SOUTH YORKSHIRE indie stars The Sherlocks are no strangers to Oxford and this was their biggest show in the city so far.

The band of brothers brought their guitar-fuelled, big-beat tunes to the O2 Academy Oxford on Saturday, and showed why this date was the first on this tour to be upgraded to a larger venue.

Frontman Kiaran Crook, his brother and drummer Brandon, lead guitarist Josh Davidson and his brother and bassist Andy had sowed the seeds for a night like this after years of playing intimate local venues like The Bullingdon, down the road. Now with a top 10 debut album, here was a chance for them to reap the whirlwind of their hard work in front of 800 bouncing fans.

This was a world away from three years ago, when music industry bosses came to Oxford to see them and the lads, then an unsigned band, say they had the worse gig of their lives. This time everything was right: Upbeat song Last Night kicked things off, album title track Live For The Moment was raucous, and Brandon’s engine-room drumming kept things in check on early singles Escapade and Heart of Gold.

Newest number Nobody Knows and Josh and Andy’s harmonies on Blue and rockabilly number Motions show this band’s depth and ambition. The evocative chords on Was It Really Worth It? make it a fearless and timeless tune.

The honest lyrics of Candlelight and acoustic ballad Turn The Clock indicate that, at 22, Kiaran could be one of the great songwriters of his generation. The chorus to new Radio 1 favourite Chasing Shadows was still being sung by the Cowley Road crowd after the house lights went on.

Earlier, Leicester’s Arcades and Scotland’s Neon Waltz, whose debut album, Strange Hymns, was released the same day as The Sherlocks’ record, drew big early crowds.

The headliners’ reputation for bringing the best new bands on tour with them continues. The Sherlocks’ huge logo backdrop banner, stunningly lit by lighting supremo Craig Greenhalgh, almost dwarfed the Academy stage. The venues grow even bigger as the tour goes on. And quite right too!

  • Albums Live For The Moment by The Sherlocks and Strange Hymns by Neon Waltz, are out now. Both bands are touring the UK.
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