The Subways Live at Sheffield

Last time I saw this band it was 2008 at Leeds University and they blew my young teenage socks off, they instantly became one of my favourite bands to watch live, so expectations were high for this gig.

The band was supported by The Dancers (who I unfortunately missed) and The Computers (who I unfortunately saw). You can’t knock The Computers enthusiasm, but there songs are far too weak and clichéd, the front man too, spent most of his time at the front of the crowd off the stage, this is fine but not for most of the set, as those at the back were left to watch a static band, furthermore you can’t help think that they were trying too hard to be ‘cool’.

Anyway that is enough words used on a poor band now for the main article. When Charlotte Cooper comes bouncing on stage and Billy Lunn gets the crowd to cheer at the wave of his arms, I realised that my expectations had just been blown away. All credit must go to Josh Morgan who kept the beat going while Billy and Charlotte provided a gem of a show bouncing to each end of the stage; along with sing alongs, a giant circle pit and crowd surfing galore, you realise that this is a very rare beast of a band.

The set is also tight, it doesn’t let up; you’re hit wave after wave of pure tunes but it is the encore which provides the best part of the night, ending with Kalifornia, 1am and It’s a party, the crowd become more mental while Billy leaps into the heart of them.

Ending with It’s a Party was a fantastic choice, the lyrics, the music all talk to the audience, who are all there for a good time and it certainly doesn’t get much sweeter than this. Noel Gallagher recently said that Oasis were the last rock n roll band, but when you watch the spirit of this band you can’t help thinking how far from the truth he is.

The Subways ‘Money and Celebrity’ Review

On first listen to this album it is underwhelming, the band have moved on to a more power pop sound and the screaming has been toned down. However, on subsequent listens you can’t help fall for their clever hooks and shouty choruses. This is a sound that the band do very well, the songs are simple in their structures, there is only three of them and so musically it is simple and the lyrics sound like a seven year old has wrote them, but that is what is genius about them and this album; as it is refreshing to listen to an album just for fun and to dance to which is actually quite rare. They also realise to keep their songs short and snappy; with the album coming in at 37 minutes means you don’t get bored with it.

I have read some reviews asking whether The Subways are relevant, because guitar music (appears) on the way out, but actually this album is incredibly relevant and the key is that it is fun. I hear so much music that is depressing, take for example Adele, but here are a band that just want to have a good time and they want people to get on board with them, not for some political rant or heartbreak ride but just to have a wicked time.

This probably won’t see The Subways thrust into the limelight and it certainly isn’t there strongest album but it’s certainly a good fun listen and will transfer well in live gigs.

Key Songs: We Don’t Need Money To Have A Good Time, Like I Love You & Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

The Best and Worst Gigs

I like to flitter away my money on going to concerts, so I thought I would give a list of my top 5 best and worst performances.

We’ll start with the Bad:

  1. Warpaint – Anyone who read my Leeds Festival 2011 review will know what I made of this band that makes you suicidal.
  2. Bromheads– They tried their best bless ’em, on a positive I got to meet the drummer.
  3. McFly – I swear I was forced against my will with a gun pointed to my head. Still lots of alcohol numbed the pain (and screaming from my friend).
  4. The Qemists – Just shocking.
  5. Dizzee Rascal – Saw him at Leeds Festival 2010 and whilst some of his songs are ok, he just brought out the t*** in people.

Now for when spending the dosh makes it worth it:

  1. The Libertines – All dreams came true when The Libertines got back together and they didn’t disappoint.
  2. The Subways – It was raw, sweaty and powerful.
  3. Queens of the Stone Age – Josh Homme is one of the best guitarists
  4. Bright Eyes – Fulfilled my teenage dream seeing one of my favourite artists.
  5. Cage The Elephant – What an excellent front man.
  6. The Felice Brothers – OK this is a slight cheat but I got to see them on my birthday, was at the front,  painted the town red  and got to talk to the drummer.

Top 5 Most Underrated Artists

Here are my top five underrated artists, which deserve a little more attention:

1.Thomas Dybdahl – This man is huge in his home country of Norway, but here in England we’ve just never picked up on him despite many attempts to break through. It’s a real shame because he is a very talented young man; he manages to break your heart whilst your foot taps to an infectious beat (Dice, This Year). The song structures are well crafted as you’re never quite sure which direction his songs will go; this gives rise to an exciting listen. His lyrics are passionate and heartfelt, and sung in a very unique voice.

2.The Subways – This threesome from Hertfordshire have had ample opportunities to make it big, they have appeared on the OC and in the film RocknRolla, but yet they remain to be a cult band. As a three piece their music is raw, loud and very very catchy.
3.The Crookes – A lot of hype was behind this band when their debut was released, with fans in Richard Hawley and Noel Gallagher, yet nothing really came of them.  It’s not hard to see why they are often likened to The Smiths, but they provide a twist on this fusing their jangling guitars with a 1960’s pop. Their lyrics are very well crafted and owe a lot to the angry young men group of the 1950’s: “Take me back into that bloody haze. We’ll set those lies ablaze”.

4. Admiral Fallow – A young Scottish band (whom used to go by the name The Louis Brother Collective) are a catchy folk band. They have created layered songs with a multitude of instruments (double bass; flute); yet the album flows well and is consistent.  They deserve much more than a (dreary) Mumford and Sons comparison.
5. James Vincent McMorrow – The comparisons with Bon Iver are strong, both secluded themselves to create a rich folky album. What makes James Vincent McMorrow special is that he wears his heart on his sleeve; you can hear his voice break as he sings an emotional line. His only album to date represents the environment it was recorded, when you listen to it, the lyrics and instruments used conjure up a beached landscape, he created a truly beautiful album.