Incarcerate @ Sugarmill 21/09/2014

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.


Dirty Money No5 @ Sugarmill 10/09/14

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.

Matt Clewley

You Always Want What You Can’t Have -Pickering White – Track Review 10/09/14

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.

The Rebellion @ Sugarmill 07/09/14

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!



Sonic Revolvers – Can You Hear me? – Single Review 04/09/14

Ever tasted lime, tequila and chilli cheese?

Can You Hear Me? has the same sensation – starts with a sweet punch, followed by the sharpness and ending with that fierce kick.

Sonic Revolvers have renovated and gone forth with a musically expansion which is difficult to pigeon hole, its definitely been a risk worth taking.

The whole tune is dripping massively in confidence with the piston-like drum beat, hammering bass, sharp spear-like guitar riffs and Darrell’s smooth yet unbelievably powerful vocal.

So, yes Sonic Revolvers, we can you, loud and clear!


Campstag’s EP Release @ Exchange 01/09/14

There is a handful of country, folk, rock and roll bands in Staffordshire and Cheshire but, Moitessier – they are something else. They grasp the genres in a true rock and roll manner. The grooviest band for sure, caught my attention from the minute they begun. As well as the music beautifully crafted together, the set as a whole was spot on, perfect in fact from start to finish. Something I’ve never seen live before, is; the drummer moving to guitar and vocals, the guitarist/vocalist moving too guitar and guitarist moving to drums! (If I got that right) it was incredible to see the experienced, extremely talented lads of Moitessier showing off their full musically potentially. Definitely one of Staffordshire and Cheshire’s most under rated bands and the one to watch.

Moscow never ever has disappointed and in all honesty I don’t think they will – ever! With a stunning recipe for eccentric performances the whole band are riveting. The set was a solid, compact with new material, tunes from their EP Pack Animals and of course the golden oldies which saw an uproar of Moscow fans, screaming the lyrics along with Nic. Strolling from the mirror backed stage, through the equally wild fans to the bar, swinging from bars, crawling and all ways you can move obscurely, Nic is by far one of my favourite front men of all time. Overall; totally mesmerizing.

One of Staffordshire and Cheshire’s all-time favourite bands completed the night of extraordinary talent- Campstag, I know no one who dislikes the loveable foursome. It was a big night for them, releasing their next EP Leviathan, which also came with its own homemade beer, which is a first for a local band, I do believe. The EP overall is structurally amazing. Already by gazing into the audience, they know the EP tunes; they are tracks that stick with you. As well as that, we hear more golden oldies for the evening, like their past singles Hide and Seek and Walking with Broken Bones – still have that alternative Campstag musically stamp! Purely and simply a great recorded and live band.


Campstag – Paper Houses – Track Review

If Camp Stag’s Paper Houses is any indicative of the essence composed in forthcoming EP Leviathan Swims put the Tree up; Christmas has come early – excuse the appalling cliché.

Personally, Paper Houses imparts such a recollected influence from Radiohead’s 2000 release Kid A with those cluttered electronic foundations constituting the underlying structure of the instrumental. However this is not to be misconceived, Camp Stag’s uniquely fashioned alternative rock aura and indie subtleties render Paper Houses impervious to any uninformed, lacklustre “copycat” arguments. Notably what Camp Stag have achieved in Paper House most creditably is instilling the track with a volatile sense that it could combust into an apex of noise erratically without ever doing so, almost like a state of ‘musical limbo’.


Finn Shardlow


Parisian Youth Culture – Basement – Track Review

Basement has all the ingredients for an exceptional indie rock track; a catchy chorus, fun guitar riffs and energetic drumming, which all come together almost effortlessly to create that indie rock sound everyone seems to love. The chorus is planted straight away into your head and by the end of my first listen I found myself singing along. Throughout the track it maintains its energy and gives off the same dynamic, fresh vibe that can be heard in many of Foals tracks, which can’t be a bad thing looking at how successful they have been.

Parisian Youth Culture definitely have both talent and potential and I’m sure there are exciting things to come in the near future for them. Overall, a great track and well worth a listen!


Oatcake Day No5 @ The Sugarmill 09/08/14

The day had finally arrived, the day ‘Stokies’ cherish – Oatcake day!

It was bigger than ever this year for the 5th year running. 6 Towns Radio were live from Sainsbury in Stoke where we set the highest record of 3 oatcakes eaten in 2 minutes also the creator of Oatcake day, Terry Bossons, delivered oatcakes to Donna Louise and Dougie Mac hospices to spread the positivity around Staffordshire then we finished the great day off with an awesome live gig at local venue The Sugarmill sponsored by Richer Sounds.

The opening act was Stafford based rock duo – The Taskers. Playing tunes from their previous album, Rat Residence it showcased their sheer power and volume of experimental talent. They’ve currently released an EP as a bridge from Rat Residence and the next album, the variety of sounds is all created on stage, musically and through their compelling stage presence.

One of the strongest sets of the night, 25 minutes full of Sonic Revolvers best tunes. Bouncing all over the stage, front man Darrell reminds me of Matt from The Pigeon Detectives. Massage his ego and he will perform. Loco Lifestyle still has that crisp, warm tone vibe to it, but we heard new tunes, especially for Oatcake Day. Black Star and Can you Hear Me? Which will be the next single for these infectious four piece – the stunning guitar solo, firm bass line and captivating drum beats, it’s certainly sounds like another Hype Chart number 1!

A supporter of Oatcake Day and 80s legend Owen Paul joined the celebration. Playing all sorts of 80s hits from Mike and the Mechanics and Simple Minds – who he did actually tour with and performed songs with. With just him on stage for 60% of the set and a backing track he seemed lost on stage but it got the audience singing along and back to their youths. He concluded the set with his biggest hit, You’re my Favourite Waste of Time, it was nice to Owen still enjoying performing and engaging the crowd.

Headlining of Oatcake Day No5 gig was another Oatcake Day supporter and The Bluetones legend – Mark Morriss. He played 90s classics that everyone sung along to and his solo album material; A Flash of Darkness was released in February. It was a lovely little intimate gig with just him and his guitar. His new material is a lot more reflective and you see more of Mark’s talent; especially when he’s live. He was a great headliner with a great personality.

Bring on Oatcake Day 6.


The Devil Blues – In The City – Single Review 05/08/14

Mike Patton may hate bands that try to sound like they’re from the 70s, but I am laid back about it when it is done right.

When it comes to The Devil Blues their main goal seems to be to make a really good and catchy song and that is what they do, fuse an old sound and make it seem fresh. They name bands like The Kinks and Nirvana as influences and you can tell if you listen closely.

In the City is darn catchy and a great song to nod along to when you’re writing reviews for Lucee. With a great drum beat and a chugging bass to start it all off, the guitar adds a retro atmosphere to their sound. The vocals are gritty and the backing vocals continue this atmosphere during the verse.

This song is a firm favourite of mine out of the songs I have heard this year from Stoke’s local scene, and it has a firm grunge style to the sound that somehow makes the song sound older than it is. With that in mind they remind me of Blue Cheer, they seem to be one of a kind in the “indie” scene at the moment and I like a band like The Devil Blues who do their best to stand out from bands who try too hard to be like Oasis.

In The City is a class tune, and deserves to be in the Hype Chart.


Matt Clewley