Sunflower Bean are a rock band and they want you to know that. Hailing from New York, the band are touring their second album, Twentytwo in Blue, which is currently vying for a place in the Top 40 up against pop stars Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa, as the band point out to a round of boos. Sunflower Bean’s mission is clear: They ‘want to keep rock music in the charts’.
It’s a bold start to the show but the band follow through with guitar-led ‘Burn It and Come On’ – a strong introduction to what Sunflower Bean do best. ‘Twentytwo’ is a sweet ode to being young and trying to be independent while navigating others’ expectations. It also happens to be the age of all the band members on the release date of their new album which is an impressive surprise as their music bears so much resemblance to an era gone by. ‘Memoria’ is a glimmering slab of nostalgia: ‘The past is the past for a reason’ sings enthralling frontwoman Julia Cumming, offering three minutes of country come soft rock to pull at the heartstrings. Likewise is fan favourite ‘I Was A Fool’, which calls on Fleetwood Mac style vocals from Cumming and an Elvis-esque jumpsuit wearing Nick Kivlen.
Sunflower Bean are very excited to be here; they exude an American charm that shows up in their bewildered faces as the crowd begins to chant the customary ‘York-shire! York-shire!’ during a momentary pause, and they willingly accept one punter’s answer to their post-gig dilemma with a hearty, ‘Hi-Fi it is then!’. Boisterous Crisis Fest kicks off their ultra-rock mode as the guitars take centre stage again amid a flurry of marching drums and urgent snarls. There’s an undeniable lift off in energy, and the rest of the evening continues in a raucous fist-pumping frenzy. You wouldn’t get that at an Ed Sheeran concert.