Review by Andy Houghton for MPM
Yorkshire-based rockers Syteria were the last band I saw before lockdown when they performed at Chesterfield’s Real Time Live in March 2020.
It therefore seemed fitting to see them at the same venue this weekend, now that gigs are finally up and running once again. And I can’t think of a better reintroduction to the world of live music, for Syteria are a band who are a joy to see and to photograph.
The evening kicked off shortly after 8pm with Sour Tusk, a bombastic rock ‘n’ roll powerhouse from Sheffield. They’ve been playing live gigs for a few years now, and their experience shows – they know exactly how to warm up a crowd, with fantastic audience engagement and a corker of a set. Their rendition of Electric Six’s ‘Gay Bar’ is the best cover of the song I’ve heard.
Next up were Adam & The Hellcats, an eight-piece rock and roll band from Bristol who were the second support of the evening. Following a Tom Jones ‘Pussycat’ intro the band leapt into action with an electrifying set, led by frontman Adam Feasey, sharing vocal duties with Kirwen Farrant. Kicking off with ‘Vampire’, the band powered through a ten-song set including ‘Queen & Country’, ‘Traitor’ and ‘Madhouse’, before ending on a high with ‘Mary Jane’. It was blisteringly good stuff, and a perfect segue into the main event.
Syteria took the stage shortly afterwards, with Julia Calvo on vocals/guitar, brother Pablo on drums, the legendary Jackie Chambers (Girlschool) on guitar and Steph Dawson on bass. Julia is an outstanding performer as well as vocalist – whether she’s posturing with her mirror for ‘Plastic Fantastic’, or interacting with the audience during ‘Hypocrite’, she has a tremendous ability to engage with the crowd and put on a fantastic, and often witty, show.
Indeed, the whole band are clearly in their element. Both Jackie and Steph display some great moves on guitar and bass respectively, and Pablo’s drumming is both skilful and entertaining – indeed, he not only puts on an awesome drum solo during the show, he also gets to join Jackie – literally – in playing her guitar.
The show also included a celebration, complete with cake and sparkler, for Jazz, the bassist of Adam & The Hellcats, whose birthday happened to be on the day of the gig. The fun that’s being had on stage throughout the show transfers across to the audience, and you can always guarantee that during a Syteria gig everyone in the room will be having a great time.
All too soon the gig drew to a close with a handful of encores, including fan favourite ‘Halloween’ introduced with a suitably epic scream by Cirwen from Adam & The Hellcats. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Syteria many times, and this was their best show yet. There are several more dates coming up during the autumn for their Light It Up tour, so if you haven’t got your tickets yet, then I recommend you make your booking without delay.
Photography by Andy Houghton for MPM