Words: Heather McAleavy
Sheffield indie-rock four-piece RedFaces have been on the rise ever since their first single ‘Katie Come Home’ was featured on BBC Introducing in 2015, and quickly became Radio 1 favourites. Tonight they’re headlining Jimmy’s – the heart of new music in Manchester – on the second half of their single release tour for ‘Take It or Leave It’, which came out this September.
Joining them in the glowing red bar were psychedelic pop new-comers Fuzzy Sun from Stockport. Made up of synth, guitar, bass and drums, the quartet created soft, hymn-like sounds that warmed up the room. They kept things diverse, dipping into slow, minor tunes such as ‘Sad’ before swinging into funk grooves in ‘Codeine’. Despite having next to no experience performing live, they all maintained a comfortable stage presence, with lead vocalist/guitarist Kyle Ross owning as much of the small platform as he could physically muster. His soft tones intertwined perfectly with vocalist/synth player Daisy Valentine’s ethereal high-pitched voice, creating peaceful harmonies appropriate for every genre they explored. They finished the set on a high with two disco tracks which felt like they were picked right out of the 70s; bass-driven dance bop ‘Want Love’ in particular adding a real flare of RnB. Keep a look out for Fuzzy Sun because, even though they may only be starting out, big things are guaranteed.
RedFaces kicked off their set with a strong opener in homage to their roots: the aforementioned ‘Katie Come Home’, engaging the crowd from the get-go. Recent singles ‘Wise Up’ and ‘Kerosene’ drew the bigger reactions, with ‘Wise Up’s huge chorus conveying they’ve found their strength in songwriting, while ‘Kerosene’ showed the band’s heavier side. The raw breakdown and guitarist Ryan Laycock’s big riffs featured in ‘Dead End Town’ complimented the hard-rock dynamics hinted at in ‘Kerosene’, and made it obvious that this is a band made for bigger stages. The night’s title track ‘Take It or Leave It’ caused a storm of energy from each member, with the sullen verses requiring a more mysterious and mature attitude from vocalist/guitarist Harry Lyon, adding a more distorted and darker tone. If this is the route we can expect RedFaces to go down in future then, albeit ironically, it’s looking bright. The mood was immediately lightened however by bassist Isaac White’s sense of humour, which purely consisted of referencing everyone’s second favourite X-Factor boyband. From ending the set with “Thank you, we’ve been JLS”, to quoting seasonal meme of saying “Merry Christmas” like JB during the 2008 final mid-song, it proved this band are nothing if not current.
In all seriousness, it was clear from the start that RedFaces are not another try-hard Sheffield indie band we’ve seen countless times since Arctic Monkeys. They weren’t going out of their way to be overly hipster, edgy or entitled; they were grateful, funny, and nothing but themselves.