Even though London four-piece Gengahr are only supporting Circa Waves tonight at Sheffield’s Leadmill, they are brimming with headlining potential. To give them only a paragraph of focus feels a bit like cheating them out of a full discussion of their musical talent. Nonetheless, it is likely it won’t be long at all before the band are headlining Leadmill themselves, as the fact they are set to support The Maccabees later in May is a sure sign of big opportunities ahead. Their set consists of brooding melodies, with the delicate tremor to the vocal of ‘Haunter’ evocative of Orlando Weeks, with a hint of D.I.D to their narrative structures. Masters of melodically unobtrusive, mellow indie pop with a haunting quality, Gengahr are definitely ones to watch.
It’s time for the main event. Circa Waves frontman Kieran Shudall surveys the sweaty venue before him, grin adorning his face. His bandmates, Sam Rourke (bass) and Joe Falconer (guitar) stand atop the speakers, with looks on their faces akin to that of a small child on Christmas morning. It’s been a while since the Scousers have played the Leadmill, but many of those in attendance tonight were also here in that small back room in January of last year. The bands progression to the main stage this time around is testament to Circa Waves’ frantic melodies, their feel good indie pop which invites anyone and everyone into singing their hearts out.
Despite their debut album Young Chasers only being released at the end of March, the few days of sun we were lucky enough to get this week undoubtedly led to many gig-goers chilling out in the sun, and learning the words to the songs that dominate the setlist tonight. ‘Young Chasers’ is the obvious choice for the opener – with the chorus especially ensuring turmoil – but fans have to wait until mid-set for the soundtrack of Summer 2015, the delectable ‘T-Shirt Weather’.
The venue is humming with energy, and whilst that might be because it’s a glorious evening outside and many students in attendance are still on holiday, the energy that Circa Waves bring to the stage must not be overlooked. Knocking back shots – even giving one lucky audience member one – in a break between songs epitomises the band’s carefree, fun-loving attitude that presides over their live sets. Proceedings are so lively it feels like they’re over before they’ve even begun, but Circa Waves rattle out fourteen songs and the mood never dips below spirited, averages at rapturous and peaks at euphoric. This is in part credit to Colin Jones (drums), whose spirited beats keep the pace fast and furious throughout.
Angsty entity ‘The Luck Is Gone’ provokes the crowd to shout back at Sudall “So forget it / You got a lot to learn / You got a lot to learn” whilst the final song prior to the encore, ‘Stuck In My Teeth’, invites the best response to date, with widespread chanting of “I’m a little too young with not enough time” back to the band. The encore is a jubilant one, consisting of the arguably lesser known b-side ‘101’ before the band launch into ‘Get Away’, which was released as part of the band’s AA side back in 2013.
It’s been hot and sweaty, but an absolute joy. Circa Waves, it was good to have you – come back soon.
Words by Beth Kirkbride