Following a whirlwind support tour at the start of this year, The Sheepdogs are back on UK soil once more.
Despite the usual trials and tribulations of passing through customs, which frontman Ewan Currie informs us about, the band arrives safely back in the North East of England a mere two months after their last visit. The Sheepdogs made quite an impact whilst opening for The Temperance Movement. Understandably, they promptly returned to the UK in order to capitalize on that momentum. Once you see the band live, it is easy to understand why, back in 2011, they became the first unsigned band to make the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
Local boys Kobadelta open the show with their unique brand of dark, retro sounding, psychedelic fuzz-fueled, bass heavy indie rock. Think Black Sabbath meets the Smiths. The Sheepdogs made a point of noting that Kobadelta were the first band to open for them with a song featuring a recorder, and somehow they needed to work that into their set.
As The Sheepdogs take the stage, there’s quite a buzz in the air. Although the band is a relative newcomer to the UK, their latest offering, the aptly-titled retro-sounding Future Nostalgia is, in fact, the band’s fifth studio album. Their career-spanning twenty-song set is evidence of the depth of the band’s catalog.
The Sheepdogs come out with all guns blazing, and that energy doesn’t subside at any point in their set. Their sound is deeply rooted in the golden age of rock n’ roll with vintage Stones-sounding riffs on tracks like “Who” and “Back Down” alongside Allman-esque twin part guitar harmonies on tracks like “How Late How Long.”
The band is packed with talent; Ewan Currie positions himself behind the keyboard on the rather trippy number, “Help Us All,” whilst his brother, Shamus Currie, takes center stage with his trombone. To add to the band’s southern influenced sound, Jimmy Bowskill adds some superb lap steel guitar on “Plastic Man” and the beautiful “Jim Gordon,” a song about a famous drummer who murdered his mother.
The band closes out their main set with the epic, “I Don’t Know,” but they aren’t done yet. The resounding cheers from the audience reverberate around the room as the band returns to the stage with a superb cover of The Allman Brothers, “Whipping Post.”
There’s a distinct feeling amongst fans that this has been one of those, “I was there” kind of shows, which the people of Newcastle will be talking about for a long time to come. Currie informs us that he’s made an investment in the band’s future in the UK by purchasing a raincoat to cope with our inclement weather; our Canadian cousins The Sheepdogs are here most definitely here to stay.