12 Jun 2015

Stealing Sheep @ Lennon's, Southampton (live review)

Heavenly Records has been a real hotbed for great psychedelia in times of late - last year it gave us albums from King Gizzard, The Wytches and Temples - and with Liverpool based three piece Stealing Sheep they're looking to keep that form up. Stealing Sheep took their hugely acclaimed live show to Lennon's this Friday with support from local favourites Melt Dunes.

After local space-heads Melt Dunes' sprawling 'one song' set opened up proceedings, we were straight onto the set from the Liverpool three piece. If you've not heard much of the Sheep before their sound is this; some sharp, melodic drumming comes from the group's percussionist Lucy Mercer, whilst the other two members (Rebecca Hawley and Emily Lansley) alternate between synths and guitars. The trio also share vocal duties, and the result is some beautiful, beautiful melodies that sound sort of like alt-J, on mushrooms, with a lot more life and soul.

The Liverpool three piece took to the stage, dressed in sharp vintage dresses and tights that were a different pastel colour on each leg, and immediately you knew you were in for some kinda cool, although poppy, psychedelic trip. Stealing Sheep's set started off with a mix from both their first and latest album. From the first bar, the sugar sweet harmonies of the Liverpudlians were plain to hear. About halfway came the potential highlight; the title track from their latest album, 'Not Real', a beautiful little song with Broadcast-esque deadpan vocals and a real mesmeric quality.

Throughout the set, the band's sound ranged from dreamy, spiralling ambient numbers, to drum-led Tune-Yards pastiches to unfamiliar numbers that, with the help of Emily switching from synth to guitar was bordering on Mary Chain noise pop.

The big surprise of the night came 3 songs from the end where the band invited a special guest to throw some shapes and wail a few vocals; Duncan from Leeds-based band Dutch Uncles. His David Byrne-meets-Neil from the Inbetweeners dancing was a welcome break from the psychedelic cool of SS, but it made for a really great collaboration that kept the set enthralling right the way through.

Finally, the set took a turn for the eerie, as the band closed with chiming electronica track 'Greed', which revolved around dystopian Kid A Radiohead-style synth-wind chimes and a load of other great, melodic percussion parts. The track showed off a great band, at their cool, calculated, but still lively selves, and showed just why Stealing Sheep are one of psychedelic pop's greatest assets.

(written by calum cashin)