out.  Also kudos goes out to the DJ playing tracks between the performances who kept the crowd going, some great tunes were being put down!

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Words: Alexandra Rucki.


The Hot Soles  Facebook. Twitter. Myspace. Reverbnation.

obLONG Myspace. TwitterFacebookReverbnation. Spotify. Soundcloud.

Exit Calm Myspace. Website. Facebook.

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