REVIEW ::: Semi Detached present Ultimate Painting at Bungalows and Bears, Sheffield 04/11/15

The wonderful duo Semi Detached have been responsible for bringing a wealth of talent to grace the stages of Sheffield over the past few years, and with their most recent show at Bungalows and Bears they continued in that rich vein of form.

Due to a stew that took too long to thicken and a house mate who has yet to grasp the difficult concept of ‘putting a pair of jeans on’, I arrived to an already bustling bar just as Thee Mightees finished their final song. Having heard a fair buzz around the city about this four piece, I was disappointed not to have caught more than the “Thank you and good night” of their set, though it did serve to resolve in my mind that, in future, extra gravy granules are a must, and idiots who can’t work a pair of trousers deserve to be cut loose and left behind.

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Such fresh revelations were not long for consideration though, as The Hipshakes took to the stage and tore into a raucous opener that summoned your attention from the first note. They set a frenetic pace throughout, embracing a raw punk aesthetic with their pounding rhythms, furious drums and impassioned vocals. Brief flurries of melody trickled forth from the guitar over towering walls of sound in what was a truly relentless performance. There were occasionally erratic moments, but these were negligible in what was, in the main, an impressively tight display. The band had a commanding stage presence, and gradually drew the audience in, each song being greeted by an ever-more vociferous response. The Hipshakes conveyed an utter belief in what they were doing on stage, and this was well justified. Definitely ones to catch if you ever get the chance.

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Having barely caught our breath, it was time for the main act of the night, Ultimate Painting. Consisting of the guitarists James Hoare (Veronica Falls) and Jack Cooper (Mazes), the duo were assisted on the night by Nash on drums and Will on bass, performing their first true show as a foursome as they kicked off the UK leg of their tour. I was wondering how a band who revelled in their more laid-back, 60s influences (think later-day Velvet Underground, Brian Wilson, Arthur Lee’s Love), sporting them in magnificent fashion on stage, could follow the delightfully vigorous assault that had preceded them, when they launched into a glorious version of their eponymous and most well known single. This washed luxuriantly over the crowd, settling them nicely into the groove that the band would craft so well over the ensuing hour.

The blissful, psychedelic-tinged pop that poured forth gently enveloped everyone in its alluring embrace, as the band concocted a stream of infectious melodies that sparkled as bright as any pop song and enjoyable wig-outs that drew on their more experimental side. The songs that they announced as being from their second, most recent album, didn’t quite hit the mark as well as those from the first for me, lacking the vibrancy that was so captivating in their self-titled debut. Though with that said, they were still thoroughly enjoyable in their unabashed celebration of a by-gone but glorious era, as the band delivered a satisfyingly compelling set that seemed to be over all too soon.

This was another fantastic show from Semi Detached, who have been really spoiling Sheffield of late. Long may it continue!