THE HIDEAWAY CLUB LIVE AT THE LEADMILL, WHAT HAPPENED?
Hideaway Club/Shefu/Marples – The Leadmill, Sheffield Saturday 2023-08-05
Saturday evening sees the two halves of PeteRooneyPhotography (in the form of The Humble Reviewer and Editor Girl, who’s going to need a new superhero name soon if her pictures get much better) heading over t’Pennines to Sheffield’s Leadmill at the kind invitation of tonight’s headliners Hideaway club, who we were fortunate enough to see the previous evening supporting the excellent Mercy Kelly along with Violet Club at Manchester’s Castle Hotel.
As the festival season starts to draw to a close, it’s good to see the number of local gigs picking up again and this is proving to be a busy weekend. However, it’s now Sunday morning and I’m sitting in front of the laptop trying to gather my musings on a most excellent evening.
Marples are a new band for me, but what strikes me as we enter The Leadmill is the serious amount of merch bearing their name that graces the foyer, plus the number of folks that are actually wearing it, always a good sign. Formed in August 2021, Joseph Neville (vocals and rhythm guitarist), Thomas Martin (lead guitar), Joseph Kneale (bass) and Luke Fieldsend (drums) started out playing covers (one of which, in the form of Pulp’s “Disco 2000” features tonight) and frequenting open mic nights but pretty soon migrated to writing their own material and playing their own gigs in Sheffield (including Record Junkee).
They cite many influences from the Beatles to Blossoms, From Queen to the Smiths, Catfish and The Bottlemen to The Killers and whilst all contribute some ingredients to a very hybrid sound, Marples are very much their own men. which is very much their own. 2022 saw the release of a 4 track EP “In the Attic” (the first songs they wrote and the final track of which is tonight’s set closer) and their latest release is April’s single release, “I’ve Been Shown”.
They’ve started to spread their wings further afield (including London’s famous Dublin Castle) than their native Sheffield and are planning on hitting the studio again very soon.
Marples open their set with “Busy”, a happy, jaunty song that bounces along to the accompaniment of an insistent bassline – it’s all a bit reminiscent of early Wedding Present (and there’s nothing wrong with that at ALL). Joseph steers us in the direction of Spotify for subsequent listens to, “I’ve Been Shown”, whilst demonstrating an impressive vocal range in the chorus. He thanks us for coming down and asks us to give ourselves a round of applause, which we’re only too happy to do! The Blossoms-tinged “Friends” continues the good-humoured set with Thomas doing intricate lead-guitarist things stage left whilst Joseph stage right struggles to keep a mysterious blue sash from falling from his mic stand, but more of this later.
Having been asked for a second time, we all confirm that we’re having a good time as the guys launch into “Learn” with some neat Pretenders-like fretwork and solid drumming from Like. Marples have clearly turned up tonight to a solid local fanbase, but they’re more than happy to demonstrate their skills to anyone else who might be prepared to listen.
There’s a poppy, summery likeability to both them and their music which sets the crowd swaying appreciatively. “It’s sweaty up here”, exclaims Joseph with typical Yorkshire bluntness, before launching into an excellent cover of Pulp’s “Disco 2000” which Shefu will mention later as being the point where THEIR hackles we up, charging them for their set a few minutes later. The crowd joyfully join in with the chorus (and why wouldn’t you?), and although I’m pretty sure that Jarvis didn’t sing about “Dogsh*it on the walls in the original, nobody seems to mind too much.
A cry of “Marples, Marples, Marples” rings out as we go back to the original songs with the rocky “Dublin”, which concludes with band introductions, which are met with cheers from the friendly crowd. It’s always nice to see appreciation for the support acts, but on the strength of tonight’s performance, this gang of mates will be rising up the bills in short order.
Marples’ songs are tight, efficient and enjoyable, and I add a tick to yet another band on the mental list. “First Kiss” matches a cheerful New Order-y (can you be both?) bassline with some seriously good solo work from Thomas, while Joseph flings himself around the stage, whipping the crowd up for one last time.
