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Will Arctic Monkeys bring the Kings of Music crown back to the Steel City?

Arctic Monkeys 2018The Steel City gets overlooked as a city of importance compared to many in the UK. London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Dublin and Glasgow are celebrated more than Sheffield and it seems a bit unfair. We’ve always produced quality, our steel was the best in the world, our beer is and our music scene has had defining moments for generations.

Over the decades our musicians have impacted the sound of pop culture from Def Leppard’s stadium rock anthems in the 1970’s to the electro shift in the 80’s thanks to the Human League. Pulp’s arty take on guitar music coined a different direction for Brit Pop in the 90’s. These bands weren’t the only ones in the city, they were just the ones who broke through to the mainstream but underneath the genre leaders was a vibrant scene that made life up north not so grim.

Music scenes come-and-go. After the heady days of Brit Pop, there was a lull in guitar music as dance music and raves became the phenomena and again, Sheffield offered a helping hand with influential club nights at Gatecrasher. Whilst this was offering an outlet for many, there was a new group of boys in bands, inspired by The Strokes, The White Stripes, Kings of Leon and The Libertines.

Sheffield Steel City isn’t a pretentious city, it’s not overly cool or try hard and the bands who were bringing indie back looked more like they’d come straight from a pluming job or they were off to a football match, but they weren’t ‘lads’. A new scene was forming, The Leadmill, The Boardwalk, The Fuzz Club, The Harley, The Fez Club all played an important role in this new sound that was spearheaded by Milburn who were more influenced by Oasis than The Strokes.

Arctic Monkeys 2003After a couple of years of gigging throughout Sheffield Milburn weren’t the only one picking up guitars in Sheffield. There was 1984, The Dodgems, Little Man Tate, The Long Blondes and of course, High Green’s finest, Arctic Monkeys. This quartet, friends with Milburn nailed their sound relatively quickly. Their first gig took place at The Grapes in the Steel City in June 2003 where they covered Hotel Yorba by The White Stripes.

Over the following 18 months they built up a fan base through gigging, supporting the likes of The Ordinary Boys and Tom Vek but their fans didn’t exclusively come from the Steel City. This was a unique time in music where the internet was building music scenes on web forums. Arctic Monkeys often get labelled the first band of the internet but it was actually The Libertines who took advantage of breaking the fourth wall and using forums to interact with fans. It wasn’t just a platform to do this though, it gave likeminded people to talk to each other, make friends and share music. Arctic Monkeys gave out demos at their gigs and fans uploaded and shared these songs on forums such as the libertines.org and MySpace. It was a natural and authentic move that took the media and the band by surprise.

Arctic Monkeys debut albumAt the time the NME was the indie kid bible and they started taking notice in early 2005. The band were selling out The Boardwalk (whilst working on the bar), with a crowd singing their songs, word-for-word without any official release. By the end of the year the Arctic Monkeys had become the hottest band in the country, they had number one singles, sell out tours and so much hype that helped elevate the whole Sheffield music scene. Bands like Milburn, who had been around much longer than the Monkeys were benefitting.

Arctic Monkeys AMWhatever People Say I Am was released in January 2006 and it remains the fastest selling debut album of all time in the UK. 12 years on and the band haven’t looked back, their sound has evolved as they have grown from teenagers to global rock stars. This Friday (11th May), the band release their sixth album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. This is the long-await follow-up to the flawless AM (released in 2013) and expectations are high. People always say that following up a successful debut is the hardest but there wasn’t any signs of that when they released Favourite Worst Nightmare.

Arctic Monkeys Tranquility Base HotelThe bands forthcoming arena tour (including 4 nights at the Sheffield Arena) sold out immediately. There’s going to be ‘pop-up shops’ this weekend across the world (including Barkers Pool in the city centre) and a petition for Alex to shave of his beard (it does look a bit daft). After 5 consistently good albums and 5 years since the highly regarded AM, is this going to be the difficult sixth album or will they put the Steel City back on the map?

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Guide to Sheffield Beer Week 2018

Sheffield Beer WeekIt’s almost our favourite week of the year, we’ve been putting our plans together to make sure there’s no logistical mishaps. Not gonna lie, we’ve had to flip coins to decide what to do because there’s so much good stuff going on. Yep, Sheffield Beer Week, we are ready for you.

Sheffield Beer Week launchIt all kicks off on Saturday at the Abbeydalee Picture House on Abbeydale Road with the Indie Beer Feast, celebrating the cities greatest things, independent businesses, food and beer.

They’ll be drinking from then on, through to the next weekend. It might sound like one big piss up and to a degree it is but it’s also about sampling the best of beer in 2018. Whether you want to call it craft beer or real ale, just grab a glass and enjoy the breweries showcasing their work in pubs throughout the city.

Hardywood CraftThe beer resurgence here in the UK owes a lot to the States and the Hop Hideout on Abbeydale Road is showcasing beers from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery from midday. If you are heading to the Indie Beer Feast get down early and nip across the road for a taster, or just go down anyway, The Broadfield is next door! The Indie Beer Feast is a ticketed event and they’ve got some of the best local and UK breweries and street food chefs to kick your tastebuds into gear for the rest of Sheffield Beer Week.

