As they take to the stage, I don’t quite know what to make of Floodhouds. Jack Flynn, the frontman, looks like a younger Brian Cox, with a swishy fringe and chiselled cheek bones. Standing spread out across the small stage of Plug, I can’t help but think they look like a band of young teachers, assembled at a secondary school battle of the bands. But plunging into the catchy opening riff of ‘Bare Bones’, the title track of their EP, the band relax and it’s clear they know what they’re doing. Jack’s soft vocals are well balanced against the bass, played by Rhys Owen. The final chord fades and Jack looks amused as he realises he hasn’t plugged his pedal in. The crowd comprises a mix of older fans, who seem to know the band well, and students, here for the cheap rock and Wolf Alice DJ set afterwards.
‘Wolf at the Door’, the next song, begins with a laid back beat and bass riff worthy of The Black Keys. The comparisons are easy to make- Small band, strong drums and cool musicianship- the only notable difference being the lack of American accent. Floodhounds seem to have drawn influences from everywhere- the next song, unfortunately as yet unnamed, has a syncopated retro feel, but a later song seems to feel a lot more bluesy- I could listen to them all evening.
A seemingly impromptu addition to their set is a cover of ‘Ball And Biscuit’ by The White Stripes. It suits their style and the rendition is near identical. Floodhounds are sophisticated musicians, effortlessly using interesting chord progressions and stylish riffs. They smoothly transition into ‘End of the Road’, of which a steel city sessions video is available on YouTube and well worth checking out. Lauren Greaves, the drummer, explains how she was hungover from her graduation when the video was made. The constant interaction with the audience and down to earth honesty make me feel like you could meet them down at the pub afterwards.
Rhys later confesses to me that The 1975 are his guilty pleasure, and that’s one of the reasons he really likes the next band, Bayonet. Taking to the stage dressed all in black t-shirts and bursting into a bouncy feel good song, I can see the similarities. Whilst they aren’t the band to stray far from four chords and generic lyrics, the room is now full of students and Bayonet have a clear following amongst the crowd, especially as they play their new single ‘Three More Months’. Bayonet are enthusiastic and their music upbeat, but having listened to three other bands tonight I feel myself growing bored as each song varies only slightly from the last.
Suddenly, I begin to recognise some lyrics as the music slows. Vince Ringrose, the lead guitarist and singer, begins an indie version of ‘Beautiful Girls’ by Sean Kingston. I can’t help but smile at the contrast, but suddenly it’s over, plunging back into the penultimate song. Vince requests the lights to be dimmed before the band begins the final song of the night. I miss the name of it, but it’s loud, energetic, and the now boisterous crowd are immersed until the very final chord, a fitting end to a night showcasing the impressive talent of Sheffield.