Live Review: Eliza & the Bear in Sheffield

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by Matt Churchard

The Leadmill is a Sheffield institution. It’s stage has been graced by just about every band I’ve ever cared about since the age of 15 and it’s a place that’s loved by almost all of Sheffield.

So to be a young band and having the chance to play here must be a kick, even if you’re playing the second stage. The sheer accumulated man-hours that have been invested by the youth of our proud city at its bars, on its dance floor and at its gigs. Must be more than the total productivity output of many a small African country? This place is special…

Tonight’s gig is kicked off by Lisbon. These lads from the North East are a band with youthful vigour and style that kept people interested for whole of their set. The mix of indie sensibilities, groove and a hint of electro is fun, uplifting and attention grabbing. The songs are well crafted and show a promise of something bigger to come, the stand out track being Native from the band’s EP Life Is Good. Give them a bit of time and Lisbon could be the band that put Whitley Bay on the map.

Eliza and the Bear are new to me. They’ve got a buzz about them and I can see why. They bravely plough straight into tonight’s set with Friends, the song that’s probably their most recognisable and then pretty much stamp their authority on the rest of the night.

Indie that you can dance to is a thing to behold and these Londoners are well versed in the tricks of that trade. Loud and clear drums, bright keys, cutting guitars and a bit of brass all added up to selection of songs that showed the band at its tight, rhythmic best. However, the acoustic section towards the end felt like an anti-climax. These songs were well performed but tonight wasn’t the night for them so when the band came back on to do a few more the whole room lifted again.

Eliza and the Bear will be successful, there’s no doubt in that. They have the songs, they have the skill, and they can steal your girlfriend before you’re back from the bar. Now is a good time to be a band. I’m certain that the scratchy, miserable indie of old will be dethroned by this new, fun, dancey indie that’s so easy to listen to that anyone can get it. Keep an eye on both of these bands, there’s good times a coming.

– Matt Churchard

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