Sheppard @ The Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW Australia 11/06/2017 written by Brendan Lewis
It's 7pm. The line of young excited fans outside the venue, already stretches as far as the eye can see… which admittedly, isn’t very far in my case. Never the less, it seems most people decided to arrive early to catch Australia’s favourite indie-pop group, Sheppard, celebrate their recent #1 single ‘Keep Me Crazy’ and give the audience a sneak peak at their forthcoming album!
The venue is full, the band is fashionably late, and by the sounds of the people around me and from what I can see of them, I’m feeling a wee-bit old in this crowd, but that I had expected. Finally the lights die down, and well, bombs away!
The band slowly wanders out on to the stage to cheering fans, and honestly, for such a dancemove provoking, cheery, high energy band, I expected the band to make more of a dramatic entrance, but I was sure they’d make up for it as the show continues.
For the first two songs of the night, both of which were previews of songs from their forthcoming album, the stunning Amy Sheppard took the lead, but did include Sheppard’s iconic group vocal chorus’s in the first song to give the song more of a sense of grandeur as such. I did think the opening song titled ‘Coming Home’, was an interesting choice for the opening song for the show, it took a little bit too long to get the energy up to its peak, but when it got there all was good, it had a very uplifting lively feel to it, but didn’t start the show with a bang I thought. I suspect ‘Coming Home’ is possibly the opening song off their forthcoming album, which would make sense, and in that context is an appropriate choice, the audience will probably react better to the song once its familiar to fans I think.
After the first two songs, Amy formally greeted fans with what sounded like a big smile on her face, before passing over to her brother George, to take the reigns for the third song titled ‘Edge Of The Night’ yet another preview from their forthcoming album. Lead male vocalist George Sheppard really drew the audiences excitement, with George dancing around the stage while singing this party anthem-like, night-club worthy sure to be hit. ‘Edge Of The Night’ would’ve been my recommended choice for the opening song for the night, as it started off big and bold, and just got even more so as the song went on, and this song seemed to tickle the crowds fancy more so than the first two songs.
The band kept dishing out the new hits, but this time, with one that fans are familiar with, ‘We Belong’. This song apparently didn’t make it onto the album, but still deserved to be released as the band explained, this was well placed in the set as I was beginning to wonder if we’d hear something familiar in the set, so it definitely got the crowds attention.
After taking the crowd back to their breakthrough single ‘Let Me Down Easy’, the next two songs, ‘Live For You’ and ‘Sorry’ brought the mood down a little, and showed a more emotional side of the band, especially in ‘Sorry’. I can just imagine lots of young girls with their hands on their hearts, swaying side to side slowly all teary eyed…. okay, that might’ve just been me. ‘Sorry’ really showed off Sheppard’s ability to sing in perfect harmony all together and was truly beautiful.
Throughout the show so far, I was amazed at how clear all the sound was, and how all the vocals were hit perfectly, and delivered brilliantly, its obvious the band have really worked on their acoustic sound and have altered vocals very little if at all, in the studio which results in the bands performance sounding exactly like what they sound like on CD… do people still buy CD’s? Being up close and in the thick of the atmosphere at a concert, sometimes compromises sound quality, as a lot of sound mixers are only focusing on how the sound is right up the back, and don’t always compensate for those down the front. The sound quality was in no way compromised at the front for this show however!
The band moved right along with the new hits, moving closer to the end of the night, then gave everyone something to really get excited about, when they gave in and played their latest #1 hit 'Keep Me Crazy’ which brought the crowds cheer closer to deafening point. Even at this infectious, catchy as f*** hit, I couldn’t help but notice a lack of “oh my god-oh my god!” (whilst jumping up and down), and high pitch girly squealing, that sounds remarkably like the grim reaper hacking off their arms… plus whatever sound the young girls normally make as well, typically found amongst a crowd of hip, totally awesome youngsters like this, I mean, come on people, act your age!
This now, is that moment when the band tells you a load of crap, that the next song is their final song, any guesses which song it might be? …you’d never guess it was the 2014 internationally viral hit, that never gets old despite how much its played on the radio in my opinion, would you?
Yep, GERONIMO!!! Ah, this song struck a hardy note with the audience as expected, and especially got everyone up and moving when George stopped the song at the end of the bridge, and told the crowd that theres one more chorus, of the last song of the night (I call bullshit) so we all better make it count, then 1,2,3 BAM! The roof was blown off musically with a flurry of group vocals in perfect sync and “can you feel my love” and “Bombs Away” harmonies, with the whole crowd singing along!
Encore! unfortunately, the band thought they’d pay tribute to an artist they recently supported on tour, by giving the audience a bit of Bieber fever, don’t worry, I didn’t catch it! Still, I thought they did a good job with this song, and kind of actually enjoyed Sheppard’s rendition.
And now for the actual final song of the night, ‘Halfway To Hell. This song, the last song on the bands debut album ‘Bombs Away’ is such a perfect send off song, its cheeky, up beat, and has a sexy beat made even more-so, by Amy Sheppard “shakin a tail feather” to the beat, all topped off with an extended instrumental outro with Amy jumping off the stage to greet the audience.
After witnessing the bands progression musically with their unique blend of indie, pop, electronic, and blues, from their debut album to their new music, which sounds more developed, grand, and I think is sure to pack a punch, how their performance is progressing with their sound, its little wonder why Sheppard in my opinion, hold the crown for Australia’s most loved indie-pop band!
Until next time my little minions…