It only seems like two minutes since Lisbon were last on the road but since they last visited Sheffield they’ve managed to unleash yet another monster tune on us and have played at dates the length of the country including The Great Escape festival in Brighton. Returning to Sheffield, they’ve moved to a larger venue and have brought along VYNCE and some local Sheffield talent to entertain us.
I Kept the Wolves Away are on first and describe themselves as “indie with a funk edge and heart-on-the-sleeve, tongue-in-cheek lyrics” and on tracks like “Take a Little” and “Howl” especially they demonstrate their ability to craft a fine indie track. Lead singer Dan’s vocals have a great quality to them, being cool and low key for verses and strident and yelpy-in-a-good-way (with a touch of the Gaz Coombes) on the choruses. Melodic guitar riffs drift in and out like backing vocals perfectly suiting the track whilst drums reliably drive the whole thing forward. “Howl” is like a lovely hybrid of mature Supergrass and early Arctic Monkeys. New single “Beagle” and a video are promised soon and I can’t wait to hear more.
• Take a Little
• Jackie Teriaki
• Downton Stabby
• Jenny Didn’t Erase me
• I Cooked Her Heart
Dead Slow Hoot have a wonderfully swirly moment with church-like organs and whistling which stays with me long after they’ve finished. Sounding like New Order, early Human League and the most wonderful gothic electronic indie band you could cook up in an experiment, Dead Slow Hoot have a mass of interesting and memorable songs. Opener “Blood Breath” gives us the wonderfully dark opening line “I suppose they were better off as dead” which is the name of the band’s 6 track EP and it swiftly heads into more deliciously dark territory with exactly the right minor chords over the major and a last minute or so which descends into distortion and madness.
“I Hope You Never Say a Word” starts more reflectively with slow hymnal grandeur, like Procul Harum doing a shoe-gazing church anthem. A wistful whistling solo takes over, something akin to the mournful opening line of “Nature Boy” and it builds into something like a sweeter version of Embrace. Their final track is the brilliant “Keep the Ball Rolling” which sounds like a haunting version of the Doctor Who theme if it were written by Danny Elfman and directed by Tim Burton as a glam rock opera. It’s chillingly catchy, like something which has drifted into your consciousness from another world. Hugo, Sam and Luke deliver a tight, sometimes ethereal set which showcases their talent.
• Blood Breath
• Everything Will Be OK
• I Hope You Never Say a Word
• Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
• Keep the Ball Rolling
The “I Suppose They Were Better Off As Dead” EP can be bought from iTunes.
VYNCE are a Merseyside act who have accompanied Lisbon on a longer stretch of the tour and it’s easy to see why. Both bands are capable of producing indie pop/rock of the highest order, evoking acts like Foals, Everything Everything and Prides. Lead singer Peter’s vocals are a wondrous scouse nasal snarl which have the swagger of an Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys and the pop sensibilities of a Kieran Shudall from Circa Waves.
“Taste” would easily sit alongside anything on the last couple of Foals albums, all fiddly basslines, angular crescendos of riffs, earnest insistent vocals and summery bittersweet melodies. Alongside the lovely “Fall For You”, “Taste” makes up the band’s new EP “Lust” and the title track brings their set to a triumphant end. A little bit Reverend and the Makers, it has an engaging frenetic drive which culminates in the instantly sing-along-able “take your head off my pillow and turn your back to the wall” which builds over crashing instrumentation to a desperately passive-aggressive chorus before dropping back to the cool synths again. A thoroughly entertaining set and an intriguing new band.
• Fall for you
• Tears away
You can buy the “Lust” EP from iTunes.
Lisbon are in a rockier mood tonight. Across a blistering 9 tracks and 35 or so minutes, they barely let up the pace. Opener “West” sets the tone for a heavier set which builds across their mid tempo pop classics “Khaleesi” and “I Don’t Know”, somehow imbuing them with a more frantic and frenetic air. “Blow” and last single “Vice” slot perfectly in before the pace eases slightly into the sublime “Native”. Any thoughts that they might wind down with a nice laid back bit of “B L U E L O V E” are tossed aside as they storm the crowd with newer track “Bananas”, which describes and indeed invites the crowd to join in the phenomenon of letting your hair down and going a bit mental. The band are slick, their performance tight and their rapport on point.
Brand new single “Shark” seems to have been the inspiration for this tour and the set list as it’s a much heavier affair. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Rammstein, but it’s not the usual summery jangly indie pop vibe lazy reviewers (myself included) talk of soundtracking festivals. It’s more intense and menacing, like the eponymous creature itself and the shady record industry types they’re also referencing. There’s just time for one more track and it’s the track which surely needs shoving into the hands of an Olympic official in the next weeks. “Rio” is dancey, clap-a-long-y and a burst of pure exuberant joy. Even after a relatively short space of time, it feels like much longer has past and the band and audience are suitably sweaty, knackered and a little hoarse.
Lisbon, being the loveable pros that they are, haven’t cut things short to do a runner into the night, they’re right there in the venue still, not so much flogging their wares at the merch stand as ensuring every fan who wants to say hi and well done gets a chance of a hug, a selfie or a signed poster.
The band were recently accused of booking a tour during GCSE exam season and therefore neglecting that element of their fan base, which is a ridiculous criticism to level at such a hard-working and friendly band and a slightly unfair evaluation of their audience who are a mixture of ages. Check out my forthcoming interview with the whole band for more on that topic. For those of us who went, we’ve been thoroughly entertained and the night is yet young, still time for a spot of revision!
• I Don’t Know
Lisbon celebrate their sold out homecoming and then take to Islington Academy in London on May 31st, Dundee’s Buskers on June 2nd, Fibbers in York on June 3rd and The Cookie in Leicester on the 4th. They also have dates lined up at the 110 Above Festival and the Pride of the Tyne in June, Electric Fields in Edinburgh in August and Lindisfarne in September. Details here: