Kashmere's UK tour called in at Record Junkee in Sheffield on Friday night. Julia Grantham made the short trip down from Leeds to catch one of her favourite bands in action.
Having first come across Manchester-based four-piece Kashmere at the single launch of Good Things Who Come To Those Who Wait by their contemporaries and friends, Cupids, I was keen to catch them at grassroots urban festival When In Manchester, back in April 2017. Trouble was Kashmere clashed with Jordan Allen that night as the lovely photographer I was working with, Lydia Maycock wanted to see Jordan, that meant Kashmere had to be left unwatched by me, that night. You see, Lydia being the lovely girl she is was happy to go with the flow initially, and not knowing me was very polite. But I said, no let’s agree our own ‘must see bands’. Mine was Ethan and The Reformation and hers was Jordan Allen. Andy Law of Kashmere, not knowing me, but realising I really did want to see them, very kindly put me on the guest list for their next show at Jimmy’s - popular and successful trendy bar and band venue in The Northern Quarter of Manchester.
Nearly eighteen months later, I have become a loyal friend and fan of Kashmere. Not only do I think their music is brilliant, each one of the band are lovely, genuine human beings who are humble and have a great attitude towards each other, their fans, friends and music. Pretty cool for lads as young as they are and a band that are quite clearly on the up. Being unable to attend their end-of-tour show which is coming up in just a couple of days: Friday 10th November at Band on The Wall, I decided to attend their show in Sheffield instead at super cool record-store-cum-gig-venue: Record Junkee. Keen to give them my love and support, enjoy a great set, catch up and bring other friends of mine along, who are now theirs: out we went for a night out in Sheffield. Can’t remember the last time I went there. But I do these things for bands I love, and I had a bed for the night so it really was the perfect plan.
Upon arrival, I had a quick chat with the band, who were still reeling from the success and fun tour that they’d had gigging in China. Since I last saw them, they’d been signed to Scruff of The Neck too. Exciting times! I’d been sent the set-list, Joey had kindly sorted me a guest pass, and I couldn’t wait to see and hear some incredible music from a band who I clearly believe will achieve their dreams if they just hang on in there and give it time.
There were two support bands on that night, both local to Sheffield. I’ve heard it happen before that on tour sometimes bands can be rude to each other, making it a competition. It rarely happens at gigs I attend, but the people I love and associate myself with are the ones who stand and watch the bands they’re playing with, clap after each song and then shout out a thank you on stage to the other bands that perform with them. They might even get quoted in interviews as being humble. Kashmere do this. I saw them do it that night; all of the above, and all the times before.
The two support bands this night, were great. It was lovely to see that their friends and family had come out to be there and show their love for them. I even met one of the lead singers mums in the loo, and she had little pieces of sunshine in her eyes. I knew it was her, as she looked just liked her son. She let me in, and told me a bit about one of the songs, and I showed her my notes - I like to jot bits down when I’m reviewing to remember the important stuff - and I let her see my phone memo which had three love hearts next to the song we were talking about.
The first band to open the evening were Fears, a four-piece indie-rock band from Sheffield. Immediately obvious was the fact that they had a decent, cohesive sound. They worked well together on stage and played some really solid tracks. Their second song really struck me: a ‘post-hangover’ number with a post-rock style intro, a staccato lead and an early noughties influence I’d say but with a fresh and modern teenage angsty sound. I loved the post-rock interludes and the bassist on backing vocals really lifted the song. Another highlight of their set was their latest single which dropped that day and is called: These Oceans. It’s a dream-like slow number; it reminds me a little of Explosions in The Sky but with soft vocals over the top. A poignant love song, this one is about wanting to reach out to someone in need, trying to make sense of their feelings and questioning the distance between them: a lovely melody coupled with heartfelt lyrics. I really enjoyed watching Fears.
Following on from Fears, another Sheffield four-piece, Pinnacles took to the stage. Describing themselves as ‘expansive and emotive indie rock,’ Pinnacles struck me as being extremely technically skilled, especially for their ability to play so frenetically. Their stand-out tune for me was a lovely melancholy number called Halfway. I think I was talking to Andy from Kashmere, and had to leave him briefly to get up and watch and sway to the beautiful tune that this is. It’s one of those songs that pulls, tugs and dilates the heart strings. So full of yearning, grief and someone I care about once told me: the sad songs are the best. Yes. This is one of those. Only two or three chords, with beautiful irresistible sequential arpeggios. I found out from someone close to the band what this song is about. I have a tendency to meet people and people talk to me, particularly where music is concerned. I’m very open too. This is a single lads. It’s a Jake Bugg Broken or an Oasis Wonderwall. I love it. I’ve got it on Spotify now. Well done! And thank you.
