Imagine, you must walk to Leadmill at 8PM on a freezing cold Friday night. I’m uncomfortable, I’m disgruntled, and I can’t feel my fingers.
This is nothing compared to what the Homeless of Sheffield will face every single night this winter. Huddled together, or shivering alone they suffer, as I brave the colds for a brief moment to attend MUSICIANS AGAINST HOMELESSNESS, an event presented by Northern Exposure, in an effort to raise as much money as possible to help those I have just described, to hopefully give opportunity and respite to a population forgotten and treat like second-class citizens.
A cracking line-up, the bustling hall was to hold the performers CABBAGE, TRAMPOLENE, SHEAFS, and SISTERAY. Admittedly, it did take a while for the room to feel comfortable (the place was pretty much packed before a band even played), but with the warm yet punk introduction by SISTERAY, followed by SHEAFS, one of the most audacious and exciting bands of the coming generation, the room felt less like a gig, and more of a community rallying around a cause we all feel passionate about. Both bands boiled the crowd, as we zipped around the dance-floor like charged atoms, bouncing off the bloke next to us, trying desperately to avoid the crowd-surfing fans and front-men alike.
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TRAMPOLENE adorned the stage with their infamous humour, but also with a bright beacon in the form of a hi vis jacket, probably as a warning to their opening treatise dialogue “Ketamine”. The album “Swansea to Hornsey” is one I wished I’d reviewed, a unique entry onto the UK scene, Trampolene offer something new, something which touches the darkness within our hearts. I was mesmerised and captivated, but also angry and filled with defiance.
CABBAGE are a band who captivate a crowd as soon as they arrive on stage. You cannot deny their unmatched showmanship. There aint no fucking about and you’d be lucky to escape with your sanity intact. By this, I mean if anyone escaped without grade 2 concussion due to the fevering passion the band exhume and how this was reciprocated by the crowd in a non-step mosh-fest, then I would be surprised. For a band who haven’t released their debut LP yet, when they do, I fear the reckoning of Christ. Controversy which surrounds various attitudes toward this band may exist, but nothing denies the honesty and passion, and what seemed like genuine kindness, the band possesses. CABBAGE are Punks who master the duality of poignant political messages ravaged with the non-stop migraine of rock’n’roll, this is essential in this post-Brexit climate.
Rounding off my night, it was impossible not to reflect on the selfless nature of the MAH gig. Northern Exposure have done something real, something physical for their community. Something worth admiring, but also something worth learning from and hopefully repeating. Gigs do not always have to be isolated celebrations of art, but can serve practical purpose. This is a shining example that we must all follow.
Friday 10th November at the Leadmill presented one of the best, most daring line-ups of contemporary Punk/Alt-Rock, and coupled with the honest and pure hope to raise money to help those less fortunate, affirms my belief in music as food for the soul, an entity which can heal and provide betterment for its patrons.