In this world of totally manufactured and over-produced X-Factor contestants groomed within an inch of their life to become money-making pop stars, The Sherlocks are something you just don’t see anymore: a successful, proper band, made up of friends that write and play their own material. From simple, humble origins, the Sheffield-based guitar band, consisting of two sets of brothers aged between 19 and 24, have managed to build up a solid loyal fan-base through determination and talent alone. Their performance last Friday at Norwich’s Waterfront demonstrated just how far they’ve come in such a short time.
Sticking to the old-fashioned method of actual talent – rather than the modern direct-marketing approach – The Sherlocks have released a succession of hit singles – including “Live For The Moment”, “Last Night”, “Was It Really Worth It?”, “Will You Be There?” and “Chasing Shadows” – over the last four years. All these hits and more were performed at the Norwich venue with gusto and energy, keeping the crowd entertained from the very first moment until the very end.
However, although their songs are very good in themselves – and very popular with fans – the set list merely consisted of all 12 tracks in their debut album Live For The Moment (released last year), played back to back in a rearranged order, with little-to-no audience interaction, and nothing else. Once the tracks were done, it was all over, with no encore, no surprises of any sort.
Would it have been impossible to see the band perform something that could not be experienced anywhere else? Perhaps do a couple of covers, to demonstrate what The Sherlocks sound is, by putting their stamp onto popular tunes? Or maybe showcase yet-to-be released brand new tracks, or perform acoustic or alternative versions of past hits?
It’s this lack of imagination and showmanship that holds them back (for the moment, anyway). Also, the tour’s set list – fun though it was – is a solid demonstration that, although they play very well, they are a bit “one-noted”, musically. Limited to a strict diet of three guitarist and a drummer, their songs do essentially sound very similar to each other. Where’s the variety, boys?
But maybe I’m being too harsh. The Sherlocks play catchy songs that encourage young people to jump up and down excitedly. As an added bonus to audience members who like to turn the volume up to 11, they play really, really loud – possibly too loud, as the small Norwich venue did struggle to contain the noise (although that may have been intentional). So that’s all good. If that’s what you like, that’s what they do.
I genuinely think the Sherlocks will go far, and will become the Next Big Thing in due course. In my mind, the limited confines of small stages – such as the one at The Waterfront in Norwich – are already no longer big enough for them. I have no doubt that they will continue to march onwards in their much-deserved upward trajectory, and will soon be filling arenas and appearing on The X-Factor as successful artists to show others how it’s done. The Sherlocks are a talented bunch of boys and have definitely got ‘something’. I wish them well and will watch their progress with considerable interest. Keep going, boys!