And finally, the band I’d driven all the way from Leeds to see, and planned my whole weekend around: Kashmere. These lovely chaps had told me in my interview six months previously that they were aiming for a stadium sound. However, may I make it clear, that this is their goal, ambition and dream. They are the humblest, nicest, friendliest young people and although confident and with self-belief, they are down-to-earth and courteous with it.
As soon as they started playing their opener: Porcelain which was my initial favourite of theirs back in early 2017, the sound literally boomed. It was like being hit by a bullet of melody, sound, and music all at once. I love the thud of an amp on my chest, but this filled the whole room, and I couldn’t help but dance even if initially I was the only one quite so close, moving quite so much. It’s always a thrill to be a part of a band’s journey if you love them. I usually only ever review or interview bands I love, know previously and have gotten to know, so to see how they all were together on stage, and compare that to when I first met them last year, and to see Joey’s silver guitar, stage presence and each of their performances as a whole how was a delight to behold. They get better and better each time I see them.
With the support bands, I took notes as I knew nothing of them. It’s nice to discover bands for the first time, and write honest notes to transcribe, but Kashmere? I just danced and sung and smiled and did my best to engage those around me: for the love of them, the music, and the moment. So this is all from memory, here, my review of them. But Joey had kindly sent me the set-list ahead of the gig so I can use that as a reminder to tell you the highlights. Toyko was too good! The sound just couldn’t cope with the small venue. It was so loud, so intense-in a good way, and in fact, that song is a metaphor for having been to a perfect place and the contrast of reality not comparing; nothing being able to compare to a perfection felt before. Well, I get that more so than ever, because the ‘perfect place’ for that song really would have been Sheffield Arena that night! It literally blew me away. Maybe those at the back appreciated it! It’s a beautiful song, full of imagery and dreams of perfection.
My current favourite song of theirs is: Blow Your Mind. The energy is immediate, with an almost siren like sound to introduce it; serving almost as warning: this is song about being intoxicated by that perfect person who is maybe not quite within reach. ‘The last times are the best times, it makes no sense and I want you to know, I want to blow your mind”. It means wanting someone as much as they have made you feel that they want you. It’s powerful, fast, poignant and the minor keys make it dark but melodic too: grand. It was performed amazingly well. But every track was. Effortless is the word: each song flowed into the other. Just brilliant.
The audience was there, there was a full room but naturally the crowd was a little static initally, I can only guess not many had heard them before. Kashmere aren’t well known everywhere, yet, and I assume a fair proportion of the people were there to support the other two local bands, but by the time Kashmere got to Codeine I had a few people I’d never met dancing with me. They loved it! And once my other friends arrived (big fans like me) we had a nice little party going on down the front. Kashmere are very clever in the way they title their tracks. More often than not, their songs have just one word titles, and there’s a theme going on there with titles such as Codeine and Anathesia using modern synthetic terms to describe an effect on the heart and mind.
Codeine ran into the song they always end on: Hoxton which is definitely the perfect track to end on. The Charlatans know to end on Sproston Green, and Kashmere, as far as I can tell should keep closing with Hoxton. It has an irresistible bouncy beat, melody and catchy lyrics: the perfect Indie Rock/Synth Pop tune. It’s powerful in more ways than one: it got me dancing and jumping in six-inch heels without tripping over once! But more importantly, it got the crowd moving, and dancing and becoming one: that wonderful spiritual convivial thing that can occur when great music unites people. Yes, I’m biased, I consider this band among my friends in the music world, but only because I loved their music first. It just happens they’re as ace as their art. This is a special band: catch them in a small venue while you can!
Kashmere are on Facebook and Twitter.
They play Newcastle Head Of Steam on Friday (November 9) and Manchester Band On The Wall on Saturday (10).
Pinnacles are on Facebook and Twitter.
Fears are on Facebook and Twitter.