Ivory Wave supporting The Sherlocks in Birmingham gig
Local stars Ivory Wave will be on the bill when indie rockers The Sherlocks return to Birmingham this weekend.
The Birmingham five-piece will perform at the O2 Institute on Sunday, February 23, before the South Yorkshire headliners play new tracks from their latest Top 20 album Under Your Sky - released last year.
Ivory Wave frontman George Johnson, guitarist Connor McMinn, bassist Luke Morris, drummer Seb Baldwin and synth player Rob Clarke will also take their upbeat sounds to new audiences around the country as main support to The Sherlocks on other tour dates, including London, Leeds and Glasgow.
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And The Sherlocks’ Brandon and Kiaran Crook spoke about why it is important to give other acts a leg up and how it was a West Midlands group who once helped them as an unsigned band.
“Even if you play hundreds of your own gigs, being asked to support an established name is a chance to get your music in front of a bigger crowd,” said Brandon.
“It happened to us in 2014 when Tom Clarke of The Enemy messaged us on Twitter to say we could have a slot with them. On the day of the gig, I picked Kiaran up from school, still in his uniform, and we all drove up to Glasgow for the sound check.”
Frontman Kiaran, his brother and drummer Brandon, lead guitarist Josh Davidson and his brother and bassist Andy are no strangers to Birmingham. They headlined the now defunct The Rainbow in 2015 before supporting The Libertines at Arena Birmingham in January 2016 and Ocean Colour Scene at Moseley Park later that year.
In October, they played a sold-out acoustic set at HMV in the Bullring.
“We’ve been given some opportunities, but we have also played every step of the ladder in music,” said Kiaran.
“Some bands get thrown on to support arenas tours on day one because of their record label, but you can miss out on so much by doing that,“ he added.
Lead singer Kiaran turned 24 in November and bassist Andy is even younger, but this summer will mark the 10th anniversary of The Sherlocks.
“We were never going to be a band which blows up overnight and that has suited us,” said Brandon.
“If things move too quickly then you risk disappearing as soon as you arrive. We look up to groups like Snow Patrol who took a decade to hit the big time, while Kings of Leon sold more copies of their fourth album than the previous three combined,” he added.
Earlier this month, the band posted pictures on social media of them back in the studio, fuelling speculation that new music may not be far away.
“We have about 18-to-20 potential songs to consider for our next album,” said Kiaran. “After our lighter, more melodic second record, we are now thinking of going back to a rockier sound.”
Brandon says they learnt a lot from working on Under Your Sky with producer and lead singer of The Coral James Skelly at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool.
“He showed us how to craft songs and to ruthlessly edit," he added. "Now we know what we want to do with our next album, and it is going to be lively.”
The band reached the Top 20 in October, but they would have charted higher if they had not been behind superstars such as Queen, Elton John, Lewis Capaldi and Ed Sheeran.
“We can’t compete with the big streaming artists and compilation albums, so it was our fans downloading and buying our CDs and Vinyl that got us there,” said Brandon.
“Now is a good time for bands, but it can also be hard. You have to keep working and fighting on,” he added.
The Sherlocks have been keen to get some of the best up-and-coming acts with them on this tour. Brandon explained how a previous chance meeting in the city led to Guildford band Estevans joining the line-up in Birmingham.
“I saw them supporting Planet at The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham in May and spoke to them afterwards. We kept in touch and they jumped at the opportunity to be involved on the tour.”
Whatever happens next, The Sherlocks say they will always be indebted to West Midlands producer Gavin Monaghan. From 2015, he recorded singles with the young band at his Magic Garden Studios in Wolverhampton and then produced their debut album Live For The Moment at Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire in December 2016.
“We thought he was a genius and he helped us get a Top 6 record and the biggest selling debut by any band in 2017. He was the right man at the right time for us,” said Brandon.
The band are releasing a new upbeat single called One Day this month and an acoustic piano version of NYC (Sing It Loud), a previous Radio X record of the week, is also being made available.
The Sherlocks play O2 Institute on Sunday, February 23, with support from Ivory Wave and Estevans. For more on The Sherlocks, including tickets for this weekend's gig, visit their website.
By Richard Derbyshire
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