Starting up in the dark, distant past known as 2014, The Sherlocks have come a fair way over the past three years. To say they haven’t released a full album yet and have relied solely on a discography of six singles and a bunch of unreleased tracks, they’ve got an absolutely rabid fan-base.
I went to Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms, (just adjoining the infamous Rock City) without knowing what to expect. Apart from sharing the name of my girlfriend’s cat, and their origins from a woefully under-represented Bolton-Upon-Dearne, I was essentially clueless. The only titbits of information I could gather was that the last time they came to Nottingham, it was “pure mayhem”. I doubt the gig heralded the introduction of a purely anarchistic society, but I’m sure they mean it was rather mental. I see that we have different definitions of what constitutes ‘pure mayhem’.
Just to clarify before I start ranting and get all carried away from my last few strands of journalistic integrity, I just want to say that I really enjoyed the gig. Honestly, I did. No sarcasm or facetious intent here, I very much enjoyed the venue, the support acts, and The Sherlocks themselves. Anything negative from here on out can be immediately disregarded as me being grumpy, cynical, or a combination of the two. So, without further ado, on with the review.
I like venues like the Rescue Rooms. Obviously, aside from paying £4 for a can of Red Stripe, smaller locations like these let me stand near the back, yet still get a clear view of bands, and the young lads who are being sick in the middle of the crowd. There were no mentions or warnings of projectile vomiting beforehand, but thankfully I managed to keep a safe distance away.
First up, braving the very first support slot, were Faux Pas. An indie-punk band from York, the lads did a cracking job in front of a minimal crowd. Apparently, people aren’t punctual to gigs these days, although I did initially think that Faux Pas just meant some kind of break before the first advertised support act went on stage.
Next, following a much more traditional indie-rock formula were Oddity Road, although I’m afraid I can’t remember where these guys are from. Oh, apologies, they’re from Sheffield, as they were very adamant on letting us know. They pumped out cleaner, moodier tunes that the main act, but they gave a memorable performance and certainly are one to watch.
Then of course, we had an interval until The Sherlock’s arrived. This interval reminded me of a personal pet-peeve of mine, which is half-hearted attempts at singing. There were the usual indie-filler tunes; Two Door Cinema Club and The Smiths struck a chord with everyone, but then when ‘Parklife’ and ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ hit, the crowd suddenly turned into a nervous wreck, mumbling along until the chorus hit. Come on lads, either sing your heart out or don’t bother, we’re not fans of indecisiveness here.
Coming out to ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Pigbag’, you could tell the crowd was bubbling: From the young ‘uns who couldn’t brave the surrounding pubs, to older folks around the room’s perimeter, everyone was eager for the two sets of brothers which make up The Sherlocks.
Opening with ‘Last Night’, (I mean, what else would they open with?), the crowd seemed to instantly live up to expectations, trying to best the liveliness displayed in the same venue in the prior year. Then blasting through ‘Escapade’ and unreleased tune ‘Nobody Knows’, they ploughed through the absolute belter ‘Will You Be There?’
Here’s the one worry I have about The Sherlocks. It’s not the fact that head-honcho Kiaran made the wise decision to wear a scarf and jacket in a small venue rammed with about 200 people, (you’re not going outside mate, there’s no need to wrap up like that), it’s the expectations that have been placed upon these four lads.
Hailing as an indie band from remotely close to the steel city, everyone and their Auntie Mabel have jumped to the conclusion that these guys are the next big thing. That’s quite possibly true, especially looking at the gigs that these lads put on. But putting that much pressure on an unsigned band will influence them, and not necessarily to their benefit. With many songs based around nights out, or their consequence, it’s very easy to compare The Sherlocks’ music to that of the Arctic Monkeys’ first album, even The Courteeners.
The Sherlocks aren’t doing that. Yes, some songs reference nightlife and attempts to pull, (chiefly ‘Last Night’, ‘Live for the Moment’, ‘Escapade’, ‘Chasing Shadows’ and ‘Was It Really Worth It?’), but they centre around much broader, vaguer concepts; you don’t get a tune purely concerning getting a taxi home with this lot.
But that being said, the band shine the most when they try new stuff and distance themselves from such assumptions. Five of the songs from the eleven-track set list are yet to be released, and these are by far the most interesting. They may have the tried-and-tested indie formula down to a tee, with a simplistic riff following an equally simple chorus, but tracks like ‘Motions’ and ‘Blue’ try and break that concept. For example, ‘Blue’ has more in common with western-sounding ballads than any typical indie banger, addressing concerns and anxieties with the future. As a result, it demands your attention in a set which risked drifting into familiar, possibly generic-sounding territory.
But thankfully, the lads turned it around, closing with two of their best tunes. It was at this point when about four teenage lads were sick and had to miss the gig’s close, just to give you a fully immersive gig experience. ‘Was It Really Worth It?’, their latest single and possibly best song yet was the penultimate tune, which was closely followed by ‘Chasing Shadows’. I can assure you, the crowd did not let up at this point, (although I suppose that’s a benefit of having an eleven-song set). Stuck in a frenzy throughout the final song, The Sherlocks seemed to wield an unyielding grip on the crowd.
Overall, it was a top gig, filled with promising support acts, a bubbling, lively crowd, and a headliner that are quickly spreading their wings in the indie scene. Top job lads, just dress appropriately next time.