Stornoway brought some much needed sunshine to a very rainy Steel city. Starting their show at the Leadmill with Between the Saltmarsh and the Sea, lead singer Brian Briggs immediately had the crowd wrapped around his little finger with his comedic chit chat between songs at one point listing things he thought Sheffield was famous but it turned out he was actually talking about Leeds.
Luckily the locals are friendly folk.
Second up was wonderfully poppy Get Low, the bands current single.
New album Bonxie and Stornoway’s third features the calls of different bird species and some were played before songs and if it wasn’t for the smell of stale beer from the Leadmill’s floor I could almost have been in the Outer Hebrides surrounded by Bitterns and Red Grouse.
The new album is a more electronic and upbeat affair from the quartet than previously at times reminiscent of the charm of the Guillemots and the harmonies of Fleet foxes. However, the songs still evoke the dreamy nostalgia of Beachcombers Windowsill that fans love so much.
The crowd lapped up old favourites such as Fuel Up, Boats and Trains and I Saw You Blink , singing along enthusiastically but the highlight of the show was without a doubt an unplugged version of Josephine. The wistful sea shanty showed off the group’s beautiful harmonies and stunned the crowd into silence.
Ending the show with an encore of Yazz’s eighties pop hit The Only Way is up got a riotous response from the crowd and suggests that Stornoway are more than than just a folk band and have a lot more to give.