Review: Coloquix, Phantom Limbs Opening Night, 12/12/16

It was a dark and cold winter’s evening at the start of December, in one of Sheffield’s newest cafe/ art spaces.

The Holt, situated behind Arundel Gate is central enough to access easily but tucked away enough to have a quaint and quirky atmosphere and it was the latest venue to host Sheffield street artist, Coloquix’s new art exhibition.

Arriving early before opening, I am greeted at the venue entrance by a large, new signature black and white lady with wings and bright red, orange and yellow colours. A permanent feature now for all those passing to see.

As ever the man, Coloquix himself is nervously preparing and waiting for people to arrive and soon enough the place is full, pieces are being sold and there’s a hefty queue at the bar.

This year, the artwork has seen a progression in different themes and style, the famous black and white lady has become more animated in her depiction, with different actions, settings and features. There’s a darker theme working it’s way throughout the pieces, the halo, the skulls, the black raven and the ouija board making appearances.

It’s not just the style that has evolved, the medium has too featuring some smaller watercolour pieces as well as the spray can crafted pieces that the artist has become well known for.

It’s truly surpassed all expectations, showing the great skill and time taken to create all there is on offer.

Coloquix’s Phantom Limbs exhibition is on until Saturday 24th December at The Holt, Arundel Street, Sheffield.

– Charlie Barker

View full set of event images: click here.

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Live Review: The Answer and The Dead Daisies in Sheffield, 14/11/16

Date: 14th November 2016
Venue: Corporation

Rock fans came out in their hoards to a packed Corporation in Sheffield to see the unusual combination of one of Ireland’s prominent blues rock bands and American/ Australian rock super-group, The Dead Daisies.

The double-header concert started with Cormac The Answer taking to the stage opening with the title track from their latest album Solas. Lead singer, Cormac Neeson’s voice soared high above the gritty blues undercurrent creating a haunting atmosphere throughout the venue.

Continuing with the powerful rock ballad, Beautiful World, there was no mistaking it, the boys were back.

Whilst most of this tour focused on their latest release, the band threw in New Horizon from 2013’s album of the same name and Waste Your Tears from the Revival record. The audience appreciated the nostalgia.

After a spell of pure driven rock in their set, the band swapped their overdriven, electric guitars for bouzoukis and mandolins for an impromptu, chilled out, acoustic set.

In This Land and Thief of Light really showed a different side to the band, their variety as musicians and strength as writers with beautiful close harmony and stripped down arrangements. A real hit with fans who sang along at the tops of their voices.

It wasn’t long before the volume and pace picked up with inviting special guest vocalist Lynne Jackaman to the stage for a duet, as per the original recording on Nowhere Freeway.

The boys finished up with a rousing rendition of Battle Cry, leaving the audience shouting out for more as singer Neeson remembered his last gig in Sheffield.

He recalled that he had been in a bad place personally on the last tour with family illness taking it’s toll, but said he felt he had made so many new friends on this visit.

It was certainly a hard act to follow, though rockers The Dead Daisies were the men for the job. Entering to a screams and cries from the audience as one by one, Doug Aldrich, Brian Tichy, David Lowy, Marco Mendoza and John Corabi arrived and kicked off their set with Long Way To Go.

Made up of previous band members of Mötley Crüe, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Dio and Foreigner to name a few, their musical CV reads like something out of rock n roll history. There have been many band member changes including the introduction of Corabi in 2015 and most recently lead guitarist, Aldrich.

This tour is promoting their latest release Make Some Noise and the title track of that album sure enough features right at the beginning of their set. In true classic rock style, it packed a punch but it was not treading new ground for the band.

Covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Fortunate Son, The Who’s Join Together, The Beatles’ Helter Skelter and Midnight Moses from The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. All great covers, which saw the crowd joining in from the first note to the last chord.

As entertainers, you can’t fault these guys. They’ve earned their stripes with some of the most prolific rock groups in the business. Their musicianship is reflected in the plethora of flamboyant, intricate solos, yet somehow musically I felt a longing for a variety in pace, to see something more musically exposed.

An unusual mixture, but nonetheless the crowd left exhausted having sung along and danced all night. It had been energetic and impressive evening from some of rock’s finest musicians.

– Charlie Barker

View full set of live gig images: click here.

Live Review: Good Lovelies in Sheffield, 25/06/15

Date: 25th June 2015
Venue: The Backroom, Greystones

Canadian songbirds, the Good Lovelies stopped by Sheffield’s intimate, The Backroom venue on the second night of their UK leg of their European Tour, playing to a full house much to their surprise.

