What happens when a people reduce their legal drinking age to 18 and build an infrastructure of public transit that is accessible, complete and affordable? Every musician’s dream town.
Sheffield is a college town first and foremost. On a Wednesday night there was a figurative sea of people stumbling from club to sportsbar to music venue to kabob stand to back alley. It was a shit show in the most endearing sense. Men in drag, women in red, fox hunting coats, and drunks pissing and vomitting on our van were all on full display. It was in this field of chaos that we took the stage for the second time at West Street Live.
Local concert promoter, Mat Hume, whisper-yelled to me just before we took the stage, “Take 10 minutes before you go on. My mate is a member of Parliament and his train is running late. He doesn’t want to miss your set.”
“Oh. Okay… Yes… We will wait then…”
When we finally plugged our guitars in, Matt busts into the engineer’s booth and grasps a microphone. He wails, “THESE GUYS CAME THOUSANDS OF MILES TO PLAY YOU MUSIC NOW YOU MOTHER F****S CAN MOVE 10 FEET FROM THE BAR. IF YOU DON’T I’M GONNA F*****NG MAKE YE ‘CAUSE I’M IN THAT SORTA MOOD TONIGHT! RIGHT! THIS IS A NIGHT WHERE YOU CAN MEET THE WOMAN YOU’LL LOVE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! THIS IS THE NIGHT WHERE YOU CAN MEET THE MAN YOU’LL LOVE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! THIS IS A NIGHT WHERE YOU CAN HAVE CHILDREN WITH SOMEONE YOU DON’T REALLY LIKE VERY MUCH! THIS IS A NIGHT WHERE YOU CAN PLOT A MURDER OR START A RELIGION BUT NO ONE REALLY CARES ABOUT THAT BECAUSE THIS IS THE TIME TO LISTEN TO LIVE MUSIC! LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE GO ABSOLUTELY OFF-YOUR-T*** CRAZY FOOOOR VESERRIIAAA!!!”
And they did.
After our headlining set and amazing performances by Katalina Kicks and J-Wayy, West Street Live turned into a raucous party. We met young people thirsty for music and experience and they were the kindest and most generous fans we’ve ever known. As we closed down the bar, students and young adults filtered into cabs and buses and trolleys to venture home responsibly having seen a little more of this world and lived a little larger. We were tired, but joyous.