Katie O’Brien’s Sheffield

Toast were invited to play at the opening weekend of Katie O’Brien’s Sheffield, an Irish Tavern just off West Street. It has been a long time since we played at a bar in Sheffield. Indeed let the record show that our last performance at a bar was at West Street Live back in 2017. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s interesting to note, but I see there have been some set list changes since our West Street Live days.

Back in 2017 the set list included Learn to Fly by Foo Fighters, The Stone Roses’ Waterfall and the contemporary hit Cake by the Ocean (or Pasty by the Peace Gardens as it was affectionately known). Other than these exceptions, the set list today remains largely unchanged. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t privatise it”.

Although the customer facing areas of the newly refurbished Katie O’Brien’s Sheffield were polished to a high shine, the back stage areas are in need of some work. I use the the simile “it was like a building site” in this sentence, quite incorrectly, as we were greeted by an actual building site. We had to move tool boxes and plasterboard to make room for our gear in preparation to load it to the stage. All this was done in the dark as the lights didn’t work.

That said, it’s understandable that the refinement of the “behind the scenes areas” would take a back seat to the front of house refurbishment. We’re sure that this area will make a lovely green room, full of comfortable leather sofas and Guinness in the not too distant future.

Although we were provided with a desk we elected to use ours as it drives our monitor speakers. Ideally, in this scenario the desk would live downstairs in the DJ booth and the band would plug into a multicore on the stage. This would give a sound engineer control over each instrument and make levelling possible. Martin, our sound guy, was of a similar opinion. I guess once Katie O’Brien’s Sheffield is out of it’s teething stage, things like stage monitors, microphones, mic stands, a shell drum kit and perhaps a bass amp, will be provided. This would significantly speed up turnaround times between acts and make life easier for everyone. We muddled through and it seemed that the audience remained unaware of the minor technical snags that we encountered.

From our pinnacly perch on the balcony, we overlooked the bar with spotlights pointing at us. This meant that the audience were quite hard to see and we were only really made aware of them during the quieter parts of songs when the raucous singing drifted up to us. Our friends in the audience reported that the bouncers were going around telling the lads to “calm the f@*k down”. Always a good sign.

We’re delighted to say that we’ve been invited back to play at Katie O’Brien’s in Sheffield on the 23 of March 2024. You should come, do not wait for a bluer sky or a better hour.