Throughout the modern music history of the UK, scenes suddenly blossom in certain locations, the result of a strange alchemy of people, place and atmosphere.
Over time, like-minded artists relocate to that city, perpetuating the phenomena. It happened in Bristol in the 90s with the burgeoning hip hop and drum ‘n’ bass scenes, and more recently in Huddersfield, where the Contemporary Music Festival has attracted composers from Canada and Japan to live in the city.
Now in Sheffield a folk renaissance is emerging in much the same way. Artists like Nancy Kerr, Martin Simpson and the socialist singer Roy Bailey have made a home for themselves in the city, with the proximity of the Peak District a big draw. Also attractive is the strength of the city’s folk scene, with The Greystones often welcoming big name stars with acoustic guitars several nights a week, and the celebrated Folk Train singing all the way to Edale and back once a month.
12 April | Harley | £11
Punk duo PWR BTTM may top many a critic’s end-of-year poll with new record Pageant, after live shows that have seen Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins assume a dominating role in the queer rock scene. They’d love you to come.
12 April | Lescar | £7
This London quartet mix the spiritual side of jazz artists like Don Cherry with ambient music, Greek folk, electronics and free improv, resulting in a heady brew of new colours and intoxicating atmospheres. For fans of experimentalists like Ornette Coleman and Brother Ah.
13 April | Hagglers Corner | £8.10
Rabble-rousing folk from a Brighton-based outfit showcasing their debut album, What The Hammer. Live favourite ‘The Blacksmith Stomp’ is apparently dedicated to the group’s farrier friends, which I doubt is a dedication many bands could make.
20 April | Mulberry Tavern | £6
There’s no hazier way to spend 4/20 than with a stoner rock session from Cardiff’s Lacertilia, cosmic rock that’s groovy and grimy. There’s also the reefer riffs of Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters and local friends Air Force Chron.
Oh Susanna, Ben Savage & Hannah Sanders
20 April | Greystones | £13.20
An intriguing project from Canadian singer-songwriter Suzie Ungerleider, whose new album, A Girl In Teen City, sees her take on the presumably autobiographical persona of Suzie, a teenage punk in the 1980s struggling to make sense of the world.
Legowelt & Randomer
21 April | Hope Works (Little Mesters) | £13.50
Rotterdam outfit Clone Records have been putting out game-changing techno from Drexciya, Dopplereffekt and Legowelt for 25 years. Catch the latter at this courtyard show, bolstered by the rugged dance floor grit of Rohan Randomer.
Global Soundtracks: Yogesh Samsi
21 April | Firth Hall | £14
The tabla has been the backbone of Hindustani music for hundreds of years, and there are few players more qualified to demonstrate its rolling yet rhythmic style than Yogesh Samsi. He’ll be accompanied by John Ball on the santoor, a 72-stringed instrument with a shimmering sound.
22 April | Access Space | £5
Punning on the name of Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler – rhymes with ‘boiler’, y’see – this offshoot of the ever-intriguing Algorave parties will see live-coded dance music streamed from Sheffield out to the world.
Gurr / Yanaka
26 April | Picture House Social | £7.15
Gurr, the duo of Laura Lee and Andreya Casablanca, are all about simplicity, stripping indie’s unnecessary frills out of playful pop, like hit single ‘Moby Dick’. Joining them at this co-headline show, the darker fare of Brighton’s Yanaka.
27 April | Access Space | £5
Eri Kamidate and Aya Ogawa from the Japanese island of Hokkaido are in town for a rare Sheffield performance of the Butoh discipline of expressive dance. Musical accompaniment from violinist Beatrix Ward-Fernandez and percussionist Charlie Collins.
27 April | Plug | £22
Lawrence Parker is one of the pioneers of hip hop, ushering in its late-80s golden age as part of the politically aware collective Boogie Down Productions. His new album on Killahpride Records is titled Now Hear This, and you have the chance to at his first ever Sheffield show.