Bedroom High Club
Keyframe, Worthless Motivation, Bedroom High Club, The Maribels, Malarkey Affair, Kicklips
Dublin Castle, Camden, London
November 11 2017
Words/Pictures: Martin Clark
Having randomly discovered (and being seriously impressed by) Barnsley's Bedroom High Club at a Sunday evening free gig in Sheffield in late June this year, I've been to pretty much every gig they've played since. This, their first London date, presented a test of loyalties as by the time it was announced I'd already booked for the Lemon Twigs at the Leadmill in my home city of Sheffield. The head said stick with the Lemon Twigs, the heart said “you can't miss Bedroom High Club's debut London show”. The heart won.
Billed as 'Steel City Smokes The Smoke' ("an invasion of the very best bands outta Sheffield come to show us soft and soppy Southerners what they’re made of"), tonight’s showcase was an opportunity to see six South Yorkshire bands aiming to break out, and organised by Anthony Cronshaw from Sheffield, a tireless promoter of young local bands and artists.
I first saw Kicklips about six weeks ago in Sheffield and so this was my second live experience. This very impressive young three-piece play their own take on catchy indie rock, as exemplified by superb set closer ‘She’s Got Me’.
Though still young to this reviewer – it’s all relative!) –Malarkey Affair were the "old men" of tonight's line-up and as such can’t really be classified as ‘the sound of young Sheffield’. I've seen them a couple of times before and tonight's set didn't change my feeling of benign ambivalence towards them. They have some very decent tunes featuring kitchen sink lyrics over some lovely guitar, but their stage presence and reliance on a drum machine doesn't really endear them to me as a live act.
The Maribels were new to me and I was left wanting more of their crisp indie rock sound with a nice variety in lead vocals, with Isaac and Jake sharing these duties. Exhibiting songs from their 'Welcome To The Freeway' EP, I was surprised to see that unfortunately, it appears that this was in fact their final gig, so we will have to wait to see what if anything the individual members do next as they (amicably) go their separate ways.
Deservedly advertised as headliners for tonight’s gig the outstanding Bedroom High Club were on next. (The actual running order was apparently drawn by lots on the coach on which all the bands travelled up from Sheffield.) This young “indie as f*ck” band, all still very much in their teens, has a set bursting at the seams with instantly memorable catchy songs. Combined with an energetic stage presence they have very much captured my imagination (to the extent that this was my 14th gig of theirs) since first encountering them in late June.
Bedroom High Club
At present there’s nothing to listen to online. They have recorded one song (actually two songs in one), 'Into You'/'Make You Mine', but this has not yet been released pending completion of the accompanying video. I’ve been privileged to hear the recording and the world is certainly in for a treat. I would seriously recommend catching Bedroom High Club if they play near you - they have the songs and the potential to go all the way.
Next up was Worthless Motivation. Their brand of punk rock wasn’t really for me but many in the audience obviously liked them and they did provide a heavier counterbalance to what was a predominately ‘indie’ line-up.
The last band of the night were the high energy Keyframe who I have caught in Sheffield previously. Although their take on melodic alternative indie is pleasant enough to my ears, I feel that they would have been better placed earlier on the line-up. All down to the ‘luck of the draw’ I suppose!
All in all a fantastic evening showcasing young (and ‘not so young’) musical talent from South Yorkshire in the capital. Bedroom High Club stole the show but respect is due to all the bands for their musicianship and for having made the long journey south.