The Rocking Chair is one of Sheffield’s most intimate live music venues. Perfect for bands with a small but devoted fanbase, perhaps working on honing their live performance before attempting to draw larger crowds, the venue is pragmatically described as “cosy” but put not quite so politely as being “a little bit cramped”. Hardly surprising given The Savage Nomads and October Drift sold out the venue, there was little room for movement as the former support act launched into their raucous live set.
Praising Sheffield for its rich musical heritage, frontman Cole Salewicz takes to the stage looking styled in a suit and tie, every hair on his head meticulously gelled in place. Whilst it took Sheffield’s own Alex Turner years to grow into the quiffed superstar he is now, The Savage Nomads already exude Arctic Monkey-level confidence. For such a small, intimate atmosphere you can’t help but feel as if the band want to be playing a bigger stage; there’s no doubt they wouldn’t be able to, either, as Lacoste’s frantic drumbeat is undoubtedly still to be heard on the other end of The Moor.
Salewicz treats us to a stereotypical ‘Landan’ impression as they tune up; with their songs this South London five piece boast slick production and catchy melodies, self-described as “superpop”. Incontestable highlights are ‘Porno’ and ‘Pinkie’s Little Light’; with infectious hooks and a delectable vocal drawl which sounds a lot like Spector’s Fred Macpherson. Great tunes, great guys but they needed to tone it down a bit and connect with the audience on a more intimate level if it was to be a great – rather than just good – gig.
Taking to the stage next, October Drift boast similar levels of confidence, which must mean there’s something in the water down South. Think White Lies and The Editors fused with Echo & the Bunnymen and you’re pretty close to October Drift’s brooding, intoxicating anthems. Best evidenced in ‘Whoever’, the poignant lead line “whoever really knows?” is cleverly mixed with an intoxicatingly turbulent sea of distortion. With such a carefully crafted image and sound it’s hard to believe that these guys only formed in 2014. Sadly, though, October Drift suffer from the same problem as The Savage Nomads; both of these bands’ creations are not done justice due to the acoustics of the venue. It’s a little too loud to be entirely sure what is being sung, and there’s not enough room to fully get lost in the melodies. It’s a real shame, as both bands are talented and boast a lot of potential.
That said, it’s not up for debate that October Drift will be packing out venues bigger than The Rocking Chair this time next year, with this much talent they’re bound to find a spot on more peoples’ iPods – and fast, too. Who knows, we might even see them put in a few appearances at the UK’s smorgasbord of great festivals this summer. With this in mind we’ll be keeping our ears peeled for a second angst-fuelled single from October Drift, said to be on the table for spring later this year.
Words by Beth Kirkbride