PHOTOGRAPHY Maud Maillard
WORDS Melissa Louca-Klatsia
Sisteray broke the artist/audience wall immaculately. They energetically expounded their alternative sound to a receptive crowd. They played a flawless set and invited fans to sing along.
Sisteray's show at The Hawley Arms, in the town that can lay claim to their formation, was a crowd-pleasing affair. The four-piece rock band confidently approached the stage with a tacit promise to deliver what we have come to expect, confirming that Sisteray are as determined as they are talented. No stranger to the band’s upbeat melodies and insightful lyrical ensemble, fans also danced, joining forces with the artists painted as heroes. Just as the set promises, high energy and guitar riffs as well as a lot of working class attitude was the call of the day. Perhaps even more politically charged than ever before.
Sisteray’s history can be framed in the context of twenty first century struggle, the struggle against the establishment and the struggle to wave the flag for underdog artists. The set included single releases, “No Escape” and “A Wise Man Said” which has received BBC airplay in recent months. Familiar melodies skipped through the air whilst the indie guitar rulebook was re-written to virtuosic effect.
The afternoon began with a last minute soundcheck. The elegant swathe of the British flag that bears the slogan, “Fuck the Tories, Love Sisteray”, which has become synonymous with the band’s iconography was unfortunately absent from the stage design because someone had apparently taken it. The tiny corner stage located on the top floor of the venue was littered with instruments, forcing the band to invade the audience space. Lead singer, Niall’s voice, was absent of technological tweaking as he expressed the despondency and lifestyle of a generation bound to social circumstance. "Fuck austerity” was scrawled across Dan’s guitar, whilst he backed vocals that, at one moment, suggested solidarity as the anthem to the social revolution. Then it got sexy. Drummer Marco removed his shirt as he pounded out beats and Dan’s fingers were everywhere during "Back to yours", an A-side that accompanies the release of “A Wise Man Said” whilst Mick kept a rhythmic bass-line throughout.
The band moved through the set-list with fluidity. They introduced each song by engaging those offstage: "You’re old enough to vote, fuckin’ use it!" The intimate setting was ideal for newer songs to be showcased but Sisteray never forgot that Rock is a unitary affair. If music requires the resuscitation of counter-cultural sentiment to rock a party, then Sisteray are here to pave the way. Songs like “Gentrification” offered inspiring reflection to a performance that highlighted class struggle and hard-won artistic recognition.
Who R Ya?
Welcome to the Monkey House
A Wiseman Said
Stone Cold Sober
Back to Yours