Highlighting a night of Americana, this gig brought together three bands that ring true to that expression. We were able to experience everything covering country, folk, alternative and blues. This is one of the best overall gig nights I’ve been to as it was well thought out and actually had a structure in its choice of order.
Canyon Family was the first on and started the night off with dreamy country (the sound that fits so well with sunsets). Providing mostly originals with the odd Carter Family cover, the quintet had great musicianship and vocal harmonies to back it up.
It’s a rarity at live gigs that a band can mentally transport you to a place of serenity (even for a cynic such as myself) but the feeling that this band provided captured the attention of everyone in the room. It takes a lot of courage for a band to hide behind very few instruments and their quiet confidence meant that you could hardly take your eyes away from the stage giving everyone more of a complete live experience.
Check them out on: SoundCloud
Next up was The Payroll Union. This two-piece (although the full band is made up of more) turned things up a notch, giving us an alternate (and slightly darker) side to the previous band. Using the simplicity of just guitar and drums, this musical backdrop gave way to songs that were about life and its struggles.
If the first band gave us peaceful sunsets, then this band gave us an experience of what happens when the lights go down (and not just because the venues stage lights cut out on occasion). With this being their first gig with the front man using an electric guitar, its use was put to the full, achieving the right tones that were required for such a set.
You can tell when a group believes in what they’re doing and this aspect brings so much more to a live set. It’s this belief that draws the audience in and it serves as a great reminder about live music that so much power can be created from only simple elements such as vocals, guitar drums and the occasional use of the harmonica.
Headlining the night was the Mudcats Blues Trio (read my review of their latest album here). Now that we’ve had the sunset and the darker side, here we are treated to the party of the night. Fulfilling everything that their recorded material suggests, the trio took to the stage, set everything to eleven and never dropped their energy levels once.
Credit must also be given for the fact that even though they’re a blues band, they never let it descend into a mindless jam that went nowhere. Everything was kept tight and in place to ensure that al their songs maintained their power and energy.
I could go on about their overall talent, but all you need to know is that this is the level of ability and stage performance that any musician should aspire to have. A live show can be judged by so many aspects, but one of the key elements is how much an audience gets involved and with this one, everyone in the room was moving (and I mean everyone).
This night brought together the things I love most about live music: great atmosphere, a choice of bands that highlight the theme of the night and new music to discover. All three bands are worth checking out through the links (you never know, they could become your new favorite band) but more importantly they’re all providing an experience that you will hardly find elsewhere on the Sheffield music scene.