Live Review: Idle Ross, Plug, Sheffield (03/11/18)

It’s a messy night at Sheffield’s Plug venue, being a Saturday post football affair. The place is packed with slightly rowdy lads and slightly more demure lasses looking for a good time. Headlining is The View’s Kyle Falconer and although this reviewer didn’t stay for that part of the evening, it seemed as if he was heading for a good reception. I’m here to review Idle Ross, a rising star on the Sheffield scene who have already drawn comparisons to Kasabian, both Gallaghers in their solo work and former lives as Oasis and a few more local bands like the obvious big names (Arctic Monkeys we mean you!).

There’s a rawness and earnestness about Idle Ross’ music which needs to be seen live. Recorded, they are polished, slick and sound like they’ve been doing it for years rather than being relatively newly formed. The truth is of course, that they have been doing it for years. Ross, lead singer and central driving force behind the band, has been in groups since his teens where this reviewer first encountered him in a school band.

Debut single “Into the Thick of it” is massive, perhaps too massive to be so discarded as an opening track but it is a grand statement of intent for the rest of their set list. I previously described it as “a cocky, swaggering, hypnotic three minutes of swirling classic rock guitar riffs and shuffling Kasabian-esque hip hop beats” and it’s easily a highlight of the night. Guitarist Spen is well-served by the track, allowing him to give us a crazy Slash-style solo outro which demonstrates his prowess. Drummer Joel bashes the very life out of his kit even at this early stage and the thrumming bassline is given attitude by bassist Charlie.

This is another big important gig for the band who have played many places in Sheffield, working their way up through the hierarchy to reach the bigger venues and prime slots like this one and their sweaty, frenetic half hour set is a great advert for their music. Newest single “Sleeptalking” was described by Ross in an earlier interview as being like “if Gorillaz did a Bond theme” and it’s even better than that sounds in practice. Back to back with “Feel”, with its Madchester/Stone Roses vibe, we quickly get a sense of how eclectic the band are and how well they’ve done their musical influence homework.

Vocally, Ross delivers some incisive lyrics with a howling passion and the crowd, who may well be hearing some of these for the first time, respond more than appropriately. The atmosphere is electric at times and the audience soon pick up on some of the more anthemic hooks. If this is the first time some of these people are seeing Idle Ross, I would put money on it not being the last.

Set list
• Into the Thick of it
• Just Another Day
• Stop Letting Me Down
• Leave it Out
• Sleeptalking
• Feel
• De-Void

Check out the rather hypnotic debut single “Into the Thick of it” (reviewed here). My interview with frontman Ross is here. Why not follow the boys across social media on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.? Look out for more of their forthcoming live dates too.

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