A packed-out Harley plays host to some of the hottest up and coming UK bands currently on the music scene on this icy Friday night, though the weather certainly doesn’t chill the atmosphere inside.
First up are Sheffield locals Idle Ross, their frontman looking slightly like an off-kilter Liam Gallagher tribute. Besides that, the group stress how honoured they are to be playing with the other bands on the line-up, which is very endearing, and warms the crowd to them almost immediately. Their sound is simplistic, but nevertheless enjoyable (think if Oasis and Arctic Monkeys made some kind of weird supergroup), and they get the crowd suitably warmed up.
Next on the stage are The Wholls. Frontman Tordy Cocchiarella is a breath of fresh air, dressed sharply in a suit jacket; his charming Bedford accent shining through every note he sings. It’s clear to see why The Wholls have received rave review after rave review – their live show is electric. Passion oozes from the stage; an absolute delight to witness.
The crowd gets particularly excitable during hits X21 and Roll Out, but it’s their cover of Gossip’s Standing in the Way of Control which generates the most energy in the set. Guitarist Santina Cocchiarella’s screaming guitar licks are perfectly suited to bassist Joe Stevenson and drummer Daniel De Feo’s airtight rhythm section; these guys are on a higher level than many of their alt-rock contemporaries, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them on many festival line-ups this Summer.
Bang Bang Romeo are hard to sum up in a review, purely because they are nothing short of incredible. Lead singer Anastasia Walker is one of the best female rock vocalists of this new-age generation. As soon as she storms onto the stage in a blue fluffy jacket with accompanying stripes (which wouldn’t look out of place on a children’s TV show – in the best way possible), it’s clear that she and bandmates, Ross Cameron (guitar) and Richard Gartland (drums), mean business.
Much like The Wholls, the cover they chose to attempt was definitely the highlight of the night. Their slightly heavier version of Radiohead’s Creep is nothing short of awe-inspiring, with Anastasia’s vocal performance again capturing the attention of everyone in their room – hers is a voice that demands to be heard, and there’s no complaints to be heard from the bustling hordes in front of her.
As the night draws to a close, Bang Bang Romeo bring the slightly inebriated crowd practically to their knees, begging for an encore. They happily oblige with slow jam Johannesburg, which simply displays the pure variety they’re capable of with their genre-spanning repertoire.
This entire night showcases the sheer drive and determination of smaller bands having the ability to engage the attention of the masses. With Bang Bang Romeo heading to the states in the near future to record their debut album, and The Wholls embarking on a huge UK-wide tour in March, it just shows how hard work and having something unique and different can really make a difference.