Men, Women and Children – Sheffield Leadmill

By paul

As I walk in to the Leadmill, just as KILL THE ARCADE take to the stage, I count just 28 people are in the venue. By the time the headliners start, there are barely 40 people. Quite frankly, those who haven’t yet been to this tour, or those people who have shunned the dates in their town, are missing out. If there’s a more entertaining live band than MEN, WOMEN and CHILDREN I am yet to see them. But more of them later.

KILL THE ARCADE are tour support and, as far as I am aware, the only other bnd who played this date. Their brand of emo/post-hardcore has been likened to Armor For Sleep, but on this occasion they play with what seems like heavy hangovers. While not lifeless, in comparison to their New York tour buddies KTA have a long way to go in terms of on-stage confidence and working a crowd. The Slough/Reading-based quartet are pretty good at what they do mind – when the drums kick and the guitars snarl, they’re so much better; the three-way vocal harmonies stand out in a Taking Back Sunday-esque fashion and the songs sound so much stronger. When the songs are slower and more intracite, they come across as lazy and tired. There’s work to be done, for sure, but KTA show enough that there’s a future for them once they nail their own sound (7).

Walking on stage to a crowd about three rows deep must have been disconcerting for MEN, WOMEN and CHILDREN, but you’d never know. They’re arguably the most fun live band I’ve ever seen – donning flashing hard hats and a variety of wacky clothing to get the very small crowd going. I mean have you ever seen a frontman jump into the crowd and start a conga train?! Words don’t really describe just how good they are – it’s a heady mix of pop, funk and disco, yet the band play with such wide smiles you’d be forgiven for thinking they were playing to 4,000, rather than 40 people. All the band’s hits are played – except for ‘Monkey Monkee men’ – and they get a great response. ‘Dance In My Blood’ is extended and sounds fantastic, ‘Who Found Mister Fabolous?’ and ‘Messy’ are tracks of pure joy. They play for around 45 minutes, but it’s just a brilliant set that flies by in no time. You may not like them on record, but I guarantee you will find them fun and entertaining live. I said I thought they were the most fun live band I’d seen all year when they supported Panic! At the Disco – after tonight, my opinion is only strengthened. (9)