Sheer Mag


What’s going on here, then? It’s not even 8pm and the merch table is 4 deep with t-shirts and records flying from one side of the counter to the other at a sweatshop pace; this isn’t normal.

Then again, neither are Sheer Mag. A quintet formed in upstate New York (in Purchase, home of PepsiCo, fact fans), they eloped to the fertile musical breeding grounds of Philadelphia rather than suffer the exorbitant rents in nearby Brooklyn. There, they fermented their sound into a potent amalgam of classic rock and punk attitude, all tied together by Tina Halladay’s distinctive, reverb-drenched vocals.

Before them on the bill, though, Nottingham’s TV Crime throw themselves into the line of duty in front of a sweltering Deaf Institute crowd. Introducing themselves with a burst of feedback, they unexpectedly go down an accelerated 12 bar boogie route: the Ramones ingesting Status Quo, even down to frontman Shaun Henchman’s daring double denim ensemble.

A fine opener.

Sheer Mag aren’t exactly at the cutting edge of music either, but it’s doubtful a better band of their ilk has emerged for at least a decade.

‘Meet Me In The Street’ is first up, with Halladay offering out the entire audience with a malevolent stare and wiping away a rivulet of spit before letting her lungs fly with a “YEEEEEAAAAAAAAH!” so seismic that car alarms go off outside, birds drop stunned from nearby trees, and a tremor measuring 3.6 on the Richter Scale is quickly reported.

Kyle Seely’s box of riffs are simultaneously precise and leviathine, with no route one chopping away at power chords, while his older brother, Hart, instinctively knows to let his basslines breathe despite their busyness. Wonderful musicians one and all, they’re tight.

From heads bobbing in unison during the early knockings, the title track from their debut album proper, ‘Need To Feel Your Love’, suddenly gets everyone’s shoulders and hips swaying, too, while somehow traversing the entire Nile Rodgers songbook in just four minutes.

A jovial throng down the front really starts moving during ‘Nobody’s Baby’ from last year’s III EP, before frenzy creeps in during ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ and the song which started it all, ‘What You Want’.

‘Fan The Flames’ is Sheer Mag’s calling card for good reason, an impeccable take on southern rock with added splashes of funk and guts, it’s a stand out track among a growing canon of excellence.

After ‘Sit & Cry’ sends the faithful and newly converted into the rainy Mancunian night, one thing’s for certain – they’re gonna need a bigger backdrop.

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