Live Review – Only Shadows @ The Sunflower Lounge
The Sunflower Lounge
Review by Ian Paget
Following on from a string of well-received singles, Nuneaton four-piece Only Shadows are close to unveiling their debut album and are out on a short tour to give it a live airing. With a big anthemic indie sound that often brings to mind The Killers, recent singles ‘Cowboys’ and ‘At The Door Knocking’ open the set and it’s quickly evident that the band have got their sound down perfectly, with singer Nick Ashby’s confident delivery underpinned by the expansive guitars of Ben Riley, playing well tonight despite a foot injury.
“Let’s get our dance on, shall we?” asks Nick before ‘Too Late’, by which point the room’s filled up quite nicely and with a little encouragement the crowd make their way closer to the stage. Lamenting the choice to play a set without any slower numbers, the energy remains high throughout, especially on ‘Cold Shoulder’ with its thumping drums and the catchy ‘We Are Machines’. Admitting that they’re relying on Riley to remember what’s next in the set, ‘Fight Milk’ shows off a slightly heavier side to the band, hinting at further diversity that might appear on the album – “we’ve got trumpets, and we even let Paul play a triangle!”
Alongside set highlight ‘Stay Close To Me’ and the proposed opening track from the album (according to bassist Alex at least), the glimpses of brand new material at the end of the set make the upcoming release sound like a really exciting prospect, and tonight shows they’ve got the live performance to match, as they close with the big-sounding ‘Be Still’.
Chesterfield’s Clear Vinyl are new on the scene but you wouldn’t know it from their polished pop-rock sound. With an energetic frontman and a slightly heavier slant comparable to You Me At Six, the band look to be onto a winner right from the start, with debut single ‘That Feeling’ acting as a sneak peek at what’s to come. Spending time out in the crowd and even climbing up onto the stairs at the side of the stage, they’re an engaging live act who show a lot of promise that we’ll hopefully see come to the fore soon.
Openers Courtyards hail from Huddersfield – apparently the largest town in the UK – and even with the venue still filling up they’re quick to blow away the cobwebs with a set of panoramic indie-rock in the vein of Catfish & The Bottlemen or Jaws. Tracks like ‘Backseat’ have an inviting groove to reel the audience in, but it’s the clever flashes of rock ‘n’ roll and soaring guitars on ‘Colours’ that place Courtyards as more than just your average opener. They’re the ideal kind of band for the upcoming festival season with their sunny indie hooks, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go from strength to strength on the basis of their performance tonight.