Venue: The Leadmill
The crowds were eagerly lining up outside one of Sheffield’s Premier music venues, The Leadmill for a night of live music with Brit Award nominated band The Feeling with support from Sheffield band, The Gentleman and Cheshire based singer/ songwriter, Douglas Francis.
Opening up the night, one guy with a guitar stood alone on the stage, filled with an array of musical instruments for the headlining act. He quietly introduced himself as Douglas Francis and played a short set consisting of original material and carefully selected covers. With shades of Ed Sheeran and he charmed the crowd who listened intently to his accomplished playing and softly spoken introductions.
As more crowds assembled, it was clear to see a whole host of Gentlemen fans lining up at the front to get the best view. Not surprising as The Gentlemen have been working hard promoting their music not just in their hometown but further afield since they started playing in 2005.
The lights dim and three of the four gentlemen take to the stage, introducing charismatic lead singer, Nicholas Noble who enters the stage to a roar of applause. They might have been travelling the length of the UK for this latest tour with The Feeling, but The Gentlemen truly were right at home.
It has been years since I caught this band live and most striking of all is that their sound has developed from a catchy pop/ rock band with a spiritual vibe to a disco undercurrent, sprinkled with synths, melodic rock riffs and epic stadium-style percussion, with echoes of the 1980s. A brilliant transformation, which illustrates that they can easily get a crowd moving, but also guide the audience through their more subtle, understated material.
Their set was a varied choice of their strongest songs, showcasing the mind-bending dexterity of percussionist Joel Cana, the slick multi-tasking of synth and bass player Josh Cana, the catchy, melodic riffs and rhythmic drive of guitarist Sean Walsh and the versatile vocals and charming presence of frontman Noble.
The venue had filled up and looking around at the crowd is was striking that this gig had attracted a whole plethora of different people, from teenagers to pensioners. There were alternative, rockabilly girls with blue hair and retro dresses, smartly dressed men in suits, blazers and shirts, teenagers with tie-dye tops and backcombed hair to the more conservative older members of the audience. All of who were throwing themselves into the energetic atmosphere of the evening.
Smoke filled the stage and the music started as the members of The Feeling came on to cheers of excitement and anticipation. With a selection of material from their early career including Fill My Little World and Helicopter featuring early in the set, they proudly played material from their latest album Boy Cried Wolf.
Dan Gillespie Sells arrived on stage to find fans with banners on the front row and the audience singing along with every word. The anthemic pop ballad, Anchor saw the frontman put down his guitar and take to the piano and serenade the room as the song built to an angst-ridden crescendo. More hits ensued as the catchy Never Be Lonely, debut single Sewn and recent release Rescue featured as popular crowd-pleasers.
Just when everyone was willing them to play their most well-known single to date, they turned everyone’s expectations on their head and rounded up the evening with a rock/ pop medley of You Really Got Me Going/ Pinball Wizard/ Under Pressure/ Another Brick In The Wall and Park Life.
Those who thought The Feeling were limited to playing their feel-good brand of catchy pop could easily be proven wrong as they handled the classics with great care and breathed a new life into those iconic songs.
As the night drew to a close, it was time for the one and only hit they hadn’t yet played as the opening bars started, old and young danced and sang along to I Love It When You Call. A triumphant end to an evening of talented musicians, proving Sheffield has a fine and diverse music scene.
– Charlie Barker
View full set of live gig images: click here.