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  • Dave, Steel City Snapper

Ballad of a Bystander, The Reytons at Meadowhall


The Reytons Pop-Up Store, Credit @steelcitysnapper

Popular Rotherham band The Reytons released their third album, “Ballad of a Bystander” on Friday 26th January and to celebrate the release, the band set up a pop-up shop at Meadowhall for the weekend.


Free tickets were made available on the previous Monday for half-hour slots throughout the weekend, and they were all allocated in just minutes. Meadowhall has proved popular with artists in the last year with The Reytons having done the same for their previous album in January 2023, with Reverend and the Makers following suit in April 2023 for their album “Heatwave in the Cold North”, and Self Esteem selling Meadowhall-themed t-shirts there in December 2023 to raise money for breast cancer research.

 

At The Reytons’ shop you had the opportunity to meet the band themselves and have your photo taken to be added to a photo-frame CD cover for your own unique artwork. Unsurprisingly this proved very popular with their loyal fanbase who loved the idea of appearing on an album cover with their favourite band. The Reytons themselves were in good spirits as they met their fans and were enjoying the positive feedback from people who had already been listening to the album that had been launched at midnight on streaming services.

 

When it came to my turn after a short wait, the band members spent a surprising amount of time chatting to me about their music and the album, their forthcoming homecoming gig in Rotherham, and even the badges on my coat (Pete McKee, Leadmill and Self Esteem for those interested!) with the consensus being that The Reytons need to introduce their own range of badges in the near future! 


Credit @steelcitysnapper

I’ve attended album signings with other bands where you’re shoved in and out very quickly with barely an acknowledgment from the band themselves, but The Reytons couldn’t have been more welcoming. They were very friendly and chatty (there was a lot of hugging and back-slapping!) and I doubt anyone would leave them feeling short-changed. It’s good to see that the huge success of their last year hasn’t changed them, they’re still very down-to-earth South Yorkshire lads.

 

“Ballad of a Bystander” is the eagerly-anticipated follow up to “What's Rock and Roll?” which topped the Official UK Album Chart in January 2023. This was a rare achievement for an unsigned band, and the Reytons will be hoping that their latest self-release is similarly successful. With an ever-growing fanbase and the album available on all major streaming platforms, and on multiple vinyl records, CDs, and cassettes, few would bet against them hitting the upper-reaches of the charts again. It would be well-deserved too as “Ballad of a Bystander” is arguably their best album yet, mixing their usual guitar-based anthems with thoughtful lyrics about life in South Yorkshire (Meadowhall itself gets a name-check on my standout track “Market Place”).


Credit @steelcitysnapper

For those still unfamiliar with the band, The Reytons were formed in 2017 by frontman Jonny Yerrell, lead guitarist Joe O'Brien, bassist Lee Holland, and drummer Jamie Todd. Yerrell had already released a number of singles under different aliases including “Chasing Rainbows” under the name Jay Mya in 2011, but it is with The Reytons that he’s had the greatest success. Their debut EP “It Was All So Monotonous” was released in 2017, but their first chart success came when the “Seriously Harm You and Others Around You” EP, which was released in February 2021, peaked at number 27 on the UK album chart. Their debut album “Kids Off The Estate” followed on 12 November 2021 and peaked at number 11.

 

The band have come a long way since that first album, including selling out the 13,000-capacity Sheffield Arena in September last year. Saturday 6 July 2024 will see The Reytons play a huge homecoming gig at Rotherham’s Clifton Park (the first artists to play there since Marc Bolan and T-Rex in 1971!). With a capacity of 20,000 people, it will apparently be the biggest outdoor event in Rotherham in over 50 years. The first-class support bill of Jamie Webster, Little Man Tate, Lucy Spraggan, Andrew Cushin and The Rosadocs seem guaranteed to make it a day to remember. Tickets are still available from The Reytons’ website.


Credit @steelcitysnapper

 

The Reytons pop-up shop will be open at Meadowhall until Thursday 1 February, although the band are only in attendance over the weekend. More information can be found on the Meadowhall website.

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