All The Young @ Keele University 24.03.2012 with @6townsradio

We are All The Young, we are All The Young.” The wails from the crowd were fierce and boisterous as the local heroes took to the stage. This was it. This was the moment. The moment music lovers in Stoke-on-Trent had been patiently waiting for since Agent Blue’s explosive album ‘A Stolen Honda Vision’ was released back in 2006. All The Young have come a very long way since those days of Fifth Action Shelter and New Education. Days of Agent Blue and Model Radio filling local venue the Underground every week are very sadly gone, but members of these great bands from yesteryear were at Keele University to support their good friends tonight.

Tonight. Tonight was never going to be just a gig, no; it was always going to be much more than that for everyone there. The fans, eagerly awaiting the release of All The Young’s debut album, ‘Welcome Home’, on 2nd April. The support bands, secretly hoping they could do their heroic peers proud. Even the photographers, one of which admitted to be feeling nervous at the prospect of snapping All The Young on home turf even though he himself was from Liverpool. And the band members themselves, it was clear from the moment they ventured out on stage that they are still very much in love with the city that raised them.

As fans flocked in, The Get Alongs got the night off to a typically hectic start, with Shane Davis on perfect front man form. Entertaining the crowd with his reckless style, which somewhat unbelievably still manages to accommodate his sunglasses, Shane and the lads more than justified their place on the stage. All The Young personally picked the supporting acts for tonight’s gig: after coming home and checking out some local gigs, they had been impressed with The Get Alongs’ style and prowess on stage. And The Get Alongs certainly didn’t let their headlining peers down with tonight’s performance, and neither did second support band of the night, The Control, with their unique up-beat and high tempo riffs impressing all present. As with Shane Davis, The Control front man Joseph Brennan-Hulme was up to his usual tricks, feeding the crowd with awesome presence which blended greatly with the band’s tight set.

And then it was almost time. The minutes seemed like hours as All The Young waited back stage and the fans stood with intense anticipation and beer in hand. The Get Alongs had got the crowd roaring with excitement and now they were read for this night of local brilliance to hit a whole new height. The chants grew louder as the boys took to the stage, with immense pride filling the room. “We are All The Young, we are All The Young.

Here were four lads from Stoke-on-Trent who already this year have supported the Kaiser Chiefs on tour and played at the incredible SXSW Festival in Texas, and now, with just over one week to go before the release of their debut album, ‘Welcome Home’, All The Young had walked out for their hometown gig to well-earned rapturous applause. The band was on superb form right from the off, giving a performance that proved that this debut album tour was just the beginning of something huge.

Front man Ryan Dooley- clad in trademark sunglasses, and wearing a raincoat that only true rock and roll stars can get away with on stage- provided amazing stage presence, as did his bass playing brother Jack and guitarist Dave Cartwright, and least we forget the brilliance of Will Hearney on drums. The Horizon, personal favourite album track for Ryan, went down a right treat (to use a slight Stoke twang), and is to be the fourth single to be released from the album. The song was also played at the bands acoustic set earlier in the afternoon, which, to the fans at that performance, gave a beautifully intimate slant on the song. During the acoustic set, Ryan had the misfortune of a string breakage during a song. “We’re getting the mistakes out the way now, and then we’ll be sound tonight.” Was the perfect response from Ryan, highlighting not only his calm attitude on stage but his professionalism and wit also. And his statement was more than true to the word. Possibly the band’s biggest crowd pleaser of the night, however, went to The First Time, with the crowd going a little crazy to say the very least. Also high on most people’s favourites was of course Welcome Home, the track which first made All The Young realise that had formed something a bit more special than just another guitar band.

Going into the final stretch of this passionate love-for-all-things-Stoke performance, Ryan pulls from the back of the stage a black T-shirt, on the front of which rests the words ‘The only way is Oatcakes’. One given to each member by Oatcake Day organiser and 6 Towns Radio presenter Terry Bosson’s, Ryan proudly showed off his new shirt in front of his hometown fans.

