Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Live Review :: The Strawberries :: The Wardrobe, Leeds - Jun 16 2017


The Strawberries

The Wardrobe, Leeds

June 16 2017

Words/Pictures: Danny Shackleton

It was party time in Leeds as The Strawberries returned home for their biggest headline show to date at the sold out venue The Wardrobe, and boy did these lads put on a show. This was my third time seeing them this year and each time they have improved significantly.

Supported by the insanely good SHEAFS, who have certainly blown people away on this tour, and Liberty Ship, whose onstage camaraderie combined with brilliant harmonies and bluesy rock and roll caused them to go down a treat with the capacity Leeds crowd, tonight had all the right elements for a memorable night.

Walking onto the stage looking effortlessly cool, everyone gathers closer as lead singer Sam Neil entices the audience, asking them to move towards the front. ‘Fantasy Machine’ gets the show on the road with its brilliantly psychedelic charm, adding another level live compared to its recorded version. Upping the pace with the next song of the set ‘Caramel Eyes’, Sam’s vocals coupled with Joe Dines’ fantastic guitar skills really take effect in this bigger than normal venue. Third song of this already stonking set sees ‘Back To Babylon’ brought back as Sam ditches his guitar and really uses the bigger stage to his advantage.

Amazingly groovy new single ‘She Rhymes To Get Away’ had me and a few others (including members of SHEAFS who were standing next to me) in a mass sing-along. This new single is up there with their best work as a band and hasn’t failed to get the crowd moving on this occasion - it just makes you want to dance! “Who needs two guitars when you’ve got Joe Dines,” exclaims Sam towards the end of the set, as yet another grooving tune is produced from the hands of the lead guitarist.

Last song of the night is ‘Laburnum House’ which is another song upping the ante live, especially with the way it’s being performed this tour with a reprised version acting as the encore, which the crowd so willingly wanted.

As they left the stage leaving me and the rest of the crowd stunned thanks to the energy of the performance we had just witnessed, it was clear to see that The Strawberries are taking 2017 in their stride, with brilliant performances up and down the land. If they keep improving as much as they have done since the start of the year, there is no telling how far they will go in the future but they can definitely count me and many others as fans for a very long time to come.

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