The evening was opened by Jamie Woodcock, a singer songwriter from South Yorkshire who shared his version of Dearne Valley rock with us. A fantastic acoustic presence with stories to tell, quips to make, and tunes to share. To have a support act from their homeland is a great gesture by The Sherlocks and it is also he that appears in the video for their latest single ‘Don’t Let It Out’.
Woodcock was followed by a cameo from Mark Donaldson of Dirty Sterling, an established Scunthorpe artist with a significant list of tunes to his name. Again, an acoustic set; some of his solo material mixed with some of his band’s work, including their new single. He knows how to command a crowd and how to play to them, his lyrics resonating with them through the retelling of familiar situations and feelings.
If there were prizes for squeezing the most songs into a single set then The Sherlocks would surely be receiving one soon. The Bolton upon Dearne four piece have amassed a lengthy back catalogue in their short time on the scene (three studio albums and a fourth, ‘People Like Me And You’, ready for release in the Autumn) and they tried hard to cram as many of their songs into just over an hour as they could – fourteen in total! It was something of a Pandora’s Box of a set list, jumping between albums whilst giving the ‘Sherlock Army’ tasters of their newest material too. What didn’t change throughout though was the frenetic tempo and high energy that the boys threw into everything. True, the set was underpinned by the ‘bread and butter’ of the first album ‘Live For The Moment’ but they certainly didn’t rely on it.
Starting with the crowd favourite ‘Will You Be There?’ the gig processed through a list of familiar songs that looked more like someone’s playlist on paper than a concert running order. This was only briefly interrupted by a well received rendition of James’ ‘Sit Down’. Very unexpected but welcomed by all nonetheless. ‘Magic Man’ and ‘NYC (Sing It Loud) represented their second album ‘Under Your Sky’ whilst the title track ‘World I Understand’, ‘Falling’ and ‘City Lights’ showcased their most recent LP.
The band seem to have gone from strength to strength over the last year or so. There is more experimentation and variation in their songs as they play with their musical style a little. ‘Sirens’, from their forthcoming album, is a prime example of this. A little more synth, wailing guitar, a few more effects and some glorious instrumentation resulting in a stand out track. Their dalliance doesn’t stray too far from their core genre, however, as their latest release ‘Don’t Let It Out’ demonstrates. Produced by Al Groves, it’s a classic Sherlocks anthem that warrants listen after listen. However, all this said, it’s clear that the band wanted to bring this gig to the fans and keep it somewhat raw. No effects, no backing, just four lads from South Yorkshire playing their hearts out and clearly loving every second.
This is what the band do so well. They connect with their fans by keeping their music accessible. Small venues, such as The Parish, clearly mean so much to them and they are determined to play as many of them as they can – sometimes even by invitation! Kiaran Crook (vocals, guitar and songwriter) and his brother Brandon (percussion) form the mainstay of the band and have been joined in recent years by Alex Procter (guitar) and Trent Jackson (bass). The reimagined line up seems to have revived and revitalised the band somewhat and they approach their work with a balance of precision and abandon.
The rest of the set list is made up of classics from album number one. ‘Nobody Knows’, ‘Last Night’, ‘Live For The Moment’ and a personal favourite ‘Escapade’ are belted out before the band end the evening with an elongated version of ‘Chasing Shadows’. This went on for as long as the band could stretch it out, the crowd not letting them go and singing their lyrics back to them as a choir in their own right.
It was a great way to spend an Easter Sunday evening. Powerful, tuneful, engaging and totally immersive. A little bit of escapism in a Bank Holiday weekend. The Sherlocks continue to fly the flag for both the indie scene and guitar music. On this showing their next album will be worth waiting for. Pre-order it now and give yourself something to look forward to. Whilst you’re at it, grab a ticket for their Autumn tour too…before it’s too late!
Words – Duncan Grant.