Reminds us of: Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, Kings of Leon, Supergrass, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
On a cold night in February, we ventured out to Bedford Esquires to see SHEAFS as part of independent venues week.
If you’ve not been to Esquires and you live anywhere near Bedford, do make the effort to go this place, because it’s a great little venue and it needs your support (reasonably priced drinks too!). When we arrived the bar area was full of mature rockers, which I thought was a little odd as an audience for a young alternative band. I then realised that Esquires has two rooms, one downstairs and a main room upstairs. On this night the Quireboys were also playing, hence the aged rock fraternity.
We positioned ourselves in the downstairs room, and settled down to watch the bands. I thought the room would get packed out later, but this didn’t prove to be the case and by the time SHEAFS came on there must have been just under 20 people watching. Despite the low numbers, we all had a great night, and it reminded me of how exciting it is to see music in intimate settings like Esquires.
If you’re not familiar with SHEAFS music, have a listen to their singles on one of the music streaming sites, or click on a couple of the links below. It will take 10 minutes of so out of your life and they are a great bunch of tunes. ‘Mind Pollution’, ‘This is not a Protest’ and ‘Shock Machine’ all fizz along nicely and will be joined by ‘Get Used To It’ on 12th April. Their first single ‘Nobody’s Watching’ is on Soundcloud but I'd give that one a swerve.
Although the turnout was poor for the gig, it did give us a chance to chat to the band, so we found out that they all met at university, have been gigging for a couple of years and their main influences are Cage the Elephant and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. At the time of speaking there were no immediate plans to release an album, but they had been working on a fresh bunch of songs which they played that night.
When they eventually took to the stage they rattled though an excellent set, they were tight, they had great stage presence and they were well worth the (modest) entrance money. As a teenager I managed to see the Wonder Stuff just after they had released their first single, playing small venues and SHEAFS set kind of reminded me of that – not necessarily on a musical level, but in the fact that they have the same level of enthusiasm and love of what they’re doing, and a bunch of infectious songs that have not yet found the structure that you get if there had been an album behind them. Similar to the Wonder Stuff also, SHEAFS have moved on from some fairly forgettable early material and released only the good stuff.
We had a great night at this gig and seeing SHEAFS at this stage of their development was an absolute treat.
I’m keeping my eye out for their future London gigs, and hopefully they’ll return to Bedford soon and to a much bigger crowd.
Reminds us of: Radiohead, Spiritualised, Velvet Underground, Teardrop Explodes, the Stooges, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Fall, Echo and the Bunnymen
Yak are one of the main inspirations behind this blog. I was given them as a recommendation to listen to late last year, and I’ve been listening to them on a regular basis ever since!
A recent article in Clash magazine commented on how ‘big’ Yak’s music is, and I have to say that really does describe them to a tee. They have a powerful sound, quite diverse in their writing style and pretty chaotic.
Yak have been releasing music since 2015, with their first album ‘Alas Salvation’ released in 2016. Their second album ‘The Pursuit of Momentary Happiness’ followed in February 2019 on Jack White (White Stripes etc)’s Third Man label. Both albums are excellent, and well worth listening too.
Alas Salvation starts off with the snotty, punky ‘Victorious’ and then launches into a full-on assault of power tunes ‘Hungry Heart’, ‘Use Somebody’, ‘Curtain Twitcher’, ‘Take it’ and ‘Harbour the Feeling’ (which sounds uncannily like ‘Reward’ by Teardrop Explodes’). All in all, the album is a cracker.
Pursuit of Momentary Happiness is of a similarly high standard, kicking of the with the singles ‘Bellyache’ and ‘Fried’ (with its interesting video!) before heading into Radiohead territory (even a bit Pink Floyd maybe) with the title track, and then the almost 50’s sounding ‘Words Fail Me’. The energy levels then ramp up until we go back to the 50s with ‘Encore’ and then eventually arrive at the very Spiritualised sounding closing track ‘This House Has No Living Room’ which in fact features J. Spaceman.
They are gigging extensively, and I will be catching them in London in April at the Dome. They are supporting Foals on their forthcoming tour, and are at a few festivals in the summer of course. They are apparently excellent live and unpredictable, so if you get a chance to check them out do so.
For me they are the best band I’ve come across in years, it really makes me feel alive listening to their music. Hopefully they won’t wait quite as long to release their next album though!
You can read the Clash Music interview at the link below, and I’ve also added a couple of links to their videos. Give them a listen!