WORDS AND IMAGES BY JAMES WOOLLEN
“IT’S TIME TO CLIMB ABOARD STAR SHIP MOTHER CHILD”
The Astrels, “Borne From The Steel City Of Sheffield UK” during the worldwide lockdown of 2020, and formed by two friends, singer-songwriter Steve Edwards (Cassius, Bob Sinclar, Axwell) and multi-instrumentalist Joe Newman (Reverend & the Makers)”
“The band’s music is influenced by their love of genres taking in Stranger Things, Bladerunner, Graphic Novels, Afro-Futurism, Orwell, HG Wells, Egyptology, Sheffield/French Electronica, New Wave and Space Funk”.
“Astrels sound is described as cinematic, dystopian, pop, rock electronica that grooves along with vintage synths, phat beats, thumping bass, soaring vocals and killer hooks.”
Band members are Steve Edwards – Vocals, guitar, and Joe Newman – Vintage synths, bass. Paolo Mazzoni – Drums, beats and Rachael E – Backing vocals.
Tonight’s show was to celebrate the Astrels official release of their single ‘Starship Motherchild’ A cracking song, that will surely become a cult classic amongst Sheffield’s music lovers, and clubbers. The song has been described as:
“Starship Motherchild, with its wonky funk bassline, phat beats, le‑ foot electronica and killer hooks, is not just the exciting debut single of new Sheffield band Astrels, but is also their preferred mode of cosmic transport, should they ever need to escape this world before the doomsday button is pressed”.
The band received support from Christian Carlisle at BBC Introducing new music, and tonight’s show at the Sidney & Matilda sold hundreds of tickets, the band played a banging 8 song set to a capacity crowd, and what a show it was too.
So, How did the Evening go? when I arrived around 7.30, the venue was already a hive of activity, a nice crowd of mixed ages, and music tastes were congregating upstairs at the bar, drinking, beer, wine, and chatting it was a nice friendly atmosphere, as it usually is at this venue.
I made my way downstairs to the PIT, as I like to call it, a dark, and low roofed, room reminiscent of the 1990s basements where Raves were held. It was hot and humid, with people enjoying a nice DJ set.
At 9 pm the support act came on stage called “Speed For Lovers” they played a great opening set, they have what I call “the Sheffield sound” from the late 1970s and 80s, industrialist-sounding electronica with a characteristic bass line, similar to the band local “Vision”.They are a Sheffield-based band, who have had a few song releases, and a nice vinyl release called “Hot Yoga Emoji”.
They played a lively 7 song set, had fun, and got the crowd powered up and ready for the Astrels mothership trip.
I like one of their songs called “Remnants” which showcases the band’s overall music talents, and sounds great live, with a nice bass riff, cool synth work, and a catchy beat, combine to create a fan favourite.
At 9.45 pm the Astrels came on stage to a great reception from their fans. They played a classic show, one that will be remembered in the Annuls of Sheffield’s live music scene for years to come, as one fan said “they have a really big sound”, I agree they certainly do.
The band played through 8 classic songs all of which were well received by the audience. The band has a great stage presence, enjoy themselves, dances well, and interacts nicely with the fans.
Songs that stood out from tonight’s performance, were “Kings Table” and “Starship Motherchild”. ‘Kings Table’ is a wonderful song with a catchy chorus and very deep lyrics.
Edwards and Rachel harmonise well, sounding soulful, and emotional singing “love is all that there is, nobody can deny it’s everywhere, from the ocean to the mountain every corner of the universe”.
“Newman” Sheffield’s very own “John Lord “on synth brings charisma to the show, dancing around, and hitting those keys in such an expressive way that makes the song take on an epic feel. Wrap this up with a solid performance on the Skins by “Mazzoni” which creates a fan favourite, and adds substance to their live sound.
“Starship Motherchild” is another great song, delivering around three minutes of funky, acid vibes “Newman “delivers a great funky synth rhythm, nice beats by “Mazzoni” and cool vocal work by Edwards, and Rachel making it a great song to sing along to. The words, “When you hear the noise, just climb aboard the starship mother-child, don’t care about the weather were all in this together starship mother-child”. Ring out through the venue, and in my head.
Overall, the evening was a prodigious one, The Astrels put on a great live show, and could easily play bigger venues if they want to. Their fans love them, and so will those reading this if you can catch them live, do so you will not be disappointed.
2/ Close to Collapse
3/ Neon Messiah
4/ Starship Motherchild
5/ The Velvet Sea Is it the Start of the End of the World
7/ We Are Aliens
8/ Kings Table
FOLLOW THE ASTRALS
FOLLOW SPEED FOR LOVERS
My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.