SHEEN go south of the river for occasional love

With six members, SHEEN are usually squashed onto a stage, but here is a stage at the Amersham Arms in New Cross London not only big enough to fit them, but big enough for them to throw themselves (and their instruments) around.

This “Occasional Love” night encourages new bands to play south of the river, and the crowds seem more impressed by the live music than crowds in East London. Having six members raises a lot of questions as to what this may sound like (many bands are a six-piece, including Blondie and Lynyrd Skynyrd…), but Sheen’s sound is a cross between My Bloody Valentine, Jefferson Airplane, and Sonic Youth – experimental, yet effortlessly catchy.

Sheen start out energetic and yet relaxed, with dreamy guitars and reverb floating along with the vocals, which gives you a feeling of great anticipation… because, before long, instruments are being smashed with other instruments, each band member going into their own frenzy, and a microphone is being run along the strings of the bass.  However, the finale does not have the same feel as say a Nirvana stage smash-up (despite it quite looking like one) – the shoegaze aspect of the music makes it feel like a euphoric necessity you’ve been waiting for.

Watching this band always gives me a buzz.  It’s great to see the chemistry of six people playing music they love, and getting completely lost in it.  An absolutely fantastic live band that I would infinitely recommend – not least because they thank you personally for coming and offer free demo CDs.  Go see!