Wellington Sheffield Beer WeekWe don’t have time for hangovers especially on day two when award winner beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones is hosting a tasting evening for the best of Norwich beers at The Wellington in Shalesmoor. Prepare to be schooled.

Monday’s are the worst, not in Beer Week they aren’t. It’s meet the brewer time at Brewdog with Steel City Brewing’s Dave who will be talking about his craft and a taste of their Sheffield Brewery Week special, Rogue One, a 10% imperial stout with a hint of chocolate, vanilla and citrus.

If the 10% stout hasn’t written us off we’ll be heading to the train station, not to escape but for the Sheffield Tap to see how The Tapped Brew Co make their beers before joining the Sheffield Pub Heritage Walk which starts at Fagans at 5:30.

Sheffield Beer Week Beavertown TakeoverThere’s no hump day during Sheffield Beer Week as Wednesday sets us up for another busy one, starting off with another meet the brewer event at Brewdog at 6pm, this time its Lost Industry who will be bringing their exclusive imperial white stout, Off Me Coconut along then at 7:30pm it’s time to head to Hallamshire House for meet the brewer with London’s finest, Beavertown!

Thursday we’ll be starting off with a battle of the sours with locals Abbeydale Brewery against Manchester faves Charlton Brewery at The Devonshire Cat before heading to The Bath Hotel for another brewery from the other side of the Pennines, Marble Brewery who’ll be taking part in a meet the brewer.

Brew York Sheffield Beer WeekBrew York are frequent on the Ale Club bar and we’re looking forward to their meet the brewer event at Riverside on Friday before heading to The Bar Stewards for a Northern Monk takeover.

Saturday will be another Kelham orientated day with the Cloudwater and Howling Hops takeover at Shakespeares, Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end but theres a silver lining at the Sheffield Beer Week closing party which coincides with launch of the Neepsend Brewery tap room opening!

Gladiators, ready?

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Sheffield Beer Week – Guide to Sheffield Breweries Round 2

Sheffield Beer WeekImagine a week dedicated to your number one. Your partner only gets Valentines Day but beer gets a whole week in Sheffield! Sheffield Beer Week is seven days dedicated to the finest beers served across the Steel City.

Sheffield Beer Week doesn’t just showcase great breweries from around the world with events hosted in great pubs, it’s an opportunity to meet the makers, listen to their back story and how they made the beers you are tasting.

Our Tryanuary guide to Sheffield Breweries can be found here. This is round two.

Blue Bee BrewerySince launching in 2010 Blue Bee Brewery have had their ups-and-downs. Things went from a hobby to a respectable brewery by 2011 and they expanded. Last year they lost their 3 pubs but they have continued to brew great and interesting beers using a variety of ingredients from around the world. You’ll find their beers at the Kelham Island Tavern, Shakespeares and the Rutland Arms as well as the Sheffield Beer Week closing party at the Neepsend Brewery tap room launch on 17th March.

More information can be found here.

Lost Industry BrewingLost Industry are relatively babies compared to Blue Bee but in just over two years they have experiments with flavours and influences that have helped them gain an reputation as exiting brewers who don’t limited themselves to a core range. Their beers are found in many of Sheffield’s much loved pus including the Broadfield, Beer Engine and The Greystones. They have spread their wings, supplying to pubs in the UK including Nottingham, Huddersfield, Manchester and London. They will also be available at the launch of Beer Week at the Indie Beer Feast at the Abbeydale Picture House on 10th March.

Want to find out more? Visit their website.

Steel City BrewingSteel City Brewing are cuckoo brewers who are learning fast, producing American influenced pales with a Yorkshire spirit. Their ever-changing selection can be found at the Wellington and Rutland Arms. They will be collaborating with Neepsend Brewery and Lost Industry to create something special for Sheffield Beer Week.

More info on their website.

Tapped Brew CoTrain stations can be bleak. You tend to find W H Smiths, M&S and, if you are lucky you’ll get a ‘spoons. There’s nothing worse than waiting for a train without a pint in your hand. Sheffield Station on the other hand is the home of one of the cities finest boozes, the Sheffield Tap. You’ll always find something special on the bar, probably by the Tapped Brew Co, brewed next door. If you haven’t visited the Sheffield Tap before, it’s worth missing your train for! Why would you want to leave Sheffield anyway? Coming to Sheffield for Beer Week? First stop, the Sheffield Tap. Enjoy.

Interested? More info here.

Mitchell's SheffieldMitchell’s have been a long standing Sheffield business. Starting out as a butchers in 1935, they moved into the alcohol game in the ’60’s, become one of the cities best offies, specialising in wine and spirits. Last year they saw an opportunity and pounced on it when the restaurant next door closed down. The years experience selling alcohol gave them the knowledge to become a micro-brewery and gin distillery. In less than twelve months they have 6 beers available from their well established shop and Sheffield boozers. They regularly host tasting events, not to be missed.

Want to know more? Visit their website.

Regather WorksSheffield is a thoughtful community and the Regather Co-Operative prove that. The not-for-profit venue provides everything from events and gigs to veg box schemes, not only that but they also have an environmentally friendly on-site brewery. The beers, mostly pales are made with locally sourced ingredients, suitable for Vegans.

More info here.

Don’t forget to vote the Ecclesall Ale Club for best new bar at the Exposed Magazine Awards. You can do this here.