With a crowd baying for blood
Viva Brother - Live At The Leadmill, Sheffield

When Viva Brother walk onto the Leadmill’s Steel Stage you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d walked back into August by accident.

The heavily talked about and much maligned self-titled ‘Gritpop’ quartet have a crowd baying for blood. And when the opening chords of ‘New Year’s Day’ ring out, the crowd heavily populated with students begin to let the frustrations of an almost certainly sexless Fresher’s Week be known, and a bouncer takes up residence on the stage.

Amps and platforms are mounted as Viva Brother follow the rock n roll precedent they’ve set themselves, and when they find the time to stop spouting self-indulgent statements of intent, they really can crunch a riff as good as any pub band out there. They have their sing-along moments and at times can be good value, but between all their swagger and front there really isn’t that much to talk about - you know about the nineties, right?

There’s dodgy falsettos (‘Electric Daydream’) and, apparently, rare moments of modesty from front man Lee Newell (“Well this is a bit mental, please don’t throw those guys out, they’re legends”) as the growing number of bouncers wage war on renegade bar dancers and crowd surfers from an already cramped stage.

‘Darling Buds Of May’ provokes further madness as Viva Brother re-find their groove, albeit a groove that was found long ago – and done better.

They’re going to wish they’d never asked you to read between the lines.

Words by Thomas Walton

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