LIVE REVIEW: Jordan Allen + The Sherlocks at Albert Hall, Manchester

On the release day of their new EP ‘Livin La Vida Bolton’, Jordan Allen embraces Manchester’s Albert Hall. The EP’s title is a nod to the rising rock and roll band’s humble hometown of Bolton. This evening’s sold out show supporting The Sherlocks is another milestone for the Jordan Allen journey, following the band’s commended presence at Reading & Leeds’ BBC Introducing stages, from being hand-picked by BBC Introducing’s Huw Stephens, to supporting one of the most talked about live acts around right now, Jordan Allen are rising to acclaimed heights.

Beginning as an ambitious teenage wordsmith, frontman Jordan Allen has blossomed from small time local solo artist in Bolton, into a fervent and inspirational four-piece band across Manchester and beyond. Jordan Allen injects a gritty and invigorating spirit into indie song-craft, rending angst and animation into tales of youth and romance.

At the heart of the band still lies Allen’s both intelligent and observational lyrics, the singer has frequently been compared to the likes of Jake Bugg, but with wisdom beyond his years, and a tenacious sound that could match The Strokes, he packs a more affirmative bite than any twee indie-pop act.

Standing in the hall’s VIP section upstairs and veering over the animation below, this writer sees gaggles of youngsters ripple into waves of excited chaos for Jordan Allen’s callous and cool opener ‘Dancing In The Dark’. Allen roars the chorus with a The Cribs Ryan Jarman-esque indie-punk. “I’m not the one to pick and choose, but you’d choose a flying saucer over twenty penny chews…” purrs Allen on the verse, with all the seductive metaphorical intellect of an Alex Turner lyric.

Brand new single ‘110 Ways To Make Things Better’ elevates the Albert Hall in live vitality, written and recorded during the terminal illness of Allen’s father Kevin Allen, the song is a tribute to the band’s greatest supporter (the EP’s proceeds are going to The Brain Tumour Charity, be sure to download the EP here.)

‘110 Ways To Make Things Better’ is an optimistic inspiration, the single pelts just over three minutes of positive energy in the face of apprehension, its live format sees dynamic thrust in electrifying guitar chords and raw stimulating power from Allen’s vocals. “You’ve gotta resurrect your reputation and prove everyone wrong… ‘cos there are 110 ways to make things better!” he inspirationally sings.

Allen is backed with a fearless attitude on ‘Too Much Too Soon’ as the band hurtle alongside his smart lyrics: “She’s dynamite and you know it, so just light the fuse and watch her blow it…” Guitar parts rattle with all the perfect indie shuffle of a The Strokes’ ‘Room On Fire’ track.

If you are yet to catch a live Jordan Allen set, here’s a plea to get the band crossed off your list: because there is a certain optimistic infection in Jordan Allen’s striking guitar chords and it’s coming to rouse youthful ambition in a music venue near you. Being from the same hometown as this talented four-piece, this writer can’t help but feel proud of what four local boys from Bolton have achieved. Jordan Allen are an inspiration. The band show how far you can reach with the right attitude, optimism and ambition. The Bolton boys are here to rockingly uplift with their gritty and motivating upbeat melodies. Because at the end of a bad day, there’s always 110 ways to make things better.

The Sherlocks are fast being labelled as ‘the UK’s biggest unsigned band’. And eight nights into their 35-date tour, with the Albert Hall at full capacity, it’s easy to understand why. Through unrelenting touring and big time support slots (The Sherlocks supported The Libertines last year) the Sheffield band of brothers have solidified a tight knit live sound.

The Yorkshire band assembled of two pairs of brothers come together as a united family affair. Josh Davidson (lead guitar) and Andy Davidson’s (bass) parents moved next door to Kieran Crook (lead and rhythm guitar) and Brandon Crook’s (drums) Grandparents, and the four began garage jam sessions together. The Sherlocks quickly began to play Sheffield’s pub circuit, five years later their local success has rapidly spread across the UK. The group are the first band to sell-out their hometown venue of the Sheffield Leadmill since the Arctic Monkeys.

With smashing sets at festivals from Reading & Leeds to SXSW behind them, the foursome is fearless in electrifying live performance. Delivering riff filled rock and roll for the hedonistic youth, The Sherlocks are ‘a people’s band’ (as recently described by the Manchester Evening News). Like The Enemy were a voice for the slightly older generation before them, The Sherlocks are providing expression for this generation’s youth. Through feel good chart worthy anthems and observational lyrics, the Sheffield foursome rouses a dedicated young fan-base.

Rumbling the fans into action ‘Last Night’ clatters a familiar story. “You’re coming home and it’s light from the night before…” sings Crook in edgy story-telling rock vocals, spooling the all too relatable anecdote of the morning after the night before.

‘Escapade’ sees a smacking of colossal drums and a winding of spot on riffs whilst strobe lights and madness ensue amongst the ecstatic crowd. “Why is everybody so in love with the feeling of having a buzz?” questions Crook’s lyrics of the bouncing crowd below. “Cos you can dance all night when the light’s start to flicker…” he continues, roaring the perfect soundtrack to each young hedonist in the crowd’s Friday night.

‘Heart Of Gold’ has The Sherlocks prove even a ballad can be packed with electric riffs. The Sheffield band of brothers manage to make even love songs sound anthemic, in a way that only greats such as Noel Gallagher have mastered.

Despite their unsigned status, The Sherlocks’ live skill and adoring set proves the band to be more than equipped to take their anthemic choruses to arena venues in the not so distant future. With a stage show fit with eclectic lighting and powerful live resonance, to streamer cannons and screaming teenage fans, The Sherlocks must surely be closing in on a major label signing in the not to distant future? Because tonight’s show proves, both the fans and the band are certainly set and ready for it.

Photos courtesy of Gaz Haywood: // @PhotographyGaz

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