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A Magazine for Sheffield

Live Reviews (Dec '19): DJ Food / Yak

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DJ Food - Kraftwerk Klassics, Kovers & Kurios

Academy, 8 November

I recall coming across the labour of love that is Kraftwerk Kovers Kollection by DJ Food about a decade ago and being utterly blown away, so the transition from the original DJ mixes onto the stage via a live AV set by Kevin Foakes was always going to be special.

The evening began with a homage to legendary Sheffield night Jive Turkey, with former resident Winston Hazel taking the early risers back to the City Hall Ballroom floor with a mixture of acid house, bleep techno, soul and hip hop. As someone who attended that original night in the late 1980s, it was special to hear the original records curated perfectly.

This set could have gone on for three hours

While Hazel's set was a decade-long history of seminal black and electronic music, Food sealed the junction between white and black music from the 1970s to the present day. Playing on two turntables, he scratched and mixed footage of Kraftwerk cover versions among rare and intriguing footage of the Dusseldorf quartet. It can be too easy to think of Kraftwerk as four rigid, soulless mannequins, when in fact there is plenty of footage to shatter that myth.

The crowd gradually built up their own momentum as familiar tracks like 'Computer Love' and 'The Model' were broadcast in ways the majority had probably never heard before, interspersed with tracks that heavily sampled Kraftwerk, from hip hop originals like The Fearless Four's 'Rockin' It' to WestBam's rave workout 'Monkey Say, Monkey Do'.

This set could have gone on for three hours, but Food had been patient enough to pick the very best covers and accompanying original and edited footage. The effect was an impressive reminder of how great even a pale imitation of Kraftwerk can look and sound.

Andy Tattersall


Picture House Social, 14 November

Cryptic tweets suggesting that this could be Yak's final ever tour gave fans an extra incentive to brave torrential rain to reach Picture House Social. Posts such as "enthusiasm dwindling the occupant self evicting meltdown numero 453," may not have confirmed their breakup, but they also didn't instil confidence about the alt-rock trio's future.

Egyptian Blue warmed up the crowd with their classic punk sound, which left everyone in the perfect mood for the white-knuckle ride that Yak performances usually provide. But as he took to the stage, frontman Ollie Burslem looked half asleep and their first few songs felt slightly flat.

Burslem paused after their fourth song and confessed to the audience that he hadn't been in the right mood for this gig but was starting to come around to it. "We only have two more shows after this. We're all dealing with it differently," he explained.

Yak departed as a band still on the rise

Maybe it was the six beers he sank onstage. Maybe it was the rainbow-striped cowboy hat he stole from a moshing fan. But suddenly, he seemed back to his charismatic best. Mosh pits widened then closed as the band seamlessly integrated the chaotic punk-infused songs of their first album with the more emotional tracks from their second.

The set ended with a bittersweet rendition of 'This House Has No Living Room', written when Burslem was homeless during the recording of their second album, Pursuit of Momentary Happiness. The lyrics seemed to provide an explanation for the band's indefinite hiatus and brought melancholic closure to a dream that was aborted before it fully materialised.

After putting everything into their music for the past five years, Yak departed as a band still on the rise. They said it best when they wrote, "You've got to leave while the audience wants more."

Josh Bolton


Leadmill, 22 November

Emerging with a big reputation as Britain's next arena act, Larkins are a four-piece indie pop band hailing from Glossop. Embarking on their biggest headline tour to date, the band head to The Leadmill having toured the festival scene in the UK and Europe over the summer, proving that they're equally comfortable performing in front of a variety of crowd sizes.

Support on the night came from Sheffield band The Wired, whose set manifested itself in industrial indie-rock tunes with distinguished basslines and polished guitar hooks. It was clear that a good proportion of the young audience were in attendance for the South Yorkshire group, who are no strangers to the limelight having performed on the Tramlines main stage in July.

The ability is there - executing the potential will be the challenge and the goal for Larkins

Larkins then take to the stage and open with 'Sugar Sweet'. This shimmering track provides a synth heavy, 1975-esque sound with melodic harmonies. They follow it with 'Something Beautiful', an infectious funk number that has the crowd on the boil as the band's swagger and prowess is displayed in abundance.

Before playing their love song titled 'Pieces', lead singer Josh Noble expresses his gratitude to the capacity crowd for coming out to see the show. This level of humility and sincerity proves that the band are still grounded and self-aware, realising that they still have a long way to go despite their recent success.

Finishing with a song which has brought recent fame from BBC's Match Of The Day, 'TV Dream' is an arena anthem in the making. The slow build-up and emphatic chorus gives this band the climax to their setlist that we all deserve. The ability is there - executing the potential will be the challenge and the goal for Larkins.

Daniel Atherton

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