“This is for the hole in the wall.” He cries, a direct act of pride for his beloved Stoke-on-Trent. Such a reference only goes to show you can take a band out of Stoke, but you can’t take Stoke out of their hearts, with Ryan clearly paying his respects to the last hole in the wall oatcake shop, which is sadly to be closed this very weekend after almost one hundred years of business. All The Young’s strong sense of pride ran deeply through the veins of every person at Keele University as they powered through their set with unmatchable passion. If ever there was a time to see All The Young live, this was it. This was the moment. The moment four local lads dropped in on their beloved hometown ahead of their highly anticipated debut album release, and will set off once more having brought a great sense of pride back into the hearts of music lovers in Stoke-on-Trent.

Sworn To Oath @ The Sugarmill 23rd March Live Review

The Sugarmill welcomes a night of heavy rock and metal from a four band line-up with Stoke-on-Trent metallers Sworn To Oath as headliners.

Moments after the doors open S.L.U.G take to the stage, a four piece Stoke-On-Trent outfit with fast paced guitars. But the band lacks in stage presence, making little effort to engage with the crowd.

Mordecai
are the odd ones out this evening hailing from South London. Their sound is boisterous hard rock that has a strong American influence and a heavy dose of guitar solos. This band gel together well and encourage the crowd to move forwards, closer to the stage.

Nameless
are the main support act tonight, another local band from Stoke-on-Trent. These youngsters have lots of energy, frontman Josh Sutton is especially enthusiastic showing off somewhat by running around the stage, getting up on the speakers and singing while lying on the floor. Their sound is very American rock n’ roll and they’re clearly very influenced by American rock bands like Guns n’ Roses and Metallica. The lead guitar is too loud and guitarist Adam Broadhurst has difficulties with his guitar at one point during their set. Nonetheless a great and energetic band to warm up the crowd for the headliners.

The lights go down and headliners Sworn to Oath take to the stage, opening with their single ‘Last Call’. For only a three-piece band they’ve such a strong and fierce metal sound but with a catchy melodic side also. The crowd enjoy some moshing during the heavier parts of their songs. Time seems to fly by and before you know it they’re saying goodbye with their song ‘Leave You For Dead’, and the crowd are punching the air shouting back the lyrics “leave you for dead!” Sworn to Oath leave the crowd wanting more who begin chanting for an encore which doesn’t happen.

                       

Elly Kingdon’s Bus Pass E.P Reviewed

‘Bus Pass’ is the astonishingly fresh new E.P from singer songwriter Elly Kingdon, and recorded in one day and mixed the very next day, you might be forgiven for assuming this E.P would be full of flaws. You might be forgiven for assuming that, but you’d be very wrong.

Elly sings beautifully about love and life in the modern day city with a quirky and unique style which is gloriously on show throughout the five track E.P. Title track ‘Bus Pass’ is certainly the icing on the cake, with Elly’s attention to detail for Stoke-on-Trent life, along with her quirkiness, making ‘Bus Pass’ a song you’ll want to hear again and again, just to make you bounce down the street you usually mope down. And after all, forty five through the month is a really good deal, when you think about it.

Opening song ‘Listen To Your Songs’ has an undeniable hint of cynicism in the lyrics, though the musical happiness of Elly’s baritone ukulele  leaves you unable to stop yourself from smiling whilst listening to Elly’s song. ‘When I Wake Up’ is a love story with a sparkling twist of sorrow, whilst ‘Really Happy’ is an open and honest account of a broken heart, a song you can relate to on such a level that you actually feel you are involved in it, so bold and true are the lyrics.

Elly seem to possess the quirky style and catchy voice of Kate Nash, twinned with Adele’s ability to make you feel like the songs have been written as a soundtrack to your life. “One day I’ll be someone’s favourite pass time, yeah I’ll be someone’s favourite long walk home.” These lyrics, from finale track ‘Your Favourite Long Walk Home’, sum up in one sentence modern day romance, and the maturity and intimacy of this song, along with the upbeat style of the rest of the EP, proves that Elly Kingdon and her baritone ukulele is a musical partnership with great potential.

