The Wired are hoping to end the year on a high, having released some cracking new music and played a string of important dates, by packing out the main stage of Sheffield’s iconic Leadmill as headliners. They have a solid fanbase and have stuffed the line up full of other interesting acts, ensuring an entertaining night and definite value for money.
First up we have Paul Fletcher and the Dukes who get the crowd nicely warmed up with some good old fashioned indie rock’n’roll, combining almost every mid-to-late 1990s act into one perfect tribute act, sometimes Shed Seven, sometimes Oasis, sometimes the Bluetones, sometimes even a little bit early Robbie Williams. Frontman Paul knows how to work the crowd, strutting his stuff like a pro.
Next on the line up are SHEAFS and there’s a definite shift in the atmosphere. The crowd are invited to move forwards, but need little encouragement and bouncers duly step up to do their job at the front, anticipating that things might be a little bit different.
SHEAFS are raucous and cocky in the finest tradition of indie upstarts, with a lead singer who channels the best of charismatic front men coming across as Jagger, whilst looking a lot like a dashing dandy (sometimes a little Doctor Who’s Matt Smith). Their sound is a cross between lo-fi indie (Libertines/Arctics) and refined rock yobbishness, with some sing- or even yell-along anthems in the making which the likes of Slaves would relish.
The last support act are Liberty Ship who also bring a hugely loyal fanbase to the mix and looking back at the crowd, you can see the SHEAFS fan step back for a breather whilst the Liberty Shippers(?) rush forward knowing they’re going to have a rollicking evening.
The band’s style is supremely poppy country-tinged rock music, with every song they play sounding like a song you should already know and definitely want to hear again, getting the whole crowd dancing and singing along. The tempo rarely lets up with their relentlessly upbeat vibe, ensuring a non-stop feelgood set which almost feels like the headline act, such is the atmosphere.
The Wired have selected well in their support acts choosing a mixture of veteran and fresh talent from the local scene, each coming very close to outshining the headliners themselves, but the Wired have the final say, belting out ten cracking indie pop tunes including brand new single “Lost is As You Were Leaving” which is another heartfelt midtempo rocker.
Caleb’s vocals are plaintive and echoing, guitars are wistful and thundering drums underpin the whole affair. It feels instantly familiar without being derivative and would sit alongside the Arctic Monkeys’ catalogue easily.
Other favourite singles “Fit the Feel” and “Long Lost Days” now sound like greatest hits, having woven their way into your consciousness after only a few listens whilst their cover of Nolan Porter’s “If I Could Only Be Sure” still sounds like a top five chart smash in the waiting, being moody and so so cool.
Newer track “Welcome to Paradise” I’d first heard in a smaller venue, but here sounds more epic, filling the Leadmill admirably whilst “Critique” brings their breathless set (and the entire long night of raw talent) to a resounding climax.
• Darling Don’t
• Lost it As You Were Leaving
• If I Could Only Be Sure (Nolan Porter cover)
• Little Too Young
• Long Lost Days
• Welcome to Paradise
• Fit the Feel
2017 is sure to hold much in store for The Wired as they take to the road and get back into the studio. Check out my interview with the lads ahead of the gig for more insight.