The mystery of the blue sash is solved as it’s bassman Joseph’s birthday, so we all join in with the obligatory well wishes (as you do). Set closer “One for Their own” from the Attic EP shows Marples in a slightly more reflective mood, but even this doesn’t detract from the happy atmosphere and the sense of a job well done as they leave the stage to loud applause with a plea to “Buy yourselves a tee shirt on the way out!”
You can catch Marples supporting The Covasettes at Sheffield’s Network 2 on Friday the 29th of September. I’d strongly suggest that you do.
Marples played: Busy, I’ve Been Shown, Friends, Learn, Disco 2000, Dublin, Shoegazey, First Kiss and One for Their Own.
We’ve crossed paths with Shefu before, supporting October Drift back in April at Jimmy’s in Liverpool (yes, the scene of the infamous “Locked Car Park” incident). Comprising Rose (vocals), Alice and Ross (guitars), Shiv (bass) and Tom (drums), Shefu describe themselves as “A queer Liverpool alt-rock band who like to scream” but from the outset, it’s clear to see that they’ve come on in leaps and bounds in the last four months and they’re about WAY more than noise. Citing influences as diverse as Hole, Blur, the Pixies and The White Stripes, they’re now every bit as much performers as they are musicians, as they explode onto the stage (not literally, explode, obvs, as that would be a bit messy) grab their kit and launch into thirty-five minutes of barely-controlled mayhem that you simply can’t take your eyes off for a second in case you miss something. Off the back of their first (sold out) headline gig at Liverpool’s Kazimier Stockroom in July, they now possess a degree of assuredness that allows them to command the stage in a very loud, yet controlled way.
Set opener Do You Want My Number? (Or Do You Want Me Dead?) is accompanied by tribal drumming rhythms a little reminiscent of Bow Wow Wow (ask somebody VERY old). Rose has grown as a performer as she bounds around, displaying a range of almost manic facial expressions and punctuating her lyrics with whoops and squeaks as if her very life depended on it. Alice’s and Ross’s guitars are squeezed through a bewildering range of pedals, delivering a fine sound while Shiv stage right basses (is that even a verb?) furiously, as they all attempt to keep up with Tom’s furious pounding. It’s a strong start that you’d probably expect to see closing off a set, or at least somewhere near to the end of it, once they’d got the crowd whipped up, but not Shefu – they’re not going to conform to the norm tonight, THAT’s for sure.
“Give It to You Free” slows things slightly, but is no less powerful for it and again we see a group of friends, as well as bandmates delivering a solid and powerful set. “We’ve travelled a long way to be here”, announces Rose and she’s right – getting here from Manchester is bad enough, so the journey from Liverpool must be even MORE stressful, but they don’t seem to be demonstrating any ill effects. We happily play the game of shouting back “Fu” in response to Rose’s “She”s – the rules appear to be pretty straightforward, thankfully, as long as it gets louder each time. “Indoors” is followed by the surprisingly delicate, ”Kick My Ass, Arizona”, showcasing Roes and Alice’s accomplished harmonies and almost everyone shuts up, not wanting to be the one to break a fragile and rather special moment before we explode into further mayhem with “Arizona”.
“I Got Everything” leads us into the slower, shimmery introduction “Butterknife” – even Shefu need to slow down occasionally, and it gives us the opportunity to see their other, more pensive side, but it picks up the pace quickly enough. Shefu are one of those bands impossible to pigeonhole or fit into a genre, but what they ARE is five talented musicians all contributing to something that’s fun to listen to and even MORE fun to watch. The set concludes with Nirvana-esque first single “Chandler Bing” (Shefu Fighters, anyone? No, I thought not) and latest single “Thumb”, and with a, “We’ve been Shefu, thank you for having us”, they’re off into the night. Most enjoyable stuff. If you want to catch this force of nature soon, they’ll be appearing at Future Now at Birkenhead’s Futureyard later this month and have snagged a tour support slot for an as-yet secret artist, so we watch this space with our breath set to maximum bate, Mr Sulu. Go on, treat yerselves to a cheeky “She-Fu”– you won’t regret it.
