Between interviewing Sarpa Salpa virtually during lockdown, catching them at Broadcast in Glasgow last September and more since, I’ve been keeping tabs on the four-piece’s clear, developing path to success. They’ve been going since 2016 so they’re gig circuit regulars now, and their bookings are handled by Marshall Records’ Live Agency, which is certainly no mean feat. Their rise isn’t set to stall either, with a phenomenal slot on this year’s SXSW billing in Texas.
The combined energy, charisma and stage presence of Marcus, Meg, George and Charlie is infectious. They’re a compelling outfit to watch and they’re incredibly slick, too. On a dreary Sunday evening, following some pretty biblical rainy downpours, they took to Oporto’s little Leeds City Centre stage and absolutely killed it.
Fans old and new were bopping to their latest singles, the ultra-catchy ‘Your House’ and ‘Somebody’. For me, I’ve got a soft spot for ’Stick To What You Know’, which is just deliriously upbeat and so addictive that I usually find myself playing it a few times on loop. Of course, it delivered in spades again live.
Through frontman Marcus’ bantering with the crowd, admissions that he’s read it’s more engaging to shout to the audience than simply chat to them, and note-perfect belting-out of the tunes, each body in the room was putty in Sarpa’s hands. They even wheeled out an as-yet-unnamed track (with lyrics oh-so-casually read from a phone), which went down a storm.
For me, what’s particularly fun about Sarpa is that, while they’re a slick, accomplished band, they don’t take themselves too seriously. There’s a charm to that; it makes them more relatable. Marcus and Meg both had moments singing and playing bass, respectively, in the thick of the crowd and perched atop the right-hand amp. Well, why not? You’re there to entertain when you’re a musician and, frankly, Sarpa Salpa know precisely how to naturally pull that off.
So, if you’re after a proper toe-tapper, get yourself down to a show of theirs as soon as you can. You’ll want to be among those who caught them before they hit the States as well — it’s just cooler that way, isn’t it?