An unusually sunny evening set the backdrop for this beauty of a gig, casting this amazing little venue into a sepia haze. The Hop is a hidden gem, stuffed down a grimy side-street, this converted mill has it all, 3 stages (that I know of), a huge beer garden, some bloody good beverages on offer (Silver King and Yorkshire Blonde to name just two), and the Gents are about an hour off making an appearance, what else could one need?!
The room that would play host to these 1970’s throwbacks is tiny and filled with no more than 100 people at its busiest, perfect for a loud yet intimate gig. With the sun glaring through the window and blinding the merch guy, Serious Sam Barrett, the main support, took to the stage, bringing with him his acoustic guitar and a guy with a double bass who we’d be pleasantly reintroduced to later. Sam kicked off and entertained the crowd with his usual “Yorkshire Hillbilly” style for a good 40mins, throwing in crowd favourites like “Lay a White Rose”. The stage presence from Sam Barrett isn’t huge, but it works, this kind of “Hank Williams the 3rd, the 2nd“ music doesn’t need it, and the guy on the double bass provided more than enough energy for the gathered masses to thrive off, never before has a man with a classical instrument acted as possessed! And it allowed Sam to stick to what he’s so impressive at! The support slot was topped off with another crowd pleaser, “Lullaby of Leeds” seems to put a smile on the face of every Yorkshireman.
Next up, the headline act, Gentlemans Pistols, taking to the stage in their usual attire – vests that look like the carpet of an Indian restaurant, long hair, beards and skinny jeans. The sense of anticipation buzzed through the horde of eager fans, this being one of the 1st Gents gigs since Bill Steer returned from Carcass duties and adding more fire in their bellies was that this was our 1st introduction to Martyn Roper, new bass wizard and the energetic chap who accompanied Serious Sam Barrett in the support slot. And so the Gents got ripping, flinging themselves head first into “Living in Sin”, a song with no build-up, just straight into hard-hitting, groovy riffage, a perfect opener for a band that just wants to get down to business. For over an hour the crowd was enthralled as James started to shake his hips to the groove and the band threw out hit after hit with the audible ecstasy only broken while Bill re-stringed his guitar and James, Martyn and Stuart all mocked him for it. Despite this unplanned disruption, the Gents were even able to find the time in their set to tease us with some tracks from the new album, “The Searcher”, “Time Wasters”, “Stress and Confusion” and “Personal Fantasy Wonderland” were all very well received and on that evidence, this new record is likely to be as good as, if not better than, their previous two.
The set was nice and varied, using a fairly even split of tracks from each of their records and the whole occasion was topped-off with “Lying and Fooling” from their self-titled 1st album. The fans erupted into a blurred mass of dancing and headbanging, a true indication to the band that they’ve been missed during their hiatus.
All-in-all, this gig had almost everything, excellent venue, 2 high quality acts and a fully engaged fan base that make for one of the most intense atmospheres I’ve ever experienced at a gig, the only let-down being that there were a few sour notes and screw-ups from Martyn but with the talent he’s clearly got, that’ll disappear as he spends more time playing the songs. The Gents are a must-see band, nobody should go through life without experiencing what they offer to an otherwise, quite bland British music scene at the moment. Sam Barratt is worth a watch too, not everyones cup of Yorkshire tea but anyone with an open mind should appreciate his quality.
-Living In Sin
-Some Girls Don’t Know What’s Good For Them
-I Wouldn’t Let You
-Stress And Confusion
-Personal Fantasy Wonderland
-Lying And Fooling
Review by Lewis Pye