The barflies of Bolton upon Dearne’s working men’s clubs saw it first. Before long the floundering Sheffield rock scene saw it too, then 6Music, then the massed, churning crowds of Reading & Leeds. Now the whole world is catching on to the wildfire thrill of The Sherlocks’ live shows, every single one a flailing frenzy of youthful delirium, a new generation discovering the adrenalizing rush of rock’n’roll.
It’s an ear-to-the-ground buzz that began with ears to a wall. In 2010, after a couple of years of bashing aimlessly at guitar and drumkit (respectively) together, brothers Kiaran and Brandon Crook were playing a private ‘gig’ for their family at their grandparents’ house one Christmas when, between songs, they heard someone next door playing electric guitar. They knew that a guy called Andy Davidson had recently moved in next door, they’d lured him out to play football with them on the nearby field, but they hadn’t realised his quieter brother Josh played guitar. Before long the four of them were jamming in the conservatory at the Crooks’ house, buzzing from a shared love of everything from The Flaming Lips to ELO and the indie rock classics.
Dubbing themselves The Sherlocks after the classic off-colour phrase they’d often say to Andy whenever he made obvious remarks, the band hit the local working men’s clubs, playing covers of The Jam every weekend and drinking with the bar sots. Gradually, The Sherlocks began dropping their own songs into their sets and eventually they turned their sights to Sheffield, booking a show at the O2 Academy’s smaller room. Post-Monkeys, the city’s indie rock scene had dissolved, so the band were amazed to find that word about their onstage fire had already spread there.
“We sold it out,” Kiaran laughs. “It was unreal. It felt like Wembley Stadium to us at that point. Now we’re doing two thousand in Manchester and a thousand in Sheffield and we’re up and down all over the country, but if you ask somebody from the village where we live, where you’d think they’d know us best, they probably think we’re not doing as well because they haven’t seen us in the local paper for playing in a working men’s club.”
By 2014, The Sherlocks were ready to start letting the world in on Sheffield’s most salacious secret. Their first track, ‘Live For The Moment’, a wiry alt-rock blast in the vein of Arctic Monkeys about enjoying life despite all of its tangled twists, and an anthem which became the band’s rallying cry. “It’s about where we were at that time, and we still are,” Kiaran says. “It means a lot to our band and our fans. We get a lot of people Tweeting us with the hashtag #liveforthemoment. It seems to resonate with our fans, it means something to them. That’s definitely our saying.”
By the summer of 2015, The Sherlocks had started making waves. Steve Lamacq had his tunebuds tweaked by their Tramlines festival set and the 6 Music, Radio 1, Radio X, MTV and Soccer AM plays began rolling in; by the time the band made their first appearance at Reading & Leeds, they were one of the country’s hottest rock sensations. Even if they didn’t realise it themselves.
The Sherlocks homegrew their own success, a DIY band by default rather than design. But their plan of self-releasing songs was working like a charm, so as the labels started sniffing they felt no need to jump. Their tours began taking in the larger venues and support slots with huge acts such as The Libertines gave them a taste of arena life – in June 2017 they supported Kings Of Leon on their UK arena tour.