As Canadian Folk Music award and Juno award winners, the delightful trio appears to be surprised and overwhelmed they can bring their own brand of roots music to another country and receive such a warm welcome. Sitting in the audience it’s not hard to see why they’ve made friends around the world.

The night is opened up by Rutland’s musical answer to Jack Dee. Paul McClure warms up the audience with his dry, witty humor. Not adverse to self-deprecating humor, McClure wins over the audience joking about his slow-tempo material; categorizing himself as a miserable country/ folk singer.

He delivers an entertaining set of his own material, telling stories through his songs, dedicating one in particular to his wife and another with an anecdote of how he became known as the ‘Rutland Troubadour’. What better way to start the night?

They’ve come a long way from home, having played previously around Western Europe before reaching the UK. Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore take to the stage fresh faced and overwhelmed by their enthusiastic audience, also accompanied by their touring double bassist.

Burn The Plan is the new album and after a couple of years in the making the record is ready to unveil, with lots of new tracks airing tonight with several favorites thrown in for good measure.

Instantly reminiscent of the Dixie Chicks, their close three-part harmony is blows you away with precision and such beautiful timbre. Whilst they hold their own as modern folk/ country musicians, there are hints of old tradition in there too, with some lines and harmonies with a hint of the Andrews Sisters.

Fans may have had to wait for their latest release, but it was well worth it. Performances of Into The Dark, a song about jumping into the challenge of parenthood, gained lots of audience participation joining in with the catchy hook.

The upbeat, electronic feel of In The Morning was a definite parting of ways from their more traditional material, but executed in a subtle manner it successfully blended their core sound with something new. Kerri also brought out the Autoharp, a very traditional instrument used to give beautiful flourishes throughout the song.

As the band seamlessly switched instruments it was evident that their unique sound was homegrown, demonstrated on the track Waiting For You. Sue swapped her mandolin for a series of percussive instruments to give this track a crucial extra boost, replicating the sound on their latest recording.

When The City Settles, was a soothing interlude featuring rich lead vocals from Sue, with Kerri and Caroline providing the soulful and sweet close harmony.

Whilst the audience, were enjoying the new material, we were treated to an unaccompanied song, where instruments were left on the stage whilst the trio stepped down to the front row and delivered a Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris number.

Rounding up the night the band left the stage following a two-song encore, performing another unaccompanied, foot-stomping version of Johnny Cash’s God’s Gonna Cut You Down and Mrs T, a song written for an ex Mother-in-Law, who was loved more than her son!

The Good Lovelies could have carried on all night, the audience still wanted more. What a comeback and what a great new sound. We’ll eagerly await their next UK visit!

– Charlie Barker

View full set of live gig images: click here.

Live Review: Hudson Taylor in Sheffield, 05/02/15

Date: 5th February 2015
Venue: The Plug, Sheffield

Sheffield’s Plug was treated to an intimate night of pop/ rock with Ireland’s upcoming sibling duos, Hudson Taylor and friends.

Feeling somewhat older than the masses of youngsters there, mainly students and school kids, I was slightly unsure as to how I would fit in and relate to the music on offer tonight. My student years have passed nearly a decade ago though the only others in the crowd, vaguely my age appeared to be parents escorting their offspring to the gig.

First on stage to get the crowd warmed up was Irish, solo singer and guitarist, Jack Morris. It’s a hard job being the first support act, opening up as the crowds are still arriving and talking though Morris seemed un-phased by this confidently playing a mixture of originals and a very brave cover of Lou Reid’s classic, Walk On The Wild Side. Commenting on his friendship with the headline act, he was in good spirits though the crowd somewhat unresponsive unfairly gave him a rough deal. I can only assume the talents of Jack Morris would have been appreciated better in a totally different setting.

As the second act, Southern took to the stage, a Belfast born, brother/ sister fronted group I was starting to see a family theme emerge for tonight’s music. Playing their own wave of pop/ rock and blues, the crowd instantly lit up with their catchy riffs and driving rhythm. Taking tracks from their recent releases Where I Want To Be and Where The Wild Ones Are, Thom and Lucy Southern are definitely ones to watch.

The crowd broke out into cheers and applause as brothers, Hudson Taylor entered the stage. There was no mistaking them for anything other than the main attraction.

Their stylish, retro image and guitars, harking back to Elvis Presley’s quiff and Buddy Holly’s black-rimmed glasses, perfectly set the tone for what was to follow.

There’s something very special in the vocals of two people who know each other so well whether they be siblings, parents/ children or couples. Hudson Taylor’s voices blended and complimented each other so well it was a joy to listen to every single harmony they sang and reminiscent of acts such as the Everly Brothers. Playing songs with a pop/ rock and folk vibe the young audience lapped it up, the brothers had us in the palm of their hands.

