Stealing Sheep

Stealing Sheep


Band on The Wall has filled up nicely in the last few minutes as the anticipation for the first showing of Stealing Sheep’s well-received new album Not Real grows. Ironically, the Liverpool band open tonight’s set with what was potentially the most popular song off their debut album, ‘Shut Eye’. It’s an immediate start and bursting with fantastic harmonies and handclaps. We know by now what type of evening we are in for, one that will start the weekend with a bang, with a party feel.

Their new album then becomes the focus, when the opening track ‘Sequence’ sounds out from the stage after a few sound hitches. It can only be described as boppy and the beats within it illustrate what is an unavoidable chemistry between the three girls. The organ then adds a certain mist to the night’s proceeding as Emily produces a haunting sound from the keys. It is overlapped by a great trance sound towards the end of the track, and a timeless shake of the maraca.

‘L.O.V.E’, which is spelled out word by word just like that fantastic Pulp song, comes next. Here, we get the first sign of nervousness from the stage as the drummer’s vocals falter above a mystical soundscape. However, her fellow vocalists soon provide some much needed support and the song throws itself into a bewitching electronic ending. Then, for the infectious ‘Genevieve.’ Not many of us can claim to have a friend of that name and I can’t imagine there are too many Genevieve’s knocking round in Liverpool, but if anyone could find her it would be Stealing Sheep and thank god they did.

Socks of blue then light up the stage, as the song of the evening, a slightly slower and broken-down number, emerges. This song shows off the band’s new dimension and the audience are so engrossed that there is barely an iPhone in sight. What a wonderful unobstructed view!

Rebecca, the keys player responsible for most of the singing, then puts her hair up, determined to carry on after dancing so much. ‘Not Real’ draws a big cheer and the dreaded iPhone comes into view but it does capture a beautiful sight, one where the drummer grows in confidence and finds her voice beautifully. After the track finishes, she remarks, ‘I was nervous before, but I’m definitely not anymore’ and it is telling.

‘Apparition’, which must or should be the band’s next single, also draws a similar reaction from the audience. It is the catchiest moment of the evening and for me, makes the band’s place in today’s landscape permanent and vital. ‘Greed’ has a bangra feel to it and again it is great to watch the drummer exude a certain confidence as she tests out a wide range of vocal variations.

Sadly, the closing song ‘Deadlock’ sees the band encounter their first hitch as the keys leak out an industrial, drilling-like sound. However, we are more than willing to forgive this, such a hitch has no effect on what has been an entertaining and insightful evening.

What struck me most from tonight is how smiley this band are and, of course, although it shouldn’t be it, is still refreshing to see three women rule the stage in what it is a male-dominated industry. Look at the Reading & Leeds festival line up and count the number of women, if you doubt this point of view.

A personal highlight though has definitely been watching the drummer’s confidence grow throughout the evening. It is as if her body language and vocals react along with the audience’s responses, to her getting that positive response is vital. It is as if her evolution tonight is just like the band’s, who have dramatically changed from their previous record. Their new sound is much improved and it is great to see them come out of a shell and form into a shape which is complete and bound to entertain and entice us for many years to come.

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Paddy Kinsella

Hi all, my name is Paddy and I have a love for everything from African music to indie to house (basically anything other than heavy metal). Gigging and listening to albums are genuinely the things I most value and love doing.