Sheffield was the second stop on the Sisteray #HitTheNorth tour and we were really pleased to have been invited to be special guests at The Kavaliers single launch, which turned out to be a great event and a pleasure to be part of.
First things first and what a great venue: if live music is going to get back to be an important part of people’s lives then it’s venues like this, promoters like Northern Exposure and a bunch of likeminded bands, who are going to make it happen.
The HUBS venue at Sheffield Hallam University has all the facilities you could want, a great PA system, lights, a friendly team of technicians and crew to help and video screens either side of the stage.
Sisteray are working on including a few more visuals into our live show, video footage etc. and this would be the ideal place to bring something like that. There even appeared to have extra PA system in the bar area, which is a kind of double edged sword, people might get a bit comfortable there, happy to listen and not go in and actually see the band but at least if the crowd were to thin out too much (which happily it didn’t) then you could stop everything and shout over the PA “Oi! you lot in the bar, get back in here!”
There is also a very comfortable backstage area and spread, with food and liquid refreshment provided by Kate and Rachel from Northern Exposure with the added bonus of some gin and tonics, should they be required. The soundcheck went well, we could hear ourselves for a change. But then the speaker cone in Niall’s amp decided to rattle and wheeze and add sounds of it’s own to the guitar, we all stared at it and came to the conclusion.. it was fucked! So again, one of many shout-outs to The Kavaliers’ boys who immediately came to the rescue, sensing tears and frustration they let us borrow one of their amps. It may not seem a lot but when you are headlining your big hometown show you might want to keep your gear precious, no one’s going to deny you that, so good on you lads for the loan.
A couple of Sisteray are vegans and travelling up from London, we didn’t really get time to eat properly, Ginsters on the M1 doesn’t work for everyone. After we had done our soundcheck, there wouldn’t have been time to go out in search of something suitable and get back in time to see first band on Teeff. So we had a bit of a google and ordered a couple of takeaway pizzas from Italia Uno up on Eccleshall Road for when we came off stage. All we can say is top notch nosh and people / vegans of Sheffield, you should also give them your custom.
We made sure we caught opening band Teeff who turned out to be a two-piece, guitar and drums, it’s always good to see a singing drummer who can hold a show. As it happens we really got into it, they were nice lads backstage and do a good mash up of The Bangles’ ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’, thankfully without the moves.
For Sisteray it was a pleasure for us to play on the HUBS stage and as it was, in essence, a ‘party’ gig for the launch of The Kavaliers’ single, there was a generally very friendly crowd. Those that have seen us or heard any of our songs will know that we can be a bit.. well … angry but that didn’t seem to be entirely appropriate on this particular night and we didn’t want to spoil the party for The Kavaliers, so we swapped things around a bit in the set.
We opened the show with our song ‘Gentrification’, which appears on a compilation CD the Northern Exposure crew put out last year. We usually do a few minutes research when we play somewhere, just put in ‘gentrification’ and the name of the place and see what comes up and then throw it in to the spoken word bit in the middle of the song. As it happens our Sheffield research was hilarious, type it in and the internet tells you that gentrification in Sheffield is ”just an illusion” but as we say, on this occasion we kept call outs to a minimum.
Our two songs which got the best reaction were ‘3.08’, three minutes eight seconds from our 15 Minutes project also known as ‘Queens English’ and then the newie that we’ve just recorded for the forthcoming EP called ‘Wannabes’ that has a pop at just about everyone and has hopefully what the professionals might call a catchy refrain – it seems to be working so far anyway.
Between bands we were working hard on our table tennis skills in the green room, give boys a toy and we will play, it got very competitive at moments and if any promoters accept a rider from us in the future, it’s got ‘table tennis table’ on it… no table tennis, no show.
The Kavaliers had a great crowd who gave fantastic support through their whole set and the boys played a blinder with some classic sounding songs that chimed with the help of the Rickenbacker guitar, a band that obviously know their stuff and if you’re going to launch a new release in your area, that’s the way to do it.
There were too many highlights to pick out one in particular, so perhaps we should give that one to the crowd and The Kavaliers and Northern Exposure for hosting one hellava party.
JONATHON BUCK – PHOTOGRAPHY