Featuring material from their forthcoming debut album Singing For Strangers; the singles Weapons, Battles and Chasing Rubies the boys chose a varied set of material, which showed their capabilities as quality songwriters and performers.

Close vocal harmony, a great backing band, varied material and two great frontmen; what more could you ask for?

– Charlie Barker

View full set of live gig images: click here.

Coloquix at The Forum Sheffield, 29/12/14

The opening night of one of Sheffield’s favourite street artists, Coloquix took place just before we saw in the New Year at The Forum Bar & Café in the heart of the city’s Devonshire Quarter.

With it’s controversial overtones, street art essentially is art for everyone in a public place; commissioned or un-commissioned, versatile, ever-changing and unpredictable in it’s nature.

You can find a lot of Coloquix’s work in derelict buildings, hidden away for the small yet determined community of urban explorers to find whilst wandering the darker corners of our city.

Amongst many secret, hidden gems you’ll also see that his artwork has graced the walls of establishments like The Washington pub, brightening up their exteriors and also many private commissions in people’s gardens and houses.

by Andrew Warburton

by Andrew Warburton

It seems natural that his signature black and white, long-haired ladies and their feline friends should make the progression into a more mainstream arena.

Bright colours, adorn the walls of The Forum Bar & Café on the well-attended opening night of the exhibition with a total of 14 pieces painted onto board, all of which are for sale and will be there for a total of six weeks until early February 2015.

From the smaller head and shoulders portraits to the larger full length boards; if you want your own original piece of Coloquix street art this is the perfect place to view before you decide which article is for you.

Visit www.coloquix.net for more information.

View full set of live event images: click here.

– Charlie Barker

Live Review: The Levellers/ The Selecter & She Makes War in Sheffield

Venue: o2 Academy
Date: 20th November 2014

An impressive line up of musical artists were set to grace the stage of Sheffield’s O2 Academy tonight, with folk-rock stalwarts The Levellers, teamed with two-tone’s unmistakable Pauline Black and The Selecter, supported by new upcoming artist Laura Kidd aka She Makes War.

A mixture of genres and musical scenes, though wonderfully brought together by their fiery sense of independence and social views.

In a room full of rock fans and rude boys/ girls Laura Kidd took to the stage, a confident solo artist who could clearly hold her own. Hailing from Bristol, Laura at this point has been on the road with the bands for several weeks playing shows on the UK leg of their tour and some further afield in Europe.

Armed with her Les Paul, mandolin and loop pedal she layered her music with intertwined vocals, singing in harmony with herself over a set of simple yet strong chord sequences. Reminiscent of artists like Imogen Heap and haunting vocalist Alison Goldfrapp, Laura quietened the room of eager fans all fired up for the concert ahead. Greater things surely await this gifted young woman.

As expected, Pauline Black and Gaps Hendrickson gave an invigorated, highly charged performance playing many of their hits from the Too Much Pressure era, including Three Minute Hero, James Bond, They Make Me Mad and their biggest hit On My Radio.

Iconic front woman, Black lead the way with her varied and dynamic vocal range, with the powerful Hendrickson supporting, alongside a fabulously tight rhythm, woodwind and percussion section.

The band has been relentlessly touring for the past few years and it shows in their energetic but polished performance. This was once again a welcome return to South Yorkshire for the band.

Folk-rock, group The Levellers barely need any introduction after celebrating over 25 years in the music business, yet after all this time they’re just as strong as ever.

The crowd were cheering in anticipation for the band’s arrival. Lead singer, Mark Chadwick entered the stage kicking off with What A Beautiful Day and showering the whole venue in a flurry of confetti from the canons placed by the side of the stage. This certainly wasn’t going to be a quiet one!

Playing songs from the early and latter stages of their career tonight was going to be a whistle-stop tour of all their best

bits with a few special additions. Pauline Black joined the band to sing on Together All The Way with The Selecter’s woodwind section on Dog Train, a brilliant choice of songs to collaborate on.

For one of their more mainstream song choices, She Makes War came back to sing backing vocals on the catchy, This Garden.

From World Freakshow to Julie, Exodus to Hope Street the audience, young and old, sang along to every song. Rounding off the night with a double encore in traditional Levellers fashion with a rousing rendition of The Devil Went Down To Georgia followed by The Riverflow.

After over a quarter of a century, you wonder what makes Levellers fans come back time and time again? For me, their unashamed social comment and quality song writing teamed with a desire to keep doing what they love, making music and having a bloody good time on the way is what makes these guys special. It’s a philosophy I can’t fault.

– Charlie Barker