Live Review: Ryan O’Reilly at The Leadmill, Sheffield

Ryan O’Reilly and his band have been on the road for the best part of a decade and their music isn’t anything new – a good ol’ mix of Americana and Irish blues. 

But it wasn’t hard for him to get Sheffield to like his solo performance, as he opened for King Charles. Swaddling us in authentic melody, Ryan had us floored with his easy charm and his bed-head. With songs like ‘Gypsy Tree’ and ‘November’, he creates a sound that has the folk route paved with blues for all those who have found love, and all those who have lost. 

The venue itself, The Leadmill in Sheffield, wasn’t too bad. Those in the front were subject to a heartfelt, intimately set performance, but from the back it was a bit hard to discern any expression other than discomfort. Honestly, it did look like there were pins sticking up on the chair he was sat on.

Despite that, he took to the stage with his best poker face on, crooning the lyrics from ‘There for You’, “I wasn’t there for you as you were there for me”. Each piece of music has a story behind it – a link that shows you where his songs come from and where they go.

The highlight of his tracklist is this song called ‘Your New Man,’ which is basically about stalking your ex and possibly their new partner on Facebook. The sarcastic lyrics are so hilariously relatable that you have to double check to see if it’s about you!

‘The One’ is sweetly melodic with a chance for self-exploration in love. The easy tempo and clear lyrics make you ponder over what he means when he sings, “if you have no fear of heights then you are bound to fall.”


‘Evil Quarter Mile’ is a crowd favourite. Ryan explains it as coming from the time he spent in London as a Jack the Ripper Tour Guide, and how he pointed to spots and said: “a woman died here a long time ago.” He leaves the crowd in splits as he tells us about the time he got slotted to the Harry Potter tour guide and how he bluffed his way through without having read a single page of the book.

His set ends with ‘Boats Against The Current’ – a simple and soulful song that leaves everything still, only to be violated by a resounding round of applause.

There were some bits when the show didn’t quite garner enough interest and people got chatty, but in the end it was like having some really good banter with a good friend who could sing your trousers off. 

I went to see King Charles at the Leadmill in Sheffield. Ryan O’Reilly’s performance as the opening act was so good that I was tempted to write an entire review for it. And here we are.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!