image: The Vellas, Stephen Harrison
Sheffield’s Indie four piece, The Vellas, comprised of Daniel Harbey (Vocals and Guitar), Ethan Grzesiek (Bass), Jack Motley (Guitar), and now Chris Hardy (Drums), [previously Alex Wood] have a sound similar to iconic bands such as Joy Division and The Strokes.
After seeing The Vellas multiple times over the past few years, both as a headline and support act, their experience as a band was clear to me in what I would say was their best performance to date. However, their well-constructed set had a bitter-sweet sentiment with the departure of drummer Alex after 3 and a half years performing in the band. So with that in mind, there were obvious nerves surrounding this last performance. Yet when the group came on the intimate Totem stage, any prior signs of anxiousness were dispelled as the group pulled together to execute an outstanding set.
Playing their most recent single ‘Collateral’, it was refreshing to hear a song which made you want to dance but stop and think about what was being so simply communicated.
‘We’ve got all these ambitions well, but you never make decisions well…’
I’m sure a lot of people, young or old, can relate to this lyric, you have many hopes and dreams, but how do you begin to get there? Both this track and ‘Faultines’ showcased the strong sound of the band, and the woozy, effortlessly cool vocals of lead singer Daniel Harbey, reminiscent to the early sound of The Strokes.
The band then sang a string of songs that they said will no longer be played live. ‘Run’, taken from the title of their 2016 EP, is the epitome of everything a feel-good song should be. The lyrics encapsulate the exciting and uncertain moments of a relationship, be it past or present. Adding to that notion, the upbeat rhythm and the playful whoah’s and la’s had everyone joining in. It was an epic send off to an equally epic song that I’m sure many people, including myself, will miss hearing live.
Lastly, the band played one of their earliest releases: ‘Louise Louise’ (a personal favourite of mine). Daniel’s anthemic vocals were bound to get the audience rocking again: ending the set on a fitting note.
Although it’s sad that these songs will no longer be heard live, it was a great way for the group to say goodbye to the last 3 and half years, and begin their new and exciting chapter. I recommend everyone to listen to these songs on their SoundCloud/Spotify whilst they’re still available.
It’s without a doubt that with the arrival of new drummer Chris Hardy, and the new direction the band are venturing in, they are the ones to watch in the Sheffield music scene. Their enthusiasm paired with their talent and the impending release of new music and summer shows, it only proves that they have the capability of reaching a significantly wider audience in the near future. Expect big things this year from The Vellas.
Catch them at Greystones Pub, Friday 4th May in aid of Cavendish Cancer Care alongside Liberty Ship, Caroline Francess & the Lights and Ophelia.