Live Review: SERVERS, Barnsley Rock & Blues, 13th December 2014

SERVERS - Barnsley - 13Dec14
Photo (C) Graeme Blackwell, Skin Back Alley

Over the last 12 months SERVERS have very carefully crafted a style all of their own. It permeates all that they do. The music, their videos, their live shows. It is all enveloping and fully captivating; a beautifully melancholic air, tinged with doom and destruction, occasionally shot through with chinks of light.

If it all sounds a little gloomy though, on this cold winter night at the Barnsley Rock & Blues venue, SERVERS Xmas Party – billed as a celebration of all that has transpired over the last year – aims to put that straight.

As SERVERS take to the stage bathed in the glow of a dim string of lights that echo the band’s video for “Claustrophobia”, decked out in their now familiar black hoodies, the tension in the room begins to ramp up. The sound of debut album Leave With Us’ spoken word samples emanate from the PA, and the assembled throng await the first rush of music.

Proving that they have a healthy capacity for humour in amongst the serious-minded nature of their music, the sample deliberately falters and cuts to the immortal line from Home Alone 2’s parody gangster film, Angels With Filthy Souls. “Merry Christmas ya’ filthy animals!” shouts actor Ralph Foody, as the band launch out of the starting blocks with a blistering rendition of “Run With Foxes.”

The pace doesn’t let up as the opening gambit is swiftly followed up with “King Things” and the first live airing of new track “Bodies In The Ground”, both of which sound superb in the confines of the intimate room.

“Save Me From Myself” slows things down and yet builds things up with its rumbling, rolling riff, and then the epic “Dangerous Devotion” simply blows the place apart and has us wondering how good it would sound in a large venue backed by an orchestra. But let’s not go all Metallica on everybody just yet, hey.

Another inspired, genial seasonal surprise follows as frontman Lee Storrar takes us back to our childhoods and reminds us how to play pass the parcel. “When the music stops you take a layer off, yeah?” And without further ado SERVERS set sail with “Mega High” and launch said parcel in to the audience. The band stop dead in strategic places, paper flying (along with the gifts hidden within), and sooner or later there’s little left but grinning faces. “Is it done? Have you finished?” asks Storrar. “Good, ’cause this song is killing me!”

Scorching takes on “Claustrophobia”, “Once I Started”, “Mother’s Grave – Leave With Us” and then SERVERS’ debut single “Universes & Supernovas (The Ride)” follow, the latter a more than fitting ending to the band’s live shows in 2014, coming – as it does – almost a year to the day since its original release.

A tight, joyous and incendiary blast, delivered with style by one of Yorkshire’s finest rock bands, SERVERS host an Xmas Party to remember and – wisely – leave us wanting more.

Here’s to what SERVERS have in store for 2015. For now, 2014, consider yourself served.

SERVERS played:

“Run With The Foxes”
“King Things”
“Bodies In The Ground”
“Save Me From Myself”
“Dangerous Devotion”
“Mega High”
“Once I Started”
“Mother’s Grave – Leave With Us”
“Universes & Supernovas (The Ride)”

Check out Servers’ official video for track “Claustrophobia” below:

Read Skin Back Alley’s exclusive year end interview with the band here.

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