Louis Berry @ The Leadmill

Newly signed Louis Berry’s grimy lyrics and grit-laced voice are at odds with his upbeat rock ‘n’ roll melodies. Hungry faced and wide-eyed, reminiscent of Sheffield’s own Alex Turner, he’s got a gruff, throaty voice too deep for his slight frame, a pissed off indie-rock attitude and lyrics that feel too poetic for the high-energy pace of the music. He played at The Leadmill on Saturday on his UK tour and the crowd loved him.

I wasn’t sure at first, though. After the messier support acts, the polished appearance of Louis and his matching band seemed too carefully put together. Dressed identically in black t-shirts and stylish haircuts, they looked like they’d been hired for the tour and there was something unnaturally wild about his performance. Throwing manically sultry sideways glances into the crowd, he was trying be Noel Gallagher, but it just felt weird.

His growling voice and the uncontrived blues-tinged energy of the speeded up rock and roll beat saved him from the strange performance and rather bland indie image. The guitar kept up a hectic beat throughout as he changed the mood mid-song, channelling Elvis and crooning poetry before dipping to a guttural, loin-churning growl.

His marketing team are aggressively pushing his difficult childhood – Louis grew up in a Liverpool council estate with heroin addict for a father and they often went hungry – and they’ve got a very specific brand for him: wild child gone good. He’ll have to work to escape from the brand that’s been so carefully created for him, but the result could be worth it.

Hannah Vickers

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