GIG: Everly Pregnant Brothers keep City fans hanging on their every word at O2 Christmas special

Richard 'Bails' Bailey and Pete McKee on stage at the O2
Richard 'Bails' Bailey and Pete McKee on stage at the O2
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They’ve built a loyal band of followers who hang off their every word about Henderson’s Relish, pork pies and some rather less-than-complimentary lyrics about Leeds.

But at their sold-out Crustmas Special last Saturday, at the O2 Academy, the Everly Pregnant Brothers showed they’d safely made the transition from cult heroes, a kind of guilty pleasure, to a Sheffield institution.

Everly Pregnant Brothers frontman Shaun Doane

Everly Pregnant Brothers frontman Shaun Doane

Not that they’d believe it. Fronted by Shaun Doane, a gentle-giant-sized 6ft 5in with a surprisingly-impressive vocal range and lyrical talent to match, the Brothers don’t take themselves too seriously.

Introduced on stage as the world’s best interpretative ukelele cover group, an early technological problem which rendered them without a drummer didn’t deter them.

“What, were you expecting a serious, professional group tonight?” Doane asked the crowd. They couldn’t get enough of it.

Normal service was resumed shortly after, as the Brothers raced through their eclectic set list while Doane kept the crowd hanging on his every heavily-accented word.

Charley McKee on stage

Charley McKee on stage

‘Rovrum’, set to the tune of Amy Winehouse’s Rehab, pokes gentle fun at Sheffield’s surrounding towns before aiming a somewhat less subtle swing at Leeds.

Another new addition to the Brothers’ catalogue describes the experience of shopping in a discount supermarket - “Cheese to the left of me, clothes pegs to the right... Here I am, stuck in the Lidl with you”.

Old favourites including ‘Hendo’s’, to Yellow by Coldplay, and No Oven No Pie - an ode to relish, British Gas and grandmothers everywhere - had the crowd chanting along as one.

Posters along the walls of the O2 advertised forthcoming gigs with the likes of Billy Ocean, but it’s hard to imagine such a connection with many other performers. To the Brothers, those in attendance aren’t just fans. They are friends.

This year’s gathering didn’t boast the same star quality as 2014’s effort, which saw the likes of Richard Hawley and cricketer Joe Root on stage.

But the presence of the England star - on duty in South Africa - was still felt, with a rousing rendition of ‘Rooty’, a reworking of ‘A Message to You Rudy’ by the Specials.

Mum Helen, dad Matt and brother Billy were in attendance. All three approved.

“We are all about having a laugh and giving you all a good time,” artist Pete McKee, a key member of the Brothers and the Sheffield Telegraph’s sport cartoonist, said.

“And hopefully leaving you with a smile on your face.”

Judging by the atmosphere at the end, as over 2,000 filed out into the Sheffield night with the final throngs of last song ‘Fairytale of New York’ ringing in their ears, they’d done more than a reasonable job.