Live Review: The SSS // Leadmill, Sheffield, 14.03.15

It’s been one hell of a week for Sheffield’s indie rock outfit, The SSS. Not only did the band win Exposed Magazine’s award for ‘Best Local Band’, but Josh Coddington and co played a sold out show at the Leadmill on Saturday night. And what a great show it was.

With support from the Time Sellers and The Wired, the standard for the evening was set high. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get there in time for the Time Sellers’ set, but having seen them live before I know all too well that they’ll have impressed with their angsty melodies and suspense-fuelled anthems, evocative of fellow Sheffielders, Arctic Monkeys.

The Wired successfully warmed up the crowd for the main event with a carefully constructed setlist which demonstrated their own headlining capability. Their single ‘Don’t Settle For Second’ was a particular standout, with Caleb Smelt’s wrought vocal comparable to some of Van McCann of Catfish and the Bottlemen’s more subdued, emotional lyrical entities.

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The gritty, glass-half-empty track ‘What Are We Doing With Our Lives?” boasts kitchen sink realism whilst remaining consistently upbeat – think Drowners meets The Crookes. The Wired are certainly proficient musicians, they just need to work on their stage presence to ensure the venue has their full attention at all points during their set.

Taking to the stage to chants of “SSS” are the main event; opener ‘18’ explores the emotionally confusing state of being attracted to someone “barely legal”. It’s apt, because looking around the venue and surveying the plethora of people with alcoholic drinks in their hands, it’s hard to know who is eighteen, who is over twenty, and who used fake ID to get served at the bar. I’m sure it’s a conflicting mental state many men (and women) grapple with when they’re out and about on the town, wanting to get with someone hot that’s a bit … well… young-looking, shall we say.

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The SSS are not one for chit chat between songs, save for the odd comment here or there. Their delivery is slick, carefully honed since their formation in 2013, and they have most of the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand as a result. There’s a smattering of people in the audience who clearly aren’t frequent gig goers, evident by the fact they are clearly dressed for the night out afterwards. A girl in front of me asks “can you smoke eCigs in here?” and another group of girls gossip throughout, backs turned to the band. It frustrates me the lack of attention The SSS seem to receive for their musical talent. Sure, the band is blessed with good looks and more than likely, a lot of the people here in attendance came because they fancy a band member. Yet this band are masters of bloody good tunes – lyrically and instrumentally – but they’re in desperate need of expanding their audience if they are to get the recognition they truly deserve.

One highlight is ‘I Now Pronounce You’, with a hypnotic melody and an ambling northern drawl “I now pronounce you / so go where you want to go” from Coddington which is incontestably similar to Miles Kane. Another is the b-side ‘Juvenile Love’ with an angst-fuelled, brooding chorus: “Stay out in the cold / and you’d borrow his sweater / he wrote you a poem / a charming love letter”.  It’s catchy without being dancey, testament to the bands slick production – instead of jumping about it’s the sort of track you want to get your lighter out and sing your heart out along to.

Closer ‘Morning Light’ recaptures the attention of anyone who has been lost during the rest of the set; credit to the full-bodied guitar hook, fervent drum beat and Coddington’s staccato delivery of a tale about the morning after “I wake up in the morning and everything becomes a blur / oh you’re not what you were”. The band exits the stage on a triumphant high.

Like The SSS on Facebook, follow them on SoundCloud and Twitter, and be sure to check out their music on Bandcamp

Words by Beth Kirkbride
Photo by Jason White

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