It seems like another age when gigs were forbidden during Covid, I am so damned happy that we are back to normal, well mostly! This show was the first time that the Sheratons, from Leeds, had played in York. This was the first date of a five-gig tour with three dates in England and a further two to come in Scotland. First up was the rather nifty and talented the Big Sleep. If Damon Albarn decided to add to his, already huge, musical portfolio and legacy by recording in a grunge style with a spoonful of prog it might sound a bit like the Big Sleep, although perhaps not quite as raw and not quite as good. This is a terrific band, but a special shout out to the drummer who oozes talent and drives the band like a wild human metronome. The second band to play was the White Roses from Leeds, this was the third time that I have seen them play in just around six months. The White Roses are not just a rock band, they are a band that always encourages the crowd to party, and we did! The singalongs and the getting down low worked really well. The last time I saw them was at the Battle Of The Bands at this very venue towards the end of last year. They were good then and they are even better now. The guitarist and co-vocalist carries the guitar hero poses incredibly stylishly, but this is not style over substance he is a bloody talented guitar player. The lead singer’s voice is occasionally reminiscent of Joan Jett. If you haven’t experienced the White Roses yet, sort it out!
Next up and in the penultimate position were the Sheratons, who I believe were the headliners, not sure why they didn’t close the evening though. The Sheratons are punk with a fine pop twist, but definitely not just a pop punk derivative, they are more original than that. I have previously reviewed three of their singles, but until now the only time that I had seen them live was back in November 2018 when they supported Skylights at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. The recruitment of a new drummer since then has added a brand new metal-influenced dimension to their already rather excellent sound. The Sheratons’ set had many highlights, notably “These Kids”, “Raving And Drooling” and the new single “Bravo”. The only disappointment for me was that they played a cover of “Ziggy Stardust” at their Manchester gig, for a huge Bowie fan like me that would have moved an excellent show up a few more notches to hugely magnificent. The band that closed the night was Balcony Plants who play swampy, bluesy, punky metal. I detected some Sex Pistols, Clash, and Damned influences occasionally. I occasionally like using superhero analogies in reviews sometimes, so here comes another of those. Balcony Plants veer towards the immensity, power, and feeling of Swamp Thing more than they do towards the cunning of Poison Ivy and I make that statement in support of a great band. There were some truly stupendous riffs and classy vocals. It is also hard to ignore the upbeat message that Balcony Plants convey too, they are heavy, heartfelt, and humble. The cover of the Madness classic “Baggy Trousers” was a total gem and took the song to a place it has probably never been before. While that Madness cover was good the Balcony Plants’ take on Jacko’s “Billie Jean” blew the place up. This is a band that everyone needs to see!
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