Latest track Who Says I? is my prolonged overdue encounter with Shakedown Stockholm, and for a six piece who are ceaselessly ‘touted’ as rock, conflictingly all I can construe is an undefined, illusive elegance.
Tainted melodies; gristly, quelled guitar work and galvanizing drums; evidently, that radiating rock influence resides profoundly entrenched within the musicianship. So, why oppose its unshakable rock tag? Well hold on, I’m getting there – the irrefutably distinguished component here is the voice; take the enchanting authority of Siouxsie Sioux, supplement with hypnotic Cocteau Twins harmonies and not only do you get the silky grace of Shakedown Stockholm (whose vocalists coincidentally are also twins) but personally, you achieve complete isolation from any orthodox musical classification. In one word, unique.
First gig in Hanley for Wrexham lad Luke Gallagher, first ever gig for Bonamalis and one of The Black Widows last gigs, it was a night presented by Venombase studios at The Exchange.
Smartly dressed, friendly faced Luke Gallagher kicked the night off. For a young fella, he has grown into a great songwriter and intriguing solo performer. Luke takes influences from the 60s and 90s era heavily and for just one guy the music is raw and pure. As well as musically talent and captivating, Luke’s stage presence for an intimate gig is spot on, his cheery personality and charming charisma is something that you come away and remember, he makes every gig personally which the local crowd love. Someone to definitely keep your eye out on.
Bonamalis were well and truly welcomed into the local music scene on Friday night. Their promising sound, didn’t disappoint the crowd or anyone for that matter, I saw no miserable faces. There is a raw natural feel about the four piece, the connection together for the first gig was electric and the talent musically was great. Something that grabbed my attention was the decision of covering The Animals House of the Rising Sun. I’ve never seen that performed live and they twisted it into a modern Bonamalis way. There is an obvious indie rock, 60s era 90s britpop era influence that seeps through their music. The popular crowd and good vibes from the audience massaged the lads egos and gave Bonamalis a stand out personality. They’ve ticked off a solid first gig as this band.
One of The Black Widows last gigs turned into a headline due to Suburban Radio pulling out. They never disappoint with their good old folky rock and roll sound. Over the past four years they’ve created some vibrant songs, especially in the album Love&Lust. All five members tell the tales behind the songs through their talent, they all add a different texture and create a different sense of musically drama in each individual track. The Black Widows are excellent live performers, especially fronted by Scott, his friendly personality makes the band loveable and memorable. The crowd were loving the live music, dancing and singing along with the good old favourites!
Not only is Scott Powell a special local talent, but with LazyEye’s new single I’m a Stone he also proves his good heart by donating all its sales to the Douglas Macmillan Hospice. It’s nice to see someone out there who is doing music for both their passion but also for good, so make sure to grab yourself a copy if you can.
The track itself is superb. It has a refreshing country feel to it and has a cracking chorus. Scott’s vocals are the icing on the cake and give the track a very authentic sound. A nice guitar solo also fits well into the song and I can’t really fault it. A* for both talent and the ability to hit the nail on the head every time!
Finally the long awaited EP from The Rebellion has been released, with its wonderful concoction of classic indie rock infused with the lively tones of funk.
The first track, Is She The One its my personal favourite from the EP, it has a quirky sound to it from the start. The energetic guitar playing throughout really engrosses you, yet the vocals and drumming provide that balance that pulls everything together nicely.
Next is the track Home With Me Tonight and again you can instantly hear that quirky, funk influence. It’s a catchy song; I found myself remembering quite a few lyrics after the first few listens. The track transitions well and has a great sound to it.
The last song on the EP is Fade Away. It has great energy and is simple yet also ingenious. It finishes up the EP with a very cool, laid back feeling to it, like a band who know exactly where they are heading with their music.
Overall, the EP is definitely a great debut and really defines The Rebellion’s sound, which is consistent in every track. It’s full of pretty impressive songs and shows that funk is definitely on a comeback.
After seeing them live with Dirty Money No.5 the other week, Suburban Radio haven drawn my attention.
Their is 3 songs on this free CD I got given to me. The first one is Step Out, this tune is Suburban Radio’s signature song that gets everyone together. The song has a nice catchy riff to it with a happy Ska feeling to it. It’s nice and upbeat, the lyrics are also wrote to fuel a bit of happiness and kick to your currently mood. Vocally it works well even though it took me a while to get used to them.
Isolation is a calm song that has great lyrics yet a quiet music background. The little guitar riff is a sweet one, and the singing going along with it. There’s nothing more to the song than that, instrumentally it’s basic and it does take a while to kick in. When it does kick in it proves to be a pretty decent song, in my opinion I wish it kicked in and then returned to it’s sweet self earlier in the song.
We All deserve To Be Free is a brief little chant song like We Will Rock You. It seems to be the band slogan, it’s a good track that’s good for a chilled listen.
The vocals squealing during songs aren’t my cup of tea to be honest, but it’s mostly a decent chunk of songs that put you in a good mood.
With it being Incarcerate’s first headline set you’d expect the pressure to be well and truly on, yet when arriving at the Sugarmill I was greeted with a distinct buzz of excitement in the air, perhaps from the heavy metal whirlwind about to unravel.
