Sometimes every once in a while, its good to take stock and ponder over a period of time, for me that realisation was tonight. Being an outsider of the Stoke-on-Trent music scene and not holding any alliances with any of the bands around the potteries (he writes wearing his Get Alongs t-shirt) I feel stands me in a respectable position to voice my opinion on the sounds inside the underground on Saturday 5th May.
The two weeks prior to this gig have felt like a cloud of anticipation just hovering around Stoke which is why I was not surprised, arriving at 7 o clock, to find a string of get alongs t shirts and brit rock hairstyles adorning the brick wall that lines the road outside the underground. Hugging this wall where a mixture of teenage girls and boys as well as the more experienced gigger, ploughing through packs of fags and sipping at bottles of premium lager.
On entering the underground the subtle personalisation’s made by the get alongs, the union jacks in every corner of the room and the red, blue and white lights intermittently rotating suggest another milestone in the life of a get along. The gig selling out quite a while before the projected date, another reminder of The Get Alongs formidable status as one of the most revered bands of Stoke-Trent.
Playing in front of a 6 foot Get Alongs banner first were The Ruby Dukes. A five piece hailing from Stoke racking up their first ever gig as a supporting act. A solid outfit, plenty of attitude, rocky riffs and just good fun, they digested every inch of the stage. Their jovial ‘good times’ spirit reverberated and was well received with the crowd who engaged the lead singers interactions.
Next on stage were 3 piece The Vandals, bringing a brit rock ‘Lets have it’ attitude to the night. Please don’t think I’m being facetious about my comments and remember they are just one persons opinion, but I cant help feeling that The Van’dals could do with just 6 months out writing and experimenting not only with their sound but their philosophy, processes and methods. Their on stage presence, slow and uninspiring struggles to merit an applause from the audience. The Van’dals really are a great band, however just need to take stock, re-inspire themselves and comeback bigger and better.
And so The Way join the stage. The crowd, buoyant with applause, welcome the local 4 piece picking up their instruments. Seasoned Stoke musicians The Way, begin by lifting the crowd evoking the living-for-the-moment attitude their lyrics preach. The Way’s rock and roll sound implores the audience to swamp the front of the stage, something lead singer Stef encourages and embraces. The Way motor through a set of disciplined and well rehearsed set of punk induced rocky tunes to superb responses from the already jubilant audience.
Finally then we come to the main fellas, The Get Alongs. The four piece everyone’s there to see. The floor is chocker block with disenfranchised youths ready to belt out the lyrics with lead singer Shane. Their mentor, Shane, begins by letting everyone know they’re there to ‘go f***ing mental’. The invitation is welcomed by the audience, who proceed to do so by getting the security’s attention with a few pits. The Get Alongs command the stage properly like a headline band should. The band wherever they play enjoy a certain buzz to their sets. For example at Hippy Haze fest, Shane walking round the day before their headline set on the Sunday night just added to the build up of tension ready to be released by the audience. The exact same feeling was evident in The Underground that night. The Get Alongs act as a soap box style of expression for the working classes, letting everyone know just how everyone feels, a quality many bands don’t have the luxury of possessing.
As I said earlier though, sometimes it’s good to look back over a period of time and think about what it is you have achieved. Certainly The Get Alongs have unintentionally or intentionally become a band that can sell out a venue in Stoke-on-Trent within a couple of weeks. The gig on the 5th of May is definitely something to tell the grandchildren depending on where they grow up but are they really content with that? The Get Alongs if they were to venture out of Stoke could easily muster a following of fifty people to a gig and prove to the doubters that yes they are a band that are willing to travel to spread the motives of the working classes. After their Stoke-on-Trent conquering gig then, is it time to think about what they’re capable of and then where they want to go?
Review- Daniel Rowlands.
Photography- Daniel Rowlands