Gig Review and Photography by Mark Loraine


Sheffield has of course a very rich heritage in terms of music, from Joe Cocker, through Def Leppard, Pulp etc. all the way through to the Indie darlings The Arctic Monkey and one of the stalwart venues in the city is The Harley.

Tonight the Harley is again at the forefront of the new music scene bringing together three bands that although not all from Sheffield (only one can truly be called a Sheffield band) have all spent a lot of time playing in the city and the surrounds and tonight share the stage for the first time.

The night, put together by promoter Neil Hargreaves, also has some added kudos in that the headliners have just been confirmed as support for the Rolling Stones at their Paris shows this month – got to be worth a punt then eh!


First up on stage is Sheffields finest, Polkadodge. I have had the pleasure of seeing these guys live before and they play full on power indie like it really means something. They truly are exceptional in their craft and provide a real banging start to the evening’s entertainment. Stand out track for me has to be “The Other Way” which really gets the small but excitable crowd bouncing.


The ironic thing about tonight is that all three acts could have headlined, the quality is that good and the next band up is no exception to that. The Darlingtons arrive in Sheffield directly from a tour of France and the low countries and this gig at The Harley represents the end of their tour and so tonight is sure to provide a real performance from these guys from Taunton. And so it did!

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The Darlingtons have to be one of the most energetic bands I have ever seen. From start to finish they hammer out melodic, catchy guitar rock while owning the stage in a truly manic way. You don’t want to get in their way as you will surely find yourself on the receiving end of a Fender Precision as I nearly did. I count The Darlingtons as friends, having seen and photographed them many times, but tonight has to be one of their best shows ever and could easily go down in history as the gig to have been at in 2014.

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It’s a bold claim, the one about the best gig to have been at in 2014, but I am convinced of it and that conviction was borne out by the headliners, The Struts. The Struts nominally hail from Derbyshire, but looking at their social profiles, come from all over but tonight they are truly Sheffield.


I am going to use a description for The Struts that a good friend of mine, imminent Record Shop owner and local DJ Simon Saynor used in his blog about the night – “ Think the love child of Jagger and Bolan dipped in a box of glitter and raised on The Sensational Alex Harvey Band” To me they are all that and more… remembering that we are seeing this band in a pub soon became difficult as these boys think they are playing Wembley all the time and really ooze showmanship. King of showmanship, Luke Spiller will truly be one of rocks great frontmen in the very near future, so eyes peeled and remember. Often bands with a certain stage presence lack good music, so what makes this band even better is that the songs they sing are truly excellent and so the mix of great songs and a real pizazz make these guys a stand out band.


In all, as I mentioned previously, all three of these bands could have been headliners and I truly think that all three have very bright futures ahead of them. Therefore to see them all on one night and all at the top of their game was truly fantastic and I am so very sure we will hear a lot of all three in the very near future.


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