Live: Sheafs – Fulford Arms, York

Sheffield band Sheafs are currently in the middle of an epic, nationwide, 17-date tour bringing their protest sounds and heavy rock anthems to cities across the country. We were lucky enough to catch them in York last week and were treated to one hell of a show.

The Fulford Arms in York is a fine live music venue which attracts some of the best talent but annoyingly, rarely does the bands, and the venue justice with the crowd turnout. That being said, there’s something special about shows with 30 people in attendance; that “I was there” factor certainly adds to the experience and Sheafs’ York show was no different.

Since we last caught Sheafs in the summer at Y Not Festival they’ve honed their sound and performance style and once they’d exploded into “You’re So Fickle” – they’d won the crowd over (bar the one man seemingly terrified about Lawrence stepping into the audience!). “Mind Pollution” is the typical Sheafs track; four minutes of riotous guitars and vocals with a catchy chorus perfect for festival crowds. It translated just as well indoors though and the acoustics of The Fulford Arms really leant itself to the power of the track.

Through a forty-minute set, I found it hard to pick fault with any of the music. The band handled the slow crowd incredibly professionally and powered on through their anthemic, protest tracks. Bands like Slaves, The Blinders and Sounds Like a Storm are creating similar music right now, but I honestly think Sheafs edge all three of them on the live stage due to their musicality, showmanship and raw emotion. “Feed The Animal” and “Shock Machine” get the best crowd reception of the night and it’s at this point you realise, whilst driven by Lawrence on vocals – the band are completely seamless in their performance and all five individuals combine to make the perfect live band.

Whilst heavy riffs and powerful vocals are central to all Sheafs tracks – when seeing them live you realise how versatile and original they actually are. By the end of the set and the raucous “This is not a protest” finale – I was completely in awe of the Sheffield band to the point I tweeted “Sheafs just brought the best 40 minutes of rock ‘n’ roll I’ve possibly ever seen in York. Going to be a gig I look back on in the future and be able to say “I was fucking there” – stunning!” and nothing could sum up the show better. In years to come when Sheafs are taking over the world – I, and 30 others will be able to say we were at their Fulford Arms gig – one of the best shows to ever come to the city.

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