High Hazels Review

Greasy, long haired, jumping and pushing men may not make you go weak at the knees. I mean, what is there to enjoy about that? In fact, it’s the music. If you can see past the sweaty men then gigs can be a great way to explore the world beyond your student bedroom. The popular venue Leadmill is home to some of the best live music in Sheffield. It has been going for a staggering 25 years and has hosted the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay and The Killers but to name a few.

I was lucky enough on December 4th to experience one of these iconic Leadmill gigs. High Hazels were performing their homecoming gig and to say I was excited was an understatement. I love seeing new bands and I was looking forward to this one and to see a band grace the iconic Leadmill stage.

First up, a band with an average age of about 14. Sigh. Red Faces, who were supporting High Hazels. I couldn’t help but think that they will just be an average school set up band, but they proved my judgemental ways wrong. They were incredible for an adolescent age, with the lead singer Harry Lyon putting on an amazing melodic vocal performance. The other young band members, Andy Wynn, Isaac White and Charlie Yapp offered an upbeat mash up to get the Leadmill crowd going. Think of a young Arctic Monkey’s crossed with The Police. So watch out Sheffield, they could be the next big thing.

Next up were Laurel Canyons. I’m undecided how I feel about them. After watching Red Faces and feeling a bit of a ‘buzz’ my mood declined into a foggy, sleepy mist. However you cannot deny that the band are great musicians. Their songs included a light and shade arrangement, which makes them effortless to watch and a bit ‘arty farty.’ Jake Cope, the vocalist, sings with passion which is one of the positives I noticed about them. For me, I think I would have much preferred to listen to them in the comfort of my own home or not at all…

Finally, it was the one everyone has been waiting for, High Hazels. The Leadmill was filled out to the max watching them play their homecoming performance. They time warped me back to the 70’s and I felt like I was some love hooked girl listening to the dreamy pop, mellow tones. Think of The Smiths, and High Hazels is a youthful replica. They captured the audience with awe. The acoustic song Shy Tide solo performance from vocalist, James Leesley, was captivating to watch (my personal fave.) Their songs such as Banging on my Door and Hearts are Breaking have an honesty and yearning that create the magical arrangement, making the Sheffield crowd keep coming back for more. After seeing them play I have had them constantly on repeat and I would recommend anyone who loves dreamy mellow pop to give them a listen or a watch. Think I may have the High Hazels love bug…

So, that was my weird and wonderful experience. Not so many sweaty rockers there either! It’s not just The Leadmill that showcases a variety of live music but there are plenty others, such as Corporation, West Street Live, The Harley and dozens more to meet your tastes. Going to gigs expands your social horizon and it’s great to chill out and listen to the music you love in reality. Rock out your best air guitar moves and strike a pose and listen to the best live music Sheffield has to offer, because there’s a lot.

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