Sheffield Leadmill 3rd November 2014

Before we even begin with Southampton’s majestic Band Of Skulls, let’s just mention the support for this tour. Japanese noise punk outfit Bo Ningen have left my ears ringing after a performance that took live music decibel levels to a whole new plateau, these guys were LOUD, but not just that, they provided a warm up that left the packed Leadmill crowd in utter disbelief at what they’d just seen, thirty minutes of pure noise, energy and an array of facial expressions from frontman Taigen Kawabe that gave a hint as to the levels of effort required to sustain the performance taking place before us.


After a set closer that seemed to last all night Bo Ningen finally left the stage, promting rapturous applause from all gathered, including brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless (otherwise known of course as Drenge) who sat in the “royal box” overlooking the Leadmill common folk.


Time for Band Of Skulls then, Russell Marsden the last to enter the stage, calmly slipping his guitar over his shoulder and kicking straight into debut album opener “Light Of The Morning”. A calm opening was a short lived relief for the photographers in the pit, who would spend the remainder of their three song limit chasing Marsden around the stage as he bounced from side to side through current single “Himalayan” and the magnificent “You’re Not Pretty But You Got It Goin’ On” from second album Sweet Sour.


There seems to be no way to pigeon hole this band into a particular genre, recent comparisons include Kasabian and Franz Ferdinand, but I think they a worthy of far greater similarities. Throughout the gig Marsden put this observer far more in mind of Led Zeppelin, Ziggy Stardust era Bowie and Mark Bolan. There is definitely more than a hint of Glam in evidence here (even if there are no platform heels or flares on show) especially as tracks like “Asleep At The Wheel” and “Hoochie Coochie” are belted out further down the set list. Meanwhile, bassist and co-vocalist Emma Richardson added a more soulful side to the night’s entertainment, more akin to Bristol’s Portishead, equally as exhilarating as Marsden’s vocals if vastly different.

All in all this performance provided an appreciative crowd with enough to suggest that Band Of Skulls should be playing far bigger venues, but the selfish side of me hopes that never happens, bands like this need to be experienced up close and personal.


Photos: Jonathan Jones


By Jonathan Jones

Jonathan has been host of new music radio show The First 45 on Sine FM in Doncaster for the past 4 years and has been covering a wide range of live gigs and festivals in that time, now turning his hand to writing as well as talking too much on air.