Tiny Dancers

by Michael Lomas

24 February 2006

While the press spotlight might be on Sheffield for more simian reasons, the often-overlooked city has more than one reason to be proud. And if the magic of budding promise can be maintained, Tiny Dancers just might steal the show.

No L.A. Ladies, Hold Them Closer Anyway

At the moment, after just a handful of gigs and sporting a dodgy name, Tiny Dancers are a band to fall in love with. Well, they’re a band I’ve been getting excited about anyway. In a city like Sheffield, it’s taken for granted that you’ll run into a shed load of bands on those stumbling, stretched-out nights in the city. Mostly, these bands come and go and leave not much more than a ringing in the ears and a polite nod of the head. The thing is, I don’t think I’ve yet seen Tiny Dancers without spending the whole show smiling like an idiot and watching the stage with that tingling, “Fuck me, this is good!” feeling all over me.

Of course, ever since Arctic Monkeys took the clutter-punk template of the Libertines, wound it up tight into a funny-as-fuck speedball, and exploded into the slightly confused mainstream, Sheffield is the place to be. If you read the music press, it’s a city on fire. But while there are a handful of fresh-faced young bands sounding good and fast gaining momentum, it still seems like you have to wade through an absolute deluge of scenesters and chancers to get to hear something special.

For me, Tiny Dancers stand out a mile from the whole scene as the most exciting new band I’ve heard in ages. And that’s not to go mad with any outlandish claims, because excitement is all it is at the moment. It’s a few gigs, some brilliant early demos, and that little spark that makes you want to do something mad like drive all the way to Leeds to see them play live again straight away. It might turn out to be a whole lot of unexplainable, dancing nerves for nothing. Getting all excited about a band when you’re a bit too pissed and desperate for something to grab hold of you from the ordinary noise. The recorded songs might just fall flat, and the next time they play, they might be shit. Except they really won’t be. I’ve seen them after a tired day at work, in a scratchy club in Sheffield, and their songs turned a shit night on its head, leaving me humming a load of scrambled melodies and sending a drunk, fumbled text to my mate, telling him that the band I’ve just seen were “absollutly fuckimg ammazimg.”

Not so long ago, they supported Babyshambles at a Sheffield venue on Pete Doherty’s latest smash-and-grab tour. They played a set that riled and wound up a baying, laddish crowd and simultaneously stole people’s hearts. They threw balloons out into the audience, covered the stage in flickering lights and battered TVs, and sent their sparkling alt-county pop songs out over the heads of most of the ‘Pete, Pete’ chanting apes who packed the club. Obviously, I was smitten. I mean, how could anyone not be?

Tiny Dancers’ sound is a glistening mix-up of country, Sheffield blues, Brian Jones-era Stones, and Beatlesque rock and roll. There’s a little bit of Neil Young’s creaking sadness coursing through their melodies, and a touch of Flaming Lips silliness when they play live. Having seen them in the city since, it seems like they’ve fallen from a far-off 1950s planet of gems and magic dust; fully formed, but still containing the budding threat to grow into something special. For now, though, they’re simply a band that is totally noticeable, shattering in full colour against England’s sometimes exciting, but usually gritty and grey alternative musical backdrop.

They might have a freshly inked record deal, but Tiny Dancers aren’t “the next big thing” or a band to look out for in the future. They’re a band to go see and listen to now. They’re a band who have, in “I Will Wait for You”, “Baby Love”, and “Bonfire of the Night”, at least three irresistible pop tunes that could open up even the hardest of hearts.

Anyway, it has to stop here ‘cos I’ve just realised that I’ve compared an unknown band from Sheffield to Neil Young, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles, so maybe it’s time to shut up before it all gets a bit silly. Actually, fuck it—I can remember how I felt last Saturday when I was dancing, dizzy and burning. Tiny Dancers sing songs that are catchy, original, and make you want to dance your fucking head off! And really, that’s got to be enough of a recommendation for anyone.

[band website]

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