Although it's probably (read: definitely) not the most reliable barometer as to the health of a city's music scene, it's worth stating nonetheless that not a single Sheffield act is playing this year's industry hypefest SXSW. Zero. Leeds has bands in attendance, Manchester has bands in attendance. Sheffield has none. No hype. Or maybe just no money?
The Crookes, who release their debut soon, went last year and are perhaps the closest thing we've got to a recent success story; Standard Fare have been doing some ok things too, without ever setting the world alight, and Hey Sholay are hinting at trying to do things with a bit of colour and interest, but at the moment Sheffield is crying out for an instant hit of something truly new and fantastic – if only to inject a little bit of urgency into the rest of the city's music makers.
When Arctic Monkeys came through, for instance, there may have been a slew of crappy copycat bands but around the same time we got The Long Blondes, who offered a thrillingly arty counterpoint to the Monkeys' gritty realism... these things seem to be cyclical, is the point, and it might just take one band to break through the malaise to give the others a much needed kick up the jacksie.
Something's got to change soon, surely, because since the last time we ran this column there hasn't been an awful lot, locally speaking, for alternative music fans to get excited about.
Aidan John Moffat, Human Don't Be Angry @ The Library Theatre – Saturday 12 March
The old Scottish miserablists (the second one = Malcolm Middleton) play one of the city centre's lesser-used venues on the same day the Lib Dem conference - and the accompanying protest - rolls into town. Could be interesting... Last.fm Event
Bearsuit, Blood Oranges, Oxo Foxo @ The Harley – Sunday 13 March
This writer finds Bearsuit frankly unbearable, but for those of a twee/indie-pop persuasion this is undoubtedly a hot ticket with well regarded supports. Last.fm Event
Blood Sport, Likes Lions, Drenge, Laughing Grass @ The Washington – Thursday 17 March
With new talent remarkably thin on the ground at the moment, the chance to see an assortment of fresh, promising blood under this enduring pub's roof – for free – is a fine thing indeed. Last.fm Event
Josh T. Pearson @ Queens Social Club – Thursday 24 March
Him from Lift To Experience doing his new solo album in a live setting for the first time. If that wasn't enough, said live setting is the best new old venue in Sheffield. Essential. Last.fm Event
DiS presents: Gallops @ The Harley – Sunday 27 March
One of ours, sure, but if we didn't think it was good we wouldn't have booked it ;). If you like 65daysofstatic, Battles, Errors or Three Trapped Tigers you'll love this, basically. Last.fm Event
It's not all bad! Here's some recent stuff we like:
The Big Eyes Family Players - 'Amateur Dramatics'
Blood Sport - 'S10 2JF'
Cats For Peru - 'Duck In The Oven'
Hey Sholay - 'Dreamboat'
Liars Beware - 'Sex'
Pirouettes - 'Phaedra's Ghost'
So what do you reckon? Should we cheer the fuck up, or do you agree that Sheffield music's in a pretty poor state at the moment? Who should we be listening to? What's the time Mr Wolf?