Do You Want My Number? (Or Do You Want Me Dead?), Give It to You Free, Indoors, Kick My Ass, Arizona, I Got Everything, Butterknife, Chandler Bing and Thumb
Formed in 2022, Hideaway Club describes themselves as “Predominantly based in Chesterfield”, which could easily be the title of a Pulp album. Regulars around these parts will be delighted to know that they’ve also provided me with a new genre for my collection, in the form of, “Melodic Indie/Alternate” and having had the pleasure of seeing them twice this weekend, I know EXACTLY what they mean. With singles “Face It” and “Someday See” already under their belts, they’ve just released a four track EP (reviewed here: https://rgm.press/we-review-the-new-ep-from-hideaway-club/review/) which deals with the theme of the collision of past and present, and all six tracks feature in tonight’s set. Having played a sold out first gig at Sheffield’s Yellow Arch Studios, James Bull (vocals, rhythm guitar, cousin Adam Bull (lead guitar), Connor Pryde (bass) and Jordan Heeley (drums) all originally played in Time Sellers, one of whose songs will also feature tonight. After a well-received set from the Mancs in The Castle, let’s see what they’ve got on Night Two.
From the opening bars, it’s clear to see that this is going to be a polished performance – as someone who’s followed Inhaler from their very earliest gigs, they’re the first comparison that springs to mind, and I don’t think Hideaway Club would be too displeased with that. James Bull has an extensive vocal range which complements Hideaway Club’s Indie pop style perfectly. Having got the fact that they used to be Time Sellers very firmly out of the way, next up is “Someday See” which is a trifle more pensive, but two songs in and they already have their home crowd eating out of their hands. It’s never easy to reinvent yourself, but James and his gang seem to be managing very well, thank you, the very name of their previous incarnation raising a cheer.
“Thinking Back” has some sinister, almost Cult-y guitar and new song “Never Change” is met with enthusiastic applause, so this is clearly not a crowd hankering after the past. Dedicated to a friend of James, “When You’re Down”, with its “Life is what you make it” refrain is a more sensitive number. The interplay between the guitarwork of the two cousins is beautifully underpinned by Connor’s bass which drifts pleasingly towards the higher end of the fretboard while Jordan’s drums maintain rhythm and discipline. James pauses to say thank you to Shefu and Marples whose respective reputations and fanbases have clearly contributed to the size of tonight’s impressive crowd. “We’ve only got two left” is the surprise statement of the night (well, if you haven’t seen the setlist at least), but eight strong songs are infinitely preferable to a set packed with filler and as James later points out, they haven’t written any more songs yet, and while they might have a back catalogue from a previous life, this clearly isn’t the direction in which they want to go. You sense that whilst proud of their achievements as Time Sellers, that’s pretty much a closed chapter and they’re now looking forward.
We all clap along to “Face It” before James announces that “Going Down” really is going to be the last song, and that they’re not going to pretend, then come back on again. “Going Down” is dedicated to those who are no longer with us post-Covid and is a slower piece that could have easily been birthed over in Madchester, or even in that there Liverpool, if it hadn’t been birthed on THIS side of the hills. It has a pleasing melody and vocal hook that I recognize instantly from the previous night’s performance (with just a smidgeon of The Undertones’ “Wednesday Week”, maybe?) , which I would hope that James, Adam, Connor and Jordan would find encouraging, as I see and hear a heck of a lot of bands!
And there you have it. A thirty-five-minute headline set that has everything it needs – powerful vocals and subject matter, strong and clever instrumentation and a fanbase that clearly think the world of them. It don’t get much better than that – if they’re in your neck of the woods, please don’t hide away and catch them if you can.
It’s been a good night – three fine bands in a historic venue that we hope isn’t going to have horrible things done to it if its landlord gets their way. Have a read of this https://savetheleadmill.com/ if you have a few minutes and add your voice to the sound of the crowd (ooh, nice Sheffield reference there) – the world needs The Leadmill.
Hideaway Club played: All I’ll Say, Someday See, Stay, Thinking Back, Never Change, When You’re Down, Face It and Going Down.