Live Review: Desperate Journalist – Rocking Chair, Sheffield 27.5.15

Tonight we are in the relatively small cellar of The Rocking Chair to bear witness to one of the most adept indie bands to have emerged on to the scene for some time. When we got hold of their debut, self-titled album back in January, we gave them a 9.9, claiming they were ‘almost perfect. Would their live renditions live up to the excellence of the album?


Is there anything more beautiful sounding than a Rickenbacker guitar leading an indie band through their live set? When it’s in the possession of Desperate Journalist guitarist, Rob Hardy, the answer surely has to be no. As soon as the first few bars of ‘Control’ open, drums, bass, vocals and that oh so exquisite guitar combine to wash over you with a wave of sound that is instantly recognisable, yet at the same time refreshing and new.

Recognisable in the fact that we have a band who are quite clearly influenced by some of the greatest bands of our time, The Smiths are an obvious comparator, but The Bunnymen and R.E.M. are also evident.

Refreshing and new, because here are a band that have taken a look around at the current scene, decided it doesn’t have enough balls and clearly elected to make it their own.


Don’t be fooled by the stature of waif like singer Jo Bevan, her vocal range, whether it be belting out the chorus to ‘Hesitate’ or lilting through ‘Heartbeats’, is unfaltering, and intensely captivating. It’s an intensity that is evidently matched by Caz Hellbent’s drumming, who judging by facial expressions alone, is definitely giving it her all.


Completing the round is Simon Drowner on bass. Looking slightly awkward, yet every part the indie kid icon – polka dot shirt, eye liner – he stands his corner and provides some of the slickest bass lines around.


It’s an intimate set of 10 songs that pass far too quickly. Desperate Journalist live are everything, if not better than, that we have come to hear on record. Closing the set with a seque of The Stone Roses ‘Elizabeth My Dear‘ into their own ‘Organ‘ is a fitting end to a truly great gig.

Desperate Journalist could easily become the defining band of what we regard as Indie music today. Catch them while you can at these small venues, for if there is any justice left in the music industry, this band should be easily, and quickly, picked up for bigger and better things.

In a word – wonderful.

Gallery – just click on any pic to see full size


Elizabeth My Organ

Desperate Journalist are: Jo Bevan – Vocals, Simon Drowner – Bass, Rob Hardy – Guitar, Caz Hellbent – Drums

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