WORDS AND IMAGES BY DESH KAPUR
“Blending The Pop Sensibilities Of Teenage Fanclub, With The Groove Of The Stone Roses”
Tonight was the night I was going to photograph and review a band I have had my eye on for quite some time, we had already featured them at All Music Magazine UK/Europe spotlight feature ( https://allmusicmagazine.com/all-music-magazine-spotlights-shambolics/ ), the SHAMBOLICS so I was pretty excited to finally get to check them out live
Tonight, they have come to the Northwest, The Castle Hotel, in the heart of the Northern Quarter, Manchester to be exact. Having never been to The Castle Hotel before, it was a double whammy first time seeing a band I really like and, in a venue, I have never been to…. bring it on
As I entered the venue, the first thing that struck me was it’s not exactly a hotel more like a very small pup and I couldn’t see the band room anywhere. After getting a pint and then asking the barman the whereabouts of the elusive band room, directions were given, and off I went.
When I walked into the band room, I was surprised at how small it was, 60 – 80 capacity, and it was sold out so it was going to be tight, the stage was small and I was starting to wonder how the Scottish 5 piece were even going to fit on it, and as for the lighting was dim…very dim, just purple almost dark, as a photographer that was going to be a challenge, but hey I like a challenge.
So, who are Shambolics, well they are Lewis McDonald – Vox/Guitar, Darren Forbes – Vox/Guitar, Ben Sharp – Bass, Jake Bain – Drums/ Backing Vox, Scotty Paws – Keyboard/Backing Vox, Hailing from Fife, Scotland and formed in 2017 they have been steadily building a reputation as a must-see band selling out St Lukes, Glasgow and Water Rats, Praised by manager & mentor Alan McGee (Creation Records, Oasis) to be “one of the great Scottish bands”, Shambolics are already proving to be winning musical hearts very quickly
But before we get to the Shambolics, it was time for a band from Manchester called Lyerr, arriving on the stage through the now full room and fashionably late they took to the stage and treated the audience to a set of Manchester inspired indie, I have to say I struggled to get a feel for the band, the sound was muddy and the mix didn’t seem quite right, the lead guitar seeming to be very high in the mix, giving it an almost disjointed feel at times, the vocals were slightly back in the mix, making them hard to hear, all this conspired to stop the true quality of the band to shine through, in the quiet moments when the vocals came through and then you could hear everything a bit cleaner, you could hear that this band have something and I will endeavour to catch them at their own gig very soon.
Ok, It was time for Shambolics and the 5-piece squeezed themselves onto the stage and then launched into “Sharp as A Razor “and “Sandra Speed “and a big grin spread across my face, they were sounding as good as I thought and hoped they would.
Blending the pop sensibilities of Teenage Fanclub, with the groove of The Stone Roses producing a beautifully clean sound with melodic vocals and soaring choruses, its Brit-pop inspired psychedelic song smithery. In the words of one of their songs “Sharp as A Razor “punchy, sparkling, and full of swagger, the dual vocal of Forbes and McDonald works beautifully, McCartney and Lennon like. Jangling guitars, pulsating bass lines what more could you ask for.
After seeing them tonight, it’s quite clear to me, why these Scottish lads have so much fuss and hype surrounding them, they have been selling out big venues back in Scotland and I think it is only a matter of time before they will be doing the same all over the country.
1/ SHARP AS A RAZOR
2/ SANDRA SPEED
3/ CHASING A DISASTER
4/ TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT
5/ LOSING YOU MIND
6/ BETTER OF ALONE
7/ IF YOU WANT IT
8/ DREAMS SCHEMES & YOUNG TEAMS
9/ LOVE COLLIDES
10/ WHEN SHE GOES HOME