The Picturebooks @ The Local Authority, Sheffield

The Picturebooks @ The Local Authority, Sheffield

The Picturebooks, Local Authority, Sheffield, 23/5/15  

Anthony Firmin heads over the hills to steel city only to be destroyed by a performance by The Picturebooks

Following on from their highly successful tour with The Answer, a short tour was booked for The Picturebooks.  Unfortunately there were no gigs planned for Manchester so MR took a trip over the Pennines to steel town, Sheffield, to both review the gig and interview them.

The promoter in Sheffield was so impressed with them and the reaction they generated he just had to re-book them as soon as possible so this gig was set up with three local bands as support at The Local Authority, which is part of the Corporation complex and was the last date of their British tour.

First up were In Ransom, a drum and distorted bass due who were nothing much to speak of with the word fucking appearing in almost every verse of their lyrics.  At the end of the set the bass player started hitting one of the symbols and knocked the stand to the floor in some sort of display of teenage angst which just  came across like teenage petulance!

Guerilla Warfare followed and they are a hard rocking trio with their guitarist/singer having plenty of energy, a real focal point of the band.  Scraping The Barrel had a bouncy funky vibe which was in complete contrast to the straightahead rocker Pessimistic Aim, which was about the singers girlfriend complaining about his toilet habit!  The crowd was not particularly big at this point, probably about 12 people, so it came as something of a surprise when a mosh pit of three people started.  However, the behaviour of two these people was just too much and included stripping off and dancing on the bar resulting in a scuffle with the bouncers and their ejection from the venue.  Sadly they were an annoyance and a distraction to the band who were trying their best to hold the remaining crowds attention.

Another local outfit, Paper Bullets, were not your regular headbanging rock band and seemed a little out of place on the bill, with their sound being more considered and with much more of a song-based approach.  Songs such as Footnote about singer Ben Ibbotson’s ex-girlfriend showed off their melodic style and Memory Lane was another bouncy standout.  The bands female guitarist, Heather Kitchin, played with a style that was subtle but precise when needed, even shredding it at times.  Special mention needs to be made for bass player James Armstrong for both his highly impressive fretless bass playing and his hair do.  One of the last songs was Dreams which was about doing your dreams which Ibbottson explained was what the band were doing and it was a great end to their set.

Finally The Picturebooks took the stage for what seemed very short set because it was highly enjoyable and just steamrollered a long.  It's hard to be objective when you have recently discovered a band and they have made such a huge impression on you and also after you have just interviewed them.  The performance was immense, that's the only word I can find to describe it.  The energy level and intensity was unbelievable.  Most of the songs were taken from the album Imaginary Horse including PCH Diamond, Your Kisses Burn Like Fire and a vigorous The Rabbit and the Wolf all dripping with sweat and pure blues soul.  The encore was a strange cover of Madonna’s Lucky Star adjusted to their own raw bluesy style.  With the band about to depart for a US tour, the audiences there are going to be destroyed by this band if tonight is any indication of their intentions!

Images & Words: Anthony Firmin

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