Live Review: Cheatahs, Menace Beach, Shinies at The Harley, Sheffield (February 15th, 2014)

Hello bus station coffee, my old friend...
Hello bus station coffee, my old friend…

As I got on the bus to Sheffield at a time that shouldn’t exist on a Saturday morning, I thought to myself, “What the fucking hell are you doing going to Sheffield? This is a really stupid thing to do. Why aren’t you sleeping like usual?”

Well, Mr. Internal Monologue Laced With Self-Doubt, you are dumb.

I saw Cheatahs last November (2013, if you are from the future) supporting METZ in Glasgow. It was excellent. Just… excellent. There are no words. That’s why I didn’t bother reviewing it. Yeah… that’s why.

Sheffield is nice. It has trams. I like trams. You buy the ticket on-board from a conductor, which is just adorable. Every public transport system should be so quaint.

Also, their coach station has padded seats and that's a major plus.
Also, their coach station has padded seats and that’s a major plus.

Would you believe my luck? The Harley is also a hotel, and if you stay at the hotel you don’t need to buy a ticket. This saved me the princely sum of £8 which I later invested in a drink or two. Or nine. It’s also really close to a little Sainsbury’s. This is good news if you are like me and make sandwiches in your hotel room to save money.

As far as hotels go I’ve stayed in fancier but I found it was pretty cosy. A little run-down but not dirty and at no point did I fear for my life. Considering recent experiences, The Harley might as well be the goddamn Marriott. I watched the Food Network, I napped a little. It was bitchin’.

Then I had a dreadful nightmare.
Then I had a dreadful nightmare.

I went downstairs and felt really awkward for a while. Also, £4.50 for a Kopparberg!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Shinies were first up. They’re from Manchester. They’re also really, really good. I have a great attitude towards research so I knew absolutely nothing about them or even that they were playing, so I can’t tell you what songs they played. What I CAN tell you is that the songs were awesome. Definitely a band I’ll be seeing again.

If you don’t like to watch people eating, you can listen to the song by itself. I highly recommend it.

At this point I should mention that the music played between bands was just endlessly great. This is something that a lot of people neglect. A great opener should get you in the mood for the headliner, but what’s all that energy worth if you’re going to spend the next 20 minutes standing around being bored? I’m looking at you, Manchester Cathedral. You are boring.

The screen showed clips from Tarantino movies.
Menace Beach. The screen showed clips from Tarantino movies. Cool.

Menace Beach played in the middle and I shuffled myself down to the front. It’s really lame seeing an empty space at the front where there ought to be people – if you go right to the stage you no longer have to see the gap. This wasn’t an issue for much longer because Menace Beach are fucking brilliant. I’m going to save a lot of my gushing for the inevitable review of their EP, but I think I love them.

I took video. Here is video. It’s not the finest in the world, but sometimes shopping at Aldi isn’t so bad. Also, it’s my website so shut up. I do what I want.

Cheatahs are a real joy to see live. Their music is a fun mix of heavy, spacey and a little poppy that’s hard to dance to but a treat to hear. As good as their recorded material is (including their album which came out last week, it’s so good) nothing compares to seeing them live.

This was really the crowd looked like. Apart from not a cartoon.
This was really the crowd looked like. Apart from not a cartoon. Yes, this is how I dance.

There’s something about seeing Cheatahs that makes you forget about your life for a while. It’s hard not to feel like you could float away on the music. Some scienticians have found that good music increases dopamine levels in the brain. After this show, I believe it. It was a great spiritual cleanser.

If you think that sounds pretentious, you don’t understand because you weren’t there, man.

You know a thing I really like? When band members sit at the merch table. There’s something that feels so right about physically handing over your money to one of the people directly responsible for the stuff you’re buying. If I was a band I would totally do this, even if I was Nine Inch Nails.

I sort of hung out a little with Menace Beach. There was chocolate. There was rum. They are very nice.

Needless to say, I hated myself in the morning.

Bacon helped.

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Review: Live From New York City, 1967 by Simon and Garfunkel (2002)

SimonandGarfunkelLiveNY67

There was a time when I thought that I was too cool for Simon and Garfunkel. It turns out that Simon and Garfunkel were too cool for me. Thankfully, I grew up.

Most of us have some sort of history with one of music’s finest duos, but even if somehow you don’t (!?!?!) then you will probably enjoy this album. Some things are just universally great.

Moomins, for example.

Maybe you know a few songs but you find the super-60s production a little overwhelming, perhaps you think it’s just fine the way it is but you like hearing things done a little differently, you could even be from the moon – my point is that Live From New York City, 1967 is an essential album. I don’t know how I lived without it.

Okay, so songs and stuff. There’s a nice selection here. I’m not going to take it track by track because that’s not the point of live albums. A bunch of the classics are here – Homeward BoundA Hazy Shade of WinterI Am a RockThe Sound of Silence… always a pleasure.

There are also fifteen tracks besides those above. They are beautiful. You might think I’m slipping into hyperbole here, but I’m not exaggerating one bit when I say that I love this album and intend to marry it.

“But why do you love this record to the extent that you’re willing to commit the rest of your life to worshipping it?” asks nobody in particular.

Nobody in particular is represented here by the world's everyman, Sasquatch.
Nobody in particular is represented here by the Sasquatch.

That’s a great question! In future though please keep your queries and comments for the end of the review. Thank you.

Well, besides the fact that every single song is entirely brilliant, Live From New York City, 1967 is a rare thing insofar as it is a Simon and Garfunkel record that features only… well… Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. This isn’t your usual Simon and Garfunkel and Drummer and Horn Section and Two Guitarists and Keyboard Player and Backing Vocalists and Bassist and Dude Playing Triangle live album and that is what makes it so special.

We all knew Paul Simon was an excellent guitarist, but wow he’s so amazing. I think he has an extra hand he’s not telling us about. Art Garfunkel is often done a great disservice in these sorts of pieces, cast as the amusical hanger-on, but the man simply has a stunning voice.

Together they are perfect, and that’s the real selling point of this live album: it’s a testament to the brilliance of Paul Simon’s poetry and the beauty of his and Art Garfunkel’s harmonies that the songs are somehow improved for being stripped down to their barest bones.

Basically, if you don’t buy Live From New York City, 1967 then you don’t have a soul.

Live From New York City, 1967 track list:

  1. He Was My Brother
  2. Leaves That Are Green
  3. Sparrow
  4. Homeward Bound
  5. You Don’t Know Where Your Interest Lies
  6. A Most Peculiar Man
  7. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)
  8. The Dangling Conversation
  9. Richard Cory
  10. A Hazy Shade Of Winter
  11. Benedictus
  12. Blessed
  13. A Poem on the Underground Wall
  14. Anji
  15. I Am a Rock
  16. The Sound of Silence
  17. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
  18. A Church Is Burning
  19. Wednesday Morning, 3 A. M.