Kicking off the night was Bet It All, providing an edgy, hardcore rock performance brimming with energy and enthusiasm. Vocalist Charlie gave an interesting approach to getting into the spirit of things, leaving the stage to join the crowd for a few songs, before the band finished off their set with a truly monumental track.
Next was Of Legions, a local hardcore/metalcore band, with pounding breakdowns and riffs that sent their loyal fan base crazy. It’s safe to say i’ve never seen such madness erupt in a crowd at the Mill, with both the crowd and the band unleashing mayhem. This coupled with powerful vocal talent and intense playing made it an unforgettable set, charged with personality and confidence.
Just before Incarcerate came on, a decent crowd gathered ready to witness the pinnacle of the night. In no time the heavy metal sounds erupted, with raw, earthy vocals and dramatic playing from the band. The whole combination set the place alive, with the crowd yet again going crazy and the vibrations from the pure loudness created could be felt all around the room.
Although this music was not my particular scene, I was still impressed by both the musical talent and the show put on by all 3 of the bands. Any fans of the metalcore genre who love a bit of hardcore moshing and missed this show really did miss out on an electric night.
Another night of local music gives us another night of 3 bands giving a performance that they think would get them more fans.
It was a decent night, and it started off with Digging For Clouds.
They’re an indie sounding band with a singer with wonderful hair that puts mine to even more shame.
They had a nice sound to them, however their presence wasn’t anything eye catching due to the lack of any movement unfortunately there was barely any crowd interaction.
They picked up near the end, but throughout the gaps of their songs there was this awkward silence that could have been filled with audience conversation or even some wonderful stage banter.
Technically Digging For Clouds seemed spot on.
Suburban Radio were next, it was my first time seeing them in over a year.
They have matured as a band since I last saw them, they have a more lively set than I originally remember.
They had the best crowd reaction and the better following on the night.
They did have a few sound problems but they maintained their ground to give a pretty good performance.
Step Out is their signature song, and to be joined by the lovely Nicola Jayne made that song stand out, even the likes of the line up switch around during the cover of Blitzkrieg Bop.
The headliners take their place, Dirty Money No.5 prove to be very refreshing. They add a new vibe to the local scene, they don’t need breakdowns or to try to sound and look like Oasis to get the message across.
With a band that is accompanied by a DJ, it gives the local music scene a little flare.
From the rapping to the powerful female vocals, this band know how to kick arse.
The riffs are nicely funky and the DJ’ing keeps the music structured for a greater live presence.
The on stage banter did alienate the audience on one occasion, but it’s all part of the fun, and I am glad to have seen Dirty Money No.5 live.
Pickering White boasts a beat that’s utterly exciting. The musical talent is thrashing and fierce, this new track takes the band down an alternative, mature, experimental melodic path. Two minutes and half in and we fall down the rock and roll avalanche whilst the hard-hitting beat and husky-Chicago- like harmonica picks us right back up to the stunning vocals of front girl – Jen.
There’s a striking rhythm and blues influence which is packed with a series of lyrical metaphors of all sorts of things you don’t want before landing on the title phrase, ‘you always want what you can’t have’. Pickering White has a precocious knack for hooks in song writing.
Overall, possibly their best track released yet.
Kicking the night off was fairly new band on the scene – Idle. For such a young band, confidence and talent is sure not to shy away from the stage. With, already a debut EP and a handful of successful gigs under their musically belt, Idle, are one to keep your eye out on. They played tunes from their EP, Better Days, the chemistry on stage whilst performing between all five lads is something – as a fan of live music – to cherish, they are in it as a pure and true passion. The arrogance of the stage presence and music indicates a certain britpop indie influence. I always love a band who can cover a quality tune(Taking Control – Miles Kane) and put their unique stamp on it.
Other band bringing the youth back into live music is after months away, the lads from The Current are back with a slightly new lineup and new name. Chris, Joe, Ben and Freddie, as Bonsai have now ticked off their very first gig. The indie alternative sound holds everyone’s attention, whether young or old. Definitely a great first gig for these four lads, the crowd loved it and watching Bonsai, they seemed to love it on stage. For such a young band they have the style to match the mature sound, the lads have seriously got the song writing technique the addictive melodies and the look for a new band.
Putting their newly fresh stamp back into The Sugarmill, The Rebellion performed a massively strong set – which was unforgettable. The funky rock and rollers are in it to entertain and what a job they do! Danny, Andy, Tom and Charlie create this attitudinal fusion of funk, rock, hip hop and reggae – as an unsigned band, its ground breaking. What I love about The Rebellion is that each member has a different personality that overall makes the band stand out. Tom, Mr music teacher himself, has this jolly energetic charisma – the joker of the pack some might say. Charlie he’s the quiet one, the student with all the intelligence you might say. Dr Andy on guitar is the hidden talent, I do believe he started the band playing bass, guitar or bass, Andy is a thrill to see live. Then Danny, the front guy, who can not say thank enough to all his fans for the support, somewhat reminds me of Ricky from Kaiser Chiefs on stage. Welcome back lads, overall the gig saw golden oldies like Red Lights and some brand new tunes which Radicals Rising can not wait to see on their up and coming EP!