Review of EP from The Hiding Place

From the opening beats of first song ‘Snaketown’, you become immediately aware of the musical quality in store for you on this EP from The Hiding Place. Before Singer Dominic Webber even brings his talent to the table, it’s clear ‘Snaketown’ has the potential to be a classic rock anthem. With seamless harmonies running throughout the song, The Hiding Place literally hit all the right notes with this EP opener.

It seems clear a great partnership has been struck between drummer Joe Barber and bassist Rich Lockett, with their flare and tightness of sound and rhythm forming the perfect foundation for the fierce yet harmonic guitar work of Jonny Wood and Oliver Fencott.

‘Popular Myths’ is an instant classic. Need more be said for this song? From the opening bar, a healthy, refreshing calm is carried though to the chorus, where the built up power and energy is released in an explosion of unique guitars, powerful vocals and hard hitting drums.

Popular Myths‘ is a track which has that ability to stick in your head for the rest of the day, perhaps this addictive quality in the song is the reason it held the number one spot on Radical’s Rising’s Hype Chart for three straight weeks.

The prowess of Dominic Webber’s vocals are prominent on this EP from The Hiding Place, with a fierce emotion coming through in every word he sings. His rare ability is on show throughout the EP, but it is on third and final track ‘Pay No Attention (To The Man Behind The Counter)’ where he seems to effortlessly take his vocal talent to a new level. The song is crammed with vocal and harmonic talent, fused brilliantly with a blend of tight, fast paced guitar work and a gentle, perfectly timed breakdown.

With helping hands of Daniel Hodgkinson and Ben Forrester on guitars and added backing vocals from Kirsty Dring, Taggie Pringle and Kirsty Sartain, The Hiding Place are concreted firmly at the forefront of the local rock scene in Stoke-on-Trent, a scene currently bursting with talent.

Aaron Mobberley Commitment EP Review

Aaron Mobberley has forced himself to the forefront of local talent in Stoke-on-Trent with his solo E.P ‘Commitment. The Clockwork Owls bass player and lead singer pushed aside the post punk sounds of the Owls to produce a wonderful collection of folk classics.

‘Crayons’ is at once a catchy tune with a sweet, memorable melody. Aaron seamlessly intertwines his soft vocals and guitar playing, a talent that is somewhat rare within local music of Stoke-on-Trent. Along with an intelligent placement of perfect harmonies, ‘Crayons’ also sneaks in a bass kick at just the right time to enhance the emotion of the song, at the outro of which you just want to carry on listening.

The beauty of ‘My Skin’ lies within its harmonies. Many bands and artists forget or neglect to see the importance of harmonies, yet Aaron Mobberley not only creates a perfect blend of harmonies, but he also uses them wisely, putting them in the right places and still not over doing it.

Title track ‘Commitment’ is again seamless throughout, as you come to expect from natural folk singer Aaron Mobberley. Backing drums are used with great effect, and at some points Aaron hits vocal notes which may be hard for even the influential Marcus Mumford to find. The eerie guitar opening somehow finds itself something you can relate to, instantly drawing you in to the song, and the lyrics further enhance this power that Aaron seems to hold over you through his music.

‘She Knows Why’ and ‘Spare Room’ take Aaron Mobberley’s writing maturity to another level completely, the instant poetry of ‘She Knows Why’ capturing your mind with the sorrowful beauty of the opening, with the softness of the harmonica adding to the sadness of the song, leaving you with a piece of music you feel you can relate to on a personal level. A similar feeling is brought upon you yet again in ‘Spare Room’, where a desperate sense of loss is so beautifully written, with lyrics such as “the spare room was never spare when you were there” leaving you with a sense of intimacy between yourself and Aaron.

The deft inclusion of an electric guitar brings a whole new emotion to the table in finale track ‘Looking For’, with that and the powerful harmonies and well structured drum work working so professionally well together, you can’t help but wonder why Aaron is still playing pub gigs in Stoke-on-Trent and not support slots with the likes of folk stars Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling.

Brilliantly produced by Sam Bloor, along with his and James Tildesley’s musical assistance, Aaron Mobberley has proved himself to be a song writing talent Stoke-on-Trent can be extremely proud about with his EP ‘Commitment’.